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Going outside the rules

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Going outside the rules

Post  Ian on Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:33 am

How wedded should umpires be to the rules. What made me think of this was the Hue game. Martin was launching artillery rocket attacks, but the rules Mark used only gave them an effect if used as part of a formal combat. While I understand this - few numbers plus don't need supply - artillery is the thing soldiers fear most. This fear is not necessarily any thing to do with effect, but artillery arrives unannounced, and there is nothing you can do to fight back.

Likewise, if Martin had launched lots of minor spoiler attacks with individual companies he would have lost heavily. However the NVA forces would engage in asymetrical warfare, knowing they couldn't win a formal engagement. Not sure what would have happened if he had tried.

SO. What should umpires do for something not in the rules? Play the game as written, to keep it moving, or start getting creative, possibly skewing the rules towards one side?

Ian

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Join date : 2010-04-13

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Re: Going outside the rules

Post  MJ1 on Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:02 am

Ian wrote:SO. What should umpires do for something not in the rules? Play the game as written, to keep it moving, or start getting creative, possibly skewing the rules towards one side?

Ultimately last Sunday was a game of manoeuvre and supply, that was not shown to the players explicitly but was alluded to in their briefing. The use of Artillery outside of a planned attack usually has minimal results when you are looking at 12 hour turns. Also at the scale of companies it will rarely wipe out a company by itself.

So while players felt they needed to direct the artillery to exact locations where it should be used the commanders at the level the players were representing would not get involved in that level of detail so I pretty much ignored it as fluff that would not add to the game. I did not tell the players that as it would perhaps spoil their view of the game and and take time away from focusing on the bigger picture. Perhaps laying bear my thought process will destroy the game for some players, and perhaps I should have nudged players to focus on the real elements of the game via briefing the umpires. Hindsight at play there....

To answer your question for me the ultimate goal is t provide the players with choice and involvement so that everyone has a role to play. The sandbox is the map and as head umpire I need to ensure that wee do not get bogged down in detail and allow these choices to be made and resolved quickly. I have to ensure that the umpires have a role to play and can feed back their views and challenge them for more info from which we can agree a quick result. Anything that is slow detracts from the player experience so hinders the game IMO for players.

To answer directly the question a quick decision should be made on the item outside the rules and it should be as far as possible a balanced decision fair to both sides (as far as possible). Reduce everything to a die roll so the gods can decide the result. If you can not do this then ignore it and move on as speed is of the essence.

MJ1

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Re: Going outside the rules

Post  Ian on Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:53 pm

Just to clarify - no criticism meant in the post. I've been trying to word it in a 'neutral' way for the past week.

I think at the heart of this post is a quote told to me by a freind of mine 20 years ago. Apparently some time after the war a US and NVA general met - some official reception or somesuch. As professionals will they talked shop, as military men not former enemies. The US general said "You never beat us in open battle". To which the Vietmanese general replied "We never tried to".

Lets assume Martin had played the role and not the meta-game. He give orders to two of the 5 regiments to split up and make lots of attacks up and down Route One. They are not to get pinned down, just open up, make lots of noise, and once the Regular force start to deply, retire. They are given a rendevous for 3 days time.

Regular forces have trouble dealing with this sort of thing. There is never a decisive result, but it slows down their movement, because every fallen tree, etc, has to be considered a potential ambush - everyone debusses and forms a perimeter. Units have to be dispersed to provide a picket perimeter, making that unit unavailable.

Then there is teh effect on the players. Their sub-commanders will report a number of attacks, all of which were driven off. The players have to decide what this means - it becomes very easy to over-estimate the attackers, something that is historically accurate; if I was shot at, you was shot at, and he was shot at, that means 3 attackers doesn't it?

Ian

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Re: Going outside the rules

Post  MJ1 on Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:03 pm

Ian wrote:Just to clarify - no criticism meant in the post. I've been trying to word it in a 'neutral' way for the past week.

There was none taken and just trying to answer the question.

Surprised

You have suggested an approach that Martin might have taken how would you have interpreted that in the Umpires room?

For me Martin could have taken that approach and I would have allowed it but in terms of the game would it have had that much impact? His opponents were keen to mass a force and drive hell for leather down the road ignoring everything. They had a big force and I think it would have got through. The supplies following them might have had a harder job and you could then assess that by saying less supply tokens made it down the road?

MJ1

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Re: Going outside the rules

Post  Martin on Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:51 pm

After my initial attacks on the ARVN 1st Division Training Ground in SW Hue failed, I intended to concentrate as many men as I could to fight a major battle astride Route 1. Three new battalions had arrived, giving me five in total, and I moved my forces up to the main road. As it happened I failed to contact a large force, instead bumping into detachments, against which I had mixed success.

I did consider a 'low-intensity' Route 1 ambush approach but, rightly or wrongly, rejected it at this stage because I felt that pretty large forces would be coming down the road for the ARVN base at PK17, and I thought small forces would be brushed aside.

Had the game continued, my plans were to break back into the Imperial City with my main force of four battalions, and leave the fifth to interdict the road ie following Ian's approach. I assumed that the main reinforcements from the N had already arrived at Hue, and that a single battalion might have enjoyed some success.

Even though my various manoeuvres were not a successful as I had hoped, I did very much enjoy the process of carrying them out. The game was therefore pretty good fun for me, what with night-moves & bridge-blowing. I can imagine that things were more of a grind for those poor souls battling it out in the streets of Hue.

Martin

Martin

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Re: Going outside the rules

Post  Los on Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:00 pm

I believe that an umpire should feel free to "free Kriegspiel" whenever necessary to keep the game going as he intends. This can require a somewhat mature attitude from the participants. Certainly in games or campaigns where the players are not physically located with the GM, they would not know whether the GM rolled every possible dice or just ruled on a result off the cuff anyway.

The other thing, if the situation becomes skewed towards one side or the other that makes it even better since that's how things turn out in RL very often, lets see how the player deals with this adversity.
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Los

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Re: Going outside the rules

Post  Martin on Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:43 pm

Hi Los

Welcome to the forum. I agree with you on all counts!

Martin

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Re: Going outside the rules

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