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Sergeants Miniatures Game: Day of Days» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Observations After Several Solo Games rss

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Jason Gunder
United States
Illinois
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First things first--any players in the Chicagoland area? If so, shoot me a message!

I read a lot of reviews before opening this box with the intention of playing. I've actually owned the game for about two years, purchased on an impulse, but after the initial "wow, that's cool!" unboxing, it went into storage. I didn't really have a place for it at the time, I'm an avid boardgamer, and I also play Warhammer 40k, Classic Battletech, and several other miniature wargames. There were other games that had my attention.

Having my first kid meant most all of those games went into storage, and I'm only recently breaking back into my hobbies. I unearthed Sergeants, gave it a second look, read more reviews since my first look at the game (as well as some rules clarifications), and finally got it on the table. For me right now, it fits. Setup is pretty quick once you've done it a few times, especially once you develop a favorite squad of soldiers. Organization is key!

Gameplay is fast and I find it exciting, which has kept me interested in the game. Losing troops early to lucky shots doesn't necessarily mean game over, especially when objectives can count so heavily. It's also amazing how much a cold draw can turn the table in this game, I like the luck-based element. You can build your squad to mitigate luck, but you can't completely remove its effects from the game.

Here are some of my observations, as well as a quick summary of the last game I played. It's mission #4 in the Day of Days core set. I had an evening to myself, so I played this solo. Trying to fit in a bunch of games with myself this week to be fresh on the rules when I teach a friend this weekend. I included a LMG on both sides for this mission, but did not use any tactics panels. Mission took about 10 minutes to set up, and played to a bloody conclusion in about 40 minutes.



Followed standard deployment for the scenario. Initially kept the German troops deployed conservatively around the building, assuming I could use it as cover. Many of my German troops, however, have rather short ranges, so moved them up after it became clear that the US troops, with their better ranges, would slowly whittle them down.

Deployed US troops in a line with plenty of space between men, really only advancing in the first couple turns to take the crossroads landmark and satisfy half that objective. Besides that, kept to cover at a distance, and let Fink's Browning M1919 A4 do its work. It outclassed its German counterpart, had better draws. An early Hit+ wounded two enemy troops.



Once it became clear that the Germans had to advance to take advantage of close & short range shots, US troops did the same. Unfortunately for the Germans, after their advance their draws went cold. Two consecutive draws of nothing but move, look and hide cards. US troops, on the other hand, were drawing hot, killing or pinning all but the German MG42 and poor Unteroffizier Dreher. Having a clear advantage in numbers, they moved in to seize the second landmark.



Things went south for Dreher fast. With his totally crappy base movement rate of 3", getting pinned in a square with -2 move meant he was basically static. I need to look and see if there's a "minimum of one inch" rules somewhere I may have missed. That made it easy for the US melee heavy-hitters to rush in, and with initiative they pummeled into submission for a capture. US victory, 40-3.

The early efficacy of the US LMG was really the turning point; this was the first game where I'd played with LMGs on both sides, up until then they didn't prove nearly as decisive. This was also the first resolved Hit+ with multiple wound/kill results.

The game ended up being the most lopsided of those played; typical results for me are usually within a few VPs. Perhaps that's knowing the objectives of both sides, but I try to play each side sensibly, advancing when it would make sense to advance, or playing cat and mouse to accomplish patrol objectives.

I have some of the X-terrain expansions on the way, I'm looking forward to adding a 3D element to the game. The current rules such as buildings not blocking LOS seem silly to my wargaming standards, and will likely be house-ruled eventually, but for now I'm trying to play the core set missions without too much tinkering. I plan on testing tactics panels next.

My hopes are that my observations and experiences here might renew someone's interest in the game, or bring new players to it. The system is not without flaws--the lack of clarity in the rules, as many here have mentioned, is definitely a barrier to the game--but I have just as many issues with Games Workshop rules issues, which has significantly more development $$$, a much bigger player base, and much more support.

Hope you enjoy my post!
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Greg
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Glad to hear from a new player

The 2D buildings not blocking Los is odd, but there are usually modifiers on the panel to make things a little more difficult. The designer's intention with these buildings was to make them more of the flimsier ones that bullets could easily go through and whatnot. The game is also somewhat abstract in some regards too, Gloomhaven is like that in the dungeon craw genre, where some things throw off those that are used to typical miniatures rules and mechanics.

The 3D buildings do look nice, I have the St. Come du Mont set, with the church, parsonage and crypt. I also have Hasty Positions, with the trees/foxholes/hill pieces.

It's been awhile since I've played, probably since last June. I had ordered the Hell on Wheels set and got some vehicles, but because they didn't come until December instead of June when they were supposed to come, I had since gotten into Halo Ground Command in August and have been buying and painting stuff for that since. I also got my copy of Gloomhaven at the end of January (I had kickstarted it in October 2015), so after painting the 6 starting characters, I recently started a campaign of that with my 14 year-old twin daughters. I'm also 11 games into a SeaFall campaign with 4 others in my game group, and a couple weeks ago, just started a Star Wars Armada: Corellian Conflict campaign with 5 others, where there are 3 Rebel players and 3 Empire players and we square off 1v1 once a month between different opponent's until one side has 12 campaign points.

So sadly, I haven't even looked at the rules for the vehicles too much, as I have had other stuff taking precedence. I keep telling myself that I have to at least play the non-vehicles stuff again sometime in the next several months.

I live in Lowell, Indiana.
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Mayor Jim
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Welcome aboard to the SMG train. Your wise to start with the smaller scenarios to get the basics down...and then, breakout
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Brian
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Aw, crap; gonna be sore in the morning...
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j_gunder wrote:
Setup is pretty quick once you've done it a few times, especially once you develop a favorite squad of soldiers. Organization is key!
Yep. Much of the continued fun of SMG is discovering new ways to organize your squad of individuals. One potential issue is being sure to always do this in advance for new players and provide them with a basic understanding of the deliberate group dynamics and potential complements of your squad's tactical expertise.

Since a fair amount of in-game strategy is accomplished in these pre-game builds (not to the extent that it pre-determines anything or dominates luck however) players that enjoy doing that will love this game. SMG lovers tend to be hard core organizers and it is important to remember that some players do not enjoy managing pre-builds, so it definitely helps to have troops all set to go, requiring only brief general comments (unless you know the players well and that they enjoy deck building and are prepared to spend actual table time doing this).

j_gunder wrote:
I'm trying to play the core set missions without too much tinkering.
I can't recommend doing this enough and then on a larger map than just the core set. You will likely discover that the game truly shines with a bit more space and additional soldiers for pre-build variety.

SMG is an organizer's dream come true. Enjoy getting to know your guys, what they are good at and who compensates what they aren't so good at. I don't think it gets any better than that at this game scale.
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Jason Gunder
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Illinois
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Thanks for the feedback, guys!

I can't wait to incorporate some of the terrain into my games, I'm hoping to get a few more in this week. Still solo for now, but I have a couple of friends who have expressed interest in playing (especially since I footed the original buy-in cost). By the time I'm ready to teach them, I think I'll have a pretty firm grasp of the rules.

I like that you choose your specific squad members after you pick your orders, adds a nice bit of strategy to the planning stage of the game. For a patrol mission, you might choose guys with better range or movement, for assault missions you might really want to load up on those closer-range guys with Hit+ capabilities. I've also done a couple of "balanced" squads with a decent mix of capabilities and drawn orders blind, it all seems to work well no matter how you play.
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Greg
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You can do it either way. You can build your squad after picking orders or build a squad and then go with whatever order you get for the scenario. A lot of that has to do with time really. If you have the time during your session to get orders and then build squad just before the game, then that's cool and great for custom building. Otherwise, I've done it where I have a couple pre-built squads based on the points for the scenario and then on game day, after choosing the orders, I go with one of the two squads that were prebuilt.

Lots of options for this game. I imagine players can plan ahead for a specific scenario and then agree to allow each other to choose their own orders of those allowed by the scenario and then be allowed to build their squads away from game day. Then show up and battle it out.
 
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Mayor Jim
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Actually, I like to first pick a scenario, then build a squad and then reveal what the orders/objective(s) are. That way you go to war with the squad you have...not the squad you want. Sorry for paraphrasing a Secretary of Defense comment. whistle I just feel it's more of a challenge. Of course, if you have a deep pocket, you could buy a ton of troops to always build the perfect squad for each situation. I don't find that to be that much fun or a challenge. The games is challenging enough as is IMHO.
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Vance Strickland
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MayorJim wrote:
Actually, I like to first pick a scenario, then build a squad and then reveal what the orders/objective(s) are. That way you go to war with the squad you have...not the squad you want. Sorry for paraphrasing a Secretary of Defense comment. whistle I just feel it's more of a challenge. Of course, if you have a deep pocket, you could buy a ton of troops to always build the perfect squad for each situation. I don't find that to be that much fun or a challenge. The games is challenging enough as is IMHO.


This is the same way I play. I just figure that on the night of the drop and the few days right after both sides were having to make do with what and who was on hand and not able to get the prefect troops for the mission.
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Todd
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MayorJim wrote:
Actually, I like to first pick a scenario, then build a squad and then reveal what the orders/objective(s) are. That way you go to war with the squad you have...not the squad you want. Sorry for paraphrasing a Secretary of Defense comment. whistle I just feel it's more of a challenge. Of course, if you have a deep pocket, you could buy a ton of troops to always build the perfect squad for each situation. I don't find that to be that much fun or a challenge. The games is challenging enough as is IMHO.


Same way we play as well. I have fun putting together a squad ,based on the limited number of points, that has a theme. Sniper squad, assault squad, melee squad, etc and see how they do to accomplish their unknown objective.
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