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Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2

 Post subject: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:02 am 
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I put the game through the first two scenarios, as promised. Here are my thoughts:

http://kealios.blogspot.com/2012/10/strike-legion-tse1-2-with-new-partner.html

Thanks!
Kealios


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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:31 am 
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I really like your write up on the battle report. I must agree with you on the book though, it does need some work, but i think the game is pretty good with lots of options. I wanted to know what you think about the hull vs turret hit, do you think at 6mm scale that something like this is out of place? Perhaps it should be removed to help the game flow better?

When I played scenario 1 it was vs a buddy of mine, he chose to do 4OEW, 2DEW, on all 3 formations. I went with 3OEW 3DEW on 2 formations, and 6OEW 0DEW on the last one. I smoked him pretty badly with this combination, i brewed up a full platoon in turn one with the 6OEW, and was able to weather the assault with the extra defense on the other formations. I enjoyed the fight very much. The EW gives an add aspect to a miniature game of this scale, no two games will be the same because you never know what your opponent will decide on.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:09 pm 
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Sounds like you had a good time getting smoked! ;)

EW can be tricky to get 'right' for the first few games, though you'll develop your own 'style' of how you choose to assign your available points. One basic strategy would be to do your best to ensure your opponent can get a To Hit number of no less than 8 (based on all modifiers, terrain and range included). Each situation will have its own variables, of course, and you want to avoid becoming predictable against a regular opponent.

Changing how immobilization occurs would most likely result in adding another die roll to the process, which is something I'd prefer not to do. You'll remember to check the numbers before picking up the dice after a few games, and a 5% chance of immobilization/5% chance of no damage on a penetrating hit is about right.

As for larger games, familiarity helps quite a bit. As I may have mentioned before, I've played 2-player games with regimental-sized formations (36-40 platoons per side) to conclusion in about 3 hours. You'll find the turns go faster as the game progresses; the lethality of such a large number of units in close proximity guarantees lots of early game casualties. >:D

To address some of your concerns regarding the rulebook:

First would be the writing style. Most rule are written with a conversational style; SL is not, which has generated more questions (with easy answers) than anything else. Take, for example, your question on ART LOS; the rule doesn't state that LOS is required, though it's plainly stated that other types of attack require LOS to a target. You can safely say that, since it's not stated that LOS is required, that you can do what the rule says - place the target point on the table within the weapon's range. While there are some things that could be improved, grammatically speaking, a literal reading of the rules is the best approach.

I'm curious why you state that all combat modifiers should be printed on the combat charts when all combat modifiers are printed on the game charts. There are four combat modifiers for armored vehicle combat: EW, damage, range, and cover. Likewise, all weapons effects are on the same (first) page of the charts. Modifiers derived from vehicle systems are not printed on the game charts, much as the modifiers granted by special rules for any game system are not printed on the game charts. For example, pick up the 40K, Epic Armageddon, Malifaux, Warmachine, or other rulebook and look at the game charts; you won't find the unit special abilities/rules and their effects on combat listed on those charts. They're either detailed in the rulebook or on unit cards as the player is expected to know the capabilities of his own units when playing those games. SL is no different in this regard, but reference charts for all of the special abilities granted by weapons and systems are contained in the appendix of Module 2 (these can also be downloaded from the Yahoo group files section or the company website).

Several other things you mention (use of abbreviations, 'three' instead of '3', etc.) are a matter of player preference, and I've had roughly an equal number of players stating their (opposing) preferences for how these are handled. I would agree that an index should be included with any revision, and that a 2-column layout would help; you'll note that all of our more recent books have gone to a 2-column format, and all future releases will be the same in this regard.

And if you keep asking questions, I'll keep answering them. I might even have to drive up there and shoot you up in person to teach y'all the rules the hard way. >:D :P

PS: STOVL


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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:17 pm 
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We did have a great time. I love playing, win or lose. This game has a LOT of potential, which is why I refuse to give up on it. However, I need my opponents to be as enamored with it as I am, which is why I am giving our combined feedback here.

KJ, they're your rules, and obviously were written as they are for a reason. If that's how they are intended to be, so be it, but it is getting opposition in my corner of the world. We may be anomalies, but I doubt it.

[The reason I mention this is, 6mm isnt the world's most popular scale, at least in my circle. I have MAYBE 3 friends who play it, only 2 of which I have a regular hope of gaming with. We have MANY rulesets to choose from, so the one we settle on needs to be pleasing to us all. This is one reason I push SL - I think it has vast potential to be the Go-To game for us, but honestly, Im banking on the future. The rules seem a little rough as is, and need some polishing. If this isnt going to happen, then the odds of me converting my local circle to the game decrease dramatically.]

We arent stating that every modifier needs to be on the combat charts/cheat sheets. They are quite clearly NOT (Ive been sketching out my own, supplementary, cheat sheet). What we ARE saying is that the conversational style you prefer, combined with text instead of numeric values, makes it a little harder to find rules and/or modifiers during play. An example:

*Damaged elements suffer a +3 when firing their weapons

This could be under the paragraph, set apart, easily seen. Its just off the top of my head (I could peruse for specifics in the book, but Im busy watching football this morning). My opinion is that we should put a poll up on TMP and see what the majority response is regarding "three" vs "3". I'd be a little shocked if the results were evenly weighted. And if you come up to San Jose, give me notice and we'll have a few players eager and willing to learn - we could make a fun day of it!


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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:01 am 
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Blindhorizon wrote:
I wanted to know what you think about the hull vs turret hit, do you think at 6mm scale that something like this is out of place? Perhaps it should be removed to help the game flow better?


Ive been giving this some thought today, in addition to what my friend and I discussed yesterday during the game.

This game has a lot going for it, but because there is a lot of crunch, it takes time and attention to keep everything straight. TOO much crunch can lead to brain fry during a game, and really can sour the experience (read: Tomorrow's War). In order for the game to be a solid contender as a Regimental-scale game, streamlining where you can should be a priority (IMHO of course. YMMV).

With that in mind, let's look at a common example from TSE 1:

You are shooting your Scimitar's Gauss rifle at my Scimitar, from my front. My Turret Front is 4 and my Hull Front is 3. You roll the Hit Dice and the Damage dice at the same time. You hit. The d6 for the Gauss is a 4. So: Does it matter if you hit the Hull or the Turret? No. You rolled high enough that it doesnt matter, armor-wise. Except it does. If you then roll a 1 on the d10 damage roll, it makes a huge difference, and this makes even more of a difference if you just say, "This tank suffers one hit. This one takes two." and then roll them all after shooting is done. You either interrupt the shooting sequence to check for damage now, or you roll the X d10's along with your To Hit/Damage dice (X=max number of possible hits, just in case, which just isnt practical), or you make some designation of "Turret/Hull" hit as you move along, to remember for later. It just seems clunky to me.

Now, I dont know anything about tank combat. I dont know percentages of hull hits vs turret hits in modern combat, and I dont know what happens to a tank when one is hit over the other. I can make some assumptions, however. If Strike Legion tells me there is a 10% chance that it makes a difference, my first thought is, "Well, if I need to track this, let's go all the way." Make two different hit tables, one for Hull and one for Turret. Maybe Turret hits have less of a chance to Brew Up a tank, but can affect EW, Communications or weapons. The Hull has more mobility hits, ammo/fuel explosions (read: Brew Up), etc...

BUT: Do I want this? Do I really care that my tank has both a Turret and a Hull? You know, I dont think I do. I think it is something extra to track that doesnt belong. I think that SL has more granularity than, say, Epic, simply because my tank can have more armor on the front than the side. Epic has turrets, as does FWC, but they cannot be hit, per se. Therefore, even though this is one thing that helps set SL apart from the other games, I think the Hull vs Turret hit should be scrapped in the name of streamlining play. SL has a TON of other things that sets it aside already.

BTW, in my mind, I relate SL very closely to Battletech, but Battletech is truly a mech skirmish game, and so some of its clunkiness is forgiven when only running 4 on 4. 12 on 12? Man, talk about clunky! So...my idea is to remove some of the clunky from SL. Thats where I am coming from.

BUT...BUT...heh...you know what else comes to mind? Critical Hits. Who doesnt love rolling boxcars when rolling to hit? We know 12's always hit. 12's are a Head Shot on Walkers. Why not just make 12's a critical hit on anything? Initially, my thoughts turn to the Immobilization result. If you get a 12 when shooting a tank, it is automatically Immobilized, regardless of whatever else the result is. Maybe you need your weapon to exceed the armor value, and maybe not. I think not. It "feels" right to me this way.

So, take Turrets off the vehicles as a valid hit location. This will ultimately make vehicles cheaper (I think...?), since they wont need to put armor on Turret locations. Encourage vehicles to have a higher Front armor than sides if they want that extra protection. Dont make me track yet one more thing in this game, helping me speed it up. If you want a bit of fun, add critical hits on 12's, which doesnt require any on-the-spot checking other than an extra damage condition.

Quote:
The EW gives an add aspect to a miniature game of this scale, no two games will be the same because you never know what your opponent will decide on.


I agree. The EW is a great sub-game within the game. Its one reason I keep trying this game :) And for what its worth, which isnt much, I do have both editing and playtest/design experience. I could be just an average joe, but only JUST :) I just like latching onto things that I think could be the next best thing...


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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:50 pm 
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If you take a look at WWII through modern MBT, they are more heavily armored to the front, less so to the rear, with a greater variance between turret and hull rear. Modern MBT, such as the M1A2 and Challenger II have rear turret armor that is ~40-60% greater than that of the hull, and the turret rear protection is ~25-30% of the front target aspect of the vehicle. While I don't see that trend changing in the immediate future, it's certainly possible in SL to design a vehicle that has equal armor values in all target aspects (simplifying in-game number running), but the option to create either more realistic or simplified vehicles is available. Also, having different armor ratings encourages more tactical thinking on the part of the player (i.e., how best to approach the enemy's position, as opposed to all angles of approach being valid).

(As an aside, you might also note that lighter-armored MBT would engage enemy MBT with the hull at an angle to increase the relative armor thickness against enemy weapons and/or increase the chance of deflection. There's an episode in Band of Brothers that shows Shermans advancing to the line obliquely, with turrets pointed towards the enemy - something I'm pleased to see they got right).

Armored warfare is certainly an interesting topic for study (and lots of fun if you like physics and math - or even if you don't). There's generally a higher probability of a BU result from a turret hit (ammo is stowed in the turret), but can still be achieved from a hull penetration from spalling. Crew kills are more likely from a hull penetration, and there's roughly a 4-6% chance of a vehicle being immobilized (only) from a hull hit that doesn't penetrate the fighting compartment and a like % of no damage being inflicted against the target.

There were several methods used during playtesting on how to incorporate immobilization results; the one used in the current version of the rules was chosen to reflect real-world probabilities without adding another roll. I think your idea of immobilizing on a critical would work, but I'm not keen on giving an additional advantage to rolling a 12 (remember that a 12 automatically hits, regardless of modifiers), and incorporating critical hits should lead to several possible outcomes.

An alternative to your suggestion (assuming equal armor on all facings) would be simply to roll a d6 if the AFV damage roll result is a 1; on a 4+ the target is immobilized, on a 1-3 no damage. Or, a critical chart (2d6) could look something like this:

2-3: no additional result.
4-6: immobilized.
7-8: lose 1 random system (assign number to each system and roll a die)
9-10: lose 1 random weapon ("" "")
11: Automatically Destroyed
12: Automatically BU

The down-side to this is that it does require more in the way of written records and/or chits on the table.

Also, please don't take any of my responses as being defensive - I have no problem changing anything in the rules that needs to be adjusted, but SL was designed to be different than most games in that it allows for a crunchier game but doesn't require it (based on player preferences when building their own units), which is the exact opposite of the trend in most game rules over the last decade or so. IMO, this leads to a more involving, intense, and memorable gaming experience than those played with more simplistic rules.

I'd be interested to hear a game report (if you're willing) using single armor values and the above critical chart. If you do, use the single highest armor value from any aspect of the vehicle, ignore the turret/hull hit differentiation, and treat an AFV damage table roll of 1 as 'no damage'. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:06 pm 
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I never said that there shouldnt be different armor values on different facings. I like it, and it adds more flavor than the "generic" armor values in, say, Epic. I think there is absolute value in having a 5 front, 4 sides, 3 rear Armor set up.

The differences in turret and hull, however, can really be genericized just a splash to streamline the combat even that little bit more. Remember, I'm all for the crunch, and as players, limiting the technology of what we build our units with is certainly in our hands. I just think streamlining the core rules a bit would make sense.

If I play again any time soon, we will remove the turret as a viable hit location, use the highest printed armor values for each side to simplify things, and leave the AFV chart as is. However, both of my opponents want to go back to Epic, so I think we may reside there awhile. If there are some changes that give me traction to reinterest them again, we may revisit it then.

Thanks :)

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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:37 pm 
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I know one of the concerns was wasting an immobilized roll against a turret, perhaps it can immobilize the turret also forcing them to turn the vehicle to face their target. This opens them up for side armor and rear shots from flankers?

I must say I do like the different armor values on the sides, it makes you think more on how you want to attack. Also i like the idea because when thinking of different armies that can be a key theme to how armies fight. If the army charges forward and smashes the line, perhaps they use a lot of cheap soldiers and have heavy armor on all sides. I like the concept a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:55 pm 
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It wasnt the fact that a damage roll was wasted, per se. It was simply that it was one more step that couldnt be ignored/skipped because it mattered, but didnt flow well.

That was our consensus.

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 Post subject: Re: Battle Report/Thoughts on TSE1 and 2
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:30 am 
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Ah my bad i missunderstood.


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