Submarines: Griffey / Krieghund

Closing in... This will be a slower and more deliberate process. It starts with Submarines and moves on from there. This is how I see it. Tell me what's wrong or right about each section. It's in your hands.
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Testing

Post by Griffey » Sat Mar 05, 2005 1:05 am

Twice now my replies to K-hund have failed to post to the forum, which may make I.L. happy. This post is only a test . . .

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Sea Zone IPC income

Post by Griffey » Sat Mar 05, 2005 1:37 am

Dear K-hund,

The central question is how we treat sea zones. The way we answer that question bears decisively on all sea-related questions, not just on submarine ENRs, but on all the topics I've been raising--war economy, the neutral trade, the surface blockade, long distance naval noncombat movement, and the sea supply of combat units. I don't raise these historical details to complicate the game. Quite the contrary,

"PLURALITAS NON EST PONENDA SINE NECESSITATE." (William of Occam),

is my design motto.

I raise them to show how all these complex factors of history are elegantly modeled by one very simple and desirable rule change-- the treating of sea zones as "wet territories" which are controllable and which produce IPC income. The game has been needlessly impoverished for want of a simple way to model the above historical complexities. This simple change will bring the struggle for the sea in the game back to life in a fun, exciting and easy-to-understand way. War gamers can count to one-hundred. Counting a few more IPCs at their own sea zones won't bust their heads.

What may bust their heads is a complex new set of rules for ENR in convoy zones. Such rules cannot be as simple as the strategic bombing rules. Bombing involves only two or three different pieces. ENR at convoy zones will involve the whole rogues gallery of naval units. And when control of the North Atlantic flips to the Axis, or control of the Pacific flips to Japan, what happens then? Why would the new controlling power adopt a convoy zone in which it only stands to lose IPC income?

But, I say, let us let the players decide. The players are the arbiters of elegance in rule making. Let them try both versions of the rules proposed here. See which they like best.

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Convoy zones

Post by Griffey » Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:03 am

Dear K-hund,

Now, your answer to my objection #2 several posts back was unsatisfactory. Unsatisfactory sir!

You may recall that I criticized the convoy zone concept for making the Allies' job too easy, by concentrating all the ENR and ASW action in a few convoy zones in the North Atlantic, and probably in the Pacific too. I assumed that in addition to trivial colonial convoy zones adjacent to places like "West Indies," "Congo", and "Alaska, " where only 1 or 2 IPC are at stake, you would etablish major north and mid-Atlantic convoy zones where high-stakes ENR occurs. That was where most of the U-boat war was. The Germans showed little interest in sinking the cacao of Ivory Coast and the tobacco of Cuba, and rather more in sinking, e.g., 100,000 tons of 93-octane fuel leaving Port of Houston each month for Fighter Command in England. There was a small amount of U-boat action off the small colonies, but that's not where the main game was.

But no! You tell me that the Axis, in your convoy zone model, will be building and dispersing its U-boats to attack off Congo, Central Africa, Eastern Canada, West Africa, West Indies, etc. The Japanese will be about the same task in the Pacific.

This would be like an ax man attacking a tree by digging up and slashing the tree's hundreds of dirty little roots, rather than attacking the trunk. The trunk of the Atlantic economy was the North Atlantic. So where are the IPC vulnerable in your convoy zone model? I will tell you where they are in my model: in the North Atlantic.

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Post by Imperious leader » Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:33 am

Griffey, hes probably still on your second paragraph. Rather than posting latin, can you just simply state the rules as you see it? Write things just like your were composing the game booklet. Thats a sure way too see your ideas. Your hyperbole in posting beats around the bush too much. I cant really see your ideas as they are allways written like some professors speech in front of 200 people when in reality its only the three of us who are reading this. I am trying to me purposely contentious with you, just pointing out perhaps a good way to explain your ideas, so the rest of us can follow (even though probably nobody is reading this either!!! LOL) :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
We really need an Axis and Allies World War one game so i can play that on August 1st, 2014.

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Post by adlertag » Sat Mar 05, 2005 5:33 am

Dear Griffy.

I am totally with you.
I know that all your facts are right, and I love the way you put it into game-rules. This will be Advanced, for adults, the kids still keep Revised, D-day, Europe and Pacific, so we want Advanced, with rules and mechanich that reflects real historic ww2.

Sea-Zones (wet territories) with IPC-value, that can be used by the controller, and may be subject to Blockade (by enemy surface ships) and Denial (by enemy subs and aircrafts) will fit perfect in this game.

"The reason for all naval warfare is always - direct or indirect - to either take control over the sea, or denie your enemy to take control"
Julian S. Corbett

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Re: Convoy zones

Post by Krieghund » Sat Mar 05, 2005 10:44 am

Griffey wrote:Dear K-hund,

Now, your answer to my objection #2 several posts back was unsatisfactory. Unsatisfactory sir!

You may recall that I criticized the convoy zone concept for making the Allies' job too easy, by concentrating all the ENR and ASW action in a few convoy zones in the North Atlantic, and probably in the Pacific too. I assumed that in addition to trivial colonial convoy zones adjacent to places like "West Indies," "Congo", and "Alaska, " where only 1 or 2 IPC are at stake, you would etablish major north and mid-Atlantic convoy zones where high-stakes ENR occurs. That was where most of the U-boat war was. The Germans showed little interest in sinking the cacao of Ivory Coast and the tobacco of Cuba, and rather more in sinking, e.g., 100,000 tons of 93-octane fuel leaving Port of Houston each month for Fighter Command in England. There was a small amount of U-boat action off the small colonies, but that's not where the main game was.

But no! You tell me that the Axis, in your convoy zone model, will be building and dispersing its U-boats to attack off Congo, Central Africa, Eastern Canada, West Africa, West Indies, etc. The Japanese will be about the same task in the Pacific.

This would be like an ax man attacking a tree by digging up and slashing the tree's hundreds of dirty little roots, rather than attacking the trunk. The trunk of the Atlantic economy was the North Atlantic. So where are the IPC vulnerable in your convoy zone model? I will tell you where they are in my model: in the North Atlantic.
I think this is purely an instance of trading literal reality for playability in order to achieve a better conceptual semblance of reality.

If you place all the convoy zones in one spot, it will do as you say and allow "attacking the trunk", which is more strategically realistic. But this is boring and too easy. Spreading them out better simulates the "cat and mouse" nature of naval resource interdiction warfare, which adds a more realistic "flavor".
A&A Developer and Playtester

"War is much more fun when you're winning!" - General Martok

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Post by Imperious leader » Sat Mar 05, 2005 1:26 pm

yes Id like to see Germany spread out her kreigsmarine to all the sea zones that she in fact deployed in the war. I dont want centralized areas to make it easier for germany to attack. Of course some convoy boxes or "attackable merchant trade routes" will have a lower potential value as a target for German surface raiders and U-boats, but i want these contestable zones spread along all the trade routes all the way to India.

In the pacific a similiar route thru panama and routes to Hawaii, austrailia etc. Just a basic job of it. Nothing complicated. We have to save our "complications" for other game play mechanics (e.g.combat system)
We really need an Axis and Allies World War one game so i can play that on August 1st, 2014.

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Sea Zones As "Wet Territories"

Post by DonMoody » Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:33 am

The problem with sea zones as 'wet territories' is the reality of WW2.

Sea zones, in and of themselves, had no production capability.
The sea zones, in and of themselves, were not actually 'controlled'.

Japan had shipping between the areas it conquered/controlled, but Japan started the war short on shipping and - even with the shipping it captured in its initial attacks - Japan's shipping shortage only increased got worse and worse during the war.
Japan did not have sufficient shipping to fully utilize/exploit the resources of the areas it captured, let alone any additional areas it planned to capture (or, more accurately, dreamed of capturing).

As for the EuroAxis, once at war with the West, there was almost no long range shipping and the short range shipping (Adriatic, Baltic) is already sufficiently covered in control of land territories.

As for the Allies, British merchant shipping levels remained amazingly constant through out the war (between more than 18 and about 22 million tons at any given time) while American shipping *radically* increased during the war (from less than half of Britain's in 1939, c. 8 million tons) to more almost double Britain's (c. 39 million tons) by war's end.
And those numbers only cover the British and American merchant capabilities; i.e. they do not include any of the other Allied powers.

Finally, the majority of Allied shipping was in areas where the Axis had little hope of reaching with anything other than submarines.
And when one compares German submarine options to those of Japan, Japan's are practically nil; i.e. more overall traffic in the Atlantic than the Pacific, shipping routes in the Atlantic much closer to German bases than shipping route in the Pacific to Japanese bases, Pacific much large than the Atlantic.

The real story of submarines in WW2 is this:
Limited tactical (i.e. what would be naval combat in A&A) success early (i.e. first 6 months) in each theater (i.e. when war broke out in the theater); US having more consistent success in this area than any other nation.
Primarily strategic weapons; Germany having some success, US having a lot of success (but keep in mind, during the entire war, Germany only sunk about as much merchant shipping as Britain - by itself - had at the start of the war and Britain - by itself - built more shipping than the German sunk and the US built a lot more shipping than Britain built).

The tactical story is simple:
Except for US submarines, submarine tactical effectiveness during WW2 was practically nil and even US submarine tactical effectiveness is low enough to seriously question giving any submarines any tactical ability (i.e. any capabilities in naval combat).
Non-US submarines had a very, very few scores against undamaged capital ships (e.g. Courageous) and a few scores against damaged capital ships (e.g. Yorktown) but compared to the entire length of the war, the total number of enemy warships sunk during the war by all nations other than the US is quite small.
And while US submarines did have a higher success rate against enemy warships (e.g. Shokaku, Taiho, Kongo, Shinano), their numbers are still very low compared to all other sources.

The strategic story has two simple parts:
PART ONE
When submarines are sinking more shipping in a period of time than the other side is launching in that same period of time, there submarines are causing problems and the submarine campaign is having some effect.
Germany did this for a while after France was conquered (but then, wrong estimates by both sides as to minimum shipping levels needed and losses inflicted to cause serious problems made the concern/hope out to be much greater than it actually was) and perhaps during the second Happy Time (I'd have to check my numbers on this, the US was building a lot of shipping by the time of the Germany declaring war and openly attacking US shipping).
Once Japan went to war, the US effectively did this to until Japan surrendered (i.e. for the entire course of the war). And once the US really got started (e.g. corrected torpedoe issues), it got much worse.

PART TWO
When more submarines are being sunk in a period of time than the number of submarines the nation is able to launch in the same period of time, the sub war is effectively over.


Tactically, submarines were - on any strategic level game, and certainly on a game whose scale is each naval unit represents multiple ships (i.e. A&A's scale) - essentially ineffective tactically.

Strategically, it is very difficult to measure submarine effectiveness without some comparison to shipbuilding capability.
And while that can be represented in a game, it can be problematic; e.g. IIRC, British shipbuilding capability was greater than all of the Axis combined but there were economic factors which had a limiting effect; the US's ability increased before the US was at war and greatly increased once it was at war and - with regards to shipbuilding - the US had no economic issues comparable to the British ones.

DonMoody

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