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Isaac Citrom
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Tide of Iron Review - An Extraordinary WWII Wargame


What's Tide of Iron about

Tide of Iron (ToI) is another of Fantasy Flight Games' (FFG) "epic" releases and another feather in their cap. ToI is about grandeur, narrative, theme, aesthetics and everything that makes an excellent Amerigame shine. ToI jumps out at you with its presentation of many miniatures and a rich graphical play area. If you are any kind of wargamer ToI is a top-shelfer. If you are a devout eurogamer and only slightly interested in a WWII wargame, this is the one game to buy.

Shanghaiing a line from one of my favourite novels, to understand Tide of Iron it must be placed in its proper time and place. Before anything else, the focus of Tide of Iron is as a WWII tactical wargame. Small units of infantry and armour slug it out on a battlefield composed of roads, streams, wooded areas and individual buildings. This is as opposed to a strategic WWII wargame that displays the world in its entirety for a game board and the military units represent whole armies.

There are many WWII wargames out there. In the realm of tactical WWII wargames there is a broad spectrum of complexity ranging from the very abstracted Memoir '44 to the two hundred page ultra simulation that is Advanced Squad Leader. Games closer to Memoir 44 offer simplicity of play. Fans of such games argue that they have as much fun, if not more, with a very flat learning curve. Game sessions last about an hour and the quality of being able to easily get into a quick game is one of the positive aspects fans often mention. Simultaneously, a significant number of Memoir 44 fans still enjoy the game but express that it can be quite lacking in how it represents WWII tactics and theme.

On the other hand, fans who favour the more complex grognardian simulations crave detail and historical accuracy. With this fidelity to history comes a significantly heavier warfare simulation and rulebook. ASL regulates specific details such as just how much a soldier can carry. ASL's simulation model is arguably the most sophisticated in all of gaming.

In between these two poles of complexity exist all those boardgamers who would really enjoy a meaty WWII wargame but have no desire to commit so heavily in terms of time and effort of mastery to just one game. Along with a good number of other games, Tide of Iron falls into this broad middle-ground, and it does so superbly.

At the end of the day WWII wargaming is about a lot more than planning and manoeuvring. It's about having a great time with an excellently developed WWII narrative; and ToI shines in this regard.

ToI's theme is tactical combat and is meant for boardgamers with at minimum some interest in wargaming. So, right off the bat, regardless of how good a game ToI is, if you are a gaming vegan then ToI is not for you.

I recommend Tide of Iron for the Eurogamer who is intrigued by wargames and wants to know what all the fuss is about; any kind of wargamer; but especially the boardgamer who enjoys a good scrap but has no desire of investing himself in any type of grognardian hex and counter consim.


What's in the Box

Opening the 60 cm [2 foot] long and 4.5 Kg [10 lb] box, you find that FFG has released your birthday present early. There are a couple of hundred finely detailed miniatures, a giant hard-backed mapping system, a stack of cards and a mountain of other gaming pieces, all of which form a system more than just a game.

ToI comes with 12 double-sided geomorphic map boards that are hard mounted on masonite. These are by far the sturdiest game boards I have ever come across. They fit together almost seamlessly. The graphics are well done and fit the theme of the game perfectly. Each board is about 4 x 5 hexes which gives you about double the real estate of the Memoir '44 game board. These game boards are put together as indicated in each scenario. The map is augmented with a family of 23 overlay pieces ranging in size from 1 to 5 hexes. Together, the boards and the overlays offer a virtual limitless set of map configurations.

The map is typical North-West European summer terrain with roads, buildings, streams and wooded areas. There is no wide river (who doesn't love a river assault) nor large bridges. There is also no winter terrain. That said, expansion sets are sure to offer new terrain types such as desert or winter terrain in the form of more boards and perhaps more overlays as well.

ToI comes with very nicely detailed U.S. and German miniatures and arrive already separated into individual figures. I was taken aback for a moment at just how small the infantry figures were. They are nonetheless very detailed and I find I really like them. It adds to the overall aesthetic of the game by not having infantry towering over vehicles like so many jolly green giants. Most importantly they play very well. Even so, the infantry and vehicles are not quite in the same scale, which is a good thing as either the vehicles would be too large or the infantry would be too small to handle.

There are five types of infantry figures: infantry, elite infantry, officer, machinegun and mortar. During combat, because of their small stature, one has to take a good look in order to determine the correct abilities for each squad. Quite a number of the figures have some left over flash which is easily trimmed away. Both the infantry rifles and tank barrels are usually bent. This is corrected with the hot water method that straightens them up.

There are three American vehicle types: 2-1/2 ton truck, M3 half-track and M4 Sherman medium tank. There are four German vehicle types: Opel truck, Sdkfz 251 half-track, Pz IV medium tank and Pz V Tiger I heavy tank. The German truck is flawed and I suspect the mould will be redone for the next edition. Some of the vehicles are made in two parts and arrive glued together. The bed tarp for the truck is too large for the truck bed. When glued on it forces the miniature to bend significantly. It is a blemish to be sure but certainly not a game breaker.

U.S. vehicles

Special to Tide of Iron are its use of round sturdy squad bases. Each base has four small holes in it that accept tiny pegs that are part of each infantry figure. One can create a multitude of squad configurations by combining different infantry figures on each squad base. Also each squad base has an ingenious clip that can hold a counter that further designates the squad with some specialization such as anti-tank, engineer, medic or flamethrower. (The holes in the squad bases are a tiny bit too small for the pegs on the infantry figures. It takes about 15 minutes but a 5/64th" drill bit needs to be run through each hole from the bottom once or twice. After that the system works perfectly. See this BGG thread for more options: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1534172#1534172)

Squad with specialization

ToI uses a bunch of six-sided black attack dice and red cover dice. Plenty come with the game. They are unusually small. Some people have stated that they were disappointed with the small dice and characterizing them as novelty dice. I too was surprised but I just love them to death. They work so well. It is common to have ten or more dice to roll at a time and they all fit nicely in my hand with plenty of room for a good shake. I don't feel the need at all for a dice tower. I now use these type of small dice for all my dicefest type games. As an aside, it just goes to demonstrate that you can never please everyone.

The rulebook is crafted as carefully as the game components themselves. ToI's rulebook is quite excellent and one of the best I have come across. The system is laid out logically and incrementally. There are graphical examples for every major area of the rules. It is an easy read. I especially noted that the rulebook was clearly well edited so as to be unambiguous while still maintaining complete clarity. There are a couple of small errors which have already been identified in the errata. Also, there are a couple of small aspects of the rules where I found I needed some clarification because the interaction between one area of the rules with another was not more obvious. The rulebook comes with an excellent index. I find that using the index I can zero-in on any area of the rules. I have never had to hunt for the rule I was interested in. For this level of complexity I found learning ToI very straightforward and painless.


Tide of Iron's design

ToI is scenario based, which means that using the given components one sets up a particular battle scenario. The mechanics of the game as described in the rules apply to any scenario. The game comes with a very nicely crafted and organized scenario book which includes 6 scenarios. More scenarios have already been published on FFG's website [http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/tideofiron_scenarios.html]. Furthermore, you are free and encouraged to design your own scenarios. FGG has made available a free scenario editor to make this simple and uniform. On the scenario page is a database of such owner-created scenarios which can be freely downloaded.

Scenario: Chain of Command

Each scenario describes everything that is required to set up a game of ToI. This includes the historical context of the scenario, the configuration of the map boards, the military units available, objectives, victory conditions, any special rules, and more. Setting up a scenario takes about 15-30 minutes and anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to play depending on the size and complexity of the scenario.

The scenario lists the number and kind of military figures available to each side but leaves the final makeup of each infantry squad up to the player. Although every battle is by nature a two-sided affair, ToI is by design up to a four player game. FFG has supplied ToI with four different colours of squad bases, two shades of green and two shades of grey. In a four player game, each shade of green is meant for each of the two American players. Likewise, each shade of grey is meant for the two German players. There is also a section of the rules with respect to some extra rules particular to a four player game.

Every wargame simulates actual virtual events that occur in real time simultaneously. A main problem of wargame design is how to allow each side to react to actions of the other side. For example, it would not make sense to have an infantry squad mosey on by with no reaction at all from an enemy squad simply because it is not the enemy player's turn. One solution is to allow each player a certain number of discrete small actions and then switch to the other player who also performs an equal number of actions. Some games have it such that each player performs a single action going back and forth until all units have done something. ToI has the number of actions as a variable specific to the scenario. A common number in scenarios seems to be three actions. That is, each player takes three actions in succession and then play shifts over to the other player. Players go back and forth in this way until both sides have done all they wish to do for that turn.

Tide of Iron comes with over a hundred cards divided into about 10 different and short decks of cards. This has given some people the false impression that ToI is a card driven wargame along the lines of Memoir '44 or Combat Commander: Europe. This is not at all the case. A player is free to plan and act with any and all of his units as he sees fit.The cards serve two purposes. The majority of the cards are strategy cards divided into theme-specific decks such as artillery, command, morale, support, etc. Each side, as defined in the scenario, gains a number of strategy card decks from which a player draws each round of play. The strategy cards connect the player's battlefield experience with the greater and unknown battle going on around him. The cards offer the player options that may or may not be present and are dependant on factors outside his control. For example, artillery support may or may not be available or a particular squad may exhibit exceptional gallantry and perform unusually well.

The second much smaller set of cards are called operations cards. A player may have zero or more operations cards available to him as specified by the scenario. Each such card details some major special rule which applies only to the side possessing the operations card.

ToI offers a menu of action types from which a player is free to choose. The action types include four different kinds of fire and movement actions, an action to make use of a strategy card, and an action called prepare opportunity fire. Placing a unit in opfire mode in essence tells the unit to be alert for enemy units moving in its sight. On your opponent's turn, when he moves a unit, anytime such a unit is in sight of one of your own units that are in opfire mode, you have the right to temporarily pause your opponent's activity and fire on his moving unit. Opportunity fire allows you to react to your opponents actions even when it is not your turn and this is very powerful. Although the notion of opportunity fire is not unique to ToI, it is one of the more important aspects of the game and which especially defines ToI.

Two copies of an easy to use reference sheet is provided with the game. The reference sheet details the basic numbers particular to each unit that are important for resolving combat. There is also a detailed summary of the turn sequence and everything related to the disposition of units before, during and after combat can be found somewhere on the reference sheet.

Christian T. Petersen, Corey Konieczka and John Goodenough, Tide of Iron's designers, have brought together the basic concepts of tactical wargaming in a new package. I believe that it is here that ToI shines most and what differentiates it from other wargames. They have masterfully struck an excellent balance between historical fidelity and playability that makes for a wargame that is simultaneously engrossing and minimally complex. There is almost nothing in ToI that is a brand new wargaming concept. Rather, in their design they have kept what is most important and left off that which may add realism but detracts from the overall fun. Indeed, this is a comment that I have often noticed, such that ToI is a lot of fun, and I wholeheartedly agree.

These wargaming concepts are (a) line of sight (LOS), (b) range, (c) attack strength, (d) defence strength, and (e) unmodeled factors. If you have any experience at all with wargames you probably already recognize them. If not, they are well explained in the rulebook.

The dice is where unmodeled factors come in. Unless a wargame system accounts for every soldier's belt buckle, untied shoelace, and precisely how many of his bullets might misfire, there will be factors that remain unmodeled or unaccounted for by the rules. It is in this that lay the variations from encounter to encounter. Given the same units, with the same attack and defence strengths, why would one encounter result differently than another. Perhaps, those soldiers were particularly inattentive, or those soldiers were especially brave, or mistakes were made, and on and on. The dice determine how all these unmodeled factors affect the particular battle that particular time. In ToI, with all the dice rolling, I never ever felt that luck had anything to do with the outcome. Indeed, if there was not this random element then each encounter could be predetermined by the plan itself. And, there are those who want exactly that. This is fine for an abstract game like Chess but would be out of place for a WWII combat game.

If you have some experience with wargames, ToI handles defensive strengths in an interesting way. Instead of various defensive factors, such as cover from being in woods, directly affecting the dice rolls in the same way every time, they add counter-acting dice. For example, the attack of an anti-tank infantry squad against a Panzer IV tank in woods gets 7 attack points. Each attack point translates into one black attack die. At normal range, each die-roll of a 5 or 6 results in one hit. However, the Panzer IV inherently has 4 defence points for its armour and additionally gets 2 more cover points for being in woods. Simultaneously with the roll of the 7 black attack dice are rolled 6 red cover dice. Each roll of 5 or 6 on the cover dice cancels out a 5 or 6 roll (a hit) on the attack dice. If you do not like rolling a lot of dice or the whole notion of randomness associated with dice is problematic for you, then ToI is probably not your thing.

The game comes with a mountain of 1/2" square counters and other shaped markers. They exclusively serve as memory aids and are placed on the map boards right by units or in particular hexes. They mark the different statuses that a unit can be under such as, pinned, disrupted, fatigued, and lightly damaged, or mark various objective hexes. There are plenty of counters and I have to date never run out. As a sidenote to the obsessive-compulsive grognards such as myself, you can tell that ToI was designed by a true wargamer. All the counters are punched with rounded corners—no clipping required. Sometimes a hex can get overcrowded with markers but I found this to be the exception and not the rule.

A super design aspect that is particular to Tide of Iron is command points. Various objective hexes are assigned a command point value. Taking control of such hexes gives the player a certain number of command points every round that may be spent on initiative and strategy cards. At first I wasn't sure about this but I find that it works really well.

Each round, each player draws one or more startegy cards. Strategy cards can be quite powerful and as both yours and your opponent's cards are open faced, it is important to keep aware of them. But, these drawn strategy cards only make up the pool of available strategy cards. To make use of a particular card, it must be purchased with command points. Conflicting with this is each side's initiative pool. The side with the most command points in his initiative pool has the initiative and gets to go first in the round. I often found myself angsting over where to put my command points. This whole notion of command points adds a whole other layer to ToI that makes the game especially strategic and fun. It is not at all just chrome.


Tide of Iron is not just a game--it's a system

One of the excellent design aspects of ToI is that it is very much a framework for WWII tactical wargaming with several quite significant extension points.

Map boards: New map boards can offer additional terrain variations within the same North-Western European style that already comes with ToI. Also, additional wholly different terrain can be introduced to the system in the same way, such as desert, tropical, beach and winter terrain.

Map overlays: New map overlays can similarly offer new and varying terrain elements.

Markers: Additional markers can introduce other elements such as new types of field fortifications.

Strategy card decks: Additional whole strategy card decks can be added to introduce new concepts related to, for example, offshore area fire from ships.

Strategy cards: Within the context and theme of already published strategy card decks, new strategy cards can be published that are simply added.

Operations cards: New operations cards can introduce new and quite different rules.

Figure types: A completely new figure type I would like to see are guns. What's WWII tactical combat in NW-Europe without the FLAK 88.

Figures: Within the scope of figure types already in the game, we could see additional figures such as the U.S. M3 Stuart Light Tank or the Panzer V Panther medium tank.

Squad specializations: New types of squads can easily be introduced in ToI by delivering new squad specialization counters (and the associated rules).

Sceanrios: Of course, new scenarios is an obvious extension that is already in the works.

Scenario special rules: Just about any special rule can be incorporated simply by stating them as a scenario-specific special rule. ToI's first scenario has one such rule in that the Pz IV has a movement of 4 instead of 6 (perhaps that tank had some mobility related battle damage). Indeed, with this extension point there really are no house rules per se as any such rule can be added within the auspices of the official rules as written.


Recommendation

Tide of Iron is pure fun. It is an excellently designed wargame that is easy to learn.

If you are not a wargamer at all, ToI is probably the upper limit of complexity in your range. The game is somewhat lengthy. It is not a quick 45 minute affair from shelf to table back to shelf. If you are willing to put in the two and more hours for a game then go for it. You will be well repaid in fun factor. If you already own Memoir '44 (M44), ToI is a big meaty step up from that. If you don't already own M44, it should be one of the games you consider.

If you are a supergrognard and absolute maximum detail is what you crave, then you will be disappointed with ToI. It does sacrifice detail in favour of playability. You probably ought to try out a game anyway. You may be surprised and may just find a place for ToI in your gaming schedule.

If you are any kind of wargamer except for the most grognardian, ToI is a treasure. I suspect it will hit the table more often than most of your current fare. It is definitely the best game I have purchased in a long while. You probably ought to also look into Combat Commander: Europe (CC:E). It plays differently as it is a card-driven game and ToI is definitely not. I really don't like the card-driven mechanism. Also, I just can't get past that CC:E has no vehicles at all.

It is a personal thing, but ToI really hit the sweet spot for me in terms of fun for my complexity dollar. I still like Advanced Squad Leader's high detail but, more often it seems now, I don't have the brain power necessary for ASL. ToI has zero chore factor to it. Harrison Chadd wrote an excellent session report [http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/166266] which reads like a real after action report. That's what I feel like when playing ToI, and as it should be.

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Jim Patterson
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Exemplary job. Thanks.
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Leo Zappa
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Issac:

Outstanding review! Well done!
 
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Craig Maksimik
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Wow, that was a great review. I want to run out right now and buy this game! Oh wait. I already have it...

From now on when people ask me about this game I'm gonna give them a link to this review. Excellent read!
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Mary Weisbeck
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A truly excellent review! I wish I could give it 2 thumbs-up.
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Ryan Thornton
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Still waiting for my copy to ship.... it's est. at the end of June. In the mean time I'm building scenarios and reading session reports
 
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Bill Romaniecki
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Nice review. One point of clarification, Memoir'44 is not a tactical game. The scale is variable but the scenarios are on the operational level. ToI and Mem'44 really are not comparable.
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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The scale may indeterminate, but keywords like "Vehicle", "Squad", "Medic", "Officer", "Mortar" (singular), Building, and Tank Trap to describe units, their composition, and the sorts of things they fight around lead me to believe that the scale is at the close tactical level.

I do think a vehicle represents one vehicle and a squad really is a squad--or perhaps a team (on the small end of the scale) or a section (on the large end) in this case.
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Captain Spaulding
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I've been playing pretty much every day since I got it and I couldn't agree with you more! So far it's the most fun I've had with a board game.
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Claus Jensen
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Very good review.
Very!
 
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Isaac Citrom
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Thanks all for the encouraging words!
 
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Dave
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Great review!

Two quick questions: are the soldier figures similar in size to Axis and Allies miniatures and what novel was the line from?
 
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The Mighty Greedo
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2 mAny wuRdz...
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Tony Solo
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Fantastic extensive review. Thanks.

One question though, what exactly is a 'Amerigame'.

 
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David Anderson
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Great review Isaac! I wish all reviews were this informative.
 
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Dan Poole
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I disagree with the above mentioned statement that Memoir 44 is not a tactical level game. If it has LOS rules, it is on a small enough scale to be considered tactical
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Isaac Citrom
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Almalik wrote:
Great review!

Two quick questions: are the soldier figures similar in size to Axis and Allies miniatures and what novel was the line from?


No, the infantry figures are a lot smaller than Axis & Allies.

The novel is Dune.
 
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Isaac Citrom
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Tony_Solo wrote:
Fantastic extensive review. Thanks.

One question though, what exactly is a 'Amerigame'.



Tony;

I use the term Amerigame instead of its former form of Ameritrash because I, like others, feel that ameritrash is disparaging. Here is a definition of the term, http://www.boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Glossary#toc5.

A complimentary term, Eurogame (Eurosnoot), is also used.

Here is a geeklist with iconic amerigames, http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/16485.

Here is a geeklist with iconic eurogames, http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17033.
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turtleback wrote:
Great review Isaac! I wish all reviews were this informative.
But not this effusive. It's tedious reading it back into reality -- I've seen back-of-box text with less spin.

Quote:
The rulebook is crafted as carefully as the game components themselves.
So, it requires filing off flash, four 5/64 drill runs on each of one completely critical part, and a likely replacement for trucks? Sounds great!
 
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xethair wrote:
turtleback wrote:
Great review Isaac! I wish all reviews were this informative.
But not this effusive. It's tedious reading it back into reality -- I've seen back-of-box text with less spin.

Quote:
The rulebook is crafted as carefully as the game components themselves.
So, it requires filing off flash, four 5/64 drill runs on each of one completely critical part, and a likely replacement for trucks? Sounds great!


Robert;

It's not "spin" as you put it, which is dishonest, because I have no stake nor care in whether you buy the game or not. I share my honest opinion for those who might be interested, which in this case happens to be very positive. You find it effusive and tedious because you disagree with it.

Discussion of opinion, conclusions and factual errors are always a good thing. You do none of them and go out of your way to be critical in an unconstructive way. There are many reviews I do not find useful and I simply move on, as I am sure many have done with my own.

I note that since 2005 your contributions are next to nil. To stop and take the time as you do suggests to me that you are akin to the nay-sayers of meetings who find fault in everything but never have anything of value of their own to offer. I differentiate them with the "doers" and the "talkers".

I take the time to say this because I resent being called a liar in public.
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David Anderson
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Robert I think you might need a hug. Why don't you check out this forum.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/163606
 
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Robert
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isaacc wrote:
It's not "spin" as you put it, which is dishonest, because I have no stake nor care in whether you buy the game or not.

Spin is not dishonest, and it has nothing to do with having a stake. For example, here you have spun my message into calling you a liar, which I very obviously did not. That isn't dishonest, it's just making clear communication more difficult. Kudos to you, though, for spinning spin itself. Amusingly meta of you.

isaacc wrote:
I share my honest opinion for those who might be interested, which in this case happens to be very positive. You find it effusive and tedious because you disagree with it.

Here is another fine example. I do not disagree, nor did I say so. I have no opinion of ToI at all, which is why I am reading reviews, It sounds like it has many fine features, and clearly many people are very happy with it. It would be rather absurd to take issue with any of that.

isaacc wrote:
Discussion of opinion, conclusions and factual errors are always a good thing. You do none of them and go out of your way to be critical in an unconstructive way.

And again. I feel my criticism was sufficiently constructive, because I was pointing out the heavy use of rhetoric in a review, which is counterproductive to people extracting good information from it. I would not consider it necessary to instruct someone who uses it so heavily and overtly on how or how not to apply it. That level would seem to me to require concious writing choices, so it wouldn't need to be belabored beyond expressing my dissenting opinion. I was *also* discussing concludions and facts because there were many, many posts affirming this as an exemplary review, which I consider an unwise conclusion that should be at least tokenly challenged, both for the benefit of future reviewers and for those reading and assessing other reviews.

isaacc wrote:
There are many reviews I do not find useful and I simply move on, as I am sure many have done with my own.

Yes, as do I.

isaacc wrote:
I note that since 2005 your contributions are next to nil.

What an incredibly bizarre angle to take. Here I'm not clear whether you are just trying to frame my comment poorly because I am not a type to say a lot (or perhaps there should be something wrong with not having an account before 2005?), or whether you are trying to put me on the defensive with what is essentially a personal attack entirely outside the conversation's topic. Fortunately I don't really care, although your commitment to having a different conversation than I started is surprising.

isaacc wrote:
To stop and take the time as you do suggests to me that you are akin to the nay-sayers of meetings who find fault in everything but never have anything of value of their own to offer. I differentiate them with the "doers" and the "talkers".

How very unfortunate for me. Surely you have clearly extrapolated the whole of my personality and contributions to society because I find fault with your choice of writing style. Woe is me, to be sure.

isaacc wrote:
I take the time to say this because I resent being called a liar in public.
You are the only one who said liar, so you would only be resenting yourself, which of course, I really have no say in. I commented on the rhetoric, which I felt was excessive. My point expressed (if, now, a bit belabored, I will go back to reading about games so I may better provide for and teach my various groups.

I would, however, suggest that you accept dissent a bit more healthily. There is a lot of it in the world, I find.

turtleback wrote:
Robert I think you might need a hug. Why don't you check out this forum.

That's ok, I get plenty, but thanks for the message from Care-a-lot. It's good to know you guys are still doing ok up there.
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David Anderson
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Two Time Cancer Survivor - Never Give Up. Never Surrender. -Jason Nesmith from Galaxy Quest (1999 movie)
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thanks for the message from Care-a-lot
Hey, that's pretty funny! Care bears... oh, Touche.
 
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Peter Whitley
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Descriptions of components do not generally excite me and I felt, if anything, that the review was not reflective enough. A good review, in my opinion, should have LOTS of spin...

- How does the rhythm of a turn feel? Fast and loose? Slow and calculating?
- Does the game array fuel excitement and anticipation, or does it feel complex and clever?
- Are the rules expressed in the components in a useful way or does it require a memory of the rules? Are affordances in place and built into the presentation? (Are there helpful reminders in the gaming area?)
- Does the "flavor" of the game augment the logic of the gameplay or do the rules sometimes seem counterintuitive? (Abstract games, for example, have little reliance on intuition...so how "abstract" is the game?)
- Are the player decisions pointed at significant events or are they aggregated across a myriad of interlocking processes? (There are players who prefer each, after all.)

That's the kind of stuff I like to read, for what it's worth.
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Isaac Citrom
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Peter Whitley wrote:

Descriptions of components do not generally excite me and I felt, if anything, that the review was not reflective enough. A good review, in my opinion, should have LOTS of spin...

- How does the rhythm of a turn feel? Fast and loose? Slow and calculating?
- Does the game array fuel excitement and anticipation, or does it feel complex and clever?
- Are the rules expressed in the components in a useful way or does it require a memory of the rules? Are affordances in place and built into the presentation? (Are there helpful reminders in the gaming area?)
- Does the "flavor" of the game augment the logic of the gameplay or do the rules sometimes seem counterintuitive? (Abstract games, for example, have little reliance on intuition...so how "abstract" is the game?)
- Are the player decisions pointed at significant events or are they aggregated across a myriad of interlocking processes? (There are players who prefer each, after all.)

That's the kind of stuff I like to read, for what it's worth.


Peter;

Thanks. This is actually quite useful in general and specifically makes sense to me as well. I have noted it and will come back to it should I write another review of a different game.
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