James Sterrett
United States
Kansas City [Platte City]
Missouri
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A friend and I played most of a turn of the initial German attack (scenario 5.2)... our thoughts so far.

I also played 5.2 solitaire, first, in order to learn the system.

Other pertinent background...

* I'm an OCS fanboy and thus positively inclined towards Dean Essig's design philosophy (every designer will say they have cut their game down to show only the essentials, but I tend to agree with Mr. Essig's take on where the line lies);
* My friend is a retired armor officer;
* We often test games in exactly the manner we used here, where I learn the game, teach him just enough of the basics to him for him to push counters around - and then he does what makes sense according to his prior career, in order to see if the game produces appropriate results.

Bottom line up front: We're very impressed, and itching to keep playing.

There are a number of good articles and videos out there that describe the system, so I'm not going to rehash that ground. It's definitely not a the standard Avalon Hill/SPI ruleset with a few tweaks, and you will likely have to struggle a bit to grasp how the various new concepts function and integrate. A combination of some of the single-turn replays and running through a scenario solitaire made the pieces fall into place for me.

The system isn't really all that complicated... it's just different. Just as with, for example, Simmons' games, this system has no fear of doing things differently if it makes the game work better, and we, learning the system, are suddenly reminded of what it was like to learn one of these games for the first time.

Better still, once the system falls into place, it makes sense; even when we were stopped so I could look things up, our prediction of what the rule would be was nearly always correct. (The only exception that comes to mind is that you can combine artillery and air support into the same support barrage, which we can see reasons to deny... and we are not complaining that were were wrong; over the course of half a day to a day, it's entirely reasonable that both could occur.)

The alternating activations, SNAFU/Objectives system, the (arguably insufficient!) penalties for mixing formations, and the elegant supply system combine to make a system that feels right to both of us: the dynamics in the game drive the players' decisions in the right directions for the right reasons and produce outcomes that are reasonable based on the inputs - and BCS does this while leaving the player a great deal of freedom in approaching problems that may have no best solution... only a shifting matrix of probabilities, threats, and payoffs.

My friend (very approvingly) exclaimed halfway through the first turn, "You have to have a plan!" You need to think through what each formations' job is going to be in the turn, and what each unit is going to do to help accomplish that goal - and, we are certain without having gone beyond one turn yet, you need to have a plan for how your actions this turn flow into the next turn and the next turn in order to accomplish your objectives for the game.

If you want to sling counters in the direction of the enemy and roll buckets of dice for an outcome, this system will not be your cup of tea. If you want to wrestle with planning, and then coping as the foundations of the plan go out the window (as they always will), in order to gain some insight into the problems of division and corps level operations in WW2... this system is a gem.
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Darrell Hanning
United States
Jacksonville
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And once you're content with some playings of this, try Last Blitzkrieg. There are plenty of smaller scenarios in it, too, if you don't have the room or time for the whole campaign.
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David Schoepke
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I totally agree with this assessment. Experienced OCS players will have a relatively seamless transition to this system; mainly because they have to plan in that series as well. I don't have this game, but have a few games of Last Blitzkrieg in the books and, as far as I'm concerned, it is the consummate Battle of the Bulge game. The only reason I passed on Baptism is because I know a few opponents who have it, and am "space challenged." I am looking forward to the next game in this series: a North African campaign (Gazala?)
The activation (snafu) rules in this system are well done; the support rules lend a tactical feel to the system - basically, you want to drive off AFV and AT assets to infantry before attacking. There's so much to enjoy about this system and it all makes sense. Plus, there's nothing like the sight of a Tiger Tank battalion in Tactical Mode!
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Carl Fung
United States
Old Greenwich
Connecticut
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kriegspieler630 wrote:
I am looking forward to the next game in this series: a North African campaign (Gazala?)


The next in the series is Brazen Chariots... Operation Crusader PLUS Operations Brevity, Battleaxe, Skorpion, and the initial battles to take Tobruk in 1941. A lot of game with a manageable number of formations.
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Pablo J
Spain
Madrid
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calvinboy24 wrote:
kriegspieler630 wrote:
I am looking forward to the next game in this series: a North African campaign (Gazala?)


The next in the series is Brazen Chariots... Operation Crusader PLUS Operations Brevity, Battleaxe, Skorpion, and the initial battles to take Tobruk in 1941. A lot of game with a manageable number of formations.


Awesome!, my favorite theater!. What is the expected release date?. Any chance of a Gazala game with this system?, earlier battles like Benghazi Handicap?.

I am a big fan of OCS, DAK2 specially, in the middle of my first full campaign now, my best gaming experience so far and I have been playing for 30 years now...

BCS is like a dream come true to me, perfect scale for my taste. I am getting my copy of Baptism by fire tomorrow, I have already read the rules and expect it to be my next top game.
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Neal Durando
France
Nantes
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Excellent summation, James. Tallies with my experience playing it this weekend. The scratch, five-minute CONOPs I drew up helped immensely in keeping my eye on the ball. Especially when the time table became perturbed by the weather.
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Kip Anderson
United Kingdom
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Hi,

would love to see an Eastern Front game using BCS. With such a subtle system BCS potentially makes for a great operational Eastern Front setting.

Operations and the Eastern Front are a perfect match anyway .

Fine system, real innovations that work.

All the best,
Kip.
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Carl Fung
United States
Old Greenwich
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kipanderson wrote:
Hi,

would love to see an Eastern Front game using BCS. With such a subtle system BCS potentially makes for a great operational Eastern Front setting.

Operations and the Eastern Front are a perfect match anyway .

Fine system, real innovations that work.

All the best,
Kip.


The 4th game in the series will be on Operation Konrad, Germany's attempt at relieving Budapest in January 1945. There's been another BCS design on Velikiye Luki in the works for some time but delayed to due the designer's life schedule. Jim did the initial design for Brazen Chariots.

There's plenty (actually tons) of possible East Front games for BCS. It's just a matter of time to design them all.
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Kip Anderson
United Kingdom
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Carl,

Thanks for the info. Am very grateful.

Sounds perfect, couldn't ask for more. But as a wargamer probably will ask for more, only a matter of time..

Thanks again.
All the best,
Kip.
 
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Kip Anderson
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Carl, hi,

quick question.

Is there a forum where MMP's games are discussed, or is this the place?

Am newly returning to cardboard wargames after a many decades long break so not familiar with where these things are discussed, suggestions for example.

For twenty-five years has been digital wargames only.

Thanks,
All the best,
kip.
 
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Carl Fung
United States
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kipanderson wrote:
Carl, hi,

quick question.

Is there a forum where MMP's games are discussed, or is this the place?

Am newly returning to cardboard wargames after a many decades long break so not familiar with where these things are discussed, suggestions for example.

For twenty-five years has been digital wargames only.

Thanks,
All the best,
kip.


This forum or the BGG forum for Last Blitzkrieg is fine too. Dean and others involved in BCS check these folders.

Better is the BCS folder in Consimworld which is more active.

Be sure to check out my blog both on CSW and BGG where I'll talk about projects (including BCS ones) that me and the gang are working on:

Hans and Carl take over the Nakatomi Plaza

BCS Brazen Chariots Teaser #5: Jocks vs. Nerds: British Jock Columns and Tank units
 
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Kip Anderson
United Kingdom
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Carl,

Thanks.

Good to know.

All the best,
kip.

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Kip Anderson
United Kingdom
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Carl, hi,

Thanks again.

Your working on a lot of great stuff. Yom Kippur in BCS, Cold War Central Front SCS. The other day was thinking Yom Kippur would make a great setting for the system but then told myself it would never happen .

Glad I got that wrong.

All the best,
Kip.

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Carl Fung
United States
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kipanderson wrote:
Carl, hi,

Thanks again.

Your working on a lot of great stuff. Yom Kippur in BCS, Cold War Central Front SCS. The other day was thinking Yom Kippur would make a great setting for the system but then told myself it would never happen .

Glad I got that wrong.

All the best,
Kip.



I want Yom Kippur to be my opus (among others) given the research involved. The war deserves to be treated at battalion scale and BCS is the perfect fit for it.
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