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Subject: What to buy? rss

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B. Lenting
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Because this year we spent our holiday at home, I have a certain amount of money to spend on games (something in the order of $100-$200). At the moment, though, I have no clue what I should buy. Probably you don't know me, so I will elaborate on the ponderings of the last week...

High Tide: I like naval and air combat, and I own Harpoon 4 (not 4.1). My problem is whether it adds new things. Is the data annex that I own sufficient to play. Convince me why I should buy this one.

Empire of the Sun: During my holiday I studied Pacific War and even came as far as sorting the counters for the first Engagement Scenario. Empire of the Sun is created by the same designer, but why should I buy this instead of playing Pacific War?

Birds of Prey: Air Combat in the Jet Age: As I said, I like air warfare. But is this one for me? I play Whistling Death, which is pretty complex, so probably the complexity is no problem (at least, no more than usual). What I don't like is those aircraft "counters", I think they kinda look crappy (hopefully I don't offend anybody).

The Burning Blue: I own Downtown, which I played a few times and liked. This is WW2 and aircraft... I saw a campaign which used The Burning Blue as strategic game and Whistling Death to resolve the dogfights, which I thought was very cool.

I like games which are tactical, but where the tactical actions have consequence on the bigger picture. So maybe you know some games that fit into this description.

Thanks in advance.

Rhialto
 
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Of the games you listed, I have only played Empire of the Sun and Burning Blue.

However, if you liked Downtown, Burning Blue should be right up your alley. The game's biggest drawback is that it is almost impossible to play solo. If you have an opponent handy, it can be one of the most satisfying experiences you can have playing a wargame. Gameplay is very A-symetrical. For the Germans, most of the decisions are made during the planning stages. Once the actual game starts you are almost on a set of rails that is difficult to deviate from. From the English side, it's like fighting in the dark with little information. You are constantly having to decide how many sorties to put into the air and whether you are willing to risk committing forces to intercepting bombers that may not really be there.


The different sides lead to a totally different but equally rewarding experiences.





Ben
 
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Dan Owsen
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They all sound good to me!

I haven't played Burning Blue yet, but have played Downtown and I want to get Burning Blue some day. I'm playing in a Battle of Britain campaign that uses Burning Blue to generate scenarios for Fighting Wings dogfights. It doesn't do it automatically though-- the GM creates them based on the basic engagement parameters set forth by his play in the Burning Blue, then uses the Fighting Wings operational game to generate the tactical situation. So far we are doing better than the average results if the combat was just decided by Burning Blue (hey, we are experienced gamers after all). Not to say we haven't taken losses.... Also, we are only playing out the 56th Squadron's fights with Fighting Wings, not every engagement of course!

Empire of the Sun is a fun Pacific War game that I've played a couple of times. It suffers from the same problem that all CDGs have, in my opinion-- knowledge of the deck is needed to do well. Not card counting per se (thought that would certainly help), but knowing which cards to hold in case you need them (hint: the counter card to inter-service rivalry).

I'd like to check out the other two you mentioned at some point as well.
 
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Bill Lawson
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Play Pacific War! Great game. If you have never played this you are really missing something special.
 
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B. Lenting
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billyboy wrote:
Play Pacific War! Great game. If you have never played this you are really missing something special.


I was planning on playing this one. The maps are on my gaming table and the counters are sorted for the first Engagement Scenario (Pearl Harbor). I also read all the rules (up to the Campaign and Strategic level anyway), so I should be ready for it.
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Dave King
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Burning Blue has an excellent reputation and a big following, so put this one in the "buy" column. I would definitely jump for Empire of the Sun--easier to learn than Pacific War w/o any loss of "feel". Don't know the other two, so can't comment.
 
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Matt & Laurel
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Rhialto wrote:
Empire of the Sun: During my holiday I studied Pacific War and even came as far as sorting the counters for the first Engagement Scenario. Empire of the Sun is created by the same designer, but why should I buy this instead of playing Pacific War?

I like games which are tactical, but where the tactical actions have consequence on the bigger picture. So maybe you know some games that fit into this description.

Thanks in advance.

Rhialto


Of the games you've listed I've only played Empire of the Sun, but I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is a really good treatment of the Pacific War, with loads of atmosphere and some great mechanisms that make it a really tense game. However, it is one of the most complex of the card driven games (CDGs) that I've played and this isn't helped by the fact that the rulebook is poorly written, and badly laid out and formatted. This is something that a lot of wargames suffer from to a greater or lesser extent, but this one could be a medal winner. However, Empire of the Sun is well worth the trauma of having to read the rulebook.

I don't agree with Dan's (mummykitty) statement that knowledge of the deck is needed to do well in all CDGs. Making the best of what you've got in your hand is the key to success with CDGs and taking advantage of your opponents mistakes (while hoping that they don't spot yours!). I will concede that an experienced player of the game is likely to win, but that's true of any wargame.

One final thought: you mention that you like tactical games. Empire of the Sun is really a strategic game, with some tactical elements. I don't know if that's makes a difference, but it's worth knowing.

I hope you find a game you really like.

Cheers,

Matt
 
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B. Lenting
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Guys, thanks for your advice. I have ordered High Tide and will take a closer look at Pacific War.
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