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No Retreat! The Russian Front» Forums » Reviews

Subject: No Retreat! A Stood-Up-On-Gamenight-Bullet-Point-Review rss

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Adam Lord
United Kingdom
Rochdale
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This was originally going to be a pictorial session report but, as I later found out, my opponent fell asleep when he got home from work and missed the war. Which was a little disappointing, I must say. So I decided I'd write this bullet-point review instead. I've written it like this because otherwise I tend to jumble things up and become nonsensical. I'd write a terrible rule book. The review is in two main sections- Components and The Actual Game.
No Retreat! The Russian Front: 1941-1945 Deluxe Edition is my first Wargame. I consider it my first 'meaty' game. It is the first game I bought for it's solitaire mode. It is my first GMT game. And this is my first review. So please be nice because from here on in, there is no surrender, there is No Retreat!!! (groan)

Components

1. Packaging
Pro's-
✔Box is the perfect size and sturdy
✔Artwork is great
✔Board comes in its own protective bag
✔A roll of high quality baggies for the counters is included
✔A sheet of bubblewrap stops the bits sliding around in the box
✔No silly, disposable insert needed
Cons-
✗No bag or box for the deck of cards. (You're a gamer. You've got supplies for situations like this).


2. Cards
Pro's-
✔Good card stock
✔Thematic artwork on the card back
✔Text side is clear and functional with large, non-fancy print
✔Each card has multiple uses (1 Axis event and 1 Soviet Event on each).
✔There are plenty of them! (55 including a double-sided Joker card)
Cons-
✗No cards included for Solitaire Module (but Solitaire is a bonus, and anyway you can download them for free from Victory Point Games)


3. Counters
Pro's-
✔Solid and sturdy
✔Good quality print and alignment makes them clear and functional
✔Not too many counters to keep track of
✔Counters included for Solitaire Module
✔Alternative 'Armour' counters with tank artwork, as opposed to the NATO bathtub (that's what it makes me think of anyway), are included
Cons-
✗Slightly cryptic to a beginner (part of the fun is figuring them out!)


4. The Board
Pro's-
✔Excellent quality, thick card
✔Large clean, crisp, functional map
✔Many useful charts and tracks
Cons-
✗Unused Markers Holding Box is a little small (or maybe GMT were just generous with the counters?)
✗The charts and tracks might be a bit TMI (TooMuchInformation) at first
✗Takes up quite a bit of space when components, charts and books are laid out (but it looks nice)


5. The Rule Book
Pro's-
✔High quality paper and colour print
✔Contents page
✔Index
✔Well organised
✔Plenty of examples and interesting 'Design Notes'
Cons-
✗Lots of exceptions to many rules (but they're easy to find in the book)
✗No rules included for Solitaire Module (also free to download)

6. The Scenario Book
Pro's-
✔High quality paper and colour print
✔Contents page
✔Designer's Notes and Player's Notes give historical and strategic insight
✔Lots more gameplay examples
Cons-
✗Six scenarios may seem limited if you Blitz through the game time after time (but No Retreat 2 Deluxe is on its way so who cares)
✗Not enough historical info (buy a book, cheapskate)

7. Player Aid Cards
Pro's-
✔A4 sized double-sided glossy card
✔Plenty of useful charts and tracks for reference
✔One for each player
Cons-
✗No Odds Ratio chart (print one out, use a calculator or work it out!)
✗No Game Turn Effects chart (take a look in the book)

8. The Dice
Pro's-
✔You get a red one and a white one so you don't have to share with 'The Enemy'
✔The '6' side
Cons-
✗The '1' side


The Actual Game

1. General Gameplay Overview
Pro's-
✔Historically accurate and Fun!
✔Plenty of strategic depth
✔A pinch of luck in the form of cards and dice
✔Cards can be used for their event, or as 'currency' adding a resource-management aspect
✔Area-Control is more interesting due to different terrain types with varying defensive abilities and movement costs
✔Gameplay becomes smooth and intuitive relatively quickly
✔Various Victory Conditions and asymmetrical player powers create unique situations
✔Very thematic with a real sense of struggle
✔Replayable
✔Timeline events allow players to plan ahead and devise new strategies each time
✔Random events make every game fresh and keep the players on their toes whilst never straying too far from the real history
Cons-
✗May seem a little daunting to a wargame beginner (although appearances can be deceiving)
✗Victory Point track and VP markers may be confusing at first (but when it 'clicks', you realise it's actually very elegant)


2. Two Player Game
Pro's-
✔Easy to teach as you play
✔Surprisingly balanced overall
✔Minimal downtime
✔Not so epic that you never have time to play it
✔Can be epic if you so choose
✔Easy to keep an eye on the game status (Zones of Control, VP's, Supply Paths etc)
✔Meddlesome cards are fun to slam down on your opponent
✔Pesky dice are fun to throw around
✔Cut off their supply lines and make them Surrender!
Cons-
✗If you really don't like luck then you might occasionally want to shout at your die/deck/opponent/god

3. Solitaire Game
Pro's-
✔You can play it on your own when your friend goes AWOL from game night
✔A really clever and slightly unpredictable 'switch-sides' mechanism never lets you get complacent
✔Feels different than a two player game, like a strategic puzzle with many solutions and a looming Sudden Death!
✔Still retains the theme and feels like a struggle to win
Cons-
✗Lots of information for you to keep track of (although I imagine some people love that)
✗Easy to play it wrong by mistake (at first)
✗No real surprises from card events (but this is part of what adds to the Solitaire, puzzle-like experience)
✗You have to print out rules and charts, cut out and sleeve cards etc. (It's not that bad, there are only 12 cards and a few pages)

Summary
As you can probably tell, I like this game. Most of the negative points are trivial and it's really opened my eyes to a whole new world of games (Solitaire/Wargame/Less “Mainstream”/Print n' Play) I wouldn't have looked twice at before. My wallet also curse it for that.
I think the game takes a certain amount of dedication, especially for a wargame beginner if you are going to get through those first few games where you're always checking the rules but still end up playing it wrong. I played the first scenario solo at least five times before I thought I had all the rules down. Then I played the whole game a few times with the Solitaire module. And then I played it a few times with two players and only now am I happy that I've got it! But still, every game was fun and very thought-provoking.
As for the components, I'd like to thank GMT especially for the baggies and the bubblewrap that are included. I thought that was great! Just a little thing on their part, but that really makes a difference at this end.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to games from Victory Point Games, GMT and Carl Paradis and I've heard that NR2 Deluxe is on it's way so I'll try and sneak a few more solo plays in and not let my mate surrender again. I was really looking forward to playing tonight!

Finally, I will hesitantly and obscurely rate No Retreat!-

A Really Large Number out of a Very Slightly Larger Number.
Or somewhere on a scale between Electric Purple and Shimmering Blue.
Or roughly 8 out of 10 (which, as I never rate anything a 10 would probably translate as 9 or 10 out of 10 on many people's scales)
It's good.

Adam

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Bolo75
United States
Stone Mountain
Georgia
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Adam,

For a first review you get a double thumbsupthumbsup and a for this write up. I am both a GMT and VPG fan and have finally saved enough $$ to order this game for myself. Reading your review has got me really anxious for it to arrive. My 13 year old son has developed some interest in wargames so I can't wait to get this laid out across the table with him!

Subscribe to this game here on BGG as Carl provides first rate game support and answers every question posted.

Thanks again and great gaming!
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Rodger MacGowan
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Hi Adam,

Thank you for your superb game review of our "No Retreat" Deluxe Edition. I will share your review with our fans on the C3i Magazine website – C3i Ops Center

Rodger
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Adam Lord
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Rochdale
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Firefighter1210 wrote:
For a first review you get a double thumbsupthumbsup and a for this write up.

Thanks very much.

Firefighter1210 wrote:
My 13 year old son has developed some interest in wargames.

Excellent! I'm sure you'll both love it. I think it's great that you're son is interested. I wish I'd paid more attention in History when I was his age. My WW2 knowledge was basically 'Indiana Jones', 'Wolfenstein 3D' and 'Dad's Army'!blush

Rodger MacGowan wrote:
Hi Adam, I will share your review with our fans on the C3i Magazine website – C3i Ops Center

Rodger

Nice!cool
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Gary Barr
United Kingdom
Ballyclare N.Ireland
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Hi

A superb review (In a very different but highly readable & informative style) for a great game.

If I had not already bought this catchy review would certainly make me

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David
New Zealand
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Great review thanks. Just finished my first game (Barbarossa solo) and this game has lived up to my expectations. Simply superb and it took me about 3 minutes to reset the scenario!
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Carl Paradis
Canada
Ste-Thérèse
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Snowman wrote:
...it took me about 3 minutes to reset the scenario!


3 minutes?! You slacker!
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Alex
Germany
Bochum
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licinius wrote:
Snowman wrote:
...it took me about 3 minutes to reset the scenario!


3 minutes?! You slacker!


yea... Carl answers even faster here on BGG, than you reset the game! whistle
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Yoki Erdtman
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Great review Adam, I enjoyed the format immensely. I hope to see more reviews from you in the future.
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Jan van der Laan
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Leeuwarden
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No Retreat! The Russian Front » Forums » Reviews
Re: No Retreat! A Stood-Up-On-Gamenight-Bullet-Point-Review
Marvellous review Adam. Keep up the good works!
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Joshua OConnor
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Thanks for review. What's two player playing time like? Depending on the scenario.
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Steven Hall
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baradifi wrote:
Thanks for review. What's two player playing time like? Depending on the scenario.

The second scenario, which I highly recommend because everybody is in action and it starts with the German Move phase, can be played in 3 hours, unless you have AP
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Adam Lord
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baradifi wrote:
Thanks for review. What's two player playing time like? Depending on the scenario.

Ahh, oops! I should have subscribed to this thread! Cantalopian has given the best answer to your question. Many regards FROM THE FUTURE!
 
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