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Subject: Time To Part with NT's Elusive Beauty rss

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Jim Lee

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I have had this incredibly beautiful game in my closet for almost 2 years. I paid $180 for it and it is still in shrinkwrap. I have read the rulebook four times. I am finally close to getting a grasp on it but it has been painstaking. The rules are filled with the word "if." So many exceptions and rule irregularities! Plus, the game itself is unusual and offers a unique war game mechanics. They are beautiful, but taking these things together make this nearly impossible.

I am sadly at the point where this game has gone beyond the realm of practicality. I am realizing that, while I am close to grasping it, I would actually have to teach it to my number one and two opponents: my 15 and 17-year-old sons. They have mastered Hannibal: Rome versus Carthage and Washington's war, as well as twilight struggle in the making of the president. Hannibal certainly isn't a light wargame, but it just seems like this one is too much.

It feels like visiting a favorite vacation spot or being drawn out to some other visual desire but knowing that you cannot keep it or become intimately acquainted with it going forward. So, I am going to sell it in the geek marketplace and replace it with Napoleon at Waterloo, the fourth edition by Columbia. I will get that map doubled in size and mounted.

I think the medium and light wargames is all I can do at this point in life. I hope someone out there is looking for this gem.
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Kåre Dyvik
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No one in the vicinity who can teach you that? Have you tried a game on Vassal? With the effort you've put in so far, I'm sure you would be up and running fairly quickly with a little help.
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Paul
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Quote:
...and it is still in shrinkwrap.


Hi Jim,

Break it open and start moving pieces around. What does it matter if you make some mistakes? One of my local opponents taught himself that way, and he played a mean game his first time at bat.

Part of the beauty of NT is just letting go. Forget all you thought you knew about wargames before and just enjoy the experience.
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Marina SC
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Maybe give your sons a shot at reading the rules too, before you sell. Sometimes a different perspective can work wonders
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Jim Lee

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hedererp wrote:
Quote:
...and it is still in shrinkwrap.


Hi Jim,

Break it open and start moving pieces around. What does it matter if you make some mistakes? One of my local opponents taught himself that way, and he played a mean game his first time at bat.

Part of the beauty of NT is just letting go. Forget all you thought you knew about wargames before and just enjoy the experience.


I seriously appreciate your reply, Paul. It's giving me cause for pause (though I just finished listing the game in the geek marketplace).

I have given this long careful thought. My problem is that, at age 52, my life is so busy that it has become impractical, actually impossible, to play a game more than once in any given week. I think that's what it would take to assimilate the concepts of napoleons triumph into my mind. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would have the added challenge of my two favorite opponents finding the same time to begin to grasp the concepts of the game and they are both taking college classes as well. I may reconsider but for now I think I'm going to sell it.

I appreciate your kind, encouraging words.
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Resist the Kakistocracy
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I see you've already listed it, but I'd echo what others are saying and encourage you to crack the shrink and put the game on the table for a test drive before you part with it for good.

I'm a similarly time-challenged adult/parent, so can appreciate your situation. As a first-time player getting knocked around the board by a more-knowledgeable teacher, the whole fiasco played out in about 3.5 hours. (And I'd only read the rules one time by way of advance preparation, so this was with much less work than you've done.)

I've only played NT twice, months ago, but I still find myself thinking about the game and its design pretty frequently. It's that good of a game.



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Just to throw in my $0.02 more or less reiterating what others have already said: the best way to learn is by doing; just pushing the pieces around will be vastly more informative than any amount of a priori study of the rulebook, especially since the mechanics are so novel. I think many of us fans of NT wish we could play the game more often than we do, for many of the same reasons you mention- difficulty in finding opponents and the time to get it to the table. But this is really a brilliant design and completely engrossing once you've gotten over the hump; I'd advise you to reconsider and keep it on the shelf for that day in the future you manage to get around to it.
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R Larsen
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NT is great, but come on, you have other fantastic games that you get to the table and that you play with your sons. It doesnt get much better than that, so focus there. No need to stress over NT - its just one more game that would be nice to find time for.
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LautreSault
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Hi Jim, I once teach the game over the internet.

Here what we've done:

- He read the rules.

- Two sessions over the internet with Vassal and Skype, for rules clarifications.

- We played a learning game PBEM/Vassal.

I wouldn't be able to play all the learning game, but I believe, after a few moves, you would be able to play this with anyone.

I think Scipio is trying to find a partner, for a PBEM/VASSAL.
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Rich James
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Mashpotassium wrote:
Maybe give your sons a shot at reading the rules too, before you sell. Sometimes a different perspective can work wonders

This was my thought as well. At 15 and 17 they are easily capable of understanding the game if wargaming is an interest of theirs. They could potentially teach the game to you!
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Alexei Gartinski
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I will contradict everyone else who commented on it. A few years ago I sold my copy after having tried it a few times (and checking all possible tutorials and help aids I could find) and I never regretted it.

Somehow this game just didn't "click" for me (by the way, I love all the three other games you mentioned in your post, so there might be something there...). I love the visual appeal of the map and the units, but there is something weirdly "chess-like" in this game, and I am definitely not a chess-player. I had a somewhat similar experience with Earth Reborn: too much time needed to invest into learning the game before one starts appreciating it. By the way, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, has a bit of a learning curve too, but that somehow never deterred me from enjoying the game the moment I set it up for the first time...

My final reasoning was simple: if there are other games that I definitely love and enjoy playing (e.g. We the People, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, Twilight Struggle) why should I waste my time on trying to learn something that I don't seem to like as much?.. :-)
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Jim Lee

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alexeigartinski wrote:

I will contradict everyone else who commented on it. A few years ago I sold my copy after having tried it a few times (and checking all possible tutorials and help aids I could find) and I never regretted it.

Somehow this game just didn't "click" for me (by the way, I love all the three other games you mentioned in your post, so there might be something there...). I love the visual appeal of the map and the units, but there is something weirdly "chess-like" in this game, and I am definitely not a chess-player. I had a somewhat similar experience with Earth Reborn: too much time needed to invest into learning the game before one starts appreciating it. By the way, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, has a bit of a learning curve too, but that somehow never deterred me from enjoying the game the moment I set it up for the first time...

My final reasoning was simple: if there are other games that I definitely love and enjoy playing (e.g. We the People, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, Twilight Struggle) why should I waste my time on trying to learn something that I don't seem to like as much?.. :-)


Alexei,

Thanks for posting. I found your thoughts refreshing and helpful indeed. I voice-texted my post from my car this afternoon and see there were some typos and syntax errors. Anyway, the four games i referred to were Hannibal, Washington's War, Twilight Struggle, and the Making of the President. There are others I really enjoy (Hammer of the Scots, Age of Napoleon, and Holdfast: Russia 1941), but this one is so BEAUTIFUL. That's what's given me hesitation to sell it. cry

Age of Napoleon and Hannibal were real fights to get through and grasp (Age of Napoleon because of its poorly worded/structured rule book), but I did it. And I really got them down. But this game seems harder and filled with many exceptions.blush

I may take the middle ground and try it out per the suggestions above and then sell it if I don't make a breakthrough. I need to ask my boys first, though, because if they wrinkle their nose at the experimental approach, then it's over. I don't have any friends my age that live nearby, so it will rarely if ever get to the table. My best friend moved 700 miles away last year and we only get to play face to face 1-2 times per year.

Anyway, thanks for the fascinating and thought-provoking posts guys. I really didn't expect that!
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LautreSault
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Lautresault wrote:
Hi Jim, I once teach the game over the internet.

Here what we've done:

- He read the rules.

- Two sessions over the internet with Vassal and Skype, for rules clarifications.

- We played a learning game PBEM/Vassal.

I wouldn't be able to play all the learning game, but I believe, after a few moves, you would be able to play this with anyone.

I think Scipio is trying to find a partner, for a PBEM/VASSAL.


I forgot to mention: If you want we may do the same. I just won't be able to play the entire game.
 
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Rich James
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alexeigartinski wrote:

[...]butt there is something weirdly "chess-like" in this game [...]

That is probably due to the utter lack of luck in the game. It is entirely about the decisions you and your opponent make.
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Brian S.
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arjisme wrote:
alexeigartinski wrote:

[...]butt there is something weirdly "chess-like" in this game [...]

That is probably due to the utter lack of luck in the game. It is entirely about the decisions you and your opponent make.
There is blind luck though. Fog of war is a great wargame trait, but it can lead to blind luck, unlike chess.
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Jim Lee

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Lautresault wrote:
Lautresault wrote:
Hi Jim, I once teach the game over the internet.

Here what we've done:

- He read the rules.

- Two sessions over the internet with Vassal and Skype, for rules clarifications.

- We played a learning game PBEM/Vassal.

I wouldn't be able to play all the learning game, but I believe, after a few moves, you would be able to play this with anyone.

I think Scipio is trying to find a partner, for a PBEM/VASSAL.


I forgot to mention: If you want we may do the same. I just won't be able to play the entire game.


Thank you for your gracious offer Lautresault. Let me see what my sons say about delving into this game. They are dual enrolled in college and high school and I'm in a masters program at 52. We're all pretty crushed right now. I will be kind enough to let you guys know what I decide after you took the time to post here.

Interestingly, I got an offer from the gaming shop to buy the game within 30 minutes of my listing it!
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Squidley Inkjet
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It's not a simulation of the battle. It's a simulation of a top down diagram of the battle.

If you like abstracts like chess, then keep it, but if you like simulations, then sell it.

The rules are very unintuitive (and most people get them wrong, but they don't find out until they go to a convention and try to play others) because they are not simulating real life, they are trying to recreate a series of diagrams of the battle. As a result, it looks really cool to people who read illustrated histories of Napoleonic battles, with those long rectangles with the X's and /'s for the units.

But it doesn't play like a battle. It plays like chess with bluffing.
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Trevor S.
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chuft wrote:
It's not a simulation of the battle. It's a simulation of a top down diagram of the battle.

If you like abstracts like chess, then keep it, but if you like simulations, then sell it.

The rules are very unintuitive (and most people get them wrong, but they don't find out until they go to a convention and try to play others) because they are not simulating real life, they are trying to recreate a series of diagrams of the battle. As a result, it looks really cool to people who read illustrated histories of Napoleonic battles, with those long rectangles with the X's and /'s for the units.

But it doesn't play like a battle. It plays like chess with bluffing.


Which games play like a real-life battle with all of the vagaries and emotions of a real war or conflict? I'm very interested.
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Bob S.
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I bought this beauty when it came out but have played an opponent fewer times then the year's I've owned it. But I won't sell it since I enjoy it too much and even find setting it up to tinker solo rewarding. (And yes, you do lose the bluff aspect a bit... but my memory isn't the greatest, so...) That said, I do have a habit of holding onto games that I enjoy but rarely, if ever, get to the table (GDW's [1977] "La Bataille de la Moskowa," for example). So, take this as you like.

But do try to give yourself the opportunity to set it up and tinker before selling. As noted by others, it's not a simulation (no game is) but it is a unique design approach that looks great on the table. Then do what works best for you and is enjoyable for you.
 
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Mark Pinner
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I like to think there is luck but no chance!
 
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Kåre Dyvik
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Some years from now, when your sons are older, and they learn that you SOLD a shrink-wrapped, mint condition copy of Napoleon's Triumph, what will they think?
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Derry Salewski
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nappeto wrote:
Some years from now, when your sons are older, and they learn that you SOLD a shrink-wrapped, mint condition copy of Napoleon's Triumph, what will they think?


This. Give it to one of them for a present and make them learn it!
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Fabrice Dubois
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Sadly, my copy is still not played FTF.

I have 2 short solo played under my belt but i didn't manage to find the oppotunity to really get into it....
 
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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Just sell it to me FDubois.
I'll be a good father for your box.
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Fabrice Dubois
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tublefou wrote:
Just sell it to me FDubois.
I'll be a good father for your box.

Over my dead body

I won't give up !
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