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Subject: Doesn't work for me rss

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Gilles Daquin
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I have played this game already 3 times, Russian side.

Let's get over the things that I liked:

-nice componnents
-system is fluid
-you have many decisions to take and cannot execute them all
-smart use of color to specify operations points that are played as combat, events or operations
-I really want to love this game


What I did not like:
-rules are ambiguous
-errata are too numerous. Did they send the right files to the printer?...
-germans troops are far too potent
-Russian revolution has virtually no chance to occur
-uprisings will almost never happen
-sea landings will almost never happen
-making Italy join the war is pointless
-Replenishment through sea will almost never happen
-almost impossible to involve seriously French and British forces
-game doesn't appear to last a lot more past winter 1915
-victory points are artificially balanced through card play.
-whatever I gained painfully through Russian offensives was undone eventually through a couple of cards played by the Central Powers
-I paced my Russian offensive against the Austro-Hungarians and methodically punched through their lines, played was by the book with some well thought out encirclements. This took three/four full turns. But the AH were virtually gone, whipped out. A mistake in underestimating one movement factor too few facing the Germans in the north put a hole in my whole front and I was then forced to divert all my resources and operations to patch this one area mistake. Six to seven areas eventually collapsed facing the Austro-hungarians for that one mistake in the North. Strategically impossible to recover. Does it feel right? Win some, lose some? Here it is just lose some, lose all.


My (own) conclusion:
In my opinion and as I see it now, the game is very capricious and far too promising than what it really can achieve. I have spent over 30 hours in play time to always end up in a defeat with the Russians by the 7th turns. Do I really want to invest that many hours just to find out that whatever you do the game is almost unwinnable on the Russian side?

Yes, I am probably a bad player, I did not invest enough exploring strategies, did not think my moves through enough. It is not the game it is me... well, fine. The game wins. That's the problem. Why put the toys in the box if you don't get to play them.

It all looks like a big bluff. Don't pretend it will last for the entire war. Don't include card, rules and counters that are totally useless. Don't raise people's hope. The game will play just fine by stopping in winter 1916 with adequate victory conditions.

Sore loser? Yes. If I play a game and learn from my mistakes, I expect to have a fair chance to win at it the next time I play. Sadly, I don't think this game gives a fair chance to the Russian side.

Overall:
-useless game components and rules
-one sided affair
-fix this! I still want to love this game but as is, will not play again.
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Mark Sterner
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I don't have the game, but am considering it so thanks for the review.

I don't know how much you know about the history, but the Russians (not "soviets") were badly outclassed by the Germans. To the point that they could barely stand and defend. It can be really frustrating to play a Russian army like this if you don't know ahead of time what to expect. I've had that experience myself in other games. There's a reason the Germans knocked them out in 1917.
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Gilles Daquin
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Yes, thanks Mark, I corrected the text and put "Russians" instead. Obviously, Soviets come later.
 
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Cezary Domalski
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Game isn't working, because it wasn't playtested properly. What we have now, it's only "pay for a playtesting" version. Maybe in a couple of year, this playtest kit become real game. Fortunately we have other games to choose and play.
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Nicholas
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While I agree with some of your points, the question which comes immediately to mind is, why don't you try to play as the CP, if you want to love the game?

Saying the game is unbalanced (it probably is though) is a bit weird, if you just played one side and with a possible skill gap.

What do you mean by "insurrection"?

-sea landings will almost never happen
-making Italy join the war is pointless
-Replenishment through sea will almost never happen
-almost impossible to involve seriously French and British forces
-game doesn't appear to last a lot more past winter 1915

The sea stuff is unlikely/hard, with the rules as written, as it depends on CP decisions until AP are at Total War.
All of these happened in 3 out of my 4 plays after I implemented a simple house rule, concerning French/British forces.

Why do you think Italy is pointless?
Even if you just bring them in and do nothing with them (after errata, they can't do much more for some time), you can not lose VP with them, as you get VPs equal to the spaces you can lose when they enter the war. Which is actually a change to PoG I really like.
 
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Gilles Daquin
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Nicholas M wrote:
While I agree with some of your points, the question which comes immediately to mind is, why don't you try to play as the CP, if you want to love the game?

Saying the game is unbalanced (it probably is though) is a bit weird, if you just played one side and with a possible skill gap.


If the game is balanced, I should be able to improve the outcome playing several times the same side. If the game is balanced, when one side is played well, its likelihood to win should be high. This never happened.

I feel that after my third game with the same side, I managed well my offensive, as well as the quality level of my troops, played best I could the war levels, focused my strategy to eradicate the Austro-Hungarians, while avoiding pointless combat against the Germans, performed good encirclements to capture large portions of the AH empire and objectives, but this was not enough. There is not much more I could do to win the game. I just felt cheated.

As for the Italians, if you start the war with them, they will be just a waste of time with no real significant benefit.

Play testing should have made these points very apparent.

This game has potential but not as is. Shorten the turn numbers, set different victory conditions, remove some of the countries, make uprising a more realistic threat to both players (that could be fun actually), avoid to sidetrack gameplay with useless features that will rarely take place if at all. Again, the mechanisms are totally pleasant, they just lead to dead ends that could be avoided altogether by leaving the game on the shelf.

That is a pity because there is hidden gem in there but not before it is entirely reviewed and corrected. Too much work for probably a small team and too much potential not pushed to fruition.

By all mean enjoy the game. Simply not a gaming experience I will renew until a new version is released.
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Oguzhan Ozturk
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I really liked your review of the game. I have purchased a copy and I've played it a few times with the new rules and errata. In my play through I found the game to be balanced, the Russians did have a very difficult time with the German attacks so as a simulation I think that it's fairly accurate. Could you elaborate a little more on the mechanics that you said were pointless? I'm a huge fan of CDG war games like Path's of Glory, Empire of the Sun and Barbarossa to Berlin and there are mechanics in those games that don't often come up or the event prerequisite is not played for the main events to be triggered.

Again, I'm not criticising your review, I'm just trying to get a sense of where you're coming from as I found the game to be balanced and a good simulation.

Thank you
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Gilles Daquin
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For the Russians, attacking the Germans is a losing proposition. In terms of odds and sustainability, the Germans are very powerful and the Russians will break long before the Germans do.

This leaves us with the Austro-Hungarian front where the Russians have more than a decent chance to push through. The offensive is however short lived because there is not much troops to support it past a certain point in the war.

Bringing in the other minor countries will not achieve much either.

Russia's fate is pretty much sealed once the Germans can take the initiative. This should happen logically around turn 6 (out of 16 if I remember well?). National Will effects and uprisings will not kick in, Allied intervention in the south will occur too randomly and too late to change anything much.The Russian revolution can be ignored altogether as it has an extremely low probability to ever occur.


Some of the cards on the Central Power side are far too crippling the Russians, more than flavor these are in game punishments. So let's suppose we are talking about a "simulation": the game simulates the Russians being punished by the Germans even if you manage to play your game in a very good way. Is it fun? Getting whipped whatever you do is an acquired taste. When I play a side, I expect to have a possibility to do better than the historical outcome, as a challenge and gratifying experience if I have played well. Being cut down by game design (is it even done on purpose?) to "match" the historical outcome is not fun in my book.

Again, I do believe there is a hidden gem in this game, it is just not ready and should never have been released as is, not even with the new rules and errata. Cards and victory conditions have to be revised, purpose of the game and "raison d'etre" must be decided as well, it should help in streamlining it and finding what it really tries to demonstrate.

It is all the more disparaging that I believe lot's of work went into it and it is always a heartbreak to shoot down someone else's effort. I for one did not spend hours in research and design, the author did. So it is not without some sadness that I sound harsh even if somehow it comes from a place of love cry

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Oguzhan Ozturk
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Thank you for responding. I understand where you're coming from. I was also looking forward to this game and you're right if there is really no chance of winning as the Russians and the game is a simulation of the Russian "beat down" it will lose its appeal very fast.

I don't think I've played it enough to get that sense yet. I guess if you play as the Germans you're having a much better game experience than playing the Russians. If there really is no chance at winning as the Russians and it's a straight up simulation of the Russians losing constantly and there is nothing the player can do to change that outcome then I'm in full agreement with your opinion.

I do believe there is a great game here, it's the PoG system, a game that I love! It just needs some tweaks and like you suggested a new direction a clear purpose as to what it wants to be. I'm going to give it another play through next week and if the outcome is the same no matter what I try then I'm going to shelve it till GMT does a re-issue of new rules and player aids. The quality of the components are top notch it's sad to see this game not be what it should be. I know that a lot of effort went into it. Like you said, all of this comes from a place of love.
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Steven Bensdorp
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I read your review and cannot disagree more. You make a goodpoint in regards to the errata. I played this game dozen times now, with the same opponent each time, and we discover new rules/changes rules each game.

However unlike in your experience we see the Allies winning most games with a 1 or 2 point margin. And we conclude at the end that it are the failed mandetories (often Austria in italy) that often determine who wins.

Which optional rules (former standerd rules since what is optional or not changes with each update...) do you use?
Not reshuffling every turn and the 1 combat only for cc regardless of who wins are the most inportant ones.

I play the Allies in most games since my opponent is determined to finally win with the Central powers the next game so I think im in a position to give some advice on strategy.

You say that you dont see invasions, if you play the required cards in the mobilization deck (and you almost always should!) then I see no possibility of not seeing invasions. We have invasions in every game, the centrals can decide not to play Bulgaria to limit the impact of invasions but then you can just SR italian corps and form divisions. Bring in Rumania and you suddenly have a strong force in the Balkans with no Turks(trapped in Turkey due to no Bulgaria) or Bulgarians opposing you.

You say that the Germans have the innitiative around turn 6. If that is the case then you dont put enough pressure. This game is a lot like chess in regards to initiative, he threatens your Queen(Warsaw)? Well put some additional cover on it (reinforce), or create a bigger counter threat (attack Gorizia with the Italians and move troops to Krakow). Especially the counter threat is underused by most people in initiative games. Playing replacements to keep around 5/6 troop quality is essential. The Russian army as well as the german army can recover. Austria cannot. At the bare minimun 1 rp each turn 70% of the time 2 and when you have lost the initiative dont be ashamed to play 3 to keep above the dreaded 1 troop quality. Going to 1 is inevitable but you should only be there in 1917 or later.
At that point stop trying to get above 1 but replace units on the map and use your special imiun reinforcements (which should be saved for this point!).

The most important Allied cards are Polivanov and the Bruisilov offensive. Use the offensive to take Lotzen and Przemysl (if not already taken). If things went bad in the early game use it to regain Lutsk or other important vp cities.

Uprisings happen in most games, although we only saw them in Austria though. Use the cc card to lower Austrian national will. Even if the combat has no strategic value. You can take 2/3 national will throughout the game in this way.

Hold on to Czernovitsz (you MUST take it in turn 1 or at least before 3). and Krakow. If you have 2 AH vp you can get them to 1 national will through events.

Ofcourse it all depends on who your opponent is as well. The entire flow of the game might be different for you but no uprisings ever and no invasions seems very very unlikely to me.
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Gilles Daquin
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thanks for the tips Steven.

Do you realize how involved it is to win? Unless you know the game in advance and all its mechanisms, I do not see a win on the Russian side.

Nevertheless, it is good to have a different feedback from you. I might give it another go but not before some time.
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John D'Angelo
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So you pretty much want an easy win your first few plays? Not gonna happen in a game like this. It takes a lot of involvement to be able to win with one side? Yeah, that’s the point of learning how to win with both sides.

As far as points that others have brought up, I’ve seen the same complaints about Paths of Glory as well, in that certain events that happened historically don’t in many POG games (no Russian Revolution, no U.S. entry, etc). I personally am going to buy this at some point but usually hold off on getting a new title like this right after release because many of them have some sort of teething troubles, which usually get sorted out.

 
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Perry Silverman
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Please see the updated rules which impose -2NW on Russia for each VP space lost. Rebellion occurs in Russia after losing 5 VP spaces to CP control. Revolution occurs after this when RUSSIAN FOOD RIOTS and RUSSIAN REVOLUTION are played in sequence.
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