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Subject: Review of OST/ATB comparison scenario (Also posted on ATB page) rss

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Paul Farrell
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Not really sure how I should have titled this post. A friend and I decided to make up a simple identical (or at least as close as we could make it) scenario in Awakening the Bear and Old School Tactical. We love both games and wanted to see how each felt in a comparable situation. The Scenario was as follows: German objective was to take a small walled farm. They had one Tiger II tank, three infantry units and a machinegun unit. The Soviets had one anti-tank gun, one mortar and three infantry. Both sides got one round of artillery support. The terrain was lightly wooded with the Germans starting behind a hill and the Soviets occupying the farm. In ATB the Germans won easily. In OST it was a draw.

Now for the differences and conclusions!

Off board artillery works very differently in each game. In ATB your artillery hits the chosen target hex the round after you designate the target. In OST it is immediate but potentially very inaccurate. Both simulate artillery support well. I would say the OST way is more fun.

Mortar fire is done as an off board strike in OST and seems potentially much more powerful. I think for mortars I prefer having the unit on the board as in ATB. It forces you to plan a little more.

Distance covered by a unit in a round can definitely be greater in ATB. Is that good or bad, more or less realistic? I don't know but each game seems to have gotten it right for it's rule set.

Cards are definitely more of a factor in ATB assuming you get one per round as seems to be the standard in ATB. We could have used a card each round in OST but felt it didn't adhere to the game's philosophy. There is, I believe, more uncertainty in OST to start with so extra cards might make it a bit too wild.

In this scenario we ended up with several close combat/assault situations in ATB but none at all in OST. I think that was partly because of the starting distance as it was a short scenario and the units were just getting close in OST as the last turn was played.

Flanking proved highly effective in both games and I think is well simulated.

One of the biggest differences I found between the two games was that in ATB if you scored a hit on a unit it became priority number one in the hopes of getting an easier second hit and thus a kill whereas in OST you knew a bit more about what damage a unit suffered(reduced/shaken/broken)but it was often just better to leave it damaged and move on to another target. Good or bad difference? Not sure.

Rallying units felt different in the two games. In ATB rallying quickly is critical to avoid a quick kill on a second hit. In OST rallying is usually less important unless you are going into hand to hand combat.

Okay, here's the big difference - in ATB you normally get 7AP per unit plus some CAP for each round. in OST you roll dice each round (in our scenario we got two dice) and that determines your ability to do something. In our particular scenario the Soviets had fantastic combat dice but ended up with atrocious impulse points. So if you like a bit more control and predictability go with ATB. if you want a bit wilder ride go with OST. Either way you'll probably have fun.
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Martin Gallo
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You posted twice, so I will also!whistle

I agree that it would be nice to have on-board mortar units. I have been playing all these tactical games for all these years with mortar units and I am used to it. Off-board mortars are big "strategic" weapons like artillery. On-board mortars are the smaller, tactical, version. And you see mortar units in all the movies...

I thought you only got 1 Luck card. Play it when appropriate and you are done. Have I missed another critical rule?
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Vance Strickland
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martimer wrote:
....
I thought you only got 1 Luck card. Play it when appropriate and you are done. Have I missed another critical rule?


No, you are correct. One luck card for each side at the start of a scenario. Use it when you want/can but you don't get any more for the rest of the scenario.
 
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Martin Gallo
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Whew!

I found that I liked having a lot of cards in AtB and having one in OST was somehow limiting. Given how amazingly powerful some of the OST cards are I am not surprised by the 1 card limit. I have not played AtB in years (my gaming days tend to be more than 2 players these days) so I may be misremembering the card aspect or perhaps the larger quantity of cards evened things out.
 
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Paul Farrell
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Hi Martin,

As you saw on my ATB post I wrote poorly when explaining the card rules in OST. You are correct.

As to the mortars - I thought I read somewhere that Shayne (the game designer) said he was looking at on board mortar units. Maybe they will be in the west front version?

I posted on the ATB page that we are going to run multiple trials with more detail and also add Band of Brothers into the mix.

Happy gaming,

Paul
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Martin Gallo
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Saw the on-board mortar "update" as well. I hope it works out.

I am basically jealous that you have an opponent AND you got to play two games! I do not currently have that for games like this.
 
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Mark Walker
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Quote:
No, you are correct. One luck card for each side at the start of a scenario. Use it when you want/can but you don't get any more for the rest of the scenario.


Nah, it just depends on the scenario. Some that I designed, as well as some I'm designing for OST II allow redraws.

Onboard mortars. There are onboard mortars in OST II.

BTW, the reprint for OST I goes live at 12 Noon EST on November 10th. Lots of cool stuff, and the first handful of pledgers get their game for free! No kidding.
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Martin Gallo
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[q="Mark Holt Walker"]
Quote:
Nah, it just depends on the scenario. Some that I designed, as well as some I'm designing for OST II allow redraws.

Onboard mortars. There are onboard mortars in OST II.
Hooray for onboard mortars!
 
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Mark Walker
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martimer wrote:
[q="Mark Holt Walker"]
Quote:
Nah, it just depends on the scenario. Some that I designed, as well as some I'm designing for OST II allow redraws.

Onboard mortars. There are onboard mortars in OST II.
Hooray for onboard mortars!


Yep!
 
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Lawrence Hung
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Very nice comparison. More like this certainly advances state of the art of design.
 
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