Separate MGs & Blind cards

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Separate MGs & Blind cards

Post by paulr »

Hi All,

we are half way through a game set in the First Battle of Gaza, 26th March 1917 and a couple of questions have come up which I hope to get answers to before we resume the game next Saturday evening.

1. Separate MGs
We think we are using these correctly but they seem incredibly powerful so want to make sure we have this right.

Section 9.4, first sentence
"Firing must be worked out separately for each unit (i.e. company) or MG firing."
and also second sentence of second paragraph
"...Modifiers are applied per unit (for infantry) or per MG or field piece..."

This means that each MG gets all the amendments in the table in 9.4 that apply...

So if the full MG Squadron (6 MG bases) is at effective range
3 D6 (MG) + 4 (6-2=4 MGs over 2) = 7 D6 for each MG!!!!
So a total of 42 D6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With average rolls that's 7 kills and 28 suppressions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have we got this right?

2. Blind cards

In this game both sides started as blinds. As more and more units have been revealed, and cards added to the deck, the odds of the each sides blinds card turning up before the Tea break card seems to have dropped.

The British had a number of reinforcing units ready to arrive as blinds but didn't get to bring them on for several turns as their blind card didn't turn up. Equally the Ottomans have had about half their force sitting doing nothing for about 5 turns as their blind card has not turned up.

Is this "just bad luck" or is the design intention to encourage you to 'de-cloak' units relatively early so that the odds are that at least some of them will get to move before the Tea Break card?

One option that we thought of was to have two Blinds cards for each side in the deck but only acting on the first in the same way as Brigade Commander cards. This would increase the chance of Blinds getting to move but would it cause issues we haven't considered?

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Re: Separate MGs & Blind cards

Post by Archdukek »

I don't play ITSLU so I cannot answer your specific question about MG fire, but the question you ask about blinds is common to other TFL rules which I do play, like IABSM.

Although it can appear that the odds of the blinds card being drawn is reduced as more cards are added to the deck, that isn't actually the case. In theory the odds remain at 50%. What determines if the card is drawn is whether its position in the deck is before or after the tea break card. That never changes however many cards are in the deck.

However, in practice I have seen this statistical fact be affected by the poor shuffling of the deck when some cards seem to stick together and emerge as identical runs each turn. The problem of poor card shuffling is made worse the larger the deck becomes. This is one reason why some of us prefer to draw chits from a bag rather than shuffle the cards. You get a more random distribution. Others prefer to separate out the cards onto the table and rearrange them before reconstructing the deck each turn.

If you are finding the level of friction created by having a single tea break card in the deck is too high, and it sounds like you are, then you may wish to try adding a second tea break card into your deck with the turn only ending when the second card is drawn. Doing this reduces the odds of a card not being drawn from 50% to 33%, much better. (There are now 3 positions in the deck which the blinds card can occupy, 2 of which mean it will be drawn before the second tea break card.)

Rich included this as an option in version 3 of IABSM, published after ITSLU, and it is one I always use.

Hope this helps. :)
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Re: Separate MGs & Blind cards

Post by paulr »

Thanks, some useful thoughts.
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Location: North Lanarkshire, Scotland

Re: Separate MGs & Blind cards

Post by gilliessim »

Hi Paul, coming to this very late as I've only just picked up the ITLSU rules but as I understand it an MG squadron would be 4 bases (8 guns, 2 per base) so it would end up as 5 dice per base, for 4 bases so 20 in total?
That is how I understand it anyway! That would reduce the chances of kills and suppression but still have a significant impact. Even using your calculations I don't think that is ridiculous, they were devastating weapons when utilised correctly and particularly with troops in the open.

Just my thoughts although a few years too late!

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