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Subject: Third Reich. Which game do you prefer? rss

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D T P
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In my earlier days of wargaming I was a huge fan of Rise and Decline of the Third Reich. It was a constant favorite amongst the gamers I gamed with. Over the years it's appeal faded with the production of other games such as World in Flames.
But 3R didn't fade away. As time went on AH made 2nd, 3rd and even 4th editions to this game. Then in the 90's they made Advanced Third Reich. Still later yet came "The World at War" which I am told is yet another incarnation of the original AH classic.
I currently have the 1st and 4th editions of 3R. I recently purchased an unpunched copy of A3R on eBay for just $30. (though it hasn't arrived yet) A good deal?

My question is; what is your favorite version of this classic? Are there noticable differences between the different versions? If so, what are they? Is the game a lot more difficult if you add the Pacific half of the game?
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J.L. Robert
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I wrote a Geeklist on this some time ago:

Four Thirds...Which Reich is Right?
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3rd/4th Edition for me and my friends.

We have so much play under our belts from the early 80s, it the most complex game we grab off the shelf and play without having to reread the rules.

A lot of value comes out of that box.

------------

A3R and Rising Sun sit on the shelf - hardly looked at and never played.

Is A World at War that much different from it?

------------

We have been looking to do a more modern WW2 Strategic game - AETO/APTO are being considered - excepting the learning curve on those appears massive.

We pretty much gave up on World in Flames - Add on in Flames really.
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Martin Gallo
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I am probably in the minority here but I prefer the JP3R version from Avalanche Press. I think it plays faster and I enjoy the mechanics more - they somehow seem to fit the situation better.
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J.L. Robert
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martimer wrote:
I am probably in the minority here but I prefer the JP3R version from Avalanche Press. I think it plays faster and I enjoy the mechanics more - they somehow seem to fit the situation better.


It seems to be bloodier. But it's also more susceptible to a game swinging based on bad dice luck. Ever roll a pair of dice 30 times without rolling a single 6? I have, and that would pretty much doom a German player on the Russian Front in JP3R.
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Oh my God They Banned Kenny
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J.L.Robert wrote:
martimer wrote:
I am probably in the minority here but I prefer the JP3R version from Avalanche Press. I think it plays faster and I enjoy the mechanics more - they somehow seem to fit the situation better.


It seems to be bloodier. But it's also more susceptible to a game swinging based on bad dice luck. Ever roll a pair of dice 30 times without rolling a single 6? I have, and that would pretty much doom a German player on the Russian Front in JP3R.


The 'buckets of dice' combat system is just one issue. I've also read that the political system can allow for results that take the game out of the player's hands. I read a good after-action report where they basically had to pack in the game because France refused to surrender. While allowing for ahistorical outcomes such as that isn't necessarily a 'bad thing', the system has to be 'robust' enough to not end the game in that way.
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Oh my God They Banned Kenny
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Regarding which edition, I would have to say 3rd. The 4th was basically the 'same' game, just incorporated some errata into the 3rd ed. In some ways I also appreciate the simplicity of the 2nd edition (never seen the 1st edition, although I've read there were problems that needed to be fixed), but the rules are 'looser', leaving basic questions regarding sequencing of different events.
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Leo Zappa
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Having owned and played the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions, I would say the 3rd edition by far. The rule set is tight, and the sequence of play clear, constituting a vast improvement over the earlier versions. I have given though to Advanced 3R but never pulled the trigger. Same for John Prado's version and World at War. I'm satisfied with 3rd edition and hope to get it to the table again this year.
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D T P
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My 1st edition was long ago destroyed in an encounter with a drunken trollop and her glass of peppermint schnapps. Much of it's remains would be parted out to friends and associates in the years that followed.

The trollops beau graciously replaced it with a new 4th edition. It saw active duty for perhaps a dozen years or so. This followed by a dozen more years of inactive status on a shelf. The map is faded with exposure and has small stains and marks. About what would be expected from a game being enjoyed by several people over many years. Several counters are damaged and scratched. One German panzer unit still shows the chew marks of the 3 year old 'giant' that almost ate it. The game sits there on the shelf now in it's crumpled and damaged box.

Then I saw this A3R game and the first thing I noticed was that the map was paper! I can put it under the plexi cover on the game table. And no more miss-aligned hexes from hard bound maps.
The counters look the same as the 4th edition. But these were new and unpunched. The map colors are different. The basic white map of before is replaced with and soft tan like color. Overall I like the A3R map colors better. Who knows, A3R may restore my long forgotten appreciation for this old classic. It won't stay unpunched for long.
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Steven Mitchell
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My experience is mostly with the 'advanced' incarnations. I think I've only ever played one game of 'plain old' 3R. I do prefer the added elements of research and diplomacy in A3R, elements that 3R didn't include, making 3R more purely military venture. And if you're going to go for A3R, you might as well do A World at War. The rulebook may seem more daunting, but I don't find it all that more complicated for someone who knows AWAW. Especially if you're going to do both theatres, AWAW is tons better than A3R+EotS.

The biggest changes are the de-abstraction of the naval game. For example, rather than just using generic 'fleet points', you now manipulate individual capital ships. Naval combat is also more involved. Mostly as a natural consequence of the individuation. After Empire of the Sun came out, it was clear that this sort of thing was necessary to properly simulate the PTO, even at the grand strategic level. You need a proper distinction between DD, BB, CL, &c.

Perhaps most important, however, is that naval construction now requires as much long-term planning as it required in 'real life'. If you want to construct the Bismarck, you can't just pump out its equivalent in a single 3-month turn, but need to start the naval yards churning a couple years in advance.

The big downside to AWAW, however, is that the design team still suffers from tinker-itis, such that new tweaks to the rules are still released every couple of months. It's pretty akin to 'open source' software development, since there's a high level of player involvement, but I'm skeptical of its wisdom in wargaming. But of course, no one is forcing you to adopt the new rules; the rules-in-box work just fine, as is.
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Carl Paradis
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I like Advanced Third Reich much better, just the bigger map is worth it.
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Paul Denhup
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3rd edition was the climax. Well done all around.
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Erik Syvertsen
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AH's third edition was our mainstay when I was a kid. I recently accidentally bought a second edition, and I'm so set on third that it looks like I'll have to print out the rules and fix my second edition board.
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J.L. Robert
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I notice that fans of this series are divided over which edition is best. Much like players of the Squad Leader series; while most follow ASL, there are still fans who stick with the original game (and usually with Cross of Iron).
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Oh my God They Banned Kenny
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Lin Dan wrote:
The best version was 1977, where Donald Greenwood made sure Prados didn't ruin the game with too many ridiculous ideas and kept it KISS.

Then eventually JP latter decided that he had to step out of Greenwoods shadow and just trash the system by importing ideas from Columbia games/ Europe Engulfed combat system.

They are made the map and counters look like confetti trying to stick micro farms and structures/textures that made the European continent look positively ghastly. Probably the worst map ever and i was stupid enough to buy the larger version of it.

1977 version was the classic game for 3R.


Actually John Prados designed the original game. The more recent AP version may sport his name, but it was not (re)designed by him AFAIK.
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Ben Delp
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OK, now I'm a little spooked. So am I wasting my money by pre-ordering A World at War? No one here seems to bother with it.
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Clayton
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A World at War? The game that the developers couldn't learn to say no to anything! Ridiculous detail at this scale.
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Joel Fournier
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klaytonz wrote:
A World at War? The game that the developers couldn't learn to say no to anything! Ridiculous detail at this scale.


It's a career game. It's a lot of value for the buck if you only get one game in. If that sounds like fun give it a try. I like my games in bite sized little chunks. ASL is my career game of choice. But I do want AWAW anyway (it's my sickness). shake
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Steven Mitchell
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delp1871 wrote:
OK, now I'm a little spooked. So am I wasting my money by pre-ordering A World at War? No one here seems to bother with it.


Have at it! I rate it 10 here, and it's the only game in the 3R family tree that I play anymore. I absolutely love it! See my post above.
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Doug Poskitt
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[q="Lin Dan"]
Quote:
Not one of the sentences of these rules makes any sence unless you constantly refer to other pages that you have also previously referenced. The rules are like a catacomb of mysteryshake


As an avid 3R fan, I have a copy of AWAW and having twice attempted to play it, I would amend that last sentence to read "catacomb of misery".
gulp


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Quote:
Ever roll a pair of dice 30 times without rolling a single 6? I have,


I've played Settlers of Catan too! Never again.
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Steven Mitchell
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Lin Dan wrote:
GMT World At War is probably the worst game ever made. They even divide player classes by their experience in understanding the rules, rather than playing results. If you like having to roll for how many germs will fester on a wounded unit in a specific jungle and effect its combat efficiency and read about twice the number of exceptions as the actual rules, this is the game for you. Not one of the sentences of these rules makes any sence unless you constantly refer to other pages that you have also previously referenced. The rules are like a catacomb of mysteryshake


Strange. I didn't encounter this problem at all. *shrug* I find the rules to be as comprehensible as they are comprehensive. Perhaps that's in part due to my early and long experience with A3R (one of the first half dozen wargames I owned). And I do find the game experience to be very enjoyable and well worth the effort, regardless of one's relative evaluation of the required effort.

And I don't see why self-classification of one's experience in a player registry is facially abhorrent, as you make it out to be. Most Diplomacy judges do the same thing. It seems to me a very rational and practical consideration for any relatively complex game...
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Since the subject is on World at War, I wonder. When you play it do you tend to play only the ETO or the PTO? Is one better than the other?
Or do you play the whole war? And if you do, does it double the games time or longer than that? Or maybe even less.
Have you played World in Flames? If so how does it compare?
 
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