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Subject: 15 Factor Limit rule rss

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Shinji Inaba
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I'd like to ask you about the rule interpretation of the rule "15 Factor Limt".

Is this rule "standard" or "optional"?

The reason why I ask is that there's 2 different editon of rule "15 factor Limit"

The rule which I recived the PAPER July says 15 factor limit as "standard"(14.32), but GMT living rule says "optional" (34.15).

Which is the latest version?
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Joe Thompson
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Living rules are the latest.
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Bradley Fletcher
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Here is what Mark Simonitch wrote on CSW back on 7/10 (A'44 post #5289):

"The 15-factor rule was suppose to be moved to the Optional Rule section, but the older file got sent to the printer by mistake."

(I believe, though, that he is happy that is in the main body of rules as he feels it simplifies and speeds up combat play.)

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Andreas Lundin
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The 15 factor rule is splendid and speeds up play considerably. I'd use it in all my games.
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Loïc Boué
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There is a similar rule in Normandy 44 which is not optional.
This is a very good rule to make the simulation more accurate.
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Shinji Inaba
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Gentlemen


Thank you for letting me the latest rule.

I'll play this game next week and I'm planning to
play allied(north).

It is very difficut for me to persuade German player to
adopt this optional rule.

Because this rule greatly affect not only the
playing time but the playing balance(pro allied in early
German offensive).

Shinji




 
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Loïc Boué
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At first, the german player will feel very hampered by the rule :
- 2 def factors in IP = 4, best odd 3/1
- 4 def factors in IP = 6, best odd 2/1
- 4 def factors in a city = 8, best odd 1/1
It hurts.

But then the good points will show up.

Firstly, you can't pile up 16 or 18 factors that easily.Instead of trying to do one high-odd attack, it's better to do two attacks with 12 factors with tank and arty to boost one.
In the end, you'll inflict more damage by surrounding a stack in a wide front push, than by killing a stack with a pinpoint massive attack. And a wide general advance is more difficult to counter.
As long as you avoid 1/1 attacks and pointless 2/1 attacks leading nowhere, doing a lot of 2/1 - 3/1 attacks will eventually break the thin american line of defense somewhere. You'll have less control on where and when that break will happen, so be ready to exploit opportunities, but this work both ways and the defender will also have a hard time to anticipate where to position his second line of defense.

Secondly, assaulting a city with a massive number of troops is not what you should be doing. Now you can mask it with 8 attack factors without feeling you're doing bad, and use the remaining troops to rush forward. Eventually you will have to seize some of those cities for the road network. Bring in the artillery, use one elite unit to push FF, make sure the defending unit can't retreat and will be forced to use determined defense. You'll take more loss than without the 15 factors rule, but meanwhile the units that moved forward will not have been idle.

And finally, the rule will work to your advantage to cover your flanks without fear of an US super killing stack slicing through.

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Shinji Inaba
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Thank you! Mr. Boue

I really appreciate your insight.

Yes ,this optional rule greatly affect the playing balance as well as tactics of both sides.
(maybe not just tactics, but the flavor of the game itself.)

So I imagine that Mark Simoitch might think the same track of your reasoning and examine/deliberate this rule to be "optional" or "standard".

Anyway the final decision was made by THE DESIGNER.

Then I also want to know why he finally made this rule optional in the latest edition.

There might be some intention .
Does anyone know about this?
 
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Loïc Boué
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I will try an educated guess.

I think the rule is optionnal because it was not in the 1st ed. Some people who enjoyed the 1st ed wouldn't have been unhappy to be "forced" to play a different game.

Perhaps I'm reading too much in that but I don't feel that rule was introduced just for ease and speed of play. Just imagine Normandy 44 without the 18 factors rule. It's not just a chrome option,it does change the game.

On the play balance issue, it probably makes the shorter scenarios harder for the german player. A surrounded 8 defence factor stack holding a precious game-winning VP in a short scenario could turn into a major setback in a longer scenario. You can always resolve play balance issue by having players bet VPs to get the side they feel is favored.



 
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Paul Borchers
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Mark introduced the rule to Normandy '44 originally to speed play. He ported it to Aredennes '44 for the same reason.

Gamers who had tried the first edition of Ardennes '44 and Normandy '44 brought up reasons for not using the rule in Ardennes '44, including some of the results they were seeing as they used that rule in the game. Mark agreed with removing the limit, but by that point the rules had already been sent to the printer, so Mark could no longer make it optional for the print version. It is optional in the living rules. All this discussion is on Consimworld.

I haven't played Ardennes '44 second edition or Normandy '44 (I do own both). I played Ardennes '44 first edition a number of times, and I felt the various restrictions on the size of attacking forces and their organization worked well in limiting attacks. When I played Mark Simonitch, he was very quick with the Germans and seemed to avoid anything larger than a 3:1 attack in the first few turns because it didn't allow a German advance that was rapid enough.

I guess I'll have to see how the game plays with and without the option.
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Jason Cawley
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I wouldn't even consider playing without some such rule - it is the keystone of the game system, in both Ardennes 44 and Normandy 44. To me the only issue that might be up for discussion is whether the Ardennes 44 limit should be 15 as printed in the rules, or 18 as in Normandy 44. The 15 factor limit makes the fight feel a lot more like the real Bulge battle, with a limited road net and formations jostling for front line space, with a single engineer battalion appearing out of nowhere turning into an operationally significant roadblock when it doesn't evaporate on the enemy's schedule, and the like.

Super stacking would severely hurt the game without some such rule.

As it is, the players have to hunt for shifts to get good attacks. That means paying attention to the places along the front line where the defender can't negate an armor shift via terrain or his own sufficient armored support; it means using artillery in quantity to move large bodies of defenders; it means air for the allies late; it means pushing with elite spearhead units on the reroll results; and above all it means inflitration tactics to worm around the enemy before hitting them, to make low odds pushes deadly by forcing retreats through ZOC.

What it disallows is mindlessly overloading a single road with half the German army and pretending the resulting traffic jam should be irrestible. Hint, in the real deal such pile ups were not irrestible - they were resisted by a hasty minefield and a few registered guns and a shoestring maneuver-arms force. Not forever, but enough to matter.

The rule is flat out brilliant, and anyone contemplating dropping it has missed the point of the design.
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Paul Borchers
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Quote:
I wouldn't even consider playing without some such rule - it is the keystone of the game system, in both Ardennes 44


Wow - you would have hated the (well-received) first edition, then!

Again, the stacking restrictions in combination with the two-formation limit did limit the size of the attacks in the first edition. I'll have to try this optional rule out to see how much more the attacks are restricted (eventually I'll get around to playing this titile again). I don't think anyone found the first edition to be a runaway German victory.
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Dan Owsen
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No edition should be a runaway German victory.
 
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Shinji Inaba
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mr_peabody wrote:

I guess I'll have to see how the game plays with and without the option.


In 13 Aug ,I played 2nd edition WITHOUT 15 factor limit rule.
We played it by 4 persons ,I'm in Allied side till 7tutn.

Yes.Piper KG breakthough the initial US lines and reached in front of Marmedy. But Piper was stopped by US artillery's
ToT! (< this shape looks like German's crying face we talked.)

5 Panzer Army also breakthough more rapidly than SS troops and go deep into the Houfelize - Bastogne line.

I don't feel any strange in playing, because "2 formation" is
good enough to limit the attackers firepower IMO.

In this game,success of initial breakthough by German made this game dramtic. Therefore,I agree whic the Mark Simonith's descion which made this rule optional.


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Jason Cawley
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In my current (latest) game I have the Germans. It is the start of my turn 4 - 3 turns completed. We are using the 15 factor limit.

Peiper has his motorized battalion at Malmady. 1SS as a whole is a westward cut at the army division line north of St Vith, clear to the end of that line. 12SS is turning the Elsenborn position from the south, with infantry in front of that position, which is about the only area holding well. 2nd Panzer has taken Clervaux and Wiltz and on turn 4 will push to Longvilly on the road to Bastogne. 116 Panzer is to its right, pushing toward Houfflaiz (sp). Lehr slid behind 116 and is hooking north to encircle about half a division in St Vith, forming the southern jaw of the pincers for that operation against 1SS north of the army boundary. In the south, the infantry has blown a hole 10 hexes wide between the south edge and the scattered engineers screen Bastogne, and will reach that south edge in around the 2nd and 3rd "C" entry boxes by the end of its turn 4 move.

Anyone who thinks the Germans need the 15 factor limit lifted to have a chance in this game isn't doing it right, as the Germans...

And the 2 formation rule, especially with the single unit cross attachment allowed as well, is not remotely sufficient to limit odds pile ups. The German armor formations can readily hit 15 factors *per hex*, within the stacking limits. With the 15 factor rule, attacks would be made by 25 to 30 factors, routinely, making one battalion in a village not the delaying defense it ought to be, but a pothole.
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Soon Louis
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I never played Ardennes 44 but bought the 2nd edition. In the 2nd edition rules the 15 factor limit for the attacker is in the standard rules but highlighted as a significant change from the first edition. If I correctly understand the discussion in this thread, the 15 factor rule was supposed to be an optional rule in the 2nd edition rules but is in the standard rules by mistake. If this is the case which way does Mark Simonitch think the game should be played, with or without the 15 factor limit?

There seems to be disagreement between players as to whether this rule favours the Germans or the Allies and whether it makes the game more "realistic".

My friend and I sorted the counters and will be starting the extended campaign game next week using the 15 factor limit rule.
 
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Jason Cawley
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I don't think there is disagreement that the rule favors the Americans. It clearly does. I also think it makes the game more realistic, and that play balance is not skewed against the Americans with the rule in place.

The conventional wisdom is that play balance favors the Germans in the shorter opening move scenarios (the 6 turn and 8 turn games from the start of the battle), and favors the Americans in the longer campaign game. I haven't played the Patton's Counterattack scenario yet and haven't heard an average play balance report on that one.

From my experience playing with the 15 factor limit, the Germans can still succeed in dramatic early breakthroughs with that rule in place. They cannot assure it and pick exactly where it will happen - it will occur where they roll well and / or where the Americans leave weaker defenses in the early going. (The Americans typically have to picksome such weak areas - they really don't have enough to cover everything robustly).

Once the Germans have achieved an early breakthrough, the 15 factor limit still plays a role but a much smaller one. The reason is the fighting becomes fluid in many areas, allowing surround attacks here and there (on either side really), and those don't need lopsided odds to be effective. As the salient expands, the total length of the front line doubles or triples, and this reduces the average strength along the frontage, making it harder to assemble very large attacks. The 15 factor limit still plays a role at that point - it means screens of sufficient density won't evaporate immediately when hit strongly, they will give way gradually instead. But this is a smaller overall effect than in the early going.

Understand, at the start the Germans have overwhelming power but a very limited road net and temporary bottlenecks caused by blown bridges and traffic. With the 15 factor limit they cannot solve that crowding problem by forcing a breakthrough on one chosen axis, and the units behind the immediate front cannot yet engage the enemy. The Germans "feel" backed up into column, they are trying to win routes to "deploy". Once they do, they can use their full combat power. They get breakthroughs by finding locations where they can get armor shifts, by using their artillery, and by just attacking along multiple axes and reinforcing / shifting behind the ones that do best (that roll "1"s on their attacks, e.g.).

Without the 15 factor limit, they can use their full combat power much sooner, and don't have to work so hard for early route openings. They just need any location they can reach from 2 attacking hexes and they can put up to 30 combat factors on one defender, and that defender will evaporate and they will break through.

I hope that helps.
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Soon Louis
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Jason, thank you very much for your detailed reply on the impact of the 15 factor limit on the game. Very much looking forward to playing Ardennes 44!
 
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Micheal Spiering
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I love the idea of this rule, to speed up play and reduce factor counting, but in practice I have not been convinced by it.

In my few solo plays I have had huge issues with getting any sort of breakthrough with the Germans. My main issue has been getting anything going in 6th Pz Armies sector, took me until the 21st to reach Malmedy in my last game. This could all be down to by relative inexperience with wargames in general, or to my unbelievably awful dice rolls(Or excellent rolls for the allies, 4 ToT results in a row around Ambleve!). I'm not saying it should be easy for the Germans but the distance they have to cover in such a short period of time seems tough enough without the factor limit in place.

I'm going to try a few games without this rule and see how it goes. All this being said this is a fantastic game and probably the best game I own.

Has anyone else had the same issues or am I alone in this?
 
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Todd Larsen
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I played two 6 turn games with the 15 factor limit and did not see any real German breakthrough. Played 2 8 turn games and 14 turns of a campaign without the 15 factor and saw pretty historical results. I would'nt use it again. The designer added the 15 factor rule without much testing. The 1st edition didn't have this so I am glad it is optional.
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