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Subject: Picking Event cards when moving rss

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Luca Colaneri
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As I noticed in another thread under the rules section (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/780224/first-game-moveme...) you can avoid picking event cards just rotating sectors among subs. This is gamey, and I find the rule inconsistent. When you are moving there should be more risk than patrolling: there are some narrow transit points, the course is more obvious, you are on a schedule and your time is tight, and so on.

The simplest house rule to avoid this is just:

When you move from an area to another area, you pick movement cards as per official rules, but then (in addiction) you must pick patrolling event cards for the last area entered.

This makes the game a little harder, but now the game will require much less micromanagement (no useless wandering of subs around the globe!). You should move from your area only if this is required!
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Dean Brown
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I agree that this does seem a little "gamey". I assume that it was added to keep us from simply pushing U-boats out to sea and parking them in a particular area until they are brought back in.

One potentially reasonable thought regarding the rule may be that staying in the same area increases the likelihood of an SOS message from a convoy being received, which would cause an increase in escort patrols in the area. At least that was my inital thinking after seeing the event card draws.
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Cameron Harris
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G'day,

From what I understand Bdu (U-Boat HQ) tended to micromanage U-Boat movements - often to their deteriment (Allies were able to use HFDF triangulation every time they picked up a transmission to get a good idea of the U-Boat's location and would consequently reroute convoys around known danger areas).

Standard procedure was for a U-Boat leaving on a patrol to be assigned a 'grid sector' to patrol. They would head there and stay there unless ordered to go somewhere else - which happened frequently as Bdu shuffled the available U-Boats around to maximise the chances of convoy intercepts.

Given that the UBL map zones are pretty large and the U-Boat patrol grids were pretty small, patrolling a specific UBL map zone would be the equivalent of a fair amount of actual U-Boat active movement.

I've been experimenting with the house rule that a U-Boat is - as above - given a map sector to patrol when they first head out. Once they reach that sector that's where they stay unless you tell them otherwise, via the radio at a cost of 1 SO.

The SO point allows you to order any U-Boats in a single map sector to relocate to any other sector. So if you had 2 U-boats in the North Sea they could both move to different sectors but you've spent 1 SO in making this happen.

Trying this out I've found that I need to think ahead more than I was in terms of U-Boat placements so as to minimise movements. Having to spend a valuable SO point in 'repositioning' makes for a weightier decision than simply 'off-I-go-again-doing-laps-around-the-North-Atlantic'.

A side-effect is that I get a greater sense of being Donitz in his French Chateau moving the pieces around the chessboard. This is a nice contrast to stepping into the shoes of a U-Boat Commander during a dark and stormy night in a Tactical phase.

Tends to add a little to the difficulty of the game but my personal view is that the game has enough room in that department to allow for quite a bit of 'ratcheting up'.

As I tend towards tweaking the game in the general direction of realism I'm not suggesting anyone else follows my approach. But now that it's out there I'll give it an official name.

The Donitz Waltz Variant

No U-Boat can move, once in their initial patrol sector, without expending 1 SO point to send a radio message ordering them elsewhere. Any other U-Boats in the same sector are free to move, during that operational phase, without additional cost.


Cheers,
Cameron
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Dean Brown
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Good post Cameron.

While reading your variant, it seems to almost beg that a +2 Contact roll w/automatic Wolfpack forming be added to a random sector before the Operations Phase (or on a Get Intel roll of 7+ or something like that). This could simulate intel received by Donitz. You could then decide if you want to spend an SO point or two moving one or more U-Boats into the sector. I might try your variation out with this one. Could be interesting.

Dean
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Cameron Harris
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G'day Dean,

You've raised an interesting point. Why move U-Boats around the map in the first place?

At present you have an incentive to do so due to the probabilities inherent in the Event cards with the number you draw tied into your move/patrol activity.

Historically Donitz moved U-Boats to form patrol lines across likely convoy paths or to gather the wolves on an already located convoy.

There were distinct limits to how much you could move U-Boats, especially the common Type VII's due to their limited fuel capacity. They expended a lot more diesel in moving than they did when patrolling.

Creating random +2 Contact rolls to provide a reason for relocating U-Boats could be one way of doing this.

Here's another suggestion. An alternative to my variant above.

You continue to purchase Intelligence (+2 Contact) as per the standard game. You place these where you want. My reasoning here being that the Intelligence option is tightly integrated into the game (cost varies depending on the scenario) and I'd be inclined to leave it as is.

So you are - as per the game - determining where the convoy intelligence will bear fruit, at a cost.

My suggestion would be to create a new strategic option - Communications.
For every 1 SO you spend here you gain the ability to send two radio messages to your U-Boats.

Sending a radio message from Bdu HQ would be a trivial exercise but perhaps this also represents the allocation of limited staff resources rather than just a 'radio message'.

So gain a pool of two radio messages for every SO you spend. There is no limit to what you go allocate to Communications.

Radio Messages are used to do the following...

- Order any one U-Boat to move to any other zone
- Order any U-Boat to automatically join a wolfpack
- Send a telegram from Donitz to 'exhort' a U-Boat to greater endeavours

Movement is straightforward. Move U-Boats around to your hearts content but at 1 message per boat per turn.

Wolfpack rules are overiden by the above. No longer can you spend an SO and gather every available U-Boat to the feeding frenzy. Each one requires a radio message.

The Telegram is sent to a U-Boat at the start of a tactical phase. It allows the U-Boat to reroll any one dice during the tactical phase due to their pumped up morale. Put a marker of some kind on the U-Boat card to indicate this and remove once it's utilised.

When do I use it? Some fun tactical thinking here.

Donitz actually did this on occassion. Not sure about the dice bit but he certainly sent a number of telegrams in an effort to get better results out of his U-Boats.

Administratively you could spend SO points to top up your pool of radio messages at any point in time.

I like the concept of putting yourself in Donitz's shoes during the operational phase and transmitting radio messages to your 'Boats' plays into this.

Radio communications was absolutely crucial to Donitz's ability to co-ordinate the 'Battle of the Atlantic'.

The downside to the above is the need to track how many radio messages you have in your pool. I'd simply use a different coloured beads or a dice to avoid unnecessary paperwork.

I'm developing a rejigged Supply boat system and a 'Critical hit' system (eg. a U-Boat could lose their radio) so this goes down a similiar path.

None of the above has been tested. It's straight off the top of my head.

Cheers,
Cameron
 
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Alessandro Trovato
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Ok I gave up.... I will put this game on the table again only when there will be a new version of rules approved and issued by the BGG Extended Committee
 
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Cameron Harris
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G'day Alessandro,

As acting head of the BGG Extended Rules Committee I feel obliged to give you an official reply.

Be aware that I have achieved my position by dubious means. Nobody voted for me and I intend resigning at the completion of this missive - if I don't get shot beforehand.

If you are after a definitive set of rules in black and white then what comes out of the box, supplemented by the optional rules provided by the designer (available on the DVG website) is rock solid. Go no further.

The nature of UBL is of a solitaire game experience. There is no need for a semi-official agreed upon alternative ruleset. This is because you are only playing yourself and also because, as mentioned above, the originial ruleset is pretty good.

But in the world of games there exist evil people who like to tweak things to suit themselves. I'm one of them. Solitaire games attract these sicko's faster than maggots to a dead cow.

They play around with ideas and keep proding and poking until something breaks. They are to be found in the 'Variants' subfolder of the forum.

There is a good reason they name it 'Variants'. Full to the gills with deviants who find enjoyment in tweaking a solidly designed game.

My advice is to stay well clear unless you are willing to wear dark sunglasses and be exposed to unsavoury, game changing, thoughts. Definitely not a place for gentlemen.

If my wife knew what I got up to lurking around the Variants folder after dark then I'd find myself sleeping on the sofa.

That's the trouble with women, no sense of humour.

My dog still loves me.

Cheers,
Cameron
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Alessandro Trovato
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Thanks Cameron,

as one of those maggots, with hundreds of cows in my stomach, I can not help including in the set all optional rules that supposedly add new aspects and/or realism.
I also would like that my performance would be theoretically comparable to others... you know... we all compare our UBL performance with friends in front of a beer

I am a little old style, from the time when the rules were the "holy book" written in mysterious languages, when the Gods of the Game were used to send on the earth an errata after many months or years.
I suffer a little the "it is your game do what you want" approach we see lately from designers, but times change and it is what it is.
For sure eventually I will select my own definitive solo, private, autistic ruleset but it won't add anything to this community and will make more solitaire the niche of solitaire games.

Prosit,

Alex
 
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Luca Colaneri
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plugger wrote:

There is a good reason they name it 'Variants'. Full to the gills with deviants who find enjoyment in tweaking a solidly designed game.


Personally I think that this game isn't solidly designed, and really needs house rules (and my name is on the box, I preordered it). I don't find enjoyment in tweaking a solidly designed game... better, I don't mind about doing it.

I have 6 DVG boardgames, and IMHO this is by far the worst one.

Returning in-topic:

I like your variant, maybe it was better to post it in a separate thread because it's very different from mine. I will try it.

A minor modification of my variant was suggested by Duncan in the rules section:

Duncan wrote:

Or to be just a little less violent, maybe you could use the "Moving" number of events of the areas you just cross, and then the "Patrolling" number in the final area of your movement (instead of the sum of both moving and patrolling) ?


I agree that this is a viable alternative, thank you Duncan.
 
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