PBEM and AOs

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PBEM and AOs

Postby hank » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:31 am

What do you think about playing PBEM games with AO's on?

Do you like having the AO's turned on or not for pbem play?

IMHO, AO's are a tremendous improvment for playing against the AI. But, is it appropriate for PBEM, aka human vs human play?

I'd hope to see some feedback before I post my thoughts. Maybe my thinking is wrong. I don't know thus my inquiry.

As a preview, I think there are already "areas of operation" without having the game's AO feature turned on.

The influence of HQ's (command chain), supply, and divisional integrity force upon the player enough restrictions on areas of operation than the historical "lines in the sand" that the AO feature imposes.

I'm looking for an education here ...
thanks in advance for your input

(FWIW, I always play with AO's on against the AI ... either mystery, historic or variant)
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Postby The Red Baron » Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:10 pm

Like you, I like playing against the AI with AOs enabled. It simplifies the decisions I have to make. Should I use the 21st and 23rd TCs to counter the German thrust from the south beginning on turn5? Without AOs I would seriously consider ditching my offensive on Kharkov to protect my flank. AOs seem to keep my mind from wargaming too many wild possibilities.

In PBEM I think it would be fun to play both ways. You can limit yourself in the same way that your historical counterparts were or you can explore the endless "what-ifs"; however, my preference would be for AOs in PBEM games as well. For me, it adds a realistic restriction. Whether it represents a dictator's crazy orders or corps/army boundaries, AOs make "sense" to me. Military units rarely operate in a vacuum.
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Postby Abwehr » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:28 pm

The main problem with ATD2 as far as AO's are concerned is that the Germans basically don't have any, as each German Army can cover half of "their" side of the map without any required triggers. There are ways they can sneak into Smolensk without triggering the majority of the Soviet forces to switch their AO's.

Velizh, for example, can't really be defended against a strong push from the north because Soviet units can't cross the Dvina, aside from the forces starting north of Vitebsk, but most of them are scheduled to die and/or will need to defend the northernmost objective.

The units that can defend north of Orsha are also few in number and sadly the 13th Tank Division is the only tank division that doesn't reappear.

A clever German player can pull sort of a "Barvenkovo" and avoid Soviet triggers whilst advancing to Smolensk. It can still be done after capturing Vitebsk, Orsha and Mogilev. It does depend on how the Soviet player defends, though, as a defensive line like in the AAR between Roger and a tester will make that more difficult.

On the other hand, AO's off will allow the Soviets to rush their reserves to the front, but that isn't necessarily unbalancing as it might take them almost a week to get there and they won't be refitted.

Perhaps a variant where the Soviet reserves still require a trigger, but the Soviet frontline forces have a similar AO to the Germans (with a collection of armies north, and a collection of armies south of the Dnepr) would be preferable for PBEM's to avoid a gamey strategy by the German player where he avoids the Soviet AO triggers.
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