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Battle Over Britain» Forums » General

Subject: Basic Game? rss

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Douglas S
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When talking about the basic game for this title, are we still talking 100 hrs for the campaign? Are there short scenarios for the basic game? I'm looking for how long playing time is, in the basic game.
 
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Michael Cox
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You might try a variant that is *very* short compared to everything else. It represents the channel convoy attacks that led up to Eagle Day. See mcox.org/BoB

_mike
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Douglas S
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thanks!
 
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Tom Stearns
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the rule book says the beginner game is the strategic game, which is 9 turns long and should take 15 hours with 2 experienced players. The next level up is the combat game, which takes smaller chunks of time and plays it out in more detailed combat form. The BIG game is the Advanced game that is a combination of the strategic game and the combat game.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Your play time options are, basically -

shortest - simulating a single raid with the "advanced" system, with predetermined forces available for each side, as just a raid into a single defending hex on the map. (Note that each hex in this game is actually 6 locations, divided in "cheese wedge" fashion. Which is meant to simulate the ability of a group or squadron on high cover to intercept over a modest area - the hex - while the raid locations and targets themselves are a bit "finer" in space).

the downside of this is there aren't any premade or known to be balanced scenarios of this type. It is easy to come up with them if you know the game, and this is an easy way to learn the game mechanics. But you will have to do some of your own scenario design.

the upside is you can play through one of these in an hour (or maybe 1:30 if one of you is still learning the system) - assuming you did a big raid, meaning multiple groups targeting different "slices" of the hex, some fighters hunting rather than close escorting, etc. A short simple one (one escorted group hitting one target e.g.) you can resolve in half that time or less, but won't be all that interesting.

next shortest -

Eagle Day - a single turn scenario played using the strategic rules, which limit the number of raids - basically the day isn't further divided into subperiods of time, but instead everything that happens that day is one raid per hex (and location). This shows the full scope of raid planning and the allocation of the available defending fighter "pool" to all the threats, that is the meat of the game. It is also a built in scenario, with sensible victory conditions etc.

the downside is even this one full raid scenario is going to take you half a day, even with experienced players, and more like all day if you are just learning the system. Some of that is also downtime for the British player as the German laboriously plans out all of his raids. If there is an experienced and a new player, make the experienced one take the Germans - everything will go faster that way.

another downside is that the point of ongoing bombing efforts is to progessively degrade the Brit air defense system and airfields, and you don't see any of that in a start of the battle, first raid. The bombers getting through are abstractly getting VPs for damaging targets on their priority list (ports, radar stations and airfields), but that damage isn't really having any further effect (other than planes actually caught on the ground perhaps losing steps to airfield hits - but that pretty much requires a Brit blunder this early on, since nobody is tired, no airfields are damaged, intercepts are relative easy with an intact radar net, etc). So basically the bombing aspect of the game is just a VP "goal line" without operational importance.

next comes the whole campaign played using the stategic rules.

This is a major multi sitting campaign. The attrition aspects of the battle appear. Progressive losses, replacement rates, keeping a reserve, bomb damage accumulating faster than it can be repaired for some heavily hit target sets, etc - all begin to matter.

the last level is playing the whole campaign at the advanced game level of detail, which can easily double the time (some good weather turns will have 3 successive waves of raid resolution, some bad ones will pass with just a few closest or night mission raids, etc, so some are the same and some take 3 times as long, about, to resolve).

Any way you slice it, you will have to put a lot of time into this one to get the full experience of all the chrome-laden interlaced game systems. If you do, you get the full Butterfield "feel" of the command dilemmas on both sides. But you have to first get up a learning curve and then put in hours to get that. You can have a little fun with it for less time put in, but you won't really get the full game that way.

I hope this helps.
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David C
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In short, this game is unplayable. I've been playing wargames for about 45 years, almost as long as I've been alive. I bought BOB back when it first came out and gave up trying to learn how to play it. Recently, because I've had to move my entire collection to a new house, I've tried once again to master BOB, but to no avail. Butterfield's design is pure simulation and shows the extreme to which a designer can go in creating his model but at the expense of the player. Accurate model, it just can't be played. You can only study it. The Strategic Game should have let the German player set his own objectives and left the die roll that is essentially the "Hitler" factor as an optional rule that greatly favors the Brit in order to keep the game interesting for the German. Also, there should have been shorter scenarios that could be played in no longer than a long evening.Forget the Combat Game as well as the Advanced Games which are pedantic to the point of insanity. BOB is most definitely NOT on my Must-have list of wargames..
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