Martin – Rereading my reply to you, I want to make something clear, please: when I said “…tie you up in a discussion if you don’t want to have one,” I meant that in terms of me being long-winded and that not everyone can/wants to devote a bunch of time to my silly ramblings on the internet.
Ivan – Yeah, Nuts!, IABSM (through its number of activations being lowered by casualties and shock), and, of course, your own NEiS all do that. For me, personally, I think it’s probably realistic to feel yourself (as the tabletop commander) becoming mired and unable to get things done, but it’s not particularly satisfying on the tabletop (for me). As I’ve said a million times, I’m much more a fan of the 5Core Kill/Shock dice and the immediate results/carrying out of results regarding casualties and morale.
I’ve also given thought to the idea of runners and other forms of communication. Part of the problem, to me, is that it could be incorporated into a platoon-level game, but would be more appropriate to a company-level game, but then it seems to me that should be done using individually-based troops, which is madness! 😉 The other issue is that using runners is a huge oversimplification; in real life you have a signal plan, consisting of various flares, smoke, even signal mirrors and flags, and then you (at least in modern times) have a no-comms plan for disasters (think of the British 1st Airborne in Arnhem), emissions discipline (“radio silence”), and comms-denied areas (EW/jamming). This would require players to actually formulate a plan prior to the tabletop fight starting; in this case, carrying out the plan is the (relatively) easy part!
John – I understand your point about this happening in local counterattacks, and this: “…with very brief exceptions (Kasserine, early Bulge, Korea) there haven’t been that many American units in these kind of bad situations…” may be true in terms of the defense, but my point above was that this will often happen on the offensive, when there is a misunderstanding or mis-appreciation of the terrain, or when a unit gets into trouble and instead of moving within the construct of mutually-supporting elements someone panics and makes the rash decision that the only way out of this mess (saving 1st Squad or 1st Platoon or A Company) is to send 2nd Sqd/Plt/B Co out and around, but now 2nd Sqd/Plt/B Co gets into their own mess and now both 1st and 2nd are being annihilated. When you read of attacks going in and being repulsed, suffering 60% casualties, sometimes this is what happened (sorry, I can’t quote any sort of percentage regarding how often that was the case).
“…lots of combats IRL are pretty much foregone conclusions.”
Man, that is not an idea that I can get on board with at all.
“And the very structure of a tabletop game tends to discourage the response of the odds look rubbish, I am withdrawing.”
Though I agree wholeheartedly with this; in real life most commanders are not willing sacrifice their men and thus allow/order their men to fall back when it’s clear they’re about to be close assaulted out of existence. I’ve never seen nor heard of a tabletop commander doing that, most of us are fighting tooth and nail, and if the game has Force Morale/a breakpoint we scream and holler that we could have won when it is reached and our force involuntarily ‘quits’ on us 😉
“…not just to make it a random event, but a situational one…”
I was thinking the squad leader/platoon commander would grab the nearest riflemen and tell him to go tell the boss ‘we’re in trouble and need help,’ then we would activate the runner each turn and track him across the table until he reaches the boss and delivers the message, then tracks back to the squad leader/platoon commander to tell him what the boss said.
Stephen – I’m sorry man, I have it but I haven’t played it, I’ve only read through it once when I first got it (maybe two years ago?), so I’m not familiar enough to answer those questions. If you go to Iron Ivan’s blog you can see some batreps that will give you an idea of how the rules work, which is what convinced me to buy them in the first place.