TOAW IV: What happens during game turn

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Each game is divided into several Turns, so things happen in a specific order during each Turn. First, the game performs automatic bookkeeping, then you and your opponent issue your orders, and the program determines the results. When both players’ orders have been resolved, the Turn ends.

PBEM Playback

If you start a PBEM++ turn, you will be shown the PBEM Playback screen. This will give you the opportunity to view the moves and battles that your opponent made during his previous player-turn. The Info Panel will show the number of moves contained in the playback. There are five buttons on the Control Panel: Rewind, Stop, Step, Play, and Exit. The Step button advances one move if left-clicked. If right clicked it will back up one step. Once the Exit button is selected the game will exit the playback and begin the Automatic Bookkeeping phase. Once that starts, you will not have another opportunity to view the playback – without reloading the turn (which can trigger an indication that you reloaded the turn.) Furthermore, a bell will ring during your playback when your opponent used the “undo” button.

Note: The system monitors how many times you’ve reloaded without saving. You can always reload a file you’ve saved since the last time you opened it without generating such a message.

Player-Turn Equalization (AKA “New Turn Order Rules”) (Optional)

There is now an Advanced Rules Option to use equalized player-turns. The original pre-turn calculation method used to do all the calculations for supply, recovery, and other items at the start of the first player turn. This was a bit unfair (usually to the second player). The new turn order splits that processing into three parts. Air-Combat, Events, and Weather effects still happen at the beginning of the game turn. But everything else now happens at the beginning of each respective player-turn instead. Clouds even move between player-turns – just without weather effects.

Note that equalization will mean that enemy units cut off from communications in the friendly player-turn will be unsupplied in the immediately following enemy player-turn regardless of side (previously an unfair advantage for side-two). Also, note that movement recovery is done twice for each side (start of each player-turn). This will clear the “Retreated” condition for both sides during their own player-turn (previously an unfair advantage for side-one). It may even make use of reserve deployments more palatable to players.

Furthermore, neither side is assumed to have 100% visibility into their own territories during the enemy movement phase (previously an unfair advantage for side-two). Rather, detection of enemy moves into friendly territory will now depend upon the friendly Theater Recon Level or friendly units. Therefore, enemy units will now be better able to slip around either player without notice.

Automatic Bookkeeping

  • An End of Scenario check is made, and the calendar is adjusted.
  • Out of Theater events occur (including unit withdrawals).
  • Weather is determined.
  • Theater Air Superiority and Interdiction strengths are determined. Under New Turn Order Rules, the following steps are split so that each side does them at the start of their respective player-turns:
  • Intelligence is gathered.
  • Units and Security Forces conduct local patrols.
  • Your forces are resupplied, receive replacements, and prepare for the new Turn.
  • Reinforcements appear.
  • Unit Command and Control levels are set.

End of Scenario Check

There are two ways for a Scenario to end automatically (at the discretion of the program):

  • A Scenario will end when it reaches its stated final Turn. The stated final Turn can change during a Scenario, so keep an eye on it to avoid surprises. See Scenario Variability.
  • A Scenario will end if there are no Land units of one Force on the map.

Out of Theater Events

Some Scenarios are heavily influenced by Out of Theater Events. These Events may be triggered by your actions in the Theater. The most significant potential Events should be detailed in the Scenario Description. Military decisions can have political consequences; if an opportunity in the game looks too good to be true, check the Scenario Description to make sure you won’t bring the sky crashing down around your ears by taking advantage of it. The variety of potential Events is too great to be fully described here. If you are curious about the kinds of things Scenario designers might throw at you, check out the Event Editor.

Climate and Weather (Advanced Rules)

Weather is determined on a location-by-location basis, from Turn to Turn. Mountains are cooler. Locations adjacent to Shallow or Deep Water are moderate. Cold and Warm weather fronts may move across the Theater. Rain or Snow may result in some locations becoming Snowy or Muddy, with significant effects on Movement.

While any location with sub-freezing temperatures is labeled as Very Cold, there are three different levels of sub-freezing temperatures. The average temperature of any Weather Zone is listed in the Weather Briefing. Water features (Rivers, Canals, Shallow Water, etc.) in Very Cold locations may or may not be Frozen. Rivers and Canals freeze at the Frozen 2 Level. Super Rivers and Shallow Water freeze at the Frozen 3 Level.

Weather Effects on Bicycle and Ski Units

Bicycle and Ski unit icons are displayed only if local conditions are appropriate. Ski units are displayed as Infantry when in non-Snowy locations. Bicycle units are displayed using Infantry icons when in Very Cold locations.

Weather Effects on Chemical Weapons

Chemicals are most lethal in Cool or Moderate temperatures, with no Rain, and with Overcast conditions. They are least effective in Hot temperatures and Heavy Rain or bright sunlight. High temperatures, wind, and sunlight degrade chemical agents. Rain washes them away and impedes distribution. Chemicals can increase Readiness losses in combat for both sides. They are most tiring (3x) at higher temperatures and have little Readiness effect at low temperatures. (Actually, it’s not the chemicals. It’s the damned protective suits that do the damage. You must wear one of these things to believe how uncomfortable they are.)

Weather Effects on Nuclear Weapons

Nukes are most lethal in Hot temperatures, with no Rain, and Fair conditions. They are least effective in Cold temperatures, Heavy Rain, and Overcast conditions. This is due to a combination of exposure and atmospheric transparency.

Air Superiority and Interdiction

All your air units perform Missions based on their Deployment status. See Unit Deployment Orders for more information.

Air Superiority

Units assigned Air Superiority Missions attempt to destroy enemy aircraft flying Missions and to protect friendly aircraft and locations. They will engage your opponent’s Air units only if those enemy Air units attempt to fly Missions. All Missions performed by Air units are affected by the local Air Superiority Strengths of each Force.

Local Air Superiority

Air units with Air Superiority Missions may or may not participate in any local Air Superiority combat. The chance that a unit will participate is based on the range to the unit’s base, its Force Electronic Support Level, and the unit’s Quality. High Quality units and those nearby are more likely to participate than lower Quality units further from the location. A Force’s Local Air Superiority Strength is the sum of Anti-Air Strengths of all participating friendly Air units with Air Superiority Missions.

Even if no other Missions are flown, opposing units with Air Superiority Missions may fight at the beginning of each Turn when the game sparks several Air Superiority battles at random locations on the map.

Theater Air Superiority

The program keeps track of Air Superiority units and calculates a Theater Air Superiority Level for each Force. Theater Air Superiority is a general indicator of Air Superiority in the theater. It is presented solely for your information and isn’t used by the game.


Units assigned Interdiction Missions will attempt to intercept enemy Land units when those Land units move and impair your opponent’s ability to supply his Force. Units performing Interdiction Missions are subject to Interdiction by enemy Air units with Air Superiority missions and are protected by friendly units with Air Superiority missions. Interdiction is less effective in poor weather and on night Turns.

Sea Interdiction

Naval and embarked units moving in deep water hexes are now subject to interdiction attacks as follows:

  • Air units that have an Anti-Naval strength can be set to a new deployment mode: “Sea Interdiction”. Such units will perform interdiction of detected moving naval and embarked units, just as air units set to “Interdiction” interdict detected moving land units. Such units have the “T” deployment mode letter on them. They do not interdict land unit movement and have no impact on enemy Force Supply Levels. Only all-weather air units conduct sea interdict at night.
  • Surface ships and coastal guns also perform “Sea Interdiction” within their respective gunnery ranges. This is automatic, and no deployment setting is necessary.
  • Ship units and embarked units moving by “Group Movement” defend as a group if interdicted by the above. Group Movement thus forms a “de facto” Task Force.
  • Ship units interdicted or bombarded by other ships or coastal guns will fire counterbattery back at them, if in range.
  • Carrier ship units interdicted or bombarded by aircraft from enemy carriers will launch counter strikes against them, if in range and the attacking carriers have been detected.
  • Moving groups that are interdicted stop their movement to allow plan changes.
  • Planes performing Sea Interdiction are, of course, provided air cover by friendly in-range planes set to Air Superiority.

Intelligence Gathering (Advanced Rules)

You will never have complete information on the location of enemy Forces during a game. The amount of information you do have is based on the type and location of your Reconnaissance assets and local environmental conditions.

Levels of Information

Your knowledge of any map location may be:

  • Unknown – You have no information regarding the presence of enemy units.
  • Observed – You know whether enemy units are present, but their identity and strengths are not evaluated.
  • Spotted – You know of any enemy units that are present, as well as their identity and strengths.

Reconnaissance Assets

  • Units – All of your units can detect, and in some cases evaluate, the strengths of enemy units in nearby locations.
  • Internal Security – All of the terrain you own is considered either Observed or Spotted. Areas near dense Urban locations are more likely to be Spotted.
  • Theater Reconnaissance – This represents everything from spies on the ground to Reconnaissance aircraft. The quality of Theater Reconnaissance depends heavily on environmental conditions. Theater Reconnaissance can observe locations but cannot spot them.

Intelligence Updates

Intelligence information is updated at the beginning of every Turn. Each of your units gathers information on nearby locations. Then your Internal Security assets gather information your rear areas and your Theater Reconnaissance assets gather information on enemy-held areas.

Generally, units and **Internal Security assets** can only observe adjacent locations. If, however, the unit or Internal Security asset is observing from a location with a mountain peak, observation visibility can be as far as 40 kilometers. This mountain view advantage deteriorates with decreasing visibility and during night turns. Note that the mountain peak reconnaissance is received dynamically: If the peak is entered during a player turn, the reconnaissance occurs immediately. You don’t have to wait for the inter-turn calculations.

Likewise, if an adjacent location is viewed through an escarpment, the location is more likely to be spotted by units “looking down” and less likely to be spotted by units “looking up”. Note that the hex that contains the escarpment hex side is on the high side of it. The hex on the other side of it is on the low side.

Theater Reconnaissance is more likely to observe locations with Roads, Anchorage locations, Airbases, or large concentrations of Motorized equipment. Airfields with Air units will almost certainly be observed. Theater Reconnaissance is less likely to observe locations with Hills, Badlands, Mountains, Dense Urban, Light Woods, Jungle, or Forest terrain, as well as locations with hazy or (especially) overcast visibility conditions. Theater Reconnaissance is also less effective during night Turns.

Previously spotted locations will remain spotted if they remain under observation by any of your Reconnaissance assets. Previously observed locations may become spotted if they remain under observation. Locations no longer under observation become unknown.

The level of Intelligence Information available for any location is displayed with the location description in the Information Panel.

Sea Spotting

  • In addition to normal recon methods, ships at sea are revealed by spotters on ships or the coastline, and scout planes as follows:
  • Surface spotting is done by any naval unit (not embarked unit) at sea and any land unit on a coastal hex. It extends 25 kms out on a day turn and 10 kms out on a night turn. However, naval equipment with the “All Weather” flag set sees 50km, day or night (modeling radar). And if a force has any aircraft with the “All Weather” flag set, then all naval vessels are assumed to have radar and see 50km, day or night.
  • Carrier planes and land-based planes set to “Sea Interdiction” or “Air Superiority” Sea- Spot out to a range limited by their max ranges and the number of effective planes available. This is not done during night turns, except by all-weather aircraft.
  • Spotting is dynamically updated as such units move – like a land unit entering a Peak hex. The exceptions are the land-based planes set to “Sea Interdiction” or “Air Superiority” – they only spot during the inter-turn periods.
  • Clouds over the surface spotter block its spotting.
  • Sea Spotting does not spot units on land in any fashion.
  • Ship/embarked units skirting the coastline no longer reveal units along that coast. (Of course, coastal gun units that fire at them are revealed).
  • Note: If this means that a target anchorage hex remains “Unknown”, then the embarked units assigned to it will have to set up an assault on that hex. If the target hex turns out to be empty, then the assaulters will just move into it upon combat execution – without any combat occurring.
  • Note that naval units themselves cannot enter enemy owned anchorage hexes. Such locations must first be captured by friendly ground forces before naval units can enter them.

Local Patrols and Guerrilla Effects

When a unit occupies a location, that location becomes “owned” by the unit’s Force. Unoccupied locations tend to remain owned by the last Force to occupy them. There are, however, times when a location can change ownership without being occupied by a unit.

Guerrillas can cause a location’s ownership to change. Guerrillas operate more effectively in Hills, Badlands, Mountains, Light Woods, Jungle, and Forest locations. Guerrillas operate less effectively in Anchorage or Road locations and will not operate in Airbase or Urban locations. Guerrillas are only present if the Scenario calls for them. Patrols also act as a “projection of force,” in that they can affect the ownership of surrounding locations:

  • A location adjacent to a Dense Urban location becomes owned by the Force owning that urban location.
  • A location adjacent to a unit of only one Force becomes owned by the Force controlling that unit.

Scenario designers should keep these effects in mind when setting objective victory values.

Supply (Advanced Rules)

A hex map that shows unit counters in battle and hexes with varying supply values.
Note the supply values shown by the circles. The supply point (78) is shown on the left side and follows rail lines, but begins to drop due to broken rail lines, mud, or other terrain.

Supply is a critical factor in The Operational Art of War IV. Individual units need supplies to operate effectively. As units move and fight, they expend their internal supply stockpiles. In order to maintain your units’ effectiveness, the expended supplies must be replaced. Replacement supplies flow through lines of communication from the force stockpile, through Formations, to individual units. The limit on Unit Supply Recovery per Turn is 150.

Lines of Communication

A Line of Communication is a path from one location to another. Lines of Communication are blocked by enemy units, locations adjacent to enemies and not occupied by friendly units, non- Road Badlands terrain, non-Road Dunes terrain, or terrain that cannot be entered by a normal Land unit. A unit without a line of communication is marked as Unsupplied.

Overextended Supply State

There is now a new supply state that falls between “Supplied” and “Unsupplied”. It’s called “Overextended”. If used, it will allow a designer to realistically impede units from continuing to press on indefinitely at red unit-supply conditions. Units in this state will have to slow down enough to keep their unit supply levels above their desertion levels – or wither away.

  • A unit is “Overextended” if it has a line of- communications to a supply point but is far enough from any supply source to be in a hex with lower location supply level than the designer-set “Overextended Supply Threshold”. For example, if that threshold were 6, then any hex with a supply level of 5 or lower would be “Overextended”.
  • The default setting for the threshold is 0 – making it impossible for any hex to qualify for the new state. Therefore, only scenarios specifically edited for it will employ this feature.
  • “Overextended” units receive supply normally.
  • However, they also suffer desertion losses (see below) during the interturn calculations the same as if they were “Unsupplied” – except that those losses go to the “On Hand” pool, not the dead pile. To review, such losses start when the unit supply-level drops below (100 – unit proficiency). The percent loss per turn is scaled by turn intervals per week and by how far below the threshold they are.
  • “Overextended” units only receive replacements if they are not suffering desertions (their unit supply level is above (100 – unit proficiency)).
  • “Overextended” hexes have a different supply font color from the normal supply font color in the location supply display, for information purposes.

Unit Supply

Each unit has its own Supply Level, which is a percentage value reflecting the unit’s own internal Supply stockpile (food, bullets, gasoline, etc.). These supplies are in the hands of the troops, available for immediate use. A unit’s Supply Level strongly affects its Capabilities.

Each unit expends Supplies as it acts to follow your orders. When necessary, units draw new Supplies from their Force Supply stockpile, through their Formation supply system. Supply Levels may not be increased above 150% during a Scenario. Any oversupplied unit (with a Supply Level greater than 100%) will lose its excess supplies if it moves. (For this purpose, participation in combat is not considered movement.)

Unit readiness is limited to no more than the unit’s Supply Level or the minimum Readiness (33%), whichever is higher.


Unsupplied units with very low Supply and Readiness Levels are subject to Desertion effects. Deserting troops and equipment are lost permanently and are not placed in the Replacement Pool. The number of deserters increases as Supply and Readiness levels decrease and decreases with higher unit Proficiencies. Desertions tend to start slowly (particularly in high Proficiency units) but will accelerate over time.

Desertion starts when the unit supply-level drops below (100 – unit proficiency). Desertion amounts are scaled proportional to the turn interval and to how far below the above threshold the unit supply-level is.

Formation Supply Distribution Efficiency

Each Formation has a Supply Distribution Efficiency, which is a percentage value reflecting the Formation’s ability to distribute supplies from the Force Stockpile to units in the Formation. This value is set for each Formation in a Scenario and means different things for different types of Formations. It considers everything from dedicated organic transport capability to the mindset of the troops responsible for getting the goodies to the troops.

Force Supply Stockpile

Each Force has a Supply Stockpile Level. This Level generally remains constant but can vary in some Scenarios. It represents supplies available for distribution to units through Formation Supply systems.

Transport Asset Sharing

Units that do not move and are not assigned a Local or Tactical Reserve status will temporarily lend a portion of their transport assets (equipment with a transport capability, such as trucks, horse teams, etc.) to their parent Formation (and possibly to others depending upon the Formation Support Level) to aid in distributing Supply to other units. Any unused Rail, Air, or Sea Transport Capacity also contributes to resupply efforts. This results in a boost to the Formation’s capacity to distribute supplies. Transport asset sharing has no negative effects.

Interdiction Effects

Enemy Air units flying Interdiction Missions impair Supply distribution. This is determined on a location-by-location basis (Local Interdiction), but the average value over the entire Theater (Theater Interdiction) is calculated for your planning use.

The Theater Interdiction Level is not used by the game. This number is used to give you an idea of the levels for both sides, but is not used for any in-game calculations.

HQ Bias Effects

The level of resupply possible for a unit increases by 50% if a cooperative Headquarters unit is located with or adjacent to a unit. See Cooperative Units.

If a Headquarters unit assigned to a Formation is destroyed, or if any assigned Support squads have been eliminated, the Formation’s Supply Distribution Efficiency is reduced. You should protect your Headquarters units to avoid these serious disruptions to unit resupply.

Supply Lines

As a general case, in order to receive resupply, units must be able to trace a Line of Communication back to a friendly Supply Source. If the unit cannot trace this Line, its Supply Level will drop by an amount equal to the number of half days in a Turn. Such units, again, are marked as Unsupplied. They will also be subject to isolation effects in combat.

The distribution of supply across the map created by your supply lines can be viewed via the “Supply View”. This view is accessible via the Supply Button on the Control Panel and via the View pull-down. Under this view each supplied location will have a supply marker with a number on it (as shown below).

The colors of the markers tell which side can trace to the location: Red markers mean only the Red Side can trace; Blue markers mean only the Blue Side can trace; And Gold markers mean both sides can trace. The number in the marker is the location supply for that hex for the current side. That number is the base value all units in that hex will use to calculate the supply they will receive in their next supply replenishment phase. Note the different font color used in the display for locations that are “Overextended” (less than 4 in this shot). Also note that the above view was created with “No Borders” set to OFF. Had it been ON, then only locations adjacent to friendly units would have shown markers in them.

Supply lines are modeled via two different methods: Old Supply Rules and New Supply Rules.

Old Supply Rules

In the old method, there are only four possible hex location supply-levels (100%, 75%, 50%, and 25% of the Force Supply Level), and off-road locations are penalized regardless of how far they are from a supply source.

Full Supply (100%)

Supply is first traced from friendly controlled supply points through friendly controlled, undamaged, Railroad hexes. Then, it must progress from each supplied, friendly controlled, undamaged Railroad hex to a distance equal to the Force Supply Radius (set in the Editor) through friendly controlled, improved Road, Unmuddied Road, Urban, Airfield, and Anchorage locations. All locations with an unbroken Line of Communication through these types of terrain to a friendly Supply Point are fully supplied and will provide the maximum possible amount of resupply for units. This is called the Fully Supplied Net.

Normal Supply (75%)

Supply is then traced from the Fully Supplied Net through friendly cropland and open locations. Any location with an unbroken Line of Communication through these types of terrain to a friendly Supply Point is normally supplied and will provide 75% of the maximum possible amount of resupply for units.

Limited Supply (50%)

Locations not Fully or Normally Supplied, but able to trace a Line of Communication no longer then the Force Supply Radius to any normally or fully supplied location, are considered to have Limited Supply. Units in these locations receive 50% of the maximum possible resupply.

Minimal Supply (25%)

Locations not otherwise supplied, but able to trace a Line of Communication of any length to any friendly Supply Point are considered to have Minimal Supply. Units in these locations receive 25% of the maximum possible resupply.

Force Supply Radius

The default Force Supply Radius is four hexes, but can vary from zero to 100, depending on Scenario design.

Local Terrain Effects

Some terrain types influence Resupply levels. Resupply levels for units in Marsh, Flooded Marsh, and Mountain terrain are reduced by 33%.

New Supply Rules (Optional)

In this new method (selected via an Advanced Rule), to calculate location supply values we use a formula based on the movement points that would be expended by a virtual “Supply Unit” (which has motorized movement and a 50% unit density) to get to the location.

Note that this will mean that very dense locations will likely suffer some supply reduction due to added movement costs of that density condition (stacking limits, however, will not block supply). Supply beyond major rivers will depend upon bridge status or major ferry ability. Major Escarpments now block supply.

Contiguous, unbroken Rail lines that connect back to a supply source are still treated as if every hex on the line that supply point was. If the line connects to multiple supply points of variable values (see below) then the strongest one is broadcast over the line. Friendly units in flooded marsh, badlands, dunes, etc. locations that are unreachable by the virtual supply unit but that are nevertheless adjacent to a normally supplied location receive one-quarter the supply that was in that adjacent location. And there’s a lot more complexity behind the scenes (beyond those factors) to get it all to come out right.

Note that Naval, Air, and Helicopter units are still supplied as they were under the Old Supply Rules.

The exact formula is:

This is illustrated here: Y-Axis is percent of Force Supply. X-Axis is distance from the Supply Point in movement points (MPs). The blue curve is the old way; the red curve is the new way. Note that the example supply radius was 25. This was what we considered the “best fit” curve. Note that one consequence is that the supply rises to 110%-of-full right on the supply-point. That may seem strange at first, but it’s part of the curve fitting process. Just think of it as a bonus for being right on the supply point. Also, note that under this formula, the supply level will continue to attenuate – perhaps all the way to zero at some point. It will still be “Supplied” at that level, though – but there can now be future effects added that may further exploit this.

Supply Units still have their enhanced effect: they effectively treat a location as if it were one supply radius closer to the supply point, provided that the location was within a supply radius of the supply unit. Again, this is illustrated here:

The blue and red curves are as in the previous plot – the old and new ways without supply units. The cyan curve is the old way with supply units. The yellow curve is the new way with supply units. Note that the yellow curve is clipped to no more than 110%-of-full. Again, the example supply radius was 25. Note that at very long distances, the impact of the new method is very pronounced.

For example, take the case of the supply radius being five MPs, and the supply unit being ten MPs away from the supply point and the unit being four MPs further away from the supply point (therefore four MPs from the supply unit). Because the unit is less than five MPs (the supply radius) away from the supply unit, we enhance its supply by treating it as if it were five MPs closer to the supply source (in other words, nine MPs away instead of fourteen MPs away).

The Improved-Road Motorized-Movement divisor also affects the supply trace when New Supply is in use. Supply traced over other than improved road hexe1s will pay costs x divisor. So, with a setting of 2, for example, inland supply in the desert will attenuate at twice the rate it previously did – making inland desert operations more realistically difficult. The default value is 1, which gives no motorized benefit on improved roads – or supply effect (i.e. just like under 3.4 and before).

Variable Supply Points

Under these New Supply Rules, designers can also set supply levels for supply points (either initially or through events) to values between 1-250%-of full. Default is 100%, of course. When there are multiple points of different values, locations trace back to the point that will give each location the best supply value – even if further away.

Airborne Resupply

If a unit cannot trace a Line of Communication back to a friendly Supply Source, it may still be able to receive resupply. The level of resupply available to any hex is based on the amount of Air Transport Capacity left unused at the end of the previous Turn and the total size of the units in it requiring Airborne Resupply. Local Airborne Resupply levels are reduced by 33% if visibility in the location is Hazy, or 50% if the visibility in the location is Overcast. Note that such units will still be Unsupplied for desertion and isolation purposes.

To be clear, Unsupplied units may still get some supply based upon the unused airlift capacity and visibility [but it is usually a small to tiny amount].

Unsupplied Airborne and Special forces get twice the airdrop supply.

Night Resupply

Resupply levels are reduced by 33% during night Turns.

Other Supply Considerations

If a unit moved (from one location to another) in the previous Turn, its Resupply Level is reduced by 33%. On the first Turn of a Scenario, units do not draw resupply, but are still checked to determine whether they are Supplied or not. There is a “global handicap” or reduction of 33% for the net resupply available to units after all modifications take effect during the automatic bookkeeping phase. This can be offset, by using the High Supply option, in the Advanced Game options. Unit can recover all the way to 150% in a single turn, if its location is lush enough.

Supply Consumption Costs

Land Movement consumes 1 supply point per movement point expended (this is modified by the Supply Costs of Movement Rate parameter). However, Naval, Embarked, and Air Units do not expend supply when moving.

Attacking consumes 10 supply points per combat round. Defending consumes 10 supply points per combat round. Ranged units directly assigned to combat consume 10 supply points per combat round. Ranged units that cooperatively support at half strength consume 5 supply points per combat round. Note that if the attacker fails any of the Assault Ratio checks (see Assault Ratio Rules) then defender supply costs can drop significantly. Also, the Naval Attrition Divider scales naval combat supply costs. Air units set to Air Superiority or Interdiction missions pay no supply for combat.

The Unit Supply Model

Note that no unit will drop below 1% Unit Supply level, regardless of what the movement or combat cost would be otherwise. They will continue to conduct operations – at reduced strengths and speeds. This may seem non-intuitive, but that’s because the Unit Supply value is not actually a direct measure of the unit’s supply stockpile, as many players assume.

If that were the case, the unit’s strengths and mobility would be independent of its supply level until that level reached zero – at which point their strengths and movement allowances would plummet to zero themselves (a ridiculously unrealistic effect – real units are far more resilient than that). Instead, they drop non-linearly with the drop-in supply level. In other words, the unit becomes more and more frugal with supply the lower supply becomes. A flush unit may be profligate with supply, while a depleted one would make every bullet and drop of gas count. However, the increase in strengths at flush supply is not proportionate to the increase in Unit Supply Level.

This models the diminishing returns for more and more supply expenditure. So, a fully depleted unit retains a significant fraction of its flush strength. And note that more of flush strength level is retained at depleted levels in high proficiency units than in low proficiency units. That is true in the real world as well – it’s called “fire discipline”. The better the unit the more fire discipline it has. So, TOAW’s supply system cleverly models how real-world units perform. They don’t blow off all their supply oblivious of how much is left.

So, a 1%-unit supply state effectively represents the state at which the unit has reached maximum supply conservation. In other words, the unit would only be expending as much supply as it was continuously receiving via its supply line, and not further depleting its reserves. In fact, the Unit Supply Level value in general is more a measure of the rate at which the unit is expending supply than a direct measure of its stockpile.

Of course, there is a point of supply delivery, below which, that assumption falls apart. That’s why the system has the new “Overextended Supply Threshold” feature. It allows the designer to set a point at which red-lined units just must stop and wait for supplies to catch up to them.

Can units run all the way out of supply in TOAW? Yes – via desertions. Desertions can represent troops abandoning the unit due to lack of food and morale. But they can also represent guns and vehicles running out of fuel and ammo and being abandoned. So, a unit that has lost all its equipment from desertions has, effectively, run completely out of supply. (And its strength would finally be reduced to zero). Note that desertions only occur at Unsupplied or Overextended conditions.


Equipment losses are a fact of life on the battlefield. If these losses are not replaced, your units will become less useful over time. Your units are eligible to automatically receive Replacements from your Force Equipment Stockpiles if they are under strength, in Supply, and not Embarked on Ships or Trains. In most Scenarios, your Force Replacement Stockpiles will be replenished on a regular basis. In some Scenarios, units may have different priorities for receiving Replacements. This will usually be mentioned in the Scenario Briefing.

If your Force is at full strength, Replacements will automatically appear in the form of reconstituted, previously destroyed units built up from replacement equipment. Reconstituted units will appear “Untried” in an Urban location distant from enemy units.

When units are Reconstituted, there is a one to four-week delay in their appearance. Reconstituted Air units appear at Airfields. Other Reconstituted units will appear at a scenario-specific Reentry Point (which should be mentioned in the Scenario Briefing) or near friendly Supply sources in Urban or Road locations. If no friendly Supply sources are in Urban or Road locations, or if the scenario specific Reentry Point is not friendly-controlled, Land units will not be Reconstituted. Special Forces, Coastal Artillery, and Fixed Artillery units are never Reconstituted. Reconstituted Airborne and Glider units will keep their special icons but are no longer eligible for Airborne Movement.

Reconstituted units are listed as such in the Expected Reinforcements Briefing.

Readiness Recovery (Advanced Rules)

Your units’ Readiness levels decline during movement and combat. Unit readiness recovers at the beginning of every Turn except the first. The amount recovered is based on the Scenario’s time and distance scales but will generally be approximately the amount needed to fully recover from a maximum movement.

Units recover Readiness more slowly if they have moved in the previous Turn, occupy a contaminated location, or if they are Unsupplied. Due to the highly technical nature of Air and Helicopter units, these units’ Readiness Recovery is also strongly affected by unit Proficiency. Low Proficiency Air and Helicopter units will recover Readiness very slowly.

Reinforcements and Withdrawals

From time to time, new units may appear on the map as Reinforcements. They generally appear at a specific time and place, but there are differences in the restrictions between different types of units and different locations. Reinforcements may appear either on a specific Turn, or, if the Scenario calls for it, as the result of some Event. You can check your Expected Reinforcements Report for predictions of when a given unit will arrive, but units may arrive either sooner or later than the predicted Turn. Reinforcements always enter at or near the location listed in the Report if that location is available.

Generally, a location is available if the unit could move into it normally. In some cases, there are additional restrictions. You can check the Recent Reinforcements window (available from the View menu) for information on Reinforcements received this Turn.

See Recent Reinforcements Briefing and Inventory and Replacements Briefing. for more information on the various Reinforcement windows available.

Land Units

Most Land units will always appear at the location given in the Formation Report, if that location is available. A location is only considered to be available if it is either friendly-controlled and not at the stacking limit or located on a map edge. If for some reason the location is not available, units scheduled to appear on a map edge will instead appear at some other available location along the same map edge, within two hexes.

Units scheduled to appear away from a map edge will only enter when the location becomes friendly controlled and not at the stacking limit.

Guerrilla Unit Reinforcements

Guerrilla units scheduled to appear as Reinforcements may appear at any playable location within three hexes of their scheduled Reinforcement location, if that location is enemy occupied. Unlike other units, Guerrilla units may appear in enemy-owned locations, converting the location to friendly ownership upon entry.

Naval Unit Reinforcements

Naval units will appear in the nearest available Deep-Water map edge location.

Air Unit Reinforcements

Air units will appear at the nearest available Airbase appropriate to the units’ equipment. Naval Air units appear on available Aircraft Carriers or Airbases. Other (non-Naval) Air units appear on Airbases.


In some Scenarios, some units may be scheduled to withdraw. The game will automatically withdraw the unit in the most appropriate manner. Be sure to check your Reinforcement Report for withdrawals when playing a Scenario, since it can be a rude surprise if your entire plan depends upon a unit that is scheduled to be withdrawn. If a unit is withdrawn, it will be listed in the Recent Reinforcements window on the Turn of withdrawal.

Command and Control (Advanced Rules)

You can usually, but not always, issue Movement or Attack orders to any unit on the map of the Force you control. The exceptions are:

Unit Reorganization

Units failing multiple Quality Checks during combat, usually as the result of significant combat losses, can become so disorganized that they will no longer respond to your orders. When this happens, the unit is said to be “Reorganizing”.

At the beginning of each Turn, all Reorganizing units are checked to see if they have finished their reorganization. Units must pass a modified Quality Check in order to complete Reorganization. This is more likely if they are Supplied, have not moved in the previous Turn, and are located with or adjacent to a cooperative Headquarters unit.

A Reorganizing unit (or any other unit that is not allowed to move during the current Turn; e.g., Reserves) has an orange “bar” printed behind its combat (Attack – Defense) or Movement numbers on its 2D icon.

Formation Attack Restrictions

Units of Formations failing a Formation Quality Check at the beginning of a Turn are Reorganizing and will only be available for non-combat orders. They will accept all other orders, and they will Defend normally, but are not available for launching Attacks or Bombardments.

Formation Quality

Formation Quality is the average of the Formation’s Proficiency and average assigned unit Quality. Formation Quality is reduced if many units are divided. The Formation passes the Quality Check if this value is greater than a random number from 1 to 100, or if the number of units that experienced severe combat results in the previous Turn is smaller than a random number from 1 to the number of units in the Formation. This means that Formations are subject to Reorganization on Turns following heavy combat.

Formation Proficiency

Formation Proficiency is reduced by 50% if any assigned Headquarters unit is eliminated, or if all assigned Command Groups in the Headquarters have been eliminated. You should attempt to protect your Headquarters units to avoid this drop in Proficiency.

Your Entire Force Movement Allowances Are Adjusted

After combat, all your units will have their remaining Movement Allowances adjusted to reflect the Median Tactical Round needed to resolve all Normal Attacks. Note that this omits bombardments [unless the round only included bombardments, in which case the round advances to the median-length bombardment].

Example: If the Median Tactical Round was Round 7, all your units will have their Movement Allowances limited to no more than 30% [(10- 7) *10%] of their full Movement Allowance.

Battlefield Time Stamps

After all combats are resolved, the player-turn will advance to the combat round of the MEDIAN length combat. In other words, if there were seven combats that lasted 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, & 6 rounds respectively then the player turn would advance only two rounds. Note that this means that three combats lasted longer than the round of the new combat phase. This will be accounted for by placing a TIME STAMP in those three hexes that will equal their actual ending round.

TIME STAMP definition

The fraction of the player-turn, in tenths, that has been expended. This applies to the Player-Turn itself, to Units (the fraction of their MPs that they have expended), and to battlefield hexes.

Movement effects of Battlefield Time Stamps

Any unit that enters a hex with a Battlefield Time Stamp will have its movement points reduced until its unit time stamp is at least equal to that of the hex.

Combat effects of Battlefield Time Stamps

Combats planned for a hex with a Battlefield Time Stamp will start on a combat round as if the player-turn is the same as the hex’s time stamp. All units that participate in a combat that results in a Battlefield Time Stamp have their time stamps increased to the resulting time stamp of the battlefield.

Combat creation of Battlefield Time Stamps

If a combat lasts longer than one round, it creates a Battlefield Time Stamp equal to the last round that combat expended.

In addition, if a defender was prevented from retreating from a combat by non-participating adjacent enemy units then the combat’s Battlefield Time Stamp is the greater of the time stamps of the blocking units and the time stamp of the last round of the combat. So, if the combat ended on round five, but there was a blocking unit that prevented the defenders from retreating and it had a time stamp of seven, then the Battlefield Time Stamp would be set to seven (and all participating units would have their time stamps increased to seven). Note that this prevents the time-machine effect of 'late arriving' blocking units.

RBC creation of Battlefield Time Stamps

Whenever a defender is forced to Retreat Before Combat (RBC, also referred to as Overrun) by a unit with a Time Stamp greater than the Player-Turn’s Time Stamp, there is a Battlefield Time Stamp created in the hex equal to the time stamp of the overrunning unit. Note that this prevents the time-machine effect of 'late arriving' overrunning units.

Battlefield Time Stamps are shown on the map by a dedicated graphic (crossed swords) and their effect on movement is incorporated into the path feature and shown in the unit panel. Note that there is an option to display the unit’s time stamp on its counter.

After all combats are resolved and the combat phase has been advanced, all Battlefield Time Stamps on the map that are either less than or equal to the new time stamp of the player-turn are erased. So all Battlefield Time Stamps are erased by the end of the player-turn.

Note that by advancing to the MEDIAN instead of the MINIMUM combat length the game retains a requirement for a level of skill in marshalling the player’s combats. Players still need to try to minimize the number of combats that last multiple rounds to get the best amount of combat exploitation. But now a single slip-up or bad break won’t ruin an entire player-turn.

Turn Over

Your Turn will end if any of the following conditions apply:

  • You have launched no Attacks.
  • The mean remaining Movement Allowance of your entire Force is too small to allow for successful exploitation of your Attacks; i.e., an average of less than 20% of the Movement Points remaining among the units involved in the last series of Attacks. Effectively, this means that the player-turn ends if you have no more than one unexpended combat round left.
  • Your Force fails a Proficiency Check. This is the primary use of the Force Proficiency value, though it should be noted that the Force Proficiency value is not the exact probability that the Turn will continue after each series of Attacks. To fail the check, a random check against the Force Proficiency value must fail, AND a random check against the number of rounds remaining must also fail. So, the chance of failing the check increases as more and more of the turn is expended.

If your turn ends after your combats have been executed, there will be a message dialog telling whether it ended because of a Force Proficiency Check failure or because there is too little of your turn left. So, if you get an early turn ending you should be able to determine whether it was due to bad luck or mismanagement. Hopefully, this will enable beginners to improve their gameplay from such knowledge. If you end the turn manually, with no combats planned, there is no such message.

The Turn Ends

When both players have had an opportunity to issue Orders to their Forces and all combats are resolved, the Turn ends. A new Turn begins with Automatic Bookkeeping. This process then continues until the end of the Scenario.


Victory in the game is based on control of Objectives, Victory Point awards by event, and penalties for combat losses. If you control more Objective Points while taking fewer losses, and/ or more VP awards, than your opponent, you win. Otherwise, you lose.

To some extent, losses and awards offset Objective Values. It is entirely possible that your losses and awards can completely negate any advantage for holding a chunk of real estate. Values for Objectives controlled, VP awards, and penalties for losses taken are tracked in the Victory pane of the Situation Briefing. This briefing pops up at the beginning of every Turn, so keep an eye on it. Also, some Scenarios have specific Victory Conditions, which should be found in the specific Scenario's Documentation.