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The Lamps Are Going Out» Forums » General

Subject: First Minnesota Takes The Lamps Are Going Out For A Spin rss

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Gordon J
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(This is a repost from our blog). So, First Minnesota got THE LAMPS ARE GOING OUT to the table last night. In the game you can play the Germans, Western Allies, Eastman Allies, and the Central Powers.

The Lamps are Going Out with Classy (WA), Gordy (EA/USA), Doug (Da Germans), and Matt (Austrians):



The Germans strike east and west. The game constrains you within a historical parameter, but there are a lot of interesting decisions to make nonetheless. For example on the first turn for Germany, you kind of have to do the Schlieffen plan, which grants you bonus re-rolls for attacks in the West, limiting your moves to the east. So, you could just not attack the West, and do what you want, but why would you, when you get your bonus stuff for going West.



Lots to think about for the most part. Unlike in a game like Cataclysm: A Second World War, where it is truly an open sandbox, where you can kind of go where you want and attack whoever, in Lamps, you limited to what could or should have happened in WW1. Event cards you pick each turn gives you the variety of having historical stuff happening early or later and that in turn influences the game. Though in terms of the Russians, there isn't really much choice, the Germans invade, you attack them. The choices for them might be, attack the Austrians or the Germans.



Austrians at the gates of Moscow????? What???? The Russians underestimate the power of the Austrian/Hungarian artillery, and come within a whisker of losing their capitol.



This was a great moment in our game with the Austrians and their super artillery rolling their way to Moscow--the Russians made the mistake of concentrating too much on the Germans. But I was hard pressed by being attacked by two powers while the West took their sweet time building up. "Attack!" "Attack!" Russian kept saying.

Eventually the Russian Revolution toppled the Russians and forced them out of the war--which came just in time as the Austrians had lost the initiative and were starting to be driven back by the Russians. The Austrians then concentrated on Italy and Germany rallied to hold the homeland. But it was all for naught as the Western Allies drove into Berlin.



Overall I had a good time playing. But Matt and I, playing the Austrians & Russians respectively, were the junior partners in this game. The main action is in the West, and there were many times when Matt and I sat idly by, while the big guys chucked dice for fifteen minutes. It tended to get a little boring sometimes for the Austrians and Russians, as we have smaller forces, and our battles and turns took like a minute to complete, and many times your turn takes two seconds because you just flip your spent guys to fresh and that was it, and then it was back to the Germans and British which then take a good amount of time to complete.

So, I think some won't have a problem with the inequality of things to do with the four powers--and really I don't have a problem with that, because it's historically accurate. But some might have an issue of this being a "4-player" game. I think this would be perfect for two players, and perfect for the reason I got the game, for playing it solitaire. But I don't think I'd play this again 4 player.

Lamps Are Going Out is a good game, a good simulation of what WW1 was like, it's super easy to learn, and one has a lot of fun chucking dice, and produced many great tense moments, where much shouting and yelling and laughing happen due to dramatic dice rolling.

Link to full Friday night gaming report and other games played: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1613317/gr-july-29th-2016-l...

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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Thanks for that great review! Yes, if the allies can't put any pressure on A-H, they can get their act together and cause some problems for the Russians. What was Italy doing during all this?

The game is designed primarily for two players, but accomodates four nicely. Granted, not as much action for the Central Allies and Eastern Allies, but I actually really enjoyed playing the Central Allies myself. There was a time in development that certain parties wanted to make all four sides equally able to win the game. The core team vetoed those ideas as we did not want to turn it into a Eurogame.

Thanks again!

Hermann
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Bill Koff
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Thanks for the unbiased write-up. I didn't realize that the game contained historical constraints. It sounds like they weren't a problem, but does the German player have any say-so in apportioning deployments between east and west? Also wondering how well things like the Middle East, Africa, the naval war, diplomacy etc. are handled?

(One more thing - I couldn't make heads or tails out of the upside-down mapboard photos.)



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Ubergeek
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Echoing thanks for the review. Sounds like what I was hoping for on the solo and 2-player aspect.
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Gordon J
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spindoc wrote:
Thanks for the unbiased write-up. I didn't realize that the game contained historical constraints. It sounds like they weren't a problem, but does the German player have any say-so in apportioning deployments between east and west? Also wondering how well things like the Middle East, Africa, the naval war, diplomacy etc. are handled?

(One more thing - I couldn't make heads or tails out of the upside-down mapboard photos.)


The constraints are mainly on the first turn--like forcing the Germans to go West. There are also rules like, you can't just up and attack Bulgaria if you feel like it or Italy, you have to wait for an event to bring that country into the war.

After the first turn. The Germans are free to play defense in the West and then go hard against the Russians, which I did in my solo play of this game. The Germans can deploy their units freely after the first turn.



The African, Turkish fronts are what you expect they are, a distraction to the main stage. The West basically ignored them, they spent resources when they had to, but otherwise put everything against the Germans. And it's a pretty good design in how they accurately portrayed the real strength of the Turks and Italians by give them little resources.

Diplomacy is handled through the event cards, which basically tell you, "Italy Declares War," and then you put their pieces into play. Naval War is okay, but I love the way Aviation was handled in this game.
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Gordon J
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HORST324 wrote:
Thanks for that great review! Yes, if the allies can't put any pressure on A-H, they can get their act together and cause some problems for the Russians. What was Italy doing during all this?

The game is designed primarily for two players, but accomodates four nicely. Granted, not as much action for the Central Allies and Eastern Allies, but I actually really enjoyed playing the Central Allies myself. There was a time in development that certain parties wanted to make all four sides equally able to win the game. The core team vetoed those ideas as we did not want to turn it into a Eurogame.

Thanks again!

Hermann


The Austrians were deep into Russian by the time Italy arrived. Then the British player, stripped the Italians dry and sent their units to the western front to dig trenches and lead charges against the Germans.

I'm glad you didn't make all sides equally able to win, we all loved despite the fact of how easy the game was, that it portrayed the WW1 in such a clean and accurate way.

It annoyed me, as the Russian player to be knocked out of the game by an event, though of course, it was my fault I had let the Central Powers to gobble up so much of my territory. I was making my comeback, I even drove the Germans once to the gates Berlin, but then stalled and got cut off.

The Austrians, no matter what, late game, is not gonna have a lot to do either, with all those harmful events, that make them basically ineffective to do much other than defend. They have to make their hay early and often. So in our case, Russia was knocked out and Austrians were basically a wet paper bag, leaving Matt & I not much to do for the last hour.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Thanks Gordon. Yeah - the Austrians can be dangerous if left unhindered. But as you point out, they will also die a slow death due to the strain of the war as it goes on. Also, we realized that the Russia player may get knocked out early and that's why they also get to control the U.S. at teh end of the war.

In any case, glad you enjoyed it!

Hermann
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Gordon J
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HORST324 wrote:
Thanks Gordon. Yeah - the Austrians can be dangerous if left unhindered. But as you point out, they will also die a slow death due to the strain of the war as it goes on. Also, we realized that the Russia player may get knocked out early and that's why they also get to control the U.S. at teh end of the war.

In any case, glad you enjoyed it!

Hermann


It was a good time. Can't wait to play this again solo.

Funniest moment(s) of our game was the German player trying to make his Guerrilla War roll in Africa, and like 6 times in a row he rolled a 2, it was funny.
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Kevin Rohrer
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The game sounds scripted; is this or is this not the case?
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Kevin Rohrer wrote:
The game sounds scripted; is this or is this not the case?

That depends on what you mean by scripted.
Big picture historical events tend to occur, but not necessarily in order, and there is a chance they won't happen at all.
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Gordon J
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sdiberar wrote:
Kevin Rohrer wrote:
The game sounds scripted; is this or is this not the case?

That depends on what you mean by scripted.
Big picture historical events tend to occur, but not necessarily in order, and there is a chance they won't happen at all.


The first turn for the Germans is definitely scripted, but after that the Germans are free to pursue either a West or East first strategy. But after only two games played, it seems like Germany either goes ALL IN against France or hit it hard on turns 1 and 2, and then play defense for the rest of the game and then try to gobble up the Russians.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Just to be clear .... the first turn is not really scripted. The Schlieffen Plan is set up and is to your advantage to pursue, but you can ignore the modifiers and rewards and attack in the east anyway. There's no real reason, I don't think, to do so - but it is there as an option.

As Scott points out, the game "leans" to the historical flow of events but when (and if) they come up is open. In fact, in one game we played, neither Italy card showed up in the game and the Italians sat out the war! A very unlikely scenario, but it can happen.

There's no avoiding the fact that the war is essentially won or lost in the west and yes, Russia needs to be removed. But the game cleverly gives you "lures" in East Africa and the Near East where if you pursue an aggressive strategy, you can steal a VP or two. Just the threat of that yields some fun angst and reaction from your opponent.

Thanks!
Herm

P.S. - We also at one time had an optional rule in which you could ignore all the "pre-war planning" rules and just do what you wanted to at the start of the war. So you could go "full-Eastern strategy" if you wanted. I honestly don't remember what happened to it, but that's something we could add later as an option.
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Rick Byrens
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HORST324 wrote:
Just to be clear .... the first turn is not really scripted. The Schlieffen Plan is set up and is to your advantage to pursue, but you can ignore the modifiers and rewards and attack in the east anyway. There's no real reason, I don't think, to do so - but it is there as an option.


I think it's perfectly OK for this to be scripted - it is how WWI started after all, really the only way it could have started given the Germans' mobilization plan. The Germans didn't have a sandbox to play in during August 1914!
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Karl Kreder
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HORST324 wrote:
Just to be clear .... the first turn is not really scripted. The Schlieffen Plan is set up and is to your advantage to pursue, but you can ignore the modifiers and rewards and attack in the east anyway. There's no real reason, I don't think, to do so - but it is there as an option.


This doesn't sound any more scripted than Paths of Glory so I don't see any real issue here.
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Gordon J
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zeotter wrote:
HORST324 wrote:
Just to be clear .... the first turn is not really scripted. The Schlieffen Plan is set up and is to your advantage to pursue, but you can ignore the modifiers and rewards and attack in the east anyway. There's no real reason, I don't think, to do so - but it is there as an option.


This doesn't sound any more scripted than Paths of Glory so I don't see any real issue here.


Nope, I have no issue with it either. As a complete package, I think this game gets WW1 right. You really get the feel of it. It was so funny in our game that basically the first or second event card the Austrians pulled was "Shackled to a Corpse" and the Germans had to lend them support/resources from the get-go.
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M. Kirschenbaum
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A-H at the gates of Moscow, the Allies in Berlin ... doesn't exactly sound like WWI to me, but I'm just a monkey.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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That just proves that the game is not scripted .... it leans historically but can diverge depending on player's decisions, the order of card events and of course those damn die rolls. A-H has a very hard time maintaining any success as the "Shackled to a Corpse" card can come out early and there are other events that reflect the inability of A-H to wage long-term, attritional warfare (at least offensively). But that doesn't make it impossible!

Thanks!

Herm
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john f stup
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does the USA have a good chance of usually coming in at a normal historical time? one of the problems with Paths of Glory was that the USA often didn't come in at all or when they did.it was with little effect.
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Kirk Uhlmann
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The USA will come in more often than not, and is somewhat on a bell curve surrounding the historic entry. However, this is dependent on the order of particular event cards along with German U-Boat activity, the effect of which is also dependent on other events.

I go into some detail about this in the Design Notes as well as an article at theboardgamingway.com which also details some of the math.

I make the assumption that US entry is not necessarily an outlier situation and that there are more factors than just the U-Boats, though they are a definite factor. The main goal was to make sure that the U-Boats themselves do not dictate probability of US entry on a linear basis. Thus, the Germans cannot dictate the probabilistic range for entry based on their actions alone. The particular cards that have come out and the game situation will present dilemmas for the German player who is trying to optimize the risk/reward trade-offs whereas a straight relationship between U-Boat activity and US entry would tend to make German choices more obvious and thus, less interesting.

There is also a slight relationship between Russian collapse and US entry as the Russian situation forced a greater sense of urgency upon the post-election Wilson administration. With German successes in the East it became apparent that the Allies might lose which, at that point, would have great adverse economic impacts on the US (who were highly vested in the Allies by that time). So one Event itself both sets the stage for possible Russian collapse and also advances US entry likelihood. However, both are still within the realm of player control as Germany must still contain Russia and occupy a certain number of its territories and how high the US entry track is relates to previous events and U-Boat activity.


Note also that there is a smaller window for U.S. entry for maximum impact. They might declare war, but if too late the T.E. will receive some of the naval benefits but the ground troops may not make it to Europe in time.

Kirk
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john f stup
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thanks for the detailed reply.
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Fred W. Manzo
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"The main goal was to make sure that the U-Boats themselves do not dictate probability of US entry on a linear basis."

During an earlier version of the game there was a more direct relationship between U-boat activity and US entry. In fact, they were so closely related that my standard policy as the Central Powers was never to use "unlimited U-boat warfare." That was enough to keep the US out of the war or, which was just as good, keep it out long enough so that it had no effect on the war's outcome.
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