Peter Farrow
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One of the things I really like about No Retreat! is the different combat tables for the Russians and Germans. The different tables do a nice job of capturing the differences between the two armies in combat (tactics, training, etc). So I can't say I'm thrilled about the following rule in the Feb 2012 living rules for winter turns: "The German Player Uses the Soviet Combat Table for all his Attacks." What is the basis for this rule? The Germans and aliases become less effective in the winter which I think is nicely captured in the required negative odds shift to the left. Did the Germans also alter their tactics thus justifying this rule...or is this rule mainly for game balance?
 
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Carl Paradis
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peterfarrow wrote:
One of the things I really like about No Retreat! is the different combat tables for the Russians and Germans. The different tables do a nice job of capturing the differences between the two armies in combat (tactics, training, etc). So I can't say I'm thrilled about the following rule in the Feb 2012 living rules for winter turns: "The German Player Uses the Soviet Combat Table for all his Attacks." What is the basis for this rule? The Germans and aliases become less effective in the winter which I think is nicely captured in the required negative odds shift to the left. Did the Germans also alter their tactics thus justifying this rule...or is this rule mainly for game balance?


Welcome to Board Game Geek, Peter!

After a lot of playings by a lot of gamers it was found that the winter penalty was not enough and sometimes German attacks resulted in far too large Breakthroughs for what historically happened.
After further studies of those exact winter periods I found that using the Soviet table represents much better what happened, especially in the 1941/42/43 winters. The German army just never fought very well in snow weather. Go figure.

Mind you, one thing I learned and that surprised me a lot is that the level of actual Military activity in the 1941/42 winter was not that high: the German losses were actually LOWER during those months than during the previous summer/autumn offensives! At that time (first winter) the Germans were really at the end of their logistical rope, and the Soviets were not really in a much better shape either.

So using the Soviet combat table better represents the difficulties the German Army had in winter; just one negative column shift is not enough (or two for the first long winter) IMHO, especially given the way the German Combat Table is designed. You'll thus fight the Soviets on more "even" terms in "their" winter season.

But if you still do don't agree with my explanation, hey no problem, use the "old" rules; they are good too; but DO keep the table switch for the first 41/42 winter: I did not do this so not to add yet ANOTHER exception in the rules; and anyway the Germans never really did big offensives during winter; I consider the Moscow "Operation Typhoon" the exception here, but it was done half in relatively good weather and under special circumstances, and they got a bloody nose from it after the attack petered out in front of the Soviet Capital and caused them severe troop attrition.

Another interesting bit of info: the Germans has quite a lot of winter equipment available, but it was in storage in Germany, and the rail priority was given to fuel and ammunition for the above-mentionned Typhoon offensive, this is in great part why they were so badly prepared for the awful 41/42 winter.
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Sean McCormick
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Yeah, I really don't like the new rule, either. It's clunky and I'm not at all sure it addresses the problem. As you pointed out, German casualties were relatively lower during the winter as they didn't maintain the same kind of operational tempo during the winter months (particularly the first winter). Seems to me it makes more sense to limit the Germans to 1 or 2 attacks in the winter than to have them switch tables.

Anyway, I appreciate that Carl is a tinkerer and that he has a very open approach to games and to using rules to get the experience that you want out of them. However, it does cause problems when you are playing against an opponent and have to hash out which version of the rules you would prefer to play with. And I do think this is an instance of design creep.
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Carl Paradis
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seanmac wrote:
Yeah, I really don't like the new rule, either. It's clunky and I'm not at all sure it addresses the problem. As you pointed out, German casualties were relatively lower during the winter as they didn't maintain the same kind of operational tempo during the winter months (particularly the first winter). Seems to me it makes more sense to limit the Germans to 1 or 2 attacks in the winter than to have them switch tables.

Anyway, I appreciate that Carl is a tinkerer and that he has a very open approach to games and to using rules to get the experience that you want out of them. However, it does cause problems when you are playing against an opponent and have to hash out which version of the rules you would prefer to play with. And I do think this is an instance of design creep.


Yes good idea, Mind you, the Germans are already limited to 3 attacks in "Long Winter". Perhaps limiting them even more would fit the bill, I'll keep this idea in mind when I restart the design of "Simple No Retreat!" next month. But for this game I prefer to give the German olayer a choice; Not limiting the attacks that much, but making him take heavier losses (the Soviet Combat Table) if he does decide to make lots of attacks.

As for the version of the rules, it's not THAT bad: You have the first edition, or the second. The difference between the two is not that great, and up to now the majority of the players seem to like the latter, and the game in general, despite the small adjustments.

Anyway this was my first design ever, so it was a learning experience. You'll most probably will not see such changes with my next GMT "Deluxe" games, as I'm getting more and more experienced in that crazy "Game design" hobby.

Edit: For the record I made those "2nd Edition" rules because I was convinced that it improved the game immensely for those that will play more than a couple casual games: for these thay can just play the game "as is". And I agree with you about the "what rules to use" problem; in fact I think the MAIN problem of our hobby (besides the slowly eroding player base) is to find a game to play, period! there are so many great titles out there that it's sometimes difficult to find one that both players will know well. We have an "embarassement of riches"... cry Ahem... OK that's not a really "BAD" problem, afterall...
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Peter Farrow
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Carl, thank you for your thoughts. I agree that after Typhoon the Germans were all done with winter campaigns for good reason. Any German player who wants to have an army of any strength will want to find a nice fireplace to curl up with in November and hibernate until spring to avoid all of those EXs!
 
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