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Combat Leader: East Front '41» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review of Game with Advanced & Optional Rules rss

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A.T. Selvaggio
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Webster
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I played the second scenario today with the advanced and optional rules provided in the rulebook. I had a blast playing the second scenario and I think the optional rules enhanced the experience. I will rank these rules in the order of impact and importance on gameplay.

1. Hesitation (Halt) - I think this rule is an absolute must, particularly for the solo player. This rule is used in the Retro rules too and basically provides an AI substitute for opportunity fire. Essentially, the rule requires a moving solider, or group of soldiers, to make a hesitation die roll when they enter into a clear hex in the range and los of an enemy unit. 1-5 they succeed, 6 they fail and must stay in the hex of origin and end their activation. There are modifiers which impact this die roll, like having a leader with you (-1) or the enemy is two hexes or less away (+1). Other DRMs relate to the morale of the soldiers moving and whether the enemy has an LMG. This rule is an absolute must and I will always play with it.

2. Desperation Rally - You only get to rally in this game when a rally phase is triggered by an initiative die roll. This adds a lot of tension and your units may never get a chance to rally. This optional rule allows you the opportunity to rally at your choice, but there are risks involved. If your soldier did not otherwise rout or attempt a rally this turn then you can choose to make a desperation rally attempt. If you succeed, you are restored, but if you fail the roll you are KIA! I enjoyed this rule. I tried it once during my game with a leader who had a morale rating of 5. All I needed to do was roll a 5 or less to rally him. Yep, I rolled a 6 and lost my leader! Ouch. I will likely always play with this rule.

3. Rout - Allows you to rout a pinned unit in a clear hex to the nearest adjacent woods or building hex. I like this because your pinned unit may otherwise just sit there in the open.

4. Solo Morale - This provides a -1 modifier to the morale rating of a unit that is alone in a hex. I will likely use this, but somewhat indifferent on it.

5. Jamming - this provides that a weapon has the potential to be jammed when an ace is pulled during firing. There are die rolls based on the type of weapon and there are options to repair. I will likely use this, but it won't come up often. Did not come up in my game.

6. Dig In - This allows a unit to gain additional cover by digging in instead of moving or firing. Essentially, any spade card drawn becomes a miss against a dug in unit. I like it.

7. Mixed Actions - This allows units stacked with a leader or an AL to carry out different actions when their hex is activated. This further enhances the importance of leaders and would allow more diverse tactics. I must say, however, that I rarely found a need for this rule and I did not employ it during my game. Perhaps it will grow in significance.

8. Fire Penetration - This rule allows LMG fire to impact multiple hexes. Essentially, this rule provides a firing lane rule. It also covers machine pistols (although their firing range is limited to impact a total of 6 men, whereas the LMG can impact up to 12 men in the lane). I don't think I will use this one, but perhaps I will change my mind.

Summary
Overall, I like the optional rules and you can easily mix and match them to your liking. They add an additional depth of excitement and realism. The hesitation rule and the desperation rally rule are my two favorites by far. I really enjoyed the second scenario. I failed to mention this in my original review of the base game, but each of the six scenarios comes with variant rules to change play. This adds to replayability.

I was somewhat surprised as I watched Marco's review of the game that he did not like this more. I really think this game is a treasure for those interested in a fun, fast and "serious" tactical WWII man to man game. I am hoping it will continue to find traction because there is something special here. Marco seemed to dislike the fire resolution phase of drawing a card and then rolling on the casualty chart. I actually love this part of the system. I don't know why, but I love the card mechanism and then having a second level of tension to see if your accurate fire actually causes casualties. If you get a KIA? result on the casualty chart, then you actually need to take a third step to see if you cause a pin or KIA result. The die roll for this is impacted by the terrain in which the target unit resides. The better the cover, the less likely for a KIA result. This makes great sense and I love the multiple levels of tension. This may sound like a lot of work, but it is really easy to resolve and there are just so few units involved that this is a breeze.

I continue to recommend this game for those looking for a fun, engaging and "realistic" tactical WWII combat system. You can set up and play a scenario in less than 1 hour. It is a real gem!
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Dundy O
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This review helped me not to begin being disappointed before my copy even arrived. I watched Marco review also and started holding my breath. Marco is always a very fair reviewer who enjoys divergent styles in the war-gaming genre.

Still, it may come down to taste. He certainly didn't bash the game. I'll hope I enjoy it.
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Marco Arnaudo
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I am glad if others enjoy the game, I just wanted to explain why I personally did not fall in love with it.

As for multiple checks to resolve combat, there are many games where I do not mind it and actually like it - for example, when it is done to resolve combat against tanks (Panzer, Stalin's Tanks, etc) to represent how different sections of a tank are armored differently.

In Combat Leader, I think you'd save time and have a more immersive procedure if the casualty result was incorporated in the accuracy table. For example, if the possible results on the accuracy table were:

- * pinned(3, 4, 5, 6) KIA? KIA

this way you'd need to roll a die (or draw a second card) only on a KIA? result.
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A.T. Selvaggio
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Webster
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marnaudo wrote:
I am glad if others enjoy the game, I just wanted to explain why I personally did not fall in love with it.

As for multiple checks to resolve combat, there are many games where I do not mind it and actually like it - for example, when it is done to resolve combat against tanks (Panzer, Stalin's Tanks, etc) to represent how different sections of a tank are armored differently.

In Combat Leader, I think you'd save time and have a more immersive procedure if the casualty result was incorporated in the accuracy table. For example, if the possible results on the accuracy table were:

- * pinned(3, 4, 5, 6) KIA? KIA

this way you'd need to roll a die (or draw a second card) only on a KIA? result.


Thanks for giving attention to this game and for chiming in here. I was thankful for your review and felt you were very fair in your critique. Hopefully, our divergent views will be useful to the community and a reminder that people have different tastes in gaming and that is ok!
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