Some more thoughts/suggestions on streamlining rules for online play

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Montgomery_Python
Posts: 9

Some more thoughts/suggestions on streamlining rules for online play

Post#1 » 08 Feb 2016, 16:52

I get that the rules are pretty much a direct translation of the boardgame rules, but I feel that a streamlined rule set for online games, which simplifies some game aspects, could be a good thing for play.

a) You have said that you are thinking of having an option to disable reinforcements for quicker games. There could be a higher number of starting points to buy units with to compensate, so more units at the beginning of the game.

b) Alternatively, one could keep reinforcements but make them less influential. For example, by making buildings the only tiles that generate reinforcement revenue and reduce that revenue to 1 per turn. It would mean holding resources had some importance but would be less central to the gameplay - one would have to hold a building hex for three turns to gain one infantry. Also, reduce the number of turns receiving reinforcements from the current 15 turns.

c) Simplifying buildings. There are twelve different types of building hexes in the game, each with their own defence and attack modifiers for infantry, armour and artillery. Furthermore, to find out what each of them does one has to bring up the terrain table and locate them on it. This could be simplified a great deal by having less different building stats. For example, do a factory, power plant, mine, nuclear plant and oil refinery all need different stats?

d) In fog-of-war, have the map revealed to each side at the start (but not troop positions) so one doesn't have to explore the map to know its terrain.

e) Reduce the stacking limit to three rather than six. Military formations from platoons to corps tend to be organised with an average of three units per formation and it would probably be better balanced in game terms.

f) There are also a few rules I don't agree with, such as negative combat modifiers for being located on road/rail hexes. I see your intention, but I don't think it works well practically. For example, if you're fighting across a road, a negative modifier makes no sense.

Montgomery_Python
Posts: 9

Re: Some more thoughts/suggestions on streamlining rules for online play

Post#2 » 08 Feb 2016, 19:29

More thoughts on making a streamlined rule set of the game and other ruminations...

A couple more pairs of terrain hexes that could basically be treated the same:

Plateau, hills = the same
Jungle, forest = the same

I would also have tanks at a negative if defending in these terrain types since they find it difficult to manoeuvre and turn their gun barrels. Tanks, in my opinion, should be at a negative defending in any close terrain hex.

Artillery could be made less effective against armour. In real life, artillery is better at attacking soft targets, like people and unarmoured vehicles, than armoured targets. Tanks wouldn't be so affected by artillery's high explosives, but that would nerf artillery a little.

As for buildings, I think there's a lot of simplification and streamlining that could potentially be done. Here's a list of the building hexes:

castle
village
radar
factory
city
power plant
mine
army base
nuclear power plant
airport
army supply depot
oil refinery

The "fields" hex can also be added to this list as a "man-made" resource hex.

So that's 13 different hexes.

Castle should have its own stats, since no other building is going to have such defensive attributes. (This hex could also potentially be renamed "fort" as that's more generic, while castle is specifically medieval). Should produce no resource production.

So that leaves these tiles:

village
radar
factory
city
power plant
mine
army base
nuclear power plant
airport
army supply depot
oil refinery
fields

I think these should be grouped into as few different tile types as possible. Here are some options:

i) One group. They are all the same: all provide the same production yield, all stop movement on entering, all provide the same combat modifiers.

I like this option's simplicity, but it does mean that fields and city will have same attributes.

ii) Multiple groups. If dividing them into multiple groups, it should basically be by how much close terrain (things to hide behind/get under cover from) there is. This can also affect movement abilities, such as stopping when entering hex and hiding capability.

I've been looking at the terrain chart for a while and I think there could be a way to simplify the buildings by categorising them into three groups:

a) High close terrain hex (with hiding ability) - have better defensive combat modifiers (+2), stop movement on entering hex, ability for infantry to hide

- city
- village

b) High close terrain hex (with no hiding ability) - have better defensive combat modifiers (+2), stop movement on entering hex, no ability for infantry to hide

- army base
- power plant
- factory
- nuclear power plant
- army supply depot
- oil refinery

b) Low close terrain hex - less good defensive combat modifiers (+1), don't stop movement on entering hex, no ability for infantry to hide.

- airport
- radar
- mine
- fields

One could argue a little about what goes in each category, such as the mine hex. If you wanted to balance out the numbers a bit more, then you could just make more fields hexes.

Potentially, each of these hex categories could have a different colour hex edge on the map or on a strategic map overlay, so one would be able to see almost instantly what all the buildings on the map were.

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Deathson
Site Admin
Posts: 7

Re: Some more thoughts/suggestions on streamlining rules for online play

Post#3 » 10 Feb 2016, 21:50

The programmers are at work on ways to streamline online play, but the solution lies not on simplifying terrains (spoiler: it will be about phases).

In fact most players have been asking us more variety, rather than less. More unit types, more structures, paratroopers, missile launches, airplanes, fortifcations...

Reducing the terrain to 3-4 groups, only with cosmetic differences, would simplify the map situations too much, reducing possible topological arrangements drastically (high production next to high tactical, high production next to low production..).

After a while you get the "feel" of the terrains, without having to always consult the reference(s). I am not saying you'd learn by heart all the combat modifiers (I also don't remember all of them, and have been playing it 4 years!) but you get an instinctive feel for where to place what and when. You learn "good recipes" for good play, like where to position artilleries or which terrains to fight for.. either for tactical dominance, or for maximising production or to tread on the compromise line between the two, or how to organise honeytrap-ambush and so on.

And even the little differences can be exploited. How good is to sit on a mine? How much can you risk holding the nuclear reactor?

Even something as small as the difference of jungle vs forest, that you would happily cancel: having one of them impassable by tanks makes a big effect during gameplay in maps with jungles.

PS: if you have tried the no-reinforcements option, how much more "initial points" would you give in tactical-only matches, in your opinion, compared to the default 24?

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