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Subject: Ranking DVG Games rss

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Steven Larsen
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There was an old thread similar to this but it was of course old, so I thought I would do a new one.

How would you rank the DVG games you have played, the good and the bad? Please state some reason, even if you just didn't like the box cover, but something that tells me where you are coming from with your rankings.

I am currently looking at Hornet Leader, Thunderbolt Apache Leader, Field Commander Rommel, Field Commander Napoleon, U-Boat Leader, and more. The only one that turns me off is Napoleon because of what I see from the reviews of the battle system, which seems an abstraction of combat for sure, but not of Napoleonic combat. But the game looks great otherwise.

So, any that really stand out good, bad or average?
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Leo Zappa
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Modern Naval Battles: Global Warfare is my favorite naval battle card game. It uses a tried and true system with some nice updates and great graphics. A+ for that title.
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Peter Kossits
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I would rank the ones I've played as follows

Field Commander Napoleon - Campaigns are so immersive and challenging. Zooming in and out from strategic to tactical is magical. Panzer General in a boardgame. BIG game. Have only played/punched half of this box in a few years. High level of abstraction doesn't bother me. It's just a lot of fun.

Hornet Leader - Almost perfect. A little less dynamic than Napoleon and starts feeling repetitive a bit quicker than Napoleon, but still great fun. Liked this one so much, I used to pack it up for business trips.

Thunderbolt Apache Leader - Close to Hornet Leader but I like it less. Seems more fiddly. Intro campaign was not easy.

Fleet Commander Nimitz - Had a lot of fun with this initially, but I have trouble bringing it out due to some ahistorical exploits involving subs and destroyers.

Field Commander Rommel - have never had a good experience with this one. The first campaign is absolutely brutal and I could never move past it.

Frontline D-Day - this one never worked for me either. Unit which gets hit first almost always loses.

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Tim Parker
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My top tier would be the Field Commander series.

Napoleon is the best for reasons Eric articulated above.

Rommel is a lot of fun except for the zombie zombie Allied units but I developed a variant to make the game more realistic in that sense.

Alexander is fun in that it lets you be Alexander. I know the knock on the game is enemy forces don't really move but, when you look at the Campaigns of Alexander, that is pretty realistic. The enemy was not constantly maneuvering trying to gain the edge on Alexander (with the exception of the Persian maneuver at Issus). My only lament on this game is I wish there would've been a small action/guerrilla type campaign covering areas of what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In my middle tier I would put Phantom Leader and Hornet leader. Both are terrific immersive air campaign games with Phantom having a slight edge, IMO. Love the political component of Phantom especially.

In the low tier I would put Fleet Commander Nimitz. While it is a noble effort to give the IJN an AI, it ultimately comes up short. And the biggest beef I have: no connected campaign game. Really? Seriously? shake shake

In the flop tier I put U-Boat leader. That games was a total snooze fest snore I played it twice, thought why am I wasting my time on this and promptly sold it to half price books.

The jury is still out on B-17 Flying Fortress Leader. My initial impression was very good. Made my feel like I was the Army Air Corps leader and you just have to love a game that has a Curtis Lemay piece! thumbsup

All that being said, I will say that I have pledged DVG's new game The War of the Worlds on Kickstarter so I have been pleased enough with their products to continue supporting them. And I must say that War is looking really good but I do have a sentimental tug here as War of the Worlds was the first real sci-fi book I ever read.
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Rory McAllister
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I would say the three best DVG games I have played have been Napoleon, Hornet Leader and Warfighter: WWII. I didn't care for Frontline and Nimitz. The others are somewhere in the middle (although I like Phantom Leader on my IPad).
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Florent Leguern
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Here's how I view my rating :

Top Tier :

FC Alexander : my first DVG game, and also my first wargame (at least, the first of my specific research started last year) : it holds a soft spot in my heart for those reasons, but also because it is a nice looking game, with clever mechanics and gameplay. I enjoy pulling it out from time to time, just to have some nifty moment while playing

Thunderbolt Apache Leader : a game I also acquired during my wargame search, and it's a heavy and impressive game. I love how I grow attached to my pilots, how the terrain influences the game deeply, and not just in a gimmicky way ; I love the material, love shuffling in my binder to look for planes and pilots... Great game !

Warfighter WWII : recent one, but I have had a ton of fun already. There has been some shortcomings in how the game has been distributed, but shouldn't be a reason to leave the game aside. It is a clever game.

Next Tier :

FC Rommel : got this around the same time as Alexander ; not as soft spotty, but good game altogether. I use the "realistic" variant for the zombie allied troops, and it suits the game better ! I love the simplicity of the maps, and the rules that are simple but not simplistic.

FC Napoleon : it is a good game, but I haven't really got my head around it yet ; I'm a big fan of how we shift from one battle scale to another, and I don't really mind the appromixation in the battle tactics, as I'm far from a grognard and it suits the game well to my taste ^^

Low Tier :

Phantom Leader Deluxe : I just didn't like this game at all : I would get bored the moment my planes hit the tactical view. TAL has the terrain tiles that do wonders : I played this one after PLD, and that conforted me in my opinion that I just wouldn't play PLD ever again. But I loved the Political track !

Highly anticipated :
B-17 Flying Fortress Leader : I'm really curious about this one. It has a TAL/Warfighter WWII vibe to it that really makes me want to get it !
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L. SCHMITT
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I mostlty played the Leader series : the aerial games are good ones, choosing a good mix of aircrafts/ordnance/pilots is fun. I also had fun with U-boat Leader, where combat resolution was the good part of it. The bad side was the errata giving the impression of an untested game. Impression confirmed by the awful Tiger Leader which is as good at reflecting a career in the Panzerwaffe as depicting a soccer championship... avoid it at all costs.

[ edited : typo ]
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E Butler
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The games I've played, ranked













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Steven Larsen
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Thanks for the responses so far. This is definitely helpful.

One thing for those who play FC: Napoleon....If you are a student of Napoleonic warfare at all, are you bothered by the battle system? Do you feel it really is abstracting wafare of that period? Should I just let it go and have fun with the game (if I buy it)?
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Peter Kossits
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:
Should I just let it go and have fun with the game (if I buy it)?


If you are able to do that, it's pretty much your only option.
If you are not able to do that, you should avoid...and perhaps avoid all DVG games. They're all very abstracted.
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Rory McAllister
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peterk1 wrote:
Rollo il Gatto wrote:
Should I just let it go and have fun with the game (if I buy it)?


If you are able to do that, it's pretty much your only option.
If you are not able to do that, you should avoid...and perhaps avoid all DVG games. They're all very abstracted.


Agreed. If you are looking for strict historical fidelity, then DVG will not satisfy that need. For example, I like Warfighter:WWII because it's much like watching a WWII movie unfold. Yes, some historically questionable things are going to occur but it is the narrative that makes that game fun to play. You could say much the same thing about Hornet Leader as well (although it's simulating something entirely different).
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Steven Larsen
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Pedro M wrote:
peterk1 wrote:
Rollo il Gatto wrote:
Should I just let it go and have fun with the game (if I buy it)?


If you are able to do that, it's pretty much your only option.
If you are not able to do that, you should avoid...and perhaps avoid all DVG games. They're all very abstracted.


Agreed. If you are looking for strict historical fidelity, then DVG will not satisfy that need. For example, I like Warfighter:WWII because it's much like watching a WWII movie unfold. Yes, some historically questionable things are going to occur but it is the narrative that makes that game fun to play. You could say much the same thing about Hornet Leader as well (although it's simulating something entirely different).


Of course in Hornet Leader I wouldn't know if something being done unrealistic since I don't keep up on modern military matters. Maybe ignorance is bliss in wargames.

One thing that would be important in a game like FC:Napoleon would be if the game can teach history or be used to help someone understand history. Years ago I played Wallenstein, the Euro-game. Being a 30Years War fanatic I was really looking forward to it. It was terrible. Maybe a good game but in no way instructive. I am guessing that maybe FC:N is historically interesting on the strategic level, though not so much the tactical, or is that expecting too much?

And I do not equate abstraction with a lack of realism or historical representation. Same goes for simplicity. Simple is fine if done right and abstraction is fine if the abstraction actually is an abstraction of something real.
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Peter Kossits
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:
Maybe a good game but in no way instructive. I am guessing that maybe FC:N is historically interesting on the strategic level, though not so much the tactical, or is that expecting too much?


Yeah, I think so. Napoleon's enemies in this game can do things very differently than historically, so what you end up with is a fantasy campaign. It will teach you as much about Napoleonic history as the Panzer General computer game taught WW2. Perhaps the rough chronology and relative sizes/seriousness and the geography of each campaign in very broad strokes, but that's about it.
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Steven Larsen
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peterk1 wrote:
Rollo il Gatto wrote:
Maybe a good game but in no way instructive. I am guessing that maybe FC:N is historically interesting on the strategic level, though not so much the tactical, or is that expecting too much?


Yeah, I think so. Napoleon's enemies in this game can do things very differently than historically, so what you end up with is a fantasy campaign. It will teach you as much about Napoleonic history as the Panzer General computer game taught WW2. Perhaps the rough chronology and relative sizes/seriousness and the geography of each campaign in very broad strokes, but that's about it.


That might just rule out FC:N for me. Too bad. It is a beautiful game and I love the subject. I don't dislike fantasy--I just pre ordered my first non historical game, Nemo's War II, but I don't mix historical wargames with fantasy stuff.

Maybe one of the air Leader games would suit me better. Like I said, I wouldn't know if something was amiss in those games.
 
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Jim S.
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Not sure if you'll find this of interest, but there's a new DVG game not mentioned thus far. Dan has a Kickstarter up for his new War of the Worlds game. WotW is solitaire, with the option to play co-op with multiple sets. It looks like it will be great, so I've pledged for all four games (England, eastern US, France, and Japan). There's about 20 hours to go, and it's almost, but not quite funded - it's going to be close. Anyway, if you're interested, the KS can be found here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11606594/the-war-of-the...
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Bob Zurunkel
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jascps wrote:
Not sure if you'll find this of interest, but there's a new DVG game not mentioned thus far. Dan has a Kickstarter up for his new War of the Worlds game. WotW is solitaire, with the option to play co-op with multiple sets. It looks like it will be great, so I've pledged for all four games (England, eastern US, France, and Japan). There's about 20 hours to go, and it's almost, but not quite funded - it's going to be close. Anyway, if you're interested, the KS can be found here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11606594/the-war-of-the...


This game looks like fun.
 
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Russell Evans
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Glad to hear all the good words on FC: Alexander. It's been on my list for awhile now, and it's in my cart for when I get paid next week.

Thunderbolt Apache Leader is really fun and Nimitz is good, but I don't play it that often because there are so many counters and setup takes forever and the game is long. But still fun. I don't mind the randomness either.

Haven't played any others. The War of the Worlds one that's on KS right now looks interesting.
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Steven Larsen
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Well, I was just about to put an order in for Thunderbolt Apache Leader when I heard for the first time about some new DVG products coming out real soon. Huey Leader and Sherman Leader.

Huey Leader is Vietnam based and has everything TAL does and more perhaps. I prefer this to the more modern era. Sherman Leader sounds risky for me. If they took heed of all the criticism about Tiger Leader, then it should be outstanding. If not, I'll pass.

How do I miss all the new stuff? Apparently I am the only perosn in the gaming world who didn't know about the Kickstarters for these games.

Still, I can't stop thinking about FC: Napoleon. It sounds like they didn't have to do too much to make it more historical. A little study of the campaigns and application to the rules and scenarios and they you have it. It would have been my most treasured game.
 
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:
How do I miss all the new stuff? Apparently I am the only perosn in the gaming world who didn't know about the Kickstarters for these games.


Yeah, you may have missed the Sherman Leader Kickstarter. It'll be available, I'm sure, later on and by then folks will report on if it is an improvement on Tiger Leader.

As for Huey Leader, it hasn't gone to Kickstarter yet, still in the design/development phase last I heard.
 
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While it's a flawed game, Frontline: D-Day is my favorite title from DVG, followed by Battle for Stalingrad. Field Commander: Napoleon and the two Warfighter titles would be below them, and I don't care for the Leader series.
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DownriverRick wrote:
Rollo il Gatto wrote:
How do I miss all the new stuff? Apparently I am the only perosn in the gaming world who didn't know about the Kickstarters for these games.



As for Huey Leader, it hasn't gone to Kickstarter yet, still in the design/development phase last I heard.


This video says it is coming in 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFuIoGnpbSE&t=227s
 
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Top of my list would be Warfighter WWII and B-17 Leader.
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peterk1 wrote:
Rollo il Gatto wrote:
Should I just let it go and have fun with the game (if I buy it)?


If you are able to do that, it's pretty much your only option.
If you are not able to do that, you should avoid...and perhaps avoid all DVG games. They're all very abstracted.


Thank you Peter. You just expressed what I felt by playing or trying to play DVG games over the years.

I play all kinds of thematic games but when I play a wargame I do want to seek "some" resemblence of a situation I play.

And... frankly I do not seek the ultimate "realism" either, but I want the right balance between playability, fun and the war situation.

For some reason DVG ALWAYS misses the target. I know it sounds very negative but this is a subjective feeling I simply can't shake off.

To compare things: in the Napoleonic era an easy wargame like Age of Napoleon gives an insight in why Napoleon mostly destroyed his opponents on the battlefield but lost to the monarchs he fought in the diplomatic field.

You don't get this historical feeling in a DVG game.

The same with Warfighter. Sorry but strolling along with 3-4 guys in a jungle to take out a drugs kartel is not a wargame where you learn something about tactical combat.

For some reason these games are too far from being interesting studies while at the same time they don't give the fun of a general thematic FFG game.

The DVG manuals don't help much either (as a side note).

But your remark above nailed it for me really.

Edit: perhaps an extra remark to the now outdated solo mechanism of its Leader series. With the latest developments of solo bots in games from Butterfield or the excellent Conflict of Heroes card bots (and found even in FFG fantasy games) ... using ONLY die rolls to decide the actions of an AI bot is really really old hat.

It looks as if DVG keeps pulling the same old rabbit out of a different colored hat and dare I say even far more than Richard Borg (who at least evolved his C&C system over the years).

Sorry for the rant .



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I don't agree that all DVG games are too abstract and non-thematic. The original air leader games, like Hornet Leader and Thunderbolt Apache Leader feel very thematic and just as realistic as any other wargame to me, although the situations are generic (as in most squad level games). The planning you do when attacking a target in Hornet Leader is more or less the same kind of planning you do when you send aircraft to attack targets in real life. Although I haven't participated in this kind of planning myself, it was one of the things I worked on when I did defence research, and I did even take a two week NATO course in targeting/weaponeering. I see no major problem with how it's handled in Hornet Leader. I try to imagine each aircraft as representing two aircraft, though (maybe even four). So in addition to the named pilot, I imagine there's a wingman.
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Pedro M wrote:
Agreed. If you are looking for strict historical fidelity, then DVG will not satisfy that need. For example, I like Warfighter:WWII because it's much like watching a WWII movie unfold. Yes, some historically questionable things are going to occur but it is the narrative that makes that game fun to play. You could say much the same thing about Hornet Leader as well (although it's simulating something entirely different).

Like I said in my previous post, I disagree with your last statement. The air leader games give a reasonable representation of air-to-ground operations. As reasonable as can be expected from a game, anyway. The problem is when you paste another theme onto the same mechanisms, as they did in Tiger Leader.
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