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Strange Defeat: The Fall of France, 1940» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First time wargamer's brave attempt rss

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Mosse Stenström
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I'll start this session report by introducing myself...
I'm a eurogamer who wants to be a former eurogamer. I am growing more and more tired of the Knizias that brought me into boardgaming in the first place, and I want to play highly strategic games, which has lead me, naturally, to wargames.

On the lookout for good introductory wargames I have found a true gem in Bonaparte at Marengo, but I still want to learn how to play the so called traditional wargames. WWII is a favorite among scenarios, and last time I was in the big city (I live in the middle of the woods) I found Avalanche Press Ltd:s Games You Can Play-series. From Strange Defeat, Defiant Russia and Alsace 1945 I opted for Strange Defeat: the Fall of France 1940 for two reasons; from the options I had it was the easiest (with a difficulty level of 1/5 as opposed to the 1.5/5 for the other two) and the shortest (60-90 minutes)
I got home, punched the counters, examined the map and (tried to) read the rules.

Me and brother Jens ("Plush" here on BGG) set out to try a campaign. My brother is where I was a while ago - he's highly into the abstract eurogames, but a sport enough to endulge me in my craving to learn wargaming. I had printed the corrected set-up tables and terrain effects charts from APL:s homepage, and got to command the invading Germans in this first game.

Here's my first and most annoyance with wargames, having tried to learn ASL Starter Kit #1 for a while, unsuccessfully.

I hate the fact that the manuals of wargames, even the ones that are (if I've understood correctly) aimed at beginners and mostly eurogamers trying to venture into wargames (read: ME), all seem to take for granted that I know certain things about wargaming. Well, I don't. I've never before played any "real" wargames. The closest I've gotten is Memoir'44 (liked it in the beginning, like it less every time I play it...) and certain variations of RISK (never liked it) or Axis & Allies (like it better than RISK).

The people who write manuals for wargames (at least wargames for beginners) really really need to look at some manuals for boardgames. Here's a few pointers:
don't assume that the person reading knows the facts about wargaming. I don't want to guess how the game should be played.
give me (preferably illustrated) examples of play, and when it comes to combat, different examples of different situations.

Combats were where we had the most guessing done. How to calculate terrain effects when troops were attacking several different hexes with different terrains, some of which could have been over rivers etc. In this manual there were a total of three (text only) examples about combat. One about the combat itself (and the example did not feature any modifiers), one about retreating defenders and one about maximum loss.

I also had some (smaller) issues with the chits, or more the symbols on them. The manual states armored troops have the NATO symbol on them, while they actually have a picture of a tank. OK, so it doesn't take a brilliant mad scientist to figure that one out, but why do the armored units and cavalry units have pictures on them while the rest of the chits have NATO symbols? Stick to one choice, I'd say... Also, nowhere in the manual does it explain which units are french, which are british, dutch etc. Sure, you can figure it out on your own, but again - I'd prefer not to have to guess.

Here's another question - they have a turn-track on the map. Why not print for each turn which special events occur during that turn? Now one has to remember to check who gets how much air-support, who gets how much replacements and reinforcements, when who gets how many political points for holding which strategic positions, and these are all of course in different parts of the manual?

OK, so how did the game go? Horribly wrong for me. Thanks to frustration with the rules we had been too hastly and misinterpreted some rules concerning terrain effect modifiers on combat, leading to me losing a hellovalot of my troops - almost my entire south front (topside of the map). The political marker (the manual never actually tells which counter is the political marker either, just that there is one... They assume I would know. Did I already write "don't assume I know"?) was halfway to Florida after the first turn. My center flank pressed hard and got a good 4-5 hexes westward while my paratroopers (one of whom died on impact with the ground) supported by footsoldiers and motorized infantry ran into Belgium.

Jens collected his troops, stacking them together to form a defense line, picking as few battles as he could. I tried desperately to rearrange my troops (I had learned about the rules misinterpretation, and from turn 2 on we played correctly), but having had my south flank collapse, the southern Allied forces were now able to crack down on my center flank, and my armored divisions were about to be surrounded. I was able to finally take Belgium, but because of the failure of the south flank the game was pretty much over. I knew that I wouldn't get the political track even under zero anymore (needing -20 to win), even if I never lost another unit and marched into Paris, I surrendered on turn 4.

I so want to like wargames - but horrible rulebooks are killing my inspiration! Everywhere I read about wargames (forums and such) everybody says you have to have wargames taught to you, learning them by the book is close to impossible. The problem is, I don't know any wargamers (yet...).

I want to be the first wargamer I know.

I still haven't given up, though! I'll sit down and reread the rules of Strange Defeat (although I read it once before play, and with all the reading during the gameplay, I've probably read it about seven times already...) straight through and try it solitair once or twice. My brother, you see, isn't a wargamer (that's what he says...) and bad experiences like this drive hime further away from it, and he's one of the very few people who endulge my wish to learn enough to sit down and play. (as long as I continue to play his abstract euros with him, which I'll gladly do...)

Even when we started to get the rules right, it still felt like we played it wrong. Somehow. I just don't know how or where. What I need to do is watch two seasoned wargamers play some wargame, so I'll get the tempo and system - because this much is clear; playing wargames and playing eurogames are two very different things.

Or here's a question/cry for help for all grognads out there - was Strange Defeat a poor choice for first "real" wargame? (I have some of Columbia Games blockgames, and I've also tried the print-and-play Battle for Moscow)

Thank you for letting me vent here. I hope you can understand my frustration, when I so want to enjoy playing wargames, but have so far failed in every turn.
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William Jason Raynovich
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Mosse wrote:
I'll start this session report by introducing myself...
Or here's a question/cry for help for all grognads out there - was Strange Defeat a poor choice for first "real" wargame? (I have some of Columbia Games blockgames, and I've also tried the print-and-play Battle for Moscow)

Thank you for letting me vent here. I hope you can understand my frustration, when I so want to enjoy playing wargames, but have so far failed in every turn.


Some disclaimers:
I have played Strange Defeat.
I enjoyed my first time and cannot wait for the second try.
I have been playing Adv. Squad Leader Starter Kits for about a year now.
I played my first wargame at the age of 12 (Blue and Gray) and I learned it on my own.
I enjoy Avalanche Press games. I like the fiddly rules.

That being said:
Avalanche Press games are terrible for the beginning gamer. The rule books that I have read are pretty damn awful. Many of their games do not have player aids. The rulebooks are confusing. There are many fiddly rules. I have problems understanding rules in Avalanche Press games. I am by no means an expert, but am not a novice as you are. I have been playing wargames for 23 years off and on.

I would not know exactly what to suggest you try. However, have you tried one of Columbia's block games. I think they might be a little easier. There is an introductory wargame with few units called something like Target over Arnhem. Maybe Bridge over Arnhem. I am sure some one will provide the correct title. There was an old wargame called Napoleon at Waterloo. This was an introductory game.

You can play it for free at www.hexwar.com if you have a PC. Then you could have a wargamer teach you the ins and outs of the game and the genre or wargaming over the internet. Then you could teach your brother to play.

Raynovich


 
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Miikka Rytty
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I'm a wargamer and I learned it all by myself. My first three wargames were (in order) Blood On The Snow (from Avalanche Press), Wilderness War (from GMT) and von Manstein's Backhand Blow (also from GMT). I had no problem learning them althought I didn't take a dive into the deep end first. I wouldn't recommend Blood On The Snow to anyone, since it is just horrible. The rulebook, while short, is pretty bad. Wilderness War might be a good one, alghout it is card-driven game, and not in itself a tradional wargame. von Manstein's Backhand Blow has a good and simply underlying system, so I would recommend it althought it doesn't recreate history very well and it takes quite a long time to play.

I think that your best bet might be just pick a good and well-received wargame of a subject you like. Before byuing make sure that it otherwise is suitable, meaning that you have room for it (if it is 2-map game) and it is not too long for you. Many of the hex'n'counter games takes the whole day or two and maybe longer to play in completion. The rulebooks for "meatier wargames" are useally very clear, and if not, they tend to take flak for it (just witness how Empire of the Sun was received). The problem is, of course, that there are lots of actual "meat" in the rules.

If you want examples in your rules, then you could look into GMT's Roads to Leningrad which has over 10 pages long extended example of play with graphics.
 
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Mosse Stenström
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Wow! That's a lot of responses in a very short time - I'm overwhelmed!

TedTorgerson wrote:
So basically I'm saying don't feel badly if the Allies wiped you out the first try

Don't worry, I'm not a sore loser. I can take a defeat. The only reason I surrendered the game was that because we played an essential rule wrong I lost about five or six entire units on turn 1, units which would not have been wiped out had we played correctly. But I will play this one again.

TedTorgerson wrote:
I was going to suggest Battle for Moscow

We played BfM, and although the rules were extremely simple and intuitive, we did not enjoy the scenario, as the Russian player basically had nothing else to do but retreat towards Moscow, surround the city and survive. We found there to be limits to which tactics one could use.

raynovich wrote:
Many of their games do not have player aids

Yes! This is what I so want for this (and would probably want for most wargames!). As soon as I can say I have at least a basic understanding of what I'm doing I might sit down and make some...

raynovich wrote:
have you tried one of Columbia's block games

I own and have played Wizard Kings and have just bought (and played once) Crusader Rex. I enjoy both of them - but as I said, WWII is a favorite topic, so I'm still on the lookout. I have been glancing and drooling at EastFront, and might open my wallet for that at some point. However, I'm not completely sure the fog-of-war effect that block-games offer are appropriate for WWII. They seem to work better for the fantasy- or midevil times-games of WK or CR. Although not Columbia Games, the block game Bonaparte at Marengo is one of my favorite games in my collection.

My humble thanks to everybody for helping a novice wargamer!!!
 
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Mosse,

Back in the day, SPI used to give away a free game titled Napoleon at Waterloo. It was aimed explicitly at people like yourself, who wanted to learn hex and counter wargames.

Other teaching games have been designed to do the same thing. GDW had one called Battle for Moscow, and SPI put out a later, smaller game called Strike Force One.

More recently, ATO magazine has been mailing out a 'game on a postcard' called Stand at Mortain, and MultiMan Publishing has put out a free (for the price of postage) intro game called 'Target Arnhem - Across 6 Bridges'.

Of all these, the best games for learning by reading are the two SPI ones. Great care was taken to make the rules clear, and provide illustrations, etc. Strike Force One took this to the extreme, and had such a small map and so few counters that it was good for learning only. Napoleon at Waterloo was still very manageable, but had a larger situation that would hold your interest for repeated play.

Both of the SPI games were free at one time, and still can be picked up cheaply on ebay or wherever. I'd highly recommend that you track down Napoleon at Waterloo.

I'd then recommend that you pick up Target Arnhem from MultiMan as your second step. The rules are a bit less lucid, and lack illustrations, but you should have no problems after having checked out NaW. Target Arnhem is a very fine little game, and has excellent play value.

Once you've played those two games, you'll be able to move on to more complex fare.

Good luck,
George
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Ethan McKinney
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Mosse,

1. Stop playing against your brother. Temporarily. You need to get everything clear for yourself before you involve him again, or his frustration will mean he won't play wargames with you any more.

2. No, Strange Defeat wasn't a good starting point. I'm a very, very experienced wargamer, but the combat rules for that system make me go, "Huh?" The rules aren't as clearly written as they could be, a common Avalanche Press flaw, sadly.

3. As William mentioned, you need to play online some. Whether you go to hexwar.com, download Cyberboard, or download VASSAL, find some simpler games and play against experienced opponents. There are a lot of wargamers out there willing to lend a helping hand. If you can't find anyone for a particular game, or on a particular forum, try something else or ask elsewhere. The Internet is hit and miss.

4. When you do buy another wargame, don't play it with your brother first. Instead, sit down and play a few turns solitaire as a dry run. This lets you figure our where you aren't clear on the mechanics--then you can ask questions on BGG or, better, on Consimworld.com. There's more traffic for most games on CSW. Anyhow, the dry run will also help you get all the mechanics down so that you can demonstrate them to your brother smoothly. Then sit down with your brother and teach him the game. This method takes more time, but it saves a lot of frustrations and prevents abortive games.

5. Look into Gazala 1942 from Avalanche. Another inexpensive game, though better received. Also look into the SCS series from The Gamers/MMP (http://www.multimanpublishing.com/theGamers/scs.php --other titles are available on eBay at reasonable prices). SCS games are pretty simple, have decently well-written rules, are very well supported on line, and are moderately priced. Not all are tiny, though! I personally like Afrika (2nd edition, now), although you must get the brief errata from the MMP web site. I dig the supply rules

6. You're right, a lot of wargame rules are written for experienced wargamers. Regardless of the complexity of the game, at least 95% of all buyers will already have played at least ten other wargames. Everyone's trying to cut down on the length of the rulebooks, both to prevent the perception that the rules are massive and to hold down printing costs (they matter a lot more than you'd think in a marginal market like this). The old Avalon Hill games started out with really basic descriptions of the board ("hexes"), and so forth, and the movement rules were the classic, "you cannot save Movement Points from turn to turn, nor tranfer Movement Points from one unit to another" that has inspired parody over the years ("Players are free to stockpile unused Movement Points, preferable at a good interest rate.").

7. As for block games, Rommel in the Desert might seem like a better fit for blocks in WWII. It's also a bit less massive than East Front and I believe the rules are significantly shorter. EastFront is a surprising jump in complexity.

Good luck, and let us know if you have any further questions!
 
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Mosse Stenström
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Again, I'm grateful for your help!

Let me just clarify, that when I say I'm looking for good introductory wargames, I don't necessary mean simple ones. I can handle a lot of rules, if I just have them properly explained. I guess what I should be asking for are games with good manuals, or good online tutorials. I'm really a sucker for illustrated examples!

elbmc1969 wrote:
Stop playing against your brother

I know now that I need to work out the rules before dragging in my poor unsuspecting brother again. It's just I dragged him into boardgaming a few years back, and since then we've broken in almost every new game we've bought together. It's been part of the thing to work out the small problems and issues. The same evening we played Strange Defeat we opened up, went through the rules and played (for the first time) two other games - one cardgame and one boardgame.

elbmc1969 wrote:
No, Strange Defeat wasn't a good starting point

I'm becoming aware of that, yes. What drew me to it was not only that it claimed to be simple, but the short playing time. 2-3 hours per game is what I'm aiming for...

elbmc1969 wrote:
the combat rules for that system make me go, "Huh?"

That's kind of my initial response to the rules, also. Unfortunately, I'm a stubborn bastard, and refuse to give up.

elbmc1969 wrote:
EastFront is a surprising jump in complexity

I downloaded, printed and read through the rules for EastFront. Although I have not played the game, I had no problems understanding how they worked.

After my session report on Battle for Moscow (first edition) (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/579305) I was recommended to try The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions). Would that be a good alternative? I know it's a bit more on the pricey side, and a bit longer than I'd hoped...
 
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Russian Campaign is a good game, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. But like I said above, the description you gave of ideal rules fits Napoleon at Waterloo perfectly. And if you're set on WWII, Target Arnhem is your best starting point.
 
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Mosse Stenström
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Sphere wrote:
if you're set on WWII, Target Arnhem is your best starting point

I looked this one up, and it seems to be just what I'm looking for. Looked through the images and read the reviews and it seems just right. And for that pricetag you can't go horribly wrong. The map of the game looks great even through my eurogame eyes, seems very functional.

I hit the "Purchase" button on the MMP website.
Thank you.
 
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If you can find them cheap on Ebay there is nothing wrong with the old Avalon Hill Africa Korps and Waterloo. They are very simple to get you started.
 
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Napoleon at Waterloo is not only a game with excellent rules, but also a terrific game. I've played it more often than any other wargame, and most of the games have been tense and exciting. You can play it on line if you have Windows, as I recall (unfortunately, it doesn't support Mac OS.)
 
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Tim Taylor
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Hi Mosse:

I agree wholeheartedly with George Fagin's assessments.

I have enjoyed ATO's Stand at Mortain postcard game quite a bit recently; it's simple, straight-forward, has relatively instructive rules, and most importantly is a fun little game which can be played again and again. I've played a lot of Stand at Mortain, and no two games are similar. The combat system is pretty chaotic and uses a standard deck of playing cards. Best thing is, it takes only about an hour to play! I'm pretty sure that it's available on the ATO website (I got mine with my subscription).

Your frustration at poorly explained rules in wargames is completely natural! I just tried to play Strange Defeat as well and had to stop part way through since I'd screwed up so many of the rules (mostly combat and terrain, just like you) -- and I've played Red Vengeance and Defiant Russia before! APL is pretty good about answering rules' questions, though. I had a bunch and they responded to my queries within a few days.

Good luck with your future endeavours in wargaming!

Tim Taylor
wargamer since 1969 and still struggling with poorly written rules...
 
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Mosse Stenström
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I never expected this much response to a session report! Thank you all!

Having let the rules of Strange Defeat: The Fall of France, 1940 sink in for a couple of days now, they really aren't that complicated - just very poorly written. And it's not even that they're badly explained, they're hardly explained at all, leaving the player to guess - this is my problem with them.

The problem with these so called introductory wargames is that some of them are ridiculosly simple. I don't necessarly want a simple game, just one properly explained to me. Memoir '44 is sufficient for me for simple wargames.

Herr Niemand wrote:
...and I've played Red Vengeance and Defiant Russia before

Would you say Defiant Russia would be a better game for me at this moment? Or let's say - does it have a more understandable rulebook?

elbmc1969 wrote:
Everyone's trying to cut down on the length of the rulebooks, both to prevent the perception that the rules are massive and to hold down printing costs (they matter a lot more than you'd think in a marginal market like this)

I can appreciate this - but some game companies (wargames even) have proven that you don't need to print expensive full-color rulebooks to make their games understandable. What the games could use are illustrated examples of play and tutorials online. Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes has this, for example. A simple example of play which probably has helped a great lot of players (it would help me if I had the game, and I would very much like a similar for ASLSK#1) Bonaparte at Marengo sports a good site too, with illustrated examples and Q&A.

My understanding of the wargaming situation is (please correct me if I'm wrong!) that most wargames are part of a system or series, where the core rules are the same. In this case they would not need to create this tutorials for each game - but they could be made to suit the entire series.

Please don't take my ramblings here as complaints against the wargaming scene in general. I am in no way discouraged from wargaming, and I will continue on my journey to better understand these strategic games. These setbacks have only added fuel to my fire.

Live to fight another day,
sincerely
Mosse
(wargamer since hopefully the near future...)
 
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was Strange Defeat a poor choice for first "real" wargame - Yes!

There are really not too many wargames with tightly written rules. There are hordes and hordes that are interesting in their way, but have badly written rules. So you must really do your homework in this genre to discover the winners, before you buy. Look for the classics.
 
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Tim Taylor
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Mosse Stenström wrote:
Would you say Defiant Russia: Operation Barbarossa, 1941 would be a better game for me at this moment? Or let's say - does it have a more understandable rulebook?


Sadly no, it's even more confusing. There are precious few examples of critical concepts (without illustrations) and the rules assume you know how to play a wargame already. For a game targeted at a beginner audience, it has remarkably impenetrable rules. Consider the following example from DR:

6.21 Soviet Armies. No more than one Soviet infantry or shock army may occupy a hex.

OK, now does this mean

1- Stacking limit is only one Soviet unit if it is an army. Period.

2- Two Soviet armies may not stack together in the same hex. However, a Soviet infantry army and a tank corps could still stack together as two units (i.e., one Soviet army and a smaller formation).

The way the rule is worded, it can be understood either way!!!

Fortunately, APL is good about answering rules' questions. The answer is:

Mike Bennighof wrote:
It's the second.


The concepts are not difficult to grasp, it's just that the rules are so ambiguous and poorly worded that they can't help but cause confusion.

The lessons learned by APL with Defiant Russia and Red Vengeance went into making Strange Defeat! So, Mosse, you're looking at the culmination of their efforts already!

Best Wishes!

TT
 
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Mark Mokszycki
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I second what some of the other folks have said. I just picked up the game, read the rules, and I agree that it's not a great starting point.

For what it's worth, I learned to play traditional wargames by playing Advanced Third Reich, with no one to teach me. Prior to that I had only played Ogre, and various computer wargames. So it can be done.

Two free games, Napoleon at Waterloo and Battle For Moscow, are very good starting points for someone new to wargames.

I agree with Ethan that SCS is a good intro to wargames. Stalingrad Pocket II has a nice, small 4 turn scenario that I typically use for introducing someone to the system. Crusader (though not the best game in the system, and generally no so well received by the fans) is also great for learning SCS because it has the fewest special rules. It's basically just core SCS rules, with the addition of artillery barrage and ground support airplanes.

Ogre/GEV are great simple wargames, though they are really more miniatures-style games than traditional wargames. Still, the share many of the same concepts (a CRT, various turn phases, exploitation movement for the GEVs, etc.) and are probably closer to being a traditional wargame than Memoir 44.

GMT's American Revolution series is pretty simple to learn and teach. Saratoga or Guilford make good starting points.

I also highly recommend some of the small, cheap games from Decision Games- especially Leningrad and Across Suez. I prefer Leningrad, of the two. These games sell for about $14 new, and have only a few pages of simple rules. They are much simpler than Strange Defeat, and have better organized rules, and a more balanced play situation.

Finally, Russian Campaign and Bitter Woods are some of my favorite simple wargames. The new L2 versions are expensive, but the artwork, player aids, and manuals are simply superb.

Good luck!
 
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Mosse wrote:
However, I'm not completely sure the fog-of-war effect that block-games offer are appropriate for WWII.

I'm not either, but that doesn't matter to me, as the fog-of-war effect makes the games a lot of fun.

elbmc1969 wrote:
I'm a very, very experienced wargamer, but the combat rules for that system make me go, "Huh?"

Hmm. I haven't actually played this yet, but the combat rules seem to me to be reasonably clear.

Mosse mentions being unsure of how to calculate terrain effects when there are stacks in multiple hexes with different terrain types, but I think this is explained well enough by 8.2, and the bit in 7.12 about "the single terrain type least favorable to the attacker is used"; for example, if one of your stacks is attacking three adjacent stacks of enemies at once, and one of them is across a river, then you're subtracting one from each of your units' attack strength. (And if you're the Allies, and one of the enemy stacks contains armored units, then your strength for the entire attack is halved--ouch! As the Germans, you probably want to keep your armor stacked with other units as much as possible!) Were there specific cases you guys ran into which weren't covered by the rules?

(My list of "things which are missing" overlaps a lot with Mosse's--a clear identification of which units are of which nationalities, the terrain effects of Fortress Holland hexes, initial placement of leaders, a collected turn-by-turn schedule of reinforcements/replacements/etc.--but at least on the basis of the rules, this doesn't seem like that bad of an introductory wargame. But on the other hand, I guess that's kind of a long list of missing bits, ha ha.)

elbmc1969 wrote:
7. As for block games, Rommel in the Desert might seem like a better fit for blocks in WWII. It's also a bit less massive than East Front and I believe the rules are significantly shorter. EastFront is a surprising jump in complexity.

Well, I put the two at about the same level of difficulty; EastFront may have more rules, but none of them are weird. Rommel in the Desert has some shorter scenarios... But both games are bad-ass.
 
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Peter Bogdasarian
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"why do the armored units and cavalry units have pictures on them while the rest of the chits have NATO symbols?"

Others have offered a number of good comments, but I thought I'd reply to this.

One reason why armored & cavalry units tend to get pictures is to make them stand out precisely because they have special rules associated with them. (the other reason is generally looks) Can't give an answer in the context of Strange Defeat, but in the context of Target Arnhem (MMP), this is the case - armored/mechanized units get to move in the 3rd impulse while regular units do not.
 
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Lance Wilkinson

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elbmc1969 wrote:
6. ...Everyone's trying to cut down on the length of the rulebooks, both to prevent the perception that the rules are massive and to hold down printing costs (they matter a lot more than you'd think in a marginal market like this). The old Avalon Hill games started out with really basic descriptions of the board ("hexes"), and so forth, and the movement rules were the classic, "you cannot save Movement Points from turn to turn, nor tranfer Movement Points from one unit to another" that has inspired parody over the years ("Players are free to stockpile unused Movement Points, preferable at a good interest rate.").


This comment is pretty dead on (well, besides saving on printing--I have no idea about that). I've played a lot of wargames, some simple like the classic AH stuff (Afrika Korps), some more complicated (ATS, Berg's GBACW). In terms of basic mechanics and scale, Strange Defeat seems like a reasonable beginner's game to me.

But the rules...it is true that they don't close up all the holes like the old AH/SPI rules would. I found this to be true of the Eagles of the Empire series as well. They're short, but it's deceptive as they could have taken some time to make some clarifications.

That said, if you want to try something else, from what I know, Mark W gave a lot of good recommendations for intro wargames.
 
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Lance Wilkinson

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Mosse wrote:
However, I'm not completely sure the fog-of-war effect that block-games offer are appropriate for WWII. They seem to work better for the fantasy- or midevil times-games of WK or CR.


Why do you say this? I think there was *plenty* of fog of war in WWII. Think about Omaha Beach, of the first waves being surprised that th heavy Allied bombardment had barely touched German defenses, or the surprise at finding the well-trained 352nd infantry regiment acquitting itself far better than expected.
 
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Lance Wilkinson

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raynovich wrote:
I enjoy Avalanche Press games. I like the fiddly rules.


Do you find Strange Defeat's rules to be fiddly? Or, did you mean other AP games?

Strange Defeat's rules didn't seem fiddly to me, especially compared to other wargames. There are basic checks at the beginning of a turn to see if units are in supply...that's pretty much it. Unit strength is taken care of by a step reduction, there's a running scoreboard...seems fairly straightforward.
 
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Mosse Stenström
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jiminy wrote:
Why do you say this? I think there was *plenty* of fog of war in WWII

Fair enough, hard to argue there. I agree that there is an element of fog of war in all warfare. I guess I should have said I don't particularly enjoy the memory-aspect of block-games.
Yes, I have a horrible memory.

My point is, say I attack against a fortification of some sort. I'd find it perfectly OK not to know exactly what will be facing me there. But after the battle the blocks are turned up again and I'm forced to keep track of all these troops. I could remedy this by keeping track with pen and paper, but I'm too lazy for it, and I don't think it's in the intrest of the game.

Am I making any sense at all? Or do I sound like a sore loser (because I'm not)?

So what would be ideal (in my head, probably wouldn't work in practice) would be a mix of block and counter game. That is, all units would be concealed at first, but once revealed would stay revealed.
Are there any games like this out there?
If yes, are they any good - does this mechanic work at all?

jiminy wrote:
Strange Defeat's rules didn't seem fiddly to me, especially compared to other wargames

I have to say that once I recieved a player-aid from a friendly fellow gamer (thank you kindly), where all the important rules were organized on a single sheet, they all became much clearer to me.

After my initial failure my hopes for an improved second go are high. All this thanks to your help here.

For that, my humble thanks!
Live to Fight another Day
 
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Lance Wilkinson

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Mosse wrote:

Am I making any sense at all? Or do I sound like a sore loser because I'm not


Not at all (not a sore loser)! Your original comment just seemed a little odd because I wondered if you were implying that in WWII there wasn't enough fog of war to justify the block mechanic.

There are nice aspects to the simulation of concealment, but whether it's impact on the overall play of a game is worth the trouble is pretty much up to the players.

Mosse wrote:
So what would be ideal (in my head, probably wouldn't work in practice) would be a mix of block and counter game. That is, all units would be concealed at first, but once revealed would stay revealed.
Are there any games like this out there?
If yes, are they any good - does this mechanic work at all?


I think a number of games work this way--a stack might be covered with a marker counter and the other player is not allowed to examine the stack. Units are revealed only under certain conditions (enemy unit adjacent or otherwise within range, hidden unit moves or attacks).

It's probably not hard to come up with some house rules to retrofit a game that doesn't have these rules, although one would have to play around so play-balance doesn't change too much.

Another mechanic was used in the SPI panzergruppe guderian type games, where counters represented unit types, but their true combat strength wasn't revealed until a chit draw upon first combat.
 
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Robert Gamble
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Mosse... I would definitely stay away from AvP's games if you have little experience in wargaming. Almost all of them have some gaps somewhere in the rules, and they aren't necessarily things that are common to all wargames. So it helps to have played lots of wargames to determine which type of rule best fits the gaps.

I saw a few mentions of SCS above and I'm hesitant to recommend them for a starting wargamer. While the rules are pretty good in most cases, only the campaign games are really worth playing in most of them and they take a long time.

Instead, take a look at another game by MMP, called:
A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943

Simple, close to airtight rules, low playing time, multiple paths for success for both sides, etc. This game might get you started in wargaming, and may still be played by you 10 years from now when you're a grizzled wargaming veteran.
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Mosse Stenström
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gambler1650 wrote:
Instead, take a look at another game by MMP, called:
A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943


Thank you for you help. Luckily, I can proudly say I've moved on from this horrible game, A Victory Lost is one of the games I've bought. Also including the ASL Starter Kits, Clash of Giants II, Men of Iron and lately Combat Commander: Europe-game.

 
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