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Subject: Retreat priority and major rivers rss

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C Sandifer
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The rules state that each retreat hex must be "closer to" a friendly LOC, if possible (9.8.6). Does "closer to" mean as the crow flies, or along a route that could actually reach the LOC by land? This is particularly important when major rivers are involved.

Example:

On the Smolensk map, a French unit is in hex 1710 and is routed three hexes. Which retreat paths are allowed in this case:

1611->1511->1612?
1611->1511->1510?
1711->1712->1613?
1610->1509->1409?
1611->1510->1410?

(there are other possibilities as well)

A key question: Must the first retreat hex be 1610 or 1611, since (as the crow flies) those hexes are closer to the LOC in hex 1814? Or must the first retreat hex be 1711, since that hex is closer to the bridge in 1712 - which is the hex that the French unit would use if it were actually trying to reach the LOC by land?

Note: The "travel by land" distance from 1710->1814 is 11 hexes if using the bridge in 1712. The 1710->1814 (or 1710->0214) distance is much longer if using the bridge(s) in 0809. So moving towards 1712 might actually be the requirement here.

You could ask the same question when, on the Smolensk map, a French unit is in hex 1710 and suffers a DW result. Must the unit retreat into 1611 or 1610 (which are closer to the LOC in absolute terms)? Or must it retreat into 1711, which is closer to the LOC via the bridge?

These "major river" issues arise on the Waterloo map, as well, when the minor rivers become major rivers due to weather effects.



 
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Lance McMillan
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Retreat paths are judged by absolute (or "as the crow flies") distance. The French LOC in 0814 is considered to be equidistant from 1610, 1611, and 1711 (8 hexes total distance from each). Therefore, the French player has the flexibility to choose whichever of these three hexes he wishes to retreat to from 1710. The "closer to LOC" requirement is judged individually for each hex in the retreat path.

This can have some fairly significant implications. Assume the same situation you cite above, but make the retreat requirement 4 instead of 3. If the unit initially retreats to 1611 or 1711, then it will be able to reach the pontoon bridge at 1712 cross to 1613 in order to meet the retreat distance requirement, resulting in a Hazard check. A prudent French player would then choose 1610 as the first hex of his retreat because it would mean he could "bleed off" the extra distance to avoid crossing the pontoon (and thus obviate the need for the hazard check).

Note, however, that all the above is predicated on the absence of any Russian units (and their ZOCs). The first priority of a retreat is that you must always enter a vacant/non-EZOC hex before choosing any other possibility. It also assumes that none of the hexes in question (1610, 1611, 1711) are occupied by a French unit, because the only time you can retreat through a friendly occupied hex is when there is no other option.

Hope that clears things up.

Lance McMillan
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Lancer4321 wrote:
The French LOC in 0814 is considered to be equidistant from 1610, 1611, and 1711 (8 hexes total distance from each). Therefore, the French player has the flexibility to choose whichever of these three hexes he wishes to retreat to from 1710.

I thought the rules specifically say you don't have to retreat towards the closest LOC? Or am I missing something (as I frequently am...)
 
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C Sandifer
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Lancer4321 wrote:
Retreat paths are judged by absolute (or "as the crow flies") distance. The French LOC in 0814 is considered to be equidistant from 1610, 1611, and 1711 (8 hexes total distance from each).


Thanks for the detailed response. That's very helpful.

Minor clarification: Hex 1711 is 9 hexes from the French LOC, so I think 1610 or 1611 would have to be the first retreat hex from hex 1710. (Assuming that no French units or enemy ZOCs get in the way, as you say.)

[Edit: A unit can temporarily move further away from a LOC to avoid killing itself in a major river, which means that in some cases hex 1711 will be a valid retreat destination from hex 1710. See the messages below, and rule 9.8.7.]

I also hadn't realized that it is possible for a unit to break when it is up against a major river, similar to how a unit breaks if it reaches a LOC and still has more hexes to retreat. (Link here.)

 
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C Sandifer
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sdiberar wrote:
Lancer4321 wrote:
The French LOC in 0814 is considered to be equidistant from 1610, 1611, and 1711 (8 hexes total distance from each). Therefore, the French player has the flexibility to choose whichever of these three hexes he wishes to retreat to from 1710.

I thought the rules specifically say you don't have to retreat towards the closest LOC? Or am I missing something (as I frequently am...)


This is my understanding of retreat hex priority...

Retreating (i.e., withdrawing or routed) units must move through hexes in the following order of priority:

1. Vacant hexes not in an EZOC that are closer to a friendly LOC

2. Other vacant hexes not in an EZOC (regardless of whether they are closer to a friendly LOC)

3. Vacant hexes in an EZOC that are closer to a friendly LOC

4. Other vacant hexes in an EZOC (regardless of whether they are closer to a friendly LOC)

5. Hexes occupied by friendly units (in which case they must continue moving)
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Lance McMillan
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wkover wrote:
...hadn't realized that it is possible for a unit to break when it is up against a major river, similar to how a unit breaks if it reaches a LOC and still has more hexes to retreat.


Well, yes and no... It's important to understand that the intent is that a unit shouldn't be forced into a position from which it can't retreat. This is where that obnoxiously vague little escape clause in [9.8.7] comes into effect: "A Retreat path can zig-zag only to avoid self destruction..."

Here's an example (using Waterloo 20): Assume a Prussian unit in 1609 is attacked by a French unit in 1508 and forced to retreat 5 hexes due to a DR result. The Prussian unit's first retreat hex must be 1709 because this takes it closer to its LOC (in 2012). The next "obvious" hex for the retreat would seem to be 1810, because it too is closer to the LOC, but that would put the Prussian unit into a position from which it couldn't go to 1910 because the direct route to that hex is blocked by the major river. Accordingly, the Allied player would probably want choose to retreat to 1610 instead of 1810 (yes, even though it's further away) to avoid being trapped in a "self-destruction" situation.

The reality is that there are very few situations which arise where the [9.8.7] escape clause can legitimately be called into effect, and most of them are so odd that we couldn't craft a solid rule to cover every contingency -- basically, we're relying on players to use a bit of common sense.

wkover wrote:
This is my understanding of retreat hex priority...


Pretty much correct:
1) Vacant hex, not in EZOC, closer towards friendly LOC
2) Vacant hex, not in EZOC, further from friendly LOC
3) Vacant hex in EZOC, closer to friendly LOC
4) Vacant hex in EZOC, further from friendly LOC
5) Hex occupied by friendly unit(s), not in EZOC, closer to friendly LOC
6) Hex occupied by friendly unit(s), not in EZOC, further from friendly LOC
7) Hex occupied by friendly unit(s) and in EZOC, closer to friendly LOC
8) Hex occupied by friendly unit(s) and in EZOC, further from friendly LOC

(Typically, by the time you get to #5 you've run out of options and aren't going to end up further down the list.)
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C Sandifer
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Quote:
Accordingly, the Allied player would probably want choose to retreat to 1610 instead of 1810 (yes, even though it's further away) to avoid being trapped in a "self-destruction" situation.


Aha! I hadn't realized that the allowed zig-zagging could temporarily move a unit further from a LOC. I thought the zig-zagging still had to be towards a LOC.

Thanks for the clarification.
 
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Lance McMillan
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The key to properly implementing [9.8.7] is to understand that "self-destruction" means just that, it doesn't mean "avoiding hazard checks."
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