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Subject: ZOC questions rss

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J Macc
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Qusetions about ZOC. Correct me if I'm wrong,I usually am according to my wife, but in genreal ZOCs represent the ability of a unit to projet force that can engage and stop the movement of enemy units. In many games this is portrayed buy having the offending unit/s halt movement when entering an enemy ZOC.


I am aware that there are different systems and mechanics that model this in a less simplistic manner and I'm curious to hear of some examples.

In regards to scale, would a ZOC be effective in a tactical system? If so would it be better implemented in a platoon level game vurses a squad level game? I understand that higher the scale the more actions and capabilities of units are abstracted which to me makes stringent ZOC rules more acceptable.

Is there any system which allows you to engage the non-moving unit with a equal or greater unit thus allowing other units to buy pass the ZOC? Would a rule like that even make sense?

Silly question about fortified units and ZOC. How would a unit that has fortified its position be able to project force into a surrounding area to stop armed units from buy passing it's position?

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Jim Cote
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A ZOC is an abstraction. In operational games, the things at the strategic (eg reinforcements, replacements, supply sources) and tactical (eg unit combat, different unit ranges/weapons, small terrain) levels are more abstracted. In a tactical game, the idea of a ZOC is actually implemented by the fact that units can interact directly. For example, an entire scenario in ASL might be to get so many units off a map edge while being fired on by the enemy. In an operational game, this may be abstracted by having movement costs increase to move through a ZOC.
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J Macc
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I do like the idea of extra movement costs to move though an enemy ZOC. I was thinking of ASL vs Panzer Blitz when I was comparing two different tactical games. Of course it has been so long since I have played either I may be wrong in my comparison.
 
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Wendell
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I don't much play tactical games - but my understanding is that with things like reaction fire, etc, a ZOC may not be necessary. Your squad can already do things to an enemy unit moving nearby. So it is I think a concept better applied to operational and strategic (and maybe grand tactical).

As for units in forts, it isn't unheard of in games for units within a fort NOT to exert a ZOC. So at least some designers agree with you!
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K G
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The January-February 1994 issue of "Moves" publishes an interesting feature about ZOCs. (Eight pages!) John Schettler does a great job in detailing various issues, including the development of fluid ZOCs to show the difference between a large, powerful unit versus, as an example, a relatively weak Soviet "rifle division" as was first deployed during the opening weeks of the German invasion.

The relative differences in lethality and ranged fire are illustrated too, as well as a unit's mobility. Schettler discusses the assignment of a separate ZOC factor--in addition to attack, defence and movement--but I don't recall his giving an example from an actual game.

The effects of cities and other map features are discussed, as well as morale. And Schettler brings up the innovation developed by Mark Simonich called the "ZOC bond." Furthermore, he offers support for hexsides being marked according to what control a unit can project across it.

Really a good article that covers a lot AND offers more questions than answers--something I think is ideal for a forward-looking hobby.
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J Macc
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Kluvon wrote:
The January-February 1994 issue of "Moves" publishes an interesting feature about ZOCs. (Eight pages!) John Schettler does a great job in detailing various issues, including the development of fluid ZOCs to show the difference between a large, powerful unit versus, as an example, a relatively weak Soviet "rifle division" as was first deployed during the opening weeks of the German invasion.

The relative differences in lethality and ranged fire are illustrated too, as well as a unit's mobility. Schettler discusses the assignment of a separate ZOC factor--in addition to attack, defence and movement--but I don't recall his giving an example from an actual game.

The effects of cities and other map features are discussed, as well as morale. And Schettler brings up the innovation developed by Mark Simonich called the "ZOC bond." Furthermore, he offers support for hexsides being marked according to what control a unit can project across it.

Really a good article that covers a lot AND offers more questions than answers--something I think is ideal for a forward-looking hobby.


Thanks for that, now just need to get my hands on a copy. When I was younger, I really never thought about what went into the idea of ZOC, It was just part of the mechanics of the game I was playing.
 
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Martí Cabré

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ZOC is an example of design for effect: is an abstraction of a higher unit composed of smaller units that can interact with enemy units beyond the theoretical position of the higher unit. The lesser the scale of the simulation, the less ZOC are needed, as the lesser units are represented as design for cause.

For example, Advanced Squad Leader, Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles, Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes or Tactical Combat Series do not have ZOC but instead the non active units can fire "opportunity fire" against units moving too close to them. Each of these games represent these differently.

In higher scale games ZOCs are needed to avoid gamey situations involving the hexgrid and the number of available counters. From a basic sticky ZOC to having flexible ZOC or having different behaviors for different kinds of units, it's all a matter of taste for the designer.

For example, the classic The Russian Campaign has sticky ZOC for all units. But in No Retreat! The Russian Front some units have ZOC and some don't. And in The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 units start as hasty made "columns" without ZOC and after some months of fight those same units evolve into brigades and gain ZOC.
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Pokey 64
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enlightenedknave wrote:
Is there any system which allows you to engage the non-moving unit with a equal or greater unit thus allowing other units to buy pass the ZOC? Would a rule like that even make sense?


Yes. It's called "overrun". A rule that allows the attacker to move through the defenders position without regard to ZOC as long as enough strength is brought to bear.

Examples Afrika Korps and one I have on the table right now, Sinai
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J Macc
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After I got home from work I started to read an article by Professor Sabin in Battles magazine. He spent a few paragraphs discussing this topic. I may just have to pick up his book.
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Steve Arthur
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Many Ty Bomba games particularly those depicting operations on the WII Russian Front dispense with ZOC rules entirely...the ability for units to pass through gaps in the opposing line in these games is absolute..
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Warren Bruhn
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MMP's Grand Tactical Series, with units mostly representing companies, uses fire zones instead of ZOC. When a unit attempts to move from a hex inside an enemy unit's fire zone, there is an opportunity for fire based on the enemy unit passing its "troop quality check." Interesting grand tactical system.
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Enrico Viglino
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enlightenedknave wrote:


In regards to scale, would a ZOC be effective in a tactical system?



They certainly seem to work ok to indicate a locked in melee
situation in pre-gunpowder games. Most tactical games with firepower
don't represent melee as being forced in adjacent hexes though, mainly
in order to model the longer ranges (and greater reliance) of
firearms to early melee weapons. Many early detailed tactical systems
represented continuing melee with a 'locked in combat' marker with
units fighting in the same hex (assuming it wouldn't be resolved
immediately).
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Sim Guy
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In some games the ZOC represents the extent of a unit's presence - with the actual unit counter representing the unit's center of gravity. In such cases you can envision the unit extending into the surrounding hexes.

In SPI's original The Franco-Prussian War units could be concentrated or extended in order to gain certain operational benefits. When concentrated the unit's exerted no zone of control but were more powerful in the hex they occupied. In extended formation the unit's power was exerted into the surrounding hexes but the unit was weaker overall.
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