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Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943» Forums » General

Subject: On The Fence rss

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Ben Smith
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I don't know, I don't see what the problem is. You could fit all the rules changes on your hand with a sharpie. It took me about one minute to explain the new rules to my friend.

It's way easier than learning a new game, right? And for me, learning the SoS rules was WAY easier than getting through a game of TOI. And, if you want, you can basically play SoS with the AtB rules. You'd just have to include the new rules which describe what's on the new counters.
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David Schubert
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I've played about every tac WWII game out there: Combat Commander, ASL, ASLSK, LnL, Panzer, Up Front, ATS...

And my favorite is Conflict of Heroes. The changes make the game even better. Hopefully there won't be too many additional changes.
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James Carlton
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The irony is they removed fences from the latest version of the game. Maybe you're straddling a balka instead
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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kaufschtick wrote:
...like a buddy of mine in Dayton; we'll now be playing the same game two completely different ways.


If I were in that situation, I'd spend maybe 5 minutes talking it over with my buddy, and we'd agree on how we should play.
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kaufschtick wrote:
Some months ago, there was a fuss made about changing the Close Combat rules, and there was even a "new" rule book released shortly after that. Now the core activation sequence is changed apparently, and even though I keep hearing how it is for the better, we have yet another rulebook.

When I go to my friends to play the game, this version (V1.3?) of the rules is (if I buy it) the 3rd rulebook for the game! If I keep having to explain the "new" rulebook to friends, it gets old real quick.


When I explained the changes to my group they were actually excited about how the game evolved and how old tactics are obsolete and new ones emerge.
I cannot really understand why someone would be bothered by taking an already good game and making it even better. CoH was great straight out of the box. And it got better! What's the problem? Many other games have "living" rulebooks that evolve in order to keep the game fresh and make it better in the process.

I think that your problem is that your group was not very enthusiastic about CoH to begin with. They got tired of learning and then re-learning the game in a different way.

I enjoyed playing CoH with its original rules and I enjoy playing CoH with its new rules even more. Why would I be bothered by this?

Btw, I believe that the "core" rules of the system have been finalized and from now on we won't see any more big changes. Just slight variations of the same rules to adjust for different time periods {Vietnam etc.} and new units {Helicopters for example}.
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Karl Bergström
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I vastly prefer games with living rules - the Internet has given us the ability to participate as a community in an ongoing process to perfect the games that we love, instead of the more unidirectional process of the past. IMHO, this is to be celebrated!
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Philipp Schuster
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On the fence/balka remark: I do not care a bit if more terrain features are included over time. In the end, they only have an effect on movement/movement cost, LOS and the defense modifier. There is exactly one table in this game, and if this table is a few rows longer or not does not make the game more complicated.

If it was really necessary to add special rules for the Balkas (like the one not being able to fire INTO it whilst being able to fire out) I do not know. As having not played with it so far, I cannot say if the additional tactical element gained by it is worth the extra rules in an otherwise relatively streamlined system.

 
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uwe eickert
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The internet is a great bonus and also a bane at times. There has only been two version upgrades to the rules. One that added all of the user suggested clarifications and now v2. In between I posted "try out" rules to get player reactions. These were clearly marked as such, but in hindsight, were often accepted as a new rule version. I will not make that mistake again. In version two, the major change was one paragraph in section 2.1 allowing players to simultaneously activate a unit. This cleaned up machine gun fire and also cut out an entire page of rules!

We did agonise over whether to print this slight, but deep reaching change. You have to realize that this change crystalized itself after the rule files for Storms of Steel had been sent to the printer! I actually called Dennis on a Sunday and asked him not to burn any more plates the following Monday.

I am very happy with the flow of the game now and do not see any major changes. The game has actually been very stable from the start. For Guadacanal we will add special OBA bonuses for the Marines and will introduce boats, but no new "rules". In First Men In we add paratroopers and gliders with some random landing disbursement mechanic. But again, I do not really consider these rule changes.

As for fog of war, I HIGHLY recommend playing as follows (it is the only way we play). Average die roll for APs under a cup, keeping the result secret. Thus your opponent does not know how many resources you have and it changes the entire gaming experience. As you take actions, count the costs UP on your AP track sheet. When you are finished with the unit, reveal the die roll to your opponent.

Ex: You roll a 3, 4, and 6, adding the low and high die for a total of 9APs. You fire a squad for 4APs and mark these 4 APs counting up on the AP track. Then move the squad 1 hex in woods, marking your AP track up to 6APs spent so far and so on. The tension this puts on your opponent is incredible. He can no longer calculate how far you can move, etc.

This will definitely rock your gaming experience!

Uwe
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Michael
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Very interesting fog of war mechanic, Uwe! Do you reveal which unit will be activated before or after the die roll?
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uwe eickert
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Definitely before the die roll.
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uwe eickert
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UK games were shipped earlier this week to Esdevium. I do not know if they are going air or via ocean. Sorry.
Pre-order games were air mailed out last week and should arrive this week.
Uwe
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Kevin Reynolds
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I have to say, if you want to model different tactics and strategies based on what was actually used during the war, one simple set of rules won't do it.

Personally, I played CoH:AtB using the original rules, and all of the players I played with didn't really have any issues with the game. I don't see why making adjustments is a serious game design fault. If it makes the game better, more fun, more clear, more streamlined, or better in any tangible way, why not do it? The players can still decide to not play that way. No matter how well the rules are received, someone is going to tweak a rule here or there, and to be honest, its their game, they can do as they want.

Make whatever judgment you like, its your money and your choice, but I don't really see a significant issue with the new rules that I have looked over (my copy of the game isnt here yet), or the original rules. If, for some reason, I think the new rules in play don't work as well, I'll use the original rules where appropriate. I play for the fun of it, not for tournament bragging rights.
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Kevin Reynolds
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I haven't played wings of war, this is true. But this is because I am not really all that interested in the air war on its own. I won't really discuss whether air combat is as complex as ground combat, as its not really salient to the argument. I do agree that more is not better when it comes to rules, but simple doesn't necessarily equate to better either. I think, at least for myself, that there needs to be more than a few simple strategies to play, or I quickly get bored. The original game of risk is a good example. I like the idea behind risk, but, to be honest, you really don't have enough choices to make the game all that interesting to me. So, its simple, but not really too fun. Diplomacy is only interesting because of the player relationships involved for the same reason.

As far as chess goes, I would have to make alot of changes to chess to get me to play. Again, at first it was interesting. But, being that even though there aren't so many variables, and that many players try to play ahead so many turns, it just makes the game too slow for me. To be honest, I like the idea that there are too many variables to store in your head (or even to write down for that matter) at one time to properly manage EVERYTHING and that most people understand this and just have the rubber hit the road anyway regardless. It has that "war" kind of feeling to it. The other factor I'm not a big fan of is that many chess players play specific strategies, and its all about recognizing them to win. Now, perhaps I'm wrong here as I am no chess aficionado, but I have seen enough discussion and read enough about chess to have the false impression of this, even so. This doesn't happen in most wargames of this level of complexity. Sure, following in other strategists footsteps might be interesting, but playing their same game doesn't appeal to me too much. I want the road to success to be different, even if the modeled campaign was won by the "original" players.

Do you feel that the changes weren't positive? I know that you have no reason to change a game for the worse, but it often happens anyway. Sometimes changes have unintended consequences, and the gameplay suffers because of it. Is this how you feel about the new SoS rules? If it is so, state it. As I see it, it appears that the rules are better with the changes made. I personally feel that it is a mistake to leave rules in place simply because they are already defined. If there is a better way to do it, do it. Sure, you don't want a complete rules overhaul. I don't see the SoS changes as that significant. Yes, it means you have to track some things, but its a wargame already, you have to track ALOT of things. There are just so many conditionals, its part of the wargames charm (and why many people avoid them). Personally, I see that CoH is pretty minimal ruleswise already for a wargame with the depth of play and the versatility of options players have. If you don't believe me, check my collection. You will find few games with as minimal a set of rules as CoH, even with the addendums.

On the last point, I just have to agree that we disagree. Perhaps chess is popular...but I can't be so sure, I don't know anyone of my age that plays it all that much. Maybe that is because of circumstance, or because of other reasons, I have nothing to compare to. I will say that it was far more popular with people I knew in high school than it is with those same people now. I can also state that no matter how well known, popular, and universal monopoly is and has been, I will never find it an interesting game to play. I guess I just don't follow the crowd. I'm not saying that monopoly is similar to chess in gameplay, only that they both meet your conditions of how rules should be handled, and how well received they are because of it.

I see that you are/were a fan of AtB. What changed that for this system? Just the rules changes alone? Have you played it and just hate the new rules now?
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B. Harker
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Not trying to be difficult here... but chess did not spring up in it's current form overnight http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess.... Things change....Hey, you have every right to sit and wait for a "stable" set of rules to congeal.... However, I would point out that many people ,myself included, rather like the fact that the game's core concepts are robust enough to permit some small changes and that the designer, as well as the community of players, care enough to continue to work to refine things.... Kinda exciting really ;) Just my opinion!:)
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B. Harker
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Well, there are many perspectives one can take on this.... I happen to believe that there has not been a breach of faith at all...AtB was a full game and a polished one at that (not just the pieces either!!) The rules did change, but I happen to like the change....Now I know... that is not your point.... but what I am saying is that if a game gets better I can't see it as a bad thing....And if you like AtB then you did get your money's worth....No harm, no foul.... Maybe you could consider the changes in SoS one big optional rule... The boards are still good, the pieces are still good, the cards and dice are still good....So you still have all that value..... Hey, I am not arguing here... just giving my point of view..... I don't mind if the agreement on what all the cardboard bits should mean to the players (i.e. the rules) shift a little before they settle in....And hey.... maybe we all have a part to play in that shifting by participating....like we are right now :)
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Richard Savage
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Kaufschtick, you're acting like, well....a KAUFSCHTICK! (whatever that means.) I played and loved the first CoH, but the MINOR improvements made to it have really made it an elite game. It's a wonder you play any wargames at all if you don't care for a slight tweak here and there. ASL,
LnL, ATS, and many other tactical games have numerous versions of their rules tweaked until they get it just right. With your mindset I suggest that you stick to chess or Go, they're pretty solid systems!
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Vasilis
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kaufschtick wrote:
presence wrote:
Do you feel that the changes weren't positive? ?


Not to knock on Uwe here, but at Origins in Columbus in 2008, one of Uwe's "selling points" in talking the game up to myself and other prospective buyers was that the game "had been playtested for three years prior." It was inferred that all the bugs had been ironed out, and what one was seeing, was the final polished product.

Three years of playtesting and developement, a year on the market, and still changing.

I'm not saying don't make changes, I'm saying make the changes before you start selling the game.


Before there were discussions about changing the rules, did you have a great time playing AtB? Was it or not a great game with little or no flaws?

If YES {which I'm guessing is your answer since you like tha game} then what is actually wrong about having new rules that improve on an already working set of rules. I still can not see your point.

What if after 2 years Wings of War comes up with a new edition that improves the game? This will render you a playtester for all those years that you've been playing and enjoying Wings of War?

IMHO the idea that every time a rule is changed, the players that played the game before are essentially "playtesters" is fundamentally wrong IF the game's rules were good to begin with.

I would understand what you are saying if the old ruleset was flawed and the game only became playable with the new rules but this is not the case here.
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B. Harker
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I think understand what you are saying.... Perhaps the definition of "Apparently still in a state of development" is most crucial here. So any changes to a rule set beyond the fixing of errata puts a game into a state of development? Is it feasible for a game rule "Eureka moment" to occur after, say, a 2 year period... and if this happens, should this innovation/Streamlining/ or whatever it is.. should it not be included for the sake of a rock solid rules base.... or can a game grow... Now, I agree there are bounds beyond which the players are inconvenienced and frankly can see themselves and getting screwed by bad timing (see runebound vs. Runebound v2) ........ But I guess what I am trying to understand is where you would place this boundary... can a game grow??
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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kaufschtick wrote:
Sphere wrote:
kaufschtick wrote:
...like a buddy of mine in Dayton; we'll now be playing the same game two completely different ways.


If I were in that situation, I'd spend maybe 5 minutes talking it over with my buddy, and we'd agree on how we should play.


You miss the point. When I play chess, I don't sit down with my friends and "spend maybe 5 minutes talking it over" to decide if in this version of chess the king is going to get to move two in any direction.

I'm not suggesting that the changes themselves are intolerable.

The game is still in a state of developement, is what I'm saying.


I understood you the first time - you didn't need 15 edits to clarify. Your position is very different than mine, so I explained my viewpoint for contrast. I wasn't expecting it to change your views.

We all see these things differently, and that's fine. But if you're going to post your thoughts here, it follows that people who disagree will respond.
 
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Chris K.
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Hm ...

Okay ... I see your point in very many ways, but i wouldn't subscribe to them.

The game has obviously been thoroughly game tested, as out of the box it is a very fun and balanced game.

So for all intents and purposes the game as it was sold was done and it was a good game.


However the game has also always been set up as a series.
The complete Series has very likely NOT been completely done in advance beyond ideas and a lot of concepts, plans and preparations for later games.
At least it cannot have been as thoroughly and completely prepared as the first installment. Otherwise Uwe wouldn't be doing anything but waiting for the next print run these days.
Obviously when you are developing further stages of the series you will sooner or later stumble across ideas and option that you simply didn't have or think of before. Just like in writing books, in games there is never a point when it is really and fully done. There are just publication dates, where you go and release what you have then. That doesn't make your mind stop thinking about ideas to tweak the game though.

In addition no amount of playtesting will EVER match up to the feedback and collective intelligence of thousands of players. Even extensive playtesting will only put it in front of dozens of people.
And now it hits the market and all of a sudden hundreds and thousands of minds are thinking about the game, questioning it and feeling the need to tweak it to their little preferences.

So for EVERY single game out there you find the forums and some players suggesting variants, houserules or question your design decisions.

And now you are the designer of a game series, and some of these ideas read like a load of crap or people just didn't understand the rules, but some get you thinking of a great mechanism that would improve the game.
You are now faced with the choice, wether you will include that in the next installment of the series, to make the series better from then on, or to stick to the old system to keep it consistent.

And THIS choice is something, that there will always be arguments about.
As you have pointed out repeatedly, you believe that sticking with the old system, despite better options revealing themselves later, is preferable for various reasons.

I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

I think it was the right decision to incorporate the changes and it does not in any way suggest that AtB was anything but "completely done, well playtested and overall good game".
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I have to agree with Christoph that nobody can expect the designer to foresee the future and include all development ideas through the CoH series into the first box. Thousands of posts here and in other forums (and Uwe is very involved in communicating with his customers!) will have influenced him in many ways and shown ideas of how to improve what was already good. I think nobody with brains will deny chances to improve and want the game system to be kept in stall state - I would even go one step ahead and say that it is a must to take a game system further with every new box, since (most) fans are expecting something more than just a collection of maps, units and new scenarios.

Also, one should be honest and admit that while CoH has a short and easy-to-learn rulebook, this is also due to the fact that many special situations are plain left out. You can play very well and mainstream with the rules like they written in the rulebook, but once you try to squeeze the guts out of it by playing creatively with the multiple tools and alternatives, you need a lot of further clarifications that are not in the rules. If the rulebook was to contain every interpretation possibility that was discussed and clarified by James/Uwe here in the forums, in the FAQ or elsewhere, the book would be five times the actual size.

While quitting the games series because of tiredness to keep up with those changes/clarifications/expansions is a valid opinion, even if I do not agree, I am very concerned in which way the further rules management will performed, i.e. how future changes will be made backwards compatible with older boxes and their errata (I wrote a topic about this in the AtB forum: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/447240). This will have crucial impact on whether this system's rules progression is accepted by most players, or if more and more give up to a rules version/errata mess and join Kauftschick's party. Maybe not yet, but wait until one ore two more boxes are published and you then have 3 or 4 concurring rulebooks and a lot of stuff to coordinate...
 
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David Schubert
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>Good luck, hopefully in a couple years this game system will be all the rage!

Need not wait a couple years, it is all the rage now.
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uwe eickert
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kaufschtick wrote:

"had been playtested for three years prior." My impression was that all the bugs had been ironed out, and what one was seeing, was the final polished product.


I will just chime in once here so that the wrong impression is not conveyed to prospective new players. The v2 rules in Storms of Steel were not released because Awakening the Bear is "broken" and has bugs in the rules. It mearly has a 1 paragraph change that modifies the reacting player's options. With this modifications, both players have the exact same abilities to take actions. So we just decided to scrap the entire active/reacting player vernacular and said - you take a turn, then I take a turn.

Awakening the Bear won tons of awards based on the v1 rules set. It received 2009 Origins Best Historical Wargame, swept the Charlie Awards which included best new system design,etc. So with the v2 rules, I felt the system was more streamlined. The play system itself hardly changed though.

Lastly, in v2 we cleaned up the language to make some of the concepts easier to understand. Especially in section 9 Group Activations. The rules did not change, but are presented differently to clarify the concept.

So new players, the v1 rules are excellent, won all of the awards, and are a blast to play. v2 rules took section 2 and modified this by allowing both players to have all of the same options, which includes both being able to activate one of their units at the same time.
Uwe
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uweeickert wrote:
I will just chime in once here so that the wrong impression is not conveyed to prospective new players.
Some people will find a reason to whine & moan regardless. They'll whine and moan if the rules are not updated, they'll whine and moan if they are updated.
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uwe eickert
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I also want to say I really appreciate Kaufschtick's comments and concerns. I also hate to have rules change. So I try to keep them to a minimum. My rule of thumb is:

1. It should not take more than a minute to explain.
2. It should make immediate sense (even if a player may not agree with the premise).
3. It should improve the flow of the game.

Rule changes should not:
1. Complicate the rules or add layers of rules for the simple sake of chrome.
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