Thursday, 7 April 2016

FiveCore Company Command.....

More conversion issues

I have had some really useful feedback on the CC hex grid conversion. Rather than hide my response in the blog comments I thought it would be useful to talk through the issues here.

I did the work very quickly, because the muse had taken me, and took a few very quick decisions without much reflection on certain issues. Norm, with whom I have an ongoing conversation about these sorts of things, has come up with some really good questions (thanks Norm!) which are worth contemplating:

1. Custom dice: In my original thoughts (link) I talked about D2s. Basically a 50:50 shot usually represented as 4 or more on a d6. D2 is a good short hand way of talking about these sorts of die rolls. There are some really great custom dice available and these would be ideal, for example, to use a d2 for all terrain rolls. That would be nice and simple. But I can't help thinking back to Piquet. For those short of memory (or young) these used a whole raft of different dice including d6, d8, d10 and, I think, d12. A real nightmare for me. In the conversion guide I have therefore reverted to the use of d6 with appropriate rolls rather than custom dice. Longer winded to write about but nice and simple.

2. Movement rates: One of the big problems with hex grid conversions is converting movement rates to hexes. This is largely because movement rates for infantry don't always convert in the same ratio to vehicles. We have that problem here with infantry basic move of 6" (one hex) plus 1d6" if dashing (an additional hex at 50:50 in the conversion). Vehicles, however, have a standard move of 9" and a scramble move of 12". I ended up going with 1 and 2 hexes respectively. Partly because I think that tanks moving tactically with infantry will tend to move at infantry pace (lots of film of Churchills supporting infantry in Normandy have imprinted this in my mind). 

3. Obstacles: Norm makes a good point that the die roll for obstacles crossing might actually result in units getting permanently stuck with rubbish die rolls. He suggests an automatic success after an initial failure and I think this is very reasonable. One other thought occurs and that is that this sort of roll might be better related to troop morale or competence (paras crossing an obstacle might present a different set of odds to some very unhappy conscripts). The current set up in CC doesn't support this but a revised version taking account of the more nuanced Five Men at Kursk rules might help with this.

4. Smoke and LoS: I must admit that it was late and I thought about LoS rules and then decided to see if I could get away without any. Norm has raised an interesting point about smoke and the precise line of sight (where it might not be blocked if only one hexside is "smoked"). This needs some thought.

5. Facing: Are there any facing rules and does this mean there are no flank armour rules? Really good questions. They can easily be added and would make the game even better provided they are kept simple.

More things to ponder:
  • Infantry in a hex with tanks will rally quicker because the tank provides the cover for NCOs and Officers to stand up and get their troops moving. An interesting fact that I can no longer substantiate with evidence but which has stuck in my mind because it feels really true!
  • Infantry can't assault an enemy tank if it is protected by enemy infantry in the same hex (in the conversion guide). What wider impact does terrain and infantry protection have, especially in respect of the ability of enemy troops to launch close range Panzerfaust or Bazooka attacks? Remember that Panzerfaust attack in Fury? Allied tanks often refused to move without infantry alongside.
  • I like the lack of range restrictions on weapons. Although they are more effective the closer you get (within 1 or 2 hexes), the fact that you can be in danger anywhere on the board feels very realistic. Usually movement rates have to be considered in relation to weapons ranges. I think that CC has it right that if the enemy can see you they have a chance of shooting you.  
Prove it

Can we test whether the rules converted to a hex grid remain true to the original rules (which they should as we are not in the business of reinventing them) and can we test if they appear realistic (shock horror)? In my minds eye I do see a line of British or Canadian infantry advancing down a shallow slope through cornfields to assault a farm or village in Normandy followed by a platoon of Churchills. I think it would be good to design a classic scenario on these lines and play both a hex and non-hex version and see what they feel like. Any volunteers to help?


Ivan Sorensen said...

One thing that will almost certainly hit the revised versions is that units near each other can activate on the same activation point.

So on a hex-map, 3 squads strung out in adjacent hexes could move together, but if you start spreading them out (or they get pushed back), your command/control starts faltering.

I agree with dropping "slow" tanks to 1 hex. Seems them crawling along at the same speed as the infantry would make sense. (and for things like the Valentine is probably about as fast as they'd go anyways).

For obstacles, if they fail a "crawl' test to cross, leave the die next to them and next turn they cross automatically.
Normally, I would be against tracking that but we only have 8-10 squads to deal with, so its not too bad.
Alternatively, use the positioning inside the hex to signify it. Place the squad in the middle normally and at the edge when they are half way through.

Duc de Gobin said...

This is proceeding beautifully. The hexes create so many opportunities.

Custom dice are ok with a target number, I guess? But I take your point on d6.

Spot on with movement - tactical movement is the order of teh day. Perhaps allow movex2 when outside enemy range.

Perhaps roll for units to 'leave' terrain - meaning they can tend to 'hug' the cover if poorly commanded.

Smoke on a hexside is inspired:)

I always thought facing a corner was simplest and could allow clear flank and rear facings.

Love the quicker rally if tank in hex - very nice.
Good use of infantry supporting tanks too. Promotes proper use of infantry etc.

I think you're doing enough to develop your own rules here potentially, rather than add hexes to 5c :)

Norm said...

All good. I am having similar problems with Balck powder / hail Caesar conversion, simply because of that awkward 9" measurement - everything in 6" would be so much easier and going to the next lowest common denominator (3") actually makes my 4" hexes less efficient and shrinks the effective size of the table !!!!

My thoughts on custom dice moves a little towards symbols rather than numbers, so D2 for potential additional movement would have a six sided custom dice that has three sides blank and three sides with a pair of boots or some-such on them.

I am just going through my Tigers at Minsk rules and having previously had all vehicles always facing a vertex, I am now dealing with the reality that roads cross hexsides, so a vehicle using the road will actually be facing a hexside and not a vertex. accepting this rather than by attempting to fudge it actually helps, because the new facings generated by hexside facing (only 1 front hex but now 4 flank hexes) makes the vehicle following a road more vulnerable to flank shot and less effective in their own front arc - this feels right.

I love hexes, but the conversion thing is difficult as trying to make things fit others rules often then requires a further fix or in effect a new rule. I am increasingly relying on home written rules for hexes.

I am glad we have had the discussion about rolling to enter a hex, with the issue of repeatedly failing to pass and in effect being stuck. the obvious solution is to automatically allow the movement on the following turn ......... I will now go and apply the 'obvious' rule to my own Tigers design, as my vehicles have to dice to enter woods :-)

Good post. Good responses.

Peter said...

For movement a couple of considerations could be:
1) all movement where the moving unit can be spotted by enemy units is one hex. This would represent caution forward movement or short stop start sprints between cover. Where unit cannot be spotted then infantry move one hex and tanks, etc move two hexes.
2) slow units just move or fire, and faster units can move and fire. This way you differentiate between unit movement capabilities.
I have yet to use/purchase 5Core so these suggestions may be off the mark in relation to the ruleset.
Really enjoying your posts on converting rules to hexes.
Regards, Peter