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Expanded Role of HQ with Advance and Retreat After Combat -- and ADMIRALS!


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A lot has been said about offensives degenerating into long static lines, etc., more appropriate to WW I than WW II. Part of the problem is the inability to bring sufficient force to bear on a single hex, another part is the inability to impose retreat on decimated units, and the last part is the exposed weakness of armor after leading the way in a break through.

The following ideas are offered as possible answers to these SC Game problems.

One of the solutions occasionally offered but always shot down is stacking. The usual argument is the game is better if left simple, then these same fans of simplicity are baffled when they can't launch WW II style offensives.

Well, if you want some realistic punch, especially involving ground combat and Blitzkrieg syle offensives, then you need to make things a little more complicated. If this means writing more code, then writing more code is the answer. Period.

What is needed, is a method of greatly increasing attack punch, moving forward after a battle, and protecting the units that have advanced so they can only be pushed back by a very powerful counterattack. Without these things the inevitable indecisive gridlock will always develop. Neither realistic, exciting, nor particularly interesting unless you liked the Battle of Verdun or the Somme.

The key is the Expanded Capacity of HQ units. The first change HQs should have is an increased movement capacity to match Armor.

Increased Capabilities

Idea #1 - Attack Catalyst Role. In this concept units within a three hexes of a HQ can be combined into a single attack against a mutually adjacent defending unit. In accordance with the Retreat rules suggested below, the defending unit, if not destroyed, is displaced, and one of the attacking units advances into the hex. Or, the attacker can advance any eligable unit under his command into the vacated hex.

Idea #2 - Headquarters as a Stacking Catalyst. Any HQ unit can allow two other units to occupy the same hex as itself. These may be either ground units or air units, but they can not be mixed in the same hex with an HQ. A Direct Command Option would be enabled costing a small number of MPPs and one movement point per unit. The three units then become a single entity for movement and defensive purposes with the two ground units becoming a single offensive factor.

In his manner, HQs can be used in two different ways:

(1) Two like Air Units (either fighters or bombers but not mixed) to increase the single attack effect of airfleets and assist them in defending against either air or ground attacks made upon the hex they occupy.

(2) Two Ground Units, any combination of Tank, Army, and Corps, would move, attack and defend as a single unit with the stacked HQ. In a mixed infantry/armor group, the force moves at infantry speed. If stacked exclusively with armor the entire group moves at the speed of armor. When attacked, the HQs defensive value is added to that of the combined units.

The direct command group can be discontinued at the start of a turn when the End Direct Command Option is selected. The owning player must immediately move any of the three units from the hex, resolve any combat it might become involved in, then it must move one of the remaining two units from the hex.

A combined Group is created by either moving an HQ atop another non HQ unit, in which case the option is immediately enacted, and a second unit can then be moved atop the group, or an HQ can move atop any other non-HQ unit, automatically forming a combined group. Such stacked formations are identified by the HQ name.

The act of combining or seperating costs the involved units one movement and the appropriate MPP cost. Units, including HQs, may not combine and seperate or separate and combine in the same turn.

Headquarters combined with other units continue to supply and assist up to five air and/or ground units as in their present capacity.

Combat Summary Fighting units stacked with a HQ fight at the combined unit stregnth [if two units] and defend at the combined unit stregnth plus the defensive stregnth of the HQ unit.

These suggestions are offered as ideas to be developed and hopefully applied. It doesn't matter whether they are seen as different possibilities or combined into a new variation. The important thing is that a method be found that allows for greater breakthrough capability which would end the WW I syndrome so many of us have seen develop between two capable players.

Offered below are the retreat ideas I've previously pasted in two other forums, neither of which were quite appropriate for the idea. Advance and retreat after combat, as stated earlier by many others, would also help solve this problem.


I'd have Four categories with an advance/retreat after combat addition.

One would be overrun , where a hopeless defender is simply removed and it costs 1 movement point for the attacking unit with no loss.

Two would be Tactical retreat which would be a reasonable withdrawl if a unit drops to 50% or less.

Three would be a route, where a unit is badly defeated and goes several hexes away from the fighting with a consequent drop in both strength and experience.

Fourth would be units that receive the No Retreat order. Such units would remain in place unless routed. A successful defense would also and always result in higher losses, otherwise the order would always be issued. Defenders of Fortifications -- many of which are no retreat positions like Sevastopol, Malta and Gibraltar -- would always fight in this mode. Their heavier mandatory losses would represent the use of siege guns and/or engineer/sapper units against their fixed defenses.

Advance/Retreat after Combat.

As a natural conclusion to normal combat, a defeated defending unit that is not in the No Retreat mode, withraws to a neighboring hex; if one is not available it is withdrawn to the nearest unoccupied friendly hex; if no such hex is available it remains where it is and it's losses are doubled.

The victorious attacking unit immediately and automatically occupies the hex vacated by the defender. The attacking player has no choice in the matter, automatically occurs as a result of tactical combat on the field level.

This last option would help avoid the reoccupation of captured cites and resources, and would help break the perennial deadlocks, adding a limited Blitzkrieg factor.


Naval HQs should also be available that would allow two naval units to form into a fleet with rules similar to those offered above. In this case the British would be the main beneficiaries with, let's say two admirals at the start, plus they'd be more capable than those of other nations and more of them would be available for creation.

This would reward the British for having the greatest skill in fleet actions.

While all major nations would have available Admirals to create, Britain would have the same edge in Admirals that Germany has in HQs.

--- * ---

A deliberately wide range of ideas offered in the hope of producing workable suggestions. Spinoffs into related forums, for example Admirals and Fleets, would be desirable.

[ March 09, 2003, 03:52 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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With BlitzKrieg the Allied forces before 1942 were in complete shock... That is not at all reflected in this game accurately other than the supreme edge given until Allied MPPs catch up... The Allies didn't understand Blitzkreig until latter in theawr

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Right. And in the early stages of the game, the 1939 scenario, only Germany has HQs and armored corps.

The HQ enhancement would make such actions as the 1940 or 1944 Ardennes Offensives more effective and realistic by concentrating the attacker's offensive power.

As for the Allies/Axis aspect, like all rules in the game, it has to be equally available to both sides.

If the stacking function were adopted the narrow North African hex strip wouldn't be as campaign killing. Nor would the tactic of landing a corps to the rear of such a force continue to be an effective tactic -- it doesn't deserve to be a good tactic in any case. If done against a combined group, it would just be attacked and, unsupplied, it would be destroyed by the much more powerful and supplied HQ force.

[ March 09, 2003, 03:54 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Thanks for the support.


There would be an option to disband the attached units; it should be possible to detach one unit and add a new unit. The only rule is individual units cannot leave a stack and join a stack during the same turn.

The HQ would absorb casualties last. The two units would be destroyed before the HQ. The total loss of all three units would be about the equivalent of either Stalingrad or the surrender of Tunesia, in both cases Germany lost what would amount to an army, a panzer corps and an HQ -- both defeats resulted in roughly 250-300,000 men lost.

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Some will call this harsh, but in most games of the past (board games), being over stacked and suddenly uneligible to be overstacked, meant you had the regretful opportunity to say "ok this one dies, that one lives, lose those two keep this one".

In the past, being illegally overstacked meant penalties pure and simple.

Don't think this is realistic?

Hmmm when was the last time you read n the news how X number of people were killed trying to flee a hopeless situation such as a bar/nightclub fire.

No wiping out X units like I mentioned is not at all unrealistic.

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so jersey john....

i can invision (envision?)l.o.s. showing us a headquarters, but would that also show us all other troops involved? kind of a silly question, but as for seaborne, wouldn't you just see the "flagship"? would you also see a listing of everything in the group?

if the fow just showed you the hq that would prove to be quite interesting wouldn't it?

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The rule would not allow the unit to disband if the involved units didn't have hexes to move to.

As for battle casualties , I think the best way would be for the computer to select one of the ground units to take the first point, the second ground unit takes the second point, then back to the first which takes the third, second takes the fourth loss point, etc., so the two combat units share the losses equally. If the two combat units are destroyed the lone HQ starts taking losses itself.

Reinforcements can be alloted to the stack and divided equally between the two combat units by the computer.

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This would be a design question for Hubert to decide upon.

I envision it as an HQ with one or two additional edges along the left and bottom border depending upon whether it's linked with one or two units.

Right clicking on the HQ should have an additional option added to the list, [units]. Left clicking on units would bring up, say, [1stPnr][2ndPzr]. Right clicking on either would have the option, [seperate from stack]. That would be the menu for detaching a unit, in which case the detached unit loses one movement point and goes off on it's own. It cannot enter another stack during the same turn.

Let's say, after 3rd Pzr leaves the Axis player wants to make IV Army the second unit with the HQ, he moves it onto the stack, it loses a movement point, and the revised stack is allowed to more the IV Army's remaining hex allowence. In subsequent turns the stack, though it contains a panzer and HQ which more at the same fast rate, can only move at the IV Army's speed.

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Go Jersey John!

I'm totally in your camp about stacking (and this being a WW1 game), but the keepers of the game might disagree, and say that the game engine will not adapt, just like you can't make the map bigger, dah.

Also the size of units in the game is totally inconsistent with standard OOB's (Order of Battle). The usual size of armies in Europe(excluding Russia) during WW2 were Three divisions make a Corps, four Corps sometimes more, sometimes less make an army (usually 4 Corps, 12 divisions), four times larger than the standard corps. SC make Armies, and half armies. Two armies in one hex would be back to WW1. Making Corps the standard unit, and being able to stack them would be a better solution and consistent to the size of the hex.

Also stacking a Panzer Corps with an Intantry Corps could get a bonus for combined weapons tactics. Adding a Fighter/Bomber or Tactical Air Force to the attack would constitute a blitzkrieg bonus.

The squeeking wheel....

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Good hearing your positive take on this. Agreed totally on the nature of armies during the war and the benefit of combined arms and the other points along those lines.

I'm hoping Hubert will get into this fairly soon and let us know which way the subject is heading. As you say, it wasn't always so neatly set up, as we can be certain Hubert understands perfectly. Armies ranged from very small to gigantic, the smallest being eclipsed by oversized corps. The largest looking like small army groups.

What I'm hoping for is a sort of breakthrough unit that will also be able to stand and hold the ground it's just taken. I'd also like to see advance and retreat tactics with units (other than those being overrun) being utterly destroyed when they are either outmaneuvered and surrounded by enemy ZOCs or pushed against a natural barrier (ocean or sea) and can no longer retreat.

I have a feeling we'll be getting something along these lines.

[ March 10, 2003, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Thanks for the support Les.

I'm glad to see these ideas have a lot of support and no opposition.

I think the people who like to play it as a game but also want the conditions to be more like history are in favor of this sort of thing.

Probably many people misunderstand my meaning on that; I'm not saying the game should be locked in history, only that the way war is waged ought to accurately reflect the way it was done historically.

Naturally, we're in the dark, as usual, about whether or not it's something Hubert can add to the game.

If for no other reason, that North African Hex line should call for a stacking provision. Otherwise it's always a deadlock unless one side or the other brings in a bunch of airfleets or aircraft carriers.

As you say, though, the other parts, advance and witherawl after combat with casualties both ways, so it isn't automatically stand and die, is equally important. That was one of the big jumps in the old Avalon Hill board games, all of a sudden having a chart which, instead of the usual AE, DE, AR, DR, had varying degrees of retreat and advance with varying degrees of casualties; the game automatically had more and better maneuver warfare.

Hopefully we'll get some word on it before much longer.

[ March 10, 2003, 08:02 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Well, I don't know if it's been covered in this topic. Though I would like to point in reality you can stack a crapload of armies in a 50 mile hex...What's it 50-50? 250 square miles aprox? not quite... Not bad! You could probably fit a million men in such a place... Though as in Civilization III points out, why not have multiple attacks as well? like got 10, attack with 10? That eliminates the stacking benifit as a defensive posture...

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Considering the game as it is now doesn't allow stacking at all, I felt two units in a hex plus the HQ was asking for something reasonable. Also, if this were allowed in conjuction with an adaptation for naval units, Admirals, the spread of units would go way down and there'd be a clean-cut easy to play game that would also have some units with punch.

Going off topic for a moment . . .

Liam Are you saying your wife cuts into your game time? Why do you suppose I never play IP? Did you ever hear the proverbial "Honey, this will only take a minute" plea -- well, don't believe it, nothing ever takes a minute. If you get a few minutes every once in a while you're way ahead. But it's even worse when they don't bother you. When your wife starts leaving you alone for hours at a time it could mean -- :confused: :eek: !

At the risk of going a little too far, I have to mention that John List, the insurance salesman who did his family in to save their souls in 1972, though his soul was apparently just fine as he took off and started a new life, was and probably still is an avid Wargammer. Naturally he hails from New Jersey, cause enough for violent and irrational behavior in any man.

Having gotten that out of the way, it's back on topic . . ..

HQ with 2 tank corps = tank/panzer army , good for hard punches across wide areas of flat terrain. The fast moving HQ (same speed as tanks) would act as a mechanized infantry reserve.

HQ with tank+infantry corps or army = Reinforced Army (combined arms force) a bit slower, still hard hitting but more solid defensively.

HQ with two Armies = Army Group, hard hitting and the most powerful defensive formation.

Additionally, the HQ control three other units, making possible true army group offensives. If the multi hex attack rule were adapted it would mean a single defensive hex could be sumultaneously attacked by five ground units. Using the retreat/advance and overrun rules significant breakthroughs could be achieved and the core [stack+HQ unit]could be sent in to exploit the breach.

This is better than a stacking rule because it makes the HQ very important. They would be the center areas of every front. Because Germany and the USSR have the most HQs they would have the greatest capacity for major breakthroughs.

While writing this forum I forgot to mention that units allied with each other should always be able to stack together regardless of the HQs specific nationality.

I think it would be good not to overdo the stacking and leave it limited to units stacked with HQs.

The defensive value of the HQ also needs to be emphasized, these units will always be stronger on defense than offense due to the HQ. This is an intentional feature. The idea is to break through and have the ability to withstand counter attacks. A successful counter attack could only be delivered by a similar opposing unit with good air support. Something France would have lacked in 1940, which would make it extremely difficult for them to withstand this sort of German offensive - two HQs (Rundstedt and Bock) with air support going against units without an HQ. It would create the Blitzkrieg effect presently missing.

[ March 11, 2003, 01:02 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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I'll be the sour puss then! :rolleyes:

If you beef up the attacking capabilities of HQ's by whatever means, you risk over-balancing the game so that attack will always win. Wars over by mid 1940. If HQ attack is beefed up then so should HQ defensive bonus. That way the attacking HQ will be put to best use once an enemy weak point (with no defending HQ) is found - someone's already mentioned the Ardenne, a point with no defending HQ available both in 1940 and 1944 because the defenders thought it impossible to attack through here. They got bit twice in the same place tongue.gif

If we get Admiral HQ's then perhaps we ought to have Air Marshalls as well? (especially considering the number of airfleets people use :cool:

Stacking on HQ's only is a nice idea, I think it came up once before.

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As far as anyone talking down the German's before 1940, it was a landslide. It had to be for them to win...That's what all strategies are focused upon it seems here. Whilst I believe that they should be focused on the longterm. Not early tweaking to win against the Axis before 1941...Wait till the US/USSR come in and give them the bonuses not France and Britian.


I hope she comes along soon. I am waiting for here eagerly ;) I am not picky I am just like well I'll clean the dishes and stuff just let me play my games ;)

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