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The Arab-Israeli Wars» Forums » Variants

Subject: Fixing Scenario B-1 "Bir Gifgafa" rss

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Scott Clinton
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I dearly love this game. It is simply one of my favorite wargames, from my favorite publisher that covers a topic of interest and does it so well in a medium-light wargame.

However, situation B-1 "Bir Gifgafa" in Avalon Hill's "The Arab Israeli Wars" is one of the most un-balanced scenarios I have seen from a publisher of this size.

What always surprised me most was the fact it was so un-balanced and the very first scenario of the game. I have always wondered if that was not at least a small reason this game did not sell well and never got the love it should have as getting right all that was still a bit off in Panzer Leader... We will never know.

If you have played this situation, you know exactly what I am talking about. To put it simply, the Arabs have no chance whatsoever. I have played this scenario at least 2 dozen times. I have never, ever, ever seen the Arab win. I have used this as a teaching situation many times...I always take the Arabs and I have tried my damnest to win... It cannot happen if the other guy just plays.

I broke this game out and played this situation again today a couple of times. After a bit of reflection I humbly suggest a few changes.

Nothing big, I am too old for that b/s. Just an overhaul to the victory contitions and game lengh.

First off, 15 turns is insane. The game never lasts that long. The game should be shortened to 12 turns.

Secondly, VP should be awarded only for:

For the Arab:
Each Israeli KIA = 2pts
Each Israeli on the board at end of game = 2pt

For the Israelis
Each Arab KIA = 1pts
Each Israeli exited the board from the North edge = 1pt


I have tried this a time and half... It is much, much better. But, honestly, that does not say much (lol). With an experienced Israeli I may even shorten this to 10 turns...

Have fun and toss dice!

GG
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Ryan Schultz
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Re: Fixing Scenario A-1
Good insight and comments.

One question though - are you talking about scenario A-1 or B-1. It is not clear to me based upon your description.
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Jim Millard
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Fixing Scenario B-1
Grumbling Grognard wrote:
I dearly love this game. It is simply one of my favorite wargames, from my favorite publisher that covers a topic of interest and does it so well in a medium-light wargame.

However, situation A-1 ...[snip]...


B-1?!

Grumbling Grognard wrote:

First off, 15 turns is insane. The game never lasts that long. The game should be shortened to 12 turns.

Secondly, VP should be awarded only for:

For the Arab:
Each Israeli KIA = 2pts
Each Israeli on the board at end of game = 2pt

For the Israelis
Each Arab KIA = 1pts
Each Israeli exited the board from the North edge = 1pt
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Scott Clinton
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Re: Fixing Scenario A-1
ack! Typos corrected! lol!

Obviously you both have played B-1...
 
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Scott Clinton
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Okay, I took this out again today and it still screwed up. If the Israeli simply ignores the "spirit" of the scenario for the first half of the game, they can wipe the floor with the Arab.

I think to "fix" it the changes needed are:


15 turns is still way too long. The game should be shortened to 12 turns.

Initial placement should be altered as well. The only change is to the Israeli player. They should be restricted to entering 3 units per turn. Otherwise all setup/entry remains the same.

Lastly, VP should be awarded only for:

For the Arab:
Each Israeli KIA = 3pts
Each Israeli on the board at end of game = 2pt

For the Israelis
Each Arab KIA = 1pts
Each Israeli exited the board from the North edge = 1pt

If anyone still plays this old dino, let me know what you think.
 
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Alex Jutte
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Just played my second run through of this scenario after purchasing the game on Saturday. First game, my partner played as Israel, and as you predicted, wiped out the Arab side.

Tonight, I learnt from mistakes. First game, I dispersed my units to try and cover as much as the boards as possible, to stop Israeli units from exiting. This enabled my partner to take out my units one by one. This time, I concentrated my units in three stacks of four, with one SU-100 and three T-24/85's, plus one stack of the remaining three T-34/85's. I placed the 3, four stacks, on the roads on the Arab deployment side, with the three stack being on the seem hex. I didn't fire any units the first turn, but moved up along the roads the maximum distance allowed, and then dug in behind sand dunes where possible. Here I waited for the Israeli's. After two or three turns of shooting, my partner realised that I wasn't going to move, and that they would either have to risk all of their units dying trying to fight through, or try and get as many units away as possible. They decided to sacrifice four units, whilst sending 5 around my flanks (I had already killed the rest). This meant, I still won, as the Israeli's only managed to kill 4 of my units, for a 14 to 13 VP victory to the Arabs.
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Jim Millard
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Grumbling Grognard wrote:

If anyone still plays this old dino, let me know what you think.


I am thinking that nobody has ever fixed it [since AH made the game] mostly due to it being a training tool, moving on to Standard/Advanced Rules.

I have not played it for a couple years [to teach a new guy to play], and we didn't stick with it. I have played B-4 with the Advanced Rules, which seems to play 'ok', but I haven't studied it thoroughly.

---edit---

However, Situation B-1 with Standard or above rules is an unholy slaughter of the Egyptians.
 
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Scott Clinton
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meh....I love this game but really hate the scenarios.

IMHO, they are as a group the worst of the Panzer Blitz/Leader/AiW series. I honestly wonder if they spent any time play-testing them for balance at all.

Considering the (IMO) vast improvements to the game design, the scerarios were a huge let down and really stymied the acceptance of this "modern" game when it came out (there was a HUGE preference for anything WW2 back then and against anything "tactical" in some quarters as well).

My over valued 2 cents,
GG
 
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Jim Millard
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Grumbling Grognard wrote:
meh....I love this game but really hate the scenarios.


Remember WHEN this game was published: 1977. Barely 4 years after the '73 War; and the level of secrecy / ignorance / obfuscation involved. The Israelis *still* don't want to let out information; Arab sources are even more difficult to obtain. Considering this, I think they did a pretty fair job on the '67 - '73 Situations [scenarios]. I can't explain the lackluster B-1 though.

Grumbling Grognard wrote:
Considering the (IMO) vast improvements to the game design, the scerarios were a huge let down and really stymied the acceptance of this "modern" game when it came out (there was a HUGE preference for anything WW2 back then and against anything "tactical" in some quarters as well).
...


That is why I want to use historical maps and make better scenarios for the game. The system is really very good, and stands up today. But they need to make historical maps for AIW just like they did for ASL, for example.
 
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Alex Jutte
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"Balance" is only really a gaming term, it doesn't exist in real life. Hence why none of the scenario's are "balanced" - its a historical game, with a complexity rating of 8, not a 'war' game where everything has to be balanced. There was no "balance" in the real Arab-Israeli Wars, and this is reflected in the scenarios.
 
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Jim Millard
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wafflecakes999 wrote:
"Balance" is only really a gaming term, it doesn't exist in real life. Hence why none of the scenario's are "balanced" - its a historical game, with a complexity rating of 8, not a 'war' game where everything has to be balanced. There was no "balance" in the real Arab-Israeli Wars, and this is reflected in the scenarios.


Alex, I think the issue is that any game can be 'balanced' by adjusting the VC.

That said, I am not sure that Situation B-1 is worth the effort. I think to get a decent balance you'd have to get all of us to play it again. If I can get my local sometime-AIW player to commit, I could try a couple go's at it. It is just I would *rather* be playing just about any other Situation, or the big Chinese Farm scenario I'm working on for Mark Neukom's map.
 
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Scott Clinton
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exactly.

Historical or not, is not the issue. The designers developed this game practically from the ground up (yes using an existing system)... then failed in almost every single scenario (really) to balance them worth a crap. I have 3 copies of this and have worn out at least one other. I have played every scenario several times. None are balanced well.

Hell, even the last one, the "hypothetical" scenario may appear balanced and is even billed as a matchup-meeting engagement type battle. Yet again, while the numbers and types of units may "match up" in every single case the the IDF forces are superior than their arab units and they fail to adjust the victory conditions and they remain the same for both sides.

They just dropped the ball on the scenarios in this game.
 
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Jim Millard
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Grumbling Grognard wrote:
...
I think to "fix" it the changes needed are:
...12 turns.

Initial placement should be altered as well. The only change is to the Israeli player. They should be restricted to entering 3 units per turn. Otherwise all setup/entry remains the same.

Lastly, VP should be awarded only for:

For the Arab:
Each Israeli KIA = 3pts
Each Israeli on the board at end of game = 2pt

For the Israelis
Each Arab KIA = 1pts
Each Israeli exited the board from the North edge = 1pt

Ok, I got my bud to agree to 2 quick plays of this, alternating sides. Will try to remember pictures as well.
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Jim Millard
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Game Results - 2 quick games of Situation B-1 "Bir Gifgafa"
Okay GG - here goes. We played twice with your suggestions below:

mitservices wrote:
Grumbling Grognard wrote:
...
12 turns.

Initial placement ... Israeli player. They should be restricted to entering 3 units per turn. ...

Lastly, VP should be awarded only for:

For the Arab:
Each Israeli KIA = 3pts
Each Israeli on the board at end of game = 2pt

For the Israelis
Each Arab KIA = 1pts
Each Israeli exited the board from the North edge = 1pt

Ok, I got my bud to agree to 2 quick plays of this, alternating sides. Will try to remember pictures as well.


Note: with your suggested VP schedule it is now impossible for the Israeli to score a Decisive Victory, even if they destroy every Egyptian unit and exit every one of their own. soblue

My buddy is learning the game, so we expected I would win both battles. That said, first game with me as the Egyptians got a 18 pt. margin resulting in Major Victory.

Second game, me as Israelis: 15 pt. margin, another Major.

I will post a couple pics tonight after work.

Cheers,
~Jim
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Scott Clinton
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:-) yes, I see...but at least the Arabs have a chance to win at all now.

Scott
 
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Jim Millard
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Grumbling Grognard wrote:
...
What always surprised me most was the fact it was so un-balanced and the very first scenario of the game. I have always wondered if that was not at least a small reason this game did not sell well and never got the love it should have as getting right all that was still a bit off in Panzer Leader... We will never know....
GG


I re-read this post, and the above has merit.

What a DOG of a scenario as a 'first play' of the game! gulp
 
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Jim Millard
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Pictures: B-1 "Bir Gifgafa"
Here is what typically happens using the Basic Rules:


Since there is neither Opportunity Fire [OF] or Split Move and Fire [SMF], the game is simplistic.



---

In the second set, the results of NOT merely 'roadblocking' the Israelis can be seen; the AMX-13's can either choose to run off the board edge or engage the Egyptians from behind.


---

I could see where a new player could also be turned off by this scenario; the game is stilted and clunky with most of the rules gutted out.

A possible solution to the 'no Israeli Decisive' is to award the Israeli more points for maximum units exited; e.g., "2 pts./exited unit for 5-8 units exited; 3 pts./unit for 9+ exited units."
 
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