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Bitter Woods: Designer Edition» Forums » General

Subject: First (Partial) Play Through - First Impressions rss

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Jeff Smith
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Bel Air
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I just got this for Christmas and finally got it to the table yesterday. This is actually my first Bulge game, not counting squad level games or entire West Front games that touch on the subject. I decided to choose this one because it seemed to be a good balance between being low complexity/low unit density while still providing an accurate portrayal of the battle. Also, it didn't hurt that this game was in print and on sale at the time.

My first impressions:

I love the map. Sure, I'd prefer a mounted board, but I'm fine with throwingthis under the plexiglass. The map looks great while not being distracting. I especially like that it shows set-up locations which makes the prep time a little easier.

The counters are nice and clear. It would have been nice to have the entry turn printed on them, but I understand why they didn't do this (the game comes with quite a few scenarios some of which have different starting positions)

My only complaint with the counters is that they were not cut very well. This was true, and even worse, for my copy of D-D at Omaha Beach. I ended uphaving to use an exacto knife and still had a lot of fuzzy corners (again,much worse in DDay). Maybe I'll clip them at some point. Maybe not...

The rules are very straightforward, which is great. The mechanics are prettystandard and the chrome is minimal so it was pretty easy to get up andplaying. There are plenty of optional rules available as well which I maylikely add at some point. I especially like the rules for flanking and bombardment.

I got the game set up in about 30 minutes, not too bad. As usually I spent some time looking things up in the rules. The main thing I had to check a few times were the special rules for the first turn. The player aid has a good bit of info on it, but surprisingly does not include an explaination ofthe CRT results. Some are straightforward (1D3 or DE) but a few others I had to look up (CA, EN). I am sure I'll learn them all by heart after a few more turns.


I like the way this game plays! Things move along pretty quickly. The unit count feels just right. Supply rules are pretty easy, combat is fast to resolve, and lots of choices to makes.

Unfortunately, I did a terrible job handling the allies! By December 17 pm Bastone had been captured and I there was a German mech unit across the Meuse River. My biggest mistakes were not retreating to towns and forgetting to start blowing some bridges on the morning of the 17th.

I am going to reset and start over now that I have learned a few valuable lessons and have a better sense of how quickly a breakthrough can occur if the various key road junctions are not protected.

So my first impression is that this one is a keeper and with so many different scenarios and rules options I think it will hold my interest for quite some time.
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Tom Swider
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Be sure that the set-up includes the blown bridges. That was my rookie error first time out.
 
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Jeff Smith
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tswider wrote:
Be sure that the set-up includes the blown bridges. That was my rookie error first time out.
whoops! I sure did forget them. Thanks for the reminder.
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Jeff Smith
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Played again this evening and things went much better for the Allies (those blown bridges sure helped!) Here is the situation as the sun begins to rise on December 18th.


 
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Jeff Smith
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The sun is about to rise on December 19, although with all the fog you can'treally see it. Here is the situation. Bastogne is under siege and the Airborne are still riding in trucks to reinforce the area. A few German armor units are probing west to about the middle of the map.



Meanwhile a stalemate is beginning in the Northeast area.


I learned a few more lessons the hard way, such as make sure your armor in the woods have a road to retreat on if needed. Also, for the Germans, be careful with those rockets. A defense value of 1 makes them very vulnerable to a counter attack if they are not stacks with a reasonably strong unit or two.
 
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Jeff Smith
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No pictures but the game ended on December 22 when the Germans won by getting 6 units across the Meuse and exiting the map (while also controlling the three required towns).

I need to work on my defensive strategies! Either that or I'm a military genius who would have made Hitler proud.

Yeah, probably the first one.

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Randy Heller
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Thank you very much for your contributions, Jeff. Once you gain some experience under your belt, you will discover the Allies have the edge:

Campaign Game and 6 turn tournament scenario - 60/40.

8 turn tournament scenario - 55/45 (about the same as Afrika Korps).

I think that's about the best you can do with an historical board wargame design, unless one wants to return to playing chess.
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Neftali Silva
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Mendoza
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Randy Heller wrote:

I think that's about the best you can do with an historical board wargame design, unless one wants to return to playing chess.


That's actually the best reply I ve seen to ppl like me who is always complaining about unbalance. It made think.
 
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