Orion J.N. Winder
United States
Holly Hill
South Carolina
flag msg tools
ALL ACCESS - ALL THE TIME - DON'T EVEN ASK
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just recently bought heavily into this game/system. I've a good friend that has just started (re)playing war-games, and we've been playing Memoir 44 and a wee bit of Ancients C&C. He's really attracted to the shiny bits, and when we looked at Art of Tactics WWII it drew us in; me from years ago in miniature gaming with Rocco Minitanks, and he liking the figs and not so much the blocks or chits of standard fare games.

I've a decent lot of Samurai Battles so was (so I thought) familiar with Zvezda's excellence in models and somewhat smaller issues with other quality control (heck, I've collected Erector type sets for years, and I'd always found many wild QC issues, FAR beyond normal, in sets from Soviet Union and later Russia issue), and we both figured that the game seemed one that we'd use to take his next step in getting back into gaming.

I'd not counted on a game system that IMHO isn't ready to be released yet, as the errors, issues, and even qc of the figs is all over the map. Granted, MOST of the figs are pretty sharp, but when there's crap in the box, it's some glaring crap indeed, and several of the small boxes were just that. They also, just as esthetics and modeling issues go, don't seem to use a standardized plastic, but a few different types/grades of plastic, many times on the same set in different boxes; and colors are not very standardized either. Also the "values", numbers, colors (cards AND figs) are all different from set to set, box to box, model to model, card to card.

I'm sure there's a bunch of print runs represented in our 4 large boxes and 60+ smaller boxed sets, also first and second edition rules (which I found even more "buggy" than the first edition, in my recent attempt to read them over) along with a totally different set of #'s for Tank Combat.

I have several issues with this system already, before it even hits the table. Besides the fact that distribution seems to be iffy stateside, but perhaps that's a good thing overall in the iffy state of the game itself at this time. The rules seem to be not only in a state of flux, and incomplete at best, but also tremendously error ridden even considering it's probably translated material. Also, are the values of units going to be constantly in flux, should we just draw numbers out of the air for them, or do they (I always THOUGHT they were supposed to) represent an attempt at recreating actual stats/conditions/relationships according to the historic conflict portrayed, and if SO, why are they constantly changing?

There seems to also be some balance issues already, as I find in reading a bunch of forums that perhaps the tanks are under-costed, and surely I find it questionable from my reads of this conflict from tankers and infantry, that the infantry would be SO impotent against armor in most situations. Seems in my reading and studying the infantry found many ingenious ways of making the tanker's life hell, especially ANY time that they didn't have covering infantry.

Anyway my query(s) are this for those of you that play, create, or study such things:

Do you believe that this will eventually shine, remain an obtuse or obscure mini-wannabee, or do a quick fade into oblivion such as the recent Arcane Legions or Axis & Allies mini/collectables (perhaps not so QUICK with A&A, but just as "toast" IMHO).

And what do you believe would be the best thing that could be done for this game from the company or fans of it, to make it shiny & polished and continue it's viability.

Lastly, would just using the minis with another set of rules be better? If so, which? (As I'm not very familiar with mini-WWII rules since Rocco Minitanks stopped being reasonable in my teens, used with Airfix men of course).

Would like to hear from folks of all persuasions on this, as I'm really feeling "in irons" at how I'm going to proceed from here with this game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
clive holland
Thailand
wang nam khieo
nakhon ratchasima
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think you have hit the nail on the head regarding different colours, different stats etc etc. It seems there was no plan at the time of release that a game system would follow, more like just a collection of figures.

Then the author of the rules got together with Zvezda and they produced this miss match. The rules are not coherent and the 2nd edition didn't really address the problem.

I have to say at this point I do like the game and have bought each expansion as it has come out. One problem with the game play is the amount of booking keeping involved, but JD has produced a turn sheet which helps out a lot and hopefully Zvezda will take that on board.

Going forward it will not get a big following until the rules are sorted out. The points values are standardized and all future releases are of the same colour.

It is down to the company as to whether this breaks into mainstream or dies a slow and painful death. If they can revamp it and get their act together I can see it being played a lot more.


1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bartosz Popow
Poland
Gdynia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Designer, Konstantin Krivenko, died a few days ago, so it also doesn't bode well for the support of the game.
 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Orion J.N. Winder
United States
Holly Hill
South Carolina
flag msg tools
ALL ACCESS - ALL THE TIME - DON'T EVEN ASK
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, that's really sad to hear. I knew nothing about him, or the history of the game. Wish I'd known more.

Perhaps he left enough notes, or ideas that maybe some fan or person here can take the ball and run with it. There seem to be some tremendously talented folks in our hobby that have helped out other games in the past.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I just wonder if maybe someone forgot to tell him his mission wasn't quite done here yet. soblue


I had a brief time now to read some interviews and obits about him, and I'm sure that he'll be sorely missed. Best wishes to his family, friends and Zvezda.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Customer Service
msg tools
publisher
mb
Thank you for your kind words. We are all very saddened by Konstantin's untimely passing.

I do want to assure you, however, that we have every intention of continuing to support his Art of Tactic line. We have a lot of exciting projects already in the works, including a bunch of new model kits. We also have Konstantin's hand-picked development team in Russia, and they have no plans to give up on the line yet.

So stay tuned, bigger and better things are on their way!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon Darlington
Canada
Ottawa
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
OrionDD wrote:
[/b]Do you believe that this will eventually shine, remain an obtuse or obscure mini-wannabee, or do a quick fade into oblivion such as the recent Arcane Legions or Axis & Allies mini/collectables (perhaps not so QUICK with A&A, but just as "toast" IMHO).

And what do you believe would be the best thing that could be done for this game from the company or fans of it, to make it shiny & polished and continue it's viability.

Lastly, would just using the minis with another set of rules be better? If so, which? (As I'm not very familiar with mini-WWII rules since Rocco Minitanks stopped being reasonable in my teens, used with Airfix men of course).

[/b]Would like to hear from folks of all persuasions on this, as I'm really feeling "in irons" at how I'm going to proceed from here with this game.


I've been swamped with work and other things so I didn't notice this post 'til now, but I'll offer my thoughts as I think these are good questions.

I don't have quite the same level of concern that you do with the game; I find the model quality pretty consistent and I'm not too concerned re. the changing unit costs (as a longtime GW player, I'm much happier to see Zvezda willing to revisit and revise these costs over time, than ignore balance issues altogether). Maybe better communication with the English-language players would help here; these revisions are discussed a lot on Zvezda's own Russian-language forum, but without some patience and Google Translate it's hard for the rest of us to keep up with these revisions and even what's coming down the road. Let's see how that evolves.

But there's no denying that language and presentation have been major liabilities in this game series. You had to really work sometimes to decipher intention or bridge gaps in the rules. I've been willing to do that, though, because I like the core game so much that I want to see the game endure and improve.

Language isn't the only issue either; I've been open with my concern about the balance between armour and other units, in particular the sheer impotence of infantry if armour doesn't need to enter terrain where it's vulnerable to assault.

I recently posted a summary of changes in the third-edition rules on the Battle for Moscow forum here on BGG, and I've highlighted the way they've taken a great stride in dealing with the language issue. I'm optimistic for the future of the system, and so I'll take a stab here at answering your perfectly valid questions.

a) Shine or fade away?
I'll take a moment to express my sorrow at the unfortunate passing of Konstantin Krevenko, the game's designer. I gather he really was a great guy and I wish I'd had a chance to meet him. When I first heard the news I'll admit I was also concerned for the future of this system; but I'm happy to hear that there's a working team that can carry the torch, so let's assume this one factor won't be an issue.

With that consideration out of the way, I don't think there's any concern about the system just fading away, and that's mostly because everything I read tells me that it has a very solid core market in Russia, and is supported by a very solid model-selling business of which the games are just one branch.

Regarding the English market, I think that the third-edition rules and Battle for Moscow are a big stride forward in fixing the core of the language problem. At very minimum this represents a recognition of the problem and what looks like a significant investment and commitment to starting to correct it.

What would really help the game find better footing in the English community? American forces, to appeal to an American market with a stronger sense of affinity for the forces in play. I think that one of the reasons the game is so popular in Russia is that it tells the Russians' own story of WW2 (oft-neglected by we Westerners). American forces might similarly benefit from a sense of identification in the U.S., even if that story is more familiar.

b) What's needed next?
Other than adding American forces as I described above (which won't do the trick all by itself), it wouldn't hurt to undergo a further graphic overhaul to match the modern standard set by Fantasy Flight. But that's a bit of a superficial ambition. I think the most important things are about the rules:

- another pass in the future for depth, to account for odd interactions and timing, and bring in some new abilities

- another pass for balance to offset the strength of armour with either higher point costs or restricted availability

I predict that even without an overhaul the second one will start to fix itself as the war's timeline moves forward and infantry AT capabilities come into play. This can also be addressed with scenario design, and I think that Zvezda has been doing this recently.

Notice that as you move from Barbarossa to Danube to Blitzkrieg, the allocation of forces for each side in scenarios has progressedfrom:

- "take these units and add X points of whatever you want", to
- "take these and add X poitns, but follow these guidelines in your selection" to
- "take exactly these units and put them THERE", which is also where we are with Battle for Moscow.

By giving both sides an explicit set of units to work with, you do move one step toward balance by keeping one side from buying "all tanks!". I think that starts to deal with some of the symptoms, if not the entire underlying balance issue (and this doesn't help revive the earlier scenarios).

I will slip in one more improvement which is "more scenarios!", and I see that Zvezda is posting scenarios for their various game systems on their Facebook page and website, so yay for that.

c) Use the minis with another rule set?
No. I mean, it's all preference, but I've played some of those other systems and I really prefer all the good features of Art of Tactic/WW2, especially order allocation, ammunition tracking, the variety of unit types and firepower, etc. etc. ... I'd rather run with AoT and find ways to bridge the remaining issues than leave it behind and play with another system I find less engaging and satisfying. It's a baby and bathwater type of thing.

I think that the AoT WW2 system is imperfect and in some respects unpolished, but has enormous potential... so I'd much rather we hashed out any issues in places like this and found community solutions where necessary, and help turn this into the game it can be.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Orion J.N. Winder
United States
Holly Hill
South Carolina
flag msg tools
ALL ACCESS - ALL THE TIME - DON'T EVEN ASK
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JDarlington wrote:
[q="OrionDD"][/b]Do you believe that this will eventually shine, remain an obtuse or obscure mini-wannabee, or do a quick fade into oblivion such as the recent Arcane Legions or Axis & Allies mini/collectables (perhaps not so QUICK with A&A, but just as "toast" IMHO).

...

I think that the AoT WW2 system is imperfect and in some respects unpolished, but has enormous potential... so I'd much rather we hashed out any issues in places like this and found community solutions where necessary, and help turn this into the game it can be.


I thank you for your thoughts and I think I'm pretty much in complete agreement with you. Really like to see the AoT boards catch some wind, and garner much more interest, support and ideas. I do really like the third edition rulebook, albeit the one I received gratis was sadly missing some interior pages, and I and my gaming buddy are waiting on replacement and then want to attack this system with full vigor.

In the interim I've made up one of your sets of counters, hoping that that will clarify some of the play on the board and have made all the models and stickered all the unit cards and units (also your contributions, excellent!)

BTW I wonder if perhaps some other "chits" might also be in order, such as DEPLOYED and WITHDRAWN, to make sure that units that required breakdown or setup for moving/use etc.

Got to run, will be back for a comment on your BfM 3rd ed rule notes later hopefully...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.