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Subject: Worth getting? rss

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Ian Borrows
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Choosing games is a tough choice sometimes, my shelves are lined with wargames some of which are unplayed and yet new interesting titles, like France '40, keep coming along. My hesitation with this particular game is is there enough play in it to make it enjoyable and worth the price. I rate Mark Simonitch's game very highly. Normandy 44 was excellent and Ardenne 44 is one of the finest games I've played. I'm considering getting Caucasus Campaign as well, simply because it is by Mark.

As France '40 isn't the entire campaign, I'm wondering if the game will hold my attention enough to enable me to enjoy it and want to play it again sometime. Anyone who has played it care to comment?

Thanks
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Karan R
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Well, it has 2 whole maps/campaigns in it, so replayability goes up by twice
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Tom Stearns
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As Ive stated on other threads, of the games you mention above, France '40 is my least favorite. Now I rate N'44 and A'44 as two of the best all time, so even saying that F'40 is my least favorite that is still praise in a way. I think if I knew what F'40 was before I bought it, meaning I had played before I bought it, I might have passed. Starting the game after the beginning of the campaign doesn't feel right to me. On the other hand, it has much of the mechanics we know from his other titles, with some new ideas also. The components are typical GMT quality. If you don't have a game covering this campaign, the campaign has interest to you and you're a Simonitch fan-boy (like me), then I don't see how you can pass it up.
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Ian Borrows
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Thanks for the insights and input. I'm still torn on this. I have MMP's Blitzkrieg Legend in the OCS series which I know will be a masterful view of the campaign in detail. I'm quite torn about getting France '40 as there are a lot of games on my wishlist and I'm dubious about this game as it doesn't cover the campaign from start to finish yet it is a Simonitch game. Damn, I hate being indecisive.

 
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killy9999
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I played Ardennes '44 and France '40. To me clear advantage of France over Ardennes is that it needs a lot less time to play the whole game. ~4 hours is enough for Dynamo scenario (haven't played Sickle Cut yet). Also, the rules are simpler. So overall it is easier to introduce someone new to France than it is to Ardennes. I don't have any problem with starting in the middle of the campaign.
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Roger Sjögren
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I have played Ardennes, Normandy, Sickle Cut and Dynamo multiple times and my order of likes is currently:

1. Normandy
2. Sickle Cut
3. Dynamo
4. Ardennes

But I think Sickle Cut still will get more plays than Normandy because you can play it in 4-6 hours and Normandy is way longer.

Caucasus Campaign is a good buy as well in my opinion but I have only played that once.
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Ian Borrows
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Thanks for all the insight, I think my doubts have been dealt with!
 
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Rumpelstilskin
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so, tell me about your decision:
To buy or not to buy, this is the question.

btw: I own this also, but have not had the time to play it hitherto.
 
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Randy Moorehead
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I actually prefer this to Blitzkrieg Legend. Heresy, I know.

While I have played OCS since GB (version 1.0), there are several things that F'40 has over BL. It plays in a fraction of the time. The French units are blue, not purple. The map is clean and not muddled. The decision to start the campaign after the Ardennes are breached and the Belgian screens dealt with is a good one - I dislike extremely how BL messed this up.

Owning and having played both, I say get F'40. My second favorite game by Mark S. after Ardennes '44.
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Jason Cawley
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I have played Sickle Cut repeatedly, and trust me it does not feel like less than the full campaign. There are things going on off in the north, and the war continues after the time limit - but the actual campaign in France was all decided right here, right now, in this sector.

The map runs from Namur in the north to first two hexes of the Maginot line in the south, so pretty much only Holland and the far north of the Belgium sector are out of play, along with the completely static Maginot sector in the south.

There is a fight just north of Namur for the Dyle line, of the Germans can choose to shift the 2 Panzer divisions that start there to south of Namur.

There is the fight in the north center where Rommel made his crossing.

There is Guderian's main effort in the south.

Whether and when these sectors merge and interact with one another is the key operational question.

The Germans have multiple ways to win. They need 10 VPs from exit hexes blocked off if the Allies hold a north to south rail line at the end, plus 1 for each full German unit lost. They can get that many with a southern wing victory that crosses just half the map - a "drive on Paris". They can pick up 3 VPs in the north if they drive past Namur, through the Dyle line, pretty close behind that line, and that means in the south they don't need to get as far west to win.

Or they can go for the whole enchilada and try to cut the north south railways at the channel coast. If they succeed in that they are almost certain to win.

Last, they can exit in supply units off the northwest edge toward Dunkirk, without needing to hold the whole north to south "cut" to the time limit. They get 1 VP per unit so exited, and the supply line is only checked when they exit - so even if the line closes up behind them, enough run off the board there will win. With a few entry hexes in the south, exiting 3 mobile divisions that way will also win.

The Germans can try for any subset of those - the Allies need to stop all of them.

The German face a very tough "clock" - only 10 turns.

In my experience, if the Germans know what they are doing and coordinate their attacks well, if can take 3-4 turns to get going but then they will break the French line, somewhere, beyond immediate repair. They typically get the breakthrough about half way through, or a little after.

But that alone isn't enough to win - they have to "cash it" in one of those definite ways. Getting close to two of those ways won't cut it.

The French have a real ability to hit back, and must turns on how actively they use it. If they just backpeddle and patch a line together, they will be a punching bag and break apart. They need to run risks to get their own licks in.

What is driving that is that the CRT is very favorable to attackers, when all the opportunities to gather shifts are included. The Germans get quality and air just about everywhere, every turn. They get armor rarely - terrain and French armor mostly neutralize that possible shift - but occasionally. 2 quality vs remnants also occasionally.

The French can get auto armor shifts in the open from their heavy tank DRC divisions, and HQ artillery shifts. Sometimes they face a QL shift against them, if they are hitting German panzer formations. Against infantry and motorized they can readily get the armor shift even without having a DCR division around.

This means 4-1 odds are easily in reach bringing only equal number of factors in 2 hexes to hit 1. And odds that high almost always force a defender retreat (or determined defense to neutralize it, at a risk of extra losses and 50-50 success etc). The big thing is any stack "pushed" with a retreat result is disrupted on its next turn - meaning it only moves 2 hexes and can't move next to enemies or attack. So a panzer divison forced back even a short distance is out of the fight for 10% of the clock. Believe me, that matters.

Overall, the scenario definitely favors the Germans, in my opinion. But it isn't the same way every time. There is too much early variation from success or failure crossing the strong Meuse position (Guderian will get across, everywhere else it is dicey and can take 2-3 turns), from where the French put their initially strong forces to make it hard for the Germans to attack, from different German decisions about what to shoot for, etc.

If the Germans always just go for the channel coast, then the Allies have a solid chance of stopping them just because it is a long way to get in a short period of time, and that far from the start line a lot of the German (infantry) army won't help very much. But they don't have to make that choice - they have options, and each plays out its own way.

FWIW...
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