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Tannhäuser Revised Edition Rulebook» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Revising the rules for revising history rss

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Thomas White
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(This is my first attempt at a review, so if it's rough around the edges you'll know why)

After a long time waiting, one of my favorite game concepts gets the rules revision that it so desperately needed. When Tannhäuser was first translated and brought to American shelves by Fantasy Flight Games, it was clear that this was a brilliant concept for a skirmish game that could use some polishing. The translation of the rules was brutally unclear on a lot of concepts (how hand-to-hand combat worked, for instance). This lack of clarity made the game a bit frustrating for casual fans and newcomers to the game, but the die-hards looked past that at the world that had been created and all of the fantastic bits and elements of the game itself.

Last year FFG announced that they had acquired all of the rights to the game, and that a revision to the rules would be coming... The wait was long, but finally the 88 page tome of rules hit the internet and FLGS shelves. This full-color perfect-bound book is what it claims to be: a revision of the rules for core game and all of the expansions released to date. The graphic design keeps the same "military briefing" styles that all the original rulebooks had, and incorporates the old artwork as well.

But down to the nitty-gritty, what's been fixed? The answer to that is "a lot." Most of the fixes come down to streamlining things and clarifying wording.
- Weapons now have fixed dice pools depending on their type (Hand-to-hand, Pistol, Automatic, etc). This makes remembering what to roll a lot easier, since it will be the same for either faction on the table.
- Revised character equipment just makes more sense. A lot of items now add an additional die to pools, or more clearly explains bonuses they grant during combat. A lot of the items have changed, but in ways that make more sense for the characters and the style of play for their factions.
- There are new modes of play. What was "Story Mode" in the original rules has been re-termed "Objective Mode" to show that there really is no story to these games, and giving it a better FPS feel. "Story Mode" in the revision is the mode used for the scenarios that began coming out in the expansion rule books -- every scenario from the old rule books is here, even Wolf's. Other modes include classic FPS staples like "Deathmatch," "Capture the Flag," "Domination," and "King of the Hill."
- Victory Points are dead, long live Command Points! Another change to mechanics is the use of Command Points. Instead of collecting points over the course of a game for killing enemies or completing objectives, each side begins the game with a set number of Command Points that refresh at the beginning of every round. This balances the game a lot more, since the player with more kills will not also have an unfair point advantage for healing characters or additing to movement (or the other choices the points will let you do). Points can be gained through crates or items certain characters have available, but are only availble for use during one round of play. At the start of every round the Command Points refresh to the number dictated by the mode of play (2 for Death Match, for instance).
- Overwatch. This is perhaps the biggest change in the game, and something Space Hulk players will love. After Command Points refresh, each player has the choice to put characters on Overwatch for the cost of one CP each. These characters are now considered "Activated" for the turn, and cannot be moved or act except in reaction to other characters on the board. An enemy that moves on the same path, adjascent to, or announces an action while on the same path (such as firing before moving, or a Metal duel), will be interrupted by the Overwatch character who has a chance to fire their weapon first. Most characters lose Overwatch as soon as they react, except the Shocktruppen (if he has his Combat pack). This can create some stalemates from time to time, but adds a bit more FPS "realism" to the game (in the old rules it never made sense how a character would just stand there while their enemies moved all around them).
- A default dice pool has been added. For those times when the rules are unclear on how many dice to roll, the default is 4 dice. Unfortunately that rule should have been closer to the front, since it clarifies things that would come later, such as Mental duels and other tests. Just remember though, "When in doubt, roll 4 dice." Should save a lot of confusion for players later.
- Smoke from grenades goes away after a few rounds. This is a huge change, and I think help balance the game away from the Union a bit. When a smoke grenade is thrown now, you place the grenade token where the player wants it to land, and then place two smoke tokens on it. While under smoke, all characters are down two dice to all attack roles, and can only attack adjascent circles. During the refresh phase at the start of every round, remove one of the smoke tokens (or the grenade token if it's the only one left). When all have been removed, the smoke has dissipated and the penalties lift for that path (or paths). This keeps the board from being blocked up by Union players for the bulk of the game so that John MacNeil or Ramirez can snipe people with their alien goggles (as you can tell, I've been on the receiving end of this too often)
- Plus many others! There's more changes too, but I want to save some for you to discover in the book, should you be swayed enough to check it out.

What the book lacks are only a few things, but I think it's noticible, especially after taking the rules for a play.
- No handy reference chart. This should have been a natural for the book, but just wasn't there. One page for the players to see weapon dice pools at a glance, or the default dice pool reminder, or basic breakdowns on how grenades work, etc. Obviously it's easy enough to make one myself, but it seems like it should be there already (on the back cover of the book would have been the best place).
- More scenarious would have been nice. Since the scenarios printed are from the expansion figures and Novgorod, they mostly take place on the Novgorod board. This is all well and good, except for those players who only own the core set and none of the special tokens that came with the expansions (as I'm still lacking Wolf, this made the first scenario useless to me, though it looks fun). It seems to me that they could have stuck a few scenarios based around what's in the core game box itself easily so that people can play Story Mode right out of the box when it starts to ship with the new rule book.
- A few minor things still aren't clear. Like throwing a grenade into smoke. Hopefully the answers will come quick from FFG though. It's nothing like the unclear rules from the original rule book though, so don't worry.
- More background on the Tannhäuser world. This book is mostly rules, with very little fluff. As a revision of the rules for a game folks know, this is great. But when the book is in the core game set, it's going to have very little about the alternate history that the game is set in, and that's a bit sad. I'd have liked a timeline or just some themed "memo" across a page for "new recruits" reminding them what they're fighting for. Again, it's a bit nit-picky, but would have been nice to see.

All in all, I think this is a fantastic revision to the game, and worth the $5 or $10 (for PDF of physical version) investment to bring out the true shine in this game. I bought two copies it so that either player can have a copy to reference during the game and to speed things up a bit.

I give the revision a solid 9 out of 10.
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Ryan DeLano
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Thank you for posting this. I have been waiting for this revised book before deciding whether or not to buy this over Doom. The information you posted here was helpful
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Scott Anderson
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Thanks for the review. I still don't find a .pdf available anywhere to downlaod. If anyone knows where it is please inform.
 
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Gunther Schmidl
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It was up on rpg.drivethroughstuff.com for a while, then got pulled, and will apparently be available from there again.
 
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terminashka tushe
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I think that thing with www.rpg.drivethrustuff.com is on purpose. FF just want to accumulate more book sales before they release the PDF version of the rules. Generally I think that the PDF rules must be free in their support page as an excuse for misfortune previous one after all this is a fix for the game from y2007 - 3 years this game collect dust on my shelf just because someone did not finished his work properly.
Another thing if they want to sell it - ok but make it more desirable, for instance to print all these bonus tokens which hangs needless on their support page.
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Gunther Schmidl
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Here it is now: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=1373
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Burkhard Hannig
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blark wrote:


- No handy reference chart. This should have been a natural for the book, but just wasn't there. One page for the players to see weapon dice pools at a glance, or the default dice pool reminder, or basic breakdowns on how grenades work, etc. Obviously it's easy enough to make one myself, but it seems like it should be there already (on the back cover of the book would have been the best place).

- More background on the Tannhäuser world. This book is mostly rules, with very little fluff. As a revision of the rules for a game folks know, this is great. But when the book is in the core game set, it's going to have very little about the alternate history that the game is set in, and that's a bit sad. I'd have liked a timeline or just some themed "memo" across a page for "new recruits" reminding them what they're fighting for. Again, it's a bit nit-picky, but would have been nice to see.


Hello,

I like the new version, too.
But you are correct it is annoying for a high class rulebook to not have included some kind of QRS.
And I was also disappointed about the lack of new background material.

But overall it is a great product and I am eager to play Tannhäuser again.
 
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Brad Hurst
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As I've read through the rulebook (new one) and started to look at the old rulebook, I wonder why they eliminated minimum weapon ranges. I don't like that change, if only because it created a bit more differentiation between weapons. If you have an automatic and a pistol now, why ever use the pistol? With minimum ranges, at least there would be a reason to use it. From those of you with major experience in this game, am I way off base thinking this?
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Michael Marvosh
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tarheel wrote:
As I've read through the rulebook (new one) and started to look at the old rulebook, I wonder why they eliminated minimum weapon ranges. I don't like that change, if only because it created a bit more differentiation between weapons. If you have an automatic and a pistol now, why ever use the pistol? With minimum ranges, at least there would be a reason to use it. From those of you with major experience in this game, am I way off base thinking this?

Well, you're not wrong. But note that none of the weapon packs in the game contain both an automatic weapon and a pistol. So the designers built in a response to this. The only two exceptions are Barry Brown and Irishka Voronin, and their pistols will get used everytime they counterattack (since you can't counter with a heavy weapon.) And those characters with hand to hand weapons will use them in case of a failed bullrush. I didn't like the old weapon rules myself. It made the game too hard, and when a game is too hard, it's not as fun.
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Steve Rogers
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Drinkdrawers wrote:
tarheel wrote:
As I've read through the rulebook (new one) and started to look at the old rulebook, I wonder why they eliminated minimum weapon ranges. I don't like that change, if only because it created a bit more differentiation between weapons. If you have an automatic and a pistol now, why ever use the pistol? With minimum ranges, at least there would be a reason to use it. From those of you with major experience in this game, am I way off base thinking this?

Well, you're not wrong. But note that none of the weapon packs in the game contain both an automatic weapon and a pistol. So the designers built in a response to this. The only two exceptions are Barry Brown and Irishka Voronin, and their pistols will get used everytime they counterattack (since you can't counter with a heavy weapon.) And those characters with hand to hand weapons will use them in case of a failed bullrush. I didn't like the old weapon rules myself. It made the game too hard, and when a game is too hard, it's not as fun.


Any idea where the rules for Heavy gear state that they can't be used for counter attacks are? The only reference I found was that heavy weapons can't be used for overwatch...(p. 27)
 
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