John Foley
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Seth "the Complaint Box is now officially closed and LOCKED" Gunar and I worked our way through scenario 3 yesterday. I would consider this a standard size scenario in the game (again - there are pair of small scenarios and a couple of giants). All told, I think we clocked in just over 4.5 hours not including my slow "set up the map and surrounding dice towers and plano boxes while talking with others" time of about half and hour. As an aside, the game is so constantly involving that the time easily slips on by - both players and continually working back-and-forth (especially because of the way initiative works and the implementation of Opportunity Fire and Reactive Fire).

As you might recall from previous write-ups, Seth had possession of an evil windfall from the heinous Deity-of-Dice (KlusterFrakkicus - shudder, I fear saying the name). Unbelievably, the DoD took pity upon me and gave me gift after gift on mere D8's! At one point, Seth called forth to the entire room - "the Complaint Box is now officially closed and LOCKED". Much hooting and hollering from the Greek Chorus of previous victims of Seth "Dice of Death".

The situation is really interesting. A stout horde of Soviets are holed up in a town just by the marshy river-way, with extensive hidden fortifications of all kinds, plus a pair of AT guns. Upon them come advancing waves of Germans, with a daunting mission - secure the strong points (objectives), attempt flanking, and exit. The special scenario rules give to the German the opportunity to accelerate the entry timeline of his reinforcement waves by putting down strong points quickly. The Soviet has to decide how forward he must defend - since if he gives up the most forward strong points, the Germans rush in much too quickly. Yet another fascinating scenario situation!

I arrayed my fortifications with evil intent, especially to cordon one of my flanks and was rather strongly set up in the two forward positions right at the water way (a very wide swath of marsh - running at low water at the time). Seth decided to bypass my strong points after working his way rather quickly through the marsh. He placed his MG-42 platoons outside of any long range of my infantry (those hose-beasts are strong) and continued working through a wide swath of brush.

He then turned his attention on one of my forward strong point positions and eventually we were engaged for most of the game in a epic melee for that position. With each game, I come to appreciate how melee works more and more. It can be hideously short in a few cases, but usually takes time with a tense narrative all its own almost as if the units in melee are locked into their own universe, dancing agonizingly with death. Since melee is not a phase in the game (nor are there any such phases), the combat breathes in fits and spurts depending on how the players continue to put attention to the battle within the battle.

He worked his way into another key location deep in my position - with a gun in a bunker surrounded by hordes of Rifles, launching yet another melee. However, to work himself there, I kept working over platoons that I had managed to hit, and then whittled away mercilessly on the hit platoons. His force began to melt away.

We reached sudden death, and once again, kind dice gave me the win immediately.

Some of the fascinating learnings: (1) there are many times when you simply cannot and should not spend the order to draw additional assets, since you have seriously higher priorities on the map; (2) finding a way to give yourself consecutive orders is really important, especially if one of them is an asset (to set up a barrage or smokescreen) followed by a advance/assault/fire/move OR a rally followed again by the order of your choice; (3) channeling the enemy in terms of position, movement or response is a fundamental aspect of game play - the design mechanisms consistently hover together to put you into a coherent and consistent command framework; (4) I am personally finding that the rules for guns and armor feel like I'm getting 80% of the feeling of guns and armor in other fine tactical systems for about 1% of the rules weight - YES - I mean that!! It may not be 90 or 95% - but the rules weight is so impossibly light for the impact! I get most of the feeling but with so few rules - Chad picked (in my opinion) the fewest handful of things necessary to give you intuitive, fluid, challenging guns and armor implementation, while you still are faced with the fundamental problems of facing and weaponry and ammunition and movement and position.

We discussed a few tweaks and I have sent a detailed report to Chad and Kai with somethings we should examine (but really - very few and minor).
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John Foley
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Warren
New Jersey
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A response to this post over on ConsimWorld stimulated a bit of discussion around playing time. I thought that readers here might like to see a follow up post from me.

Quote:
More on Scenario Playing Time

I gave my average-sized scenario playing metric around 4.5 hours. Chad - who is a FAST player (not to mention he is a superb game player) gave 3-4 hours. And he noted comparisons with one of our favorite games - ASL.

Even after years of play at ASL, I could never crack averaging about 1 hour per game turn with an ASL scenario and my regular opponent was more experienced at ASL than I was. So - a standard 6 turn scenario was going to be a very long evening for me.

The scenario Seth and I played the other night starts on turn 5 and has sudden death on turn 13 - that's NINE turns minimum (with only an approx 1/3 chance of succeeding to move to turn 14 not including the Jiggy Thing with the fate card). The unit density in this scenario was heavier than average (what with 20 Russian platoons - which - if they all deployed would be 60 squads). AND we played the entire nine turns in a leisurely 4.5 hours.

So - when I say that time slips easily on by - it's usually a pathetic truism (of COURSE time slips easily on by when you're having fun!!). I wanted to give you some more data to see that (a) on a large map (b) A LOT IS HAPPENING in (c) a shorter amount of time compared with some other (very fine) tactical gaming reference points.

It's neither CC or CC-like, nor is it ASL or ASL-like. It's in between. You get the trademarks of highly streamlined intuitive rule framework (Iron Chef Chad) with a much more panoramic field of play than you usually see at this level.

Raw *ss hours of 3-5 are not what my very poor eyes usually sign up for. However, the turns flow very quickly (per the data above) and I must make note again that the Iron Chef's implementation of Reactive Fire in particular (for every shot YOU take, your dastardly opponent sees your muzzle flash and can fire right back at you - until he's SPENT - ie, his Rate of Fire can't keep pace with yours) - this - Reactive Fire - plus Opportunity Fire mean that both players are directly intertwined throughout the execution of orders by either side.

Hey - was this a smiley free post!?!?!??

What the FLEEP? Foley's breaking the rules!!!!
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