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Subject: Alternate Proficiency (Infantry) Rule rss

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Jim Krohn
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I have developed an alternate rule for handling proficiency. The game is not broken and works fine as is. However, what this rule does is eliminate about 1/3 of the die rolls in the game while keeping the results of the game the same. If any would like to try this out, I would be interested in feedback.

I know...it sounds crazy. Why even come up with something like this? All those years of design and the system is so tight, but I had a design epiphany around Thanksgiving. I have been playing around with the idea since then and bouncing it off people. It seems to really make a lot of sense. So much so that I can't ignore it. I want the game to be the best that it can be and Worthington likes it. They have given me the go ahead to bounce it off everyone. It is a "rule only" change that does not impact any counters.

The key, of course, is are the results the same? If the results between this alternate rule and the current rule are very different, it could throw off scenario balance. In designing this rule, I put together an Excel spreadsheet that compared 158 different firing situations and calculated the percent chance of eliminating a unit, reducing a unit, and getting a suppression for both the current rule and this alternate rule. I then summarized and cut the data by a number of different variables. While some specific shots and situations have a greater difference (by as much as 10%), it turns out that there is less than a 1% overall difference between the two rules. When considering that this rule only impacts Infantry Op Fire and Assault Fire and does not touch normal fire, guns, and vehicles, it makes that difference even more negligible. So, I'm confident that this rule will not mess with scenario balance and can be considered purely on its own merit.

The Current Rule:
• Before doing something difficult (Op Fire, Final Op Fire, Assault Fire), you must take a separate Prof Check.

The Alternate Rule:
• Instead of taking a Prof Check, add your proficiency to the die roll for your assault fire, op fire, and final op fire. The Proficiency check for infantry would go away.

Modifier Changes:
• For Op Fire and Final Op Fire, simply add your Proficiency to your die roll including any other modifiers. Remember there are things that can reduce your Proficiency like moving in the open, being marked as Op Fire, and being adjacent (those reductions stay the same).
• For Assault Fire, add one less than your Proficiency to your die roll including all modifiers. The current +1 modifier for Assault Fire goes away.
• Before rolling an attack, you can spend a Command Point to lower your Proficiency by 1 for that attack (to a minimum of zero). Since the Proficiency Check for infantry was just eliminated, this allows you to use your command points on items requiring proficiency (like you can currently).
• That's it. It is so simple, yet the results are almost exactly the same!

Impact on the Game:
• Obviously, Guns and Vehicles stay the same.
• The separate Proficiency Check for SATW stays the same.
• Normal fire stays the same.
• Assault Fire Proficiency Checks are eliminated.
• Proficiency checks for Op Fire and Final Op Fire are eliminated, but they still might have to take a morale check.
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Jim Krohn
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Specific Die Roll Examples


Reduced or Suppressed squad moves and then assault fires (Morale less than 10):

Current Rule:
- Morale Check before moving
- Prof Check before firing at the end of the move
- Actual roll to fire

Alternate Rule:
- Morale Check before moving
- Roll to fire (with the prof modifier)

Full strength US squad moves and then assault fires (morale of 10)

Current Rule:
- Prof Check before firing at the end of the move
- Actual roll to fire

Alternate Rule:
- Roll to fire (with the prof modifier)

Non-Suppressed squad Op Fires

Current Rule:
- Prof Check before Op Firing
- Possible new Prof Check in a different hex if it failed the first Prof Check
- Actual roll to fire

Alternate Rule:
- Actual roll to fire (with the prof modifier)

Suppressed squad Op Fires

Current Rule:
- Prof Check before Op Firing
- Possible new Prof Check in a different hex if it failed the first Prof Check
- Actual roll to fire

Alternate Rule:
- Morale Check
- Actual roll to fire (with the prof modifier)

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Erik Nicely
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Jim, have people been complaining about Proficiency? It seems good to me as-is.
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Jim Krohn
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I agree, but some have complained about the number of die rolls. Some people have a low tolerance for them. Personally, I didn't notice them until recently. In teaching the game to new people after the release, the biggest stumbling block has been the extra Prof Check, especially for Assault Fire. Standard conversation:

Me: "No, you have to roll a Proficiency Check first."
Newbie: "But I just rolled a Morale Check at the start of the move."
Me: "I know, but you are about to do something difficult....etc."
Newbie: *Quizzical look.*

So, my reasons for trying out an alternate rule are:

- Some complaints about number of rolls
- My experience teaching new people
- It makes the game (even) more streamlined

If I can do that and keep the results the same, I want to consider it. The problem is, I thought of this a month ago and not 2 years ago and that is why I am bouncing it off the gallery. The original system works like a champ and has been thoroughly tested - that is not the reason for the alternate rule.

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Erik Nicely
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Jim Krohn wrote:
I agree, but some have complained about the number of die rolls. Some people have a low tolerance for them. Personally, I didn't notice them until recently. In teaching the game to new people after the release, the biggest stumbling block has been the extra Prof Check, especially for Assault Fire. Standard conversation:

Me: "No, you have to roll a Proficiency Check first."
Newbie: "But I just rolled a Morale Check at the start of the move."
Me: "I know, but you are about to do something difficult....etc."
Newbie: *Quizzical look.*


When I first saw the BoB rules the number of die rolls seemed like it might be a problem but the rules as a whole are fairly simple once you get the hang of them. There's not a whole lot of time taken up by other procedures so all the rolls don't bog things down. I hope that this new variant would stay a variant in future versions of the rules, modified morale checks for reactions are a neat concept IMO. I can see how some would stumble on the idea and how others may not like all of the rolls.
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Jeffrey Smith
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Just when I feel like I'm really starting to master the rules...

Hmmm, I will try it out but my initial gut reactions are:
1. I don't have any problem with the number of dice rolls.
2. The difference between morale and proficiency makes sense to me.
3. The game uses proficiency rolls for so many other things, to change it for infantry seems like the consistency is lost.
4. Obviously I haven't run the numbers but a squad with a high proficiency number will have a hard time assault firing with any effect. But let me think. A good order second line German squad will pass proficiency 60% of the time. It will hit a stationary target in open terrain 30% of the time, so the product is 18%. The new method would add 3 to the die roll, so it would hit only 10% of the time. Did I do that right? If so that seems pretty significant, almost half the chance of success.
5. Being able to use command to directly impact fire effectiveness could be a good thing.
6. While the die rolls are reduced, the number of modifiers for each roll increases. Getting used to the modifiers has been a complaint I've heard more than the number of die rolls.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have a chance to play a couple short scenarios this way and I'll give a more informed opinion.
 
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Jens Hoppe
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Hmm, if the goal is to cut down on the number of die rolls, I would say it isn't needed. Prior to playing I was a bit worried about the potential number of die rolls in the game, but once I actually tried it, it wasn't a problem at all.

Also, while the rule change is relatively simple, it isn't very "clean" and it breaks the central paradigm in the game of rolling to see if you're allowed to do something.

I dunno, I sorta like prof checks...
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Christopher Senn
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i havent played the game. but two rolls kind of makes sense if its to do a special action.
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Harald Torvatn
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I dont think this will make it any simpler or faster. You get fewer die rolls, but more modifiers on each. The situations in which proficency is checked is already some of the most modifier heavy situations in the system.

If proficency is added to the fire roll instead, one fire roll could be modified by all of the following modifiers:

Being adjacent (Proficency modifier), moving in the open (proficency modifier), proficency, final op fire, terrain, moving in the open (fire modifier), being adjacent (fire modifier), terrain. (and if they keep their op-fire markers after firing op fire (do they?)also the proficency modifier for op fire). 8 (or 9) modifiers to one die roll. And that to a fairly common die roll.

Not even ASL uses so many modifiers for common die rolls.

So what is won by having fewer die rolls is probably lost by having to calculate all those modifiers for each fire. (Under the current system, you just have to calculate the proficency check modifiers and then roll the die, if they fail the check, the other modifiers does not have to be calculated, unless they pass the moral check.)

So I think it is better to do as now, stopping halfway through the calculations to check whether furter calculations are neccessary, and starting those further calculations fresh with the values printed on the counter instead of having to remember the exact value calculated so far.


(But: Adding proficency to fire DR instead will make op fire much less effective, and make final op fire much more effective. (I think. I may be wrong.) Is that a good thing?)
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Jeffrey Smith
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Was tinkering a bit while drinking some coffee. This situation seems very different:
US squad is about to move adjacent to or enter melee with a fully suppressed second line German squad: morale 1, proficiency 4.

With original rules, the squad would have to pass proficiency test to Op Fire.
1 morale -4 proficiency = -3
Even with all three proficiency modifiers (adjacent, in the open, Op Fire marker)
there is no way it can stop the advancing unit.

With the variant, if I understand correctly, the unit has a fire power of 4 and the die modifiers would be:
+4 for proficiency rating
-3 for the 3 proficiency modifiers
-7 for adjacent & moving in open
For a total of -6
Plus command points could be used to further improve the chances.

So we go from zero probability of firing to a high probability of doing some serious damage.

I must be doing something wrong. I need to read your post again.

Edit: Yes, I was doing something wrong in that I forgot about the morale check with the variant. So the unit has only a 10% chance of success with morale, but if it passes has a high % chance of suppressing the unit. In fact it would suppress with a roll of 10. So 10%*100%= 10% chance of suppressing compared to 0%.
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Bob
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I'm one of the guys that play tested the new rule and I stand by it as an effective alternative. I was able to teach the game with the new rule really fast and it was really easy to pick up as there were basically only 2 kinds of rolls (in the first scenario): Morale and Fire.

The original game is NOT broken at all. But from Jim's perspective of designing a gaming system it's a great idea to at least explore the opportunity to make the game more approachable.

Jeff, you are a really bright guy. Looking at Jim's data, and from play testing experience, the unit that is affected the most by the change is the 2nd line German infantry. They go from having 0% chance of Op Fire when fully suppressed to having a chance to hit the target, albeit a small one because they still have a morale check to pass. I liked this change and so did the people I play tested with once I explained to them that in the original rules those units wouldn't even be able to attempt fire. As a player, even having a 1% shot at something can make the game fun and keep the tension high. Not everyone, I'm sure, will agree with me though and that's fine.


Give the new rule a shot and send Jim the feedback, you have the opportunity to help make this new game system even better!
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Jim Krohn
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Quote:
the unit that is affected the most by the change is the 2nd line German infantry.


Bob is right. There is a trade off...They (2nd line German infantry) do get a little better at Op Fire (when Fully Suppressed - now they have a chance), but they get a little worse at Assault Fire or Op Fire at times where the target is in cover.

Bob is also right about system. I'm burning the midnight oil on Ghost Panzer and I would love to see many more modules. In suggesting this alternate rule, I was motivated by the long term.
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Jim Krohn
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Quote:
(But: Adding proficency to fire DR instead will make op fire much less effective, and make final op fire much more effective. (I think. I may be wrong.) Is that a good thing?)


No, the numbers don't bear that out. Of the 158 firing cases I looked at, 22 of them were affected by 10%. The other 136 cases were impacted by less than that.
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Jim Krohn
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Quote:
I hope that this new variant would stay a variant in future versions of the rules, modified morale checks for reactions are a neat concept IMO. I can see how some would stumble on the idea and how others may not like all of the rolls.


At the moment, this new rule is just a variant. Again, if I can achieve basically the same result with less wristage, I want to consider it.

I'm looking for feedback. Try it out and let me know. Numbers on a table are good, but they don't beat real life trial. Maybe I missed something?

I should clean up my Excel sheet and post it....I'll see if I can do that today.
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Harald Torvatn
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Jim Krohn wrote:
Quote:
(But: Adding proficency to fire DR instead will make op fire much less effective, and make final op fire much more effective. (I think. I may be wrong.) Is that a good thing?)


No, the numbers don't bear that out. Of the 158 firing cases I looked at, 22 of them were affected by 10%. The other 136 cases were impacted by less than that.


Was this done by calculating the odds for supressing the target? and was the fact that a unit which fails the proficency check to op-fire may try again later taken into account?

The way op-fire works, a unit which fails its proficiency check can try later. If it get to fire once, it will fire with full firepower.

If proficency is instead added to the fire die roll, the unit will fire at first opportunity, but wit weakened firepower.

My experience seems to indicate that a unit generally get several opportunity to fire op-fire, therfore generally eventually get to fire. The reduction in fire-probability caused by proficency is therefore not very important, but the reduction in firepower if proficency is added to the die roll will be very significant.
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Erik Nicely
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Jim Krohn wrote:

At the moment, this new rule is just a variant. Again, if I can achieve basically the same result with less wristage, I want to consider it.


The wristage and the modified morale (proficiency) is one of the things that makes BoB unique. Going by BoB's 8.70 geek rating it doesn't seem like too many people have a problem with it. I would be less likely to play a version of BoB that took away those cool proficiency rules. The game is already simple enough and there really isn't too many die rolls.
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Jim Krohn
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Erik, the cool Proficiency rule stays, just in a different form...and the result is basically the same.

I'm still exploring this option. The cool thing is that no counters or components are impacted so no matter what, players will be able to use the rule that they prefer.
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Josh
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One other change is in how this affects concealment of of op firing units. In the normal rules, you'll have higher known odds of success because if you fail the prof check then you dont remove conceal whereas in the variant the odds of removing the conceal without effectively firing are higher.

Personally, I like things as is, but i'll give this a chance at some point because I may like it better and I wont know until I try (even if I have my doubts now).

My 12yo was able to pick up the current system pretty easily. The thing he forgets most often is to put a used marker on his units--he's too busy moving on to the next one :)
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Jens Hoppe
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Jim Krohn wrote:
At the moment, this new rule is just a variant. Again, if I can achieve basically the same result with less wristage, I want to consider it.

Also ... consider the future, Jim! I don't know what your plans are for later games in the system, rules-wise, but isn't it possible you would want to use the concept of Prof checks later on, in contexts not associated with Fire? I don't know, navigating through wire, that sort of thing - situations where the Prof check allows you do to something not necessarily followed by a Fire die roll.

If so, keeping the Prof check for all proficiency-related situations would be a much cleaner solution.

Just my opinion...
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Jim Krohn
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Quote:
My 12yo was able to pick up the current system pretty easily.


Yes, the system is pretty simple, especially when given the complexity it covers. This would be only an incremental improvement. However, what is invisible to all of you is that the system went through about half dozen of these incremental improvements since 2006 in order to get it where it is today. One day I may tell you about them.

Quote:
If so, keeping the Prof check for all proficiency-related situations would be a much cleaner solution.


The concept of the Prof Check does not go away completely with this rule. SATWs and retreating out of melee come to mind. And, remember, proficiency is not going away, the same modifier is being used a little differently for Op Fire and Assault Fire.
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Jeffrey Smith
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Jim Krohn wrote:

The concept of the Prof Check does not go away completely with this rule. SATWs and retreating out of melee come to mind.

I had completely forgotten that a unit can try to exit melee!!
 
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Jeffrey Smith
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Jim Krohn wrote:

Current Rule:
- Prof Check before Op Firing
- Possible new Prof Check in a different hex if it failed the first Prof Check
- Actual roll to fire

Alternate Rule:
- Morale Check
- Actual roll to fire (with the prof modifier)

For this case, alternate rule, if the unit fails morale check does it get to try again when the enemy moves to a new hex? If not, that's a real game changer. If yes, then at least in this case you don't save any dice rolls, since it would be

-Morale Check
-Possible new morale check in a different hex if it failed the first morale check
-Actual roll to fire.

Obviously the saving a die roll or not is no big deal, but only having one chance to pass Op Fire morale/proficiency is a pretty big deal.
 
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Jim Krohn
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Here are my numbers.

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?13@1.K83xc8bL4Qz.74@.1dd368...

Of course, this isn't perfect. I don't:

- Analyze every possible firing situation.

- Even analyze the same cases in each situation I looked at.

- Weight how often each of these cases occur in the game (not that I could)

So, the averages are really just estimates. What I did was plug away at this until my head started to hurt and I had come to the conclusion that the two methods were substantially the same - especially when you consider this does not impact normal fire, vehicles, etc.
 
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Jim Jackson

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I like the rules as originally released. If the game is not broken and works fine, is sold out, and has 8.70 rating on boardgamegeek, why in the world would you change the rules, especially if the results of the new rules keep the results the same. I bought this game (2 copies actually) based on the rules as they are now, to me purchasing the next series of games (at this point "ghost panzer" and "the old guard") was a no brainer. Now, the first game in the series which has only been out for a couple of months, is considering a significant rule change, for what, to reduce dice rolls? Now, I'm not so sure about future purchases, in my mind I wonder "What's next". I think that the future of any game system relies on consistency, so please keep the rules as they are now written.
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Jeffrey Smith
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Just to present another perspective, this is a unique opportunity for fans of a brand new game to see a glimspe inside the mind of the designer, try out new game innovations, and provide feedback. I understand why some may feel that their brand new game has just become obsolete, but I don't think that is happening. This is a variant. It may ne the path forward for the series, or maybe not. And if it is, the new rule can be used with the existing components as is.

I'm not sold on the change yet, as I have yet to really play it, but I'll try it out and share my feedback. That's all I think Jim is asking at this point.
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