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Subject: All Quiet On The Western Front rss

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Arthur Dougherty
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So I got the latest Critical Hit company email newsletter, which talked about some work done to the site. Decide to poke around a bit to see what's up, and notice Ted Racier's All Quiet On The Western Front getting some promotion.

Check here and see that Critical Hit has been in charge of the title for a bit, but I'm guessing this push is because they are reprinting it. So I check out the All Quiet On The Western Front entry here on BGG but can't seem to find much user feedback about the game.

Any World War 1 buffs out there familiar with this game? It seems like it has some heft, so I was curious to get some thoughts before I looked into it further. It's a Ted Racier game, the man knows his WW1, but it's a pretty specific campaign.

edit: In case people were curious about the new printing, here's the direct link.
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Paul
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"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
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I played the game solo when it first came out. I can't remember many details, but I do remember liking it.
The two more recent games Marne 1918: Friedensturm and Somme 1918 are both very good games--they do suffer a bit from high counter density.

Paul
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Langley Kitchings
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Ditto to what Paul said. Coincidentally, I have had a note to myself to pull that game out of storage for some time now. This post will encourage me to get on the stick and do that this weekend. If I remember to do so, I will pull it out and give you a more detailed response to your question.
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K G
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Arthur, the BGG user ratings and comments tell us quite a good deal. People really enjoy this simulation.

I have the game but have not played it. It is certainly lovely to look at!
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Cpl. Fields
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I've played this game a lot, both solo and PBEM (I made the ADC2 module for this, way back when). It's one of the best operational-scale WWI games, in my opinion. Unlike so many of Ted Raicer's designs, it's not heavily scripted, and doesn't have a lot of gamey constraints to force play along historical lines. What it does have is a very clean and intuitive system, with just enough historical chrome, which nicely captures the feel of the German 1918 offensive.

I do have one strong reservation: in my experience, if the Germans throw everything they have at the British in a concentrated assault, they'll win every time. Ted Raicer suggested an optional reserves rule (which forces the Germans to hold some units back initially), but even playing with this restrictions I never saw an Allied win.

I'd like to hear from others on the balance issue. I found that if the Germans attacked the French, or the juncture between the French and British, the result was a tense, balanced game. But a direct thrust for the Channel ports was a German blowout.

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Paul
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Quote:
But a direct thrust for the Channel ports was a German blowout.


This is what happened when I played solo, that I do remember. I'm sure there were other factors at play on Lundendorff's thinking that aren't reflected in the game. Do you think it's a matter of balance Pat, or players being allowed to try an alternate strategy that works?

Paul
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hedererp wrote:
Quote:
But a direct thrust for the Channel ports was a German blowout.


This is what happened when I played solo, that I do remember. I'm sure there were other factors at play on Lundendorff's thinking that aren't reflected in the game. Do you think it's a matter of balance Pat, or players being allowed to try an alternate strategy that works?

Paul


I suspect it's the latter. Historically Ludendorff seemed to shift focus every time he encountered serious resistance, and the Germans dissipated their strength along a wide front. The game may be showing that a concentrated effort to smash through to the Channel ports would have been a war-winning strategy for the Germans in 1918.

Of course, if that's true, you need to impose some idiocy rules on the Germans to deal with the players' 20-20 hindsight and make the game competitive.

I'd really like to play around with this some more, if I ever get 1914: OaO off the table.
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Paul
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Quote:
I'd really like to play around with this some more


I feel the same way. Interesting about Ludendorff's conduct of the campaign. It more closely resembled what Falkenhayn had in mind for 1916 than I'm sure he would have ever liked to admit.

There was something there that was part of German military thinking--this "front in motion" theory that said if you attacked in various places along a static front it could put things in motion that might then offer an opportunity.
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K G
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zuludawn wrote:
I'd really like to play around with this some more, if I ever get 1914: OaO off the table.


We'll look forward to your report in 2017.
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Philip Jelley
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All Quiet is a good system, but the victory conditions make L-H's strategy nonsensical as there is no point in switching the German offensives between the British and French armies. Also the terrain on the French lines made assaulting them unrealistic as they could just fall on a second or third line of woods and hills. The result is that the Germans always attack the British, never divert their resources and win.

I made the rule that if an Allied nation was defeated instead of a victory they became demoralised with -1 to their combat factors, unable to attack and must always retreat if defeated. After each game turn you rolled a 1d6 with +1 for each demoralised army and +1 for each Paris hex occupied by the Germans, if >6 they Allies lose. In the later game the same is done for the Germans with +1 if the German army is demoralised and +1 for the Allies controlling Brussels and each German fortress.

Even with these rules it makes little sense to attack the French trenches as the best German strategy is to knock out the British, then turn south and go for Paris.

Philip
 
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