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Subject: Normandy Mission 1: Sir, it's Battalion on the phone! rss

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Adrian Wittenberg
Canada
Langley
BC
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I have been considering purchasing this game recently but have sequestered my urge due to the poor reviews regarding the rule book. I personally don't have the patience to spend 30 plus hours figuring out how to play the introductory scenario as some have indicated. I know there have been some new releases by GMT and I was wondering how the new rules and examples helped in understanding the game. Would you be willing to do a write up or review explaining the comparison before and after the revisions and the complexity now that the revisions are out?
 
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Christopher O
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Summer grasses / All that remains / Of soldiers' dreams. - Basho.
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Rough draw. I guess it happens... I can imagine the frustration in the platoons to have the objective so tantalizingly within reach.

Boosted A wrote:
I have been considering purchasing this game recently but have sequestered my urge due to the poor reviews regarding the rule book. I personally don't have the patience to spend 30 plus hours figuring out how to play the introductory scenario as some have indicated. I know there have been some new releases by GMT and I was wondering how the new rules and examples helped in understanding the game. Would you be willing to do a write up or review explaining the comparison before and after the revisions and the complexity now that the revisions are out?


Two minor clarifications: first, there is no official re-write of the rules available yet. The good people at GMT are working on it, apparently. Second, there is no "introductory" firefight. The first mission in WWII is probably easier because it doesn't involve a lot of vehicles (one jeep) or anti-tank weapons (though there is a possibility of an 88mm FlaK 36 gun).

The rulebook is not as bad as people make it out to be - its chief drawbacks are that it is not laid out intuitively (i.e. not really in game turn order, as one typically expects) and that there are a number of exceptions and clarifications which aren't evident on first reading.

I recommend downloading the vassal module, the rulebook and the errata. Not all of the charts are available in the vassal module, so it won't let you play a complete game, but it will give you an idea. Then download both examples of play from the GMT website and give them a read. If you like, set up the games inside of Vassal and try to follow along.

I think the main difficulty that people have is that they try to read and re-read (and re-read again) the rules to understand the game completely before playing. If you read the rulebook once or twice, skipping the vehicle section, then go and actually play a game, you'll find that it's surprisingly easy to play. Sure, you'll run into a few hiccoughs, but you can clear pretty much everything up with a few searches at BGG or CSW.

In my opinion, if you're taking 30 hours to try to understand this rulebook, you should be just taking out the pieces and playing with them instead.

Yes, one shouldn't have to rely upon CSW or BGG to clarify rules, but this is such an original and immersive game system that it's worth trying just for the experience.
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Andreas Kr├╝ger
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Krefeld
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There is indeed no such thing as a training scenario - the first mission is a full mission with the exception that there is only a jeep and no tank platoon. Tank platoons show up later in the game, so you may skip the vehicle rules for the first few games. (The jeep is seldom used because many terrains do not allow vehicles to pass quickly, and as it cannot fight, quickness would be its only advantage).

For me, the major problem with the rulebook is that not everything you need to knoiw for a certain action is found in the same paragraph and thet there is not index. If, for example, a rare type of enemy shows up which has a special type of movement or attack, it can be quite difficult to find out what it does. But the rules are easy to read and understand. Some people complain that you need to understand the military terminology, but I have no military background and had no difficulties with it.
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Lawrence Davis
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Yeah, as the others have said, there is no intro mission and the rewrite for the rules I imagine is still a ways out.

I can say I was also one of those folk who waited on the sidelines thinking the rules would be too much to enjoy the game. I then found a copy of the game on ebay for a low price and figured I didn't have much to lose.

I'm not going to say the rules aren't a bear to work through.....they are. I read the example of plays and got a copy of the unoffical reorganized rules found here on the site and read them and the rulebook....twice each and I still had questions starting out.

But by the time I made it to the 5 turn of my first game, I felt I had a pretty good understanding of what was going on and what I was doing.

And really that is how you have to face this game. Read as much as you can up front before punching out the counters or shuffling the deck. Then go all in!! After a few turns things will come into focus and the game will take on a life of its own........at least it did for me!

Good luck and happy hunting!

 
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