ACWGC Forums

Problem with Optional Art Capture rules
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Author:  StonewashedJackson [ Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

i would like other officers input on this.
i ran a test on using the HPS game Optional Artillery capture rules.
in theory i like having this rule but the actual operation of how it really works make it so i do not want to use it.
in theory it is supposed to let you capture the guns so you can use it on the enemy you captured it from if you can remain in possession of those guns. the if you cannot then you can spike them and leave the guns unmanned.
besides the enemy that you captured the guns from be deprived of the use of this guns you score 60 points for a 2 gun battery when you capture the guns.
all that seems great except that i have discovered that this rule has major problems with it.
1) in the users manual it makes it sound like that the side that originally owned the guns can recapture the guns and use them again if not spiked and that is the way it works but the actual facts are THAT AS SOON AS THE SIDE THAT CAPTURED THE GUNS MOVES OF THE GUNS THE 60 POINTS YOU EARNED FOR TAKING THOSE GUNS IS REMOVED FROM YOUR SCORE SO IT IS AS IF YOU SCORED NOTHING FOR ALL THE EFFORT AND CASUALTIES YOU SUFFERED TO GET THIS GUNS.
the enemy DOES NOT HAVE TO RETAKE THE GUNS for you to lose the 60 points you earned for capturing the guns in the 1st place.
the enemy should have to recapture the guns unspiked to cause you to lose the 60 points is how it should work but it does not work that way.
2) as for spiked guns how it works and should work is this: when you capture the battery of 2 guns you get 60 points. if you spike the guns you points are cut in half to 30 points.
i can live with that since many times you know you cannot hold the position on the hex with the guns but at least you spiked(destroyed) the guns so enemy if he retakes the guns can no longer use them but since you cannot stay with the guns then you only get half the normal points.

Author:  Hwkhuntswalking [ Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

I agree, the points should be locked in as soon as the battery is spiked.

Author:  C. Hecht [ Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

That topic came up already somewhere and I often see that members don't want to use the rule because of how the VPs are counted.
My position to this is that this rule should be used because it simply enhanced the gameplay and is rather realistic, also because don't using it opens other problems for example gamey hit & run tactics that are just conducted to melee artillery away.
But if the VPs are a problem a houserule should be used that covers how these guns are counted for VP purpose.

My idea would be:
-The player that keeps/conquers the battlefield gets the full VP for enemy artillery that was left behind and half VPs for spiked artillery that was left behind.
-If the forces stay in place it's simple to draw a "frontline" to clarify who posses or conquered what artillery, then again the same VP level are used as mentioned above.

I know it can be a lot bean counting but it's surely better than shifting the gameplay away from realistic and historical correct behavior.

Author:  S_Trauth [ Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

On the other hand, then you create the problem when not using the rule which allows you to take the position .... poof the guns go away, you collect the points, then don't even have to bother holding the position.

It is really kind of odd, in that I have played a lot of guys who I have let set the optional rules, and they don't play with the optional capture rule (it must be a CSA thing in the club I guess - and to be honest I don't know that the Union has ever discussed this all that widely on the private boards ... ), the odd thing being then these guys rarely, if ever, take out many of my guns. It seems counterproductive to me -but to each their own I guess.

I don't really have a problem with having to hold a position and maintain some presence on captured guns in order to retain the points; although I guess since I usually prefer to play the larger scenarios I always have some burnt out units that can use somewhere to be placed in that 'losing the points' doesn't really ever become an issue - although what has is a lot of times since I don't have to hold a position to retain points I am not going to be bothered holding a position (even if it is where I had taken guns) when a better position shows up elsewhere.

Author:  StonewashedJackson [ Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

thanks for the input but i would like to continue with discussion on this after i make some remarks here. lets take historical Corinth for example. if the CSA was to conquer the Coring the defenses there could be a large number of guns that the Union might have lost especially emplaced guns.
the CSA when moving onto the the actual inner defenses and large objective points of the actual town of Corinth would probably need the forces that captured the emplaced guns west of Corinth to move into battle to the east which is Corinth itself. even if the CSA did or did not spiked those emplaced gun those emplaced guns would not do the Union any good since they are facing south and west and the battle has moved east.
add in a few other batteries that the Union might lose and then you have practically 2 whole brigades needed by the CSA to garrison those captured and possibly spiked guns.
that is a real waste of manpower. it is practically like using up troops to guard POW's except you cannot move the guns to the rear.
i sure wish HPS would issue a patch to fix this gun issue. simply making it so that once a gun is spiked the points are locked and it does not matter who owns the guns after that would be huge progress on this problem. then also making it so that you do not lose the points for non-spiked guns unless the original owning side recaptures it would not be that hard to fix(patch).
that would be my hope anyway.
well unless that happens it just seems it is way too much of a loss of your troops to take the guns and then get nothing for it. now compare that to at least you get points for taking guns and wasting your precious troops if you do not use the optional rule seems to me to be the better choice especially if you are in a campaign where your dwindling manpower by the 3rd of 4th battle can cost you a loss of the campaign. .

Author:  KWhitehead [ Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

The main problem with the artillery capture option is that it favors sides. Usually the Union because they have larger ammo supplies and can implement a simple solution to the problem. Place a battery behind the captured guns and shoot them out of existence. This will always give you the victory points for the guns.

Why I say it favors one side is that in most scenarios the Rebel player doesn't have sufficient ammo for artillery to waste ammo shooting captured guns. It also creates a problem for a weaker force player who can't hold the guns long enough to reduce them by fire.

There are some things HPS could do that would make the Artillery Capture work a little better.

Easiest would be to leave "ownership" to the last player who moved through the hex. Troops wouldn't be needed to occupy the hex unless you wanted to be able to fire the guns.

Better would be to give you the option of "destroying" one gun per turn while you occupied the hex and getting full VP for it.

Author:  mihalik [ Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

My solution would be a double spike to destroy the guns. The first turn you spike the guns they would be spiked. The second turn you spiked the guns they would be destroyed.

The problem is historically I cannot recall an instance where guns were deliberately destroyed by their owners in a battle. Loring claimed to have destroyed his artillery before sneaking through Union lines after Champion's Hill, but I never followed through on finding out how effective that was.

Most times spiked artillery could be rendered operable again after the battle. In the case of the Union battery in Devil's Den, the crews simply took the implements necessary to fire the guns with them when they left, rendering them functionally inoperable by the enemy but not really disabled.

I do agree that the guns should belong to the last side occupying them. But for all its flaws I still use the captured artillery optional rule because I think it better reflects history than the original poof and they are gone model.

Author:  KWhitehead [ Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

Gun handling in the game has more to do with how to award VP than reality. It was very difficult to destroy a gun. A direct hit by solid shot might dent the barrel rendering the gun permanently unusable but almost anything else could be repaired quickly after the battle. Actual permanent capture of a gun usually required the capturing side to have control over the whole battlefield at the end of the battle. In other words, they didn't really gain anything until they won the battle. At Gettysburg some captured guns were claimed and reused by the Confederates since they stayed within their lines at the end of the day giving them time to remove them.

However, there is a morale component to the guns. Losing guns to the enemy was demoralizing to the losing side. Probably having more morale effect than actual harm. And, there is a purely game effect to it. How do you properly measure the success of your army in winning the "game" when they capture artillery? Should it be immediate, delayed, and/or partial depending on how its held?

Author:  StonewashedJackson [ Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

I recently was playing the CSA side in a maneuver using the optional Art capture rule. the Union player fired 4 guns which was 2 batteries so in game terms it was 2 shots but all fired at the same time.
the Union guns targeted a 2 gun battery of the CSA and it destroyed both guns with that volley.
the game did not list my 2 guns as lost and so as far as VP are concerned the Union player did not earn anything from destroying my 2 guns.
at that time i thought it was a bug but at that time i also did not understand EXACTLY how the mechanics of the Optional Art Capture rule worked.
now since i have more experience with that rule i think it is likely that the no VP awarded for the loss of the 2 guns is not a bug but is part of how that rule works in reality.
you see i think you have to ACTUALLY CAPTURE the guns to score points and since in this case no guns were CAPTURED no points were awarded.
if this is true then it is hard for me to believe that anyone would want to use this optional rule if they get no credit for destroying guns by being fired on.
it is possible i think that many officers in this club do not realize this. yo get credit for killing inf/cav so shouldn't you get credit for the same thing for a gun?

Author:  C. Hecht [ Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

Well I use the rule in 2 running games and I do get points for destroying guns just like the enemy does, 30VPs per gun.

Author:  StonewashedJackson [ Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

so is that destroyed by gunfire and not melee that you still get the 30 VP per gun?
if so then it was a bug i experienced.

Author:  KWhitehead [ Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

If two guns were destroyed by direct fire and no VP awarded, something buggy happened. Normally VP for guns are awarded at full value for enemy guns destroyed by artillery fire whether they are currently active enemy guns or abandoned enemy guns (captured but unoccupied so they take unscrewed status).

There is one known bug but I haven't confirmed it recently in newer upgrades. When a unit has only one gun left in the battery (either was a one gun section or has been reduced to one gun), when that gun is destroyed by artillery fire no VP is generated. I haven't verified it happens in all situations but I have observed it happen in games.

Author:  nsimms [ Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

The HPS games originally had a bug where they couldn't accurately count destroyed artillery pieces. It's my understanding that JT fixed it with a new table that does the counting. Recently I've been seeing this happen again within the games. Somewhere along the way, they messed up his fix. I haven't reported the problem again this time and don't know if anyone else has (gotta prove it with files sent to them as they don't have time to play games until they see it happen).

Author:  StonewashedJackson [ Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

i sent an email to Rich Hamilton on it but he did not ask for the files and they have been deleted now.

Author:  C. Hecht [ Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with Optional Art Capture rules

In that case I will closely monitor artillery casualties so that no VPs slip the calculation for the enemy or me.

Yes destroyed by gunfire and they were counted & VPs awarded normally but I will monitor to see if it really stays that way.

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