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Subject: On the fence, again. rss

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Wayne O'Keeffe
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I've P500'd thiis twice and later removed my order twice. Buying a game is never normally an issue like this. I tend to buy it and worry about the bills later

However, with Fields of Fire...

Likes:
Love the theme, the art and the idea of this game. Love the scope of the game. Don't mind solo play (but prefer multiplayer games in general).

Worries:
I don't like reading rulebooks. Some people do but I'd rather be shown how to play. Reading rules are a means to an end for me. Loads of rules here.
Is it a game for someone who knows little or nothing about how a squad (personnel and loadouts) are structured?
Can the game be played for an hour, set aside for a day and when you come back it's easy to take up where you left off. I'm never going to set aside 4 hours to play this.

Hmm, to buy or not to buy.
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Phil McDonald
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Bought, tried and put on the shelf.

Can't bring myself to trade it cos I hope that one day a rulebook will come out that I can absorb. Both rulebooks so far are awful.

The best wargame rulebook I have come across is Conflict of Heroes, even though I traded the game cos I found it too dry. The CoH rulebook should be the pro forma for all wargame rulebooks.
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Jim F
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Who knew trench warfare could be such fun?
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philmcd wrote:


The best wargame rulebook I have come across is Conflict of Heroes, even though I traded the game cos I found it too dry. The CoH rulebook should be the pro forma for all wargame rulebooks.


Agreed on both counts. Did you not find any of the videos or playthroughs helpful?
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Phil McDonald
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Ashiefan wrote:
philmcd wrote:


The best wargame rulebook I have come across is Conflict of Heroes, even though I traded the game cos I found it too dry. The CoH rulebook should be the pro forma for all wargame rulebooks.


Agreed on both counts. Did you not find any of the videos or playthroughs helpful?


Any that you can particularly recommend?
 
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Garth Boucher
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DirtyDubs wrote:

Likes:
.... Don't mind solo play (but prefer multiplayer games in general).

Worries:
I don't like reading rulebooks....

Hmm, to buy or not to buy.


I respectfully suggest not.

IMHO this is a game for people who LOVE solo games.

But most emphatically, this is a game for people who LOVE to read, re-read, scrutinize, make-margin-notes-in, carry-everywhere and debate rulebooks.

You can watch Chris Hobbs's wonderful how-to video series or search Ron Lacocks's marvelous boot camp site until you're blue in the face. While these resources will help, the moment you get going on your own, you will encounter some weird rules situation that will send you headlong back into the rulebook.

I believe that this is (at least in part) the price for being so innovative. It's unlike any other game I've ever played. And there are not many games for which that can be said.

It's pure gold after you put in the effort. But repeat after me: I love reading rulebooks...
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Kenneth Lury
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I am a solo gamer. Fields of Fire was my first war game after Memoir 44.
The general concepts are not difficult, but the fine details of implementation are very nuanced and sometimes contradictory.

It is definitely a game you can play for an hour (if you can bring yourself to leave it) and come back to as long as you stop at the end of turn.

Not knowing anything about military matters does not hinder playing as I know nothing.

It is a tough game to play because of the fine details, but it is a great game.

I also agree that the video tutorials are extremely helpful.
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Jason R
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radsailor wrote:
It is a tough game to play because of the fine details, but it is a great game.


I agree. This is one of the best solo games I own. If you don't like reading rules and are not keen on solo play this is probably not the game for you. I have found that downloading rules pdf's to my ipad helps a lot with rules. When you can search for a key word it cut's down on rules frustration.

I rarely play a full scenario in one sitting. I usually play a couple turns until I get the look from the wife. I leave the game set up and pick up where I left off. Once you get the rules down you shouldn't need a four hour session unless you are playing several missions in a campaign. Of course you may find yourself not wanting to walk away for several hours.

And the game play videos are required viewing to get started.
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Chris Montgomery
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DirtyDubs wrote:
I've P500'd thiis twice and later removed my order twice. Buying a game is never normally an issue like this. I tend to buy it and worry about the bills later

However, with Fields of Fire...

Likes:
Love the theme, the art and the idea of this game. Love the scope of the game. Don't mind solo play (but prefer multiplayer games in general).

Worries:
I don't like reading rulebooks. Some people do but I'd rather be shown how to play. Reading rules are a means to an end for me. Loads of rules here.
Is it a game for someone who knows little or nothing about how a squad (personnel and loadouts) are structured?
Can the game be played for an hour, set aside for a day and when you come back it's easy to take up where you left off. I'm never going to set aside 4 hours to play this.


I think a player needs to be records-keeping oriented with this game, since all the scenarios are campaigns - and that is where the game really shines. The cons are:

- The rules are horribly organized and written. I normally cut designers a lot of slack in their rules because designers can design a great game and have subpar rules writing skills. The real problem with the rules is that they are so poorly written, you're never sure if you're playing the game right - it's not just a matter of digging through the rules to find answers, but when you find the answers, the sentences are written in a way that can in some instances leave decisions open for interpretation.

- Length of play. Each game has a lot of charts and "dice rolling" (really card flipping), so much so that about 1/2 of my gaming time was referencing charts. After a while I started to internalize the charts, but at least half of them won't be internalized because they contain too much information. It makes for a great AI for the game, but as with most solo games, the better the AI is, the more paperwork and charting references there will have to be. My games for single scenarios from set up to tear down took about 4 hours (for the average-sized ones)

- Space. The game takes a lot of space. Many have suggested using a computer to play the game because it saves a lot of set up time, takes up less space, and plays faster. But I play solo boardgames because of the tactile experience, not to stare at a computer screen for hours on end. Also related to space, you can't tear down the game and set it back up again in a specific scenario. If you don't have time to complete a scenario, there's no need to start it unless you can leave the game out on the table.

The Pros are:

- Great simulative value. The game really makes me feel like a company commander, like I'm making the kinds of decisions that company commanders make. Coming from Ben Hull, a career officer in the military - I think he went to great lengths to make the experience - while abstract - have a realistic feel. This really is driven home by the penalties you get for casualties as well as the points you gain for capturing prisoners.

- Realism from scenario to scenario. Despite the rather tedious experience of keeping records of casualties and points and replacements, you get the feel of a real fighting force moving from engagement to engagement, trying to keep your company together while suffering brutal casualties and figuring out where to plug in the new guys. The game really drives home the value of experienced soldiers and the significant loss of effectiveness you get when those soldiers are wounded or killed. But you still have to put those guys in harms way to accomplish your goals.
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Jim F
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philmcd wrote:
Ashiefan wrote:
philmcd wrote:


The best wargame rulebook I have come across is Conflict of Heroes, even though I traded the game cos I found it too dry. The CoH rulebook should be the pro forma for all wargame rulebooks.


Agreed on both counts. Did you not find any of the videos or playthroughs helpful?


Any that you can particularly recommend?


A guy called Chris Hobbs did a series of videos on BGG - a sort of walkthrough - how to play. I found it quite useful but haven't got round to buying the game yet.
 
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Doc Hogan
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philmcd wrote:
Ashiefan wrote:
philmcd wrote:


The best wargame rulebook I have come across is Conflict of Heroes, even though I traded the game cos I found it too dry. The CoH rulebook should be the pro forma for all wargame rulebooks.


Agreed on both counts. Did you not find any of the videos or playthroughs helpful?


Any that you can particularly recommend?
Clicky clicky
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Simone C.
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I agree with you all and think about I am italian so i have some problems to understand the video too , but this game is really one of the best solo game out here, it's just a little complicated by the many options and suboptions etc.

I would prefer a more organized rulebook for this kind of games, something like 1 or 2 rules a time and some scenarios to test it, for example the rules of Earth Reborn are organized in 9 scenarios in which 2-3 rules are presented and this help A LOT in a FUN way. Take Magic Realms: a BEAST of game, but a good guy put time to create a tutorial in which he shows different characters in a sample game to show some rules a time: this is the way to me for the most complicated games and I really hope someone will try to do the same with FoF (I hoped for this approch for the new chapter, let's see)
 
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Ron Lacock
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Wayne,

The game has a lot of detail built into the enemy AI, which makes it wonderful, but also makes it inevitable that you will be looking up a lot of rules. If you don't like reading rules (or searching websites) then the other way you can enjoy this game is to just get the gist of it and play on using your common sense. "What should happen in this situation?" Generally what should happen is what does happen. The surprises the game throws at you are easy to find and follow so you won't miss out on them. It's the times when the situation just isn't covered on a chart or easily found in the rules that you can either take a deep dive into the rules or use your best judgement and carry on. The 'rules' guys cringe at that, but since you aren't a rules guy you just might have a blast and not worry about some minute detail you can't find.
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Wayne O'Keeffe
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Cheers guys. I think for now this will be a no go for me. My gaming tastes have changed over the years and I'm getting into more wargame type games so maybe in a year or two I'll revisit this one.
 
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Andrew Saunders
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Best solo wargame I've ever played and one of the best wargames I've ever played
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Phil McDonald
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Wittmann222 wrote:
Best solo wargame I've ever played and one of the best wargames I've ever played


As a solo-only wargame I expect you're right.

Personally I find playing both sides in Paths of Glory or Memoir'44 Overlord format far more enjoyable and satisfying as an experience.

Once you can set aside the need to 'win' and concentrate on the experience there is much fun to be had in broader solo gaming.

I always treat neither side as my own and focus only on what you can see, then it becomes easy to compartmentalise information.

I find card driven games like PoG particularly easy to use this way. The cards focus your attention on what is possible and sensible.
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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
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garthasl wrote:
You can watch Chris Hobbs's wonderful how-to video series or search Ron Lacocks's marvelous boot camp site until you're blue in the face. While these resources will help, the moment you get going on your own, you will encounter some weird rules situation that will send you headlong back into the rulebook.

And the issue with the rulebook, beyond it's poor flow and assumptions about what you know, is that in some not uncommon situations, as have been frequently noted, the solutions/answers you're seeking in the rules aren't even there. You sometimes have to just go with your gut or some closest approximation based on the nearest thing.

There was one video (run by a GMT guy) that ran into this when he was trying to resolve what a German unit should do and it's not in the rules. Oddly aggravating game if FoF ... the only game in more than 40 years of wargaming that, for me, deserves a rating of "4" and "10" at the same time.

radsailor wrote:
The general concepts are not difficult, but the fine details of implementation are very nuanced and sometimes contradictory.

(Emphasis mine.) Or as I said, missing. This quote pretty much sums it up.

cmontgo2 wrote:
- The rules are horribly organized and written. I normally cut designers a lot of slack in their rules because designers can design a great game and have subpar rules writing skills. The real problem with the rules is that they are so poorly written, you're never sure if you're playing the game right - it's not just a matter of digging through the rules to find answers, but when you find the answers, the sentences are written in a way that can in some instances leave decisions open for interpretation.

- Length of play. Each game has a lot of charts and "dice rolling" (really card flipping), so much so that about 1/2 of my gaming time was referencing charts. After a while I started to internalize the charts, but at least half of them won't be internalized because they contain too much information. It makes for a great AI for the game, but as with most solo games, the better the AI is, the more paperwork and charting references there will have to be. My games for single scenarios from set up to tear down took about 4 hours (for the average-sized ones)


These two are also very accurate. I also take between 4-5 hours to play an average scenario because every single game something comes up that has me head-scratching for 20 minutes trying to make sense of badly written rules. Again, emphasis mine.

P.S. Re: the space issue. I don;t find it takes up much more than an average wargame but despite my love for all things printed, this one plays better on Vassal because I have everything pre-saved to start each scenario. The record-keeping in this game is sometimes stupid-silly and could have done with less chrome.
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Pablo Klinkisch
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DaveyJJ wrote:
the only game in more than 40 years of wargaming that, for me, deserves a rating of "4" and "10" at the same time.


It seems it is growing on you: last time you were between a "2" and a "10"

Cool game, the rules are ok, but not precise. What is also problematic is that the designer sometimes contradicts the errata or that not all 1st Ed erratas where taken into account when drafting the 2nd edition rules...

Footprint can be a bit too much in the Korea missions (I play on a small table that barely can hold one standard map) and the game is ÜBER-fiddly (this being my biggest grip with it).
 
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Daniel Schulz
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This is the best solo game available, and a damn good wargame. No other wargame I know of has units automatically open fire when contact is made, which is what is wrong with virtually all other tactical wargames. I own a ton of solo wargames, and this is the ONLY one that gets repeated play. I've owned it for years, and will buy another copy when available, because my copy is wearing out. The rules aren't that bad. I think many have problems because the mechanics are so different than all other wargames.
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