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Aussie_Digger2

Just finished a session .... and it got me thinking

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Just finished playing Operation Goodwood,

was a fun game, I played as the british and won at the start of round 8 with my first 3 actions. I saw were my friend made a few mistakes that did make my advance a little easier (he decided to move the KingTiger from it position blocking the road i had to exit on and get it into battle, he rolled a 6 so it was abanded as per the kingtiger operations card ..good news for me) although he did slow me down during the middle of the game with fire and movement, retreating back and blocking my path forcing me to fight and eliminate all of his units (he had 2 squads left with one fig each)

Anyway during the game alot of artillery and air support cards were played (2 - 3 every round) but the most they ever did was one eliminated 2 figures and another 1 figure. It just seems to me that these cards are underpowered as you have had to make contact with your target and then make sure your round dosnt drift, and then you get to make the attack 4 or 5 dice which cover and armour seem to cancel out just about every time . (the examples i gave of the losses were in open terrain). To me armour shouldnt roll their full amout of armour as the rounds are hitting from above. Or (i think this may be better to keeps things simple) arty and air support cards should hit on 4,5,6. As they stand at the moment they just seem to wast an action, I have gone from (when first playing ToI) ohh no arty coming in ahhh... to hmm arty no problem, just hope i can survie that enemy squad with the 2 elites in it. These cards should make us worried but they just don't. A double mortor squads 50mm rounds are more potent than the artys 105 - 155mm rounds !

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Yes, you're right that arty and airpower cards aren't anywhere near as dangerous as they were in reality. Then again, I guess it's hard to strike a balance between power and playability here. You wouldn't want those cards to become game-deciding and therefore perhaps game-breaking either. However, specific scenarios could definitely see some enhanced artillery and/or airpower cards. Some ideas:

* When you pay half the cost extra of a card, you may add the original cost to the card's attack values. This also applies to any wide blast radius.

* When targeting a heavy vehicle with an airpower or artillery card, reduce the armor value of the vehicle by 1 (or perhaps even 2). This one could easily be made into an operations card called death from above or something along those lines.

* Massed artillery: Add 2 dice to your artillery card's attack values (op card).

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Nice to see its a fun scenario. This is thus on my 'to-play list' And yes, moving the kingtiger in this scenario is unwise. Yes it is frustrating not to do anything with it, but its even more frusttrating to destroy it. Put it in the exit hex and you'll have a nice blockage.

 

With some luck you could damage an tank with an artellery.

 

I played the twin villages, and what stroke me was that when you get the command-cost-reducing cards determins a lot. If you get them early, artellery cards become almost free (and in twin villages they all became free). And often the suppresive fire cards have no effect (when your on the defensive and suppresion doesnt realy give you anything).

 

Thus, and Artellery III deck would be suiting I think. Where you remove all cost-reducing card, increase the firepower. Heck, all cards may be equal and give you a choice between suppressive and normal damage.

 

Another nice thouch would be to give the op card 'strong artellery support' allowing you to draw 2 artellery cards each turn. For the twin villages scenario that would be a very nice thing.

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I think i will try next time i play a sceanrio with arty, having the arty cards hit on a 4, 5 or 6. You still get cover and armour so still a chance at not taking damage but just slightly increasing the power of the arty. If your in the open, well really its not going to be pretty (as it wouldnt be).

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 Artillery in the game has always been a sore spot for me (being a gunner).  While I like how the procedure is handled at the end of it, much like Aussie_digger describes, not much happens.  This is in complete contrast to the effects artillery had in WWII....one of the biggest killers!

I've written about this before though.  In the meantime, I've been working up a better system that a) makes artillery more reflective of how it was without throwing the balance of play off and b) get a chance to use my miniatures.  It also works within the framework of the existing cards.  Early tests are going well and I hope to present it to the community in the coming weeks.

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i m agree with you , artillery is too weak ! I prefer to use mortar than artillery. It shouldnt be like that . maybe hit on 4-5-6 its a good idea ..if a squad of two mortar can throw 8 dice on supressive fire , i think a battery of gun should have better chance to hit . i enjoy to see what  s your house rules..

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A squad consisting of two mortars is the anomaly here, and frankly should not be allowed. Arty can be very annoying and often a gamewinning factor. Deadly way to use it is to hit a group of infantry with suppressive area fire and then assault the pinned defenders.

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Hefsgaard said:

A squad consisting of two mortars is the anomaly here, and frankly should not be allowed. Arty can be very annoying and often a gamewinning factor. Deadly way to use it is to hit a group of infantry with suppressive area fire and then assault the pinned defenders.

That's a good point. Even as they are, the artillery decks do have their uses. It is sometimes hard to pin or disrupt a squad in good cover provoding terrain, though. Sometimes too hard. Then again, as i said, an op card (add 2 dice to arty cards) might solve a lot in certain scenarios while at the same time not breaking others.

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What I enjoy about the double mortar is that it has a fairly good probability of damaging tanks, and I kind of like mortars with normal firepower of 4. And suppressive firepower of 8 seems quit high, but I actually find that ok. The single mortar is more strange to me as I waste 2 squads sitting babywhatching the mortar and the power is not significant. A double mortar is significant, something I feel the mortar deserve.

 

But ofcourse, compared to artellery, it realy does sound strange.  But artellery does not need a big overhaoul, it just needs rebalancing maybe. But also remember that artellery is random. ONE shot with the correct artellery may be devestating.

 

But I have a question, what was the big difference between air-power and artellery? In Toi they are very similar, with the exception that air-power does not need a spotter. Thats fine. But I miss slightly the advantages with artellery. The most obvius one is, there where a lot of artellery, they did not requier an airport, no pilots, no expensive planes.

 

When playing the 'twin villages' I realise a few things. In that scenario the US has both artellery I and artellery II and starts with one of the commandpoint saveings. As time went on, I (playing the US) got three of those cards. That basicly allowed me to use all artellery cards for free, I could fire blindly and still have a fairly good shot at actually hitting. And this was all good cuz thats exactly what the scenario wanted to describe. But, a few points: as the defender, supressive fire realy is a waste. I mean, whats the big point in supressing something when you cannot take much advantage of it. Assaulting the attacker is useually not a good strategy, and definitvely not in this scenario.  As the attacker things are complety different ofcourse. So in this very spesific scenario, which was describing an story of US artellery, I was basicly limited to the few cards in the deck which was pure normal damage.  And I waited for the correct timing, and suddenly the german assulted my forward position and had a good concentration of force. With two artellery cards I was able to strike a significant blow the the german forces. So artellery can be quit nice.

But what was strange about this scenario, was that my opponent got the cards giving him extra command in initiive very early. Thus, he got the initiative, without realy needing to spend much command to obtain it. And thus, he had more than enough command to pay for all cards he drew. Secondly, the US eventually gained the ability to use ALL artellery cards for free. Conclusion, command did not play any role whatsoever.

But, in this game, I felt strange that the major limiting factor in the use of artellery was the number of cards with 'normal' damage that I could draw and use. I also felt strange that the moment I got the very important 'reduce command cost cards' where random. I mean, they were such an huge importance in gameplay and its down to good old luck

An artellery III deck with

-more cards which you can 'choose' either suppressive or normal.

-ability to allways draw 2 artellery cards

-no reduced command cost cards, but cheaper cards to compensate. Or alternatively, no randomness in WHEN you get things.

-slightly improved power

Twin villages as a scenario would be greatly improved with improved artellery, but has then it has to be rebalance. Cuz its as written a fairly well balanced scenario. Allthough the US has the capability of screwing up the entire defence simply by seting up wrong :)

 

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You can already choose whether you want suppressive or normal fire unless the card specifically states "suppressive (area) attack" (See rules under area attacks in base game).

It does make sense to suppress the attacker when they are in a hurry to make it off the map. If you pin or disrupt them this will slow them down and may cause a fatal delay in complying with a scenario's victory conditions.

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Hefsgaard said:

. Arty can be very annoying and often a gamewinning factor. Deadly way to use it is to hit a group of infantry with suppressive area fire and then assault the pinned defenders.

I have tried to use arty this way many times, but it has never decided the outcome of any action let alone a game (so i have found using the card to perform a plan like this just wastes one action. I have always found that using a mortar squad of another type of squad much better at suppressing.

Thats why i do like the thought of 4,5 and 6 as hits as this increases the power but the defender still has a defence roll (if in cover or armour) and it also keeps things simple. And as Brummar said i too like the way you have to go about gaining contact and working out drift , and after doing all this and passing it all its bit of an anti climax when you get to roll the attack dice ost of the time.

Brummbar I know what you are talking about I have served in the army and have seen the power of arty in action.

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WW2 is full of examples of the inability of artillery to pin defenders in defensive positions. Casino, Guadacanal, Sevastepol.... Usualy the defenders would get back up when the barage lifted.

Just how many guns were assigned to a force the size of a typical Toi Division?

Toi is not a Sure-Thing game like Chess. It is a matter of juggeling options until one succedes and then exploit that break. Arty is another such factor in ToI. Most of the time its effect is minor, but once in a while it changes the cource of the game.

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 Another thing I dislike about the Artillery decks is the forced type of attack.  As already pointed out, some are required to only be Suppressive.   Why not Normal?

Basically, Mortars on the board are generally better than the artillery decks...that simply does not match reality.

To give you an idea of what I am working on in essence when you purchase certain cards from the deck they will allow for the use of either a Field Battery (in the case of the Sustained Blanket card for example) or Heavy Battery (ie. Offensive artillery).  These cards are initially used as normal but with an overlay on the card showing the modifications (ie. the Suppressive and Normal attack values) the primary of which is the 'On Call' number.

Artillery that is "on Call" can be used from round to round (for an upkeep fee).  The On Call units have a lower establish contact number.  

Certain cards also allow for Barrages with On Call units (ie. a Suppressive Barrage card allows the player to combine 2 of their On Call units in a FIre Mission). Barrages grant an automatic Wide Blast.

I also will be accounting for different national artillery doctrines (ie. British artillery had a quick reaction time but tended to be less accurate, +1 to Drift).

In summary...

  • On Call cost = 1 cmd. on the Spend Command phase otherwise discard one firing unit card.
  • Establish Contact: 3 (when On Call, otherwise as printed)
  • Sustained Blanket = Medium Artillery Battery (ie. 25pdr. 105mm)
    attacks normal: 3, suppressive: 6
  • Offensive Artillery = Heavy Artillery Battery (ie. 155mm)
    attacks normal: 4, suppressive: 8
  • Barrages allow for Combined and Wide Blast
     

I also have plans for the Forward Observation Officer and Gunner specializations.

Tests are going well so far...and I like Aussie_Diggers idea of hitting on 4,5,6 so I'll give that a try as well or at least make notes as I roll to see what kind of an impact it would have.

 

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Brummbar, I realy enjoy the 'on call' ide. It makes so much more sense. Did I read it correctly if you ment that 'on call' cost 1 command to sustain each turn and then extra command to use, or should it simply requier command to sustain and free to use?

 

I'm realy lookng forward to reading the rules and playtest. 

 

I just wish FFG could give some support. I would for example love to help build  a 'fan based scenarios & rules' booklet (pdf-file) but it doesnt help that FFG took away the link to the scenarios. Or when the fans help rebalance potentialy good scenarios, it would not hurt to compile an F&Q and errata.

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Grand Stone said:

Brummbar, I realy enjoy the 'on call' ide. It makes so much more sense. Did I read it correctly if you ment that 'on call' cost 1 command to sustain each turn and then extra command to use, or should it simply requier command to sustain and free to use?

 

I'm realy lookng forward to reading the rules and playtest. 

 

Thanks Grand Stone.

Just to help clarify, the On Call is a 1 command cost each round that will allow the player to use the unit again (as an action) in the coming round.  So the initial purchase is what is printed on the card but thereafter it becomes just 1 command/round spent in the Spend Command phase otherwise, the unit and card is simply discarded.

I'm still working out some of the more minor details...but so far so good.

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Though I like the idea Brummbar is describing and poprbably would have loved them if they had been part of the original ruleset, can anyone tell me what's wrong with simply adding a few op cards regarding artillery increasing their effectiveness? This is a system the game already uses and works just fine most of the time.

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For future scenarios I think an Artellery Deck III is far simpler actually. Then you dont have to worry about artellery I and artellery II decks at all. If you in general try to fix things by adding rules, in time the rules might get clumsy. Thus, Artellery Deck III is a far cleaner strategy in my mind. 

I dont remember how many "normal" damage cards there are in Artellery I or Artellery II, but they are limited. And thats one thing that irritated me in the story of US artellery (twin villages from design series).  At one point, I had many many suppresive fire artellery cards, which I could use for free, but none of them had any effect on the game at all whatsoever.  And I think this might be typical for defenders with artellery. Suppressive fire is not that great at all. This is one thing which the 'on call'  combined with cards which have both supprsive and normal damage options fixes.

However, for fixing old broken scenarios, an OP-card which simply states that success is on 4,5 or 6 might work well enough.

 

By the way, twin villages was a fun scenario. I won (should have lost but my oponent was new to the game and did realise the vicotry condition before it was to late), despite having no troops left on the board :)

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Grand Stone said:

For future scenarios I think an Artellery Deck III is far simpler actually. Then you dont have to worry about artellery I and artellery II decks at all. If you in general try to fix things by adding rules, in time the rules might get clumsy. Thus, Artellery Deck III is a far cleaner strategy in my mind. 

I dont remember how many "normal" damage cards there are in Artellery I or Artellery II, but they are limited. And thats one thing that irritated me in the story of US artellery (twin villages from design series).  At one point, I had many many suppresive fire artellery cards, which I could use for free, but none of them had any effect on the game at all whatsoever.  And I think this might be typical for defenders with artellery. Suppressive fire is not that great at all. This is one thing which the 'on call'  combined with cards which have both supprsive and normal damage options fixes.

However, for fixing old broken scenarios, an OP-card which simply states that success is on 4,5 or 6 might work well enough.

 

By the way, twin villages was a fun scenario. I won (should have lost but my oponent was new to the game and did realise the vicotry condition before it was to late), despite having no troops left on the board :)

Oh, I wouldn't mind an artillery 3 deck either. I guess if it ever sees the light of day, its final composition will determine whether or not it was a good choice. Personally, at this stage i would still go for a few added op cards and/or scenario specific rule. Don't forget that TOI is a scenario based game and you can add whichever special rule and/or new op card to any scenario. In your Twin villages scenario (which i have never played admittedly), one could easily add an op card/ special rule giving each card +2 attack dice or allowing the players the choice of attack for any card drawn even when it explicitly states "supressive area attack". One thing we all agree on is indeed that artillery is often considered to be too weak. Then again, as i mentioned earlier, a situation no one probably wants either is that a game will commonly be decided by two effective artillery strikes at an early stage of the battle. Therefore I believe that in essence the artillery 1 and 2 decks are ok the way they are but that more scenarios could have implemented a number of special rules increasing the effectiveness of the artillery. Heck, a (scenario) special rule might even be that artillery cards ignore cover. This is how it works in memoir 44 and in many other wargames.

As for the effectiveness of suppressive fire: what I usually find to work quite well is to pin a unit with an MG in op=fire and then to make an artillery attacks (suppressive) hoping to disrupt or even route it. It doesn't tend to be such a great choice against unaffected squads as too many hits are required to do any substantial damage and save a very lucky roll here and there the number of attack dice simply doesn't suffice to achieve that.

Some ideas for new op cards related to the arty I and II decks:

1.) Massed artillery: Add +2 attack dice to any card from the artillery deck(s).

2.) Heavy artillery: cards from the artillery deck(s) ignore cover; I.e. the target(s) do not roll any cover dice. Armor is not affected.

3.) Weak top armor: When a heavy (?) vehicle is targeted by an artillery and/or air support card, reduce its armor by X.

4.) Concentrated artillery: When paying half the command cost more of an artillery card with (an) attack value(s), the original cost of the card may be added to the card's attack values.

When you add one or more of these cards in appropriate situations and make sure the balance of the scenario is not thrown off, I don't really see what more would be needed.

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