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Subject: Too similar to Ottoman Sunset? rss

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Steve Shockley
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I'm playing a lot of Ottoman Sunset lately, as it's quick enough that I can set up and get in a game after putting my two year old to bed.

I'm looking to get another SoS game. I am leaning towards either Empires in America or Hapsburg Eclipse. Empires looks like it will provide variety; Hapsburg looks quite similar to Ottoman Sunset. However, my understanding is that Empires is a longer and slightly more complex game, which could make it harder to get to the table. On the other hand, I'm afraid that owning Ottoman would make owning Hapsburg Eclipse redundant (by the way, I own the older edition of Ottoman; I'm not sure how this affects the compatibility with Hapsburg).

So, to put it more economically - how similar are they? Should I get Hapsburg if I already have (the older edition of) Ottoman Sunset?

Thanks !

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Wes Erni
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They are indeed "fraternal twins" and were actively designed to "mate" together in a Combined game, but there are significant differences in some of the gameplay problems. Ottoman Sunset's cut and dried, live or die "Forcing of the Narrows" is replaced by an Ethnic Display that tracks loyalties -- it is not as dramatic, but a far more involved, and nuanced game long problem (although less luck-based, you CAN die from failure there).

There is considerably more "unevenness" to the game to play with. Where OS has only the Gaza line as a potential strongpoint, HE has similar constructs arriving early at two vital locations. In addition, the player starts with another strongpoint that requires considerable tactical decision-making to exploit (the other positions are admittedly tactically "easy"). More fronts can leave the game in HE, and it is more up to the player to accomplish those feats (although with great luck two fronts can disappear early on their own).

Although structured almost identically, the Hapsburgs have more "staying power, and the player has more "discretionary" forces in HE. I am not saying its easier (that Loyalty track soaks up many action points), but the player has a bit more to play with.

As OS, HE offers a great deal of historically interesting text. I personally objected a bit to the unsavory Ottomans being painted in the best light, while the far more noble Hapsburgs (or at least the Austrians) are continually seen as the "bumbling little brother", but that is just my personal biases seeping through and in no way reflect on the gameplay (and the Hapsburgs often DID deserve the bumbling label).

I have always wanted to play the OS/HE Combined game (co-op, no interest in doing it solo) -- but I have no idea if that would interest you. If you like your games to each "scratch a different itch", I probably wouldn't recommend having both OS and HE -- but if you like that structure (I do), Hapsburg Eclipse is worthy addition.
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Gordon J
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HE has a few other dials to play with that you don't have in OS, like trying to control the internal ethnic revolts, which I found to be interesting. I haven't combined the two games, because it's really a superficial combination in my opinion. But what I do is play them side-by-side and just see which empire can hold out the longest.
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Mayor Jim
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Well, I like them both HE and EiA. HE is similiar, but plays differently than OS in that it's the same time period but more decision making...and they can be linked. EiA is thematically different and places more emphasis on managing your leaders. Both are excellent additions to one's SOS library.
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Steve Shockley
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Thanks guys, those were the sorts of comments I was hoping for. I mostly just want to gauge the extent to which Hapsburg Eclipse is its own game, and it sounds like it has some unique mechanisms that impart a different feel.

I still really want EiA, particularly because its subject matter interests me. I just don't know if I have the stamina for a longer, more involved game, since by the time I'm sitting down to play these days it's usually around midnight. I own Cruel Necessity, but that one's pretty involved and I sadly have only logged a single play in the year I've had it. Time constraints really make games like Ottoman Sunset and Hapsburg Eclipse appealing to me.
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Dave Daffin
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Magnus Maximus wrote:
Thanks guys, those were the sorts of comments I was hoping for. I mostly just want to gauge the extent to which Hapsburg Eclipse is its own game, and it sounds like it has some unique mechanisms that impart a different feel.

I still really want EiA, particularly because its subject matter interests me. I just don't know if I have the stamina for a longer, more involved game, since by the time I'm sitting down to play these days it's usually around midnight. I own Cruel Necessity, but that one's pretty involved and I sadly have only logged a single play in the year I've had it. Time constraints really make games like Ottoman Sunset and Hapsburg Eclipse appealing to me.


You can play one civil war in Cruel Necessity in about 45-60 minutes, about the time it takes to play some Ottoman Sunset games.....

You can record the board state after playing through one civil war so that you can set up and carry on with the next part of the civil war next time...

Back to the original question, Hapsburg sits well on its own.....
 
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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As a side note I think that the first edition of OS can't be combined with HE. Can anyone confirm this?
 
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Steve Shockley
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Dave in Ledbury wrote:
Magnus Maximus wrote:
Thanks guys, those were the sorts of comments I was hoping for. I mostly just want to gauge the extent to which Hapsburg Eclipse is its own game, and it sounds like it has some unique mechanisms that impart a different feel.

I still really want EiA, particularly because its subject matter interests me. I just don't know if I have the stamina for a longer, more involved game, since by the time I'm sitting down to play these days it's usually around midnight. I own Cruel Necessity, but that one's pretty involved and I sadly have only logged a single play in the year I've had it. Time constraints really make games like Ottoman Sunset and Hapsburg Eclipse appealing to me.


You can play one civil war in Cruel Necessity in about 45-60 minutes, about the time it takes to play some Ottoman Sunset games.....

You can record the board state after playing through one civil war so that you can set up and carry on with the next part of the civil war next time...

Back to the original question, Hapsburg sits well on its own.....


True, and I have some of the record sheets from the files section.

The main reason I haven't been playing is the weight - it's just a bit of a brain burner compared to OS. The quickness and ease of play really appeal to me in that late night, postwork postchild fried-brain state!
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Dave Daffin
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Magnus Maximus wrote:
The main reason I haven't been playing is the weight - it's just a bit of a brain burner compared to OS. The quickness and ease of play really appeal to me in that late night, postwork postchild fried-brain state!


Fair play, Midnight is quite late to start playing any game! Cruel Necessity does require a tad more attention than OS!
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Irish not Kraut!
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I started off with OS and picked up HE a few months back and have to say they are very much different games, albeit it with similar mechanics for some aspects. I actually prefer HE since it gives a richer experience I find. I love OS too, but HE is like a really good wine. The War Status counter is also just fcuking beautiful to look at.

I actually rebought OS to use the higher quality components but kept the map from the first edition since I find it easier on the eye and I find the rehashed OS map to have gaudy text and imagery compared to the first.

As for the question about whether you can play HE with the first edition of OS? I'm fairly sure every component needed is on HE bar some for optional rules? The only thing really missing is the Berlin - Baghdad box but that's just there for effect anyway.
 
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Danger Here wrote:
I actually rebought OS to use the higher quality components but kept the map from the first edition since I find it easier on the eye and I find the rehashed OS map to have gaudy text and imagery compared to the first.


I also have both editions, so maybe I should try the same next time I play it.

Danger Here wrote:
As for the question about whether you can play HE with the first edition of OS? I'm fairly sure every component needed is on HE bar some for optional rules? The only thing really missing is the Berlin - Baghdad box but that's just there for effect anyway.


OK, thanks.
 
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Steve Shockley
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Back to say I played my first couple games - man it's hard! So far it feels more difficult than Ottoman, but that could just be due to my lack of experience. A lot of fun though, and it does feel like its own game, particularly with regards to the national loyalties, which really create tough decisions. I like the Mackeson card - rolling two dice is fun.

Glad I bought it, and my fears of it being too similar to Ottoman seem to have been unfounded.
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Gordon J
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Magnus Maximus wrote:
Back to say I played my first couple games - man it's hard! So far it feels more difficult than Ottoman, but that could just be due to my lack of experience. A lot of fun though, and it does feel like its own game, particularly with regards to the national loyalties, which really create tough decisions. I like the Mackeson card - rolling two dice is fun.

Glad I bought it, and my fears of it being too similar to Ottoman seem to have been unfounded.


Good to hear. It's a fun game.
 
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Mayor Jim
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Glad to hear you made the jump to HE. While similiar to OS, it does have plenty of its own subtleties...and you can link the two together.
 
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Steve Shockley
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MayorJim wrote:
Glad to hear you made the jump to HE. While similiar to OS, it does have plenty of its own subtleties...and you can link the two together.


Yes, it really feels like a completely different game. The fronts are different, enter at different times, there are different off map battles, etc -- the addition of non-theater battles was a nice touch. Little things like the river blocking the Italian army are simple but really do a nice job giving that front its own feel.

The mechanic (which is imported from Ottoman Sunset) of spending two actions to reinforce an off-map theater is a great one. The costly nature tends to force you to wait for a lull to spend the resources on a less immediate part of the war. It feels realistic and creates more agonizing decisions, which translates to fun.

Well, the boy is asleep so off to play my third game :)

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