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Breakout: Normandy» Forums » General

Subject: New to BKN: question about balance rss

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Ben FromWatson
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Hi all,

A friend and I have started playing BKN. We've played 5 games. All German victories. We're both relatively experienced gamers, having played AH games, others like Asia Engulfed, big ones like World in Flames, and miniatures like Flames of War.

We were wondering if experienced players think the game is slightly biased to the Germans, or if Germany is easier to play? We haven't formed that view yet, but we were wondering last night after yet another box of Iron Crosses was handed out.

Ben
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
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It depends on which edition you are playing---the original Avalon Hill version, or the newer L2 version. However, speaking generally, the balance does tend to swing from the Allies when players are inexperienced toward the Germans when they are experts. One little mistake can kill the Germans much more easily than the Allies, so the ability to play a blunder-free game is more important for the Germans.

Among experts, the Avalon Hill version favors the Germans quite significantly. This was probably not realized during game development because no truly expert players had yet been developed. The L2 version is pretty closely balanced for experts, which means it favors the Allies for beginners.

But don't worry about it, because there is a huge amount of skill in this game. If one of you learns to play the Allies better, that player will probably win until the other adjusts.
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Ben FromWatson
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Thanks Eric.

We have played 3xAH rules and 2xL2 rules. It's a great game and we enjoy it immensely. One L2 game we abandoned after the majority of allied air and shore bombardment failed, and all allied units on several beaches were disrupt 1. Two games were quite close, and two were comfortable German wins.

We'll keep trying. After another five games I might report back.

I see in tournaments that the side selection process involves bidding supply to get one side to be the allies. Does that suggest they need it?

Ben
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Eric Brosius
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Actually, you can bid to be either side, but under the old AH rules, everyone bid for the Germans. Under the new rules, there are no longer large bids in either direction.

Have you seen this SR:

A BKN Teaching Game
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Eric Brosius
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Another place to look is ACTS. Even though BKN is not a card-driven game, people play it using the "generic" module. Look for games that have "BKN" in the name.

http://acts.warhorsesim.com/gen.asp

For example, the Lindley/Kaye game appears to be happening right now. Set your board up and play along with them.
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Nels Thompson
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Seconding Eric's posts.

If you are not seeing Allied opportunities, work on maximizing your attacks and bombardments. You should be able to mount Allied attacks in the 22-27 factor range. And you should be able to bombard the areas you need four to six times in a turn. If I had to guess, you are spreading impulses around the board. The Allies do better by concentrating each day's effort in a descending order of priority. Go for what you have to have this turn first. After that's taken care of, go to the second one, etc. There are expert-level nuances and exceptions to this (use your free bombardments before they can end the turn is one of the most obvious). Remember to focus only on what you need for a victory. St. Lo, Villars-Bocage, or even Caen can suck valuable impulses out of the Allied effort, and before you know it, you haven't taken Carentan.

Tactically, bend all of your efforts on the current turn to the position you want going into the next turn. When you are moving and attacking with that in mind (remember your regroups!), you are mastering playing the Allies. You want to be doing two things at once: winning today's priorities and setting yourself up for tomorrow's. Finally, disrupt the German army. If you have a chance to put a whack on spent Germans, usually with a bombardment, but often with an assault, it pays dividends.

Congratulations that you are seeing German wins. Most players starting out can't see how to gum up the works with the weaker German OOB. You guys obviously can see how this works: get in the way with fresh units, counterpunch occasionally, deny key strongpoints with depth and feeding steps into the fight until the clock runs out.
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Ben FromWatson
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Eric, Nels,

Thanks for the responses. I read the teaching game blog and it was very helpful. First, it confirmed we have most of the rules down pat. Second, it showed me a more aggressive series of plays. I've typically waited as the allies to get very good modifiers before attacking. But I saw in the teaching game a number of attacks with lower mods, but risking fewer units to do it.

We'll play another 5 games with the L2 rules and see how it pans out.

I'm interested in your views on the amphib phase. Would you both typically land only one regiment at Utah, and would you both try and hold the Commonwealth armour in reserve?

It's a great game. Stands the test of time.

Cheers,
Ben
 
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Jim Eliason
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Iowa
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There are different styles at Utah, but I usually invade with only one unit. The real variation in style at Utah comes in the paratroop phase. There is a well-known ploy called "Going Postal" where the US paras in 50 all assault, trying to clear the area, and planning on spending the Advantage if the first attempt fails. If this works, the Allies are in great shape. If it fails... If you don't go postal (and few people do), how many bridges do you seize from St. Mere Eglise (area 50)? Taking the N and S bridges are no-brainers. Taking the W bridge is universally done. Taking the bridge to the beach is done by some experts and not by others. The reasons take a long time to explain.

Keeping an offshore reserve on Gold and Juno is a very good idea. Taking Bretteville on D-Day puts a lot of pressure on the Germans. If you get extremely lucky, it is possible to take Vilars-Bocage or even Aunay-sur-Odon on D-Day, which puts you in a very strong position. Some people go so far as to invade with only one armor unit on Juno or especially Gold. If this clears the beach, the German can be in a world of hurt. If it just gets a positive result and isn't disrupted, followup waves are likely to get a good advance.

One very useful tool in the Allied arsenal that is easy to overlook is the double impulse. Activate two areas at once and combine all the units to assault a single area. More commonly, assemble a very large stack in one area that can attack in any of several directions, forcing the German to defend many areas heavily. If you have the Advantage and can use one stack to blow two holes, the German is unlikely to be able to plug both of them. That can be a game-winning play. Good German players know this, and plan ahead to not give the Allies this opportunity (barring a couple of huge DR results).
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Matthew Kerby
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McKinney
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As in real life, the game is stacked in favor of the defenders. Look at the situation and how VPs are determined.

As I like to put it as I have introduced the game to other players is, "The Allies win if the Allies win. The Germans win if the Germans win or the Allies lose."
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