Points and balancing

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General Charion
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:38 pm

Points and balancing

Post by General Charion »

Having played a few games now, i have questions around the points system as due to the standardized battalion points system, seems a times a little unbalanced.

Whilst i like the national characteristics, these do have significant impact on game play and do not appear to be reflected in points costing at battalion or support level.

example 1.

2\4 German short stugs cost the same points as 2/4 Russian SU122

Germans are Low profile - makes germans harder to hit
Russians are poor AFV - makes germans harder to damage

Standard German infantry outclasses Russian infantry due to poor training, but costs exactly the same points.

The National characteristic of second rate Battalions also means the Germans are far more likely to be winning initiative on regular basis - but there does not appear to be anything that really reflects this in the points costs either.

Am i missing something, or is it intended that the poorer nations, just carry those disadvantages as part of the game design?

From most accounts i have read, aside from early war when they were ridden over, whilst the russians were poorly trained and less well equipped than the german counterparts, they in general had advantage of numbers in both foot and armour - it does not seem to be possible to achieve this with the current system and quality of quantity would IMHO counteract some of the issues i see above.

Interested to see other players objective thoughts on this as well as your rationale Dave, Thank you

nikjen66
Posts: 254
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:20 pm
Location: Cambridge UK

Re: Points and balancing

Post by nikjen66 »

Responding to GCs comments in the interest of balance.

On cost- 4 T34-1942 with Comparable stats to the PzIVF costs 11 points for four ( yes you read it right folks that’s 4 tanks) whereas just 2 of the puny IVFs will cost you 8 (so that’s 16 point for 4 tanks)!😱😱

That’s a 5 point difference for essentially the same tank. Yes the IVF has a slightly better gun and yes the Russian tanks are poor but that just means they use the spotting dice when they fire! 🤔

The Russians get a green platoon to replace artillery losses, yes they’re green but then they ignore most of them as real losses!!

The Russians get to shoot they’re own troops and re-roll command dice. The Russian artillery stonk is far more effective than others.😳😳

Dave, please can you increase the costs of Russians as their benefits far out way my outnumbered Germans. As a great example of this we recently played an attack/defence scenario with both sides rolling for supports. In the interest of fairness we agreed to reverse the scenario so defenders/attackers kept their points for both games. When the Russians attacked they had upgraded their infantry and were in possession of 10 (yes folks that’s ten) tanks including the ‘cheap’ option of 4 T34/1942 and 4 T34/85s. In the reverse fixtures the Germans could only afford 4 tanks!

I repeat my request for an immediate root and branch re-evaluation of the points for Russians. 😬😬😬😬

General Charion
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Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:38 pm

Re: Points and balancing

Post by General Charion »

and now for the objective view....

Simone_Gucciflex
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:21 pm

Re: Points and balancing

Post by Simone_Gucciflex »

I also have some misgivings about the way the Soviets are portrayed. They feel set up to fail in many ways- worse command, worse tanks, worse infantry (that cost more to make second line) etc.
It feels a little bit offensive, actually- It's another game where they are portrayed as a braindead, possibly "asiatic horde", featuring the heavily mythologized shooting of officers and the conscripts lying around waiting to get slaughtered without compunction.
Tank costs are weird- The game takes into account the weaker sights and lack of turret depression, fair enough, but in many cases ignores the reverse side of those issues, being that the cheap production made them very plentiful. A t34/85, for example, gets the downsides of being "poor", while costing more than the late panzer 4 it historically outnumbered and is otherwise nearly identical to in game terms.
Even in situations and periods where the Soviets were winning the majority of their battles, the game, from a points balancing perspective, feels balanced against them.

Sincilbanks
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:07 pm

Re: Points and balancing

Post by Sincilbanks »

I suspect the answer is "scenarios"....

Peter
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Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:41 pm

Re: Points and balancing

Post by Peter »

Scenarios. Play twice as each side.

Steve Nagy
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:38 pm

Re: Points and balancing

Post by Steve Nagy »

I'll take a slightly different tack here. I'll assume the integrity of the designers and playtesters in balancing the various armies. While it is easy to look at the Russians and complain, they do have some advantages over the Germans (cheap tanks!). Play the game out. As was suggested, switch sides and play the game twice. I suspect the armies are more balanced than people believe.

User avatar
DCRBrown
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Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:04 pm

Re: Points and balancing

Post by DCRBrown »

O Group is different to other rules and an O Group point's based game is not about trying to balance out every single advantage or disadvantage, to do so would not produce a historical wargame, even accepting it's a "points" game.

Points to consider:

1) Command: First off, let's put to bed the "Asiatic horde myth" stuff. Having studied the Russian army for some time in a previous life, I'm not in the habit of subscribing to any such myths. The Russians behaved in a certain manner and used certain tactics because of the operational limitations that they faced, not because of any racial or other "mythical" characteristics.
Russian commanders did rely far less on initiative in the Soviet army and still do. If a western counterpart took the initiative and it went wrong he would probably just be sacked at worse. In the Soviet army you ran a high risk of being shot or imprisoned if you did not strictly adhere to orders, that is why they were scared stiff of exercising initiative and why the Germans have better command. The fact that Soviet officers can be "replaced" does not subscribe to any myth as noted already, but to the above command system. It's also an attempt to inject a little humour into the game, which some may have missed. This rule is a Russian advantage, and joking aside actually reflects the advantage of the strict Russian command system in overcoming Hesitancy. Strict adherence meant that officers did as they were told often under very trying circumstances, while a western counterpart might refuse, deliberately hold back or simply give up. That's not ascribing a "brain dead" attribute to Russians but an attempt to reflect a significant advantage of the Soviet command method.

2) Initiative: If struggling to win the initiative as a Russian due to a lack of HQ Orders then use a Company Commander to increase the amount, that's why that rule in there!

3) Kit: As pointed out by nikjen66 Russian tanks are cheaper if you are buying T34s's, not much but certainly allow the Russian an edge.
So what if the STUH is the same price as an SU122? When the Russian commander receives a platoon of tanks he doesn't say, "Oh hang on, I'm supposed to get an extra platoon of infantry because my tanks are crap!" He just gets his tanks and that's it.
If fact, if he so much as questioned the design of the finest tanks that the Soviet army can muster, then he might well be give a one way trip to the gulag! And even some Russians officers back in the 1980s and early 1990s still thought like that!

4) Lots of Tanks.
"Even in situations and periods where the Soviets were winning the majority of their battles, the game, from a points balancing perspective, feels balanced against them."
Yes, the Russians were winning battles and campaigns at the operational and strategic level later in the war but they were still losing numerous lower level engagements right up to 1945. We need to stop looking up at the overall army strengths and tank numbers as it was at corps or front strategic levels where the Russian superiority came into play. Instead we need to look down at where you, as the player, are in the chain of command. Basically on the bottom rung where these advantages do not appear very often, when one battalion was pitted against one enemy battalion, on a small section of the battlefield.
Nonetheless this "numbers" advantage does appear, the Russian defender has more troops, his basic T/34 is cheaper and his numerous guns are also reflected by the opening bombardment. Try defending when you have four turns of Interdiction due to massed Russian guns and those T34s are racing towards your thinly manned lines! The German player will probably be under significant pressure, perhaps not unlike his historical counterpart, in that situation.

We are trying to reflect "history" in O Group rather than present an unhistorical points system that distorts what the commanders actually had to deal with on the ground. So, that means a Russian commander must manage his advantages and disadvantages alike.

I've played numerous games with and against the Russians and the win rate is roughly a 50/50 split. The Russian player needs to think like a Russian and not like his Western counter-part. You are not as flexible, your troops are not as well trained, so concentrate your efforts, don't attempt numerous fancy manoeuvres across all your companies, stick to a one company front, get to an objective and hold it; then send in all your tanks but go fast and get in close, because guess what? Those German tanks are better than yours!

In fact since play testing the Fall of France scenarios the Dutch, Belgian and French to some degree, are worse than the Russians, they are a real challenge, but I don't recall de Galle at the Battle of Montcornet saying "Mes chars sont des ordures, où sont mes fantassins supplémentaires?"

So, in short, yes, Russians were poorer historically and the points system is not design to alleviate those difficulties and make life easier for a Russian commander. It's designed to reflect history as best one can within the inadequate world that is a wargames "points system".

Hope that helps.

DB

nikjen66
Posts: 254
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:20 pm
Location: Cambridge UK

Re: Points and balancing

Post by nikjen66 »

Brilliant response Dave. Well considered and makes total sense. All the points you make are valid and reinforce my view that the Russians are far too good! 😂😂😂 Only joking of course.

I think the rules are brilliant and do things that we’re not used to in WW2 games which sometimes makes us a little uncomfortable. I like that cos when it goes tits-up I can blame the dice, the rules or my troops!

It’s Friction Jim but not as we know it. Keep up the great work mate.

Nick

General Charion
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:38 pm

Re: Points and balancing

Post by General Charion »

Thank you Dave, for your comprehensive response.

As i mentioned in initial post, i am happy that the national characteristics are there, and that with the design mechanics the games play out as you envisaged when creating them.

I have no problems with playing asymmetric forces and in fact prefer them from a game play perspective, just wasn't sure about the points system, so will adjust my tactics and force selections accordingly for future battles with the evil hun (AKA Nick).

Now, to order some more t34's...

Daren

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