Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 Hide
14 Posts

Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion» Forums » General

Subject: Initial impressions rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris McDonald
United States
Louisville
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
My initial impressions, having received this Friday and since played scenario 1 and 2 once each and scenario 4 twice. I skipped 3 due to the large playing area (4 boards).

Overall
Once you get the hang of it, the system is fast and smooth, and has kept me up past my bedtime with a "one more turn" feeling that reminds me of Sid Meier's Civilization days.

Scenarios
Scenario 1 and 2 are a bit weak in my opinion, the latter especially since all of your units start hidden and the AI has no mechanism for accounting for these hidden threats.

Scenario 4, on the other hand, is fun and challenging. I recommend that anyone already familiar with the Conflict of Heroes system jump right to scenario 4. It's quite small, however (5 units on the German side), so the outcome can turn on a single lucky/unlucky roll.

I'm looking forward to trying some of the larger scenarios that smooth out this variance.

Comparison to the core Conflict of Heroes system
The card-based AP system is fun and works well. However it is more chaotic and allows for less strategic decision-making than the core game system. I understand why this was done - giving the AI the capacity to plan its moves in the base game system would be much harder. However I am not one of those who plans to use this system in non-solitaire play.

Comparison to Enemy Action: Ardennes
The AI here is much more sophisticated than a "States of Siege" type card-flipping game, but less so than the current gold standard, Enemey Action: Ardennes. It also has ambiguities to it that the latter lacks, which will hopefully be smoothed out over time with FAQs (I don't consider 'rule 42' an adequate substitute - if I wanted to make up my own solitaire rules I wouldn't have paid $45 for these).

However it requires much less brainpower to absorb and implement the rules than Enemy Action: Ardennes, comes with a wider array of scenarios, and take less time to play. So I think it will a lot more time on my table although I consider EA:A the better game in the abstract.
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Danick Cloutier
Canada
St-Fabien
Québec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hello,
may I ask if you were playing the firefights at the "easier difficulty"?
Have you used the "unit remain fresh"(the green check) optional rule?

Thank you very much, sir.

Note: I dont have the game yet.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lewis Karl
United States
Vienna
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My impressions were a bit different.

I thought firefight 2 was great fun. I don't expect tank units that have been ordered to destroy supply wagons to worry too much about possible hidden infantry in the town. Yeah, they could waste time firing into buildings to see if a hidden units are present (its the only other option besides moving towards). That's not necessary though (or wise) as they simply need to start moving towards their targets.

Rule 42 never HAS to be invoked. If there are multiple choices for a particular decision it is recommended to make a random decision.

Don't know how EAA got to be "the gold standard". Maybe because it requires an ounce of gold to meet the purchase price. I now officially proclaim CoH Solo to be the gold standard.
6 
 Thumb up
5.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Lederer
United States
Farmington Hills
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My question is whether this is really 'better' than playing solo COH using the included solo rules (I use the nice flowchart version that a fellow BGGer created). I've found that to be very entertaining, and doesn't require a lot of complex counting and checking to figure out what move the AI is going to take every turn (and interpreting what was intended on the cards and how to handle edge cases that this solo product appears to entail).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
Avatar
Microbadge: Detective: City of Angels fanMicrobadge: Level 10 BGG posterMicrobadge: Everdell fanMicrobadge: I play with blue!Microbadge: Terraforming Mars fan
LongTom wrote:
My question is whether this is really 'better' than playing solo COH using the included solo rules (I use the nice flowchart version that a fellow BGGer created). I've found that to be very entertaining, and doesn't require a lot of complex counting and checking to figure out what move the AI is going to take every turn (and interpreting what was intended on the cards and how to handle edge cases that this solo product appears to entail).
It appears your impression of the solitaire expansion is that it's problematic or more trouble than it's worth. Like any game, there were some initial questions, but there've been no show stoppers here. I have to think you're also reading the glowing reports about how excellent this is. So, my answer is Yes, it is worth it.

If you enjoy CoH, I don't think you're risking much by getting a copy and trying out. I'd be very, very surprised if you decided to go back to your current system.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Kossits
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LongTom wrote:
(I use the nice flowchart version that a fellow BGGer created).
Could you point me to that if you have a second? I took a look through the file section of CoH and it didn't jump out at me.

I thought playing normal CoH solo was absolutely horrible. You're switching sides every 2 seconds and have a hand of cards to manage for the other side. I could never get into it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Bosmans
Belgium
Mechelen
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think the OP's conclusions are MUCH too soon to be considered valid.

One play of scenario one and two ? You are kidding me. You can play these scenarios 4 times and each time you will see different fights...

I think you need at least 4 or 5 sessions to get the hang of the card system too.

This is PROVEN by his remarks on rule 42 which almost NEVER sees the light in the normal scenarios. It simply shows you are still making errors en mass...

I played 23 gaming sessions now and it appears that since my 8th/9th play the cards are being played without problems or conflicting rules at all.

Now ... of course this counts for all games: you hardly play them for 3 days and everyone has an opinion already with all consquences.

----

The second remark of having no long term strategy is ridiculous.

My replay of scenario 3 proved that the story telling and advanced planning is needed and brings a lot to the table.

----
Conclusion, play more games and you will see this system beats any solo wargame at the moment for its ease of play AND replayability, even in very small scale firefights.

Review value 5/10. Sorry.


Edit : I know very well Ambush and the DDay series and while they are both great games in my top 20 too, CoH solo expansion beats them on 3 rather important facts:

- smooth play
- fast play
- replayability

all this with a lot of military hardware involved too.

Now I love the fiddly mechanics of Butterfield too, but CoH will get played a lot more than those other games because the dynamics are faster and less fiddly, without compensating too much in play and different hardware.

I am just starting the Firefight creator too (over a week) and I came to create 2 incredible hard scenarios for the player side. And just like any other game I needed to invest a lot more time to make that Firefight generator work.

It is from these moments you come to realise this system is not a draw card and apply result scheme, actually it is far more dynamic than anything I have seen in 37 years of solo wargaming.

Yep, that includes Ambush too.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris McDonald
United States
Louisville
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Ignoring the one very rude reply:

Danick: My impression was that the 'green check' is the default rule and not using it is a harder variant. I 'switched off' the green check part way through scenario 2, but then switched back to using it in scenario 4.

Lewis: The other option (and what I would expect human opponents to do) is for the tanks to sit back and blast the wagons at range. The german then has to expose his units (either to fire smoke or to attack the tanks or both).

I would argue that the rules as written have some ambiguities that require either answers from the designers or 'rule 42' type arbitration by the player. However so far the designers have been very responsive to rules questions, so as I said, I'm optimistic that this will all be sorted out.

Obviously the gold standard is a matter of opinion, but EA:A has by far the cleverest and most nail-biting 'AI' opponent I've encountered. This statement can be laden with many caveats of course. e.g. it is tailored to one precise context, whereas Conflict of Heroes is aiming for a general-purpose AI for a variety of scenarios.

As for price, eh, Awakening the Bear + Solo expansion is not that far off from EA:A ($125 vs. $145 retail)
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Bosmans
Belgium
Mechelen
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The more you think you need Rule 42 with the basic scenarios, the more it shows you play some rules complete wrong.

I helped answering many rules questioning in here and I didn't see any questions that couldn't be answered btw by simply referring to the rules.

That's a fact and isn't a rude remark.

Now going into details:

As for scenario 2,... I wonder if you used vehicule movement in the right way, because these tanks tend to pass your hidden infantry with speedy turns. Many cards indicate the Mission Objective as a FIRST objective. If it is mentioned FIRST on the card, the Tanks will simply pass your entrenched infantry going closer to their mission objective: the WAGONS.

To stimulate this bypassing in this scenario they even included a mission order: "move towards wagon".

The problem is that these tanks drive past your ducked Infantry unexpectedly - multiple hex moves - and there you sit with wrong angles.

The scenario 2 is also built that your tactics of "sit and shoot at a distance" wouldn't make sense since the opposite player would use smoke to hide the wagons.

So the tanks HAVE to come in at close range even for a normal player.

The fact you played both scenarios ONCE and came to a conclusion is odd.

Everyone mentioned these scenarios play differently each time you play them, apparently you are the only one that differs.

The more you will play, the better you will see you just came to conclusions too rapidly. Just like the play of a Butterfield game the first times are always ridden with player errors.

Your love for Enemy Ardennes is great. Ok, but the games have a complete different goal. One is a general system, the other is a specific battle.





 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Fitz
United States
Georgia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your impressions. I appreciate them!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gator Skin
United States
Evanston
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Chris's initial impressions (emphasis on initial!) line up pretty closely to what mine were. With more time, I have found the Solo Expansion to be pretty darn great, though a bit overloaded with special rules in the latter scenarios.

The Firefighter Generator, while also great fun, I've had more trouble with. Unless I'm missing some features (always possible!), there are a few things the AI just can't grok. Random example: the AI cards will send an AI out of a bunker to go do something when it would probably have been better to stay in that bunker for future defense purposes.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lewis Karl
United States
Vienna
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I also thought that Firefight 2 initial impressions did not jibe with my initial impressions.

In fact, in my first play of this FF, I was sh*tin' bricks as those tanks came on much faster than I expected or hoped for. If they had hung back and waited to fire at long distance, as suggested as an alternative AI strategy, I would easily have won this scenario. Instead while I think I won (can't exactly recall now), it was a hard fought win.

I thought the AI played out very well in this FF, as it was very much like playing a real opponent, but one that makes quick decisions (thank the gods). In fact, this rapid response is very satisfying to my style of play. But that can be said for the AI, in general. There's enough variability in the different order cards, the counteractions and mission orders that the AI simulates a real opponent so much better than other solo games I've played.

This is the model by which all other solo war games will now be judged.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Bosmans
Belgium
Mechelen
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gatorskin wrote:
Chris's initial impressions (emphasis on initial!) line up pretty closely to what mine were. With more time, I have found the Solo Expansion to be pretty darn great, though a bit overloaded with special rules in the latter scenarios.

The Firefighter Generator, while also great fun, I've had more trouble with. Unless I'm missing some features (always possible!), there are a few things the AI just can't grok. Random example: the AI cards will send an AI out of a bunker to go do something when it would probably have been better to stay in that bunker for future defense purposes.
In both cases I agree with your remarks. The fixed scenarios are simply better the more you play them as their replayability is almost endless.

Each fight will have a lot of variety due to the random card draw and resulting strategy used.

And indeed the progression and overload through these scenarios is sometimes too fast even. A few more simple scenarios would have been welcome.

---

The Firefighter Generator is a complete different beast though. I think it works great for competitive 2 player games, but as a solo tool it acts more like a labo to experiment with.

I have been experimenting with it for 8 days now and I think 1 out of 3/4 try outs it creates an open and challenging fight.

But the possibilities in the Generator are more limited to what an AI can do as this is something no one has done before.

---- > You could compare it with buying a kind of Ambush scenario generator, which is quite awesome, when it works.

The advantage of the Generator is that you simply add more "own" scenarios to the existent Missions in the standard solo book.

And frankly that's awesome too, even when 75% of the other created ones can be ignored once finished.

I think the Generator is more useful for the 2 player game and will be limited as a great tool for the hardcore solo fans.





1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris McDonald
United States
Louisville
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Continued impressions:

I managed to squeeze scenario 3 onto the table and am part way through a playthrough. It's a doozy, definitely the coolest scenario I've played yet. You have to think carefully about how to outflank the Soviet armor and how to reveal REs (which might prove to be a very dangerous KV1) without getting your units killed. With the high hills in the rear and forests in the front of the battle there is a mix of long lines of sight and in-your-face duels.

I don't think it's totally clear how the REs are supposed to do their 2 hex moves, but I'm winging it.

The AI command action cards are brutal, and definitely the biggest advantage the AI gets. One of my Panzer IVs 'snuck up' on a spent T-26 from behind, and ate 2 shots to the face from out-of-arc shots before I was able to finish off the enemy, one of which had an additional +1 bonus from CAP. I was lucky to get away with light damage. In a normal game this would have cost my opponent 15 CAPs.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls