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Florent Leguern
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Okay, so it's been a week now that I got the game, and I skimmed rapidly throug the manuals and the player aids to get a grasp as to what I was up to. I already had some foresight from what I read here, so it was overly clear. I only had to wait a few days until I could put it on the table.

But honestly, I think that those rules were the most hermetic I've ever read ! Even Red November's rules didn't feel so opaque in it's first edition. I found there was a deep disconnection between the rules, the map, and the aids (even though there was contant rule-indexing all around the aids), that led me to go back and forth trying to keep a steady flow. I think that a more handy sequence of turn would've been great, instead of being on such a huge display (the map takes some space already). I think I'm going to make one myself in a simple card format for easy reference.

But then I took the game help I found here on BGG, and set to follow it point by point. I understood most of what was explained, due to my previous reading, but at some point, it is said that "the altitude is still not good, so pull a new chit and compare"... Okay, good, but why ? I'm sure I flipped all the pages I could, but I could not find what the correct value was supposed to be. I supposed it had to do with the final checks, but there, from the very start, I still had no clear measurable means to identify how to win this run.

And now that I've tried the game, and that I'm writing this up, I understand why, actually, it really was two weeks before I pulled the game out, because even though I had a clear general view of the game, paradoxically, I did feel a bit overwhelmed, or disconnected, with the content (chits, map, aids...).

I actually love what the game promises. I bought it impulsively, but not after checking a lot to see what exactly to expect. And it's always hard to tell how a game and its rules really stand before actually having the game in hands (are the aids handy, how thick is the map, how do the components behave under my table-lamp ?). And in this regard, ECA was a disapointment. Everything was apparently so clear-cut on each and every chart, detailled to the point of madness, and still, just one little less-abstract paragraph with a game sequence instead of pure historic background would've sold me the game immediatly.

Instead, I fiddled endlessly to connect abstraction and simulation to the story for most of my first attempts. Because the abstract of the game is rendered quite nicely on the map and with the material around ! Telling a story felt easy and immersively quick to come. The aids and manuals are, to me, technically good, but, in its entirety, overly technical, and too heavy design-wise.

It actually feels a little strange, as I can see how they were intended, and I can see that it might be good for many players. But still, I had a take a huuuuge step back to really dive into the game. What might have helped would actually be an overview of the map in the manual, with some details on each main section. A step back in the presentation of the game before zooming in on the details.

For now, that will be all. I'll probably review this more in-depth after I've played it more cool

PS : as a matter of fact, I still haven't found what exactly the correct altitude and speed are !


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Eawyne wrote:
PS : as a matter of fact, I still haven't found what exactly the correct altitude and speed are !


The best values are 60ft and 220mph: the approach chits with that altitude and speed will allow you to draw 3 more chits during the release phase; the release chits with those values will give you a total +8 to the release role.

PS: I've never been so lucky to draw the best chits during approach and release...
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Florent Leguern
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evacbs wrote:
Eawyne wrote:
PS : as a matter of fact, I still haven't found what exactly the correct altitude and speed are !


The best values are 60ft and 220mph: the approach chits with that altitude and speed will allow you to draw 3 more chits during the release phase; the release chits with those values will give you a total +8 to the release role.

PS: I've never been so lucky to draw the best chits during approach and release...


Thanks ^^ I finally supposed it was only a matter of how many chits you could draw for the next step, but that was nowhere confirmed in the reading of the rules I wonder how many people were stuck on parts of the manual like that for lack of "anticipation" on the playing process ? (a simple phrase like "the choice of these chits has an influence on the damage on the dam in the next step", or whatever).
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Eawyne wrote:
I finally supposed it was only a matter of how many chits you could draw for the next step, but that was nowhere confirmed in the reading of the rules


Well, it is in the rules, actually. Quoting from Rule 4.2.2:

Quote:
The "best one" will have the highest chit value (3 is the highest and zero the lowest).


And the same definition of "best one" applies to the Altitude chits.

For the release sequence, well, the higher the modifier, the better
 
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Jeremy (Jerry) White
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Yes, it's there, but I get what he's saying.

In writing the rule book I was focused on the goal of low to zero errata, and paid very close attention to details, and to making "links" between components so that information was accessible. But it seemed like a lot to foist on players, which is why we have small scenarios and the program instruction approach that starts with the Attack rules. To ease the player in, if the whole enchilada was too much.

The flow chart on the large player aid was concocted by one of the playtesters, in order to make the whole thing easier to grasp, and for some, that was not enough.

Although it won't help the Dambuster game, I can say that the Doolittle Raid will have its flow chart, but also a two-page spread at the beginning of each part of the rules that will show the components used and where they get used on the map. That may help present the big picture even more. I will also make available an illustrated sample game that should make things easier for some as well.

So Florent, I can't promise to solve the problem you describe, but maybe the problem won't be quite as bad.
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Florent Leguern
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evacbs wrote:
Quote:
The "best one" will have the highest chit value (3 is the highest and zero the lowest).


And the same definition of "best one" applies to the Altitude chits.

For the release sequence, well, the higher the modifier, the better


As you point it out now, it seems clear, but at that moment, I was so focused on altitude and speed values I totally overlooked this detail laugh

JWgamewhen wrote:
Yes, it's there, but I get what he's saying.

In writing the rule book I was focused on the goal of low to zero errata, and paid very close attention to details, and to making "links" between components so that information was accessible. But it seemed like a lot to foist on players, which is why we have small scenarios and the program instruction approach that starts with the Attack rules. To ease the player in, if the whole enchilada was too much.

The flow chart on the large player aid was concocted by one of the playtesters, in order to make the whole thing easier to grasp, and for some, that was not enough.

Although it won't help the Dambuster game, I can say that the Doolittle Raid will have its flow chart, but also a two-page spread at the beginning of each part of the rules that will show the components used and where they get used on the map. That may help present the big picture even more. I will also make available an illustrated sample game that should make things easier for some as well.

So Florent, I can't promise to solve the problem you describe, but maybe the problem won't be quite as bad.


Now that I have found what I missed, it's all very clear ^^

But as I see the game now, I'm still convinced a less detailed and more "zoomed-out" presentation of the game would've greatly enhanced my comprehension of it. A very quick playthrough at the start of the manual, that followed one course of events, showing some rule points along, without spreading to all the possibilities each decisions entails => Planes take-off, make approach, evade ennemy planes, thwart FLAK, make an approach, correct their speed on a second run, drop the bomb, evade FLAK again and searchlights, suffer a hit, try to determine if the dam is breached, barely make it back, and voilà.

The game is a heavy simulation, and all the details are expertly crafted in the gameplay. But if I want to get an idea of what a plane is capable of, I won't get it if someone just tells me it flies and then shows me a diagram of an engine. Making it fly, tell me that its wings make it fly and then digging deeper in the motor would be a better way to achieve that laugh

As I read the manual again, the Introduction tells me in one phrase what the game is going to depict. Then it overviews some features and goes to describe in great details the assets. As I read on, I get to part 4 (Sequence of phases - Attack turn), where it slowly describes me what an approach & release sequence is ; then I get to part 4.2.3, but I still don't know what the altitude and speed chits are actually going to accomplish, neither do I know that I'll maybe have to, eventually, repeat this operation several times ! I then go to the Scenario book, and read the historical entry of Mission one. Incidently, in this entry, all the planes seem to only make one and only run before dropping their Upkeep ! ^^'

That's the process I went through in my second reading of the rules, where I was effectively searching for a specific info.

But ! despite this initial disapointment, I loved finally getting into the game. I played Mission 5 several times before letting the game pause a bit. I plan to get back to it very soon. I never leave something on a first (wrong or not) taste, and I'm glad I tried again for the Dambusters. I truly love this game, and I'm pretty sure I'll get the Doolittle raid one !

As a side note, I made myself these little cards I display on the side of the map : I found it handier to not have the chits piled up on the planes, it gets quite hard to handle them easily. When needed, the plane goes on the map. There's a blank space at the bottom to write the letter of the plane (it's sleeved, so erasable), thus reducing the number of cards I had to print.

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Florent Leguern
France
Saint-Martin-d'Hères
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After all, a murder is only an extroverted suicide.
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Well, there you are, after several more plays, I finally put the game on trade... I'm actually quite disapointed, because I love a lot of things about the game, the narrative, and the design process. But as it is, I still have to get to the manual way to often, sometimes without a clear answer, and despite the intention behind the charts, they actually drown me more than anything else

Probably more to do with my own capacity to grasp the game fully, but I still stand about my previous feelings/comments about the manual.

 
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Jeremy (Jerry) White
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No worries, Florent.

I love the cards you made.
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