Author Topic: Elements and command dice  (Read 158 times)

Peter Clarke

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Elements and command dice
« on: August 22, 2018, 03:06:27 AM »
Having the same command cost to activate one, two or three elements in a single phase seems counter-intuitive to me.  I have been thinking about requiring and extra command die for each element after the first that is activated in a tactical phase.  The intention would be to encourage what seemed to me to happen, that an attack would be put in by one element, and when exhausted, a second element would carry on through.

So in tactical phase 1 you might activate 22nd and 23rd brigades - cost 2 command dice.  Activating both again in tactical phase 2 would cost 3 command dice.
Alternatively, you could activate 22nd brigade only in tactical phase 1 (1 die) and 23rd brigade in phase 2 ( 2 dice).  Or any other combination.

There would be an impact on the number of command dice available but how to manage that I haven't decided: add too many extra and there is no net effect.  So maybe add a couple of dice to the starting total in scenarios where there is a clear attacked (ie not Bombardment or Meeting Engagement) - and allow that to go over the normal limit of ten on turn 1 only. 
I'm unsure about road movement - probably go with a single die for as many elements as you want, but maybe modify "Off Road" to only affect a single element (I rarely see a road phase without an 'off road' event).

Was anything like this tried in development?  What were the down-sides?

Peter

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Re: Elements and command dice
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2018, 08:24:44 PM »
It's impossible to give a short answer to this, because it strikes at the heart of all the many debates we had during playtesting with regard to how to represent supply, command, resources, time, etc. But here's my attempt at a short answer:

There is no neat or easy way to force elements to be similar in size. You might have three units from one element, fifteen units from another, plus some independent units attached to the parent organization (Corps HQ), and so on.

Therefore, if you try to assign game resources such as OPS dice on a per-element basis, you will always end up incentivizing players to do unrealistic things, such as to max-out elements as big as possible, so as to get the most bang for their buck when using OPS.  (Why spend a die to activate only three units, when you could spend a die to activate fifteen units?)  And how would you handle that heavy artillery that is attached at Corps HQ?

In historical scenarios it will result in smaller elements being activated less often, which makes no sense.

Finally, you don't really have enough OPS to do what you're suggesting. Most players already run out of OPS very quickly, but if you start dramatically increasing the cost of activation, then you'll all but assure that nobody will do multiple tactical phases. That, in turn, will dramatically slow the game. What makes Rommel move along is the ability to do multiple tactical phases, which are already limited to only those units that aren't tipped (i.e. that haven't been forced to retreat). So the game already has a mechanism by which one element might attack, and then a second element might exploit. But if you increase the cost for activation, you'll have to increase the number of dice, so... what is to be gained?

Peter Clarke

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Re: Elements and command dice
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2018, 12:52:17 AM »
That's the kind of argument against that I needed.  I was fairly convinced at the beginning that "Something should be done" but as much of the game is a command-dice management problem  then increasing the cost would slow things down, while increasing the number of dice makes the extra rule ineffective.  Oh well, back to the drawing board...