Grognard Wargamer Thread!

Interesting. I will try to make some progress this week. For whatever reason, I’ve found learning his games go like this…

No clue.
No clue.
No clue.
No clue.
Okay, everything makes sense.

I’m to about the WTF level now with Absolute War.

I’m a little farther. I definitely get how it works. I like certain aspects of it. But I’m not sure how I feel about the decisions it made. Or that Carl made, I guess. The game itself made no decisions that I know of.

Except that the “grey stars = attack/defense; white stars = defense only” decision was a poor one for a game that is going to be played by a lot of 50+ year olds with failing eyes. So that was objectively dumb.

My biggest current objection is to the variability of War Status Points based on CRT results. The Germans have to be extremely lucky to avoid the BB results that can torpedo them quickly from a WSP perspective, and the CRT seems to dole these out generously.

I also don’t think I like non-variable weather. And the Finns. THE FINNS! Why oh why did he have to include the Finns.

The one-hex Finland + Finland Fort unit in No Retreat was one of the great innovations of East Front wargaming. Why did he have to backtrack??

🇫🇮 🇫🇮 🇫🇮 🇫🇮 🇫🇮

I’m hopeful it plays differently enough from No Retreat that both series have merit. To me, at least mechanically it feels quite different. But yeah, I have to get further with the game to say much more than that.

I can say I didn’t even notice the gray/white thing until I was looking over the rules some at the end of the learning session last night.

I was reading about the BB result rule today at lunch, and it did stick in my head as a wondering.

I can say that the “ease of learning” angle seems overstated. It doesn’t feel appreciably easier to me than No Retreat did. Carl has commented that someone who knows the basic game can easily teach someone the basic game in a very short amount of time, but learning the game on my own has felt about the same as No Retreat.

It is a perty game, I’ll give it that…

Looks nifty and it Has its own thread.

Basic Game is not remotely the game, so that’s a bit disingenuous of Carl. I mean, how many pages does the basic game rulebook have? Four? Compared to the 26 or 27 in the actual rules? I put the basic rules under the box insert that holds the cards and never looked at them again until fact-checking this post!

Cool! I direct y’all there, then!

The basic game rules start out by saying “Read the first 7 pages of the regular rules,” and from what I’ve seen of them, there are numerous sections that just point to the full explanation in the main game rules. So it’s a good bit meatier than the four pages, to be fair. My general sense is that it’s got some heft to it.

I’ve been learning the regular game, though, as I was finding it tricky to bounce back and forth between the two rule books. It seems more efficient to learn the regular game then rip out the parts later if you want to teach someone the basic game. I would like to try to see how hard it is to teach a newcomer to wargaming the basic game.

Ok, fair enough. I barely had read the second word of the title “Basic Game Rules” before I was already putting it under the divider. So maybe it is something. But it can’t be much if it doesn’t incorporate the Major Offensive markets, which are a significant innovation IMO.

On Absolute War, the lack of weather variations does hamper replayability for me, sadly.

Nonetheless, personalized decks are a strong suit IMO and an improvement upon the shared deck of No Retreat. In terms of card names/effects, it appears that Carl has done more historical study in the intervening decade from NR (e.g., the addition of a kampkraft card hints at a reading of Citino’s trilogy on the Wehrmacht). Moreover, the Major Offensive markers better represent the successive offensives employed by each side instead of a whole-front movement (even Stalin’s ‘10 offensives’ in 43-44 were staggered in groups, cf. When Titans Clashed chp. 12).

If I’m not mistaken, the Major Offensive markers are used in the Basic Game, but limited to 2 for the initiative player and 1 for the non-initiative player. But I am of one mind with y’all that the Basic Game is at best worthy of teaching a newcomer rather than starting your study of the game. I didn’t give it the time of day.

And yes, why not a blue star icon instead of white and gray? Also, what’s wrong with calling them “Victory Points” instead of WSP? Needless circumlocution in my book, particularly with War Aims as another key term.

AW definitely has some issues with stuff like weather and over-including the Finns, but I do appreciate being what it is without requiring a lot of knowledge of ZoCs and such, No Retreat was like an intro game that really tested your understanding of ZoCs, hex grain, and stacking, whereas this one doesn’t ask so much.

I also don’t really think the basic game rules do much- the ‘read seven pages of the rulebook before the 4-page basic game rulebook’ is very much trying to explain the components without having to use the 4-pager, which is a bit deceptive, yeah.

My second night in Europe was spent singing and drinking with Finns in a Helsinki pub. I think all games should have more Finns. I mean, think of any game you know. Add Finns. It’s a better game. Especially if they were the ones I was drinking with in Helsinki. Those guys were awesome.

And they didn’t like Russians very much, even now. They were very clear on that part.

More to the point…

I’m quite interested in the Basic Rules as a potential way to introduce someone to wargames, so for me it doesn’t need to be as sparkly and cutting edge as the full game. The components and design of AW are good enough to pull someone into the game, so a diluted yet interesting basic game that can be taught and played in a couple of hours would be a nice bonus experience to have handy inside a richer full game experience.

I kind of wish the Basic Rules were explained in a different way than bouncing between rulebooks, but as long as I can eventually figure them out, I’m good with that.

I definitely agree that NR! was not an introductory wargame in many ways, but I think the AW system, where the two-stack-per-zone limit, along with not allowing units to move into occupied zones BUT allowing advances into, and the differential targeting/combat results based on whether there are one or two stacks in the target zone, and the small/large-unit difference where stacks of two large units restrict the types of stars that can be used by the understacked units, create a MUCH more complex situation for beginners.

Area movement is not necessarily simpler movement.

I feel like one of the challenges I had with No Retreat, and learning AW feels the same, is that all the mechanics feel intertwined and co-dependent. In many games mechanics seem a bit more distinctly executed, but in Paradis’ games I feel like there are lots of mini-mechanics, and they are compact and connected and constantly on.

To me, it’s the combat where this is most apparent. There are six pages of rules for it. There’s unit size, and support rules, and modifiers for major offensives, and mobile tokens, and armor tokens, and attack tokens, and lots of varieties of combat results some of which vary by the type of unit defending, and different types of attacks depending on terrain and type of zone, and different colors of stars that change things, and you can do pincers if you’ve got armored stacks, and then airpower, and now let’s toss in some modifiers with a portion of cards, and now let’s add a card to change the attack completely, and here’s a defender playing a card, and then what about conditions for advancing after combat, keep in mind supply, and now you’ve got a victory point.

Taken individually, none of these things is hard or extensive or overly complex, really, but a number of them are somewhat uniquely applied in this game, and when you need to access a lot of them in short succession it can take some time to get up to speed. I really like No Retreat, and it took surprisingly less time than I imagined it would for it all to fall into place, so I’m hopeful the same thing will happen with AW.

But yeah, what you said. I’d think it’d be hard for a beginner, at least with the regular game. The vision of reducing cognitive load so players can concentrate on strategy feels a bit of a climb to get to.

But I am curious to see what’s been removed for the basic game, because if a good bit of the mechanics are chopped out, it might actually work for a beginner to be taught the game quickly.

Is there any reason to have separate Armor/Mobile tokens? Presumably for Pincers vs Exploitation, but that could be handled by unit type, yes?

I will be on this tomorrow morning. Stop by and see what it’s all about because I have no idea.

ZOMG! A morning show?!?!? Like a morning radio zoo?? I hope so!!!

IIIIIIt’s the SDHISTCON MORNING SHOW!!! With Harold Buchanan (sfx: “The candyman can!!!”) and THE WEASEL!!! (Geryk: “It’s realistic.”) (sfx: Van Halen riff; car crash)

Buchanan: What up, HISTNUTZ?!?!?! Candyman here. How’s your morning going, Weasel?

Geryk: Not too bad. Just chugged a Big Gulp full of pellet ice and ready to RAWK!!!

Buchanan: Fire, bro. Here’s Lil Uzi Vert, and up next, phony phone calls. You’re listening to 102.5, THE DONG.

My Enemy Action Ardennes game is going ok I reckon. I played a couple of in game days as a refresher and then re-set it for a proper go.

I’ve finally learnt how to take better advantage of the Allied AI and I think I’m probably making better progress than previous attempts as the Germans.

This time I sent most of 5th Panzer Army in a big right hook up towards their northern Army border past St Vith and up to Trois Points and ignored Bastogne other than threatening it to draw some US reserves in. 6th Panzer Army did it’s usual thing of battering away at 5th Corps trying to make room for 2nd SS Panzer Corps to deploy when it comes on.

I’d probably have Elsenborn by now but for a timely US Reinforce Battle card when I attacked it towards the end of the 18th, on the other hand during the 18th I passed a bunch of bridge demo checks around Trois Points and Stavelot so hey ho!

Start of 19th December (ie turn 4) Sorry for glare in photo’s!

And the big non-push around Bastogne

Of course this big old thing arrived this week, it’s having to wait for the minute though…

Nice! How do you think you are able to take advantage of the AI moves? Looking for insight!

As for the W&P, I was kinda disappointed in the production. I don’t think OSS has very good art direction. I mean, it’s fine.