Le Banquet des Généraux

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#1 2007-05-17 09:59:18

Philip Thomas
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From: UK
Registered: 2007-05-16
Posts: 45
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Quibbles

Two small suggestions on the variant rules
1) The Allied player gets 1 VP when he first attacks Berlin. I suggest he should also get this VP if he occupies Berlin without attacking it.
2) you have removed the 'place Trench 1' text from Entrench because it is often used to entrench Serbs and Austrians. I suggest you keep the 'place Trench 1' text, but add a condition :"place a Trench 1 marker in a space containing a German, French, British or Italian army".

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#2 2007-05-17 11:19:14

The Guru
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Registered: 2007-03-07
Posts: 742

Re: Quibbles

Berlin: good idea, I'll fix it

Trenches: the variant "Entrench" now triggers automatic trench 0 conditions on all Western front spaces (+Prussia for the German). So playing the Trench1 to save a crucial location  (allowing to cancel retreat) is no longer necessary since the Trench0 offers that option too.
With the introduction of a new "early" stage of static warfare (the Trench0) I wanted to preserve the gradual improvement of fortification levels - trench0s on all relevant spaces, then 1s and 2s later.
The removal of the "place Trench" option also prevents geographically atypical placements. With the variant, the static war starts on the whole of the Western Front. I wanted to give the players very little control about it, since it is something that happened without any of the belligerents planning it at all. Once  trench warfare was a fait accompli, subsequent fortification of the front (entrenchment rolls) was planned and responded to local military situations.


"It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." General Lee.

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#3 2007-05-17 11:54:49

Philip Thomas
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From: UK
Registered: 2007-05-16
Posts: 45
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Re: Quibbles

Hmm. There is then the problem that there is no non-mutual  advantage to playing 'Entrench'. I suppose the Allied player would be wise to play it to slow down the Germans, but one could easily see neither player playing it for quite some time. Given you've taken away the individual effect of playing the Entrench card, you might consider getting rid of the card altogether and just having the Entrench effects occur immediately at a suitable point (start of September 1914?). Of course, you then need a new card for both sides's mobilisation decks.

edit: Or, keeping the cards, perhaps the card should allow the player to add  -1 counters or  -2 counters (Allies get -1, Cps -2) to three spaces (maybe only 2 spaces for the -2). Thus giving better chance at entrenching when they come to entrench them later. Because you can't entrench in September 1914 the areas with the markers won't develop trenches precociously early...

Last edited by Philip Thomas (2007-05-17 12:04:07)

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#4 2007-05-17 12:49:34

The Guru
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Registered: 2007-03-07
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Re: Quibbles

I believe that even under this symmetric card configuration, a player will choose to play the card when its general effect will be advantageous to his side only (Allied playing it to check the German advance, or CP playing it when Allies initiate  counter-attacks...) And if it benefits one side, it hurts the other. The advantage does not lie  in the effects, they are indeed the same for both, but in the moment it is played.
I see the point in all your suggestions. However, the design policy of the variant was to "limit" the changes to those really unsatisfactory issues, (and even then the original rules underwent a rather important overhaul) and try and preserve a maximum of the game's original structure. There is always room for additional detail, but it has to stop somewhere, and one of the beauties of PoG is its streamlined design. So anything that is not a shocker (from an historical perspective) was kept untouched. It is, after all, a PoG variant, not a new game.


"It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." General Lee.

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#5 2007-05-17 12:53:36

Philip Thomas
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Registered: 2007-05-16
Posts: 45
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Re: Quibbles

Fair enough. One final suggestion: entrenchment happens anyway if entrenchment hasn't been played by Spring 1915. Both players are then stuck with the card.

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#6 2007-05-17 13:48:49

The Guru
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Registered: 2007-03-07
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Re: Quibbles

A good idea, I had thought about it, and have just not included it then because practically a player under pressure would always end up playing the card early enough (and it was not easy to insert it in the structure of the PoG rules, because it had to be "remembered"). But definitely a sensible home rule...


"It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." General Lee.

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#7 2007-05-17 13:55:42

Philip Thomas
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From: UK
Registered: 2007-05-16
Posts: 45
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Re: Quibbles

I have seen games (using the normal rules, obviously) where Entrench was not played until well into 1916. Anyway I will probably keep the Spring 1915 deadline as a house rule. If the rule is never needed there is no harm in having it, and if it is needed then I think its a good idea.

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#8 2007-05-21 12:52:53

Klaus Knechtskern
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Registered: 2007-05-21
Posts: 8

Re: Quibbles

Philip Thomas wrote:

I have seen games (using the normal rules, obviously) where Entrench was not played until well into 1916.

Disaster for the Germans...

Strasbourg vulnerable and Budapest open for the Russian onslaught

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#9 2007-05-21 21:07:35

Philip Thomas
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From: UK
Registered: 2007-05-16
Posts: 45
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Re: Quibbles

Well, in the hands of a good allied player it might well have been. However, as the Allied player was yours truly, the Germans were doing quite well. They had pulled the 7th Army back to Strasbourg, and I didn't push the Russians as far as Budapest. My memory of the details is fading, though.

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#10 2007-05-21 22:25:53

The Guru
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Registered: 2007-03-07
Posts: 742

Re: Quibbles

Note that in the variant, Strasbourg starts with a Tr1, as in Ted Raicer's later historical set up.
What was in his mind when he initially chose to put a Trench in Brussels and leave Strasbourg open, I don't know hmm


"It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." General Lee.

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#11 2007-05-23 09:13:08

Klaus Knechtskern
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Registered: 2007-05-21
Posts: 8

Re: Quibbles

The Guru wrote:

What was in his mind when he initially chose to put a Trench in Brussels and leave Strasbourg open, I don't know hmm

I think that is a very elegant way to encourage some Plan XVII like operation. Elegant DFE without additional rules.

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#12 2007-05-23 13:53:59

The Guru
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Registered: 2007-03-07
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Re: Quibbles

Hmmmm... I'm always very sceptical when it comes to "Design for Effect". I think it's a bit of a rag-bag justification, when nothing better comes up. It was served to me as a very unconvincing explanation for the "Bulgarians on the Nile" question...
Why not give the Turks on the Caucasus huge attack factors to invite the player to replicate Enver Pasha's offensives? Couldn't The Serbs  be reduced to token forces to represent AH gross overconfidence and encourage offensive action? German 8th Army too could be shrunk to a corps to convince the Russians to advance into Prussia. And so on...
The game is supposed to be an historical simulation , not an expression of the High Commands' delusion of grandeur (which, on top of that, was generally  antinomical with the delusion of grandeur of the enemy. It's a cul-de-sac).
The fact that the French HOPED to sweep through Strasbourg didn't make it any more vulnerable!(Under this logic, Metz and Mulhouse shouldn't have any Trench either).
The Mandated Offensive  exists in PoG and adequately represents these hopeless offensives. In my variant, I have used this mechanism to represent Plan XVII, and Tannenberg

And it doesn't tell me what the hell is that Trench doing in Brussels...

If DFE is the answer, then it's not a satisfying one at all...hmm


"It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." General Lee.

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#13 2007-05-23 20:19:07

Philip Thomas
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From: UK
Registered: 2007-05-16
Posts: 45
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Re: Quibbles

How is Bulgarians on the Nile Design for effect? The player is encouraged to deploy Bulgarians to the Middle East, which replicates the historical, erm, what exactly?

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#14 2007-05-23 20:51:26

The Guru
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Registered: 2007-03-07
Posts: 742

Re: Quibbles

The "Bulgarians in the Near East" thing was presented as German efforts focussed on helping Turkey rather than Bulgaria, thus the transferral of forces.
Very wonky in my opinion.


"It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." General Lee.

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#15 2007-05-24 11:00:08

Klaus Knechtskern
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Registered: 2007-05-21
Posts: 8

Re: Quibbles

The Guru wrote:

The game is supposed to be an historical simulation
And it doesn't tell me what the hell is that Trench doing in Brussels...

If DFE is the answer, then it's not a satisfying one at all...hmm

In my opinion it is at first supposed to be a game.

The simulation is only secondary. I know that DFE looks quirky and might feel quirky, but especially with CDG you have to make these sort of abstraction, otherwise the system becomes utterly complex, which combined with the card distribution mutation can yield weird effects. It is difficult if you expect something else.

btw. Ted had stated that Brussels  also includes Mons which could explain that.


How is Bulgarians on the Nile Design for effect? The player is encouraged to deploy Bulgarians to the Middle East, which replicates the historical, erm, what exactly?

I prefer to deploy German Corps there, however that depends on the board situation if you are able to do so.

Last edited by Klaus Knechtskern (2007-05-24 11:00:40)

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#16 2007-05-24 13:26:57

The Guru
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Registered: 2007-03-07
Posts: 742

Re: Quibbles

The simulation is only secondary.

Well, humbly said, as a wargamer I don't consider simulation to be secondary. That's why I play Paths of Glory and not Stratego tongue
I still believe that the distinctive feature of a great game is a successful synthetic, user-friendly, fluid system whose level of abstraction not not produce exaggerated unrealism or incoherence. Twilight Struggle is a great example.

Ted had stated that Brussels  also includes Mons which could explain that.

Gosh! The BEF is already grossly overestimated! Just because it enjoyed a defensive success against the Germans doesn't mean it deserves a Trench!
On top of that, as I mentioned in the rationale of the setup changes, Mons is halfway between Brussels and Cambrai, so it screens Cambrai and not Brussels. The map I have inserted is quite explicit: http://home.scarlet.be/applejuice/banquet/map2.jpg


"It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." General Lee.

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#17 2007-05-24 13:45:21

Klaus Knechtskern
Member
Registered: 2007-05-21
Posts: 8

Re: Quibbles

The Guru wrote:

The simulation is only secondary.

Well, humbly said, as a wargamer I don't consider simulation to be secondary. That's why I play Paths of Glory and not Stratego tongue
I still believe that the distinctive feature of a great game is a successful synthetic, user-friendly, fluid system whose level of abstraction not not produce exaggerated unrealism or incoherence. Twilight Struggle is a great example.

If I play POG I want to have fun and don´t care for some abstractions. If its for simulation you need a much more complex system not of the CDG kind....

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#18 2007-06-02 12:33:07

Vinci
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Registered: 2007-03-15
Posts: 275

Re: Quibbles

coming back to trenches...

Timing of strategy is what drives the play of the card now - not tactical entrench use on a single point (my prefered use was entrenching Russians in Insterburg, sadly missed nowadays:P)

Allied player will tend to use it to slow down advancing german the moment he is not rushed off his feet meeting super-emergencies. CP to consolidate his advance when he thinks he has stretched his lead west as far as he can go.

Overall this means a later play than previous, but by first winter this will generally have happened. Pretty historical too right?


Die unmittelbare Folge davon ist, dass man die moeglichst groesste Zahl von Truppen auf den entscheidenden Punkt ins Gefecht bringen muesse. ... Dies ist der erste Grundsatz in der Strategie. - Von Clausewitz (1832)

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#19 2007-06-02 18:14:46

Philip Thomas
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From: UK
Registered: 2007-05-16
Posts: 45
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Re: Quibbles

Yeah, I need to play this variant. Have failed to get any joy designing it on ACTS though, even a basic version with just the names of the cards and whether they are Mobilisation, Limited War or Total is beyond me. It would be possible to play using the existing module if you returned some Mobilisation starred events to the Limited and Total War decks and 'pretended' they were the extra events in this variant, but that would be quite awkward and the cards wouldn't be worded right.

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