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The Dogs of War: Wargames That Stink, WWII Western Front Edition
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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Following up The Dogs of War: Wargames That Stink, WWII Russian Front Edition, I present the companion list of Western Front wargames that just don't get the job done.

Are the Americans too powerful? Are the Tiger tanks totally indestructable? Are the rules too much? Which are the games to avoid here?

Again, I'll toss out one, and leave the feeding frenzy to the rest of you. Remember, we're doing this as a service to our fellow wargamers.
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1. Board Game: Tide of Iron [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:353]
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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Nope. Not for me. I already had invested in Memoir '44 before this game came out. But I still gave it a try. Extra-fiddly, with the little plastic army men and the peg-hole bases. Buckets of dice, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. But the biggest strike against it was that I didn't care for the rules presentation, with many non-intuitive (for me) rules which made it more gamey than I was willing to put up with.
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2. Board Game: The Game of France, 1940: German Blitzkrieg in the West [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:7301]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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Surely this one must be a contender. What is all that white space on the map - a French desert ? I haven't played this for years, but most of what I remember is ennui. How can a game about lightning war be so dull ?

snore


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3. Board Game: Tunisia [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:1271]
Greg Ullrich
United States
Seattle
Washington
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The game is actually broken once you consider how artillery works. The allies have enough artillery, supplies, and time to just sit and blow up the axis forces. Once my game group figured this out the allies always won. OCS works very well in open blitzkrieg country, but in close terrain where few infantry have multiple steps, the deadly nature of the artillery tables (even the new ones) don't permit infantry to dig in and survive.

A case of too much supply and too many guns.
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4. Board Game: D-Day (second edition) [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4997]
D T P
United States
Pikeville
North Carolina
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It was ugly to look at. The counters were uninspiring. It never played well. But still something of a classic to many old grognards. I lost mine a long time ago and don't really care that I did.
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5. Board Game: Remagen: Bridgehead on the Rhine, March 1945 [Average Rating:4.38 Overall Rank:10095]
Oh my God They Banned Kenny
Canada
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Not sure who thought this was a good idea, but they were wrong. At least there is a line (litterally) on the map that stops the Amercians, but the Germans sure can't.
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6. Board Game: Hurtgen Forest: Approach to the Roer, November 1944 [Average Rating:5.71 Unranked]
Oh my God They Banned Kenny
Canada
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I'll continue my 'attacks' on the west(wall) with this entry. The victory conditions are borderline broken. Otherwise it is an 'uninteresting' slugfest in poor terrain with questionable 'objectives' (fight over some towns of no strategic importance). The Germans are implicitly expected to counterattack, however, given the poor terrain and American superiority in artillery, combined with the fact that the one German force with some offensive potential has to almost immediately be removed from the map or it costs the Germans a ton of VP's and there is little practical prospect for that.
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7. Board Game: John Prados' Third Reich [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:3436]
Larz Welo
Indonesia
Kalimantan
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This was my theatre wide game that seemed to be way clunkier than I thought possible. A supposed evolution of the Third Reich series, it merely seemed more convoluted and confusing to me. Maybe my mind just can't grab it and I shouldn't try anything more complex than Here I Stand or Pursuit of Glory, but I tried to learn this one in a 'learning game', twice, and both times got very boggled and gave up after an hour.

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8. Board Game: The Battle of the Bulge [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:4240]
D T P
United States
Pikeville
North Carolina
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Poor looking map. It's supposed to be densely wooded yet it has an unusually lot of clear hexes. The road network is missing several crucial roads and this seriously hurts the Germans already poor chances of success.
Then there's the counters. The German units are badly understrength. An issue which was corrected in the later version by AH. And lets not forget those pink Germans. It's terribly hard to take the mighty German army seriously when their pink.
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9. Board Game: The Battle for Cassino: Assaulting the Gustav Line, 1944 [Average Rating:5.16 Overall Rank:10168]
D T P
United States
Pikeville
North Carolina
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The map is terrible. The counters not much better. And what's with those movement factors? 120 movement points? All around a terrible game.
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10. Board Game: Open Fire [Average Rating:5.33 Overall Rank:9745]
Kurt Over
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Victory Games attempt to create an armored vehicle version of Ambush.

A noble effort perhaps, but the execution missed on a number of levels. Some clunky rules, bugs in the paragraph entries, and a few things that just ran the frustration level through the roof when trying to play.

And the scenarios had even less replay value than the ones in Ambush (which could come up differently if you changed approach routes and tactics.)

Classic example is Mission 2 where your platoon (plus reinforcements) enters the map on a certain hex. That triggers an immediate event which is a dug-in 88mm AT gun blocking the road about 300m away. It has initiative and two actions as you commence combat rounds...yuk

I guess there's a reason the rules have you create a fresh platoon for this scenario. sauron

- Kurt
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11. Board Game: The Italian Campaign: Sicily [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:9372]
D T P
United States
Pikeville
North Carolina
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I had high hopes for this game when I bought it. There are few games on this battle. But my hopes were killed when I really got to looking at it and play it a couple of times.
Is there no forests in Sicily? The map is all brown or various shades of brown. The counters are nice to look at, but difficult to use since they have letter instead of combat factors!
A potentially good game poorly done.
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12. Board Game: Air Force [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:2501]
Alan Martin
United Kingdom
Brackley
Northamptonshire
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You want a fast moving playable representation of WWII air combat, go elsewhere.
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13. Board Game: Anvil-Dragoon: Southwall 1944 [Average Rating:5.12 Overall Rank:9556]
D T P
United States
Pikeville
North Carolina
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The map looks pretty good, but the counters are confusing. It looks like they have double digit combat and movement factors! And the game just wasn't fun to play. Shame too since there are so few games on the subject.
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14. Board Game: Blitzkrieg 1940 [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:6391]
D T P
United States
Pikeville
North Carolina
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Counters aren't too bad. But that map look more like a cartoon than a wargame map. I actually found AH's France 1940 to be more fun.
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15. Board Game: Czechoslovakia '38 [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:7306]
D T P
United States
Pikeville
North Carolina
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An interesting what if idea that just doesn't quite make it. Maybe this should be on the Russian Front list?
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16. Board Game: Kampfpanzer [Average Rating:5.53 Overall Rank:9217]
steve mizuno
United States
San Diego
California
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This was the 2nd or 3rd issue of my subscription to S&T. I was all excited about the strange scenarios, the counters with multiple ratings, and the SIMOV system. Then I began to read the rules more carefully, and played a few scenarios.

Never touched the thing again. Between the PANIC and SIMOV rules, this game crept along. For those of you who haven't played it, think "StarFleet Battles" goes ground combat. Preplotted movement, with the very strange Dunnigan panic rules of the era, really make this game crawl. There may have been some potential there, but for me, it was crushed by the weight of the SIMOV and PANIC systems.
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17. Board Game: Strange Defeat: The Fall of France, 1940 [Average Rating:5.11 Overall Rank:10190]
Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
Germany
Düsseldorf
NRW
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Excellent theme, horrible execution.
Map is ridiculous and the rules are very poor.
Who on earth approved to publihs this?!


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18. Board Game: Patton's Best [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2187]
Ralph T
United States
Signal Hill
California
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This was supposed to be the tank version of B-17: Queen of the Skies. While in B-17, something interesting happened in every mission, in Patton's Best, nothing interesting happened. Sometimes some small arms unit would show up and get killed usually by someone other than your tank. If a German tank ever did appear, it'd also never shoot at your tank but some other tank in your unit, and get blown up by another tank. This game needed a little more "me" time.
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