France 1944 Revisions
France 1944 Revisions
Copyright © 2003-2005 Daniel F. Savarese
Before using these revised combat resolution rules, you should try using the original combat results table, but prohibit attacks at less than 1:4 odds and allow the attacker to use any odds column less than or equal to the computed odds ratio instead of mandating that the column for the computed odds ratio be used. In addition—or as an alternative—you may change the C combat result to cause the attacker to lose 1 step when the defender loses 2 steps. You may also try using the result columns for the ratio result one greater (see Alternative CRDT for the complete table).
The result of a combat is determined by a single die roll which may be adjusted by a combat modifier. Adjusted die rolls greater than 6 are treated as 6 and results lower than 1 are treated as 1.
Calculate the combat modifier by adding the morale and control modifiers (explained below). Determine odds according to the standard rules and then apply a column shift based on the combat modifier. A positive modifier results in an equivalent number of column shifts to the right. A negative modifier results in an equivalent number of column shifts to the left. For example, a combat modifier of -3 at 3-2 odds results in the 1-2 column being used to determine the result.
If the number of column shifts resulting from a combat modifier results in odds greater than 4-1 or less than 1-4, then the excess shifts are used as a die roll modifier. For example, a 1-1 attack with a combat modifier of +5 results in the 4-1 odds column being used to resolve the combat with a +1 die roll modifier. A 1-3 attack with a modifier of -3 results in a 1-4 attack with a -2 die roll modifier.
The morale modifier is computed by subtracting the defender morale (after all adjustments) from the attacker morale. For example, an attacker with a morale of 4 and a defender with a morale of 5 results in a morale modifier of -1. The morale of a defender may not be adjusted to a value greater than 6 or less than 1 by terrain, air power, or other adjustment.
The control modifier is based on the morale of the attacker and the number of attacking units involved in a combat. The maximum number of attacking units that may be involved in a combat without a penalty to the attacker (called the control limit) is derived from the morale of the attacker according to the Control Limit Table. As long as the number of attacking units involved in a combat is less than or equal to the control limit, the control modifier is equal to 0. HQ units are not included in the total. Therefore, an attacker with a morale of 5 (control limit of 8) will never suffer a penalty because the maximum number of attacking units that can be involved in a combat is 8, based on the stacking limits and combat restrictions. For every attacking unit above and beyond the control limit, subtract one from the control modifier. Therefore, the control modifier is simply the number of attacking units involved in a combat minus the control limit. The control modifier may never be positive. It is always either 0 or a negative number. The following table lists the control limit for each morale level.
This revised Combat Result Determination Table (CRDT) can be used in lieu of the original without any additional rule changes. The RR column contains the Ratio Result generated from the Combat Resolution Table (CRT) and the DM column contains the Defender Morale.
|Set-Piece Combat||Mobile Combat|
|R R||Attacker Morale||D M||Attacker Morale|
Out of supply combat units may move (normal movement only; administrative movement is disallowed) or attack using single-piece reaction at the cost of being reduced a step before commencing the first increment of the Single-Piece Reaction Phase. An out of supply unit using single-piece reaction to attack during an attack increment does not suffer the one-half combat strength reduction that is applied to out of supply defending units.
Rationale. The unit has already been reduced a step prior to movement or combat, so no additional penalty is necessary.
Out of supply HQ units may not move, add to the combat strength of an attacking unit, or otherwise be used during a Single-Piece Reaction Phase.
Reaction Point Expenditure
The standard rules allow the German player to prevent the Allied player from using the bulk of his reaction points in the latter stages of the game by spending them one at a time. In other words, the Germans can spend a single reaction point simply to deny the Allies the ability to spend reaction points. The tactic becomes unbalancing when a reasonably orchestrated German defense entrenches itself behind river lines and inside fortress hexes toward the end of the game, becoming impossible to dislodge without the use of Allied Reaction Phases.
The Allies can counter this game-mechanic-driven tactic by playing the odds and hoping to trade enough steps to break German defenses with more lower odds attacks instead of fewer higher odds attacks. Still, enough Allied activation opportunities are sapped to stall the Allies. Remember, HQ units can move only as part of a Single-Piece Reaction Phase. If the Allies cannot move their HQ units, they cannot advance their combat units without becoming out of supply. The final Reaction Phase opportunities at the end of a turn mitigate this somewhat, but it's quite odd when this tactic forces an Allied player with 10 reaction points and four initiative markers (vs. a German with 6 reaction points and one initiative marker) to be able to spend only 3 reaction points by the end of the turn. The folllowing rule change remedies this problem.
All or nothing. Spend a total of 3 points or no points.
Treat the spending of reaction points as occuring in a Reaction Segment as described in the Rules Clarification section. The reacting player may engage in Reaction Phases according to the standard rules. Upon completion of the last reaction phase in the Reaction Segment, if he has not spent a total of 3 reaction points, he immediately loses an additional number of reaction points to bring the total of reaction points spent to 3. If an insufficient number of reaction points remains to bring the total spent to 3, then the remaining reaction points are forfeited and the reaction point track is set to 0. If no reaction points are available, then no additional points are spent. If a player declines to engage in a Reaction Segment, then he loses no reaction points. A player can lose reaction points only if he engages in a Reaction Segment and spends at least one reaction point in a Reaction Phase.
The German player decides to engage in a Reaction Segment after the Allied Initiative Phase. He engages in an Army Reaction Phase, spending 3 reaction points. He loses no additional reaction points.
The German player declines to engage in a Reaction Segment after the Allied Initiative Phase. He loses no reaction points. The Allied player is now allowed to engage in a Reaction Segment because the German player declined. The Allied player decides to do so and spends 1 reaction point for a Single-Piece Reaction Phase, moving an HQ unit using administrative movement. He declines to spend any more reaction points on Reaction Phases, thus terminating the Reaction Segment. He immediately loses 2 reaction points (if available), bringing the total spent to 3.
Instead of rolling for air power availability at the beginning of each turn, roll during each Combat Increment you try to use air power.
The Allied player may try to use air power for one combat situation in each Combat Increment. Its availability is not guaranteed for the entire turn. Each time the player tries to use air power, he must roll on the Air Power Availability Track to see if air power is available for that Combat Increment. If the roll succeeds, air power may be allocated to the designated combat situation. If the roll fails, air power is not available during that Combat Increment. Another roll may not be made until the next Combat Increment when an attempt is made to assign air power to a combat situation.
Revised CRT. The revised combat table is based on the idea that the defender has an inherent advantage in combat, but that units of higher quality—either through training or experience—have an advantage over units of lower quality. The combat table itself reflects the first assumption. The morale modifier reflects the second assumption. Furthermore, it is more difficult to coordinate attacks involving a greater number of participants. Higher quality units can coordinate attacks involving more participants better than units of lower quality. The control modifier incorporates this consideration.
Mobile Combat. Mobile combat results are based on the idea that mobility gives the attacker an advantage over a static defender. A straight substitution of E for A, F for B, B for D, and C for C in the revised set-piece table to generate mobile combat results (as is done in the original table) generates unsatisfactory results. Therefore, an attempt has been made to translate results in a manner that preserves the original intent that a mobile attacker has a better chance of escaping harm (although the new table makes low odds attacks dangerous without a favorable morale differential). An additional consideration that mobile combat tends to occur when pursuing a retreating defender has been incorporated, yielding more damaging results to the defender than the original table at high odds.
Alternative CRDT. The original CRDT is not “bloody” enough for the attacker when the attacker and defender share the same morale, causing a narrative discontinuity when an attacking unit becomes more likely to lose a step when forced to attack at higher odds immediately after making a low odds attack against the exact same newly-reduced defender. Given that these anomalies occur on a particular boundary within the CRDT, a satisfactory solution may be achieved by using the result columns for the ratio result one greater (e.g., use the result columns for 2 to determine the results for 1, but retain the defender morale reference column for 1). That requires adjusting the results for ratio result 5 following the pattern used by the rest of the table. For example, the ratio result 5 set-piece combat rows become D D D D D C and A A A A A B.
Supply. Allowing out of supply units single-piece reaction movement and combat at the cost of a step loss reflects their ability to cannibalize resources and abandon equipment in order to move or fight.
Reaction Point Expenditure. The forced reaction point expenditures simulate the passage of time in a symmetric manner to circumvent the stalling tactic.
Air Power. The availability of air power was subject to the whims of the weather throughout the course of a month. Players shouldn't have the certainty of knowing that air power is available or unavailable throughout the entirety of a turn. The uncertainty of whether air power will be available for use in any given Combat Increment forces players to manage risk in the face of uncertainty.
Standard Rules Clarifications
Combat Declaration. The standard rule requiring that all hexes involved in a combat be adjacent to all others is to be interpreted so that at most 3 hexes can be involved in a combat. Attackers in two adjacent hexes may attack a single mutually adjacent defending hex or attackers in a single hex may attack defending units in two mutually adjacent defending hexes or attackers in a single hex may attack defending units in a single adjacent defending hex.
Combat Resolution Order. All combats in an attack increment must be declared before being resolved. Declaring a combat requires the specification of which attacking units are attacking which defending units. Combats may be resolved in any order chosen by the attacking player, but the units involved in a declared combat may not be changed based on the results of a previous combat and a declared combat may not be cancelled after it has been declared. For example, if you declare three combats in an attack increment, you cannot reallocate a unit from the third declared combat to the second declared combat after the first combat is resolved unfavorably and you fail to cut off supply for the second combat. Nor can you decide to cancel the second or third combat altogether after determining the results of the first.
Morale Adjustment. The Combat Modifications listing on the map indicates that terrain can modify defender morale only by either +1 or +2. You cannot add a fortress hex modifier to a rough terrain modifier to a river modifier to derive a +5 adjustment to defender morale. You may apply only the most favorable morale modifier (either +1 or +2) provided by the terrain. For example, a fortress hex containing a city would provide a morale adjustment of +2 (using the fortress hex morale adjustment), not +1 (for the city) or +3 (the sum of fortress and city adjustments). As stated in the rule book, however, the morale adjustment from the 79th British Armored Division is cumulative. Therefore, heavy bombing plus the effects of the 79th would yield a -3 adjustment. The worst possible adjustment to defender morale is -3 and the best possible adjustment is +2.
Single-Piece Reaction Phase. Treat the spending of reaction points by the Reaction Player as a Reaction Segment. The Reaction Segment may consist of a single Army Activation Phase or up to three Single-Piece Reaction Phases. No combat or HQ unit may be activated more than once during a Reaction Segment. Therefore, each Single-Piece Reaction Phase in a Reaction Segment must activate a different unit.
The official errata is Copyright © 1990 Victory Games. It was obtained from http://www.grognard.com/errata/france44.txt and is dated 15 January 1990.
Initiative and Reaction Phases. No Headquarters unit may be activated more than twice per game turn. On all game turns, except game turn one, a Headquarters unit may not be activated twice in a row. Another friendly Headquarters unit must be activated between a Headquarter's two activations. On game turn 1 this rule is not in effect.
Administrative Movement. A Combat or Headquarters unit may not use Administrative Movement to move out of supply at any time in its movement. The unit can be in supply with any friendly Headquarters unit, not necessarily the one that activated it. A Combat unit may move out of supply when using normal movement only.
Out of Supply Effects. During the Replacement Segment of the Administrative Phase, before any replacements are taken, any Combat unit that is out of supply loses one step. If the unit is at cadre level when this step is lost, the Combat unit is placed in the Eliminated Units Box and may be brought back into play immediately or later using replacement points.
Initial Unit Placement. During setup, place German 15 HQ in hex 2708 instead of hex 2508 so that the units in hexes 3004 and 3106 (34SS mechanized infantry and 88 infantry) start in supply. This is necessary when using the official errata. Otherwise, the German player must spend one reaction point to move the HQ on the first turn, making it impossible to activate an army to counterattack or retreat from the Allied beachead. Without the official errata, the units would not suffer any ill-effects from being out of supply at the start of the game. With the official errata, the units suffer a step loss each turn they remain out of supply. The same is true for the unit that starts in hex 0710, but that unit would traditionally sit out the whole game without doing anything, having no effect on the outcome of the game. Therefore, we don't make any adjustments for it.
Out of Supply Effects. During the Replacement Segment of the Administrative Phase, before any replacements are taken, any HQ unit that is out of supply and not stacked with a friendly Combat unit is dispersed.
Southern Reinforcements. Allied HQs accompany the pursuing Combat units they are stacked with to move onto the map.
With the exception of the Official Errata, these unofficial rules should not be construed in any way to have been approved or endorsed by the game's designer (in fact, assume he strongly objects to them) or any other party.