I think At Start stack kind of are a set of instructions on how & where to place pieces, and within the limits of their current implementation they’re robust, intuitive, and easy to use. They just don’t currently support multiple setup positions.
If there were a way to have little “folders of At Start Stacks”, essentially one folder per “Scenario”, and then when a scenario was picked then that set of At Start stacks would be processed, then that might be pretty good?
Viz Game Piece palettes – I actually don’t like giant crowded game piece palettes full of every piece in the game. I go for a main simple grid of maybe 10-12 super-common markers (e.g. for PoG it’s Control Markers, Trenches, Forts, Out-of-Supply – pairs since there is one for each side), and then one or two tabs (e.g. “Victory Point Markers”). And basically they produce the things game palettes are good at producing, which is infinite copies of things that players might need undetermined numbers of.
For individual pieces with any identity (e.g. German 7th Army, the “Guns of August” Event marker, etc), I only want the exact right number of pieces to exist – no creating or deleting, just transferring from reinforcement card to mapboard to deadpile to maybe being rebuilt. So none of those exist in my palettes, they’re At-Started onto my reinforcement cards or else to their starting positions on the map. You can’t make an “extra” German 7th Army, and you can’t delete the one that starts the game, only send it to Eliminated or Permanently Eliminated boxes.
So some pieces that get at-started onto my maps ARE also in my palettes (e.g. starting Trenches). I don’t feel like I’m “defining them in two places” because my definition of a trench lives entirely in the Prototype. There is that “one uncomfortable thing” where the Prototype isn’t allowed to include the NAME of the piece, so I have to make sure to type “CP Trench” or whatever each time I put one somewhere – I do wish there was a way to specify in a Prototype a piece name in the way I can specify art in a Layer trait instead of only in BasicPiece. And so then the “Name Trait” from the Prototype would serve as the name of any piece referencing that prototype assuming the BasicPiece’s name field was left blank – sort of like the relationship between BasicPiece’s art field and a Layer trait’s art.
Briefly back to counter refresher … well I’m glad to discover I’m not the only one having problems! I can note for sure that every release version of Paths of Glory from 9.2 onward has been from “completely clean, fresh, brand new save files” – since that’s the only thing I’ve been able to get to work. But between major versions, say, 9.4 and 9.5, you can load one of the older saves and “things will basically work” i.e. you’ll have all the functionality you’d have had in 9.4, but if you try to run the refresher to promote the save to 9.5 then there seems to be the risk of all sorts of subtle hell breaking loose. I guess perhaps between major versions things might have gotten different gpids? And therefore can’t find their proper home in the new version?
I guess now that I know this is “a thing”, I’ll keep my eye out, e.g. for a reliable repro case or something.