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Rebel Raiders on the High Seas» Forums » General

Subject: Rebel Raiders on the High Seas Replayability rss

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Fred Schachter
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Matthews
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Greetings,

A recent BGG rating of Rebel Raiders, a lamentable "5", noted a major reason for that assessment was due to the game being a kind of "puzzle", which once solved, lacks replayability.

Until now, as the game's Developer, I've not been moved to respond to any BGG rating, whether to express gratitude for kudos or reply to a lower than average rating.

Not all games are for everyone, I've certainly learned and observed that with 50+ years in the hobby, no more so than with a game involving a somewhat esoteric topic of the American Civil War's conflict on the waters involving the Union's Blockade of Confederate Ports and the maritime exploits of Rebel Commerce Raiders.

Some negative comments concerning Rebel Raiders address the large amount of "wristage" (dice rolling) the game entails and/or that it is unduly dependent on luck. To that, the response is that all the games I've developed with Designer Mark McLaughlin, e.g. The Napoleonic Wars Trilogy and our upcoming European Theatre WWII game, Card Conquest: Hitler's Reich, is that Mark's design style includes lots of dice rolling and luck with those dice as well as with card selection. So to that: "guilty as charged". There are gamers who can accept and enjoy this design approach while others don't... it's a matter of taste.

As to that BGG Rebel Raiders on the High Seas rater's comment concerning the game's replayability, now hold onto your kepis, I'll agree with the following caveat.

As Mark and I worked on the game over the years, we realized while there would be gamers who'd play the basic game over and over, enjoying that all the aforementioned dice rolling and card selection would assure no two games taking exactly the same narrative; there'd be those who, after solving the basic game's "puzzles", would become jaded as to its replayability value. Incidentally, that is the reason "Players Notes" were not included with the published game. You'll have to acquire RBM Publications 3Ci Magaine No. 27 through GMT for those.

For that reason an 1862 Rebel Raiders Game Set-Up was included. Furthermore, with the help of Jim Day and the Iron & Oak team a linkage between the two games is presented in Rebel Raiders Play Book Section 25. This enables players the ability to resolve a Rebel Raiders naval engagement, including land-based batteries, using the tactical battle environment Iron & Oak provides for an immersive gaming experience.

Finally, there are Rebel Raiders Optional Rules (Section 18 of the Play Book). If one tires of the Basic Game, employing these optional rules, singly or in combination, can present a wealth of new challenges for players to contend with. They can also be used to address game balance concerns.

"Hunts Artillery" (18.21) has been noted within both BGG and CSW posts as a good means of bolstering the Union's opportunity for victory. In my case, when playing with my son who is so proficient with the North that he can (to his delight) consistently whup me with the Union; we play with Optional Rule 18.4, "Union Resolve". Check that Optional Rule out, it adds an interesting political dimension to the players consideration regarding the war as battled out on the game's map.

So, if one limits their Rebel Raiders gaming to solely the Basic Game, the contention regarding replayability has some validity. However, as the preceding hopefully conveys, there's a lot, lot, more to the overall package which will hopefully provide many hours of entertaining gaming fun and excitement before all possibilities are exhausted.

Enjoy Rebel Raiders on the High Seas!









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Fred Schachter
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Matthews
North Carolina
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Greetings,

I've been communicating with Rebel Raiders on the High Seas Game Designer Mark McLaughlin regarding this email string. Mark would like to add...


"As both the designer and someone who has played Rebel Raiders scores of times, I can honestly say that no two games have ever come out alike. The combination and interaction of cards, not to mention the dice, make every action let alone strategy uncertain. What worked in one game may not (and probably will not) work in the next - especially against the same opponent.

There are many paths to victory -and defeat- in Rebel Raiders. While it does make sense for raiders to raid, blockade runners to run the blockade and the Union to place warships in Blockade Stations and bust into the ports, the how much, where and when of all of that varies from game to game (and not just because of the luck of draw or dice on either or both sides).

There is also the ground game to consider, for while Rebel Raiders is a strategic naval game of the Civil War (and the only one of its kind out there, to my knowledge), the armies must march and battles and counterattacks must be fought.

The biggest decisions in the game come from how to allocate limited resources and not just if but also when to reallocate them. As in comedy, timing is everything, especially when the clock is running.

As Fred noted, we did not tell gamers what the best strategies are - for while a reading of history will show that what the Union did eventually worked; even that was at times a near-run thing. I do not believe in perfect strategies, especially not in my games, where I work very hard to make sure that while there may be some preferred strategies... even the best of those can be frustrated.

We also intentionally stripped out a lot of little things from the basic game and moved them into the optional rules (as listed in the Play Book). Even adding ONE of these, let alone a laundry list of such optional rules, changes the game (if you think the Yankees have it too easy, try playing with 'Union Resolve'; if the Rebels seem unchallenged, toss in 'Hunt's Artillery' let alone the rules that give the North additional resources).

Not every game is for every one; I do hope that anyone who does play my game does so more than once, and after a while adds in some of the optional rules to further change it up. If they do, I am confidant they will find it has great replay value."

Enjoy Rebel Raiders on the High Seas!
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