Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Enemy Coast Ahead: The Dambuster Raid» Forums » General

Subject: Replayability? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Guillaume Pages
United Kingdom
Oxford
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Since this would be my first true wargame, I am unsure about the replayability of the game. I see there are different scenarios, but I am wondering if the strategy to win will be same or will there plenty to keep me guessing from game to game and different ways to win the game.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy (Jerry) White
msg tools
designer
Is it replayable? The short answer is “yes”.

Enemy Coast Ahead is a battle game. If we compare to other battle games, it is akin to those treating Saratoga, Gettysburg, D-Day, and so on. ECA focuses on a single event that took place within a larger conflict, and like any other battle game, it presents the same event every time you sit down to play. That just goes with the territory of a battle game. However, if I pull out one of the many games that have been published on the Battle of Gettysburg, I might play a July 1 scenario, or, play a July 3 scenario. Two very different situations, and thus, two very different gaming experiences. This is common for many battle games of a certain complexity level, including ECA.

Of the ten scenarios in ECA, the first five are short, focusing on the tactical problem at the dams. In four of the five, the problem is to breach the dam, although you have different numbers of bombers and quality crews in each scenario, and the dams are a little different as well. In one scenario, the problem is to attract enemy attention as a diversion, if you can’t breach the dam.

These five scenarios may be combined. For example, after playing one you take what’s left of your force and attempt to breach the next dam. This changes the situation, because you can’t just use all of your ordnance breaching the first dam, you must save enough to finish the job at the second target.

The next four scenarios add the flight to the dams, presenting yet other problems, and decisions. The ninth scenario is the entire raid, but you can play a variant where you organize the 19 Lancasters as you like.

I should also point out that the victory conditions are not a simple matter of adding victory points; the player does not simply win or lose, the “outcomes” put the event in historical context. There are medals to be awarded, or if the player fails miserably, a court of inquiry may be convened. The fate of downed flyers are resolved, and it is possible that a follow-up raid will be ordered, which the player may play (this is risky, though, because the Germans may improve the defenses of surviving dams).

Replayability is built into the campaign game, scenario ten, in a number of ways. That scenario presents you with an entirely different set of problems: You requisition aircrews (do you want veteran flyers, or are you willing to settle for less experienced crews?); you also requisition groundcrews and assign them tasks (you may need to work them pretty hard to get the squadron ready); you modify Lancaster bombers (or choose not to, in some cases, or just fail to make the modifications in time); you train aircrews for the specialized bombing tasks (what should training focus on, low altitude night flying, navigation, bomb-aiming and release...?); you even take security measures, all to ensure a successful raid. And there is no guarantee that training and modifications will go as planned, or that the Germans remain ignorant of your targets.

During planning you receive information about the dams themselves, and their defenses. Could be the Germans are flying barrage balloons, or have installed searchlights (blinding at low altitude), or anti-aircraft batteries...or a deadly combination of searchlights and flak. So, do you attack such a dam, or do you select an alternate but less important target? Maybe you attack five or six small dams rather than one or two big ones?

Essentially, in planning and organizing the raid, you are building a weapon. When you launch the raid, you get to see if your weapon works (and by the way, the decision of when to launch is in the player’s hands). With so many variables, Scenario 10 is very replayable.

That was the long answer. Hope it wasn’t too long.
21 
 Thumb up
1.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guillaume Pages
United Kingdom
Oxford
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
... I am aghast. I am used to big old boardgames with lots of pieces. I played memoir 44, love currently playing Relic, a Talisman offspring, Battlestar galactica, death angel card game, pandemic. I like big loud games.

How can a game that comes in such a small box offer more tactical challenge than large box game? I have noticed in my initial few forays into Decision Games, GMT and LnL that it appears to be the case for many wargames: tiny boxes = insane amount of information.

You talk about assigning ground crew and working them... How does that get achieve with chits and a paper map?

I am torn between really wanting to find out and the potential of being disappointed that it might be a bit too challenging for me. I have looked at some rulebooks... Let's leave it at that. I have looked at them but dare not reading them.

I have read a few of the "intro to wargame" posts on BGG, but since I would like to play these solitaire (actual solitaire, not play both sides), then the list of games available shrinks quite a bit.

Finally, the buying system for GMT500 is a bit confusing. I guess you order it and at some point in time, it should get printed... I am used to Fantasy flight Games releasing a game every week. I understand they are a small company and I read their information, but for example, another game I was interested in was the solitaire: Cactus Air Force which has reached 1042 pre-orders but is not even looking to ship before the year (according to their august 2013 shipping update). This is beyond me. How do players do it? Normally, You hear from the company that they are releasing a game, get a couple of artwork shots, maybe even a video interview if you are lucky, you get excited by the game, maybe you preorder it, but eventually, it arrives on your doorstep with a few months.

I noticed that Cactus Air Force was announced in 2008 (according to their forum) and has been designed ever since... That's over 5 years.

ECA hasn't even made the cut yet, still below 500 pre-orders. When is it likely to be released? next year or 2015?

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy (Jerry) White
msg tools
designer
Haven’t played Memoir 44 but I have played Command and Colors: Ancients, by the same designer using the same system. I like the game, it’s easy, but for learning about the historical period, the Great Battles of History series is the way to go. More complex, though. But that’s what you get for the complexity -- history.

If you want to be truly awed by complexity, there are plenty of games out there. World at War, for example, or GMT’s Barbarossa series. You mentioned paper maps, but have you seen four, five...nine full-sized mapsheets laid out together, forming one vast campaign landscape? A sublime sight. Or MMP’s Line of Battle series, or Advanced Squad Leader -- you can buy a specially-made three-ringed binder for the rules.

In terms of complexity, Enemy Coast Ahead is not even in the ballpark with games like those.

If you want a truly solitaire game, Fields of Fire would fit the bill. Complex, but a very smart design. It’s out of print though, so maybe Picket Duty by Legion Games might satisfy you, it’s due out at the end of the month. Or, if you must have it now, and who doesn’t, try Navajo Wars by GMT, it’s shipping at the end of the week, or so I am told. It’s not WW2, but it is solitaire and it is a thoroughly researched and tested game on an interesting and under-designed topic. It’s also a great game, with some Euro aspects to it where maintaining economic health is vital. It might be the right bridge for you, given the games you mention having played. But be warned: once you get a taste for the little box loaded with history, you may want more, and lemme tell ya, it’s not a cheap hobby. Just ask any Advanced Squad Leader enthusiast.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy (Jerry) White
msg tools
designer
Guillaume,I just realized you asked a specific question about Groundcrew and I neglected to answer it. My apologies.

Groundcrew are represented by generic groundcrew markers, and they appear only in Scenario 10. The player requisitions them, and then puts them to work during three of the five phases within a Planning Turn. By “putting them to work” I mean you dedicate them to perform or assist with tasks.

For example, by dedicating a Groundcrew marker you can improve the effect training has on aircrews. Another example: you can’t requisition Lancaster bombers or the special ordnance (the bouncing bomb) without dedicating Groundcrew to that task, and each Groundcrew marker has a number that tells you how many bombers and ordnance it is capable of handling. You also need groundcrew to launch the mission -- if you don’t have enough, you won’t be able to sortie all of your Lancasters in the same turn, you will have to launch some later. There are other uses for Groundcrew as well.

It is possible to overwork Groundcrew, fatiguing them, which degrades their effectiveness and potentially creates a security problem. Essentially, Scenario 10 adds a resource-management problem to the game. After all, resource management is a fundamental military problem.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guillaume Pages
United Kingdom
Oxford
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
@Jeremy,

Thanks for all the info, I just realized you were the designer of the game. Congratulations, I love the look and the theme of the game.

Having had a look at the play board posted on GMT, I can see now how bomber crew and airground crew act as a resource and have to be managed. I like the idea that the lucky dog will be part of the crew.

As far as other games, I was hoping for a WWII game, mostly from the point of view of allies. This would be my first time with a historical simulation, so I would prefer an easy entry. I play miniatures games and I am not too worried about a 50+ pages rulebook. I looked at Field of Fire, but I have played and owned many cards games and I would like to try something different.

As far as starting an expensive hobby, I have several armies of warhammer fantasy and warhammer 40,000 as well as Blood bowl and other Games workshop products (including books, paints...). Board games don't really compare in terms of expense. $60 these days barely get me a rulebook for a miniatures game whereas $60 can get me a solitaire or multi-player experience with board games/wargame which are re-playable and I can enjoy them with people who are not gamers per se.





1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy (Jerry) White
msg tools
designer
guigtexas wrote:
@Jeremy,

Thanks for all the info, I just realized you were the designer of the game. Congratulations, I love the look and the theme of the game.

Having had a look at the play board posted on GMT, I can see now how bomber crew and airground crew act as a resource and have to be managed. I like the idea that the lucky dog will be part of the crew.

As far as other games, I was hoping for a WWII game, mostly from the point of view of allies. This would be my first time with a historical simulation, so I would prefer an easy entry. I play miniatures games and I am not too worried about a 50+ pages rulebook. I looked at Field of Fire, but I have played and owned many cards games and I would like to try something different.

As far as starting an expensive hobby, I have several armies of warhammer fantasy and warhammer 40,000 as well as Blood bowl and other Games workshop products (including books, paints...). Board games don't really compare in terms of expense. $60 these days barely get me a rulebook for a miniatures game whereas $60 can get me a solitaire or multi-player experience with board games/wargame which are re-playable and I can enjoy them with people who are not gamers per se.



Glad you like it, and thanks for the kind words. As for solitaire games, I forgot to suggest Hornet Leader by Dan Versson. It's pricey, but it's probably the right complexity level for you, and it's a great game. Not WW2, though, but Versson does have other solitaire games on that war. If you haven't already, would be worth a look.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Yarrow
Australia
Toowoomba
QLD
flag msg tools
mb
Ive always had a 'thing' for the Lancaster. For me its a case of too much reference material is just barely enough. As luck would have it, I am reading a book at the moment called 'Lancaster Men, The Aussie Heroes of Bomber Command' by Peter Rees. A bloody good read on what it was like. There are a few 'hair raising' stories where not only did the crews have to contend with flak, searchlights and night-fighters, but also collisions with other aircraft, bombs from other aircraft bombing from above, equipment and mechanical failures, just trying to get airbourne with a fuel and bomb load and tying to land after the raid. 617 Sqn and the Dam's Raid are also in the book. I have pe-ordered ECA and I am looking forward to getting it. I may have to put my name into one of the crew rosters and see if I survive training and/or the raid. I take it that 'survival' will be on 'the roll of the dice'gulp



Guillaume, there is a game called 'The Hunters' which is a 'Solitaire Tactical-level WWII Submarine game' at GMT Games if you are interested in that subject. They are charging for the game so it should be shipping soon.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy (Jerry) White
msg tools
designer
The Hunters is a great suggestion. I played that a couple years ago with the designer. It’s a very smooth system and just detailed enough to become emotionally invested in the fate of the crew.

Sounds like a good book, Pete, I’ll have to find myself a copy. As for the Lancaster, it’s a strange-looking machine. Looks impressive when parked on the ground but the proportions make it seem unlikely as a flying apparatus. Maybe that’s why I have a ‘thing’ for it as well.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Perry
France
Lacour
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Guillaume

I too play solitaire and played Warhammer/LOTR (partly for the painting part of the hobby). I think Enemy Coast Ahead looks very interesting as long as it doesn't turn into a dice-fest.

I think Fields of Fire is uber complex and fiddly, other (and better options for you, in my opinion) are Raid on St Nazaire (can be found 2nd hand), D Day at Omaha Beach, Where There is Discord, and the upcoming Codeword Cromwell. Very different from each other but great designs. Enemy Action: Ardennes also looks interesting, if expensive (but 3 games in one).

If you get into playing both sides the Lock'n'Load series of games is as good a system to learn as any.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy (Jerry) White
msg tools
designer
Good suggestions, David. Raid on St. Nazaire is an oldy but a goody. I haven't been able to get my hands on Where There is Discord but I am anxiously awaiting movement on Codeword Cromwell.

As for ECA and dice: The game will have dice, certainly, and players will roll the dice, and it should be a rather festive affair (one can hope), but I am happy to say that it can't be called a "dice fest". In fact, one of the design goals early on was to keep "wristage" to a minimum. (I wonder if BGG has a low-wristage badge?)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Heath
Australia
Brisbane
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sounds like a unique game design about one of the most famous air raids of WW2. Time to add my support to P500!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.