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Subject: Any news? rss

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Adam Ruzzo
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Havn't heard anything from Michael regarding the status of SE in a while. Is it still in playtesting? Is it still planned to be out this year? I must know!!
 
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it seems like there isn't much going on here.....I'm almost ready to order Europe Engulfed. I'm not sure I can wait.
 
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David Knepper
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I believe Boardgame News is still showing an Oct 09 release date.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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TonyClifton wrote:
it seems like there isn't much going on here.....

Good grief, it's been less than three weeks since the reports about the designer demoing it at WBC (and he replied in both of those threads), and only a few hours since Bridger posted the question. I want to know more about what's going on too, but I don't think it's right to say that there isn't much going on here. You make it sound like it's dead.
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Marcin Woźniak
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October 09 is pretty soon, and I SOOO much want tthis game that some news about progress would be more than welcome. And Felkor on Price of Honour thread wrote that Academy Games is moving MOST of its effort to polish Price of Honour after finishing Storms of Steel - I'd rather see this effort going here (in spite of being Polish) - as this one is going to be masterpiece! And CoH already has one sequel (brilliant as is - I LOVE Academy GAmes!!!!!)...

 
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Adam Ruzzo
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Well yeah, i read the threads from WBC, and of course i'm dying for the day they post the rules, but i was more interested in the new timeline. Back in may they said they'd be sending the game to academy for playtesting and hoped to release it in fall of this year, but then I heard nothing about it's status after that. Is it still on track for that? October would be awesome!
 
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James Palmer
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MarcinW wrote:
And Felkor on Price of Honour thread wrote that Academy Games is moving MOST of its effort to polish Price of Honour after finishing Storms of Steel


There's definitely still effort going on in this game. It's just not quite in the "Let's get all these components finalized and off to the printer" phase, which is what Price of Honour is heading into. Sturm Europa is definitely still high on the priority list.
 
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Adam Ruzzo
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w00t!
 
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Seth Gunar
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I've got enough games collecting dust that I want to play to give me cause to be patient. Try to understand folks that very few designers out there do it as a first job. It is a labor of love for which they are poorly compensated and they do not have the time to get things out as quickly as we may like.
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Mark Luta
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We playtested the campaign game from 1939 at Strategicon in Los Angeles, the system is working very well. There are still a few points Mike needs to tweak, the expenditures required for tech research needs to be finetuned, and exactly how to give the Germans the opportunity for a reasonably historical invasion of Norway in 1940 without making it too difficult or too easy, but also making it viable to ignore Norway for then, is taking a lot of thought to avoid adding a bunch of special rules, which is not desirable.

More generally, right now there is a problem that while the Barbarossa scenario shows the Germans can achieve reasonably historical results with the forces arrayed then, starting from 1939 unless there is nearly perfect German play, the Germans tend to run into an impenentrable wall on the eastern front, and get bogged down at the border long enough that the Far East reserves arrive before the Germans have made any progress on the invasion. And there is a philosophical issue with this being a 3-player game, but if you want to give the Germans options to win without invading the Soviet Union, then what does the Soviet player do if Germany does not invade?

But generally, the production system is interesting and elegant and really forces tradeoffs, particularly for Germany but also for the Western Allies, but still has very simple mechanics. The role of airpower for attacks is captured, along with technological superiourity. And then some resources need to be diverted to bribing potential minor allies into the camp, or stopping the other side from gaining their own key allies.
 
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Adam Ruzzo
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markluta wrote:
We playtested the campaign game from 1939 at Strategicon in Los Angeles, the system is working very well. There are still a few points Mike needs to tweak, the expenditures required for tech research needs to be finetuned, and exactly how to give the Germans the opportunity for a reasonably historical invasion of Norway in 1940 without making it too difficult or too easy, but also making it viable to ignore Norway for then, is taking a lot of thought to avoid adding a bunch of special rules, which is not desirable.

More generally, right now there is a problem that while the Barbarossa scenario shows the Germans can achieve reasonably historical results with the forces arrayed then, starting from 1939 unless there is nearly perfect German play, the Germans tend to run into an impenentrable wall on the eastern front, and get bogged down at the border long enough that the Far East reserves arrive before the Germans have made any progress on the invasion. And there is a philosophical issue with this being a 3-player game, but if you want to give the Germans options to win without invading the Soviet Union, then what does the Soviet player do if Germany does not invade?

But generally, the production system is interesting and elegant and really forces tradeoffs, particularly for Germany but also for the Western Allies, but still has very simple mechanics. The role of airpower for attacks is captured, along with technological superiourity. And then some resources need to be diverted to bribing potential minor allies into the camp, or stopping the other side from gaining their own key allies.


I'm glad to hear that they are attempting to iron out the issue without resorting to special case rules. I've taken a look at europe engulfed, totaler krieg, and the Eurofront systems, but they all have varrying degrees of very 'special' case rules to force historical accuracy/outcomes.

I.E. after turn 3 of 1942 the allies are allowed to invade morocco. This is the best that could be done to cause a delay in operation torch? It's such a crude fix. Pages and pages of these special case rules are required if you use this method of design.

A systemic solution would be much better. In a way totaler krieg succeeds with this due to the card driven nature of that game. They can allow for special case rules appearing when certain cards are played, as opposed to requiring a large amount of time be dedicated to memorizing special case rules, those rules come up written on the cards one at a time.

Cards that represent barbarosa or the invasion of france provide blitz bonuses and other systemic bonuses that are not special case rules, but rules that are used throughout the game, part of the system.

Obviously SE! uses this method to provide historical chrome in a systemic basis too. And so really this post is rattling on about being glad to hear of a systemic solution rather than special case rules
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Phil Abramowitz
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markluta wrote:
, but if you want to give the Germans options to win without invading the Soviet Union, then what does the Soviet player do if Germany does not invade?


I was a playtester on Saturday at Strategicon and walked away very impressed with the game. I was the Soviet player and, while the German player was concentrating his attacks in the West, used diplomacy and some small military actions to get a head start on the iron curtain in the south. I felt that I did have options other than just build a wall of troops to keep the Germans out. The ability to spend actions on diplomatic items to help expand my empire kept me engrossed in the game - even though almost all the fighting was out west between the Allies and Germany.

I will definitely get a copy when this is out.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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markluta wrote:
More generally, right now there is a problem that while the Barbarossa scenario shows the Germans can achieve reasonably historical results with the forces arrayed then, starting from 1939 unless there is nearly perfect German play, the Germans tend to run into an impenentrable wall on the eastern front

Does the 1939 game begin with Molotov-Ribbentrop in effect?

I know it was a life-saver for the Nazis, but I don't know much about why Stalin agreed to it. Was it to put pressure on the West? To give some breathing room from the Germans? (I understand there is some disagreement over whether or not Stalin believed Germany posed a credible threat to Russia in 39/40.)

I also don't know anything about why the Germans weren't met with an impenetrable wall historically. Wasn't Stalin expecting to be stabbed? (He doesn't seem to have behaved as though he did.) It seems like the possibilities are A) the Soviet forces in place in Barbarossa were the strongest they could have been at the time, or B) they could have been stronger, but those resources had been diverted elsewhere for some other purpose.

If A, then it seems like the game should not permit an impenetrable wall to exist in '41.

If B, then it seems like the game should give incentives for the Soviet player to expend those resources on something other than an impenetrable wall.

markluta wrote:
And there is a philosophical issue with this being a 3-player game, but if you want to give the Germans options to win without invading the Soviet Union, then what does the Soviet player do if Germany does not invade?

It seems like the three main areas are A) Stalin taking care of business at home (purges, deportations, etc.), B) expansion into the areas agreed on with the Germans, and C) playing the West and the Axis against each other. (Somewhere between B and C is pushing the territorial boundaries of the agreement.)

I think generally, the West would like to see the Axis and the Soviets destroy each other; the Soviets would like to see the West and the Axis destroy each other (Tooze has a great quote about this, something like "conventional accounting puts French losses in one column, and German losses in another; we Soviets put both in the same column and add them up"); and ... well, I guess the Axis would like to destroy the West (or at least France & the UK) and the Soviets.

So I think it should be a great 3-player game, even if the Axis never attacks the Soviets... just very very difficult to design well, ha ha.

I assume a strong German-Soviet pact (one in which Barbarossa doesn't happen) was a historical possibility; what would that have looked like? Or, maybe another way to put it: prior to June 22, what did Stalin think '41 and '42 were going to look like? Did he figure the Germans would be busy with Sealion in '41, allowing him to build up for an attack of his own in '42? Or was he not planning to attack Germany at all, and instead spend 41-42 stomping Finland & anyone else within reach?

(Maybe Hitler's ideology meant a strong German-Soviet pact wasn't a historical possibility. It seems like a "Hitler demands lebensraum" would be a great Germans-must-play-on-themselves event; when played, the German player gets a bunch of ops which must be used to attack someone in the east, or gain some amount of territory from them some other way.)
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Marcin Woźniak
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One strong hypothesis is that Stalin feared (remembering 1920 Polish-Soviet war - overfeared one might say) the might of Polish army and (probable according to his knowledge) Polish - German treaty. If this treaty/alliance was signed, probably Germans would have entered Moscow. If Pilsudski (polish former leader, who died couple of years before war) lived long enough, such treaty would have been possible.
Ribbentrop-Molotov pact on Hitler's side was the only way to fight for Lebensraum in the East after Poland rejected his offer. (Polish foreign politics turned then towards alliance with France and Britain - and those allies were likely to fail, as they did). Both Hitler and Stalin gained - Stalin was sure Red Army was not ready (11 million losses in first 1,5 year after Barbarossa proved it was not ready even in 1941) and he had hoped that western capitalist countries would bleed themselves, opening doors for world revolution - so he won peace and directing Hitler toward west, and also destroyed potentially most powerful of possible minor Axis allies.
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Marcin Woźniak
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also, there is disagreement between historicians (and since Suworow this discussion is growing - I read several Russian modern history books) - and many believe that in '41 Russians were ready to attack (numbers say they were). They had overwhelming advantage in number and quality (power of guns, maneuver, armor) of tanks, planes, artillery, greater number of trucks and caterpillar towers (most of German artillery was horse towed). They had better snow equipment (since SovFin winter war they started their preparation for winter campaigns - thus skate battalions). Only morale and training was worse. And commanders. And - as some historicans state - being grouped for attack - with most forces close to border, which made encircling them easy, and maneuvering them hard. Barbarossa shouldn't have worked - which Hitler admitted after 2 months - after calculations have been made (number of tanks that were captured and found (after Red Army retreated). I can recommend some books on topic...
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Marcin Woźniak
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In thirties SU produced more guns, tanks and planes than all other countries (including Germany, France, Britain, United States, Japan and Italy of course). And this wall should have been impenetrable. 20000 tanks of which 1,500 were T34 and KW - and by '42 Soviet industry planned to replace All former tanks in Armoured corps with T34 and KW. Which would make them unstoppable by anything Germans could have thrown against. with ablility to produce more than 20000 tanks a year - after half of its territory had been taken !!! SU was a threat to entire world then.
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Michael Tan
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markluta wrote:
More generally, right now there is a problem that while the Barbarossa scenario shows the Germans can achieve reasonably historical results with the forces arrayed then, starting from 1939 unless there is nearly perfect German play, the Germans tend to run into an impenentrable wall on the eastern front, and get bogged down at the border long enough that the Far East reserves arrive before the Germans have made any progress on the invasion. And there is a philosophical issue with this being a 3-player game, but if you want to give the Germans options to win without invading the Soviet Union, then what does the Soviet player do if Germany does not invade?


After having a bit of time to reflect upon recent playetests (including this past weekend), I'm not really sure the inability to reach the historical Barbarossa benchmark is a problem. The whole idea of starting the game in 1939 is to alllow players to rewrite history. Probably more often then not, Barbarossa won't be feasible. So my emphasis on tweaks is to allow for alternative winning strategies such as Sea Lion OR the possibility of a true Soviet-Nazi or British-Nazi alliance. Both would be very rare but possible if the Germans really stumble out of the gates. At that point the game is just a three player free-for-all and should not be viewed as a historical simulation.

I'd also add that I am certain that the Axis player CAN attain the historical position. It's just not a reasonable expectation for an inexperienced player to attain a high level of efficiency with the production and combat system. I'm starting to view the 39 campaign as something players should only take on once they've played shorter scenarios several times. Another point worth mentioning is that it isn't so much that the Soviets have an inpenetrable wall, but that the Germans fall short of historical benchmarks due to suboptimal play. The production of both sides was "reverse engineered" from June 1941 to assure that the historical deployment is the "median" result. BUT there is very little variance for the Soviet setup because they have few opportunities to gain/lose. The prospects of Barbarossa for the Germans can be completely derailed by a poor showing in France or the inability to secure alliances with Sweden and Romania.
 
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Bridger wrote:
I'm glad to hear that they are attempting to iron out the issue without resorting to special case rules...A systemic solution would be much better.


Definitely - all special cases are either on event cards or on a player setup sheet.
 
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Lawn Dart wrote:
markluta wrote:
, but if you want to give the Germans options to win without invading the Soviet Union, then what does the Soviet player do if Germany does not invade?


I was a playtester on Saturday at Strategicon and walked away very impressed with the game. I was the Soviet player and, while the German player was concentrating his attacks in the West, used diplomacy and some small military actions to get a head start on the iron curtain in the south. I felt that I did have options other than just build a wall of troops to keep the Germans out. The ability to spend actions on diplomatic items to help expand my empire kept me engrossed in the game - even though almost all the fighting was out west between the Allies and Germany.

I will definitely get a copy when this is out.


Thanks for the great feedback! One of my fears when I decided to start the game in 1939 and split the Soviets and Allies into two players is that they would be bored to tears in the early part of the war. It seems that between getting his economy and military in order, fighting border skirmishes, and diplomacy, the Soviet player has plenty to keep him preoccupied. The Allied player certainly has more activity with the defense of Poland and France, and though the outcome is fairly certain, the extent to which he forces Germany to expend resources is where the action is.

Most definitely the aspect of the actual conflict that I tried to emphasize in the Early War are the political wranglings. The three sides trying to sway minor powers into their camps really sets the stage for total war from 1942 onwards.
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Michael Tan
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kuhrusty wrote:

Does the 1939 game begin with Molotov-Ribbentrop in effect?

I know it was a life-saver for the Nazis, but I don't know much about why Stalin agreed to it. Was it to put pressure on the West? To give some breathing room from the Germans? (I understand there is some disagreement over whether or not Stalin believed Germany posed a credible threat to Russia in 39/40.)


YES. The Pact is invaluable for the Germans. That is represented in the game by the Germans receiving one free resource of their choice (always oil) from the Soviets each season. In turn, the Pact allows the Soviets to acquire Bessarabia, Vipuri, Eastern Poland, and the Baltic States without major diplomatic ramifications. It also allows the Soviets to increase their capital (industrial capacity) - the rationalization is that the Germans sent machinery and other goods useful for the implementation of Stalin's third Five Year Plan. Historically, I believe the primary motivation for Stalin in signing the pact was to create a buffer zone and Soviet"Sphere of Influence". There are a series of pre-requisites and cards plays that can be completed for the Soviet player to break the pact, but usually they are forced to honor it up until the moment the Germans attack.
 
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m3tan wrote:
At that point the game is just a three player free-for-all and should not be viewed as a historical simulation.

Give me historical exploration over historical simulation any day.
Plus you clearly work hard to be sure that the historical path is one of the many possibilities...
 
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I played this on Sunday at Strategicon and a thought about the whole can Germany face Russia in 41 discussion got me thinking. Do you think it is possible for Germany to hold off the Allies in 39-40 and invade Russia first?

I love crazy ideas that keep other players off balance, and while absurd "historical" wise if feasible it could be fun to try laugh

Oh and while I am here typing, great job with the game. I was very impressed with the detail. I also really like the economic engine, and normally I hate dealing with economics in games like this but this was smooth and clean. cool

 
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Marcin Woźniak
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Hmm. That'd be interesting. But with German army occupied heavily in the East and French - British army quite as strong as Wehrmacht in numbers - and able to build build build; without Italy (as Mussolini joined aXIS after fall of France) (and thus weak southern flank) Western ALLies would have been able to do Anything in Europe and influence Eastern front whenever they wanted and however they wanted - and I think Germany would be house of cards in such circumstances. (no Luftwaffe in the East or no Ruhr in the West). What Hitler feared all the time was two front war.
 
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zeotter wrote:
I played this on Sunday at Strategicon and a thought about the whole can Germany face Russia in 41 discussion got me thinking. Do you think it is possible for Germany to hold off the Allies in 39-40 and invade Russia first?


I can't imagine it being feasible. Germany certainly has the capability to knock out Russia in 1940 if it can fight a one front war, but I can't imagine any circumstances in which the Allied player would agree to it. France really needs to be taken out before it has an opportunity to build up and upgrade to better units.
 
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Marcin Woźniak
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French+BEF forces were not weaker than Wehrmacht. In fact, they were bigger in numbers, with some tanks better than anything Germans could have thrown at them. It was the masterplan by von Manstein and better tactical and operational doctrine Wehrmacht implemented that enabled quick victory.
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