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Highway to the Reich (third edition)» Forums » General

Subject: First Try, Some Thoughts, & Problems rss

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Matt Irsik
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I was very excited about finally acquiring this game as lately I've been accumulating monster games for my eventual retirement (only 52, so I've got some time to go!), thinking that I'll have the time needed to play the campaign games. However, I am not a collector per se, so I do get the games, clip the counters, sort them, print and bind the latest rules, and try to learn how to play the games, even if it is only the smaller scenarios.

The DG version of the old SPI classic features beautiful new maps, several organizational charts to aid in set up/reinforcements, large combat/movement tables, and well over 2500 counters. I did get the errata counters, printed up the latest rules, and tried to make the changes on the org charts before playing. While clipping and sorting the stacks of counters I read the rules cover to cover a couple of times, but surely this is a game where you need to push some pieces to see how things work.



I chose the drop of the British 1st Airborne scenario for several reasons. First, who hasn't read or seen A Bridge Too Far? Second, the idea of seizing the Arnhem highway bridge is definitely one of the coolest things in wargaming (why else are there about a thousand Market Garden games?), and third, how can you resist not using red counters in any war-game! The set up is actually faster than you might think and the scenario is ready to play. The dropping procedure isn't that difficult and for the first drop there aren't many modifiers for weather, little to no AA on the board, etc.,, so in a few minutes the British are ready to advance. Here's where the first problems started...



Clearly, Frost is supposed to reach the bridge as he has special skills for his leader counter. Does the special movement ability apply every time he moves or only in certain phases of the turn? It's not very clear from the rules. Then, what exactly is Response Movement? It's noted in the Sequence of Play and mentioned in the Movement Phase section of the rules, but that's it. I interpreted it as you get your full movement point allowance, but can only move two hexes maximum if infantry and four if a vehicle. Why it doesn't just have its own section is beyond me. In fact, that's one of the main problems here with the rules. Items that should have their own section don't, so you're left flipping back and forth through the rules trying to find odds and ends to make things work.

Now what does work is the general concept of movement, units being in different modes, and combat. The combat system is most interesting as there really aren't retreats and/or advances. Rather, it is a series of brutal firefights that grind units down and force them to withdraw from the front lines. The scale of the units makes the game seem like massive amounts of tiny battles that are important in the grand scheme of things. Not many games have this feature, so it is an unique experience where truly small affairs can have larger consequences.



After playing the first day and starting the second day I gave up for now. There are night turns clearly marked on the turn record sheets, but what do they mean? Running a search of the latest rules pdf I came across ten parts of the rules that had to do with night. Here's a hint; they should all be in a rules section labeled "Night Turns"! I had so many questions about so many things that I decided to put the game away for now and move on to something else as I was becoming increasingly frustrated. I am determined to pull it out again and run through some more scenarios and as I stated above, I'm in this for the long haul and am not giving up on it.

So what is needed to make this into a great Market Garden game? One thing and one thing only; a complete rewrite of the rules. Better organization, explanation of the turn sequence, more examples, etc. Also, this is a game crying out for a playbook with a one or two turn example of play. The game has very good components, an interesting scale, the combat/close assault systems work, and it is an interesting topic. However, this is one of those games that where the whole time you're playing you really aren't sure if you're playing the game right, which isn't a great feeling. This also brings up the larger question of what have people been playing when they pull this game off the shelf? I could find very few of the questions I had in just one scenario brought up either here or on CSW. Were people just making up rules or doing whatever they wanted? I may not be the sharpest saw in the shed, but I've played a lot of games (and reviewed a dozen or so here on BGG) and I had some issues, so hopefully it wasn't just me. I was also playing this solo (can't get my group to play monster games!) and maybe what is needed is a few players who can help each other get through the rules. As it stands now, this is a great looking game in concept, but until the rules are addressed you need to expect to do a lot of work while playing.
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Greg Barker
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Thanks for the post. I have been looking at this game for quite some time and am very close to buying. But what I'm afraid of is that I will do the same thing you have done. Clip, print & binder. Then get frustrated and put it on the shelf. I'm 51 soon to be 52 and a disabled vet who plays wargames solitare. If it hasn't been for all the poor comments I would have already purchased. It needs a play book or some videos to walk you thru some of the turns.
 
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Matt Irsik
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I think what GMT is doing is showing the way with the examples of play in a playbook. Over the last year I've been playing Bloody April, The Supreme Commander, Dark Valley, and more, which all have great play books with a couple of turns played out. These are invaluable as you can sometimes see the effects of a rule or how things work where the rules were maybe a bit unclear.

I think that there is a good game somewhere in the HTTR2 box, but the rules are just dense and not gamer friendly. Games like Downtown, Proud Monster Deluxe, The Battle For Normandy, etc., all have some pretty thick rulebooks that go over quite a few details, but they're readable. You can go through them once and come out with a fair idea of how the game is played, then you refer back to the rules on your first play, then it gets easier. Not so much here. I kept running across rules I had been looking for in earlier turns and kept wondering why they weren't in their own section.
 
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Greg Barker
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I'm still struggling with Hurtgen.
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Scott Andrew
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Hi Everyone! (my first post)

I've had a subscription to S&T since Winter War issue #19 or maybe it was Borodino. I own (and have attempted) most of the monster games, and must admit that despite my experience and education level (MD)these HTTR2 rules have stymied me. To the designer, Joe Youst--please re-write them now. You owe us that. No one on these discussion boards is happy with them, and no one who paid good money for this potentially wonderful game should have to wait another week for understandable rules.

I am sure Joe is brilliant and that is why I don't understand why there is not a good re-write out there, and why there aren't many more clear examples of close assaults, for example. This seems crucial to the game.

Joe, where are you when we need you?



 
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David Gray
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Vailskier wrote:
Hi Everyone! (my first post)



I am sure Joe is brilliant and that is why I don't understand why there is not a good re-write out there, and why there aren't many more clear examples of close assaults, for example. This seems crucial to the game.

Joe, where are you when we need you?





Don't hold your breath. Joe promised a fix for Empires of the Middle Ages and he didn't deliver for years. Eventually a gamer provided the fix.
 
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Matt Irsik
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This is such a shame as the game deserves to be played, either with the individual scenarios or the full campaign as a lot of effort has clearly gone into its release. I think the basic systems work (movement and combat) and maybe those were the only things that were thoroughly play tested. Clearly the special rules were not, nor do I think they tried out all the things that gamers tend to do during games!

If you compare this to Proud Monster Deluxe and The Battle for Normandy, which are also monster games in this class, it fares well in terms of components, but not in terms of rules. With the other two games you can at least get into the games after reading the rules, work through any problems, plus the designers and gamers on BGG and CSW are very helpful. That is definitely what is missing here.
 
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Joseph Youst
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Have any of you tried Mike Junkin's rewrite of my 3rd ed. rules? They are actually clearer and more helpful. I will get around to this series again for another game in the series. Will need help when we do the rewrite.
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norman harman
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Were would one find this Mike Junkin's rewrite of 3rd Ed Rules?

My friend and I have been prepping for campaign game (i.e. deciphering rules, test combats, etc.). This is really a neat system. That makes sense once you've made sense out of it. But it is large with lots of exceptions all over.
 
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Scott Andrew
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Where does one get Mike Junkin's rules?
 
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Matt Irsik
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Vailskier wrote:
Where does one get Mike Junkin's rules?


Has anyone ever seen this rewrite of the rules? I really don't want to give up on this game, but despite a lot of hints about a reworked version, I haven't seen one posted.
 
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Greg Barker
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Its is posted on the CSW forum.
 
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Tom Pratuch
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There are two reworked pieces at http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX/.1dd14dbe
Mark Reilly's is the file HIGHWAY TO THE REICH.docx
Then there is the Version 3.0 rewrite to DG's original rules HTTR3.0.doc
And you will want the MR HTTR Play Aid.docx at the same link.
These are recent updates. There's possibly another one but I haven't found it. Trust this helps.
 
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