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Ryan McPherson
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This is probably a dumb question, but I'm looking for a simple overview of what's changed between 1.1 and 2.0. I have TDC, WED, and now The Greatest Day, but I haven't actually ever played any of them. I'm weeding down my gigantic board game collection to the dozen or so ones that I most want to keep, and that involves actually playing some of them.

Right now I'm torn about what to do with these games. I love the idea of them, but I'm neurotic about playing the latest and best version of a game. Is 2.0 such a big jump that it makes the previous games feel worse? If I play TGD will I ever want to play the others again? I prefer Market Garden from a historical perspective, and I'd hate to think I could be playing a better version of the game.

So I guess, for someone who has never played before, what are the main differences in rule sets? I see the older ones would need to be updated to comply, is that something that we could change manually without needing an update kit? Would such an update kit ever come? What specifically would need to change?

I guess I'm looking for an excuse to keep some or all of them, but I want to keep the best ones available. Any advice?
 
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Jon Gautier

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The differences are listed in the TGD rules.

There is a thread of sorts on CSW that starts here and should fill you in on a lot:

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.ee6f82c/19937

But if you are neurotic about this stuff, it probably will not make you happy. Personally, I am keeping all the games because they are all very good. It does not bother me that the earlier games have different rules.
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Runs with scissors
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I'll take a stab at this. I think that there will be different perspectives on this, and mine won't necessarily line up with yours or other people's. There's nothing in your profile to indicate what types of games you enjoy, so I don't know if the GTS series is your cup of tea. A lot of people for one reason or another don't care for what falls into the catagory called "monster wargames." I'll also add the disclaimer that my group hasn't yet played the Greatest Day, but I've slogged through campaign games of both The Devil's Cauldron, and Where Eagles Dare.

Personally I'd keep or get rid of them as a group, or at least wait until you've played one scenario from one of them before deciding to get rid of the others.

Some of the reasons for getting rid of them would be:
1) that you don't like the Chit Draw mechanism, and how random Command Points and Division Activations can be.
2) You don't like the time or geographic scale.
3) You don't have the time.
4) You can't find anyone to play against.
5) You don't like the rule sets and the complexity of having a series rulebook as well as a game module rulebook, and having to look up exceptions/special cases. Even as I was finishing up my second campaign game we were constantly checking the rules and looking things up.
6) If your colorblind, trying to tell the differences in the color stripes indicating the different formations is problematic. I'm not, and I still had problems with the units in The Devil's Cauldron.
7) The maps don't have hexsides, they have center dots, with indications at the hex corners.
8) You don't have the space to set up all the maps at once for a campaign game. When we played these campaigns they were set up and left up for several months straight. Most people can't dedicate that amount of space.
9) These games were designed with the campaign game in mind. In shorter scenarios the luck of the order of the draw of the activation chits can really throw the game one way or another. This can be unsatisfying for some. See point #1.

Your question about the differences in the rulesets is relatively minor compared to the above. There is a thread detailing the differences here: A few changes - GTS 1.1 to 2.0, a lot of great details that were put together by Daniel Schultz. The details aren't going to mean anything to you until you dive into reading the rules and trying to play a game. My take on it is that the rules are generally improvements, but relatively minor improvements. The core of what makes the series great / or suck depending on your personal preferences hasn't changed, and the earlier games certainly aren't unplayable or vastly outdated.

Overview of what changed. This is from what Daniel Schultz posted.
1) They added the effects of light mortars and other weapons - The purple fire rating. They also added Coastal battery fire ratings, and organic artillery.
2) They changed how leaders work to allow independent formations to attach to combat formations. They also removed the independent formation activation chits.
3) They changed the opportunity fire modifier - This makes it easier to move while within the range of opportunity fire of the other guys.
4) they somewhat simplified and shortened the assault proceedure (three rounds to two). A lot of people thought that it was too complicated.
6) They changed the rules for artillery parks, and changed the rules for when formations are trying to contact artillery for fire support/spotting. They added counter-battery fire. I think that overall they the rules are an improvement and make the parks a little more desirable and easier to use.
7) You can't spend a command point to pass a company bonus. - Probably a good change. I'd always do this with the stronger units, particularly mortars.
8) Rally markers. Like engineering at work markers, if you fail a rally you get a +1 on the next try.
9) You may now spend 2 Command points for 1 dispatch point (from another thread.) This is a simple change but a huge effect on gameplay since a lot of the game is about managing your resources. It's not necessarily an improvement, just different. But if you ported it over to the 1.0 rules it would definitely affect gameplay and game balance signficantly.

If you're waiting for a upgrade of the older games to the 2.0 rules, forget it (again my opinion). It's been announced that the reprint of The Devil's Cauldron will be a straight reprint. The changes affect counter values, and nobody wants to go back and redo all the counters and then playtest all the changes for balance and make sure nothing got broken. Even if they ever did an upgrade, there wouldn't be an upgrade kit, because you're redoing everything in the box except for the maps. All the rulebooks would change, the player aids would change, most of the countersheets would change (because combat values have been recalculated and there are new weapons types) and there would probably be a small number of new or different counters due to rules changes.

There are even arguments that the earlier games are better. One of the things that I loved about The Devil's Cauldron is that the activation chits were big 1" counters. With Eagles Dare, they gave up countersheet real estate and went with smaller counters that I found significantly harder to read. I also like the watermarks on the unit counters in The Devil's Cauldron, but a lot of people complained so they removed them in later games. All personal preferences. Not a big deal to some, but the first thing that I looked at when I opened up my copy of The Greatest Day was the activation counters hoping that they had gone back to the larger size. No such luck.

You said you have a personal preference for Market Garden, and I think that personal interest in that campaign probably trumps a lot of these other details and should guide your decision.

My personal take on the system is that it is a playable and enjoyable monster. The biggest attraction is team play. I also enjoy the key mechanic, the chit draw mechanism for activating individual formations. Because the battle formations are so individual, it makes it easy and logical to divvy up forces for multiple commanders on a side. I think that the maps are very well done. I think that there is room for improvement on the rulebooks in making it easier look up points and explain various aspects (which is different from improving the rules), and that's my biggest complaint about the series. Even at the end of our second campaign we were still finding things that we were doing incorrectly. We got a lot of value out of player aids that we made and continually referred to.

That said here are my thoughts on the big three. I'm ignoring No Question of Surrender.

1) The Devil's Cauldron. This is my personal favorite, and after selling it, I recently went out and repurchased it. I sold it because it was going for stupid lots of money before the reprint was announced. One advantage is that the maps lay out to one big rectangle so the amount of space for a campaign game is within the realm of the possible. This is the part of the battle that people are most familiar with.

I've been surprised by how slowly the reprint numbers have been climbing after a lot of very vocal complaints about it being out of print. I think that concerns about it being based on an older ruleset are overblown, but this is probably slowing preorders.

2) Where Eagles Dare. This game probably has the most replayability because there is a lot of variability in where the Germans can enter. However I think it was frustrating for the British forces because they are under strict orders from Monty not to leave the road, and that really hampers what they can do when what the player wants to do is leave the road to kill Germans. They get penalized heavily for this. Sometimes history sucks. The German player was frustrated because they just had various small scratch forces. They could mostly just threaten and snipe, they couldn't really muster a large force for a concentrated assault, unlike the Germans in the Devil's Cauldron.

When you lay out all the maps this is about 10' long.

3) The Greatest Day. Thematically this is the least appealing for me. However one drawback of the earlier games was that there were complaints about lack of single map scenarios from those who were not able to/interested in setting up and playing through the campaign game. The designer made certain to address this by including a lot of shorter scenarios in this game. As you mention, 2ith v. 2.0 there are improvements to the rules for playability over the earlier two modules. In my mind the changes improve the playability and make for a better game, but these are tweaks, not major overhauls and are less important than other factors in determining the overall attractiveness of the system.




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Ty Snouffer
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Scissors make a lot of good points and covers off in depth. Nicely done.

I don't think the changes with 2.0 are a big of a deal as it gets made out to be. I'm also not convinced the changes are all that much better. Either way, the 2.0 rollout was sloppy and I am not sure how easily MMP will recover now that Adam has largely moved on.

The Assault changes seem to get the most attention as being improved. They are being positioned as being streamlined. However, since an Assault attempt may not come off due to a failed Bravery check, the Assault may not happen at all. So less combat leads to a longer game in my experience. Ok, that is a bit off topic.

To the OP's questions, I'd forget about the older games getting retrofitted to 2.0. I don't see it possibly happening. With the Devil's Cauldron reprint stalled the market doesn't seem to be there.

If you're a Market Garden fan, I think one would be foolish to part with either TDC or WED. They are both excellent treatments of the operation. WED is the better game of the two IMHO but lacks the number of scenarios that TDC has. Keep them both.

As for TGD, I think it is quite good too and captures what I want out of the British beaches. I'm disappointed that the rules aren't as tight as I want from a premium game and the game is so huge, I won't say it is unplayable but I will say it is nigh un-finishable. I played the campaign game with 5-6 other experienced players for 7-12 hours days at CSWE and we only finished two days of 13! Also, I have my own doubts as to whether the other two D-Day games will get finished.

Bottom line, keep them, play them, but don't expect the older games to get 2.0 treatments.

(PS - I've played the coming Crete game and I really enjoyed it too)
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Ryan McPherson
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Thanks a lot, guys. I think I'll keep the market garden pair. I had read through that change thread and the 2.0 rules, but I didn't have a feel for what the changes meant.

As for what I was looking for out of them, I was definitely hoping for a monster that was actually playable. Historically I'm actually most interested in world war one, but I've accepted that most of the best games are WWII. I wanted something huge that I could leave set up for days. I don't know if I'll ever find physical people to play it with me, but there's always vassal in a pinch.

I am actually red/green colorblind, so that's a minor worry I hadn't anticipated. I can probably cope, though.

Thanks a lot for all your help!
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Runs with scissors
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tsnouffer wrote:
Scissors make a lot of good points and covers off in depth. Nicely done.


Thanks. The details are all by others, I just put my own gloss on top of it.

tsnouffer wrote:
The Assault changes seem to get the most attention as being improved. They are being positioned as being streamlined. However, since an Assault attempt may not come off due to a failed Bravery check, the Assault may not happen at all. So less combat leads to a longer game in my experience. Ok, that is a bit off topic.


Good point. Also once you get the assault rules down, they really aren't that bad. The three rounds are fairly repetitive. Two rounds of shooting, and then a decision on whether or not to advance into the hex. There's a player aid in the files section (TDC or WED) that we printed out that was useful for keeping track of everything that goes on during the assault

tsnouffer wrote:
As for TGD, I think it is quite good too and captures what I want out of the British beaches. I'm disappointed that the rules aren't as tight as I want from a premium game and the game is so huge, I won't say it is unplayable but I will say it is nigh un-finishable. I played the campaign game with 5-6 other experienced players for 7-12 hours days at CSWE and we only finished two days of 13!


Off topic - It's interesting that it's one of the few games that I've played where it actually plays slower than real time. This has been my experience with the campaign games. In the beginning of the game it moves quite a bit slower than real time as you're making key decisions, and internalizing the rules. As you further into the game it becomes quicker, but each turn takes quite a while, and only represents 1-2 hours of real time. This has nothing to do with the OP's questions, but just something that I found unusual.

I don't think that I'd have the endurance to do multiple days back to back of this. At the end of an 8 hour session, I'm exhausted, and all the synapses have been fried to a crisp.

tsnouffer wrote:
Also, I have my own doubts as to whether the other two D-Day games will get finished.


Yeah, me too. Having Utah and Omaha released in the GTS system would be wonderful. This is probably the number one thing in my life that's totally outside my control that I've been pondering for the last couple of weeks.

Ty, thanks for adding your thoughts. Good to see that I'm not wildly out of the mainstream.


PolloC wrote:
I wanted something huge that I could leave set up for days. I don't know if I'll ever find physical people to play it with me, but there's always vassal in a pinch.


Each campaign game that I've played has been over a period of several months, meeting once or twice a month. The first time we had it set up in an outbuilding, the second time in a basement. I think our first campaign was about 6 months, our second about 4 months. Team play of these games has been a wonderful experience, and something that I'll treasure.

P.S. The color of the formations is more of an annoyance than anything else. The colors of some the formations (various shades of red) are deliberately similar because these groups combine to form one larger combat formation mid-game, that is all the reds merge. You can always tell which combat group it belongs to from the individual unit designation and the scenario details. Also the formations tend to stay separate when on the map early in the campaign game. It's just something that you have to keep an eye on.
 
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