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Subject: Flexible or Generic? rss

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Chris Wood
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I've played a bit of GBOH, which I've enjoyed, but generally I'm strapped for space and/or time and so ABD seems pretty appealing initially.

However, I'm concerned that each game will feel the same: the same red units vs. the blue units, with some different starting positions and one of two terrain sets. Does playing the Egyptians, or the Hittites, or the Persians feel any different from one another?

In GBOH it seems like these differences are modeled with different unit types or new rules that apply only to certain sets. Like, in Chandragupta (Indian GBOH), there's all sorts of command rules to model the ancient Indian political system and the various factions with their potentially divergent loyalties. How does ABD model these things?
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p55carroll
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I haven't played GBOH, but I've read about it and can see that it's a much more elaborately detailed wargame than ABD. Whether those details are accurate, or add up to a good simulation, is debatable--but let's say they do.

In ABD, the focus is on unit types and command. If Kadesh feels different than Zama, it's because Kadesh is a relatively small ambush and features chariots, while Zama is a big battle involving legionnaires and other Roman (and Carthaginian) units.

There are various types of leaders in ABD, as well as different levels of command control. So factors such as you describe can be covered to some degree, though not in fine detail.

The joy of ABD is that there are many scenarios (plus unlimited DYO scenarios) and each one feels unique. But if you play a lot, some of the scenarios will probably start to seem similar. That's because once you get familiar with the game system, the variety of units are just tools at your disposal--and you're always trying to keep your army intact and cause the enemy army to panic and rout.

Just my two cents' worth, based on limited play.
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Harvey Dearden
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Chess has the same units, the same terrain and the same starting positions; that doesn't translate to every game 'feeling' the same however. I don't think 'sameness' will be a concern, it will just be a question of whether the ABD style and mechanics is to your taste.

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Joshua Gottesman
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I have found the different weaponry and situations plus, as was pointed out earlier, leadership, to make each game very different. 2 Roman battles might feel somewhat similar, because they are the same types of forces involved (within the same part of the Republic/Empire, anyway), however a Roman battle feels very different than a Dark Ages battle.
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Mike Nagel
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Chris,

Thanks for the great question and to all the great replies, all of which are spot-on. Let me add that comparing GBoH to ABD is sort of like comparing a high-end coupe to a 4x4. One gives you the best feel of the road, while the other takes you wherever you want to go. Two entirely different design goals, so it depends on what you're looking for. Each of the GBoH games is designed for a purpose and they are not interchangeable, where ABD uses a wide variety of identical units to portray those involved in a battle and relays upon optional and special scenario rules to address specific factors that affected the battle in question. If you have the DYO kit, you'll find that historical terrain factors are modeled more easily and accurately (using terrain tiles rather than fixed, generic maps).

I'm currently working on and update to the entire ABD "universe" that provides even more command options and unit variability, while substantially streamlining the combat system. I should hopefully have an announcement about it soon (trying to finalize changes to the original scenarios and design of a set of new ones).
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peter berger
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"I'm currently working on and update to the entire ABD "universe" that provides even more command options and unit variability, while substantially streamlining the combat system. I should hopefully have an announcement about it soon (trying to finalize changes to the original scenarios and design of a set of new ones)."

Mike, it was 2012 when you said there is something planned but that need some time....6 years now.....

I lost the interest in that game (and its non existing updates) simply because it is disappointing to research for something and year after year nothing happends.

I said it 2012 and I say it now: would be great, if there is an updated gold banner version - but just dont research for it any longer.
 
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p55carroll
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panus wrote:
I said it 2012 and I say it now: would be great, if there is an updated gold banner version - but just dont research for it any longer.

FWIW, I disagree. I love ABD and am delighted with the current version. Improvements are always welcome, but if I have to buy something new, or buy something over again, I want it to be well worth it. So, take all the time you need. I've got a hunch it'll turn out great as long as it's not rushed.

In the meantime, I'm not missing anything. There are many scenarios--even whole modules--I haven't touched yet.
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Mike Nagel
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Peter,

I'm sorry you feel this way, but you should understand a couple of things. First and foremost, wargame designers generally have another source of income to which they are far more responsible (aka "a real job"). This often forces projects to head to the wayside in favor of those that pay the rent or put food on the table. Secondly, few designers have sufficient sway with publishers that they can stipulate when their games will be picked up for production. VPG in particular has suffered a lot of upheaval recently with regards to their move and the publication of Frank Chadwick's WWII series. Even the personnel that work for the publishers in some capacity also suffer from the first point. Sure, I'd love to wave a wand and have my designs automatically jump the the front of the queue. If you're frustrated in how long it takes to get designs published, the best thing you can do is shout that frustration from the hilltops. Publishers listen to customers more than designers. Third, if you're a compulsive designer you may have multiple projects going on at once. I tend to jump from project to project and there's only one front-burner on my stove.

All this being said, there are advantages to the "slow and steady wins the race" approach. The more time a design spends on the design table, the more opportunities there are to improve it. ABD is no exception. I have completely rewritten the rules, slashed inefficiencies and added some cool mechanics. A lot of these did not exist six years ago, and had VPG said "we have to get the game into deluxe mode now!" they probably would not have.

One thing that'll continue to slow the process is to redo all of the scenarios so that they use terrain tiles. This research is going to take some time. As are the new scenarios that I'm adding.

So ... this is pretty much me venting. With regards to the new version of ABD, I've got some cosmetic stuff to knock out before I can reveal the new design to the public and seek some playtesters. Soon!
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Chris Wood
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Thanks to all! This answers my question, and then some. After watching calendale's videos and reading forums like these I think I am definitely interested. After having some experience with VPG's component quality frankly the price tag still gives me a bit of pause ($43 for base game, ~$20 per expansion). But I'm also notoriously cheap, so maybe it's just me.

Hearing about a new version is really exciting! Mike: I'm sure designers hate this question, but could you ballpark a date for when that might be available to purchase? As all I'd be deciding is whether to purchase the current version or wait for the one, I don't need much resolution on this date. Within a year? Three years?...

Thanks!
 
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Harvey Dearden
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Having invested fully in the current version, part of me would be sorry to see a new version! I find the game to be excellent as it is. The combat system is easier to execute than it is to explain and not a problem once you've got your head around it. Higher quality components and artwork etc. would add to the appeal, but I don't see that the game needs fixing/improving. If it aint broke...
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Chris Wood
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Just to close the loop on this.... I did end up buying ABD (along with the first expansion). I'm playing Kadesh currently and enjoying it
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Mike Nagel
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Chris,

I'm glad you're enjoying the game!

I'm diligently working away at the new version (just ran into an issue with melee combat that I'm trying to fix). In the meantime ... have fun!
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