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Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
01-05-2020, 03:06 AM, (This post was last modified: 01-05-2020, 03:19 AM by Mowgli.)
#1
Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
Please excuse me if this topic has been discussed before. 

What's the community's overall opinion on drawing the opponent's opportunity fire actions with "cheap" units (recon, choppers) before closing in to deal a decisive blow with the main combat units? Is this disreputable or part of the game and common practice? 

I spare you the details and you probably know already, but to me it seems as if this can make or break a Warsaw Pact assault tactic (Modern Campaigns). It totally changes your options. For a surprise assault, you need to move over open terrain. Open terrain is not crossable (without unacceptably high risk of disruption) unless the enemy has no more opportunity fires left (and even then there is still artillery...).

I've not dared to use it yet (and have not really been in a good situation for it), but my personal opinion is that it should be seen as part of the game. It makes recon units very usefull and even though the way it is done in the game looks strange/gamey, the effect is not that implausible. The recon units are reconoitering the enemy's defences, searching for gaps and weakpoints and good avenues of approach, disrupting the enemy's patrols, thereby reducing the power of the defenders to see the advance coming and to cause casualties on the approaching attackers. If you don't want that to happen, use your own recon troops to screen your defence or place more troops in a single hex. Also, the tactic doesn't work that well in difficult terrain, as a recon unit (except for helicopters) will quickly run out of movement points and thus can't move back and forth to draw fires. So, in it's abstract way, the game engine produces interesting results. :) Reconaissance in woods is less effective.
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01-06-2020, 11:06 PM, (This post was last modified: 01-07-2020, 09:35 PM by Kool Kat.)
#2
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
(01-05-2020, 03:06 AM)Mowgli Wrote: Please excuse me if this topic has been discussed before. 

What's the community's overall opinion on drawing the opponent's opportunity fire actions with "cheap" units (recon, choppers) before closing in to deal a decisive blow with the main combat units? Is this disreputable or part of the game and common practice? 

I spare you the details and you probably know already, but to me it seems as if this can make or break a Warsaw Pact assault tactic (Modern Campaigns). It totally changes your options. For a surprise assault, you need to move over open terrain. Open terrain is not crossable (without unacceptably high risk of disruption) unless the enemy has no more opportunity fires left (and even then there is still artillery...).

I've not dared to use it yet (and have not really been in a good situation for it), but my personal opinion is that it should be seen as part of the game. It makes recon units very usefull and even though the way it is done in the game looks strange/gamey, the effect is not that implausible. The recon units are reconoitering the enemy's defences, searching for gaps and weakpoints and good avenues of approach, disrupting the enemy's patrols, thereby reducing the power of the defenders to see the advance coming and to cause casualties on the approaching attackers. If you don't want that to happen, use your own recon troops to screen your defence or place more troops in a single hex. Also, the tactic doesn't work that well in difficult terrain, as a recon unit (except for helicopters) will quickly run out of movement points and thus can't move back and forth to draw fires. So, in it's abstract way, the game engine produces interesting results. :) Reconaissance in woods is less effective.

Gent:  Smoke7

IF you had used a recon unit in the manner you described (e.g. "move back and forth to draw fire") in our recent MC game - I would have called that tactic out as gamey. It's one thing to move a recon unit until contact with enemy forces. It's quite another to once you make contact with the enemy, to deliberately move the recon unit back and forth to draw enemy fire. Defiantly frowned upon.

Also, I question your tactic of placing more troops in a single hex to counter recon probes. You saw what happened when you stacked inviting targets of 3 or more units in a single hex! WMD came a calling!  Wink 

Also, you must understand in our recent MC game, it was NOT the use of WP recon units as you described that would have been decisive. It was the short 8-turn scenario that was decisive. There were not enough turns for me to assault the town hex VPs with sufficient remaining turns to recover the combat losses NATO would have inflicted on my attacking WP troops.
Regards, Mike / "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." - George S. Patton /
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01-07-2020, 12:33 AM, (This post was last modified: 01-07-2020, 01:20 AM by Mowgli.)
#3
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
(01-06-2020, 11:06 PM)Kool Kat Wrote: Gent:  Smoke7

IF you had used a recon unit in the manner you described (e.g. "move back and forth to draw fire") in our recent MC game - I would have called that tactic out as gamey. It's one thing to move a recon unit until contact with enemy forces. It's quite another to once you make contact with the enemy, to deliberately move the recon unit back and forth to draw enemy fire. Defiantly frowned upon.

Also, I question your tactic of placing more troops in a single hex to counter recon probes. You saw what happened when you stacked inviting targets of 3 or more units in a single hex! WMD came a calling!  Wink 

Also, you must understand in our recent MC game, it was NOT the use of WP recon units as you described that would have been decisive. It was the short 8-turn scenario that was decisive. There were not enough turns for me to assault the town hex VPs with sufficient remaining turns to recover the combat losses NATO would have inflicted on my attacking WP troops.

Well WP assaults can work. But it's risky and it needs proper preparation. If you use recon units in the "frowned-upon" way, a concentrated assault is a very viable and potentially decisive option for WP in our scenario (Schweinfurt H2H). 

Here are some ideas, taken from my upcoming AAR, on how WP could have assaulted - It was in fact my major concern that you would strongly concentrate your forces (and artillery) to punch through my line, thereby cutting my units in the north off the city and the city off its supplies and causing all kinds of havoc. If you had massed a lot of artillery and troops at a single point and launched a surprise attack (it needs to punch through in a single turn!), then a decisive break through can be achieved, well within 8 turns. That's also the reason why I put three units into the hex - numbers matter a lot in assault combat. I didn't even dare to dig-in, as this would have reduced my combat power by 50% in case you attacked. As soon as I noticed that your troops were quite spread out (and also digging-in), I felt quite confident that my defensive line was in no danger and I could retreat my troops to the city safely. I didn't know, however, that you had so many WMD at your disposal, which were the main killers in our game.

Sure, the nuke attack cost me dearly, but to be honest I was more worried about the assault. The early commitment of your WMD also enabled me to use my WMD in return, which pretty much sealed the draw in this case. 

Warsaw Pact assault option explained (still work in progress):
[Image: 2020-01-06-15h29-51.png]
[Image: 2020-01-06-15h30-02.png]
[Image: 2020-01-06-15h30-09.png]
[Image: 2020-01-06-15h30-23.png]

[Image: 2020-01-06-15h43-20.png]

Note I'm well aware that ZoCs hinder WP units from breaking through. For this reason, a heavy concentration of artillery is needed: To make sure that the NATO units get broken which makes them lose their ZoCs. In my tests, given a proper mass of troops and artillery, breaking two NATO units was a quite reliable outcome. When 3 soviet infantry bataillons - no terrain malus in the assault, max. stacking allowance - approach 2 NATO units that have been hit by 6 artillery barrages this turn, unopposed (opportuntiy fire already drawn) and assault in the same turn, things really get ugly for NATO. Once the 2 units are broken and pushed aside, tanks can race into the gap.
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01-07-2020, 05:12 AM, (This post was last modified: 01-07-2020, 06:00 AM by Kool Kat.)
#4
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
Gent:  Smoke7

"Well WP assaults can work. But it's risky and it needs proper preparation. If you use recon units in the "frowned-upon" way, a concentrated assault is a very viable and potentially decisive option for WP in our scenario (Schweinfurt H2H)." 

Never stated that WP assaults did NOT work.  Wink Your "suggested" tactic (moving recon units back and forth) to trigger opportunity fire is not only gamey, but could be considered a form of cheating. One MC opponent I played did just that... I called him out... and he agreed to redo his turn minus the jitterbugging recon dancing. 

Another viable WP strategy was the one that I adopted in our game. WP conducted an unopposed river crossing in the south. Armor and mechanized forces quickly captured the southern 25 VP. Establish LOS positions to your units. Dig in my spotting units. Move artillery units into range. Shell and harass. Unleash WMD when you stacked up your NATO units. A WP Minor victory may be achieved without directly assaulting Schweinfurt.

Reminder - the "Draw" in our game was decided by only one point... AND after NATO had unleashed its WMD, I was able to close the point gap to one (1) by use of conventional weapons  Whistle    
Regards, Mike / "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." - George S. Patton /
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01-07-2020, 06:43 AM,
#5
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
I have never played the MC titles so I cannot comment on any of your discussion above, however many players consider that any tactic that the games engine allows you to perform is legal and hence cannot be considered cheating and I would urge caution in using that term in this situation, gamey yes but cheating no.

Many players lay the fault at the feet of the game engine and game designers as they have not taken steps to prevent such tactics being used once they have become common knowledge, others state that players should restrain themselves from using such obviously unhistorical tactics and not exploit flaws in the games design.

Some play these titles just a pure game where "anything goes" and there is no such thing as gamey play and others play these games as historical simulations where they expect their opponent to play as such.

So as there never has and there will never be consensus across the whole community on these subjects (and boy we have had some mega threads on what is/is not considered gamey for example) if you don't like how your opponent plays then best end the game amicably and don't play them again.  Wink


If historical play is very important to you or a certain tactic makes your blood boil then it is best to discuss this before you start a scenario with a new opponent.  Big Grin
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01-07-2020, 06:44 PM, (This post was last modified: 01-07-2020, 07:31 PM by Mowgli.)
#6
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
(01-07-2020, 05:12 AM)Kool Kat Wrote: Gent:  Smoke7

"Well WP assaults can work. But it's risky and it needs proper preparation. If you use recon units in the "frowned-upon" way, a concentrated assault is a very viable and potentially decisive option for WP in our scenario (Schweinfurt H2H)." 

Never stated that WP assaults did NOT work.  Wink Your "suggested" tactic (moving recon units back and forth) to trigger opportunity fire is not only gamey, but could be considered a form of cheating. One MC opponent I played did just that... I called him out... and he agreed to redo his turn minus the jitterbugging recon dancing. 

Another viable WP strategy was the one that I adopted in our game. WP conducted an unopposed river crossing in the south. Armor and mechanized forces quickly captured the southern 25 VP. Establish LOS positions to your units. Dig in my spotting units. Move artillery units into range. Shell and harass. Unleash WMD when you stacked up your NATO units. A WP Minor victory may be achieved without directly assaulting Schweinfurt .

Reminder - the "Draw" in our game was decided by only one point... AND after NATO had unleashed its WMD, I was able to close the point gap to one (1) by use of conventional weapons  Whistle    

I think there is still some misunderstanding? Our draw was a very balanced draw. It was not a "1 point draw". The end result was 19 points for NATO and any result between 0 and 50 points counts a draw. I just re-reloaded the files and watched the replays. Warsaw Pact's WMD cut NATO's score down to -33 points, but NATO's WMD got the score back up to +23 points. Your shelling of my troops in the south then cut my points back down to 19. Actual contact between ground troops was very rare (except for artillery/choppers) and only happened in turns 5 & 6. So I'm sceptical if WP can win this without attacking Schweinfurt, going for only 1 out of 4 objectives (unless the NATO player commits major mistakes, of course).

I did not defend the crossing in the south because 1) I didn't know whether WP started the scenario with units on the western shore or not, 2) I didn't know whether WP had a supply source on the western shore or not, 3) the terrain was not suitable for a defence, 4) the terrain further north offered a much better defensive line - shorter and with more cover, 5) I didn't want to spread out my units so much - if you attacked me strongly in the north, I'd need to reposition my troops and get them to the city Schweinfurt as fast as possible.

(01-07-2020, 06:43 AM)Mr Grumpy Wrote: I have never played the MC titles so I cannot comment on any of your discussion above, however many players consider that any tactic that the games engine allows you to perform is legal and hence cannot be considered cheating and I would urge caution in using that term in this situation, gamey yes but cheating no.

Many players lay the fault at the feet of the game engine and game designers as they have not taken steps to prevent such tactics being used once they have become common knowledge, others state that players should restrain themselves from using such obviously unhistorical tactics and not exploit flaws in the games design.

Some play these titles just a pure game where "anything goes" and there is no such thing as gamey play and others play these games as historical simulations where they expect their opponent to play as such.

So as there never has and there will never be consensus across the whole community on these subjects (and boy we have had some mega threads on what is/is not considered gamey for example) if you don't like how your opponent plays then best end the game amicably and don't play them again.  Wink

If historical play is very important to you or a certain tactic makes your blood boil then it is best to discuss this before you start a scenario with a new opponent.  Big Grin

I would definitively agree that "recon juggle" is not cheating. It might not be for everyone's taste, but if you do it, you're not manipulating the game, not absusing a bug or doing something which the opponent can't. And there are also tactics to counter it (use troops as a screen, put more units into a hex).

Has there ever been some "official" statement whether the developer and individual scenario-designers consider it as "unsportsmanlike" or see it as an integral part of the game? As I've mentioned, the way you have to do it looks rather inelegant, gamey and unhistorical. But in my personal opinion the actual effects are not even that implausible - in PzCampaigns' typical abstract way of thinking, that is.

That being said, I'm perfectly fine if my future opponents want to "ban" it. And in fact I'm not using it without first asking. I'm just interested in the discussion and see what's the community's opinion on it. "Immersion" is certainly a major concern, as is "balancing" and the question whether it increases/decreases the amount of viable tactics, makes the game more/less interesting to play. Also, if unwanted by the developers, then there are means to get rid of it? E.g. one could give recon units a smaller chance to trigger opportunity fire. And units could have separate counts/budgets of opportunity fire vs. air and vs. ground units (to make helicopters less effective for "recon juggle").
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01-08-2020, 12:32 AM,
#7
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
Well, it is the job of recon to find the other guy or be an early warning tripwire before the MLR. They have other purposes as well. Just depends on how the CDR uses them.
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01-08-2020, 06:47 AM,
#8
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
No to my knowledge there has never been any official comment from HPS/JTS on how players should conduct them selves in the tactics that they use when playing these titles, neither has there ever been a set of house rules for the PzC/MC series that I am aware of (I have seen some for the Tiller Napoleonic series).

Over the years there have been engine changes to try to prevent some aspects of gamey play with some success but it may be the case that it is impossible to make the game engine perfect in regards to forcing players to always use historical tactics.

Best advice is if something really annoys you discuss it with your opponent before you start.  Smile
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01-08-2020, 01:47 PM,
#9
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
Gamey would be a recon moving into a hex and drawing fire, retreating one hex and returning same hex to draw another fire.

Also, depending when you got to hex, if you go into patrolling, you should garner some info.

Also, if you use disruption optional rule, movement at night has a chance of disrupting units, making surprise very difficult.

I was in the army, very good unit and Cdrs and we still had some difficult night moves. That is why we did most of our training at night to cut down mistakes as much as possible. It doesn't matter how good a unit is, mistakes will happen. The better the unit, the less mistakes. But, they will still happen.
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01-08-2020, 03:07 PM,
#10
RE: Drawing opportunity fire actions - disreputable or part of the game?
(01-07-2020, 06:43 AM)Mr Grumpy Wrote: I have never played the MC titles so I cannot comment on any of your discussion above, however many players consider that any tactic that the games engine allows you to perform is legal and hence cannot be considered cheating and I would urge caution in using that term in this situation, gamey yes but cheating no.

Many players lay the fault at the feet of the game engine and game designers as they have not taken steps to prevent such tactics being used once they have become common knowledge, others state that players should restrain themselves from using such obviously unhistorical tactics and not exploit flaws in the games design.

Some play these titles just a pure game where "anything goes" and there is no such thing as gamey play and others play these games as historical simulations where they expect their opponent to play as such.

So as there never has and there will never be consensus across the whole community on these subjects (and boy we have had some mega threads on what is/is not considered gamey for example) if you don't like how your opponent plays then best end the game amicably and don't play them again.  Wink

If historical play is very important to you or a certain tactic makes your blood boil then it is best to discuss this before you start a scenario with a new opponent.  Big Grin

Some very advice here! I won't start a game with anyone until we've talked things through and understand what each of us want to get out of the play experience. For instance, when playing Napoleonic or ACW titles I make sure that my opponent knows that I will be using, and expect to be playing against someone using 19th Century tactics and maneuvers as opposed to bending the game system using 20th or 21st Century ones.

Pre game communication is important, along with knowing whether or not you're playing to win at all costs, in a super competitive way, or just looking for a more social, historical experience. Both approaches are valid, but it's best to know if your play styles and intentions are compatible before starting the first turn I think.
"And I will show you where the Iron Crosses grow."- Sgt Rolf Steiner, The Cross of Iron
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