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Subject: Another "Which OCS Title to Start With?" Question rss

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Ryan Frans
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Since I wasn't sure where to put this, it is cross posted on the Case Blue Page.

I recently stumbled upon Case Blue and it sounded amazing. I am extremely interested in trying out the OCS series and I am definitely more interested in the european theater. I have some war gaming experience, but not to this level for sure. My friend and I have been playing Downtown for a bit now, and I feel we have a good enough grasp to play the strategy not just eek through the rules. I have also been playing Attack Vector: Tactical and Birds of Prey by Ad Astra games as an example of what I've learned and played. On to the question...

I want to jump in to this, but there appear to only be two titles available; Case Blue and Burma. Burma is certainly more accessible looking, in more ways than one, but is it representative of the system enough that I could decide if I want to take the plunge onto CB? If I just broke down and bought CB would I be better off? If I could find a copy, I would be happy to start with Tunisia (from what I've read) or GBII (dream on, I guess) but I can't seem to find any available. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

One other thing to mention I suppose is that it would either be a solitaire game or me and at most one other friend.
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Drew Heath
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Tunisia only recently went out of print so a copy could probably be had at pretty close to MSRP. If you're interested in East Front, that will give you a much closer feel than Burma.

CB's "scenarios" blow, from what I've read. It's either all or nothing in terms of the campaign & your satisfaction.
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Darrell Pavitt
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GBII is due to be reprinted some time relatively soon, apparently.

Burma is much more manageable, especially if playing solitaire. There are a few small scenarios around for CB, but most are at least 4 map jobbies. That's 4' by 6'.
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Jason Russ
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While Burma is certainly more manageable than CB, it is not representative of OCS at all. Fighting in the mountains is not really what the series is designed for.

Burma is a good game - but it is my least favorite of all OCS games and it has a "shoehorned" feel. In other words, the designer of Burma was going to use OCS no matter what....even if OCS was not necessarily the best choice of systems for the theater. Again, Burma is a good game (I think I rate it an "8"), but it's no CB or even Tunisia.

Tunisia is often cited as the best OCS game for a beginner to start with. Many say that the low counter density (in some scenarios) is a plus for beginners. That's a sentiment that I don't completely agree with. Low counter density is a plus as far as ease of setup and physically playing the game. But low counter density in OCS makes for difficult decision making.

OCS is a wide open system. Movement rates are high and options are many. In a low counter density scenario it is difficult to have any clue as to what you should do and usually leads to beginners making huge mistakes, both on offense and defense.

CB has at least one good small scenario - the Kharkov one-mapper is a good learning tool. The counter density is medium and there are very few special rules involved. It's one map and it pretty much uses the whole map. So it's still fairly large - it would be a bit better for beginners if it were a little smaller.

Overall, I would recommend Tunisia first - but be very aware that low counter density scenarios are tricky in OCS. When you are just learning, don't play to beat the other guy with some fancy move (a kind of move that won't work once you guys get the hang of OCS).

If you want to jump right in with CB, I would think you could handle it. And there are small, enjoyable scenarios there that are good intros to OCS.


Cheers,
Jason
www.wargamedepot.com
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Darrell Pavitt
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I would just say if you can handle supply in Burma, the rest of the series would be no problem; buying CB for a one map scenario is a bit of a waste of money - do you really intend playing the whole thing?

Tunisia is Ok, there are other possibilities: Korea has a good rep, Sicily is another 2 map game, complicated mainly by the landing rules. My favorite remains DAK.
 
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Björn Hansson
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Shad wrote:
CB's "scenarios" blow, from what I've read. It's either all or nothing in terms of the campaign & your satisfaction.


wow

That is the most absurd statement ever! CB's scenarios are amazing and I've honestly never heard anyone that has played the game say anything else. That is the best thing about CB - its scenarios.
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Angela Sutton
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There's really two questions - in an ideal world, what would be the best OCS learning title; and, given how many games are OOP, what are you likely to be able to get? Also, it depends on how you feel about eventually setting up the big mamas.

Tunisia would probably work well for most purposes - there are scenarios for shoestring operations (Race for Tunis), outflanking a fortified line (Mareth), and armored assaults (Kasserine). Also short and long campaigns on two maps, without a whole lot of special rules. It is OOP, but given the huge size of its print run it should surface on eBay if you are patient.

Korea is another good starting point, and adds some naval ops, but it is wickedly hard to find right now.

Case Blue has two good one-mappers, plus some after-market mini scenarios that will help train you up. If you want the capability to set up an East Front monster, this would not be a bad purchase. If you are never going to get to a four-map setup, though, it might indeed be a waste of cash.

My feeling is that Burma is probably a second purchase. It's a very different feel, with some interesting features like Chindit drops, etc., that don't happen elsewhere. But. accordingly, it ramps up the special rules load.

DAK, if you can find it, is another good second purchase, and this one ha a ton of scenarios of all shapes and sizes. It also has the most special rules of any OCS. It got snapped up, though, and is probably hard to find at this point.
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Ryan Frans
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Thanks for all the quick responses. Obviously this question is a matter of opinion to an extent. What I think I am hearing is, given my options, I should either go for CB if I think I will ever use the campaign or wait for another title to surface on ebay or reprint if I think I will never get to something that large. If that's the case, I suppose I will think on it a bit. Thanks again.
 
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Peter Vrabel
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taragalinas wrote:
Shad wrote:
CB's "scenarios" blow, from what I've read. It's either all or nothing in terms of the campaign & your satisfaction.


wow

That is the most absurd statement ever! CB's scenarios are amazing and I've honestly never heard anyone that has played the game say anything else. That is the best thing about CB - its scenarios.


The problem with CB's scenarios is that there's not very many of them. There's a small 1-mapper, a large 1-mapper, and a bunch a 4-map monsters.

The scenarios are good. But the _selection_ of scenarios is rubbish.
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Peter Vrabel
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PhoenixSF2 wrote:
Thanks for all the quick responses. Obviously this question is a matter of opinion to an extent. What I think I am hearing is, given my options, I should either go for CB if I think I will ever use the campaign or wait for another title to surface on ebay or reprint if I think I will never get to something that large. If that's the case, I suppose I will think on it a bit. Thanks again.


If you're prepared to wait, you might want to wait for Baltic Gap, which should be here in two to three months (Maybe). It's a two map game, so it's a lot more manageable than CB or GBII, and from what I've heard there's a nice mix of smaller scanerios. And since it's an East Front game, it's not quite a weird as Burma.

If you don't want either of those, then your best bet is to look for some of the OOP ones, like Sicilly, Korea or Tunsia.
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Jason Russ
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Peter, good call on Baltic Gap. It should be another great OCS title and will probably be a good one for beginners. However, 2-3 months is almost certainly optimistic. (I know, MMP and John Kisner are saying perhaps 2-3 months)

My guess is maybe in 4-6 months.

Whenever it arrives, I'm looking forward to it!


Cheers,
Jason
www.wargamedepot.com
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Björn Hansson
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LordStrabo wrote:
The problem with CB's scenarios is that there's not very many of them. There's a small 1-mapper, a large 1-mapper, and a bunch a 4-map monsters.

The scenarios are good. But the _selection_ of scenarios is rubbish.


Well, not all of the 4 map monsters are "real" monsters. "Drive for oil" has very low counter density and it is the best OCS scenario I've ever pplayed.
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Darrell Pavitt
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Counter density is irrelevent if you can't lay out the required maps.

Edit: There's always the very good vassal mod for CB (and Burma).
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Björn Hansson
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nyhotep wrote:
Counter density is irrelevent if you can't lay out the required maps.


Well that is not a flaw in the game, it's a flaw in your gaming facility. Please correct it.
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Darrell Pavitt
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Yeah, spend money at Ikea...laugh
 
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