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Subject: Continued attacks by road...and the question of rules writing rss

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Eugene
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Attacking pieces moving by road my continue their move (and make additional attacks) if the defender retreated...

I'm going to be easy here. Someone please give the most clear-cut example of multiple attacks along a road. The rulebook in Attack Example 1 shows the the beginning of a multiple attack, but leaves off after just a single attack.

After this is provided, I'll come back with the stickier issues related to multiple attacks following retreats.
 
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Re: Continued attacks by road
I didn't go look just now, so I can't say for sure that this has been covered in other threads, but I think it has. Have you already looked?
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Eugene
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Re: Continued attacks by road
Yeah, I looked. Most of it was tangential discussion on basic legality of attack threats via road by corps.
 
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Re: Continued attacks by road
garygarison wrote:
Quote:
Attacking pieces moving by road my continue their move (and make additional attacks) if the defender retreated...

I'm going to be easy here. Someone please give the most clear-cut example of multiple attacks along a road. The rulebook in Attack Example 1 shows the the beginning of a multiple attack, but leaves off after just a single attack.

After this is provided, I'll come back with the stickier issues related to multiple attacks following retreats.

Easy, eh? Putting together diagrams and such is a lot of work. I think I covered the trickiest form of road attack in this thread:

Legal Attack Threats

If you read and understand everything in that thread, you should have a good handle on all the various factors that come into play during attacks along a road (the only kind possible when you're discussing multiple attacks).

Do you have something specific that you're confused about?
 
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Eugene
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Re: Continued attacks by road
Thanks, I did read that thread. In fact, I think I had a better grasp of the situation before trudging through the last couple pages.

My main question is this: Is there a situation where an attacker can send a defender retreating three locales backwards (by red main road, of course), and the attacker ending up three locales from the starting locale? More precisely, is such a situation possible when both the attacker and defender are both corps of 2+ units?
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Re: Continued attacks by road
garygarison wrote:
More precisely, is such a situation possible when both the attacker and defender are both corps of 2+ units?

Yes, and Sphere's thread above says the French corps can make a second threat as part of their move.

To get your 3-space-retreat, the attacker and defender start off next to each other. With the first threat, the defender retreats before combat; in doing so, his corps is shattered into one one-unit corps and a pile of independents. This no longer interferes with the attacking corps' ability to move by road, so the attackers can push them a second & third space.

("But," in response to the second threat, if the defenders name any of their pieces as defenders--which they are able to do, because they have not been named as defenders yet this turn--then the second attack must be a feint, and the attacker will go no farther down that road this turn. So the defender can only be pushed 3 spaces down the road if they choose to be.)
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Eugene
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Re: Continued attacks by road
All right, that makes sense. Now let's add another variable. At every step along the way, adjacent to every attack locale, there exists a locale with a 2+ unit corps of the opposing side. Now is a 3-space retreat possible?
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Re: Continued attacks by road
garygarison wrote:
All right, that makes sense. Now let's add another variable. At every step along the way, adjacent to every attack locale, there exists a locale with a 2+ unit corps of the opposing side. Now is a 3-space retreat possible?

Only if the attacking cavalry is an independepent unit, or the one and only unit attached to a corps.

[edit] I'm pretty sure that was covered at least tangentially in the Legal Attack Threats thread, but it might have been in the follow up, and I agree that it's a slog going through that whole thread, because so many people chimed in with incorrect or outdated information. That's why I put the warning at the end of the first post (in red) that it was a good idea to just stop there and skip the rest. Somebody who understands the initial post should be in good shape.
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Eugene
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Re: Continued attacks by road
Think I got it now, thanks guys.

I must say, this sort of "here's the rules, you connect the dots and figure out all the logical consequences" rulebook is one of my great irritants in gaming. It's almost as if the rule writer wants to make the parsing component part of the game itself.
 
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Dallas Tucker
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Re: Continued attacks by road
Actually, I believe that Mr. Simmons did want players to parse the rules. He wanted us to figure out the game and the strategies for ourselves. He didn't want to tell us how to play, but merely what one can and cannot do with the pieces. (I could be mistaken, but I believe I read that before).

I would have preferred some help as well in starting out playing. Fortunately, we have these forums to discuss things.
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Re: Continued attacks by road
garygarison wrote:
It's almost as if the rule writer wants to make the parsing component part of the game itself.

I worked with Bowen as a playtester during the development of NT, and having observed first hand how hard he worked to develop the best rules possible, I can't let a statement like that go unchallenged.

I understand that it can be frustrating learning rules, especially for unique systems, and that you aren't trying to to insult him, but seriously, I have to stand up for the man. I've worked with highly paid engineers on multi-million dollar projects who don't put as much sweat into their jobs as Bowen expends on his games. Trust me on this, he's not the kind of guy who just trots out some rules and calls them close enough for horseshoes. He sweats blood trying to make them perfect.

It's a huge task just reading the dozens of revisions he puts out during the course of a project, trying to clarify and remove any possible ambiguity. I can't even imagine writing them all. Whether it works for you or not, that kind of effort deserves respect.
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Eugene
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Re: Continued attacks by road
For comparison, look at the retreat rules. Retreating units take losses as follows:

--Artillery units are eliminated
--For each approach (other than the defense approach) occupied by infantry or cavalry units, a loss is assessed
--If there are infantry units in reserve that were not declared as defending pieces, loss is assessed again

Now, the upshot of all this, if you were paying attention, is that cavalry units in reserve do not take a loss when they retreat. This is important! In fact, so important that in the rules, that clarification is preceded with a bold "Important note".

Now, that important note could have been left out. It's implied by the rules, what more needs to be said. But this parsing of the rules was deemed helpful. I'm just suggesting that leaving out such parsing is not "part of the game", but instead just unhelpful.
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Eugene
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Re: Continued attacks by road
Sphere wrote:
It's a huge task just reading the dozens of revisions he puts out during the course of a project, trying to clarify and remove any possible ambiguity. I can't even imagine writing them all. Whether it works for you or not, that kind of effort deserves respect.

I should say that my above post was in reply to the earlier poster, not you, Sphere. NT is no doubt a grand game and an obvious labor of real love. My comment was more mentioned in the abstract, and not directly toward Mr. Simmons.
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Re: Continued attacks by road
garygarison wrote:
My comment was more mentioned in the abstract, and not directly toward Mr. Simmons.

Well, he is the guy who wrote those rules. And he did put in that Important Note, didn't he? You're implying, of course, that he should have put in other ones, but I know one thing for sure from debates with my fellow testers: what works best for one person often does not work best for another. There is no such thing as a single optimal rules presentation upon which everyone could agree.

One thing I like to point out when people complain about the rules for Simmons games is the actual errata, or lack thereof. I think the lack of errors in Bowen's rulebooks is phenomenal, especially when you consider that he develops entirely new systems from the ground up. Wargamers know how much errata is typically generated even for games in established systems, and revel in living rules that for many games get honed and perfected through many iterations after release. Bowen's rules are already at that level when you buy a first edition.

OK, I think I've got it out of my system. Yes, I got a free copy of NT, and somebody will undoubtedly question my integrity for making such statements. I can handle it. Bowen is an incredibly talented man, and I'm very proud to have been of some small service to him in the development of NT. If I sound defensive, chalk it up to loyalty and respect.
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Re: Continued attacks by road
There's nothing wrong with being provocative in an effort to spark discussion, I suppose.

I felt as soon as I read these rules that this was going to be a very interesting and enjoyable game. And, for me, it has been. If instead your reaction to the rules is anger at the game designer - then you probably want to play a different game.
 
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Claudio
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Re: Continued attacks by road
I gotta step in for garygarison here before this turns flamey. He meant no disrespect. I know this for certain. In fact, his respect for the game is about as high as one can expect after a partial game. He sat through an hour and a half rules explanation with me, played a partial game, and was very impressed. So impressed he bought the game.

Internalizing the rules can be challenging and I think he is expressing his frustration with that. There is such a good game in the box, but it is very challenging to engage people with it because it is such a different beast. While the rules are absolutely perfect for reference once you've got a sense of the flow, they are not a great teaching tool as the FAQ, all the aides, all the threads attest.

I for one would have really benefited from a programmed instruction. I basically ended up putting together my own curriculum - annotated rules, tyveks videos, FAQ, the movement videos, Zarions attack sequences, and the abovementioned thread. Plus a bunch more.

I love this game. I want to play it all the time. I want to introduce it to as many people as I can. But I would never every expect anyone to get into it by reading the rules alone. It can be done, sure. And some people will have an okay time with it. But it is not the best way.

I think that is what garygarison was getting at.
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Re: Continued attacks by road
claudio212 wrote:
But I would never every expect anyone to get into it by reading the rules alone.

A lot of us did exactly that, but I'm not claiming it was easy. Over the years we have learned to read sloppy rules that don't always mean precisely what they say, so our expectations don't prepare us well for the Simmons method.
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Eugene
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Re: Continued attacks by road
And being a Martin Wallace fan, I'm well acquainted with sloppy rules. The rules to NT are not sloppy by any means. However, a water-tight and logically consistent rule set does not necessarily mean it's an effective teacher of the game. And shouldn't that be a prime objective of any set of rules?

Going back to my original question in this thread, the rules could have made the matter less cloudy. First, only cavalry have this capability for continued attacks by road, because only cavalry can attack by road. It's not just "attacking pieces moving by road", it's "attacking cavalry". It has to be. Saying "attacking pieces" adds cloudiness. And now that it's established that indeed only cavalry can perform this continued attack move, it would also be helpful to remind the reader that even in this scenario, the rules for moving cavalry by road -- and the rules for causing them to halt -- still apply.

Ask yourself how you would explain this particular rule to a friend when sitting down and teaching a first game. Would you just parrot the rule like a civil servant reading a law from the state statues? Or would you go on to clarify like I did above?
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Re: Continued attacks by road
garygarison wrote:
Ask yourself how you would explain this particular rule to a friend when sitting down and teaching a first game. Would you just parrot the rule like a civil servant reading a law from the state statues? Or would you go on to clarify like I did above?

You seem to think it's pretty simple to fix, Gary. Having spent six months on NT pre-publication, having read more than a dozen rules re-writes multiple times each, and having exchanged hundreds of emails discussing various passages, I don't think it is all that easy. Maybe you should participate in the next project, and provide your input before publication. That way you could help make the rules better, and perhaps gain new perspective on the problems involved.

Unless you have any further questions about how the rules work, I think I'm finished here.
 
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Eugene
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Re: Continued attacks by road
Please don't take offense, Sphere. I'm not impugning anyone's hard efforts on the NT project. It's a magnificent piece of work all around. The question of rules writing and what makes a good rule set is an interesting one in its own right, and that's the real issue I'm putting forward. Discussion for discussion's sake.
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Re: Continued attacks by road
garygarison wrote:
The question of rules writing and what makes a good rule set is an interesting one in its own right, and that's the real issue I'm putting forward. Discussion for discussion's sake.

That's a discussion you should have with Bowen, not me. He has thought deeply on the subject. I just dug up a link for you in his The Guns of Gettysburg design diary, where he describes his approach to writing rules:

Rules are Rules

Hopefully you'll find that interesting reading.
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Re: Continued attacks by road
Sphere wrote:

Interesting indeed. As I was reading about Mr. Simmons's struggle with crafting a good set of rules, I wanted desperately to come to his aid with the cry of "Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy!" And funnily enough, in the very next paragraph, he writes,

Quote:
Of course, as I mentioned earlier no matter what organization you use, the reader will still sometimes have questions that your organization doesn’t lend itself to answering. One approach (one I don’t personally like) to solving that problem is redundancy: you include exactly the same material in multiple places in the rule book...Redundancy, however, if extensively used, can be quite disruptive to the narrative function of rules: the length of the rules is increased, the time to read them is increased, and the reader gets recurring feelings of déjà vu as he reads them.

Mr. Simmons expresses his reservations about redundancy with clear reasons at the end there, but my guess is that a stronger reason for his avoiding redundancy is the one alluded to earlier: He doesn't personally like it. I fancy myself a minimalist, and so I know where he's coming from. However, human language is not lines of computer code. While redundancy in lines of code is an ugly thing indeed, redundancy in writing can be a very effective thing. And even a very beautiful thing, actually. Martin Luther King had a dream, and I'm glad he told me more than once.
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Re: Continued attacks by road
garygarison wrote:
Mr. Simmons expresses his reservations about redundancy with clear reasons at the end there, but my guess is that a stronger reason for his avoiding redundancy is the one alluded to earlier: He doesn't personally like it. I fancy myself a minimalist, and so I know where he's coming from. However, human language is not lines of computer code. While redundancy in lines of code is an ugly thing indeed, redundancy in narrative can be a very effective thing. And even a very beautiful thing, actually. Martin Luther King had a dream, and I'm glad he told me more than once.

Short version: Bowen likes it one way, you like it another. If nothing else, it's clear that the form his rules take is by design, not due to any lack of awareness that other approaches are available.

This is somewhat analogous to styles of art. A person who doesn't favor impressionism can still appreciate Monet's skill and talent. I don't think sending him memos imploring him to incorporate more detail would have served a useful purpose.

Bowen earns the right to do things his way when he creates such remarkable games. People who dislike his style of rules must decide for themselves whether learning his games is worth the effort.
 
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Sphere wrote:
Short version: Bowen likes it one way, you like it another.

There is another way, however, and that's both ways.

Are you familiar with Rolling Stock? It's a heavy economic card game with roots in the 18xx system. In fact, one could say that NT is to orthodox wargames what RS is to orthodox 18xx. Learning RS is not an easy proposition, especially if one carries over assumptions from 18xx.

Fortunately, the designer Björn Rabenstein has seen fit to craft a set of game explanations that I rank as among the very best I've ever encountered in any game genre. He achieves this by presenting the rules and gameplay in three entirely separate pieces.

There are the Condensed rules, described as the "complete but very condensed rules written in an extremely formal way". The tone and style approximate the rules of NT. The Condensed rules are meant to be used as a reference, and not in any way intended as the entry point for actually learning the game.

For that, there are the Learning The Game rules. These are written in a very conventional and easy to understand way. Redundancy and play notes abound. Sixteen pages compared to the four of the Condensed Rules.

Finally, there is the Player's Guide. This sheds light on how all the parts of the game's machine interlock, and how players can use these parts to actually be efficacious.

Taken together, they form a very complete, very understandable, very unambiguous explanation of a very singular game.
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Sphere wrote:
People who dislike his style of rules must decide for themselves whether learning his games is worth the effort.


I think the palpitations I get any time a Guns of Gettysburg thread hits my subscriptions answers what decision I've made.
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