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Sergeants Miniatures Game: Day of Days» Forums » Rules

Subject: The Tactics of Reaction rss

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Jeff Billings
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Tactics cards are played from the hand at any time after an action is completed by any player. When played they usually are placed in the player's Victory Point pile and add negative victory points to the score.

Think of them as mostly single use actions that have consequences. The main value of the Tactic is the ability to use it when players choose to do so.

My question for the group is about timing and simplicity of rules.

Proposed Rule:

Tactics are played by announcing "Reaction" after a player completes any action with a defined group of one or more soldiers. For example, a Dog Tag Soldier or a Talk Bubble group of soldiers is a defined group taking an action. If two or more players react at the same time resolve the order of play using Initiative. A player may only play one Tactic after each action.
 
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Todd
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I see that you reference Dog Tag Soldier and Talk Bubble, so does that imply you have to be careful which parts of an action card to resolve first because your opponent can interrupt your action with their reaction?

My first thought is that allowing your opponent to complete all effects of the current action _card_ before any tactics card would be simpler. Can you expand on the "designer notes" of choosing the other way?

Without telling the players to announce all steps of their action cards during play, the timing could be interrupted by "Hey wait, I was going to play this tactics card. Can you move your guys back to where they were?"

Problem is, using the whole action would allow less interaction.

Maus
 
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Brian
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In order to avoid potential arguments and preserve the tactical surprise itself, the issue becomes exactly when was the previous action officially completed.

When tactics cards are in play I would expect a player completing an action to also have to announce that fact because the timing of using a tactic at all becomes critically important, being tied to the "reaction" announcement and also with respect to the initiative tie breaks.
 
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Todd
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If you use the unit of an action card, then you can just ask the opponent if they are done with their turn, then declare "reaction" in initiative order. Very simple.

If you use the unit of Dog Tag Soldier, Talk Bubble, or Mandatory/Optional rectangle, then you must have your opponent state when they are moving on to the next part of the action card.

I would think that waiting for the entire card to be done and then declaring any reactions would be simpler and less confusing.

For example, as the rule is written:

- German has a move action card.

- He declares the Dog Tag Soldier will move their bonus move.

- Single soldier moves and German player declares the other soldiers will move.

+++ U.S. player declares reaction and proceeds to perform their tactic card.

+++ German player declares a reaction but goes second because of initiative.

- German moves the rest of the eligible soldiers on the move action card.

+++ U.S. player declares second reaction and plays another tactic card after this completed action.

It seems like there isn't any issue in this scenario. Even if you have multiple people performing reactions, the initiative order will resolve things and since you can only perform one tactics card per action, the process repeats itself nicely.

Things could get clogged up with multiple people playing and interrupting a single player's turn. If you limit things to the entire card, then everyone would be limited to a single tactics reaction per player action card and that would keep the game moving.

Maus
 
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Brian
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Maus wrote:
I would think that waiting for the entire card to be done and then declaring any reactions would be simpler and less confusing.
This is also what I am trying to convey, but it seems to me that Jeff is intending to treat the various card actions independently. If so, then I'd still expect a declaration from the acting player when each action portion of the card is in fact finished, as a cue to the others to react, in order to avoid any premature reaction declarations that would ruin the surprise effect of the intent to use a tactic. Maybe that's a small thing anyway to most, but for me the surprise factor would be nice to preserve as much as possible.

A player may currently perform actions in any order. Maybe he chooses to do the blue box first, or the dog tag action, or the bubble action, or the white box action. It would definitely be easier to perform these actions normally, in the preferred order, and then at the end of it all declare his entire turn to be over, at which point players declare their intent to react, but easier does not seem to be the intent.

Initiative being used as a tie breaking mechanism suggests simultaneous declarations only are decided by initiative and thus also suggests tactical reaction play would normally follow a first-to-declare is the first-to-act procedure regardless of initiative.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me this is why knowing exactly when the reaction announcement may be performed matters so much. If you announced your intent to play a reactionary tactic and then I declared the same intent after you, it shouldn't matter at that point if I have the initiative over you or not since you made the first declaration. Again, maybe I have misinterpreted things but I can't understand the need for a tie breaking system otherwise. I'll wait to see what Jeff has to say to illuminate things more for us.
 
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Todd
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R M Chair General wrote:

I could be wrong, but it seems to me this is why knowing exactly when the reaction announcement may be performed matters so much. If you announced your intent to play a reactionary tactic and then I declared the same intent after you, it shouldn't matter at that point if I have the initiative over you or not since you made the first declaration. Again, maybe I have misinterpreted things but I can't understand the need for a tie breaking system otherwise. I'll wait to see what Jeff has to say to illuminate things more for us.


My understanding is that if you are taking an action and I react, you may have initiative and perform a reaction to attempt to block my reaction. That would the the timing issue and where the tiebreaker comes in.

What would an example tactic card be and what kind of VP penalty are we talking about here? How many are we expecting to play in a game? Maybe that would help with understanding timing issues.

At this point, maybe the rule is worded okay?

Maus
 
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Mark Kwasny
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Say I have a card with a regular action allowing 4 soldiers to act, plus a mandatory box, and a dog tag optional action. I move one of the 4 soldiers first, then take the mandatory action - can another player now interrupt? If so, I still have a dog tag action and 3 more soldiers who can act as well. Your reaction may change what I do. So now I am implementing my move as slowly as possible, spacing different actions in such a way as to minimize any reaction and retain some of my action choices to respond to your reaction. This sounds like a good way to slow the game down and create no end of Magic-like arguments over timing, sequence, etc. I don't know what the tactics might be, but it also could introduce that God-like quality where I can use a tactic card to control the timing of an event that no sergeant could ever control.
 
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Todd
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The way the current rule is worded, you'd have to move all 4 soldiers first, as an action, before you can do the mandatory action or the Dog Tag Action. I can react after the 4 soldiers, Dog Tag or the mandatory action.

Maus
 
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Tom Boyd
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I see nothing in Jeff's wording that would indicate so. He refers to groups "of one or more", and then specifies that a "group" could be the "Dog Tag Soldier or a Talk Bubble group". There is nothing there that indicates what order they must go in.
 
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Todd
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Tom, you are correct in your response, but I was referencing the previous post's example where he was trying to split up the Talk Bubble group.

Thanks for posting!

Maus
 
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Chris Ganshaw
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To me, I don't see an issue with the rule as written. Yes, you have to know which action is "in play". But, whether it is the Dog Tag soldier or the X troops noted in the bubble, you can easily follow the play through completion. If two tactics are then played, they are handled in Initiative order. It seems pretty stright forward.
 
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Greg
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As long the actions are defined as completion of entire talk bubble action, Dog Tag action, white box action and blue box actions, then it would seem simple enough to say "reaction" at a point after one of those actions are completed. Though, players are going to have to be very specific as to what action they are doing and do them separately w/o blending them together hurriedly.

I would hope that these reaction type cards would be limited. I know they give negative points, but points don't matter if the "kill them all" winning requirement is met. So if there were too many available, who cares what the VP total is at the end if you are able to kill all the enemy soldiers by throwing down a ton of reaction cards. Too many of them would also slow down the game a bit. So there needs to be some moderation in availability I would think.
 
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Brian
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Jeff Billings wrote:
My question for the group is about timing and simplicity of rules.
Is it intended that all players have equal opportunity to declare their "reaction" simultaneously or not?

Jeff Billings wrote:
If two or more players react at the same time resolve the order of play using Initiative.
If they don't react at the same time then the reaction sequence of play is determined in order of player declaration instead of and regardless of initiative?
 
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Chris Ganshaw
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Regardless of when a reaction is called at the end of an action, Initiative should always be the method of determining sequence. This will avoid multiple issues. Keep it simple.
 
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Mark Kwasny
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Maus wrote:
The way the current rule is worded, you'd have to move all 4 soldiers first, as an action, before you can do the mandatory action or the Dog Tag Action. I can react after the 4 soldiers, Dog Tag or the mandatory action.

Maus


I don't want to hijack the thread to a rules question, but I am curious - this is not how we have interpreted the rules. Where in the rules does it say this? I know in the Glossary, under 'Action,' it says:

"An Action is the core of the game. Each Action is distinct and separate for each Soldier. A single Action Card allows multiple Actions to be taken by a player. When a player's Action Card is in play (determined by the Phase cards and Initiative), any Action allowed by the card may be taken by various Soldiers he controls, in any order he wishes...."

Then at the bottom of page 11, after explaining that a card may allow different Soldiers to act due to the Bubble and White/Blue box and dog tag, it says:

"All of these actions can happen in any order the owning player desires."

[The bold is mine]

So that would imply I can use the different actions how I please - I can split them up, imtersperse them, etc.

So to me, this becomes a very important consideration in regard to interruptions with Reaction cards.
 
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Greg
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I never believed that you could have a "move 4 soldiers" talk bubble and be able to move 2 of them, then use the Dog Tag action, then use the white box action and then go back to moving the final 2 soldiers in the talk bubble action.

I've always interpreted the completion of the Dog Tag action, Talk Bubble action, White box action and Blue box action as being part of taking that action.
 
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Jeff Billings
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Hahma wrote:
As long the actions are defined as completion of entire talk bubble action, Dog Tag action, white box action and blue box actions, then it would seem simple enough to say "reaction" at a point after one of those actions are completed. Though, players are going to have to be very specific as to what action they are doing and do them separately w/o blending them together hurriedly.

I would hope that these reaction type cards would be limited. I know they give negative points, but points don't matter if the "kill them all" winning requirement is met. So if there were too many available, who cares what the VP total is at the end if you are able to kill all the enemy soldiers by throwing down a ton of reaction cards. Too many of them would also slow down the game a bit. So there needs to be some moderation in availability I would think.


Tactics Cards are part of the Team Panel or a specialist soldier. Let me separate the two.

Team Panel: In equipment and tactics are Team panels like the soldier mats in the game. Each one adds from 0 to 2 Tactics cards to your deck. A Squad sized force organized into three Teams would have a maximum of 6 tactics cards that can be added to the deck. Most would be restricted as to when they can be played and whom may play them.

Schools or Specialist Training

A soldier can be acquired as a specialist or may qualify for special training. Either way the training pans out for an Airborne Scout like this:

US Airborne Scout Training: “To Live is to Win” - That motto is the soul of the Scout. The dead can save no lives, warn others of danger, or discover the enemy’s preparations.

Requires 5 key skills from among the following set: Musician, Organizer, Lookout, Singer, Woodsman, Dockworker, Fisherman, Builder, Rancher, Miner, Tactician, Leadership, Disciplinarian, Scavenger, Zealot, Grenadier

Possible Stat Improvements – Draw Cards, Hold Cards, Sight, Rally, Cover, Toss, Walk, and Fight

Possible Cards:
“Into the Weeds”, Command card, played in any Phase
“Bounding Dash”, Tactic card, played as a Reaction
“Frag and Close”, Tactic card, played as a Reaction
“Ambush”, Tactic card, played as a Reaction
“Fresh Boots”, Equipment card
“Combat Knife”, Equipment card
“Binoculars”, Equipment card
“Smoke Grenade”, Equipment card

Tactics are limited in effect, limited in access and costly to use. they are a nuanced tuning ability.

What they add to SMG is the ability to over-watch, or react to enemy actions. If the card is completed then the ability to react is less valuable. If each action is interrupted the game play can suffer. So I chose to divide the interruption of game play at a point that has a real chance of mattering.

I have only one "Fist of God" type card coming out in the next year - "Reserves" and you have to field a Platoon Commander to use it. That is necessary for Battalion play in the campaign.

 
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Jeff Billings
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Hahma wrote:
I never believed that you could have a "move 4 soldiers" talk bubble and be able to move 2 of them, then use the Dog Tag action, then use the white box action and then go back to moving the final 2 soldiers in the talk bubble action.

I've always interpreted the completion of the Dog Tag action, Talk Bubble action, White box action and Blue box action as being part of taking that action.


This is in fact the correct way to play. The actions are pooled only in the Bucket they come from. So "Smith may shoot nearest enemy" is distinct from the Smith's Dog Tag on a LOOK card, and the Talk Bubble that says "Two Soldiers may Sight".

It is because of Tactics and some aspects of Vehicle play that these are separate and distinct.
 
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Jeff Billings
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R M Chair General wrote:
Jeff Billings wrote:
My question for the group is about timing and simplicity of rules.
Is it intended that all players have equal opportunity to declare their "reaction" simultaneously or not?


Good question. Not really an issue so far. The chance that every player has a playable Tactic card in hand is possible however it is unlikely in multi-player games. So the table etiquette is a good question and may need to be stated in the rules.

Possibly as a sidebar note?

R M Chair General wrote:
Jeff Billings wrote:
If two or more players react at the same time resolve the order of play using Initiative.
If they don't react at the same time then the reaction sequence of play is determined in order of player declaration instead of and regardless of initiative?


Some games require that to win you must play the players rather than the game. That is not really the spirit of the design so I would not willingly introduce the "I said it first" effect. The rules and game mechanics should allow a disabled player to have equal footing in the play of the game. The player should be rewarded by making good choices.
I hope I understood what you were asking here.
 
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Mark Kwasny
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Jeff Billings wrote:
Hahma wrote:
I never believed that you could have a "move 4 soldiers" talk bubble and be able to move 2 of them, then use the Dog Tag action, then use the white box action and then go back to moving the final 2 soldiers in the talk bubble action.

I've always interpreted the completion of the Dog Tag action, Talk Bubble action, White box action and Blue box action as being part of taking that action.


This is in fact the correct way to play. The actions are pooled only in the Bucket they come from. So "Smith may shoot nearest enemy" is distinct from the Smith's Dog Tag on a LOOK card, and the Talk Bubble that says "Two Soldiers may Sight".

It is because of Tactics and some aspects of Vehicle play that these are separate and distinct.


Ok, I can accept that interpretation. It is not necessarily what the rules say, but we will happily change how we play to fit the designers' view!
 
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Brian
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[q="Jeff Billings"}
Jeff Billings wrote:
R M Chair General wrote:
Jeff Billings wrote:
If two or more players react at the same time resolve the order of play using Initiative.
If they don't react at the same time then the reaction sequence of play is determined in order of player declaration instead of and regardless of initiative?
Some games require that to win you must play the players rather than the game. That is not really the spirit of the design so I would not willingly introduce the "I said it first" effect. The rules and game mechanics should allow a disabled player to have equal footing in the play of the game. The player should be rewarded by making good choices.
I hope I understood what you were asking here.
Yes, absolutely, thanks Jeff. I'm relieved to hear this since the 'declaration aspect' would otherwise feel like the beginning of a child's game of tag... "1,2,3, NOT IT!!"

Jeff Billings wrote:
Schools or Specialist Training

A soldier can be acquired as a specialist or may qualify for special training.
How does this occur? Merely by purchasing the E&T deck?

Jeff Billings wrote:
Tactics are limited in effect, limited in access and costly to use. they are a nuanced tuning ability.

What they add to SMG is the ability to over-watch, or react to enemy actions.
I very much like this aspect of play, when handled well, an opportunity fire type of potential to react to what is happening during an opponent's turn would certainly alleviate a persistent itch I've wanted to scratch while playing SMG. I am concerned about the potential for these effects to be overpowered, but mostly only with respect to the eventual arrival of vehicles.

Jeff Billings wrote:
If the card is completed then the ability to react is less valuable. If each action is interrupted the game play can suffer. So I chose to divide the interruption of game play at a point that has a real chance of mattering.
It's worth asking also that a tactic, being sometimes circumstantially or specialist-training restricted in order to play, would possibly serve no immediate purpose but to clog a player's hand up?

And alternatively, a usable tactic card may possibly get flushed out of the player's hand by an inability to follow the story deck and therefore get discarded? And the more tactic cards in the deck, the more this potential for dead space in the player hand increases? This would all definitely help prevent tactic cards from becoming overpowered.
 
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Chris Ganshaw
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I must say that I think it grossly unfair to be taunted by snipets of Tactics and Equipment and Schools/Specialist Training. That being said, I can't wait to see the next peek behind the curtain.
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Jeff Billings
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I will open a thread in the General section to talk about the equipment and tactics releases and the specialist. It is off topic here but it is relevant in general.

Are there any proposed wording changes that need to be done to the proposed rule?
 
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Greg
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Seems fine based on what we know of them so far.

Should there be a "Designer's Note" or something to say, "When playing with Tactics cards, it is suggested that upon completing any action with a defined group of one or more soldiers, the player announces "Action Complete" in order to allow the other player to know when that action is completed and give them time to say "Reaction".
 
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Steve Balaz
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One aspect I haven't seen discussed yet are secondary effects. Since the tactics are played from the hand, I assume they are shuffled into the deck. This means that filling the actions will be more difficult.
Playing a tactic card early can cost a player initiative by reducing his card count.
The likelihood of having the tactic card in your hand when you want it is fairly slim, so I suspect that players will park these with hold actions instead of kill cards.
 
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