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Tide of Iron» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Tide Of Iron – A First Time Playthrough Review rss

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Christian Cunningham
United Kingdom
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After my best gaming buddy bought this title, we decided to have a playthrough and I thought I would record a short review concerning my initial impressions of this big box FFG title. I’ll point out what I thought were the good points as well as the bad points.

Firstly, box and contents impressions…were good. I’m a sucker for large boxes, and this one has lots in it. Hefty amounts of plastic appeals to the collector geek in me, and this was more than adequately served by the array of tanks, trucks and varyingly equipped infantry supplied. As we pulled out all the bits, I got more and more excited at the prospect of the battle: cool scenery boards that could make very different battlegrounds for each play, lots of terrain/obstacles/bunkers etc for battlefield furniture…it all looked very good. The rulebook is a large one and so finding all the rules quickly wasn’t always easy, but that’s expected in a big rulebook until you get to know it. Lots of counters and chits are included as well as various cards, all of which were to FFG’s usual high quality.

Setup appears to be something that takes a while. ToI is a scenario driven game, and each scenario has to be setup with the right card decks, forces and battle scenery, and so ideally most of this would be done before your opponent turns up for battle if time is limited. The scenarios supplied with the base set looked varied and whet the appetite for further confrontations, especially since we just played the first on the list.

So, the gameplay…I have to say this is one of the most enjoyable wargames I have ever played. I have many pictures in my head, gathered from films and books over the years, of how a WW2 battle might play out; the troop movements, the effects of gunfire and explosions etc. ToI captured it better than I imagined it could have. One mechanic I REALLY liked was choosing how to fire with your weapons; shoot to wound (more difficult but, obviously, deadlier) or to suppress (makes troops take cover and effectively miss actions). On occasions during the game I was generally in a dilemma as to which to choose, and it made for much tactical intrigue seeing the effects of suppression and deciding where to deploy your units according to their reaction to it.

I have always preferred objective control mechanics in war games and ToI uses this well. In a cool twist, control of these points generated command points you used to buy cards representing reinforcements and “special play” cards, like sniper attacks on enemy commanders for example. This added lots of flavour and made deciding how to use your command points difficult.

In a stroke of genius, these points are also used to determine Initiative. This was so crucial in so many of the turns we played, as my opponent repeatedly suppressed some of my choice units as I had allowed him to have Initiative too easily, for which I paid the cost. Towards the end of the scenario which saw German troops assaulting an American bunker some fierce close combat assaults took place, seeing the German troops of my opponent sweep away my American defenders. The rules for this were brutal and fun, despite our misunderstanding the rules slightly concerning the mechanic, but were soon ironed out.

In summary, there is much to like about this after a single play through. With great components, fiddliness notwithstanding, cool scenarios and a well captured “feel” of WW2 combat, this is a game I am keen to play more of. The mechanics work well, with a real ebb and flow to the game, and with much tactical depth to be explored, ToI will see more time on our gaming table for sure!

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Everett Warren
United States
Marietta
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You know, I had recently bumped this down on my wishlist, and was debating taking it down another notch or two ~ or, maybe, even removing it.

And then, over the past few days, with a few positive reviews and posts and, maybe more so, some of the negative ones, it's gone way up in interest level for me.

Now all I have to do is be able to afford it...
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Alexei Gartinski
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Try it before buying. Or better: try both ToI AND Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 before deciding on a buy. You might be in for a pleasant (CoH) or a less pleasant (ToI) surprise...
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Chris Schenck
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Dayton
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Good review.

I'm curious to see whether you think the scenarios supplied with the game were balanced. The concensus here seems to be that they are not. Of course, I didn't discover that until a buddy and I got annoyed enough with the game that we stopped playing it. My understanding is that there are some user-created scenarios that are quite good, but I've not taken the time to separate the wheat from the chaff on that matter. I have had the urge to break out the game again after nearly a year.

I'd be interested to hear your take on what scenarios (official or user-created) are have the best balance, after you've played some more games.


Peacelord wrote:
The rules for this were brutal and fun, despite our misunderstanding the rules slightly concerning the mechanic, but were soon ironed out.

Ha ... "iron" ... I get it.
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Christian Cunningham
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Will do, although playing through some more scenarios of it may take a while....its not a lightly played game is it?! I have heard also that the scenarios provided are unbalanced, and that user created ones are the way to go. Sounds good to me, since they will be easy to get hold of and doesnt change the fact that I loved the mechanics of the game, just got to make sure we get some decent scenarios if it is the case the base game set's are poor. I loved the one we played though!
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John Di Ponio
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cbs42 wrote:
Good review.

I'm curious to see whether you think the scenarios supplied with the game were balanced. The concensus here seems to be that they are not. Of course, I didn't discover that until a buddy and I got annoyed enough with the game that we stopped playing it. My understanding is that there are some user-created scenarios that are quite good, but I've not taken the time to separate the wheat from the chaff on that matter. I have had the urge to break out the game again after nearly a year.

I'd be interested to hear your take on what scenarios (official or user-created) are have the best balance, after you've played some more games.





Hey Chris...I picked up the scenarios book that waas published a while back and there are some great scenarios in there.
I think for me...I know some of the scenarios are one sided...but we always play 2 games switching sides.....so we each get to experience the tough side!
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Jim Patterson
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For scenarios, there's always Tide of Iron: Designer Series Vol. 1, which has gotten pretty high marks. I own it but haven't gone through any of them yet.
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Henry Mueller
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I have to say that this game surprised me with the reactions from my friends. I really like the game. Balance issues don't bother me as we usually switch sides.My friends have told me this is their favorite war game that I have. The comments are that the tension of your decisions are quite fun and the rules complexity does not seem to dominate the game.

I still have hopes that some day the Eastern and Pacific theaters will be released.
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rich n
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Damn guys - ok ok, you broke me. I bought Tide of Iron online a few days ago and should be getting it soon. Sounds like a very fun game.

I wouldn't have bought it if FF hadnt released the new Russian expansion. Looks like there is support still left for this game which is good news.

I'll post a review once I play it!

Thanks for encouraging me to spend more money on board games!!
 
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