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Subject: The best solitaire game EVER! rss

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Tim Korchnoi
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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My Little Man's first real wargame play: Barbarossa Solitaire
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The Best Solitaire Game.....EVER!

RAF Review

RAF is an operational game that covers the Battle of Britain in the summer/fall of 1940. The game covers the time from the beginning of the battle (August 13) until September 14 with the option to go until October 1 if so desired. The struggle pits the squadrons of the RAF against the German Luftwaffe as Nazi Germany tries to gain control the of skies over the British Isles in order to attempt Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of England. Victory is determined in two possible ways: on the one hand, there is a VP chart where if the score falls below a given level, the Germans win and if it exceeds a given level the British win. The other way victory is determined is by way of the postponing/canceling of Sea Lion. Victory is assessed based on what date this occurs.

Playing Time: This will vary for a variety of reasons. For one, if you play one of the short scenarios the game will last several hours. On the other hand, if you play the full campaign game, it will more than likely take several days. On the other hand, if you make a big mistake the system is very unforgiving: next thing you know, Germans are marching up the street to Number 10!!!!!

Map and other components: The map shows all of the area of England that the two sides battled over during this struggle and is an area style map(no hexes here!). The map shows items such as radar stations, airfields, cities, etc... The map is divided into sectors for the British RAF squadrons. Other parts of the map have holding boxes for the units of the German Luftwaffe. The map also contains various charts such as detection, German effort and targets, as well as boxes for damaged and resting units. The color scheme reminds one of the Victory Games maps and (if you know me) this is a plus because, for reasons I am unable to articulate, I like that color scheme BIG TIME! While the map is indeed chock full of information, it does so without being busy and in an orderly manner, thus making it very functional and enjoyable to play on. The game also comes with cards that are divided into three decks: targets, forces, and events. The cards are really the heart of the system as they tell the UK player what units he can deploy, the German forces coming, as well as the time ticked off the game clock for each day and random events that take place. The cards are sturdy and quite pliable making them easy to shuffle.

Counters: These are divided into three groups: German forces, UK forces, and information. The German and UK counters are essentially the same as regards function. They both have a rested and fatigued side. The counters also contain information about combat ability as well as bombing strength for the German bombers. Each counter also has a symbol which is used t determine combat effects. The informational counters are quite simple: German targets and efforts are there together with damage markers, green pilots, and other simple information (such as the turn marker). This game has the lowest number of informational markers I have ever seen in a wargame. The counters are nicely done and of the 5/8 size which makes sense since the map is really an area map.

Rules: The rules are nice and crisp with examples where necessary. Once you learn the system, you will find yourself rarely, if ever, looking up rules in the rule book. The rules cover the detection, deployment, and combat resolution of each and every raid for each turn. Each turn depicts one day and can vary in length depending on the German effort and the event cards drawn in the turn. Basically, the game functions as follows: each turn you determine weather and German effort, with reinforcements and replacements thrown in when necessary. Then you determine the raids and what targets they are after. The target cards are used here in conjunction with a table showing the priority of German targets cross referenced with German effort for the day. The RAF then has its detection phase which will tell you how much you know about the raid (size and unit type) as well as how much warning you received thus giving you the options of what squadrons can intercept the given raid. Once interception is undertaken RAF and Luftwaffe fighters engage with surviving RAF fighters then intercepting bombers and any escorts that are with them. Results of combat vary from damaged to fatigued to outright elimination. The results impact squadrons and the symbol on the squadron determines what fate it receives. The combat results table is a little different in that you cross reference plane strength with the number of Germans in the raid and then roll the die, moving up (rarely) or down (mostly) the chart to see what happens. After all raids have been completed for the day, then both sides get relief in which units are brought back into play from damaged and rested boxes and units already in play, but fatigued recover to fight for the next day. Victory points are awarded for destroying German units and surviving the day and lost for bomb damage and losing RAF units. In the beginning of the game if the VP total reaches too high or too low, the game is over, but later the VP total is used to determine whether Sea Lion is launched or postponed a few days or called off for good!

Things I like about the game:
● Well organized rules. The game is easy to get into.
● The tension of the game. Each raid leads to decisions the RAF must make. I have always been a firm believer that if you let you imagination loose and pretend you are actually there and submerge yourself in the game, wargames are a great vicarious experience. This system allows you to do that to the limit and you will find yourself agonizing over whether or not to send your lads into battle based on partial intelligence and information.
● The card system is well thought out and the system as a whole is really well done which is why I think it is the best solitaire game ever!
● The challenge. I am currently playing my 12th game and I have never won! I’ve lost 11 times and drawn once. And it is not because the system is broken, it is because of the next point.....
● The system is VERY unforgiving! (much like life) cry Make a mistake or a bad call intercepting a raid and you will be punished! devil All the games I have lost have been due to bad judgement calls. You must tread very carefully here!

Things that can be annoying:

● The German relief event! I know that the Germans had more men and planes than the British, but this event comes up with regular frequency and usually hits just when you’ve got the Luftwaffe worn out on a day of all out effort!
● Sometimes, the German target priorities change with head scratching regularity. One the one hand, this can be annoying. One the other, it is like playing against someone since you can have someone suddenly change their mind and do something that you cannot conceive of the reasons for them making their choice. In that respect, I am sure this what the British thought when Hitler suddenly shifted to from bombing the airfields to bombing London, which gave the RAF the breather it needed to survive.
● Time element. If you are married with kids, you may find it hard to find time to ever complete the campaign game.

Overall evaluation: d10-1 = I’d rather staple my tongue to the wall for a month! yuk d10-9 = Wargamer Heaven!

Map= d10-8 I like the color! Nice job of being informational without being busy!
Counters= d10-6 Nothing too spectacular here. They work.
Rules= d10-9 Neatly organized with examples where needed. The system is great! This game is like having AI without the computer! devil
Playing Time= d10-4 I don’t mind the time involved, but I know others will so I’ll rate this a 4 for that reason. If you play one of the short scenarios, then d10-6
Deployment of Forces= d10-8 This is quite simple. No more than 5-10 minutes to do so!
Overall= d10-9 This game is in my personal top ten list and is the best solitaire game I have ever played. There is tension and critical decisions to be made with each turn. The VP track pushed you to make the best judgement calls possible while the threat of invasion is a constant reminder that you must convince the Germans they will NEVER control the air over Britain! If you want to really know what is was like to be the RAF commander in this battle, this is the game for you! I traded my copy of Liberty for this game and it was one of the best gaming decisions I have ever made!!!
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Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
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Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
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Quote:
● The German relief event!

I know what you mean,last game I just about had'em on the ropes and that cameup! Yes, great game my top 10 if not five too. I thought I would remind our fellow gamers, Decision Games is going to publish a RAF Deluxe version so sign up soon. John Butterfield is heading it up. Good review Tim.
 
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Ronster Zero
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One of the solo war games I don't have, but I guess married with three kids it would never get finished..

Great review.
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Robert Williams
United Kingdom
DROITWICH SPA
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An excellent review. I've had this game for years and have only ever drawn once. Yes, it does last a long time, but that's no bad thing at all.

I have recommended this game to a friend and he thoroughly enjoyed it too. I have to say it ranks up there with Raid on St Nazaire as one of my all time favourite solitaire games.
 
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Brian Taylor
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RAFIf any one is interested Ihave converted the Spanish "RAF" counters to english just need cutting out and backs and fronts sticking together. far superior to original ones (Can e.mail them)
 
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david woolley
England
Barking
london
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Hi Tim.

will try to purchase this game thanks to your great review !!
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Aaron
United States
Jacksonville
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A wonderful game for the solitaire player!
 
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Nik Verheyen
Belgium
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Ages ago I owned a wargamer magazine (lost it somewhere...) that had an article about the not-so-random card decks of RAF.
The decks are made mathematicaly clever to make you believe things happen random, infact as I used the %-charts printed in the article winning was pretty easy.
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scott lotz
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Is the 1st edition (maybe Japanese edition) the exact same game as this one?
 
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