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BAR Episode 10! 
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http://www.boltaction.net/2013/05/bolt- ... de-10.html

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Mon May 13, 2013 12:38 pm
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well actually....

attacker and defender lists were allowed at cancon January 2013 (as far as i am aware the world first BA tourney), so that is old news. Since cancon

i have run:
2 x 1 day events.

attended
a 2 day event.
a 1 day event

i am running wintercon aka Winter assault in July. so far we have 14 players registered. i have also been contacted by con org's to run a 2 day event in October. Also with cancon 2014 we are expected to get well over 20 players. I also run a great facebook group that has over a 100 members.

so when i say the following i feel that i may have a point of view on the matter of BA tourneys.

I have put restrictions into my events and indeed these restrictions have been taken up by other event orgs here. BA is a great game but people been people some feel the need to bring the most OP list in order to win. i have been striving to make events here in OZ as friendly whilst reaming competitive. some restrictions are needed. Not so to spoil peoples fun but to make sure that “that guy” does not show up with a list that makes people not want to play him. i basically have stop posting here after your last pod cast where it was said (paraphrasing) people who use restrictions in tournaments don’t know what they are doing.

at cancon we had a player show up with a 5 flamer list. I turned that list away. as it turned out no matter what list this guy used he was still a chore to play. arguementive etc. but that is the nature of the player not the game. a good game lasts the time its been played, a bad game lasts all weekend,

My aim for tournaments is to make it a event were people want to come along knowing that they should be playing against strong but fair lists.

At Winter Assualt 4 out 5 games are objective based. Envolpmnet and top secret are a bad choice for tournements. but i can only go on what players told me at the end of the event.

My two cents worth. (rage thread is rage.)


Mon May 13, 2013 11:11 pm
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I didn't detect any rage. You made your valid points calmly, bro. No probs.

I am sorry to see you leave, and won't deny that your absence on the forum has been noticed. Sucks.

It sometimes feels like I'm saying this more than I should, but opinions get expressed at The BAR. It's safe to say I'm the "moderate" one on the 'cast, trying to keep things as neutral and vanilla as possible, but obviously we can't keep everybody happy, and I definitely won't apologize for opinions being expressed on a complete opinion-based podcast. It's sad to see you go, and I hope others don't follow your example of leaving because something was said that you disagree with - but c'mon man! One lil' disagreement is gonna' run you off?

It's good to hear that the scene you're creating down there is thriving. It's a shame that we all can't come check it out.

I'm still not house ruling BA, though. Your sense of fairness and fun doesn't define everyone's sense of the same, any more than one player's sense of what's historical jives with every other player's. It just gets slippery when you start making little changes.


Tue May 14, 2013 3:14 am
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Another good episode!

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Tue May 14, 2013 8:45 am
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Man its a hard call between fairness and historical - hats off to you qman for trying to strike that balance!
in fact its a three handed call, one you have the list, two you have fairness, three you have history
the ying and yang of things means what you give to one is taking from the other so i guess either way someones going to be pissed!!!
myself i tend to go down the historical route, if you had it - you can have it! Its WW2 not some balanced fantasy overpriced crumbly resin game - its history and its real!!!
all that said while I like the gesture of the selector's im not overly pleased with them honestly why list an in service date for a unit and then include it only one selector that covers barely 6 months??? but then we digress into "but this unit had that many AR's" arguments
so its a tough call - I will be sad if you dont stick around as another Aussie on the forums is always a good thing!

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Tue May 14, 2013 10:28 am
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I really enjoyed this episode lots of great opinions and Ideas tossed around.


Tue May 14, 2013 12:23 pm
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qman,

I've no experience with BA tourneys yet but I’ve been running FoW tournaments, with some fairly significant restrictions, for years. Even with those restrictions, my events always fill up.

My philosophy has always been its up to the event organizer to do what he feels is best. So long as expectations are managed and people know upfront how it will work, there should be no issue. You as the event organizer have to be motivated to pull off a good event and to stay motivated you have to run the kind of event you want to run.

When I get some chaff about my events, I always thank the potential participants for their input and tell them those are some great thoughts and that I’ll be happy to show up and play at their event that they might run in the future using those ideas. But at the event that I sacrifice my time and effort to organize and run it’s got to be something that’s in line with my vision for how the games should look/feel.

So make no apologies and I thank you for running events, promoting the game, and sacrificing your time and effort to create positive BA gaming experiences for others.

Also… disengaging from here? Dude... you should be even more engaged now to continue to share your perspective. No need to feel put off because Danno and Judson have different views. My views are like yours on this issue, so that’s why I’m adding my 2 cents worth now. But I’m in no way discouraged from participating here because I have different views. That’s what good forums really are all about…discussing different perspectives!

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Tue May 14, 2013 1:27 pm
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Any tournament organiser can of course do as they please and that's absolutely fine.Players will attend or not for a whole number of reasons and potential list-restrictions are well down the list.

However if it came across that I was saying that organisers 'don't know what they're doing' if they impose additional restrictions, then I'm sorry because that wasn't what I meant at all. Clearly people who impose restrictions know exactly why they're imposing them and I for one can see exactly why it's sometimes felt necessary.

To be clear, my point with regard to tournament-imposed restrictions on lists was that if they're felt necessary it's a flaw in the way tournament lists are presented withing the rules and supplements.

Now it's inevitable within any points-based list system that offers a very wide variety of combinations and choices across an increasing number of army lists that some combinations will end up being more powerful than others. This is exacerbated my any mistakes in points cost for any units or unit upgrades relative to their in-game performance. This is unfortunate but it's very hard to get away from.

However if we start imposing restrictions too early in a game's tournament life, we're not necessarily giving things a fair go. People's perception is certainly that some scenarios are bad for tournaments and that some units are overpowered/underpowered. But they may not in fact be correct (I think some things are, and I know many people who agree with me, but others dissent: who is correct? We can only know through wider play and through wider discussion and analysis -- but more play is the key thing).

It's one reason why I think the first step on the road should be to insist that people choose a list from a theatre selector, not the generic one from their list. It is true that there are one or two selectors that allow spamming of certain units that many people think overpowered. The classic example would be the German Stalingrad selector where you could spam infantry flamethrowers quite handily (and some of the 1945 Soviet Selectors can do likewise). Yet the supporting options for that list are very limited indeed. And there's very little difference between a generic flamethrower spam list and a Stalingrad one save that in the latter I can't bring two vehicles with flamethrowers too.

Now insisting on a theatre selector won't of course 'cure' the flamethrower problem, and imposing a limit on them is a fast, simple and very straightforward fix. Not unreasonable or unreasoned in any way. My concern though is that fixes one potential problem in the game and so moves the 'power maximiser' onto the next best unit or gun to maximise. It to my mind shifts the problem onto something else.

Is hmg-spam next to be restricted? Recce?

I just think it's a shame that tournament organisers feel the (justifiable) need to balance the game by imposing restrictions over and above the selectors to try and correct the inherent deficiencies of the selectors.

But, and I just throw this out there, if we got away from the mindset (and I do not by any means say that all tournament players or organisers suffer from this, more just that it's a very historic thing in the wargaming world) that the overall tournament winner got the biggest prize and instead offered a range of roughly equal value prizes over a host of categories (one of which was perhaps overall winner), then potentially winning the tournament would be less important in people's minds than participating. Let me reiterate, most people (I hope nearly everyone) do just go to participate and have a good time. But as long as first place is dangling the biggest carrot, there will always be a greater impetus towards players bringing lists that might be termed abusive.

It's hard though because nobody wants to see tournaments ruined by unhistorical-looking lists fielding unlikely numbers of specific unit types that are less enjoyable to play against than they might be. However I hope nobody would want a historic list well suited to BA's theme (and here I think for instance of an LRDG list very heavy on recce and hmgs) prohibited, or indeed perhaps a list closely modelled on a pioneer company.

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Tue May 14, 2013 2:02 pm
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Ok I have played in one tournament and have a small group of people that play this game in my area. So my exposure to these "OP" lists has been limited. We play friendly games in my small group and I have not found a list I think to be "OP".

For as long as I can remember in my gaming career I have loved infantry armies (this is why I love the BA game it is focused on infantry). In 40K I played Imperial Guard, In Flames of War it is Russian conscript infantry or Reluctant Vet British infantry companies. In my first BA tourney my platoon had 5 platoons of 8 infantry and only one vehicle a Morris Quad Tractor to two my AT gun around. I found my list had no problem dealing with the three opponents I played. Although the 2 105mm German guns scared the poop out of me. LOL

This being said could not all the problems be solved of restricting lists by saying:
1. you must use an theater selector for your army.
2. you may only use one platoon.

Those two simple thing, well within the design of the game help to limit most of the these "OP" lists will it not? Ok HMG jeep spam list will still be possible. But if you need to win the game that bad, just buy me a beer I will give you the win and we can drink for two hours instead of ending up hating each other after two hours.

Just the opinion of a guy you loves to play with lots of infantry and have fun!

MikeP


Tue May 14, 2013 3:27 pm
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I don't think all the perceived problems would be solved by enforcing theatre selectors with just one platoon, but it's certainly one effective way of limiting supporting units, especially vehicles.

The main thing I'd have against that is that the force selector rules are pretty definite that as many reinforced platoons as points allow may be chosen. But on the whole I'd prefer it to a blanket restriction on certain unit or weapon types as it's a more 'across the board' restriction.

I also agree that the much-feared spam armies have yet to appear in many places. But as the army books grow in number and as tournaments and tournament-goers increase, it's certainly possible that they'll become more prevalent and then quite possibly seep into the casual gaming experience (I rather dislike the term 'friendly games' for non-tournament play as it, unintentionally, implies tournament games are unfriendly and my own experience is that one's as or more likely to run into an objectionable opponent in a local gaming shop or at a club night as at a tournament).

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Tue May 14, 2013 3:39 pm
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I agree with Mike in certain aspects. While the Theater selections may not be 100% needed, I fully believe for tournament play that you should be limited to 1 platoon.

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Tue May 14, 2013 4:21 pm
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Presumably in order to restrict support options and, especially, non-transport vehicles?

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Tournament Record - SS: W - 9, D - 4, L - 5; LRDG: W - 16, D - 9, L - 11

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Tue May 14, 2013 4:26 pm
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Good episode.

I don't particularly like the restriction of multiple platoons, because I like the idea of taking two mortars and two MMG's for my soviets, and eschewing vehicles completely. However, I can see trying to cut down on some spam, especially flamethrowers, but I don't know if that will help all that much with the Soviets anyway.

Besides the Brits are going to win everything now that they are totally OP! Blood Curdling charge my @$$, no unit with hard cover and great field of fire is going to be so scared that they don't shoot the hell out of these guys charging through open terrain. It should have been named Suicide Charge, with the Brits take twice the casualties from Reactive Fire. ;) The more books that come out, the less I like the National rules. They are kind of like special characters if you ask me, and not needed.


Tue May 14, 2013 5:50 pm
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Gurkhas are pretty nice and a steal at 14 points (someone else's crack pipe white-hot at the business end, methinks).

But if theatre-selectors are enforced would be at least reasonably limited because you'd have to take two Chindit or two regular squads before taking any Gurkha ones. With one generic platoon enforced there's little reason not to take 35-40 or so rifle-armed Gurkhas in 5 squads.

Your point is one reason why I don't much care for only allowing one platoon per force, but I do see the other side that says the alternative is to restrict certain units (and the problems there being: which? to how many? and where does it end?)

Quote:
The more books that come out, the less I like the National rules. They are kind of like special characters if you ask me, and not needed.


Here I do disagree though. I love the national rules as they provide a lot of flavour, but I do think some of them (eg F&M, Initiative Training, Up and at 'em, Bombardment) might be looked at again, and not necessarily because they're overpowered, sometimes the reverse.

No to special characters in BA though. Ever. Here we think as one.

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Listen to the Down Order Podcast

Tournament Record - SS: W - 9, D - 4, L - 5; LRDG: W - 16, D - 9, L - 11

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Tue May 14, 2013 5:55 pm
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Oh no, no no. One platoon?

Sorry as a Soviet player I would hate that, and not because of Armoured vehicles.
That would cut my basic infantry to 5 squads (well 6 with the free one).
Since it is rare that I play veteran squads you would force me into a style of play I don't much care for.
I believe the early soviet lists can not even take vets, I have not got the new book so I may be wrong about that.
Anyway, Theater selections are fine, if not a perfect way to control abusive list building.

The one point qman brought up I feel is telling,hoping to make the tourney more enjoyable he disallowed a list with too many flamer throwers.
The problem was though, the player was still there and took the joy out of the games.
True he didn't reward him for being an asshat with his list, but didn't stop him from being 'that guy'.

I gave my reasons why I feel that comp is a bad idea before and will not go over it again.
This is your tourney, you are the one putting the time effort and cost into making it work for you and your players.
That is never easy and should be applauded.
I wish you luck.

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Tue May 14, 2013 6:02 pm
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Maybe just limit 1 AFV and 1 Armored Car then?

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Tue May 14, 2013 6:06 pm
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Quote:
The problem was though, the player was still there and took the joy out of the games.


Now that's a very interesting point: is it the player and not the list that is essentially the problem when it comes to 'power gaming' or whatever one may wish to call it?

Quote:
Maybe just limit 1 AFV and 1 Armored Car then?


So it's just, or mainly, vehicles you think are the problem?

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Listen to the Down Order Podcast

Tournament Record - SS: W - 9, D - 4, L - 5; LRDG: W - 16, D - 9, L - 11

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Tue May 14, 2013 6:07 pm
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UberGruber wrote:
Now that's a very interesting point: is it the player and not the list that is essentially the problem when it comes to 'power gaming' or whatever one may wish to call it?

Yes, at least that has been my experence. Some years ago I saw some 40k tourneys get battered by some 'win at all costs' type of players.
It started to have a negative effect on the tourney, the TO then tried a Comp system.
Well, it did stop some of the 'powergamers' and they stopped going to the tourney.
Sadly though, the ones that stayed became even worse in their behavior.
They would look for loopholes, would be argumentive, poor sports and resort to outright cheating.
It was horrible and I really felt bad for the TO, he did every thing he could think off to save the event and ended up getting blamed (at the time) for ruining the tourney.

In the following years, comp was dropped, better scoring systems were used and peer pressure was put on the misbehaving players.
Many found it hard to find people willing to play with them, One very infamous example was banned from almost all local events and stores.

Granted it was a slow change but the community can push the positive and make the events fun again.

Right now in my local group and what I see in the forums I already see a mature and positive attitude around Bolt Action.
Part of that is an elegant( ok simple) rule set and well balanced armies.

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Tue May 14, 2013 6:40 pm
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UberGruber wrote:
Quote:
The problem was though, the player was still there and took the joy out of the games.


Now that's a very interesting point: is it the player and not the list that is essentially the problem when it comes to 'power gaming' or whatever one may wish to call it?

Quote:
Maybe just limit 1 AFV and 1 Armored Car then?


So it's just, or mainly, vehicles you think are the problem?


I think you just called it correctly. I am trying to find a solution to "power gamers" and min-maxers from just list building experience. Game wise everything I've played has been fun and balanced, but I see very gamey lists out there and want to stop it some how as I feel it would ruin the fun and most importantly, turn new players away from the game.

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Tue May 14, 2013 6:58 pm
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That's another excellent point: the more the tournament organiser imposes restrictions aimed at increasing fairness, the more he potentially opens himself to accusations of bias, or indeed (and much worse) ends up unintentionally promoting undesireable behavior rather than restricting it.

I must say I'm all for people bringing lists that are reasonable historically speaking (though one man's historical can easily be another man's unhistorical) and (much more importantly) are played in the right spirit. I've been utterly crushed in some other games by people with nasty lists and yet thoroughly enjoyed myself and yet won comfortably against other people who brought rather tame lists (in game terms) and yet insisted on rules-laywering (often incorrectly) on anything that went against them or worked in a way that they thought was to their immediate disadvantage. These latter cases have universally been in pick-up games with relative strangers at local clubs or shops with gaming facilities, never at a tournament (where the worst I've had is a feeling of slight unease at an opponent's attitude, it's never been blatantly poor).

In an ideal world in my view the theatre selectors would have done a better job at imposing historical reasonableness and the unit listings would have done more to disadvantage certain historical units that had a poor track record (eg the early Soviet flamethrower tanks and to a slightly lesser extent the Flammpanzer III), or the rules themselves would have modelled certain weapons more reasonably. However as that hasn't happened we now are faced with what is to my mind one of three more or less undesireable alternatives:

1) allowing lists restricted only by those imposed by the army book generic list or (better) theatre selectors.

2) letting every tournament organiser decide for himself what is and is not allowable (which is very likely what we will end up with and which may be the lesser of all evils but is not without considerable disadvantages also)

3) as 1) but relying on an appeal to tournament-goers to bring 'historically appropriate' lists, with all the subjectivity that drags along with it.

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Listen to the Down Order Podcast

Tournament Record - SS: W - 9, D - 4, L - 5; LRDG: W - 16, D - 9, L - 11

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Tue May 14, 2013 7:11 pm
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Quote:
I see very gamey lists out there and want to stop it some how as I feel it would ruin the fun and most importantly, turn new players away from the game


Can I ask (and purely in the spirit of inquiry, not to try and catch you out or anything, I think we advance things by discussion, not trying to catch each other out), would you consider this list gamey:

1 x Veteran 1st Lt, 1 Veteran: 2 x smg
1 x Veteran 2nd Lt: smg
1 x Regular Artillery Observer
4 x 5 Veterans: 5 x rifles
2 x Veteran 30cwt Truck: hmg
3 x Veteran LRDG Truck: mmg, hmg
3 x Veteran SAS Jeep: hmg, mmg, 2 x lmg

Because while I can see it has a certain gamey aspect, it's also a fairly reasonable (bar maybe the squads that are imposed by the selector, which is probably a necessary 'fudge') approximation to a raiding desert column of 1943.

I know it has a lot of recce vehicles (but although I think recce is a great ability, I think it offers diminishing returns when more than 2 such vehicles are taken) and hmgs, but it's also fairly fragile in that its real hitting power is concentrated in softskin vehicles.

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Some bugger is shooting on my target! - Major Lord Roborough, 'C' Squadron, Royal Scots Greys, 1942.

Listen to the Down Order Podcast

Tournament Record - SS: W - 9, D - 4, L - 5; LRDG: W - 16, D - 9, L - 11

Thinking men use Easy Army


Tue May 14, 2013 7:20 pm
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UberGruber wrote:
Quote:
I see very gamey lists out there and want to stop it some how as I feel it would ruin the fun and most importantly, turn new players away from the game


Can I ask (and purely in the spirit of inquiry, not to try and catch you out or anything, I think we advance things by discussion, not trying to catch each other out), would you consider this list gamey:

1 x Veteran 1st Lt, 1 Veteran: 2 x smg
1 x Veteran 2nd Lt: smg
1 x Regular Artillery Observer
4 x 5 Veterans: 5 x rifles
2 x Veteran 30cwt Truck: hmg
3 x Veteran LRDG Truck: mmg, hmg
3 x Veteran SAS Jeep: hmg, mmg, 2 x lmg

Because while I can see it has a certain gamey aspect, it's also a fairly reasonable (bar maybe the squads that are imposed by the selector, which is probably a necessary 'fudge') approximation to a raiding desert column of 1943.

I know it has a lot of recce vehicles (but although I think recce is a great ability, I think it offers diminishing returns when more than 2 such vehicles are taken) and hmgs, but it's also fairly fragile in that its real hitting power is concentrated in softskin vehicles.


Absolutely! One man's idea of "gamey" is another's historically perfect, and this is a good example of it. I think it stems from a mix of a rule set in it's infancy causing this issue.

While I think that list has a great history behind it, I see it as gamey, and here are the reasons why.

You have several Recce units in the list, and I view recce as not quite balanced yet, so it is exploiting it to a maximum. The simple fact it can fire, then get fired at and still retreat to potentially avoid taking damage. Recce retreats should IMO be limited to vehicles that have not fired that turn, similar to FoW, to prevent a group of jeeps such as yours from turning a corner, firing upon a unit and causing hits/pins/casualties, and then upon receiving return fire, withdrawing without a hit back due to the recce retreat.

Secondly, the HMGs on the jeeps are able to apply pins to AFVs where they cannot possible score a damaging roll. IMO if a weapon system cannot potentially damage an AFV then it should not be able to apply a pin, so being able to spam out several HMGs in an army list on one AFV could cause it to run when it had no ability to damage it in the first place. Could be a balancing mechanic but I feel as though it takes away people's ability to use their toys.

Now alone both of these issues are manageable to a degree, even though I do not like the way the rules work for them; it is when they are combine such as this list where it can heavily be exploited.

As for my idea of limiting Armored Cars and AFVs in a min-maxing fashion comes from the 6 VFT list or the 4 5 man rifle platoons supported by an IS-2 and OT-34.

I suppose it is more the fact that Bolt Action to me was an infantry platoon level of combat with occasional AVT usage, but I slowly see it changing. I suppose I am trying to avoid it becoming a 28mm Flames of War game, and certain aspects of the game can change the original concept of the game.

Does this make sense?

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Tue May 14, 2013 7:44 pm
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Makes sense entirely. Yet it's actually a list I'd love to run (and I've seen similar lists that have more Orders dice through running Regular vehicles, which is something I can actually see as fair enough too as in the early days the LDG wasn't always too impressive in its performances).

Now I have a whole raft of 'balancing' rules fixes that would include limiting the pinning effect of AT weapons upon vehicles they can't hurt (and conversely of pintel-mounted hmgs to fire without counting their tank as open-topped) and a host of other things, including your excellent adjustment to the recce rule. Yet here we are stuck with a flawed but fairly workable and very 'fun' rulesset that has two excellent underlying base mechanics.

So what about this, which unlike the desert list runs on only one reinforced platoon and could easily be fielded from a generic selector. It's also pretty solidly based on a motorised platoon of the Westland regiment in 1943 (who had an early and pretty substantial allocation of assault rifles to test) -- and they had flamethrowers assigned at platoon level as well as two additional ones at company level that could obviously be 'loaned' to the platoon). I'd say it'd be drawn from the aufklarungs-abeitlung with the tank a divisional asset in support. It's legal both as a Kharkov theatre selector and a generic list:

Veteran First Lieutenant + 1 Veteran: 2 x smg
Veteran NCO + 7 Veterans: 8 x assault rifles
Veteran NCO + 6 Veterans: 7 x assault rifles
Veteran NCO + 5 Veterans: 5 x smg, flamethrower
Veteran Flamethrower Team: flamethrower
Veteran Anti-Tank Rifle Team: anti-tank rifle
Regular Sd. Kfz. 231 8-RAD: light autocannon, coaxial mmg
Regular Flammpanzer III: flamethrower, coaxial mmg, hull mmg
Regular Truck: mmg
Regular Truck: mmg
Regular Heavy Field Car

Here of course I have lots of assault rifles in two pretty big squads (but no shifty insertion of tokenriflemen to remove as casualties, plus three flamethrowers and two close-topped armoured vehicles one of which is a recce). Although with what I'd regard as as solid a historical base as one could wish for without being (to my taste) rather bland in unit choice, it has been chosen with a specific eye to competing in all missions as well as possible. I'd actually prefer to play it in a tournament setting than the desert one. but what do you think? (and again, please be fearlessly honest because what people's takes on this sort of thing are will, I think, ultimately determine where the game ends up).

Quote:
As for my idea of limiting Armored Cars and AFVs in a min-maxing fashion comes from the 6 VFT list or the 4 5 man rifle platoons supported by an IS-2 and OT-34.


Yeah. The fact that the former list (maybe the latter too) is legally fieldable is my main beef with the selectors. I mean did they not even begin to consider vehicle costs in the wider scheme of things beyond applying the points formula and saying 'job done, move on'?

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Tue May 14, 2013 8:15 pm
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Location: Tulalip, WA (n. of Everett)
Thats the thing, those are very historial lists , not to mention cinamatic.
I think both would be tough, but also a blast to play against.
Neither would be an auto win, just solid.

I agree with Ubers point that mutiple Recce vehicle are not stronger, in order for recce to be used effectively they need to get their orders off before the opponent.

Nothing is worse for a recce than to be shot at and forced to escape before they can give an order, their dice for is pulled and they go down for the rest of the turn.
You lose a dice and can't do anything that turn, yes you may save that vehicle but leave the others in vunerable postions , both recce and normal.

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Tue May 14, 2013 8:24 pm
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I am of the view a tournament organiser can do what he want to do. Who cares? Theres no world title to be the Queen of Bolt Action. Or is there?

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Tue May 14, 2013 10:14 pm
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