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Sep 18

FW190 weakness / reasoning?

9 comments

I am quite puzzled there - since the FW190 were in different types.

I may assume the FW190 - without the letter - bundles the whole of A, G and F types (forfeitting numbers atm, since an A2 is quite different from an A8)

 

I also understand that in a full ETO game things may look different, and that as the war move on and on, the Luftwaffe was more worried to protect the skies of Germany than to have large presence upfront. (I shall briefly mention that ontop of that I am quite a sucker for 'possibilities', like if Germany had the production points / resources, they may have churned out earlier Fw190D or produced more quality planes, etc - but that's for another topic).

 

So I can see that the 'red bolt' is probably a mixing up of the FW190 G and F (suited for ground attack as fighter-bomber proper) with the bulk of FW190A - I am still puzzled at the vulnerability - and I'd have split the FW190 in more units (the FW190A could have got the white bolt at best or simply limited to strafing) and have only 1 red bolt type.

 

But why the vulnerability? It was quite a sturdy plane.

Lance has a lot of historical knowledge that I lack as well as having been around when these things were decided. I want to address your post Cohen from the experience I have had with TITE.

The Air system is fairly abstract, though I appreciate the presence of specific, notable aircraft models. The primary purpose of Air units is to modify ground combat through CAS or the prevention of such. During Clear weather in '43 on, the Fw 190 is best used as a fighter-bomber, coupled with a Stuka and a Bf 109 F Escort for a combined Air Group Defense of six, providing three potential red-bolt support dice. It will often be Intercepted by the best VVS Fighters, and they will have a six minus six=+0 attack. Damage is quite likely, or an Abortion with a "5", and the Fw 190 can take it in place of the Stuka since it only costs .5 FP to fix. Damage is possible by rolling a Plane result in combat, of course. The Stukas are very vulnerable in '42 (which I don't like), before the Fw arrives, often being attacked at +2. The Fw can be paired with less vulnerable Air, and the Interception will be less effective. The Fw 190 can intercept with some effect, though this is less useful.

 

I enjoyed Planes in Flames/WiF, in which the differences between so many models are more apparent, with air-basing, various ranges, etc., but ETO is saving us time with a nice Air system, despite a few quirks. ETO Scenarios take a long time to play, and the Campaign Scenarios...I like that my brain is not taxed by many details, because there are such interesting things to think about when freed from them. Again, I do like games with more chrome, but TITE is my favorite.

Although we use the terms "vulnerable" and "tough," the thing to remember is that they are really just modifiers to strengths which allow us to rate units at half steps between the whole number combat values. Think of them as sharps and flats in music. In the case of aircraft, a 4 Vulnerable means the aircraft has an attack value of 4 but a defense value of three. The word vulnerable is what's causing you the problem, but don't worry about the word. We could as easily have made the numeric value the plane's defense rating and had the modifiers increase or decrease its attack. In that case we would have called the Fw-190A a "3 Deadly," and I bet that wouldn't have raised a flag in your mind. Sure, an Fw-190A was deadly. But really a "3 Deadly" and a "4 Vulnerable," although they sound different, are exactly the same in the game: a plane with an attack value of 4 and a defense value of 3.

Sep 19

I got precisely the '3 Deadly' and '4 Vulnerable' or a 4-3 type of Air Unit. It's more like if the FW190 is 4-3, so is a a Mustang? Is a Spitfire inferior or equal? (Then again Spitfires have -lots- of models). What I factually meant is that, for the fighter itself - it seems underrated here. I understood though the mechanic that 'paired with Stuka, you can get as target the mission bomber that is the FW190 instead of the other, more 'bomby' Stuka.

FW-190D: 4T

P-51: 4

Spitfire IX: 4

Bf-109G: 4

Spitfire V: 4V

Fw-190A: 4V

P-47: 3T

Spitfire I: 3

The ETO air units represent ~200 aircraft, not individual squadrons or groups. While there's a specific model associated with the counter, no nation operated large groups of "type pure" aircraft in that manner. Thus the air unit you're seeing as an FW-190A is not just various early model Focke Wulf fighter and fighter-bomber variants, it also includes a mix of all sorts of other aircraft (e.g. there are probably some Bf-109 variants in there, and perhaps even some De.520 trainers too). It's just predominantly FW-190A/F/G models -- the key element is that it has both a good Air-to-Air rating, and it has a valuable Red support bolt. It's important to appreciate that with the level of abstraction inherent in the ETO air system there's only so much we can do to differentiate aircraft types. Indeed, in the earliest versions of the system (the CiR games) air units didn't even have "ratings," you simply allocated a max of one to an attack to generate an odds column shift -- there were no fighters at all as air superiority was basically built in via the number of air units which were available each turn. But for the larger ETO game we wanted something with a bit more granularity, and so over a couple years of evolution we finally arrived at the system you see now.

 

In assigning air unit ratings, we had three basic goals:

 

1) We wanted to show a "logical progression" of capability as aircraft (and pilot quality) improved over the course of the war.

 

2) We wanted, as much as possible, for each unit in a given nation's inventory to be "functionally distinctive" from the others (to be clear, this had less to do with that particular type/model's actual performance than it did with how we envisioned that game unit -- as opposed to actual/historical aircraft -- should be employed during play).

 

3) We wanted the units to make sense relative to one another in actual play, so that there was a "valid rationale" for the player wanting to build that unit as opposed to some other unit.

 

So why did the FW-190A end up with a 3V rating? Let's break it down, looking at how we massaged the system to achieve our design goals...

 

1) The "logical progression" of Luftwaffe single-engine fighters/fighter-bombers was established as follows:

Bf-109E = 3/-/S

Bf-109F = 3T/-/S

FW-190A = 4v/r/S

Bf-109G = 4/-/S

FW-190D = 4T/w/S

Each unit in the sequence is an improvement over the preceding units, which achieves the "logical progression" goal.

 

2) We tried to achieve "functional distinction" by ensuring that each unit had an optimal role for how to employ it during play. Units with the "Tough" attribute are best employed in an escort or air superiority role; "Vulnerable" units are best employed as interceptors (where they get to shoot first and thus, hopefully, mitigate against their lower defensive rating when taking return fire). Can you employ a given unit in a non-optimal role? Sure (in fact, often you're compelled to, because that's all you've got for the task at hand), but generally speaking a prudent player tries to use his planes for the purpose they're best suited to.

 

3) In the case of the FW-190A, "valid rationale" was perhaps the chief driving factor for why we rated it as "Vulnerable." That aircraft appears in the Luftwaffe's inventory about the same time as the Bf-109G. Now let's assume that we chose to rate the FW-190A as a 4T/r/S and kept the Bf-109G as a 4/-/S. Is any rational Axis player ever going to build a single Bf-109G if there's an FW-190A in the Force Pool? Okay, so instead let's assume we rated the FW-190A as a 3T/r/S... Except that means that it fails to achieve the "logical progression" goal and its not really "functionally distinct" when you compare it to the Bf-109F except for the fact that it has a Red support bolt -- but we know the early FW-190s were felt to be superior interceptors (which is one of the main reasons that the Luftwaffe kept almost the entire first nine months worth of FW-190 production assigned to units on the Western Front, because they needed a plane that could compete with later-model Spitfires on a relatively even basis).

 

So it's less a question of why the FW-190A is 'Vulnerable' and not 'Tough' than one of "how can the Axis player best employ this aircraft"? Look at it this way: in the early portion of the game, the most common/powerful Luftwaffe CAS package is one Stuka and one Ju-88 with a Bf-109F escort -- this gives the Axis player a mission packet with a 4 Air-to-Air defense and three support dice. But once those FW-190A Jabos come on line a pair of them can essentially "self-escort" with a whopping defensive value of 6 and still provide two support dice (or pair one with a Stuka and some other fighter to get three support dice and still have a heck of a defensive value to the mission packet).

 

The point is, don't fixate on associating specific ratings with specific aircraft types. ETO is not (and we never meant to be) a tactical, or even operational-level, air game -- it's a ground game with a heavily abstracted air game added in for flavor.

 

Sep 20Edited: Sep 20

Smooth. The design process clarifies it.

The concept in the end is 'air unit type progression' more than the specific model - which was the basis of my fixation.

 

Side question - that is not pertinent to TITE itself but more ETO in its fullest scope - can the Luftwaffe has expansion of airplanes, or invest (maybe via cards) to have other / more in terms of units / better type of planes? (IE, a Medium card for '44 could give 1 TA-152 air unit, or the longer range He100 at medium range).

Sep 20Edited: Sep 20

There is an ETO card that allows the German player to Reequip or Upgrade up to four of his Small Air units (once per use): Jagdwaffe. [Edit: But you can't build them from scratch, which would be powerful indeed.] Let's see if I can get a clear image here...

Not that clear, but starting Jan of '43 for a Fw 190 A and July of '42 for a Bf 109 G, one could select a Bf 109 [edit: E or F] or Bf 110 to be Reequipped, though these latter are Removed.

Sep 20

To be precise though, that replaces the Bf109E and F pratically - and is ontop of the baseline units that arrive in the TITE monthly schedule yes? (Or well - the BF110 eventually as that one is a small unit).

 

That is definitely good (Even if card selection is always so hard!) even if I was also inclined to see if the air units could be maybe just added instead of replaced. Making Luftwaffe bigger!

 

 

Sep 20Edited: Sep 20

TitE is an odd/unique case in the series because the USSR is essentially "fully contained" within that module (yes, they could potentially venture off the Eastern Front, but for the most part their whole focus - and particularly their wartime economy - is entirely encompassed within TitE). That's not true of other nations (especially the Germans) because they're fighting a multi-front war. That's why the Axis player really doesn't have a whole lot of flexibility with respect to when and in what quantities the various Luftwaffe units become available. This is because it's assumed that a fair amount of the Luftwaffe's assets are being sent to other theaters (a "strategic" decision that's being made above the TitE Axis player's paygrade).

 

Once the full gamut of ETO modules are out, you can expect the Axis player to have about the same level of flexibility in which air units he produces (and when they become available) as the Soviet player currently enjoys in TitE. So, in theory, the Axis player might choose to leave the conduct of the air war in the Mediterranean entirely in the hands of the Regia Aeronautica and send the 3-4 Luftwaffe units that were devoted to that theater to the Eastern Front instead (not saying it's a wise move, but you could do it).

 

Similarly, the Axis player might use one of his card plays (like the Soviet player can currently do) to gain access to a single advanced air unit months ahead of schedule, but doing that means you're using one of your powerful seasonal card choices for that purpose instead of some other important function. The VVS has a couple planes that show up right at the end of the campaign that historically weren't fielded in significant numbers until after the war was over -- all factions will have those sorts of possibilities available to them. Just don't expect to see Me-262 jet fighters filling the skies in 1943; you might see one show up in early/mid-1944, but I'm pretty sure the Axis player is going to have dozens of other things he'll want to give serious thought to using that card pick (and the RPs needed to build the unit) for something else.

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