Monday, December 05, 2011

ASL RBCGIII: Stand fast, Comrades! (Prelude)

Note to readers: This post won't make a lick of sense to anyone who isn't familiar with the Advanced Squad Leader game system.

Greetings fellow ASL players!

Dave and I are at it again.  This time the game is RBCGIII.  The big one.

As the game progresses, each of us will maintain a blog correspondence.  We've a Gentleman's Agreement that neither of us will read his opponent's blog until given express permission to do so. 

You can read Dave's blog here.

Readers are encouraged to comment!  Speak your piece! Just be sure not to inadvertently reveal any information about Dave's plan to me or vice-versa. 

Also, I'd be remiss (and have been remiss) in failing to express my gratitude to Rodney Kinney, the designer of the VASL game engine, which is the source of the illustrations Dave and I will use for our blogs.  Thanks, Rodney!  You're a good egg, old bean.

An attempt at balance

Here we go.  Winter is nearly upon us.  And winter is the perfect time to initiate that most engrossing of indoor activities:  a Red Barricades campaign game.

I'll tell ya:  get a fire in the fireplace; your wife and her friends are cookin' in the kitchen; you put on some music; burn a little ganja; then you and your buddy spend the day trading punches on the big RB map...  Folks, that's high-livin' in my book.

I certainly can't remember how many campaign games Dave and I have played over the last 15 or so years, but we must be approaching two dozen by now.  Many hours hunched over the gaming table.

And, as much as we enjoy the campaign games, we've come to the conclusion that none of them, CGI, CGII, or CGIII, is balanced.  In our experience, CGI and CGII are nearly impossible for the Russians to win, while CGIII is unwinnable for the Germans.  (Of course, dear reader, your experiences may differ.  I'd be interested to hear other perspectives.)

So, this time, Dave and I are incorporating some "house rules" into the CGIII campaign to see if we might arrive at a more balanced campaign.  Specifically, we've changed the CG victory conditions and made some modifications to the rules.
CG Victory Conditions:  At the conclusion of any CG day, the German wins if he can draw a continuous perimeter that controls all but 5 stone locations west and north of the M45/U37 road, west of hexrow U, plus Buildings X9 (The Chemist's Shop) and B18 (The Commissar's House). 
All but 5 locations to the left of the line, plus Chemist Shop and Commissar's House
In our experience, the Germans simply do not have enough resources to attain the CGIII Victory Conditions set forth in the ASLRB.  So, rather than require that the Germans control all but 5 stone locations anywhere on the board, we've cut off the easternmost third of the map for victory determination.  And given the vital importance of the Chemist's Shop and Commissar's House, we've also required that the Germans include those buildings within their perimeter.  (I wrote up an explanation of why I think those buildings are important at the beginning of our last campaign game, which you can read here.)

Changes to CG rules

In addition to changing the VC, we're modifying the campaign rules to help the Germans a bit.
  1. Disregard the campaign balance provision.
    In our experience, the Germans nearly always win the first 4 or 5 days of any campaign, thereby invoking the balance for the Russians.  After the first few days, the Russian can pretty much count on 18CPP in the refit phase.  We want to rectify that. 

  2. For CPP replenishment, ignore all modifiers other than the historical modifiers.

  3. No depletion rolls.
    We've decided to forgo depletion rolls for this CG.  All purchases are at full strength.

  4. Armor recall/return.
    We're adopting a rule wherein if a tank platoon is recalled at the end of a CG day, it will return to the battle if the player rolls a "1" during a subsequent Refit Phase.  When a tank platoon returns, it enters as reinforcements and is again subject to recall at the end of that CG day.  If a tank platoon is recalled a second time, it is gone for good.

  5. The Germans replace one Pioneer company for a Sturm company and another Pioneer company for 2 rifle companies in the total forces available.

  6. Stuka reinforcements consist of 2 '42 Stukas with bombs.

  7. Flame-throwing tanks.
    Each player may expend 1CPP in the purchase of a tank platoon in order to exchange one tank in that platoon for its equivalent flame-throwing tank.  The Germans may do this twice in the campaign; the Russians once.  This is a piece of chrome we're adding just for fun.
All of these modifications work to the German advantage, in our estimation.  And it may be that we've gone too far.  Or maybe we haven't gone far enough.  I guess we'll see...

We agreed on all these modifications before determining sides.  That way, we removed any subconscious advocacy for one side or the other.  At least, theoretically.  Once we had it all worked out, we selected sides randomly.

Guess what?  I'm the Reds.  Again.  But that's okay.  I've already got some ideas for nasty traps.  Come on in, Jerry!  We're waiting.

We'll start playing in the next month or so.  Stay tuned...

To be continued...

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