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Subject: Still completely missing the point... rss

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Ben Smith
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Hi guys,

OK, I started the first Subron mini-campaign and so far I'm half-way through. For this campaign it appears the best strategy is just to send everything to the Coral Sea and just cycle subs between there and Brissy. Other than a rare Ultra table result, I can't see any reason to venture beyond Coral Sea. At least when subs get RTB they do not need to roll for Transit Events.

This game still feels like a crap-shoot, I thought that maybe there was less luck and more decisions with this campaign but it still feels static to me. Draw chits, choose anything with a red circle, roll a 0,1 or maybe 2 to hit, roll for Endurance, return to base for refit.. repeat. The decision space is minimal, the only thing I can see to possibly get a higher score is to play the campaign multiple times until your luck improves.

What am I missing? Why is it people rate this game so highly? I give it a 10 for presentation and research and a 1 for gameplay.
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Michael Barlow
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It's an accurate historical simulation. It isn't meant to be a casual game. There isn't meant to be an easy way to play it.

The American sub fleet had a hard go of it in early WWII.

I suppose if you want more of an arcade game feel, start in 1944, when your torpdoes have more umph.
 
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Ben Smith
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I see your point, but I feel that because there are so few decisions the game could be made into a spreadsheet with virtually no AI and still produce the same outcome as a human player in 3 seconds.
For me at least, this game makes Down In Flames look like chess
 
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Mark Christopher
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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I've been thinking about getting this game. Is this a good description of the play? Is there more decision-making than this?
 
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Ben Smith
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markus_kt wrote:
I've been thinking about getting this game. Is this a good description of the play? Is there more decision-making than this?


For me it's not a game but entirely a simulation, the decisions are very railroaded.
It's only my personal opinion, everyone else appears to be enjoying Silent War so don't let me stop you giving it a try.

Ben
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Stephen Jackson
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You may want to check the Silent War forum on Consimworld. There are a lot more Silent War players there who can answer your questions.

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@60.i21gcmW2r6F.14524560@...
 
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Mark Christopher
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Skagerrak wrote:
You may want to check the Silent War forum on Consimworld. There are a lot more Silent War players there who can answer your questions.

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@60.i21gcmW2r6F.14524560@...

Good point. I go to CSW for other gaming needs, I don't know why I didn't think of it for Silent War. Thanks!
 
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Stephen Jackson
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I guess Ben didn't try Consimworld...
 
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Mark Christopher
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FWIW, after reading up on the game on CSW, I'm looking for a copy of the game. The online retailers I've tried all seem to be sold out.
 
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Christopher Schall
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I'm one of those who really enjoys this game/sim. I am playing the full campaign while keeping stats which enables me to view such things as:

-current sub leaders in tonnage sunk, numbers/types of ships sunk
-losses to subs and the causes (ie: how many to diligent escorts, etc)
-wolfpack OOB and successes (or not)
-capital ships sunk/damaged

I am into March of 44 and have not gotten bored with it. The change in war Periods, number and types of boats deploying and torpedo values all keep the game fresh and challenging for me.

I do find that using Vassal (or Cyberboard) is the only way I could possibly play a large campaign. Plus, I am able to easily transfer my current game and spreadsheet to my laptop to play on the road.
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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If this game is anything like B-17: Queen of the Skies-- where you play the crew of a B-17 trying to survive missions over Germany-- then I understand your point. You go someplace (a target city) to do something (bomb it) and run through the tables to see what happened. Repeat for the trip home. No a lot of decision-making there. Even when bounced by enemy aircraft, you're simply hoping to drive them off (with good dice) before they do something bad to you. That's the fun.

It made sense as a simulation because that's what bomber crews did: they flew to a target and hoped for the best. Their target was assigned and so was their route so there's no real room for individual initiative.

The most fun I've heard folks having with B-17' was when they flew box-missions with other players who also had copies of the game. You're all doing the same thing together, but when you're bounced, you can support each other and rotate aircraft between the various positions in the box to protect the damaged planes. It was still a solitaire game, but at least you had a few decisions and could commiserate with fellow players, wave good-bye as your bomber fell out of formation, or rejoice on a happy return.

Anyway, I can see Silent War's value if it gives a good narrative of what real sub missions in the Pacific were like. But if that narrative is told by rolling against a bunch of tables *shrug* well, that's how it does it and it's a soliatire game for a reason. I dunno.
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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markus_kt wrote:
FWIW, after reading up on the game on CSW, I'm looking for a copy of the game. The online retailers I've tried all seem to be sold out.


In case you can't get it, Steal Wolves its successor will be put same time next year (I actually wait as I am more interested in this theatre).
 
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Yiu Fai Adrian Lui
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I have a punched copy of Silent War. I have never played it and I can sell it to you. The game is in Toronto. If you are interested you can contact me.
 
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Mark Christopher
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Harae wrote:
markus_kt wrote:
FWIW, after reading up on the game on CSW, I'm looking for a copy of the game. The online retailers I've tried all seem to be sold out.


In case you can't get it, Steal Wolves its successor will be put same time next year (I actually wait as I am more interested in this theatre).


Thank you. Yah, I saw this and am very interested in it, but am also impatient. If I can't get a copy of SiW (though I did see they're selling it on the Compass Games site, so now I'm hoping to get it for less than US$75 + shipping), I'll pre-order StW. Otherwise, I'll wait and see how much I like the system before pre-ordering StW.
 
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Christopher Schall
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SW availability
Look at this site. http://yhst-12000246778232.stores.yahoo.net/compassgames.htm...

 
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Mark Christopher
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Airborne wrote:

Cool, thanks for the lead!
 
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Jon Gautier

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Hey Ben, just saw this and wanted to say that I agree with your assessment from my (admittedly) limited play of the game. While I think SW is a very impressive effort, it does not appeal to me as a game because I don’t find the game decisions very interesting. I can see why people like it, however.

According to the design notes, the game has been finely tuned to give historically accurate levels of tonnage sunk and subs lost. So what you get seems to be almost what you would get out of an interactive book. You get to watch the Pacific sub war unfold before your very eyes (as you roll the dice thousands of times). So as a simulation, SW does an incredible job of recreating the overall results of the Pacific sub war.

But while SW is an incredible (and impressive) model and simulation, the actual game play appears to be 10% decisions and 90% die rolling just to see what happens. Send a sub out, roll a die for transit event. Get to patrol area, roll on the contact table. Pick chits out of a cup. Pick your target; roll the die a couple of more times. Try to run away. Roll again. Repeat process for 20, 30 , 40 or 50 more subs. Move on to the next week. Repeat. For 4 years.

The decisions neither excited nor interested me. The main ones revolve around where to send your subs. Different patrol areas have different levels and types of traffic during different periods of the war. But you can tell by looking at the tables where you are likely to find lots of shipping and easy targets at any given time. Send your good subs there. The other important decisions involve where to refit your subs so that you have the most number of subs on patrol at all times. Hint: Pearl fixes more subs faster than Dutch Harbor. Tactically, you have choices about what ships to shoot at and how many torps to launch. Those choices seem fairly clear most of the time.

For me it is not very interesting to be the die roller in what amounts to an interactive timeline/flowchart--no matter how interesting the narrative is. But some people love this kind of thing—games where you essentially watch events unfold (Strat-O-Matic baseball comes to mind—friends of mine used to play out whole seasons).

If you like SW here’s how I think you would see it: "Oh man, I sent the Sailfish out into the Phillipines and she just missed getting lost at sea but then spotted and sank an 8k maru right off the bat. Then she was damaged by depth charging from a nearby destroyer and was just able to limp back to Fremantle where the repairs took longer than expected." Exciting narrative.

For me, that would be: "Sailfish rolled a "7" on the transit table (would have sunk on a "9"), rolled for a convoy on the chart, pulled a maru and a destroyer out of the cup, made the hit roll on the maru, rolled to sink it, honked the escape roll and the damage roll, made the return transit roll and honked the repair roll." Dull die rolling exercise.
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Matt Rider
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I think Jon has it nailed
Just my two penn'orth:

I am one month into the full campaign, including the Dutch and (eventually) Royal Navy subs... and I think Jon has it absolutely right...

I am definitely one of the former examples - I roll the dice and play out the story in my head... I am also (sadly) keeping track of each sub's progress via Excel on my laptop - but then I just love stats and hostorical simulations. Sad but true...

It remains to be seen if I get bored of this however, as I do feel that the right decisions to make are fairly limited - I guess you can play with risk as to how far you put your subs 'up' the TDC chart, but where to send the subs is fairly straightforward.

My favourite PC game of all time is the Hearts of Iron series by paradox. it has the same hugely-researched and detailed engine but the decisions you can make right off the bat can alter the entire history of the world... I would of liked Silent War to have this too - perhaps if we had been able to decide on whether to research Gato class subs or not, which subs to build, how many and when etc.

Still - for the moment I am really enjoying it - the early torpedoes make it damn hard and there is a genuine delight when I sink a big ship because of this...

Matt
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