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Subject: Red Vengeance review rss

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Alex Limoges
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Having read the first review on Red Vengeance, I thought I could write my own, since on the contrary of the previous player, I did like RV quite a lot.

I will not make a full presentation of the game since it has been done quite well already, but I will comment some aspects.



GENERAL GAMEPLAY


Attacking.

The rule forcing the Soviet to attack all hexes makes the movement phase very crucial. You need to hold the line, but at the same time, leaving too many weak infantries alone on the front while force you into battles in which you will be at quite an important disadvantage. Sure, you can, and should often force the issue as the Russian player, but you also want to make sure that you don't lose that overwhelming advantage in men too quickly...


Defending.

Is what the Germans do, basically. One critique that I have seen is that the German player can only watch and pray. Well, that's the subject of this game, I guess. Any game on this part of the war will let you feel what Guderian felt looking at the war map in the last winter, making the best he could with an impossible task.

Sure, you do not attack a lot as the German, and you spend most of your (short) turns retracing a desperately scarce line, but you will get your chance at counter-attacking, since the Russian simply cannot allow himself to just pound the frontline: he needs to blitz into your line and try to encircle you, or he will not have enough time. Thing is, he does not have that much of an edge in mobility, the weather will soon slow him down, and you have some good panzer units to cut the pincers. The wilder it will get, the more you will be holding you breath, and things can really get exciting.

Combat.

True, there a no attacking table, but that just goes with the level of complexity. It's fine by me, and I can live with the occasional cases where you roll 20 dice and get nothing, while the opponent gets 3 hits on 5 dice.

Retreats.

This is one aspect I'd like to see clarified.
I'm not sure that the retreats rule is played the same by every player. The rules are very vague about them, and one hesitates between forcing the players to retreat as straight as possible, or allowing for strategic repositioning while retreating. I have received conflicting rulings on this aspect. I believe that a revision of the rules should probably specify retreat priorities.

I have no problem with the rule allowing retreats instead of step losses after the first hit, but maybe retreating could be limited to 3 hexes for the defender, since more than this seems to give an excessive movement capacity to some infantry, and it can also lead to some absurdities in the case of multiple hexes fights (which by the way still need some clarifications, too).


Air/Naval

The air aspect is abstracted to almost nothing. It's a die on any attack, which basically means nothing. Since the game is a very simple simulation, this is just fine, although it's not a fair representation of this aspect.

Curiously, the naval aspect gets a larger treatment. A lot of the chrome in the game is applied to it (i.e. the fight for the baltic sea). Since this actually is an abstracted aspect of the game (the fight is simulated by a roll of the die each month, that pushes, or not, the marker towards Soviet domination), maybe it could have been made even more simple.


LENGHT

The game is certainly longer than advertised, but it can still be wrapped up in about 4-6 hours, which is quite remarkable. I need some of those shorter wargames, having too many very long and complex ones that accumulate the dust on my shelves.


BALANCE

After a few games, I do have the impression that the Russian player is slightly advantaged. The reason is that as you learn how to drive the steam roller, you get much better. The German does not have such a learning curve, neither does he seem to have many different possible answers against competent Russian play. It's still too early to talk of imbalance, and even it should appear, we would simply add one of the optional rules.

RULES

The rules still (version 1.0) have a few holes, and that's a bit sad since the game is so simple. I have talked about the retreats, but there are still unsettled questions about multiple hexes attacks, conflicts between the TEC and the rules, and some other few things.

OPTIONAL RULES

Despite what is said in the rule book, we have found none of the optional rules in any way necessary, although the variable weather can be used. We don't: at that scale, I guess it's even better to stick with the fixed weather, but many will disagree, and it's up to you.

MATERIAL

The game map is a little flimsy, but it’s graphically better than Defiant Russia. Still, minor and major cites should have been easier to see ! There are a very few markers, which is the reason why no OOS markers are included. Two dice is not enough, so plan on finding a dozen or so somewhere else.


OVERALL

I actually found the game quite exciting ! It's fast-paced, does not bug down because of an excess of details, yet, and despite its simplicity, can probably yield more than a few gaming sessions. I have still some gripes with a very few rules, but in general, I salute this nice effort.

8,5 / 10
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Nameless Necromancer
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Good review. Please remember one thing; however....the dude whom designed this game is NOT a professional designer, per se. He is a gamer like yourself; whom was lucky enough to get in print. Ty Bomba could have done the situation better, no doubt.
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Joshua O'Connor
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Solipsist wrote:

Retreats.

This is one aspect I'd like to see clarified.
I'm not sure that the retreats rule is played the same by every player. The rules are very vague about them, and one hesitates between forcing the players to retreat as straight as possible, or allowing for strategic repositioning while retreating. I have received conflicting rulings on this aspect. I believe that a revision of the rules should probably specify retreat priorities.

I have no problem with the rule allowing retreats instead of step losses after the first hit, but maybe retreating could be limited to 3 hexes for the defender, since more than this seems to give an excessive movement capacity to some infantry, and it can also lead to some absurdities in the case of multiple hexes fights (which by the way still need some clarifications, too).



Given that each turn is a month, and German units are retreating through their own territorry, is it really an excessive movement allowance?
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Mike Arnold
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Quote:
Given that each turn is a month, and German units are retreating through their own territorry, is it really an excessive movement allowance?


I don't think it's accessive. 1) It doesn't happen too often, and 2) this is akin to Strategic Movement in terms length of march.

As for Retreats in general; as long as the first hex or two adhears to the rule of moving straight in the direction of a friendly board edge, I have no problems with players 'strategically repositioning' their units (slight deviations left or right). At this game scale, that would be done by a commnader anyway. But absolutely, no 'circling' and moving back toward the direction of the enemy. // Also remember, if your losses exceed total steps available to take hits, your force is eliminated.
 
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Francisco Colmenares
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Solipsist wrote:

Retreats.

This is one aspect I'd like to see clarified.
I'm not sure that the retreats rule is played the same by every player. The rules are very vague about them, and one hesitates between forcing the players to retreat as straight as possible, or allowing for strategic repositioning while retreating. I have received conflicting rulings on this aspect. I believe that a revision of the rules should probably specify retreat priorities.

I have no problem with the rule allowing retreats instead of step losses after the first hit, but maybe retreating could be limited to 3 hexes for the defender, since more than this seems to give an excessive movement capacity to some infantry, and it can also lead to some absurdities in the case of multiple hexes fights (which by the way still need some clarifications, too).

I'm not sure how you can have this problem. If an infantry unit suffers more hits than its combat strength it's eliminated. This means the only way an infantry unit can retreat more hexes than its movement allowance is if the combat strength is at least +2 compared to the movement allowance. Only the Soviet 5-3's are capable of that, and they could retreat at best 4 hexes, so I don't think it's a biggie.

Are you applying 10 hits to an infantry unit and watching it run all the way to Berlin?
 
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