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Subject: A dad looking for a game to play with son... found one. rss

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Don Schoemaker
United States
Belleville
Illinois
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I really like wargames. Seeing GMT boxes at my doorstep brings a gleam to my eyes. But, I have a 12 year old son and I've been trying to find a way to introduce him to wargaming. Warhammer fantasy did not work out due to the tremendous amount of painting involved and the sometime complex rules. GMT games... hmm maybe C&C Ancients, but it wasn't out when we started looking together. Memoir 44 was good, but kind of "limiting" with that board. Along comes A&A and I'm thinking this is a VERY good thing... the likes risk, he likes A&A D-Day, M44, maybe this one? But there are some obstacles.

First problem is the randomness/cost factor. Recommended game size is 100 pts. In order to obtain two 100 point armies your looking at spending at least $60.00 U.S. I suppose you could beat this by buying on e-bay or trading with friends, but it irks me that you just can't buy two 100 point armies from the manufacturer. I think I've actually spent close to $100 U.S. on the first set of 48 models, and I'm still missing 8 of the 48 due to the randomness. I also only have 100 points of the US and the Germans, and they are not balanced by any means.

This game will truly run you about $200 to $300 if your puting together some real armies (without buddies) and your looking at double or tripple that if your serious about putting together significant forces for all the nationalities available. So, before you decide on how MUCH you like the game you have to answer whether you can ever truly afford to play it the way you want to. (My wife often says I'm obsessive about collecting when it comes to games and I can hear the fear in her voice when we talk about this game).

So, lets set aside the money aspect for a moment. You can pick or draft the perfect 100 point army and be the "best" general in your geographic area... and still lose because of the sheer number of dice you have to toss in the air. Each model has a defensive factor, and each model has varying "attack" factors (depending on the distance from the attacking model to the defending model). So you have a tank with a defensive factor of 3 and your opponent could roll as many as 10 dice against your model in an attack... then its your turn to retaliate and roll against the attacker... often as many as 10 dice. Now think about having as many as 15 figures per side doing this for as many as 10 combat rounds.

As I said really early on in this report I'm an old Warhammer Fantasy Battle player so I'm used to rolling a lot of dice... but a) there are a LOT of dice being rolled here, and b) this is very, very random and one bad roll can really ruin your entire strategy. I just can't believe they couldn't come up with a better way of portraying balanced combat.

My other "gripe" about the game is that Armor rules. I mean if you have the opponents tanks down, and their anti-tank gun out of the picture... and you still have some armor you've won, there's no real reason to continue the scenario. I know that this is "realistic" to a certain point, but it is overblown in this game. In the competitive games I've played at my FLGS the person who took out the other sides tanks won every time. Infantry was ignored by the tanks. There is no limit on the number of armor units you can have... and that, in and of itself is unrealistic.

Many people complain about the sheets that make up the playing board. They are laminated paper and you place four of them together to make up your total playing surface. It's a problem to play the game if you bump the papers during play. My solution was to buy a plastic desk protector from Office Depot large enough to cover most of the four sheets and keep them in place. Walla! No more movement.

OK so, do all these things mean its a game I wouldn't recommend. If that's what your thinking your wrong.

I'm just going to exercise some restraint and NOT buy a ton of boxes. It helps that when I went to the FLGS many of the players had taken their exta commons and dumped them in a public box that those of us interested in can swap out one for one. So, while its not my favorite wargame I'm sure I'll spend enough money for us to play. Why would I do that?

My son is at the perfect age to be entranced by seeing little painted soldiers march around the terrain and shoot it out. I don't appreciate total randomness in a serious wargame, but this is not a serious wargame to me. It's an opportunity to play a light wargame with my son and maybe teach him some history by trying out some of the different ASL scenarios people are bridging over. Also, due to the dicefest nature of the game my son can win against me and my friends even though his grasp of strategy is no where near that of someone 3 times his age.

If your only looking for a serious simulation of battle then pass this one up. If your looking for a fun game and to toss a lot of dice around with family/friends then I'd give this one a try.
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Michael W.
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Yah its definitely a beer and pretzels game or if playing with a young un milk and cookies .

I find it very comparable in mechanics etc to the old classic Bear and Pretzels SSI computer game Panzer General, except with Panzer General you got to buy and update your army with new tanks etc by winning battles...

I definitely recommend this game for quick no nonsense dice throwing fun...

Michael
 
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john m
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Thanks for the review. I'm looking for the same thing and I'm not a big Memoir or Risk fan. They're OK. It's just the randomness, but I guess I need to look at it from his perspective of loving the minis - and he loves them. It'll be girls soon, so I better take advantage of this time while I can!
 
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