Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Fields of Fire» Forums » General

Subject: Terrain cards and musings rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Joshua Patterson
United States
Ringgold
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So I was reading Tom Russell's rules questions from here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/477475/questions-from-my-fir...

specifically his number one question which was:

Quote:
1.) Enemy snipers set up at Max LOS -- can they take advantage of Hills or Multi-story buildings in order to be as far from the triggering unit but keep LOS on them? I suspect the answer is yes.


And it got me thinking.. First it occurred to me that I might be doing terrain cards wrong. Imagine if you will a squad sitting on a card and the card directly north (up, etc) from him is on the last row and does not have LOS through it at all. Now if I a placement that said Front at Max LOS, I would have put that enemy unit on that northern (up, etc) card because there is no LOS beyond it.

However, what I feel like I should now be doing is drawing one card to see if it's a hill. Because if it is, that enemy unit would have LOS over the northern (up, etc) most card and would increase the map size. That rule isn't anywhere in the rules, but it feels right.

So then I read a thread somewhere (I apologize, I don't remember which one) where someone was asking what happens to paralyzed units that retreat off the known map. Do they disappear or create a new terrain card? Someone quoted the rules to say they disappear but Ben came on and said to create a new terrain card for them to retreat to.

So I started thinking more and realized that I feel like it should be both. You retreat the unit to a new card and if he's now out of LOS because of it, he disappears. That's not in the rules anywhere, but it feels right.

Then I really started thinking and I realized something. I don't really want a new rulebook. Now don't get me wrong, there are some things that need to be addressed. (Like the RPG units. Are they S or G!?) However I'm worried that with a new rulebook, they'll try to cover everything under the sun that could happen, and if they try to do that the rulebook could end up being 80 pages long for a game that honestly isn't that hard to play. I also worry that they'll spoil the special quality of the game for me, which is that gray area where we do what feels right. It honestly shocks me to say that too, because I'm the type of guy that likes everything spelled out in the rules, even stuff that would only happen 1 in a 100 times.

So then I got to wondering. I wonder if Ben has ever gotten frustrated with all the questions and confusions over the game because he never really realized how much he (and the play testers) internalized what they were doing. I mean take a look again at my two examples. To my knowledge they aren't spelled out anywhere, but they feel right to me. I wonder how many of those situations Ben has come across and had to address?

Anyone else have any thoughts?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Windsor
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I pre-ordered Fields of Fire because the whole concept was really interesting. Then I got it, saw (in my opinion) that the rules were really a difficult mess. I sold it for less than I paid. But, for some reason, I kept following the threads and reading the AARs. Well, damned if I didn't order it again (this time at full price). I don't know if that makes me a complete idiot with more money than good sense (or time, since I haven't had an afternoon that I could devote to trying to learn Fields of Fire). So I want to give everyone involved with Fields of Fire the benefit of the doubt.

From what I have read, the game was playtested, and everyone involved seems to have put a great deal of time into developing a new and re-useable system. I'm usually satisfied with GMT games, and I haven't seen anything that leads me to believe that anyone involved with the project made a conscious decision to get a load of crap out the door in order to make a buck (some of my highly pissed but admittedly uninformed earlier posts here and on CSW to the contrary -- crow is best eaten rapidly with a dash of salt). Moreover, there has been a tremendous amount of post-release support, including live Vassal tutorials.

So, I like your premise, and I will go a step further. I believe that designers and playtesters made assumptions about the level of military knowledge that the average gamer just doesn't have. I've played a lot of wargames, and read a lot of history, but MANY concepts in the game are not familiar. I kept asking "Why this? Why that? How do I accomplish something that I know can be done?" A lot of the AARs are filled with stories of units that were pinned almost from the beginning. That strikes me as highly realistic, but a frustrating experience for a game. The game would certainly benefit from a "boot camp".

I hope to be able to delve into Fields of Fire over the long weekend (that is likely just an aspirational goal, by the way). I guess my bottom line will be not to get pissed off when there is a problem, and just work it out. After all, its a solitaire game, its not like I'm cheating anyone. I guess if I get $50 of enjoyment stacking the cards into shapes and throwing the counters at them to knock them over, who cares?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Patterson
United States
Ringgold
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I went through the same thing you did Mike. If I remember correctly I got the game the week it came out. (missed on the pre-order) Then I clipped the counters, read the rulebook and all the threads on the game and put it on the shelf content to wait until a new rulebook came out.

Over a year goes by and then two things happened:

1. My wargaming buddy went on a job for about a month out of town.

2. I had a week off for Christmas and started going stir crazy.

So I decided that I was going to get my money's worth out of the game and sat down to play it come hell or high water. The first game probably took me the better part of 6 hours, but most of it was due to looking up rules. However about halfway through I noticed I was looking up rules to confirm my hunches of how I felt the game should be played, and come to find out I was correct more often than not. The second game I play goes by in about 4 hours which is actually more due to the bigger nature of the map. (you don't think an extra row adds a lot, but just wait.)

Now I'm sitting here with company that's missing two steps from 3rd platoon (due to 10 casualties suffered in 1-2) wondering how in the world I'm going to tackle 1-3. But the important thing is I'm no longer worried about the rules much. Sure it'll be the first combat patrol I go on and the rules specific to it are a little sparse. But I now get that whether or not Ben was intending to do this, he gave us the skeleton/structure of a game and it's our job to fill in all the meat. Some of it's actually in the rules, such as the pyrotechnic rules and such. However most of it's not, it's found in the two examples I quoted in the first message along with countless others people have probably come across.

Now with all that said, I know full well why this game drives some people bonkers. Wargamers are a special breed. We like to quote rule 3.2.3 of the ASL rulebook off the top of our heads.* We like to have rules for everything. But I don't think that's the way this game is designed. Which is really ironic when you take a look at the Musket and Pike series, also designed by Ben, because it's sort of the exact opposite.

I think this sort of "meat/gray area/feeling" thing works for me because it's a solitaire game. It allows me to tailor it so it fits me like a glove. And like you said, you aren't cheating anyone. I don't have to worry about how you play it, or how even Ben plays it. Because I'll never play against anyone but myself. Is there a "right" way to play it? Sure. But I prefer the term "right-ish".


*I don't know if that's an actual rule or not. I'm sure someone will come behind me and quote it.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ken flett
Canada
Bear River
Nova Scotia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is a real interesting post with thoughtful comments
...and l too (like Mike) was given the game, sold the game and now awaiting my order of the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Windsor
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
So I decided that I was going to get my money's worth out of the game and sat down to play it come hell or high water.


Joshua, what rules (original, someone's re-write) did you use to learn?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John O'Haver
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
badge
Pet photographer, that's me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I got it when it first came out. It's been on the shelf, unpunched, ever since. I've read the rules a few times but haven't overcome the inertia to try to play it. I've learned to play war games with novel mechanics before. I spent a weekend working through Up Front when it first came out. This seems no more difficult than UF but I just lost momentum, if you will.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Patterson
United States
Ringgold
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mwindsor wrote:
Joshua, what rules (original, someone's re-write) did you use to learn?


I used the original rules, believe it or not. I did it for two reasons:

1. I wanted to be able to quote and have the rulebook quoted to me for rules questions. (ramkitty's re-write, as awesome as it is, doesn't keep the same numbering scheme because it would be impossible to.)

2. I didn't really know/look for any of the re-write's.

What also helped me out was Ricky's live session tutorials found here (sorta):

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/469430/live-tutorial-boo-boo...

As well as David's Vietnam walk through here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/38617

Ricky's session helped me out the most in a way he probably intended and in a way he probably didn't. He helped me out by showing how to organize everything in VASSAL so it all makes sense at a glance. Knowing who's attached to what platoon without peering at the counters is a god send. The unintended way was how he always plowed ahead with the mission. I'm the type of guy that has to do everything perfect the first time around, which isn't going to happen with this game. So watching him plow ahead gave me the drive (and courage if I'm being honest) to do it myself. And now I have ten little red crosses and no regrets to show for it.

David's walk through helped me out just because of how complex it is. If you can read and follow along with everything he's saying, you've just nailed the most complicated situations ever to come up in this game. Which isn't even going to happen until you get to Vietnam.

The rulebook does need to change and be updated. But it only needs to be reorganized with the errata added in. That's what Dustin's (ramkitty) re-write does.

So if I had it all over to do again, I would read the official rulebook once or twice to get the gist of the game and then follow along Ricky's tutorials with the rewritten rulebook.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Patterson
United States
Ringgold
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scribidinus wrote:
I got it when it first came out. It's been on the shelf, unpunched, ever since. I've read the rules a few times but haven't overcome the inertia to try to play it. I've learned to play war games with novel mechanics before. I spent a weekend working through Up Front when it first came out. This seems no more difficult than UF but I just lost momentum, if you will.


I can honestly tell you it's completely worth it. I've played Field Commander Alexander, Field Commander Rommel and Silent War. This one blows the rest out of the water. The one thing is does so well is completely get away from that systematic feel that so many solitaire games suffer from. It feels completely natural and organic in how the turns unfold.

Even after you get 2 artillery and 3 mortar attacks dropped on you.

No, I'm not bitter.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kenneth Lury
United States
Blowing rock
NC
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
[q]I can honestly tell you it's completely worth it. I've played Field Commander Alexander, Field Commander Rommel and Silent War. This one blows the rest out of the water. The one thing is does so well is completely get away from that systematic feel that so many solitaire games suffer from. It feels completely natural and organic in how the turns unfold.

Even after you get 2 artillery and 3 mortar attacks dropped on you.
/q]

I completely agree. I have RAF, Silent War and have just bought Carrier. Fields of Fire is in a class by itself.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Jones
United States
Forest Grove
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
radsailor wrote:
I completely agree. I have RAF, Silent War and have just bought Carrier. Fields of Fire is in a class by itself.


I think that's because those games (though I admit I haven't had Carrier) require you to look up a chart to find out what happens for every little detail. Ambush, as fun as it is for me, is like this as well. B-17 is the quintessential game like this. It's just you being railroaded along. B-17 works because the nature of allied bombing was being "railroaded." But I'm not sure it's a GREAT game. I might be tempted to put Hornet Leader II farther along the spectrum towards FoF, because of it's decision making tree about how to allocate limited resources.

If I may make a video game analogy (don't everyone splatter me just yet), the reason that I find Civilization and the 4x space games are so intriguing is because of their choices. When you play Call of Duty and lots of similar games, they're basically an "On-the-Rails" shooters. Now they're very good "On-the-Rails" shooters and the creators have gotten better at hiding the rails. But truly they're just like the old Operation Wolf; you just shoot at what pops up. But the Civ games? There's some real meat there, am I researching the wheel first, agriculture, or horsemanship? And which one I pick has implications down the line. Or, say Chessmaster vs Super Mario Brothers...

I really feel as though FoF takes the gameplayer off the rails and let's them explore it's gameworld. Maybe that's because, as the OP stated, the game is about feel and about you decisions rather than what happened when I went to hex X19 or to a certain patrol area near the South China Sea. Check chart, roll die(ce), dud torpedo, crap!

FoF is about where do I allocate my resources and how do I use them properly. In another (potentially controversial) point of view, I feel like FoF is really a great, big, heavy Euro game about resource allocation and how best to deal with problems that arise. It's not quite as elegant as a euro, but it's way more elegant than most of its other solitaire wargaming companions.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt R
United States
Keller
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Matthew - you are running the risk of invoking the ire of some people by commenting on FoF decisions as being similar to a euro game. But I know what you're talking about

In my opinion, *any* good game (whether it be a wargame, euro, whatever) involves making certain decisions about how to get the most effectiveness out of limited resources, and not usually having enough resources to do everything you want to do as well as you'd like to.

So, you can be a "jack of all trades" or specialize in different areas - just make sure that you're allocating your resources (and using them!) more efficiently than your opponent (or the game itself in FoF's case).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guatemala
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hello,
As I comment here in this thread (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/483969/re-written-rules), I think one of many possible solutions for this problem is developing three (at least) fully detailed examples of play, from the very start (allocating resources within company) to the very end (allocating experience points).
I think that there are many things in FoF that are easier to explain and grasp through an example than by wording it as a "rule".
What do you think?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hugh Grotius
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree, examples of play would be invaluable. The existing examples on the GMT website (also available here, I think?) really got me jump-started. After reading the rules I wasn't quite sure where to start or what to do, but the examples got me going. Now, the examples themselves have a few minor errors in them too, but nothing big.

I don't think the rules are as bad as some claim, but they certainly could use a good edit. The published errata are a step in the right direction.

In any case, I certainly have no regrets! This game has a feel like no other wargame I've ever played, and I've played a lot, from ASL to War in the Pacific. I do think it has a certain Euro quality. E.g., you get eight and only eight phone lines: better hook 'em up right, or your Power Gri...er, communications network won't work.

I also love the emphasis on communications. Other games have command-and-control models, but this one excels by modeling radios, phones, and polytechnics. I just sent a single squad forward, and once it hit the woods, I realized I couldn't see it or talk to it. It's on its own, left to its own initiative (represented by the initiative system). If I want to talk to it, I have to send a runner, or fire one of several flares/smoke, or move up next to it. I think that is VERY cool.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.