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Subject: 2WW - Shame on you if you don't own this one rss

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Robert "Smitty" Smith
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Initial Set up Fall 1939. The French are a bit under-strength. Surprisingly the Germans are a decent strength on the West Wall.


One Small Step (OSS) Games rerelease of 2WW: The War in Europe (2WW) I actually waited for as I never had played the original. I don't even recall it being released (frowny face). In fact, I am at a loss to recall the last strategic level game of this variety I have played. GMT's Triumph and Tragedy ((T & T) was the last one, but it's a vastly different game from 2WW. T & T is a block game, area focused and card driven. The only common touchstone the two games share is they are both about WWII. This was the game I waited for most eagerly of all the new releases from OSS because I don't recall the last time I played a game of this type that seemed to offer so much.


The Allies decide to launch a Counter-Attack (dumb idea) to retrieve the situation in Holland and events turn out poorly.


COMPONENTS

I was very pleasantly surprised by the overall curb appeal of the game. Nice thick Cardstock Player Aids. Decent counters. Nice rulebook with graphic examples of play. But it's the map that will catch your attention. It's a mounted map and overall I give it an A-, only due to its darkness and several names being washed out like Baghdad. The visual appeal is like those old SPI games with the Checkerboard Turn Record Chart (TRC) and Area Movement Boxes. They even placed the most critical tables for building and upgrading reduced units on the map. In addition on the TRC, you can track the growth of the Lend Lease Multiplier and when new forces can possibly enter play. I do wish OSS would do something different with their counters - this is my personal taste here. Maybe it's the font. Maybe's it's the flat matte finish. Maybe it's the slightly undersized typed and thinnish counters but why not upgrade them somehow? I would buy optional counters with silhouettes on them for this game, doing say one ME-109, 1 FW-190...


RULES
I've been sometimes a bit under thrilled with some of the OSS rulebooks to other games. Some suffered from a lack of proofing. I hammer my graduate students hard for that lack of TLC. Here - we have a Rule Book of 16 pages that is clean as a whistle. Being well proofed sets my mind at ease because it's the first sign that someone reviewed items. In fact I felt pretty comfortable after one read through, but went back to see if there were any booby traps that I missed that were buried in some obscure manner. Nope - good clean and functional rules. I do wish they had included a Reference Page for terms as sometimes the more obscure things like the whole conquering a country routine is hard to find. But I was able to get up and playing, with no real errors on my part.


GAME PLAY

WW II strategic games I think are the hardest to get right. There are simply too many aspects to them to not have something go amiss. SPI's WW II was fun, but it had more than several flaws that sunk the game. Avalon Hill's Third Reich was a bit of a mini-monster. To fully enjoy the economic aspects you needed others, which lessened its solitaire suitability. Avalon Hill's reprint of Hitler's War was interesting, highly rated by folks but here's the kicker - no one has found it that worthy to republish. What's interesting is folks liked this when it was published under Game Fix back in the 1990's.

Like one would expect, you dine on Poland early. Should be easy but this is where you need to pay attention to the game's Combat Chart, nee Combat Results Table (CRT). The CRT has eight different types of combat listed, from ASW combat, to City Bombing to Land combat among others. Normally these charts leave me a bit cool, but I liked this one. But back to the Poles - you need to understand units are 1 or 2 steps and to kill them you need to kill both steps. The only way to ensure that is to increase the number of combat factors in play against in a given attack. Against Poland, not so much of a problem. Western front, more so dependent upon when you attack and the Eastern Front - oh it can be an unmanageable headache.

For the Germans, you need to carefully look at your forces. Unlike in War in Europe the old SPI game, your Siegfried Line forces aren't shell units. That allows you to take some huge early risks in play. But in doing so, you might allow the Soviets a freer hand in Eastern Europe than they had historically. You have less than a handful of units and the risk management you have to practice is quite intense. You will probably run into the historic lull after France...but this is what's neat - the RAF has the ability to strike back with its bombers. Yeah we know, the RAF was dreadful in terms of accuracy in this period but it makes for good gaming, and does force the German to commit resources as they had to historically. It's a sweet little touch that should not go unnoticed.


Heavy convoy action and this time the Kriegsmarine came through, inflicting two Lend Lease losses. That was worth the loss of a U-Boat.


The interplay of air, sea, strategic air, armor and static (forts) works and works well without a lot of cumbersome rules. The rules never get in front of game play. Rigid Zones of Control? Well I think anything else would produce zany results. There is also an additional armored movement phase. Armor (since it rules of course says this tanker) can move ZOC to ZOC at the cost of an additional one movement point per hex. This allows for the early sweeping moves in Russia. But the German at his own peril risks not properly outfitting his U-Boat and perhaps even his Surface Fleet Arm as those Lend Lease points begin to move beyond simply an annoyance. Capturing all this with so few counters, making it playable. and something you want to play is simply no small feat.


Some very small game design questions, more of the intellectual curiosity nature. I was surprised that neither Kharkov nor Grozny were noted as brown cities - the ones that produce "stuff". I think that is an oversight with my knowledge of the Eastern Front. But other large or small issues? Nope. And the Lend Lease stuff starting Spring of 1940. I'm on board with it because though it was not technically Lend Lease yet, Roosevelt was going way outside the scope of his authority in aiding the British - see The Rise of Germany by James Holland, a great new book. They even included the Iraqi Rebellion which was a huge strategic concern for the British, harkening back to the jihad fears of WW I.

CONCLUSIONS

2WW is a MUST have game. This is a powerful little game worth every $$$ of its asking price. Of any of the releases to date from OSS, this is the must have for both the casual and serious gamer. It's simply magnificent in terms of play and overall scope. It reminded me of a SPI sentimental favorite WW2 which was fun, but didn't work terribly well in many ways. 2WW shrinks the war in the ETO down to a manageable level, but the play is not dumbed down. It needs to be on your shopping list or given to a friend. Play never feels heavy but 2WW is overly rich for its size and is a tasty meal! Its smaller scope presents new fun challenges to the grizzled gamer to solve. 2WW is as of now the best game of its size.


A frisky turn. The Germans air assaulted Norway and won a quick victory. In a coup de main Panzers from the South came up to smash the Soviet armor at Smolensk...except it didn't work out that way...Convoys survived and all 3 Lend Lease points got through. The bombing of Berlin fizzled. North Africa saw some tussle, with the Brits and Italians each losing one air point and one unit hit. Yugoslavia was also captured.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Re: 2WW - Shame of you if you don't own this one
I played this one months back and it was a hit with the group. Rules are quick and easy and the game is variant friendly. It does seem to favor Germany, but a few house rules fixed that.
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David Janik-Jones
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Re: 2WW - Shame of you if you don't own this one
gittes wrote:
... but a few house rules fixed that.

I'd be curious to know what those house rules were. If you could geek mail me (or even, here, post) the rough details, I'd be interested in knowing.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Re: 2WW - Shame of you if you don't own this one
DaveyJJ wrote:
gittes wrote:
... but a few house rules fixed that.

I'd be curious to know what those house rules were. If you could geek mail me (or even, here, post) the rough details, I'd be interested in knowing.


Check it out.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/134662/optional-rules
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Charles Neal
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Re: 2WW - Shame of you if you don't own this one
David, I could bring it to Breslau sometime. A game could be completed within the time frame. Alas I won't be able to make May 13.
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Saxon 357
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Re: 2WW - Shame of you if you don't own this one
I was planning on "dusting off" Hitler's War after Decades...but saw this game, and OSS knocked $15 off it even wow. HW is the Cardboard Version of Axis and Allies. I read the above Play/Review, and may pick this up instead...right Choice? ninja
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Robert "Smitty" Smith
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Sean:

I'd love to see your house rules and thank you for reading.
Smitty
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Robert "Smitty" Smith
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I asked as well!
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Robert "Smitty" Smith
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Saxon:

I was uncertain about it at first but was really surprised at the overall feel and richness without burning up too much energy in fiddly stuff.

Thanks for reading.

Smitty
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David Janik-Jones
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cgneal wrote:
David, I could bring it to Breslau sometime. A game could be completed within the time frame. Alas I won't be able to make May 13.

Sounds good, July then.
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Steve Kling
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Did all the issues Herman Luttmann raised in an early post in this Forum get addressed in the updated living rules?
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Terry Lewis
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gittes wrote:
I played this one months back and it was a hit with the group. Rules are quick and easy and the game is variant friendly. It does seem to favor Germany, but a few house rules fixed that.


Sean, I Like your house rules and prowling through your BGG profile.
 
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Terry Lewis
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Another good review, Smitty. I did not even know this game existed, but I guess that's no surprise these days given my focus on operational/grand tactical simulations for quite awhile. I am pretty sure the last strategic sim I played on WWII was Avalon Hill's 1976 Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and that was ages ago!

I have probably played GDW'S 1973 DNO and Unentschieden more recently. Yes, DNO is a strategic level historical simulation because of both the time frame (June 1941 - March 1942) and the geographical scope (in the west from occupied Eastern Poland & the Balkans to the Urals east of Moscow, and Finland & the White Sea in the north to the Caucasus in the South). DNO has five maps, which can be expanded by the four maps of Unentschieden, which also extends the time frame from 1942 to 1945 [with a combined total of over 3,900 counters). However, DNO / Unentschieden is also an Operational Level Simulation: hexes = 16 miles, turns = two weeks; ground units = Army Divisions (and Soviet Tank Corps), Brigades/Regiments, and Battalions; air units = 40-60 aircraft.

Back to your review, Smitty. It would appear from what you say that OSS's 2WW: The War in Europe is a very viable alternative to Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for those who like this size [map size as well as scale] of WWII simulations. In my book this is a big plus because it seems that many of the Third Reich AARs that I see on BGG end up with very unrealistic events taking place. It would appear from your review of 2WW that OSS's entry into this genre of WWII strategic sims might not suffer from this unrealistic malady!
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Robert "Smitty" Smith
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Terry:

I could accept the trade-offs made here. Here they worked because as you noted with your astute Third Reich comments subsystems within a game can produce some wild results that might not seem apparent at first, but gamers...well they are a mindful lot and look for solutions.

Smitty
 
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Terry Lewis
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M1Tanker wrote:
Terry:

I could accept the trade-offs made here. Here they worked because as you noted with your astute Third Reich comments subsystems within a game can produce some wild results that might not seem apparent at first, but gamers...well they are a mindful lot and look for solutions.

Smitty





A mindful lot for sure!!! ninja
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Robert "Smitty" Smith
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But we love your commentary, even if we need to DUCK once in a while (ROFL).
 
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