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Subject: Is it really low complexity? rss

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Bradley Fletcher
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I may have a strong lead on this game, and if it works out I'll definitely pick it up, but I'm curious and amazed at how this is described as low(er) complexity! I've downloaded the rulebook, which is very long and looks dense, and there are lots and lots of things going on w/ die rolls, tables, etc... I'd love to hear a bit more about the complexity issue. Also, this got me to re-read Hastings' Falklands War, and it really has me interested in the land campaign--which I know this game doesn't cover. Are there any good operational games covering it? Thanks.
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Christoph Haeberling
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Yes it is a low complexity game (on a 1-10 scale I would say 3-4) and yes the rules have many pages to digest. I have finished my second game now and I have to say rereading the rules was in the second game a rare occurence. Even the Sequence of Play which looks very long is now in my head. And the best: there are very few questions left, mainly discrepancies between the rules and the examples.
Many decisions and many die rolls are a reality but as the designer somewhere said the game goes very easy when you have understood the mechanics.

Christoph
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Wulf Corbett
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I found the length (and weight - some of the thickest paper I've ever seen in a rulebook!) of the rulebook to be daunting, but it steps through everything you can do in the game in detail, and everything is clear and appears unambiguous. There are no intricate rules or huge numbers of exceptions, it's a very straightforward game. The rules length is simply because every step is detailed, rather than rules referring you back & forth to other sections.

But do read the rules on die rolling nomenclature at the beginning. Others didn't shake
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M. Kirschenbaum
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The rulebook appears formidable, but it's very closely keyed to the game's sequence of play; I've never actually read it front to back. You can walk through each procedure as you need it, and while this may not make for optimal tactics the first time out it does get you right into the game.

The other clever thing is that combat (and detection) are basically roll a 1 to hit. The trick is that the game comes with as many different dice as an RPG, so sometimes you'll be rolling a d4 (25% odds), but sometimes d6, d8, d10, or even d12. Once you know what die to use you just let fly, with no table look-ups or modifiers.
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Christopher Schall
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It is definately not too complex, like say, a Carrier or Fields of Fire, but it is very fun. It really seems to capture the politics, naval/air and, yes, even the ground campaign. While not terribly detailed, the ground phase is still fun and can be a real nail biter. I've played 5 complete games so far in about a month. I really can't say that about too many other solitaire games. I also like the way the dice are used. The turns fly by very quickly once you get the hang of it--which doesn't take long. Solo games have made a fantastic comeback and this title certainly adds to that list. If you have a lead on this one, go for it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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Doug Cooley
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bfletch wrote:
I may have a strong lead on this game, and if it works out I'll definitely pick it up, but I'm curious and amazed at how this is described as low(er) complexity! I've downloaded the rulebook, which is very long and looks dense, and there are lots and lots of things going on w/ die rolls, tables, etc... I'd love to hear a bit more about the complexity issue. Also, this got me to re-read Hastings' Falklands War, and it really has me interested in the land campaign--which I know this game doesn't cover. Are there any good operational games covering it? Thanks.


You don't mention your background. I would say that in wargame terms, this game is a 3 out of 10, with 10 being ASL or similar. For Eurogamers interested in a historical game with nice components, the game is closer to Le Havre or Mecanisburg in terms of complexity, probably an 8 or 9. For strategy gamers (Starcraft, Age of Renaissance), the game is closer to a 5 or 6.

I find that solitaire games are easiest to learn if you work through the sequence of play and see what happens as the turn unfolds, especially with a game that has as much process as this one does. Unfortunately, the rulebook is *not* arranged along the lines of the example of play, which makes learning the game harder than it should be. There are a couple of tables that should have been printed on the board (weather, enhanced/degraded search), and a few spots in the rules where there is a lack of clear terminology.

All of that said, every step in the game *is* covered in the rules, and clearly most of the time with the exact steps you take laid out. However, this is not a game you will learn by simply reading the rules, as you can with a lot of two-player games. Because the rules are so scattershot in their presentation, just reading through will get you nowhere, and you are much better off finding the rules as you go the first time through.

The very good news is that this is a gem of a solitaire game, at least from my initial partial game. The system gets easier and easier to play as you go, and I've burned through six turns in no time at all (considering the first three turns took 80% of that time).

It is important to note that you will miss things all over the place your first time through - I missed that the Argentine subs that were on the board by turn 2 could search for the task force immediately (I thought they had to get to the Exclusion Zone first), and also screwed up the enhanced/degraded search capability of the surface task forces initially (as it isn't mentioned in the section on surface combat).

My recommendation is to set up the game and just start playing. As a starting point for your TF placement, I'd begin with one DDG or FFG in each of the TF zones surrounding the carriers/transports/support ships, one extra in the high probability zone, and two in the Defense Zone (10, just in case a sub sneaks in). Put the subs one in each Naval Zone (Coastal, Search, Exclusion). I'd also put one wing of Sea Harriers on the board for CAP as well, one in each of the three "forward" zones around the TF. Finally, put the SAS marker on the airbase that sends out Canberra a/c, as that's the only base that will launch aircraft in future turns.

I'd also recommend that once you're set up, just work through the sequence of play as printed on the Player Aid, referring to the relevant rules section handily printed on the card. Read the sections *very* carefully for your first several turns until you've gotten the chance to get through all of the various processes. You will want to understand the Opinion track, but otherwise everything else will happen as it happens. Again, you'll miss things but this is a learning game, and you'll pick it up as you move along.

At it's heart, the game is a basic detection/combat game, where you roll various sided polyhedrals looking for a 1 to create a success in detection and combat. When you understand that element, the game moves very quickly and smoothly, but the rules (while complete) will be a bit of a drag the first playthrough as you'll constantly be looking things up. That's OK, most solitaire games involve a lot of processes and this game is no exception.

So far, I'm very impressed.
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