Russ Hawthorne
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Hello,

I have heard that US is somewhat on "rails" where as other people say it is near a sandbox which can be used to experiment with different ideas?

Also the defeat of the soviets results in them coming back into the war at a later stage, would it take much to ignore this or adapt it in some way so as this does not occur or would it likely result in too much imbalance?

A lack of tech development? is this really that big a deal?

I don't have much experience of war games at this scale any feedback would be appreciated.


Thankyou
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Jim Ransom
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I've been playing for about a year. Done most of the learning scenarios, and currently playing the "whole enchilada" (1939-45). Here's my thoughts:

1. On rails? I say for the most part No. Using the diplomacy rules, it's possible to get some real variations from actual history. Want Turkey to come in with the Axis -- it can be done (but watch out what you wish for!). Spain coming in? Yep. And plenty of other options from the standpoint of countries joining different factions than actually occurred. But there are some things that will follow actual history: The arrival of the Americans really turns the tide, it's hard for the Eye-ties to make much headway in the Med, and the Soviets juggernaut does start steamrolling in 43. I say there are enough chances to change things that make this more in the sandbox realm than "on rails."

2. Changing rules with respect to Soviet return after being conquered? Well hell -- why didn't I think of that? My Axis conquered the Soviets, and I should have just told my opponent that I was going to change the rules about them coming back (with a vengeance) a year or so later. Hey -- it's your game. Do what you want. For me, I follow the rules the designer made. He put a lot of thought into it.

3. Lack of tech development? I think it's covered, although abstractedly (is that a word?). The Germans get things like jets to help their air warfare, Allied and Soviet armies that arrive later in the game have more capabilities than those of the early war years, Allied naval units late in the war are increasingly dominant. For the high level strategic game that USE represents, I think the designer did a good job.

The game is worth the time and money you will invest in it. Enjoy!
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Russ Hawthorne
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Hi Jim,

Thanks for taking the time to reply, very much appreciated!

OK you've convinced me, now I'll just have to try and find a copy somewhere that's not going to cost the earth (easier said than done at the moment)

Missed out on one the other day it was going for 70 euro's but unsurprisingly it was gone within a day or two. I didn't realise it was out of print at the time!!!

Thanks again.
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Arthur Dougherty
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Isn't the reprint due out soon if you wanted to hang in there? The reprint should include all the optional counters and rules from c3i.


Alcibiades73 wrote:
Hi Jim,

Thanks for taking the time to reply, very much appreciated!

OK you've convinced me, now I'll just have to try and find a copy somewhere that's not going to cost the earth (easier said than done at the moment)

Missed out on one the other day it was going for 70 euro's but unsurprisingly it was gone within a day or two. I didn't realise it was out of print at the time!!!

Thanks again.
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Jim Ransom
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Unless you just gotta have it in your hot hands right now, I recommend just a bit more patience. Based on GMT's 21 Feb production schedule update, the second edition is scheduled for shipping in May 2017. You can get in on the pre-order price (45 USD vs 70 USD regular) by ordering from GMT games.

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-534-unconditional-surrender-2nd-pr...
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Russ Hawthorne
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Thanks for the info guys,

Great news haven't really looked into all that, just been reading up on the game and reviews etc, generally the way I go about it when something catches my eye.

I will look to try and get a second printing edition when it comes out.

I have the "No Retreat" series by Carl Paradis which I love so I've got plenty to keep myself busy till then.

Again thanks for all the help
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Mark Dey
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Another benefit to Unconditional Surrender is that we have a good group of helpful players that tend to answer questions faster than Sal or I can.
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Russ Hawthorne
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Hi Mark,

Yes I agree Very helpful and friendly, but then I find that wherever I go on the geek, everybody is really helpful and polite.

I am one of those people who generally ask lot's of questions and opinions and always get prompt helpful feedback.

One of the benefits to being a part of this hobby and community I always feel
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Salvatore Vasta
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awdougherty wrote:
Isn't the reprint due out soon if you wanted to hang in there? The reprint should include all the optional counters and rules from c3i.


This isn't correct. 1st edition USE already came with all its optional counters and so will the reprint. The optional rules, which appeared in C3i, were not in the original and will not be in the reprint. However, they will be made available online for download. I need to get to that.

Sal
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Timo Kellomäki
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Late again, but I'll still add a couple of points even though I pretty much agree with Jim.

The game is very much off the rails. You can try various pretty wild strategies, the diplomacy goes to surprising directions, and a couple of die rolls can cause surprising breakthroughs so the players have to adapt their strategy to the changed circumstances constantly. It doesn't get boring.

I suppose the reason why someone would say it is on rails is exactly the thing in your second question: that Axis can't win the game at the halfway mark whatever it does. It can just position itself so that it will most probably win, but you need to both attack and defend well to win.

Because of the Soviet return and the strategic war rules the game has a bit of a "rubber band" balance where the Axis can't tilt the game too much too early, and I can see why somebody wouldn't like it. I personally think the system of Soviet comeback is excellent and solves one of the biggest problems in these WW2 games, that is, the Allies players missing the fun attack part in half the games.

This can also be quite easily house ruled if your allied player(s) are out of their minds and are not interested in getting to attack It would bias the game toward the Axis, but you could e.g. bid for the Soviet national will in the beginning to make it balanced again.

For the research, even if the units do progress as Jim explains, you can't endlessly affect the schedule of the new units you get, for example trying to build a much bigger navy or more paratroopers or earlier jet planes according to your strategy. This is one of the places where I'd like more options. I think it would be quite possible to build a house rule system for "research", maybe using the what if counters, but balancing it would be problematic.

Hopefully you still want to get the game It's excellent.
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Adam Ruzzo
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I'm surprised at the people saying it's not on rails. This game starts in 39 with the invasion of Poland. That is as "on rails" as you can get. There are slight variations on which minors will join which faction, but the only way you could consider this a "sandbox" game is if your only other points of comparison are games which provide no diplomatic leeway at all.

I will say that it provides one 'off the rails' scenario, and that's the "east first" scenario, which I did have fun exploring.

My interpretation of a more sandbox experience would be something like Triumph & Tragedy or Axis Empires: Totaler Krieg!. These start in 1936 and provide a lot more variation on the theme.
 
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Mark Dey
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Being familiar with AE:TK!, I think that the 1936-1939 timeframe does give that game an advantage with regards to generating alternate variations. However, both games do have an option to start in September 1939, and I think that from that start point, Unconditional Surrender is at least as flexible as AE:TK! if not a little more so.

It is not completely accurate that Unconditional Surrender only begins with the invasion of Poland. There is the East First scenario you mention, where the invasion of Poland happens on schedule but it aligns with Russia and Germany tries to collapse Russia before launching an offensive against France in 1941.

There are other options as well if the Wide-Open setup option is used. I have played through enjoyable games where a 'Med First' strategy is played, where opening shots are fired at Yugoslavia and Hungary, with the Axis goal of bringing Italy into the war on the Axis side early, shortly followed by Turkey, and driving the West from the Middle East. There is also an option where Poland is ignored in 1939 and attacks are launched through Belgium into France, aiming to collapse it in early 1940 so that part of the 1940 summer can be spent attempting to invade London, or in a very aggressive plan, turning to hit Russia.

There is also the option of pursuing low-level warfare against the West or the Russians, conquering Scandinavia or the Balkans (or both) and developing a network of Axis allies before starting an attack that would trigger the West Invaded or East Invaded events which would open up the larger levels of warfare.
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Timo Kellomäki
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mark dey wrote:
I think that the 1936-1939 timeframe does give that game an advantage with regards to generating alternate variations.


Yeah, I at least was definitely comparing with other games starting in September 1939. Actually, it would be interesting to see a supplement to USE with an earlier starting date. That could also include some kind of research rules as discussed earlier, with the current main event reinforcement schedule etc. being just one possible result.

I wonder if anything in that direction was considered during development?
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Jeff Schulte
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That sounds like a good idea for an expansion.
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Adam Ruzzo
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I did forget about the "wide open" scenario, but it seemed like it wouldn't be balanced well so I hadn't tried it yet.

mark dey wrote:
so that part of the 1940 summer can be spent attempting to invade London.


I can't see how any invasion of the UK would ever succeed in US. I attempted it once while the UK foolishly had their entire navy in the Med. I had some early success, but all my panzers were immediately frozen out of supply when the 3 British fleets returned. I had only managed to take about 4 cities (including London) before the channel was completely blocked again.

Unless the British player allows their navy to be completely filled up with sorts counters and never repairs them, I don't think it's mathematically possible to successfully invade the UK in this game.
 
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Mark Dey
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As you've mentioned, the invasion of the UK is challenging. It is relatively straightforward to land, but difficult to maintain enough supply to succeed in. Having an active Axis Italy helps tremendously. One plan I have found that is most helpful is to rotate the fresh air from Poland with the exhausted air in the west, and use them to continually engage UK support units. While it is difficult, the UK can be collapsed. And then, the fun of defending against an eventual liberation attempt can begin.
 
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Salvatore Vasta
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Daemou wrote:
Yeah, I at least was definitely comparing with other games starting in September 1939. Actually, it would be interesting to see a supplement to USE with an earlier starting date. That could also include some kind of research rules as discussed earlier, with the current main event reinforcement schedule etc. being just one possible result.

I wonder if anything in that direction was considered during development?


The idea was in my head, as was something along Totaler Krieg!'s "Dice of Decision" system. However, those quickly were put aside as they meant more counters, rules, and playtesting. It wasn't until very late in the design that we asked and got the go ahead to fill in another half-sheet of counters for no added cost to customers.

They are still in my head, but with my limited time, I want to focus on designing ARM and USAP. Both of which are farther behind in design than I hope they would be by now.

Sal
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I.M. Jeremic
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what are ARM and USAP
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tzinc wrote:
what are ARM and USAP


ARM will be a game covering WWI. USAP will be a game covering the Pacific theater of WWII. Can't remember now the specifics names of the games.

Both will have the USE system.
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Salvatore Vasta
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ARM is for Armistice! World War 1 in Europe.

USAP is for Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Asia and the Pacific
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svasta wrote:
ARM is for Armistice! World War 1 in Europe.

USAP is for Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Asia and the Pacific


Yes please. I have been on a long game buying break, feel like I have almost everything I could want for a long time (minus Fields of Fire), but these two both sound amazing. USAP in particular, since whenever I read about WWII it is clear how much a Germany/Japan First policy was essential to how things were done and that if Japan had actually attacked Russia things could have gone so differently. Please make my sandbox bigger
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svasta wrote:
awdougherty wrote:
Isn't the reprint due out soon if you wanted to hang in there? The reprint should include all the optional counters and rules from c3i.


This isn't correct. 1st edition USE already came with all its optional counters and so will the reprint. The optional rules, which appeared in C3i, were not in the original and will not be in the reprint. However, they will be made available online for download. I need to get to that.

Sal


Any progress on the optional rules being made available? The game has got plenty going on already, but the additional units in particular look like the perfect avenue for some house rules.
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Salvatore Vasta
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Huger wrote:

Any progress on the optional rules being made available? The game has got plenty going on already, but the additional units in particular look like the perfect avenue for some house rules.


Sorry, no real progress on that front yet. Let me check on something and maybe I can get them up soon.

Sal
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