Home Forums General Game Design Action economy in WWII game

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #93541
    Avatar photoRetroboom

    I’m hoping that maybe you guys can help me through an issue I’ve been working through recently.

    A potential issue in my WWII home-brew is that platoons are activated with points randomly generated for each player at the beginning of a turn. As with many “activation point” games, this means that some units will probably activate more often than others.

    This issue is that larger units are more action efficient than smaller ones, since a point activates the entire platoon (usually). This is most noticeable with tank platoons, as some are often exponentially larger than others (say, 5 vs 1 or 2).

    I’m first just curious on people feelings about this idea. For example, are large units better? Why did some platoons have 5 tanks and others have 1?

    Secondly, do you have any particular suggestions on how I might adjust the system? I’ve considered some more obvious variations but none of them seem particularly effective or clever.

    I’ve also considered how this shows up in IABSM as well (though to a much lesser degree) as a flipped card determines which platoon activates next, and again some platoons are much larger than others and all activate on the single flip, and the Tea Break card means that random units will activate more often than others.

    All thoughts shared are appreciated. Thanks! 😀


    Richmond, VA. Let's play!

    Avatar photoThaddeus Blanchette

    Give each platoon an activation number based on size: it costs that many points to activate. You can add or subtract points to this cost based on army quality. Roll or choose chits with each activation to add points to your pool. One of the chits is a “turn over” chit.

    Player A picks a chit from the bag and adds that number to his activation point total (give him a little colored wooden block for each point). Make clumsy armies, like early war Soviets, have big units which cost alot to activate. Meanwhile, more agile and trained armies have smaller units which cost little to activate.

    So, a typical Soviet unit: ten tanks, activation cost 11AP. A German tank company would be two three tank units and one four tank unit, all with 3AP.

    Any time a player has enough AP, he can activate all the units he can pay for. Thus you have to decide if you want your units to go in dribs and drabs or in a cohesive mass.

    This handily recreates unit flexibility. Plus, you can use leaders or heros to reduce AP costs.

    How much AP should be on each chit is something you’ll have to playtest, but I suggest three average to start. And you can toss random event chits into the activation bag, too, and these can be tailored according to the scenario.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    Avatar photoMartinR

    Irl larger units are often worse as they are harder to command and blunder around in big clumps offering themselves as juicy targets! In a point based activation game, I really wouldn’t worry too much though, some units are better than others but if you keep activating the same units over and over they are going to suffer more losses etc.

    Irl 5 tank platoons were often designed to operate in two sections of two plus an HQ, whereas three tank platoons operated homogenously.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    An activation-based mechanisms often implicitly assumes that all units are roughly equal in “power”. Otherwise, what stops me from activating my platoon of King Tigers over and over again?

    So, either make your units roughly equal in size, or assign different activation points to each. Another trick might be to make it harder to activate a unit again, by making subsequent activations gradually harder (costing more points). That means some sort of bookkeeping, which needs to be reset at various intervals.

    Avatar photoThaddeus Blanchette

    Wrt repeatedly activating the same unit, either don’t allow it (i.e.each unit only activates once per turn), or give it a “quality number” it has to roll below to activate subsequent times. You spend the AP and roll. If it doesn’t activate, you are out the AP.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    Avatar photoTerrainShed

    If the turn lasts 30 seconds or a minute or some finite amount, then as stated above each unit should only act once per turn, although perhaps the player might be permitted to choose the unit once he has gained an activation.

    There was this post a while back, which if memory serves was a neat way of making it harder to tear the arse out of repeat activation.

    Enjoy your gardening

    Les & Alison

    Avatar photogrizzlymc

    TFL’s Big Men solve this problem.  The assumption is that, without a leader, troops will perform a limited range of activities at the end of the turn.  With a leader, troops will start to do the hard stuff, preferably inside the enemy’s decision loop.  Depending on the rule set leaders can have more or less cards in the deck or have the ability to make more or less activations in the turn.

    So, large platoons of tanks might have a platoon commander who can activate the entire platoon for movement, or half the platoon for fire, then movement, and a platoon sergeant who can activate his half platoon for fire or movement.

    A smaller platoon may have a better or worse big man who might be able to do three activations for the platoon, or perhaps only one.

    Avatar photoRetroboom

    Thanks for the insight, guys. TFL’s Big Men is my favorite part of their games and I wish I new of a fitting way to implement a similar effect into my game, but haven’t hit upon it yet.

    As a bit more explanation, in my rules a point is spent to activate a single team (be it fireteam, gun crew or vehicle) but if a platoon leader team is activated, they can then activate any of their teams in their unit that they have line of sight to. Vehicles with radios do not require LoS, but those without do. Also, teams may only move or shoot when activated, and if shooting, must al target the same enemy team or any within 6″ of that team. So if not every team that a leader activates has LoS to the same targets, they won’t all be able to fire with that same activation point.

    The balance was supposed to come from the fact that hit on enemy were distributed to all enemy teams with 6″ of the target, so you’re incentivized to spread out where you can, which in turn can lead to less effective activations with large units. However, this hasn’t been terribly effective in forcing interesting decisions or reducing effectiveness of large unit’s combine firepower.

    Perhaps another thing to consider in simply reducing the radius of distributed hits to maybe 4″. This would not only make it easier to benefit from spreading out, but also make mass shooting less effective as there will often be fewer  effected targets per shooting action.

    One smallish change I started experimenting with around the same time as my original post, was adjusting the break condition for forces. Originally the break point was the same for both players based on the total number of units brought by all players. I’m playing now where the break total is not only independent per player, where each unit brought adds to the break total needed for the force to route, but also that higher quality units add more points than lower quality ones. This is another way for me to represent number and distribution of quality leaders in a force. You can have a unit of 10 t34’s but depending on the scenario they may be conscripts that only add 1 to your starting break point, but perhaps they’re facing 3 units of 3 panzer IV’s with elite crews, each adding 3 to the german sides break point.

    Anyway, keep me posted on your further thoughts and I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Thanks! 😀

    Richmond, VA. Let's play!

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.