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Subject: What's the learning curve on this game now that there is more documentation? rss

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James Palmer
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When this game first came out, there were huge complaints about the rulebook and that actually learning how to play was incredibly difficult. Now that there is a reorganized rulebook, FAQs and errata, and examples of play online, how much is the learning curve reduced? Obviously this is still a somewhat complex game, but is it much easier to get into now, or is it still quite difficult to navigate the rules and errata?
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Dan
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Like most things in life that only a few people do:

It's not hard--if you want it. All the tools to understand it are available and you need only the will to work at it.
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Kenneth Lury
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oeolycus wrote:
Like most things in life that only a few people do:

It's not hard--if you want it. All the tools to understand it are available and you need only the will to work at it.

IBID
 
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dustin boggs
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James, I was in a similar state as you, started with CoH then started moving up in complexity.

I first gained interest I read all the warnings about the rule book. It put me off originally. I kept running into it as being a great solo so I decided to look harder, I read the 2 examples of play and it seemed to be what I wanted to play. I bought it on a whim.

I received it, did my post purchase rituals then read the rules (official rules that came with the game). It was no where near as hard as I had made it out to be. I read a little more, re reading the EoP and printed the aids.

I set up a game and played through using the rules extensively. I worked through 4 turns until my little one wreaked havok angry
view my session report

I came out with questions. I still have a few questions but I am ready to start a second time (with glass to cover my desk)

Being in the military I may have a slight advantage with unit operations but I think with a few hours of reading one can work through the first scenario comming out with questions. Research for answers attempt again and by the 3rd play I think one would have a fairly solid idea of game play.

Most of the issues (imo) come from the fact that there was little to address what to do with assets like pyros and what commands may be good to assign to these as well as the use of xo, staff sarg and use of reserves

A comprehensive (but not necessarily long) analysis of play for the first mission would go a long way to address how a green wargammer can build their company and posible ways to clear cards and move onto the objective.

EDIT: I have used the rules reorg but only for some tips, I mostly use the rule book and aids. I have mostly put away the EoP but I am sure they will return for vietnam or when vehicles get introduced.
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Dan
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generalpf wrote:
oeolycus wrote:
Like most things in life that only a few people do:

It's not hard--if you want it. All the tools to understand it are available and you need only the will to work at it.

You didn't answer his question. I am waiting for the answer as well.

Fair enough, but it was extremely complex for some, and not-so-hard for me (and others). It's hard to say how someone will adapt. It's more a question of do you want to.

1. The rules are not well cross-referenced, so you will need to spend time looking stuff up, writing unanswered questions down, and searching/asking on the forums.

2. You will need to be patient in learning to play. There are lots of moments of, "now what?" Many questions arise that are not handled in detail by the manual. You must discern or intuit how to apply the rules.

3. The first mission can be a bitch.

If these things give you doubt, consider your purchase carefully. You will be rewarded if you do learn the system though. How much does the material and the acclamation of people (who, despite its flaws, say this game is AWESOME) inspire you to learn the system?

This is not a sit-down-and-learn in one day game.

There's a boot camp first. You may be weeded out (e.g. there are several copies in math trades).

Is it difficult? Yes. Is reading Joyce's Ulysses difficult? Yes. But anyone who can read and has the gumption can do both. The comparison is not great, because Ulysses is harder to read than FoF is to play, but then again, FoF is the most difficult game to learn that I own and Ulysses is still my greatest literary conquest.
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Michael Lucey
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I was not qualified to post in this thread so I deleted my thoughts on learning the game.
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Michael Lucey
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generalpf wrote:
I don't see why it's so hard to get a straight answer.

Has the instructional material improved since the game first came out?

Would someone who found it too difficult to learn the system before the new material find it easy enough now?


Now there is a post that deserves the creation of a BIG thumbs down.

Just a jerk with the use of bold.
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Dan
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Felkor wrote:
Obviously this is still a somewhat complex game, but is it much easier to get into now, or is it still quite difficult to navigate the rules and errata?

@generalpf: how is this unanswered in my post?
 
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dustin boggs
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generalpf wrote:
I don't see why it's so hard to get a straight answer.

Has the instructional material improved since the game first came out?

Would someone who found it too difficult to learn the system before the new material find it easy enough now?


I can only comment on my expirience. FoF was my 3rd wargame. I started with CoH followed by B29 then FoF. Based on that expirience I would say that the rules were comprehinsible but take the following points to note before purchase.
-You will have questions, write them down as you go.
-You will have to look for answers, activly ask if you are unsure.
-There is still (apparently) an official rules rewrite comming
-It was easier to figure out than ASLSK

Do not purchase if you expect to be given an OOB (order of battle) pre laid out where you take the defined troops and fight. There are active decisions before you even depart.

As the company commander you review the map, decide what YOU think are the objectives (based on certain criteria) based on defensibility. You choose your plan of attack/advance (route planning) then you form your company based on these decisions. While determining what you want your 3 platoons to do (attack, support, reserve) you assign your support elements. Do you beef up your support unit with 2 lmg? Do you take the morter as a single squad or 3 morter teams? After you decide this you decide how you will command the units. What will your XO and staff sergent do and how will you utilize your pyro to effectivly command while not wasting resources by having it go unused. Only after you address how you plan on actually fighting the battle do you begin your advance.
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James Palmer
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oeolycus wrote:
Felkor wrote:
Obviously this is still a somewhat complex game, but is it much easier to get into now, or is it still quite difficult to navigate the rules and errata?

@generalpf: how is this unanswered in my post?


Because I requested a comparison between how easy the game is to get into now compared to how it was with just the original rulebook. Your answer (at least your second one) was quite helpful and both your responses encourage me that I will able to figure this game out if/when I buy it, so thank you very much for replying, but no, it doesn't quite answer what I was originally asking.
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James Palmer
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ramkitty wrote:

-It was easier to figure out than ASLSK


That's encouraging. I've read through a chunk of the ASL rulebook while going through the examples near the end of it in VASL, and found it, while massive, fairly easy to follow and reference. I would certainly hope that Field of Fire would be somewhat less complex than ASL, and hopefully a bit easier to learn.
 
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dustin boggs
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generalpf wrote:
oeolycus wrote:
Felkor wrote:
Obviously this is still a somewhat complex game, but is it much easier to get into now, or is it still quite difficult to navigate the rules and errata?

@generalpf: how is this unanswered in my post?

You have not compared the quality of the rules before the update and after. This doesn't help someone who couldn't get through them before and is trying to determine if it's worth plowing through the update.


The rules havent changed. There are several errata and some unofficial rules. Using the official rules I was able to learn much the same way as previously stated. I read the rules and examples of play. I reread portions of the book completely omiting stuff not used in the first mission like vehicles. I only read incomming rules as I resolved PC markers involving the VOF for the special types.
 
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dustin boggs
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Felkor wrote:
ramkitty wrote:

-It was easier to figure out than ASLSK


That's encouraging. I've read through a chunk of the ASL rulebook while going through the examples near the end of it in VASL, and found it, while massive, fairly easy to follow and reference. I would certainly hope that Field of Fire would be somewhat less complex than ASL, and hopefully a bit easier to learn.


Just do it james, you seem to have similar tastes as I do and I have found the learning adventure to be enjoyable and I can not wait to take my 9th to normandy again.

Its a shame you live on the wrong side of the country because I am sure you would be fun to game with.
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James Palmer
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ramkitty wrote:
Its a shame you live on the wrong side of the country because I am sure you would be fun to game with.


I agree, and I have to admit I hovered over your Canadian flag hoping to see a more local city come up. Oh well, if you're ever out in Ontario, drop me a line!

I think I will probably take your advice and pick up the game... I have a vacation week coming up in November with not much to do in it, and learning a new game might just fit the bill!
 
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Christoph Haeberling
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I am still not playing the game, although there are some nice helps here on BGG, e.g. the reorganization of the rules. This game has great concepts but I have stopped playing until the new rules edition comes out because I am really tired of constantly reading in the forums with many contradictory answers except from a few experts. Until now there are about 40 pages of rules questions in the forum section. This says it all. When I buy a game I do expect to understand the rules right out of the box and I do expect some useful examples of play and I do not expect to be obliged to have an internet connection. Fields of Fire is nominated for the BGG Award but this game is not yet finished!
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Dan
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Felkor wrote:
oeolycus wrote:
Felkor wrote:
Obviously this is still a somewhat complex game, but is it much easier to get into now, or is it still quite difficult to navigate the rules and errata?

@generalpf: how is this unanswered in my post?


Because I requested a comparison between how easy the game is to get into now compared to how it was with just the original rulebook. Your answer (at least your second one) was quite helpful and both your responses encourage me that I will able to figure this game out if/when I buy it, so thank you very much for replying, but no, it doesn't quite answer what I was originally asking.

I suppose I should have clarified I couldn't answer--as the errata and play examples were already available to me. Armed with that information--yes you can!
 
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D Summers
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Even with the unofficial rules rewrite and the samples of play I suspect it's still quite a bit of a learning curve. You'll still have to look lots of answers up at BGG.

The best answer though is to see for yourself. Download the rulebook (official or unofficial), read it, and follow through the online examples of play. If you pretty much 'get' the examples you'll be fine. If you don't, you should probably wait (it becomes better when you actually play it ... but it will be work).

There has been evidence posted of an official rules rewrite which looks promising based on the little snippets I've seen. I'd personally say go ahead and buy it now if you can handle a reasonably complex wargame. If it the rules are too complex, just put it on a shelf and dig it out again once the rulebook has been updated.
 
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Kenneth Lury
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I have only been wargaming for about a year. This game is very hard. It is hard to learn not because the resources are not available, but because it models so many subtleties. The rules are myriad and the tactical decisions very difficult. Each "move" you make changes the situation and there are rules that govern what happens. As the possibilities are multiple, the rules must be complex to take them all into account.
It takes me about 30 minutes just to plan out what assets go with what troops/commanders,pyrotechnic signals, and how I am going to approach the mission. Once I start, the mission takes about 2-4 hours, but the time goes very very quickly.
The game is also very hard, because usually my poor guys get cut to shreds by the opposition. The AI is very tough. The AI is also brilliant as it generates realistic opposition that dynamically changes during the mission and is different each time you play.

I do not know what it would have been like to learn with the original rules as the sole resource. Probably near impossible. These origianl rules ARE NOT the only resource. We have the entire internet universe of players as well as direct involvement of the designer (Ben Hull) and Ricky Gray from GMT. They are both extremely active in answering questions on BGG.

This is a hobby and for me anyway, learning is half the fun
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Lawrence Davis
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Felkor wrote:
When this game first came out, there were huge complaints about the rulebook and that actually learning how to play was incredibly difficult. Now that there is a reorganized rulebook, FAQs and errata, and examples of play online, how much is the learning curve reduced? Obviously this is still a somewhat complex game, but is it much easier to get into now, or is it still quite difficult to navigate the rules and errata?
I think the learning curve is still steep even with all of the erratas. The reorganized rules help, but this game is quite innovative and it will take time to learn. Period. The best thing for you to do is to read through the online rules and the examples of play. If you understand alittle of what you read and think it will be worth a go, then I suggest you go after it.

As for me, I think the game is more than worth the effort to learn it.

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Ron Lacock
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Lots of good advice already given. Here are my answers to these specific questions.

generalpf wrote:
I don't see why it's so hard to get a straight answer.

Has the instructional material improved since the game first came out?


There have been no improvements to the official instructional material with the exception of some short Examples of Play which are very useful. However there are some good player aids and lots of helpful folks on-line here.

generalpf wrote:
Would someone who found it too difficult to learn the system before the new material find it easy enough now?


No. No one will find this game easy to learn. Is it fun to learn? - yes. Will anyone who takes the effort to learn it be glad they did? - yes. To me the one thing that would make all the difference in the world would be a good index. A rewrite is fine, but really not needed IMO (aside from the addition of errata).

Let me ask a different question: Has anyone who has learned this game stated that they don't like it? All the folks I've conversed with who are playing the game seem to really like it. I guess my point is that it's not easy - but it's sure worth it.
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Pablo Klinkisch
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I can not answer your question, as I'm one of those obsessive guys who started playing the game with the first rules + first errata, but one thing hasn't changed since then and will still change until we get a rules rewrite: the mind-set you need to play this.
If you are quite anal about not making rules' mistakes (like me), it can sometimes be a pain to _know_ a rule but not be able to corroborate it because you simply can not find it (really frustrating for me).
On the other hand, if you are able to go on "from the gut", then you might get to play faster than me

Note that I haven't used the rules reorganization (don't want to print 40 pages until the rules are "stable"), so maybe with them it's not such a big problem (for one: you don't have to look in the rules and then in the errata!).

But, as Ron said, what we really need is an index.

Still, great, tense game
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I think the biggest failing for me was they are technical rules. When I first read them I gave up, to much technical terms (a good example is Smoke is a pyrotechnic, erm...yes...but why not just say "smoke").

Secondly the abbreviations, PDF for example, could we have it in a simpler language. This may be the terms used in soldier-school, but I went to gamer-school

One of the poor issue in the rules for me is the pyrotechnics linked to orders. What the game should have is counters with different orders. I do not really care if a Red Flare means Cease Fire. I want a counter which has a flare picture and the word "Cease Fire". THen I can select my orders from counters and not have to select counters AND write down the connected orders. Maybe I should make some counters!

Anyway, moriarty88's rules help a lot, but many of the soldiery terms are still there. I wish the examples were of the first mission instead of the 2nd mission, as I would like to play the first mission first. Though setting up 1 using the walkthrough for M2 has helped me a lot.

Maybe we need a rewrite of the rules in gamer-speak instead of soldier-speak.

 
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Lawrence Davis
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I would recommend that Hija if this was not a WARgame simulating a MILITARY action. Let's save the non-soldiery terms for the spelling bee boardgame. shake
 
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James Palmer
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Hija wrote:
Secondly the abbreviations, PDF for example, could we have it in a simpler language.


While I don't really mind the use of military verbage (as long as it's explained somewhere), as someone who works in IT, the use of "PDF" as an abbreviation can be a bit confusing!
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dustin boggs
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There were not that many wierd terms
Pyrotechnics - smoke, parachute flares, cluster flares, illumination, etc
PDF - Primary direction off fire (where is the fire from or going)
VOF - Volume of fire (is it a lone guy taking pot shots or an 88 unleashing new forms of hell on you)

and some more military types like limit of advance and stuff.

Yes they could have been explained better, yes (for some) but working through a rule book and a example of play will have you most of the way there. Of course you will have questions, yes there are 39 pages of rules questions but it is a uniquely complex game. Eurogames also have questions arise; agricola for example has 63 pages of rules questions . It is a good game and if you care to put in the effort to learn the system you will be rewarded.
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