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Subject: More AMBUSH goodness in the Pacific! rss

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John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
MI
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Hello all! I am very reluctant to write reviews due to an 'it's been covered' mentality. In this case, here is a game that has been out for quite some time but has NO review!
So….lets dig in shall we?

Battle Hymn is a solitaire game where you create, equip, and command 8 tough U.S. soldiers in the Pacific Theatre. Each scenario pits your squad against the very tough Japanese who put up a darn good fight… especially the darn tree snipers! Just as in it’s sister game, AMBUSH!, Battle Hymn uses a hex check system during the operations part to see if any events are triggered by soldier movement. Each hex is a potential event, perception check or sighting ranging from a flock of birds taking off to a spotting of a Japanese machine gun nest. The game system does a VERY good job of keeping the game very suspenseful and you will learn early on to keep your soldiers in a crouched position while moving during operations. When an event is triggered that involves opposing forces, the game goes into rounds. Each soldier and enemy soldier has 1 or 2 actions per round determined by their initiative rating. Actions during a round are pretty straight forward as they were in Ambush. In fact, nothing much has changed since Ambush! so those familiar with the game should only need the rules for special situations.

I don’t think I need to elaborate much more since I believe those interested are of the AMBUSH crowd and are very familiar with the play mechanics in that game.



RATINGS:

Rules: 9 Well done! Tend to be long but very well organized and easy to reference.

Strategy: 9 Very well designed. The system is ‘smart’ in a way to be challenging but not impossible!

Components: 7 Same as al Victory games; great counters, kind of bland maps but very functional.

Immersion: 10- This is almost a roll playing game due to the attachment to your squad. Losing a member is a real setback sometimes but being able to replace that soldier or soldiers (usually the case) and getting thru the next couple of missions and off of green status is quite rewarding. Heck…just completing all the scenarios in the game with whoever is left is a great feeling of accomplishment!


Overall: 9 It’s a great game and if not for AMBUSH….it would be a 10. The game play can be slow for some due to all the hex checks being made during the game but I think most people would overlook that for the excitement it brings forth during play. The only other downside is that there was only one expansion produced!
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Gary Zipfel
United States
Grayslake
Illinois
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Did you go into rounds immediately on hitting the beach in the first Battle Hymn scenario? I found that a bit excessive. rolling for init when the squad is a mile away.
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John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
MI
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You DEFINATLEY CAN NOT use the same tactics in Battle Hymn as you do in Ambush! The system is the same but it does not mean play is the same! Tree snipers are the biggest pain in the butt for this game and you soon find out that fighting the Japanese is tedious!
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Adam D.
United States
Suquamish
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Speaking of crouch mode, my guilty admission is that I assume my guys are always crouched outside of action rounds on the (self serving) theory that they are well aware there is danger nearby, they just haven't hit it yet...
 
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Martin Gallo
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
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TheCollector wrote:
Speaking of crouch mode, my guilty admission is that I assume my guys are always crouched outside of action rounds on the (self serving) theory that they are well aware there is danger nearby, they just haven't hit it yet...


I seem to recall doing that as well.
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Wei Jen Seah
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Just picked up a c opy of Battle Hymn + Leatherneck, can't wait to try it out! (After I finish my Ambush campaigns though!)
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Paul Arena
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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The Ambush! system is one of the forgotten gems of wargaming, and one of the most satisfying solo systems ever designed.

Transferring to the Pacific opens up some wonderful tactical options, and the new terrain, maps and Japanese units are a very fun change.

The components are typical of the high-quality of VG games with ONE big exception - they did not change the counter art from Ambush for the Japanese soldiers and support weapons. They simply changed the color from grey to red. It is a little annoying seeing the Japanese soldiers on the map with "Fritz" helmets or MG-42s popping up for an ambush.

It's a minor cosmetic detail, but I'm surprised VG would have skipped on a basic art asset like the soldier icons.

Still a great game.
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