Author Topic: September FSO constraints and rules  (Read 330 times)

Offline RedBeard

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September FSO constraints and rules
« on: September 07, 2023, 10:17:00 AM »
I wanted to kick off a discussion on the September FSO rules.  While I found the idea intriguing, the rules/constraints made it a frustrating experience that I eventually just punted on and "did my best".  Note, this probably impacts the allied side more than the axis side.

As allied CiC, we are given a choice of about 8 or 9 choices of top fighter/attack/bomb combos, which I really liked the idea of.  Choosing a combo meant it was not available for use in a following frame.  There were enough combos that separate combos could be chosen for hour 1 and hour 2 of each frame. So far so good.

However, the min and max constraints along with the min constraints of the "mid grade" (filler) aircraft made it impossible to satisfy.  It is made worse by changing the combo and therefore the min constraints in the 2nd hour.  Combine this with the rule that states you must fly the same "type" aircraft in second hour and you end up with a real problem.  A combo using bombers has a min of 16 bombers, but a combo using Jabo fighters has a min of 20 Jabo.  To switch from one to the other and meet the fly the same type requirement means you must field 20 bombers to get 20 Jabo.  This generally means that you cannot really switch combos between hour 1 and 2.  At best you could switch bomber types (B24 to B25) or Jabo types (SBD to P39), but that kind of a switch doesn't get you much and severely limits combos in later frames for no reason.

If we are going to allow combos and switching, we need to allow rebalancing of numbers and we need to be less constrained to fill out aircraft.  Our attendance numbers are such that filler aircraft are no longer filler.

On top of this, a CiC must now plan two full missions (hour 1 and hour 2), doubling the previous effort.  I was definitely not prepared for the effort this was going to take.

Part of my reason for posting this was to complain and get it off my chest.  Sorry about that.  Part was to warn later Allied CiCs that planning these frames requires significantly more effort and to not go down the same rabbit holes I did.  Lastly, part was to encourage discussion about this style of frames.  What are your thoughts?

Offline Devil 505

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2023, 03:23:53 PM »
RedBeard, thanks for posting your thoughts. They will genuinely help in improving these kinds of formats going forward.

The plane assignments are indeed difficult in this design. My intent was to include as many different aircraft in a frame as possible without having any one significantly underrepresented. The Rabaul campaign saw Allied command throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Rabaul and that's what made it interesting to me. The minimums and maximums I chose are intended to be tight, but perhaps I made them too tight given how few squads we have. After the frame, I will assess the numbers further and make an adjustment if necessary to make having a filler fighter easier to utilize. I may also move a squad if overall attendance is an issue. 

Based on the average number of players in each Allied squad, you should have 49 players on your side. Enough to cover the combined minimums of 44 players with 5 to spare.

As for the specifics question of how to handle the swapping between 20 solo attackers to 16 trios of bombers, I could have made clearer that it would be fine to move 4 solo attacker pilots into a mid-grade fighter. The inverse is also fine; 16 bombers and 4 mid-grade fighters into 20 solo attackers. I will amend the rule set to state this clearly.

I can't offer anything but a thank you for undertaking the double effort of the twin mission format. Do you feel that the required effort is truly excessive, or that you merely underestimated the required effort? I'm also interested to hear from the other Allied CiC's about this after their frames. I hope this format does not prove to be more trouble than it's worth, but I definitely don't want to burn out our CiC's either.

 :salute
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Offline RedBeard

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2023, 07:18:26 PM »
I understand the overall numbers work for minimums, but when you assign a squadron to a single aircraft, there tends to be overage.  For example, where minimums are concerned, I use the min squad commitment number.  This may mean a squad of 9+ gets assigned to min of 8 aircraft type.  This kind of overage at a squad level eats up the spares pretty quick, particularly with low attendance.  A squad of 3 - 5 has a variance of 40%.  If you count on 3, but get a 40% variance, that's significant.  I know other CiCs have solved it by assigning two different rides to a squad, but I prefer to let squads fly the same type together.

Adjusting from 16 to 20 or vice versa is OK, but it gets back to my preference about not splitting squadrons into multiple rides.  I don't think it's ideal, but it would work.

The effort to plan two missions isn't enough to make me quit FSO.  I spent about 4 hours trying to get this one together, some of which was bumping my head against the wall trying to figure out how best to optimize plane choices and meet minimums.  It's not a straight two missions is double the one mission effort.  You actually have to look at the two missions together to figure out how you either utilize a single combo across both missions or how you can squeeze a second combo in to optimize the 2nd hour, but also not terribly impact later frames.  If I had to guess, it's about 2.5 to 3 times more effort to plan like this.  You play a lot more "what if" games with having additional options than you would if you required to use a specific plane set.

Having a little more freedom in minimums will help with the hair pulling and head banging, though I'm not sure how squads will feel about being split across types on a frequent basis.  I suppose it would be possible that if a large and small squad were assigned to attack, then the small squad could shift plane types as needed to meet minimums and still keep each squad in a single type (maybe).

It will be interesting to get opinions from the frame 2 & 3 CiCs when they have had their chance.

Offline captain1ma

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2023, 08:25:19 PM »
in support of my allied CiC Brothers, i must profess that i was grateful, that i WASN'T a Allied CiC this month. I thought it was overly complicated. while I do get it, it makes for a lot of work.
i spent 2 hours doing Axis orders, and mine was a no brainer. <S> to the Allied CIC's!

Offline whiteman

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2023, 11:35:42 PM »
Having 32 Max ki-61 is diddlying roadkill. I donít have anything positive to say other than thank god frame 1 is over.

Offline RedBeard

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2023, 01:05:01 PM »
Here's a little more on my experience from last night.  The first hour didn't appear to be much different than any other FSO.  There was the usual last minute details getting cleaned up and overall, it went relatively smooth.

The most noticeable items were that the Allies couldn't air spawn the bufs at T+0, so there was a bit of a scramble to get that fixed.  Thank you CMs for doing that quickly.  The second was that bar dar didn't appear to work.  The Allies had planned to use that to chaff our location a bit, but we accomplished more or less the same effect with flashing bases.  However, the Axis may have been disadvantaged a bit by that.  I'm not sure what happened there.  Both of these were non-typical setup items, so I'm guessing that will be ironed out for future frames.

The 2nd hour was more problematic.  I think squads are not used to flying an official second mission, so on the Allied side, we saw a 10-20% drop in attendance between 1st and 2nd hour.  This is estimated as I didn't look at initial numbers, but I saw 33 or so for the 2nd hour.  This put us below minimums for almost all the planes (possibly every one).  Couple that with some confusion on having to remember details of two full missions and we had squads in the wrong places.  This scrambled the 2nd hour mission a fair bit.

I think it would be good to look at how much average drop in attendance we get between 1st and 2nd hour and factor that in for future min/max 2nd hour planning.

Lastly, we have been using a hybrid 1 life / multiple life mix for FSOs that allowed people to hang out and have fun in the 2nd hour.  Going to a 1 life / 1 life style, may not be as attractive.  I tried to get info on why people had left early and the best I could get was they had other things to do.  I plan to ask my squad about it.  It might be good to get rationale from other squads too.  We should be doing things that make people want to stick around.

Offline Devil 505

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2023, 01:50:12 PM »
Here's a little more on my experience from last night.  The first hour didn't appear to be much different than any other FSO.  There was the usual last minute details getting cleaned up and overall, it went relatively smooth.

The most noticeable items were that the Allies couldn't air spawn the bufs at T+0, so there was a bit of a scramble to get that fixed.  Thank you CMs for doing that quickly.  The second was that bar dar didn't appear to work.  The Allies had planned to use that to chaff our location a bit, but we accomplished more or less the same effect with flashing bases.  However, the Axis may have been disadvantaged a bit by that.  I'm not sure what happened there.  Both of these were non-typical setup items, so I'm guessing that will be ironed out for future frames.

The 2nd hour was more problematic.  I think squads are not used to flying an official second mission, so on the Allied side, we saw a 10-20% drop in attendance between 1st and 2nd hour.  This is estimated as I didn't look at initial numbers, but I saw 33 or so for the 2nd hour.  This put us below minimums for almost all the planes (possibly every one).  Couple that with some confusion on having to remember details of two full missions and we had squads in the wrong places.  This scrambled the 2nd hour mission a fair bit.

I think it would be good to look at how much average drop in attendance we get between 1st and 2nd hour and factor that in for future min/max 2nd hour planning.

Lastly, we have been using a hybrid 1 life / multiple life mix for FSOs that allowed people to hang out and have fun in the 2nd hour.  Going to a 1 life / 1 life style, may not be as attractive.  I tried to get info on why people had left early and the best I could get was they had other things to do.  I plan to ask my squad about it.  It might be good to get rationale from other squads too.  We should be doing things that make people want to stick around.

Red, I too noticed a 10-12 player drop for both sides in hour 2. I won't be penalizing for missing minimums in Hour 2. You did what you could with the players on hand.

For Frames 2 and 3, the 2nd hour will have a single target. That should help with the confusion factor. I'll also be amending the rules in consideration of the low player count. Haven't decided on how just yet, I'm still doing the scoring.

The bar dar was working fine on the Axis side. What were you expecting to see on the Allied side?
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Offline whiteman

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2023, 10:26:43 AM »
So axis gets top line fighter numbers up to 32, gets to sit over the target knowing where weíre going along with Darbar to point scouts where to go. What kind of training wheels do yíall need? Every time Iím on axis, I hear your squad talking about how bad the allies are at bomber escort, and you baked it in to make it even easier. This set up is horseshit. Just turn on dot dar so you know where weíre at.

The only thing the allies have going for us, is a the axis apparently canít read and follow the rules.

Offline RedBeard

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2023, 11:35:36 AM »
The bar dar was working fine on the Axis side. What were you expecting to see on the Allied side?

Touche.  I had in my head that both sides would see bar dar, but now that I think about it, that doesn't make sense.

Red Beard

Offline Devil 505

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2023, 01:19:57 PM »
Tex, I don't think you realize how mediocre the Ki-61's performance really is. Yes, it's the top plane for the Axis, but it's only because of its numbers that the Axis can compete with the Allies. The the P-38J and F6F are both better than the Tony and the Corsair even more so. The Tony is on par with the P-38G and P-40N. You could argue that the Tony is better than the P-40, but at least recognize that they are in the same league. The Zeros and Ki-43's are hopelessly slow and with the exception of the A6M5b, also woefully undergunned.

It is with these planes that the Axis has to intercept a relatively unknown enemy. If the Allies only had B-25C's and SBD's as their attackers, then I would have reduced the number of Ki-61's. But as it stands, those are just 2 of the 7 possibilities. The others are either too fast, too low, too tough, or too heavily armed for anything except a Tony to counter reliably - and even then, just barely.

As for the Dar: This event would be way too easy for the Allies if they had the ability to just wander anywhere they please without any feasible ability for the Axis to scout/track them. The Axis needs to be able to engage the attacking force before the targets are reached. They simply do not have the ability to respond to an attack in the 12 mile flash range.

Yeah, the Allies won Frame 1 because they had a cleaner frame penalty wise. Kudos to RedBeard as the Allied CiC for balancing all the spinning plates well. That said, they could have also won outright had the bombers hit their targets. The bombers got through in strength on every run. I was surprised buy the lack of target objects actually destroyed. The frame definitely did not seem like a win as an Axis pilot Friday night.

Sorry you personally had a bad night Friday. Better luck to you in Frame 2.

<S>

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Offline SIK1

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Re: September FSO constraints and rules
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2023, 06:01:32 PM »
First off I have to say that I appreciate the fact that this is a proper Pacific Theater plane set.  We get so few of them where the plane set is pretty much period correct, and competitive. without the compulsory addition of the Ki-84, and N1K. I think the score shows how competitive this plane set is.

I was pretty sure I would get CiC this month even before the side assignments were announced. When I first saw the write up for this FSO I felt pretty much as Redbeard did about the added complexity to writing the orders. Allied CiC duty for this one is definitely burdensome . In stark contrast the most difficult decision the axis CiC has to make is who doesnít get a Ki-61.

I struggled more with the tactics than I did with assignments.Thatís not to say I didnít have some difficulty making the assignments. Tactically, I feel that Iím being funneled down a shooting gallery with no other viable options but to come from the South East due to the bar dar coverage. If you change A71, A74, A75 to Rook, and turn Rook radar off. It would encourage attacks from other directions. I also believe the bar dar range should be reduced to fifteen, or twenty miles. That would still give ample warning for the defenders, but should force them to spread out a little. I feel that would help improve the overall level of fun.

I do like the idea of the menu for the plane selection. Although I would prefer if the entire menu was available throughout the month instead of having them removed after use. Why penalize the guy who has CiC duty for frames two, and three by removing options before they have a chance to use them. I would also halve the number of planes in each menu item, but double their availability. Make it pick two items. That way you could end up with the same plane sets we have now, or a more diverse mix. Like four 38Jís, six B24ís, four F6F, and six TBMís. I would also go back to T+60, with second hour unlimited lives in the mid grade fighters throw in a SBD, and you have the possibility of some fun. I enjoyed the unlimited second hour lives, and low level brawls that were becoming common with the previous set-ups, and I think the majority of players enjoyed that as well.

Personally I feel that the quantity of Ki-61ís should not be more than 2x the number of allied top tier fighters. Have no min max for the P-40 and 38G, as well as the Ki-43/A6m3, A6m5.

Consider making all three frame objectives viable targets for hour one, but only two can be hit in the first hour, and the third would be the hour two objective. Better yet only have two objectives, and the CiC gets to choose which one is the first hour target. This decision would be made prior to the frame by the CiC. This alleviates having to write orders for the second hour, but still leaves the option for those CiCís that would like to write orders for both hours.  Iíve  previously stated my distaste of writing separate orders for an hour two objective in the poll thread.

If you survive hour one you get to keep your plane as a reward for not getting shot down. Re-arm at A65, A73, or possibly A71, A74, as A73 could be problematic for bombers. Keep the rule: enemy canít enter the dar ring, friendly has to land and re-arm if he does enter the dar ring after a certain time.

>S<
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