LHTR rules amendment...

Here are the Tournment Rules for Revised Axis & Allies
BlackWatch
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:51 am

Post by BlackWatch » Sun Oct 02, 2005 4:42 pm

trihero wrote: It's quite obvious that some units fire before others like AA guns and subs regardless of who initiated the attacking, but whenever there's "simultaneous" firing or a confusion in who is going first, the attacker takes precedent. He chooses what territories to attack, in what order to attack, and when to retreat as long as there's remaining units left. Just as that's the case, so it is the case that the attacker gets to choose to retreat first - the defender can't "trick" the attacker into forcing an assault by retreating first through submersion because it's the attacker's choice to retreat first.
The attacker USUALLY fires first, but AA guns and defending subs are clear exceptions - attacker fires first is not a hard and fast rule. In the case that brought the matter to the forefront, if the attacker had full knowledge of the rule as proposed, he could have brought a destroyer along with the six transports taking a 50-50 chance that the destroyer would miss, forcing the sole defender (sub) to stay on the surface, and thereby allowing the retreat the attacker wanted to pull off (rescuing his 10 land units from Finland).

There is no "tricky" about it - there is only knowledge of the rules to such a degree that you may fully utilize them to your own tactical advantage.
trihero wrote:I think that is simply the best and easiest way to clarify it - using submarine's submersion as a retreat move, rather than a separate end-of-combat-round-but-before-retreat phase type thing that just creates confusion.
The order proposed (attacker may submerge, defender may submerge, all other attackers, including any unsubmerged subs may retreat) is a clarification of an existing rule, not a change.
I suggest you change your proposal to fit what the intention of the rules is - that the attacker is in control of attacking and retreating in all cases but the land portion of amphibious assault. It just makes too much sense that submarine's submersion is a retreat move (it's worded to say a submarine can retreat, so you would think that this happens during the press attack or retreat phase). Retreat moves are just part of the retreat phase, and the attacker is allowed to retreat first in the same manner that he rolls first and chooses the order of the battles.
I would submit to you that the intention of the rules is not clear. Most time attackers do things ahead of defenders, but not always, so the whole issue is open for debate.
trihero wrote:
Submarines:
Submarines on both sides may retreat during
this step by submerging. Return the submarine
to the game board and tip it onto its side to
mark it as submerged. It remains submerged
until the end of the noncombat move phase.
(Submerged submarines do not stop enemy sea
units from moving through their sea zone.)
I definitely think this is the most confusing paragraph that brings up BlackWatch's issue, because it says that submarines submerge at the same time and somewhere vaguely in "this step" (Press Attack or Retreat). I think the sumbarine submersion step needs to be clarified exactly when it happens in the attack or retreat step. The way it's written, you can interpret the submarines to retreat before the attack retreats, but I don't think it was really intended to be that way.
The whole purpose of drafting the LHTR rules was to get away from second guessing what the intent of the rules was (there were dozens of issues like this with contradictory rules open to argument as to"intent").

In many cases the authors could not even explain their own intent (Larry Harris and Mike Selinker both helped in drafting the LHTR rules). They were always clear what they wanted with a particular rule, but when directed to a conflicting rule they too had to work with us to bring them together so the whole mess made sense.
trihero wrote:Or perhaps the wording should be changed so that you can retreat even if there are submerged units in play; you could keep your proposed order of submerging then retreating, but the attacker could still retreat even if all units have been submerged. Like Larry said, that would be reason enough to retreat from the seazone if you saw submarines submerging in it. It just doesn't make too much sense that you're really supposed to be able to trick the attacker into attacking like that.
Again - look at overall consistency. You cannot launch an amphibious assault if there are subs on the surface, but if you drive them off (their only choice in AAR is down - in 2nd edition they could move to an open seazone) the amphib can proceed. You can noncom through a seazone with one transport over 20 submerged subs. The defending subs have been put out of play. You CAN retreat from a sub on the surface - it is still a threat. It does not make sense to be able to retreat from a submerged sub - sorry but that dog won't hunt.

"It just doesn't make too much sense that you're really supposed to be able to trick the attacker into attacking like that"

Most players I know are trying to outwit their opponent at every step of the game. Pins and forks in chess are tactical "tricks" - would you outlaw them too?
BlackWatch

trihero
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:16 am

Post by trihero » Sun Oct 02, 2005 8:29 pm

Ok, let's make it clear. I'm not against tricky moves. Le'ts not talk about this point again. I'm against them when they don't seem to be what the author intended. We were all using heavy bombers I'm sure until the total bombing limit came into play. I'm all for doing whatever it takes to win, but in confusing cases like this it's more than blindly allowing the move because it's brilliant. Have you honestly considered the other side of the case? Why do you argue for your way? If in general the attacker is given the opportunity to do things first (if he has equal opporunities, as in both have subs, or both have the chance to retreat), why would you argue that in this case the defender deserves to be able to retreat first and deny the attacker's retreat?
The attacker USUALLY fires first, but AA guns and defending subs are clear exceptions - attacker fires first is not a hard and fast rule
I already said that AA and defending subs are clear exceptions. I also made it quite clear that when presented equal opportunities, the attacker fires first. If there are subs on both teams, the attacker rolls the subs first. It is quite clear that attackers get things done before the defender is when given equal opportunities. If as you say, the attacker USUALLY does things first, then what reason have you to give the UNUSUAL opporunity for defenders to submerge before the attacker's retreat, and therefore deny the retreat?

There is an equal opportunity for both attacker and defender to retreat. Therefore, the attacker would get to retreat first.

And you already have Larry commenting on his thoughts in this post. He has said that he doesn't like the defender being able to manipulate the attacker's choice to retreat.

Does it not make perfect sense that submerging is just another form of retreating? Would you not therefore agree that the attacker gets the opportunity to retreat first, since he rolls first, and chooses the order of the battles? Whenever presented an EQUAL opportunity, the attacker goes first. Things like AA guns and subs may not be present on the attacker's force, but if they are they get to roll first before the defenders, as well. If you look at submersion as a form of retreat, then it is again quite evident that the attacker gets to make his full retreat (any combination of moving to another naval zone or submerging) before the defender gets this opportunity.

Some of my arguments have been extraneous, but none of yours has dealth with my main argument - that simply put, subs submerging is a retreat move. Retreat moves happen in the attack or retreat phase. The attacker should get to retreat first, and the defenders second. There is no good reason for the defending subs to retreat and deny the attacker the chance to retreat.

Can you give me one clear reason why the attackers should not be able to do a full retreat before the defender's sub submerges? Submerging is simply a form of retreat. Even if retreating is done simultaneously, and not attacker first, the defender's retreat would not be able to short circuit the attacker's retreat. I don't see why subs submerging goes before normal retreat. That dog isn't hunting, either. And that's the main point of the argument. I only offered being able to retreat from submerged subs as an optional sidepoint.

I understand completely that it's open to debate. My point of view is this: the retreat or press attack phase happens after one round of firing. Right after that phase, the attacker assesses his damages and decides whether to keep at it or not. The defender never gets a chance to say," hey I'm out of here" first. I agree, this point is open to debate because it's not clear in the rules, but precedent has it that the defender doesn't do things first when given equal opportunities. The attacker makes an instant decision whether to turn around or not. Even if the defender makes an instant decision whether to submerge, the attacker's order has already been given to retreat. Just because the defending sub is going to submerge doesn't mean the attacker will suddenly decide to press the attack.

The attacker's decision to retreat is based immediately after the round of firing and casualties. To me it is just all kinds of wrong what you suggest - the attacker has to wait to see if the enemy's sub to submerge, and he is forced to continue the attack if it does submerge. The attacker already gets to make his decision based on his casualties and if he thinks attacking is beneficial. He shouldn't have to wait to see what the enemy does with his subs, and then be FORCED to attack because he saw them submerge - he has already made his decision based on the forces he has left vs if he thinks he can accomplish his goal or not.

The only reason I can see you arguing the other way is to make destroyers more a part of the game, since they usually aren't built even for anti-sub. That's another issue in itself.

User avatar
Craig A Yope
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:23 am
Location: Saint Clair, MI

Unintended consequences!

Post by Craig A Yope » Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:36 pm

Now that the "cat" is out of the bag, we have to deal with it.

A&A Revised was released with the new idea of having subs participate in combat in a different way. It is up to us to come up with the best way to clearly present this processs.

We should retain the combat cycle that way it is and clarify the order of retreat in the manner that Blackwatch has put forth.

Why is that? Because anything else would make for another exception to the order of interaction that has been established in the game previously.

It is not a matter of whether I think that it was a good decision, or not, to separate out the sub combat into an earlier step in the combat cycle. It is now a matter of dealing with the problem in the least disruptive method possible.

Main argument I would give for allowing the defending sub to submerge before the rest of the attacking force can retreat is the idea that this is a special ability given to a submarine, just like the ability to fire before the rest of the naval units in a battle.

If the rule is clearly stated that way, the players will have to know what the rule is and will have to play within that context.

Craig

BlackWatch
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:51 am

Post by BlackWatch » Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:47 pm

I'll state my reasons as simply as I can:

Attacking subs fire
Defending subs fire
All other attacking units fire

If you are considering retreats why would you not use this same order??

The author's intent was clear with respect to the rolling order for defending subs - they were being given an opportunity to knock out attacking units before the attacking units ever fired IF the attacker did not take the precaution to bring along a destroyer so that ALL attacking units were guaranteed a chance to fire. This destroyer/sub relationship was not altered in the LHTR rules. Your proposal WEAKENS the author's intent with respect to destroyers, making them a less desirable piece to buy.

Why not impose the same caveats with respect to holding open your options to retreat - bring a destroyer along or take your chances with a defending sub spoiling your plans.
BlackWatch

trihero
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:16 am

Post by trihero » Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:53 pm

I'll state my reasons as simply as I can:

Attacking subs fire
Defending subs fire
All other attacking units fire

If you are considering retreats why would you not use this same order??
The answer is very simple. The rules have clearly established different firing steps in combat. Things that fire in the opening round cause casualties that don't fire back. Then things fire in the main round of combat.

There is nothing to suggest that there is an "opening retreat" round, in which subs go, then a general retreat when the rest of the attacker's force goes. It is indeed unclear when both sides' subs submerge during this step, so there should be a wording change at some point for tournament play. It is as unclear as the old rockets used to be, you had no idea when they fired so you could theoretically move the gun then fire at the end of your turn.

Your suggestion makes little sense. It does make sense that subs fire in the opening round because they have a sneak attack - if undetected, there's no way for units to respond to them until after they attack. But what you suggest is giving the subs a "sneak retreat" - somehow subs retreat first (which in itself, makes no sense. Units retreat at the same time. Simply because subs go downward insteaf of laterally to retreat doesn't give them the chance to go first. And it especially makes no sense that somehow the defender's sub submerging during combat FORCES you to continue the amphibious assault if you have already decided you want to retreat.)

You have Larry's offhand thought in the first response post - he doesn't think that defenders should manipulate the attacker's choice to retreat other than killing them all. I don't think it makes any sense either. This game may not be based entirely on reality, but that logic is applied where it does make sense and does not interfere with the game's logic that makes it playable.

To me it seems that right after the firing round, there is an instantaneous decision made whether to retreat or not by the attacker. If he retreats, that's the end of the story. It just seems so wrong that the attacker is a) forced to wait for the defender's subs to be given the chance to submerge and then b) if the defender's subs chose to submerge, he blindly and irrevocably has to continue the amphibious assault.

My proposal is simple - treat submerge as simply another form of retreat.

1.All attackers get to retreat first (by moving or submerging)
2. Then defenders get to retreat (by submerging)

This does not create some strange preemptive "opening retreat" step by subs which your way creates. Your way does not clarify so much as creates a new retreat step, and allows the very very strange option for the defenders to force the attackers to continue an amph assault against their will after a round of fire.

I know the game doesn't make sense in real life in some aspects, but it should adhere to some real life logic. If you were a commander of a naval fleet of transports, and you lost a couple of transports to a sub so as you wouldn't be able to take the beachhead or whatever, do you honestly think that you would wait for the sub to submerge, and then if it did, you would be forced to attack? You wouldn't be that stupid, by far. You'd retreat the instant you think your amphibious assault becomes too risky (which happens after the sub sinks some of your stuff).

I can understand that you want destroyers to be desirable (and currently, they're not until you spend some risky investments on combined bombardment). But I think if that's your main reasoning behind your proposal to clarify LHTR, then it is a poor reason. You complicate and introduce a new phase in the retreat (subs, then other units) for the sake of making destroyers more desirable. If you really want destroyers buffed, then the way to do it is not by changing the rules in such a way to accomodate their useage in such an arcane situation.

My way simply says that subs submerging are another form of retreat. They do not have a "preemptive retreat" or a separate retreat from other naval units. There's no way to sneak retreat from an enemy that also happens to block the enemy's option to retreat. A preemptive attack makes a lot of sense, but a preemptive retreat makes little sense. How you can your retreating force the enemy to attack against his will? There are more direct issues that are wrong with destroyers (their IPC cost mainly vs other naval units and fighters) that you should be pursuing instead of this little point.
Your proposal WEAKENS the author's intent with respect to destroyers, making them a less desirable piece to buy.
Does it? I would build a destroyer every time to prevent substalls in general. I don't want the sub to be able to submerge, period. I think destroyers are very desirable in preventing multiple substalls from one sub.

Larry summed it up perfectly in his first post:
Your proposed order of retreat is a good idea but even it still does not cover the example you presented. It appears that a defending sub can still submerge before attacking sea units can retreat.
Just how does a defending sub retreat before attacking sea units retreat? Retreat is pretty much simultaneous. I'm beating this to the ground I know, but there is no opening retreat step in the retreat phase. Your wanting the subs to retreat first does logically adhere to the pattern of subs firing first, but subs firing first has a real reason behind it because they are undetectable without a destroyer and can wreak havoc preemptively. They can't retreat preemptivley. The decision to retreat should be seen as simultaneous rather than sequential. There's no golden pass that allows subs significant time to retreat first by submerging.
bring a destroyer along or take your chances with a defending sub spoiling your plans
You seem to want to improve the subs' ability to perform substall. Why? You want to increase the annoyance of the substall simply to increase the desirability of a destroyer?

User avatar
PAGAN
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:23 am
Contact:

Post by PAGAN » Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:30 am

this is not that complicated people.

attacker can retreat.

subs have the ability to submerge.

destroyers take away the ability of submerge.

Attacker decides to retreat...
----if enemy DD is present then No Submerge Option
----all attackers units retreat
______submerge = retreat


the last line should be self-evident
there are also no 'forced-battles'
.

BlackWatch
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:51 am

Post by BlackWatch » Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:19 am

Trihero,

Thanks for pursuing this, and for taking such an interest. I do see your point of view and it does have merit.

To move the discussion forward, I want to take a step back first.

There is a problem with the printed rules as a totality that must be fixed.

The clear intent of the authors of the game was to only allow subs to retreat by submerging, not on the surface. In addition to the wording of the actual rule itself, there is also a commentary note on the "Revised Orders" page in the box that indicates this intent.

The following language is from the"Revised Orders" pages. There are several points to be made from it.
Revised Orders wrote:

THEN (2nd edition) = "Submarines could withdraw to a different space"

NOW (AAR) = "Now submarines can submerge after both sides fire, when you determine if another cycle of combat will occur. Both attacking and defending submarines can submerge."

WHY = "It is more logical for subs to dive than have a special in-combat move"
It seems relatively clear that the authors planned to allow subs to submerge only.

There is another rule that very clearly impacts the ability to submerge - destroyers prohibit a sub from submerging.

This too could be dealt with in isolation. The problem arises when you mix in other units in the battle.

If I have a mixed fleet of air units (for an extreme example) and submarines attacking a fleet that contains a destroyer, and the attack starts to go badly, the attacker wants to retreat.

However, Destroyers prohibit ANY retreat by ALL units if there are still submarines in the attack group (since ALL units must retreat at the same time).

Elsewhere in the rule set, the authors have permitted air units to retreat from amphibious assaults in any round of battle. This was done in AAR as a response to an endless series of complaints about 2nd edition rules that prohibited this from occurring.

It seems unlikely to me at least that the authors would have "fixed" one "non-retreat for air units" case, but inserted another. I admit that there is nothing EXPLICIT in the rules that makes sea battles "no reteat allowed for ALL units accompanying subs when faced with an opposing destroyer", and if this is the route this discussion finally takes, I can live with that too - but there will be a new string of endless whining about it.

The only possible "implicit" language that can possibly be used to justify allowing subs to retreat on the surface is that:

1) Nowhere does it actually and explicitly say that subs can only retreat by submerging - any reference to submerging SEEMS to be "slightly" optional.

2) Destroyers prevent subs from SUBMERGING, not from RETREATING, in any language that makes reference to this power of destroyers.

I think that this rule, like many others fixed in the LHTR rule set, was simply a case of incomplete rules testing and incomplete rules debugging.

In order to fix it, I think we will be heading in the direction of allowing subs to retreat on the surface as well as by submerging.

This is therefore an additional power granted to attacking subs that does contravene the intent of the box rules.

Granting this new power introduces new issues of when can an attacking sub submerge and when can it retreat on the surface, which we are also trying to address.

Now let's look at a second piece of the section quoted above:

"Now submarines can submerge after both sides fire, when you determine if another cycle of combat will occur. Both attacking and defending submarines can submerge."

and from the LHTR rules:

"Submarines on both sides may retreat during this step by submerging. Return the submarine to the game board and tip it onto its side to mark it as submerged. It remains submerged until the end of the noncombat move phase. (Submerged submarines do not stop enemy sea units from moving through their sea zone.) "

This can be read any number of ways, but the view I am taking of it is that it will allow subs to submerge EVEN if another round of combat will occur. This power is EXPLICITLY granted to defending subs - there is nothing to indicate that they cannot submerge after any round regardless of whether there are other defending units left or not.

I think it also applies to attacking subs. They can retreat in any round by submerging INDEPENDENT of what any other attacking units are doing. The language cited above (LHTR Rules) grants them the ability to submerge during step 7 - it does not mandate that all other units must retreat at the same time as them.

This last point (attacking subs can SUBMERGE in any round) is critical, and is probably at the heart of our disagreement as to the order to be followed when conducting retreats.

Finally, I will address PAGAN. I agree that the rule should be simple, but until you work through all the permutations and combinations it isn't (unless you prefer to have a no retreat option for ALL units in a battle where attacking subs are opposed by defending destroyers.)
BlackWatch

User avatar
Krieghund
Posts: 2667
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 9:18 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Post by Krieghund » Mon Oct 03, 2005 12:47 pm

BlackWatch, I know the question of submarine withdrawal vs retreat has been argued to death, but in my opinion neither the Operations Manual nor the quote you cited from the Revised Orders precludes attacking subs from retreating on the surface with other units. I believe it is just another case of poor and unclear wording in the rules.

In my opinion, all the statement you quoted means is that subs may submerge in the embattled sea zone during combat rather than withdraw to another sea zone, as in the Second Edition. The phrase "special in-combat move" in the statement clearly (at least to me) refers to the Second Edition withdrawal capability only. Normal retreating at the end of combat is not a special ability of subs, and therefore I don't believe this changes the ability of attacking subs to retreat in a normal fashion along with all other units.

As you have pointed out, allowing attacking subs to retreat only by submerging creates even more problems, and I find it hard to believe that this was the designers' intent. In the absence of specific wording in the rules, only a direct quote from Larry or Mike that specifically says that attacking subs may only retreat by submerging will convince me that was the intent.
A&A Developer and Playtester

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

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest