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The War: Europe 1939-1945» Forums » General

Subject: First thoughts on The War rss

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Robin Lapinou
France
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Good day to all,

After 13 years of extensive play of Third Reich and Pacific War, I have just bought The War as a replacement/upgrade from it.

I have just had time to read the rules and play the first Poland scenario (certainly making mistakes I guess). I will post my first questions about the rules on dedicated topics to help other players look for the answers.

I just wanted here to give a first piece of feed back about the game, in random order:

Good points:
+ It is very good looking, especially the map, so congratulations to the artwork designer Mark Mahaffey. The best wargame map I've seen so far. Of course it has the inevitable geography issues (Berlin, Manchester..) and some spelling mistakes (Lorient not L'Orient) but who cares.

+ counters and colored tracks and force pools are an impressive improvement compared to Third Reich, and that all make the game more attractive, and also much easier to get used to (all counters clearly indicate what they are and are different from others). I only miss the armored units shape of Third Reich

+ the Examples of Play and the very good on-line follow-up by the designers. I have read elsewhere that the rule book could have been better written, which is very true, but efficient support and living rules more than make up for that (and anyways that rulebook is not as unclear as many American/English games I've played, let's say it's cultural difference from German/French game designers)

Could/Should have been better:
- one sided counters only! The main editing mistake with that game according to me (so far). Unit counters should have been 2 sided for depleted state, like Third Reich, and that would have allowed to do the same for marker counters, allowing to print more AV, OOS, oil etc...
I hope lessons will be drawn for the Pacific War version

- the NARF tracking system is nice on the paper, but almost impossible to follow in practice. Fortunately the designers provided a very well made .xls sheet that fixes that and much more

- hexes to small and counters to big! there is not much to do about it now that it is done, but playing busy areas is not easy. A Deluxe map would help, but it would be very big...

Overall, all that seems very nice and I can't wait to get deeper into the game mechanics and play the full campaign.

Congratulations to the designers for all the work
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Michael Olsen
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Hi, and congratualtions on your new game.

I think you will find that there is no "efficient support" for this game on boardgamegeek.com. As a matter of fact, this is a large part of why my copy is up for sale/trade. Combined with an unclear rulebook it was too much work for me, and I turned towards alternative games instead.

I completely agree with you on the points of the one-sided counters. It is a very strange decision indeed.

Those things said, The War definitely has a lot of nice things going on. I am sure that for some people the hard work to learn the system is worth it. One reason I hang around here is I actually do hope to find the time and energy myself one day.

Enjoy!
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Robin Lapinou
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Hi Michael,

Indeed there are many copies to sell on second hand, generally not a good sign...

I hope there is some support here or on CSW (eventhough I find that forum impossible to use since it has no categories for posts).
I must say one of the main points that finally convinced me to buy was that I saw the designers were very active to answer rules questions etc.. I hope I did not make a 115€ mistake...

The counters thing is terrible. When I opened the box I really thought it was a printing mistake and was ready to send it back to the vendor, until I saw the depleted counters and other posts here speaking about it. It would be interesting to know why they came to that decision.

As for the rules, it is surely disappointing that the rulebook turns out to be your enemy as often as your ally, but at least that is something that be fixed later through erratas, exampls of play etc..

Have you read the EOP they posted on CSW and here ? they helped me a LOT. Very probably I would be selling my game as well without them! but having read all of them (at work )I feel ready to keep going and master the game within a few months.

If I find the time to do so, I have already started to write a gaming help with reminders of the main rules sorted by situations. I think the main rules (no options) should fit in 10 to 15 pages like I did for Third Reich (slightly simpler game). When I have achieved that I will upload it here like you uploaded your units review.
Hopefully it will help you get back to the game
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Michael Olsen
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There is good support on csw. I, for one, am not using that forum. I did once, that was enough.
There used to be good support here also, but no longer. I seem to remember there is a post even where the designer states his intention to offer support on csw only.

There was some debate then, and that might have something to do with it. The designer seemed a bit thinly skinned, so to speak, and discussions about the rulebook turned into an argument of sorts, as I recall it. This is all from memory, and a search in the forum should show you.

Regarding the counters, I am guessing it is to facilitate better support for people who attach magnets to the counters. You know, all 2% (or whatever) who do that. This teally is such a strange design decision.

The EOPs can help some, agreed. But honestly it is trying my patience. I would much rather just have the rule easily available, written in a tight, precise manner. For reference I absolutely love the rulebooks for Axis Empires: Totaler Krieg and (especially) Unconditional Surrender.

Ah yes, the unit overview I posted. Very ugly, but useful : - ). So many sheets in the game, but not the ones I need.
I was going to do one for naval also, but did not get around to it, since I have not finished the naval rules. I had important questions and no way to get them answered.

Hmm, I am thinking, I am probably ready to put a new game on the table next week or the week after. Maybe I should give this a new shot. At least there now seem to be one other person to discuss it with.
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Michael Olsen
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P.s. Your gaming help sounds very useful. I look forward to it.
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Joe Pilkus
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Re: First thoughts on The Warft
Robin,

Thank you for your feedback! While I didn't serve as the developer on TWE, I assisted with the upcoming Expansion Kit and have served as the developer for The War: Pacific 1941-1945.

I believe the decision to not print the counters on both sides stemmed from a cost cutting measure. Idon't know ernie's thoughts on two-sides counters for TWO.

Cheers,
Joe

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Ernie Copley
United States
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Agabdir wrote:
Good day to all,

After 13 years of extensive play of Third Reich and Pacific War, I have just bought The War as a replacement/upgrade from it.

I have just had time to read the rules and play the first Poland scenario (certainly making mistakes I guess). I will post my first questions about the rules on dedicated topics to help other players look for the answers.

I just wanted here to give a first piece of feed back about the game, in random order:

Good points:
+ It is very good looking, especially the map, so congratulations to the artwork designer Mark Mahaffey. The best wargame map I've seen so far. Of course it has the inevitable geography issues (Berlin, Manchester..) and some spelling mistakes (Lorient not L'Orient) but who cares.

+ counters and colored tracks and force pools are an impressive improvement compared to Third Reich, and that all make the game more attractive, and also much easier to get used to (all counters clearly indicate what they are and are different from others). I only miss the armored units shape of Third Reich

+ the Examples of Play and the very good on-line follow-up by the designers. I have read elsewhere that the rule book could have been better written, which is very true, but efficient support and living rules more than make up for that (and anyways that rulebook is not as unclear as many American/English games I've played, let's say it's cultural difference from German/French game designers)

Could/Should have been better:
- one sided counters only! The main editing mistake with that game according to me (so far). Unit counters should have been 2 sided for depleted state, like Third Reich, and that would have allowed to do the same for marker counters, allowing to print more AV, OOS, oil etc...
I hope lessons will be drawn for the Pacific War version

- the NARF tracking system is nice on the paper, but almost impossible to follow in practice. Fortunately the designers provided a very well made .xls sheet that fixes that and much more

- hexes to small and counters to big! there is not much to do about it now that it is done, but playing busy areas is not easy. A Deluxe map would help, but it would be very big...

Overall, all that seems very nice and I can't wait to get deeper into the game mechanics and play the full campaign.

Congratulations to the designers for all the work


Hello, Mr. Lapineau - I just saw this post. Maybe I can shed some light on the background to the game. In order:

1) yes, I think Mark Mahaffey did a fine job on the map, although we did have a little map errata. Mark is also doing the artwork on the TW Expansion Kit;

2) I know the rulebook is challenging for some players, but I have tried to create and upload EOP's to make them more accessible;

3) There's a story behind the decision to do one-sided counters. Early in the design process, I asked Ken Dingley, the production partner at Compass games, about that issue. Ken related a story about one of Compass' early products, where they messed up the counters because the front sides and back sides did not match. The mistake really damaged the initial reception of the game. Ken left it to me, but warned me that the more complex the printing job, the greater the risk of errors. I know many games have back-printed counters, but since this was my first published game, I decided to take the low-risk approach and do one-sided counters. I have some games by MultiMan Publishing, and they do the same thing: one sided counters with depleted markers.

4) re: NARF tracking - some players are fine using the NARF Charts, but others use a spreadsheet. Most players seem to be okay using one or the other.

5) Regarding large-sized counters: that too was my decision. Here's why: the wargame/boardgame market has a lot older fellows like me (I'm 63) whose vision is not as good as it was when they were younger. Many games with 1/2 inch counters may cause more eyestrain for older players over the course of several hours of play.

I am glad you have some experience with Third Reich. TW represents the kind of game I thought Third Reich should have evolved into, but didn't. I hope you'll enjoy playing it.

As you learn the game, I suggest you go from the Poland scenario to the Norway scenario, then to the France 1940 scenario and then to the Barbarossa scenario. After that, I suggest you tackle one of the big campaign games.

Thanks for posting,

Ernie Copley

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Ernie Copley
United States
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Maine
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Agabdir wrote:
Hi Michael,

Indeed there are many copies to sell on second hand, generally not a good sign...

I hope there is some support here or on CSW (eventhough I find that forum impossible to use since it has no categories for posts).
I must say one of the main points that finally convinced me to buy was that I saw the designers were very active to answer rules questions etc.. I hope I did not make a 115€ mistake...

The counters thing is terrible. When I opened the box I really thought it was a printing mistake and was ready to send it back to the vendor, until I saw the depleted counters and other posts here speaking about it. It would be interesting to know why they came to that decision.

As for the rules, it is surely disappointing that the rulebook turns out to be your enemy as often as your ally, but at least that is something that be fixed later through erratas, exampls of play etc..

Have you read the EOP they posted on CSW and here ? they helped me a LOT. Very probably I would be selling my game as well without them! but having read all of them (at work )I feel ready to keep going and master the game within a few months.

If I find the time to do so, I have already started to write a gaming help with reminders of the main rules sorted by situations. I think the main rules (no options) should fit in 10 to 15 pages like I did for Third Reich (slightly simpler game). When I have achieved that I will upload it here like you uploaded your units review.
Hopefully it will help you get back to the game


Hello, Mr. Lapineau,

As noted in another post, the counter size was a decision based on the demographics of the wargame/boardgame market, which is mostly older gentlemen whose vision may not be what it once was. That includes me, by the way.

Regarding the clarity of the rules, I have also heard from many experienced wargamers that the TW rulebook is one of the best-written rulebooks of any of the monster games (such as Advanced ETO, A World at War, War in Europe and so on). I am aware that some people don't see it that way, hence the examples of play. By the way, when I have time, I am working on two more play aids: a player-aid card, front and back, that summarizes the special rules that only apply to the Soviet Union; and a spreadsheet that advises players of which optional rules to use with which scenarios.

Player contributions are welcome, so if you wanted to do a 15-page condensed rules summary, that would be great. I will look over it if you post it.

Good gaming to you,

ernie
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Ernie Copley
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The Professor wrote:
Robin,

Thank you for your feedback! While I didn't serve as the developer on TWE, I assisted with the upcoming Expansion Kit and have served as the developer for The War: Pacific 1941-1945.

I believe the decision to not print the counters on both sides stemmed from a cost cutting measure. Idon't know ernie's thoughts on two-sides counters for TWO.

Cheers,
Joe



Hi Joe - thanks for posting. As noted in another post, it wasn't really cost-cutting. I just wanted to avoid potential printing production errors if I could.

Gamers only notice printing issues when something has gone seriously wrong, but when that happens it can really hurt sales. Some gamers on this site may recall that GMT has some initial printing problems with its WWII strategy game The Supreme Commander. They made good on it and sent customers errata counters but the incident definitely hurt the game. GMT's issue wasn't back-printing per se, but the fact that they had any material printing errors at all gave rise to a lot of negative feedback. I felt bad for the designer in that case since printing problems are not the designer's responsibility. These things do happen, so I try to prevent problems if I can.

regards,

ernie
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Joe Pilkus
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Thanks, Ernie! I vaguely now remember part of this conversation over at CSW a few years ago.

Cheers,
Joe
 
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Robin Lapinou
France
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Hello M.Copley,

Okay I understand the reason for the big counters now and surely I will be very thankfull in 38 years when I play The War to keep me busy in y old days!
As a engineer in the printing industry, I thought also that printing mistakes were the reason you did not risk 2-sided counters. It is a little shame but surely there is a risk for such small printing, so you played it safe.
I am working on the playing aid of mine. Of course each player has different things to keep on them, and I generally make my own for any complex game I play. But I think it can help other players as well.
If you could find the time to check mine when it is ready and tell me if I got something wrong, that would be great indeed!


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Ernie Copley
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Agabdir wrote:
Hello M.Copley,

Okay I understand the reason for the big counters now and surely I will be very thankfull in 38 years when I play The War to keep me busy in y old days!
As a engineer in the printing industry, I thought also that printing mistakes were the reason you did not risk 2-sided counters. It is a little shame but surely there is a risk for such small printing, so you played it safe.
I am working on the playing aid of mine. Of course each player has different things to keep on them, and I generally make my own for any complex game I play. But I think it can help other players as well.
If you could find the time to check mine when it is ready and tell me if I got something wrong, that would be great indeed!




Hi Robin - I'd be delighted to review whatever play aid you'd like to write up. Let me know when you've finished your first draft (you might want to check in with me both here and on CSW if you want a prompt answer). I'll look it over and provide suggested edits.

Btw, as a printing engineer, you might be interested to know that, in the U.S. at least, print runs for board wargames are usually very small: 1,000 copies of a wargame would not be unusual; 2,000 copies would be very respectable; 4,000 copies would be very large indeed. Thus the margin for error is very thin. As you might imagine, the economics are not especially attractive, and that fact influences production decisions.

Thanks for posting,

ernie
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Michael Olsen
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
There used to be good support here also, but no longer.


So, obviously this has changed, and you are receiving nice support here on bgg. Good for you! (and others reading it, obviously).

Hopefully this can revive the forum here a bit, and we might start seeing some people actually playing this game.
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Robin Lapinou
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Yes it is going rather well so far!
Some people seem to be playing it already since I get answers to my questions

I've managed to play the first 3 scenarios so far. This learning program is a very good idea. It gets you to use one section of rules at a time, so that you can ask your questions and practice immediately.
Really speaking, the game would hardly be playable without this and the Examples of play that Ernie posted.

If I have to compare to 3rd Reich, I have the feeling that The War is more complete, in the sense that almost everything is in the rulebook, whereas in 3rd Reich whole portions of the rules were completely free to interpretation or not covered at all, and there was no support from designers. Over the years, we came up with a nice set of home rules and had a lot of fun, but then why buying a game if you have to design half of it yourself?
In The War, I think 97% of situations have been tested and are more or less explained in the book, it's just that you need time to dig the mountain and get the gold out of it !

But don't worry, I have been working on that little playing help. I need a few more weeks and then I think I can come up with about 10 pages, and you would need only that and a few charts to play without referring to the rulebook more than a few times in each campaign. That's the target at least

Anyways the game has potential for sure. We will have fun with it!
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Joe Pilkus
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Robin,

That's great to hear!

Also, ernie and I have been designing and developing The War: Pacific 1941-1945 in the same manner. Lots of great scenarios to not only engage, but educate in terms of the rule-sets.

Cheers,
Joe
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