IABSM version 2 or 3?

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Hannover
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IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by Hannover »

Does anyone feel like me that version 3 of IABSM has morphed into a being that, for several reasons, is a poorer imitation of version 2?
Let me expand:
1. The initiative system seems to have produced a hierarchical distribution of initiative points. NCOs are at level 2 and the officers above them are level 3 etc. But surely the idea of having ‘Big Men’ was to identify people who had a major influence on the outcome of an engagement with the enemy that may have not necessarily be in order of rank.
2. The ‘Big Man’ initiative has become too limiting. What I mean by that is the range is now 1-4 only. There was a much greater range in version 2 e.g. d4, Avd, d6 and everything in between from the clueless d4−2, to the d6+2 megalomaniac who was constantly pushing his men to the limit. As it was a die roll, it was therefore something that was partly random, something that you could not always rely on. Would you get enough points to carry out everything that you felt you needed to do? A bad roll could result in a delay and difficulty in co-ordination. Now you know beforehand what you can and cannot do.
3. Every weapons team now seems to have a ‘Big Man’ when surely the original idea was to limit the ‘Big Men’ to those individuals who had the most impact, positive or negative on the battlefield. With the upper limit of initiative being 4, I think requires to a certain extent there having to be more ‘Big Men’ on the table.
4. Raising the Strike Values means that tank and anti-tank combat has become more lethal so the possibility of the battlefield becoming a parking lot for burnt out tanks is raised. But this seems to go against the written evidence that the chances of being hit were relatively low and the accounts of tanks ducking and weaving to gain advantage in combat. To move and to keep moving was the best defence in tank versus tank or anti-tank gun engagements. This change seems to pamper to those wanting a quick and easy result of any AFV engagement and means you can very quickly lose your AFVs in a similar fashion to the ‘Rapid Fire’ ruleset. A major reason why I chose IABSM over others as you can build scenarios where highly experienced tank crews can take on an enemy even though they may be severely out-numbered as they are not a hostage to fortune over the one-shot wonder!
5. Morale – sadly it has been reduced in version 3 yet it surely is a fundamental part of any WW2 ruleset. I know people will say hang on there is morale:
1. The shock system - able to recover
2. Casualties resulting in loss of dice – irrecoverable
3. Pinning and Suppression systems
4. Tank crew bailing out system and the AFV withdrawal system
5. Card based changes in ‘morale’ e.g. hesitant and rally cards etc.
Version 2 had all of these plus the ’Guts test’ which I think was abandoned because the average number of men in a squad increased in version 3 from 8 to 10. This means they would be unlikely to pass the test. Here you were seeing if your troops would actually do something rather than have something done to them. A system giving a 1 in 6 or 2 in 10 chance would have been an easy replacement with additions for troop type, experience etc. Units reduced to zero initiative basically now just sit and wait.
6. The loss of the ‘+’ designation. A unit that may be of very limited experience but armed to the teeth. e.g. Volksgrenadiers carrying assault rifles. So, they obtain a ‘+’ modifier to their firepower. You may say that nothing in the rules that prevents you from doing this but its exclusion from the ruleset seems again a move away from variations and a narrowing of options.
I may be completely wrong, but I wonder how others feel and look forward to your responses!

CarlL
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by CarlL »

Hannover
I dont know IABSM version 1,2, or 3; but your "review" of version3; seems a damming reflection in terms of what you liked from version2.
I suppose, you could continue with version2?#
And it would be interesting to hear from someone who likes version3 and why they like it.
CarlL

Archdukek
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by Archdukek »

Hi Hannover,
In all the years I have been active on this Forum, I can only recall one person expressing a preference for version 2 of IABSM compared to version 3. Given how often TFL has had to reprint the V3 rules they have clearly sold far more copies and proved more popular than Version 2 ever did.

Personally I think that version 3 is better written, flows more smoothly as a game, plays quicker and is easier to introduce others to. I admit I struggled with v2.

Some of the changes, like the classification of Big Men, are simplifications which streamline play and are easier to explain to new players for whom having an hierarchy of command makes sense. Not having to roll a different dice each time a Big Man’s card is drawn also saves time and players can plan ahead. Of course there is nothing to stop you assigning a different status to certain Big Men if that suits your scenario. Having a Level 2 veteran platoon sergeant and a green level 1 Platoon Commander is an option if you want to use it.

As to the other changes you highlighted, I believe that Rich thought long and hard before producing version 3 which is reflects his evolving ideas about works best in capturing WW2 infantry combat at Company level. For better or worse the result has proven to be very popular. However, if you prefer version 2 that’s fine, keep playing it. Or if you want to add more chrome to aspects of version 3 that’s fine too if your opponent agrees.

John

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Vis Bellica
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by Vis Bellica »

HI
To Add to what John has said, I would say that the only thing version 3 omits is Force Morale rules i.e. a mechanism that allows you to judge that a battle is ended rather than having the losing side always fight it out to the last man.
Fortunately that has been taken care of in one of the Specials, with the adaptation of the CoC Force Morale rules that I now use as standard for open-gamed of IABSM.
Cheers
R

Hannover
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by Hannover »

Hi Vis Bellica,
Can you tell me which Special the morale rules are in as I would like to have a go at using them.
Thanks for the comments, some seem to think I am being super critical but what I was doing was highlighting the main differences between the versions and asking what are people thinking. I actually play both dependent on the circumstances and scenario. I agree that version 3 gives a quicker resolution and has simplified mechanics compared to 2 and so lends itself to introducing players to the rules or having only 2-3 hours to play a game and you want a quick resolution then 3 is preferable. But please lets try and be a little bit more analytical - is the hierarchical command and control system truly reflective in the nature of combat? Is it a simulation or just a game? Have the mechanics of IABSM been overinfluenced by the success of CoC? Discuss....

Archdukek
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by Archdukek »

Sorry I can’t remember which Special the Force Morale rules are in but if you check on the Index of Specials you should be able to find it.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByQYXL ... pMaEk/view

As to your topics for discussion, a leader’s rank and the authority it brings did play a major role in determining the degree of influence they could have on a battle combined with their skill and experience. That’s reflected in the core rules. However, while you need to take account of the chain of command as per section 1.1.1, there is nothing in the rules in section 1.1 which requires you to match a Big Man’s Status Level to his rank. It’s often convenient to do so, but as I have already said if you want to take a less hierarchical approach to the status level of Big Men in your scenarios then you can.

IABSM is an historical wargame which seeks to capture the key elements of WW2 action at company level In such a way that the game can be played in a reasonable length of time, but it is not a detailed simulation of every aspect of the events on a battlefield.

Given that IABSM version 3 was written and published before Chain of Command was thought of, the latter has had no impact on the mechanics of the core rules of IABSM. If anything it would have been the reverse. There have been some modifications suggested subsequently if players wish to incorporate elements found in CoC, such as Force Morale or a Patrol phase, to IABSM games. Some players are also experimenting with adopting the Chain of Command dice system to IABSM. Those are all post publication developments, the core mechanics of IABSM version 3 and the changes from version 2 are uninfluenced by the success of CoC.

John

Hannover
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by Hannover »

I knew that IABSM preceded CoC by many many years, but my point was that as players have used CoC, has it changed their outlook of IABSM. From your post it seems that many modifications have been proposed for IABSM to encompass CoC mechanisms which suggests that players are less satisfied with IABSM in comparison to CoC, which presumably they regard as an improvement. Surely these changes make IABSM less IABSM and more CoC, which was my point.

Archdukek
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by Archdukek »

Hannover wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 12:43 pm
I knew that IABSM preceded CoC by many many years, but my point was that as players have used CoC, has it changed their outlook of IABSM. From your post it seems that many modifications have been proposed for IABSM to encompass CoC mechanisms which suggests that players are less satisfied with IABSM in comparison to CoC, which presumably they regard as an improvement. Surely these changes make IABSM less IABSM and more CoC, which was my point.
No I don’t think the few modifications I mentioned previously are an expression of less satisfaction with IABSM at all, more a continuing enthusiasm for the rules.

I’ve now found the article I was thinking of in the TFL 2013 Christmas Special which discusses both adapting how Force Morale works in CoC and exploring how the Force Morale approach first introduced in Dux Britanniarum could apply in IABSM. Introducing the concept of Force Morale into IABSM is a useful improvement by the rules author to allow games to have a clearer ending within a reasonable time if you want to use it.

Having now refreshed my memory of the “On Patrol” article in the 2011 Christmas Special, it also has nothing to do with the CoC Patrol phase or mechanism. I was wrong to suggest that. Rather it is the rules author developing the concept of pre-game reconnaissance to bring an extra dimension to IABSM games for those who want to explore that. It owes nothing to CoC.

So both of these were put forward by Rich Clark as enhancements to IABSM, they are not examples of player dissatisfaction with the rules.

Switching to a CoC dice mechanism In IABSM is a much more fundamental change and could be said to make it less IABSM and more like CoC, that’s a question best addressed to the small group of players who’ve developed and use the system like Desmondo Darkin whom you’ll find on the IABSM FaceBook Group. You can read it for yourself in the 2019 Lard Magazine. It’s an expression of people’s continuing enthusiasm for the rules and a desire to play IABSM more in a Club setting.

John

dakkadakka
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by dakkadakka »

Hey guys:

I have played CoC for a couple of years now; but, have only been involved with IABSM for a month or two. So, I thought I’d put my two cents worth in, from the perspective of a relative newcomer. I am not familiar with the previous versions of IABSM. From the games I’ve played I have found that, while some of the core mechanics are similar, each game still retains a separate feel to it overall. IABSM is very streamlined, and is capable of handling larger armor engagements a lot better than CoC. It also feels more impulse-based with the card draws than CoC with the dice, which is still predominantly an IGO-UGO system, albeit does include the occasional double phase. I also like the off board artillery rules in IABSM better than in CoC.

CoC, however, with its command dice mechanic, allows the player to have more overall flexibility with regard to allocating activations to units. Yes - you can only do what actions the dice allow;but, you can choose where you want to focus the effort. IMHO, I feel the CoC ruleset is a little more comprehensive than IABSM, with regard to explaining how to adjudicate different situations. IABSM is a little more “loosey-goosey” & subjective; and, as a result, most certainly plays better with an umpire. I had a lot fewer rules questions when I was learning CoC than I had with IABSM (John will confirm that - he’s seen how many questions I’ve posted recently). In fact, I’ll be posting another here soon, John!

All this is to say that I don’t get the feeling that IABSM is just CoC with another name. They are related; but it’s more like fourth cousins twice removed, rather than siblings. The play experiences are different, and I like both games a lot. For straight infantry games I’ll probably play CoC. But, for games with tanks and arty, IABSM wins out.

Regards,

Jim

Hannover
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Re: IABSM version 2 or 3?

Post by Hannover »

Thanks for all of your contributions. Glad to hear that many still appreciate IABSM. My experience of CoC is limited and I much prefer the game mechanics in IABSM for battles involving more support weapons. I can see the appeal of CoC as the number of miniatures needed etc is much reduced compared to IABSM. I also agree that the mechanics for off-table artillery is better in IABSM. I will probably continue to meld version 2 and 3 together dependent on the scenario, a characteristic of a good ruleset! As an afterthought, are the strike and armour values in CoC the same as in IABSM?

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