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Subject: We all loved this game....until this.... rss

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lee freeman
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I've enjoyed this game quite a bit lately. There are 4 of us that have regularly played it during the last few weeks and we've had a blast almost every time. Creating your own armies, deciding on what equipment to use, making tough card play choices -- good stuff indeed! There are LOTS of clever and interesting qualities to this game and Dan should rightly be commended for a solid design.

However.....our last few plays have left a bad taste in our mouths. I did a little searching on here to see if others had similar experiences, and I found a few of them that felt the same way.

Our first bad experience: We both started with custom 30 point armies. I had a sniper, a mortar squad and an MG squad. My starting units were located in heavy terrain. My opponent's units were located in open ground. He had a mortar squad but no sniper. I fire first.....and from there it is down hill. The endless cycle had begun. Whether my opponent counter-attacks or moves or plays Hit the Dirt cards, I DO damage. And on HIS turn, while he is preparing, I am loading my guns and preparing for another barrage. Plus, he STARTED in Open Ground -- what a HUGE disadvantage. Now, I know that Open Ground confers bonuses with card draws, but when I blast him from the beginning, he will almost inevitably take a pin or two. So on his turn, he will be preparing and removing pins while I'm drawing cards and loading my guns. It's a TOUGH cycle, and an unfair one I think.

We implemented a house rule that allowed the player in the lightest terrain to go first. This, however, does not change the significant advantage of going first. I know that Dan has addressed this issue in previous threads but I seriously think it's a problem within the game. Everyone in our group feels the same way -- which has killed our desire to put this on the table again.

Have any others had this same experience? And if so, have you implemented any house rules?
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Dan Verssen
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Hello Lee,

I can see your point about getting locked into a cycle. Here are a couple things I found in testing...

One tool you can use to your advantage is that the terrain cards are layed-out before you purchase forces. Knowing that you will be starting in open ground, you know you'll need to have long range FP on turn #1.

A second tool is you know the player order before purchasing forces.

Knowing that the other player is going first and you are starting in Open Ground should be a major consideration when purchasing forces.

In this situation, starting with a mortar, sniper, or AT Gun are all good choices.

I think is a good point to the system because players cannot come into a game with pre-set strategies. This adds a great deal of variety to the game without requiring a load of rules.

Hope this helps!
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Geo
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DanVerssen wrote:
Knowing that the other player is going first and you are starting in Open Ground should be a major consideration when purchasing forces.


Yes, but this is also true for the player playing first. So he can also buy troops that will cause as much damage as possible on turn one.

You can try a couple of variants to avoid the "first turn downhill" syndrome, like prohibiting attacks on turn one or allowing the players to choose their starting terrain card before buying forces.

 
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Sean McCormick
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I think that the advantage of going first is exacerbated by your playing a relatively small skirmish. In a bigger battle where you can sustain some casualties while retaining firepower (and, potentially, you want one group to draw fire so you can put your other sections into ideal position), the effect is greatly lessened.
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M D
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I for one thinks the first turn advantage issue needs an official fix.and fast. I don't play this one anymore because of it.
 
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Dan Verssen
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If you guys are up for it, let's try a bit of experimenting and see how it goes. Let's try an easy and direct solution first:

- All attacks (not counter-attacks) conducted during the first game turn have their total FP cut in half.

Thought: This still allows attacking, but greatly reduces its effect, and allows all players to cycle some cards and move.
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M D
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DanVerssen wrote:
If you guys are up for it, let's try a bit of experimenting and see how it goes. Let's try an easy and direct solution first:

- All attacks (not counter-attacks) conducted during the first game turn have their total FP cut in half.

Thought: This still allows attacking, but greatly reduces its effect, and allows all players to cycle some cards and move.


This is exactly what came to my mind when I first thought of how to fix the issue.
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lee freeman
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Dan,

Thanks for the input. I always appreciate when designers such as yourself take the time to respond to game posts.

Regarding your proposed variant, are you suggesting that counter-attacks during the first turn use full FP, not 1/2 power? And all attacks by either side reduce their FP in 1/2?

Thanks Dan!
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Rob Rob
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That sounds like a really good way to deal with the situation.
 
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Vasilis
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I can certainly see the First turn advantage problem happening in a randomly generated scenario. I haven't played any player-created scenarios as I don't like all this randomness. I have played Historical ones only.

Personally I have encountered the First Player problem only twice. One of them was while playing a Historical scenario, because the other player had really crappy first hand cards and could do nothing to stop it.

The other time was when playing for the very first time the tutorial battle. This battle is actually problematic IMHO. It actually is the best possible scenario to make the First Player problem appear! Not a good introduction to the game... robot

I wanted to ask Dan {and every one else reading this} if this proposed First turn advantage "fix" should be applied to the Historical scenarios as well. What about Solitaire play?
 
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Dan Verssen
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First turn counter-fire uses the normal rules. This will make it very effective against first turn attacks.

The rule would apply to casual battles (including AI), but not the historical scenarios (including AI).
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Bowmangr wrote:
I wanted to ask Dan {and every one else reading this} if this proposed First turn advantage "fix" should be applied to the Historical scenarios as well. What about Solitaire play?


As a strictly solitaire player, and only playing the historical scenarios, I haven't encountered anything that needs fixing and wouldn't want to see any rule changes.

Yes, a bad starting hand and your sections in Open Ground can create difficulties, but this game is about close combat in varying terrain and if you get caught out in the open (whether first turn or not), you should expect to be cut to ribbons. When attacked, it may be in your best interest to advance another section and leave the attacked section to be sacrificed rather than counter-attack.

With troop quality rules in effect, the historical scenarios appear to be perfectly balanced and are winnable from either side - it may just take a few tries to figure out the correct tactics for the situation.
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Vasilis
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victiger wrote:
Bowmangr wrote:
I wanted to ask Dan {and every one else reading this} if this proposed First turn advantage "fix" should be applied to the Historical scenarios as well. What about Solitaire play?


As a strictly solitaire player, and only playing the historical scenarios, I haven't encountered anything that needs fixing and wouldn't want to see any rule changes.

Yes, a bad starting hand and your sections in Open Ground can create difficulties, but this game is about close combat in varying terrain and if you get caught out in the open (whether first turn or not), you should expect to be cut to ribbons. When attacked, it may be in your best interest to advance another section and leave the attacked section to be sacrificed rather than counter-attack.

With troop quality rules in effect, the historical scenarios appear to be perfectly balanced and are winnable from either side - it may just take a few tries to figure out the correct tactics for the situation.


I agree with you on all of the above.
Historical and Solitaire feel right. I've never played random scenarios as I'm not interested in "buying" units etc.
It doesn't feel right... meeple

That's why I wanted to hear from other players {and Dan of course} what are their feelings about changing the game rules.

I can understand that the random scenarios need this rule fix though. I've never played a generated scenario but I can imagine that a First Player can actually buy his forces in a specific way in order to take advantage of this First Turn problem.
 
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Rob Rob
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It sounds like an artifact of the "world suddenly begining on Turn 1" syndrome. If there had been turns leading up to the Turn 1 situation, fire would have been exchanged in both directions. Once the game gets going or in pre-designed scenarios it's not an issue.
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Pete Fell
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Played my first game against my friend tonight . . . and experienced the first turn cycle. He went first and attacked. I expended ammo and took pins just to survive. On my turn I had to prepare, so of course he did, too. Then he attacked again. The cycle continued until I lost.

After wards I mentioned the half firepower first turn, and we agreed that might work. But we also agreed it wouldn't be very fair, if player 1 attacked with half and player 2 could use a "covering fire" card to produce full firepower.

So we're going to try this: first turn only, player 2 counter-attacks with full firepower, not half. Normal rules from then on.
 
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Vasilis
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I played a f2f game yesterday. We wanted to have fun but to also check specifically this First Player problem.

We chose Caen, Scenario 13. The First Player would actually try to do his best to take advantage of this first turn problem. It failed. We haven't seen it in any Historical scenario session actually.

I've personally seen this problem 2 times after many games. Both of them were NOT Historical scenarios. The first one was the tutorial battle {which is horrible by the way} from the manual.
It actually is the easiest possible setup to actually cause this problem to appear and to make matters worse almost all new players will try playing this battle first causing disappointment and frustration}

The second time was a randomly generated scenario. The first player bought Infantry Gun, Sniper, Mortar and just pounded the other player every single turn. He never had a chance.


As I've already wrote in my posts above, I believe that this First Turn advantage only comes into play when playing randomly generated scenarios.
Another possible solution is to reduce the firepower produced in the game and/or add MISS results but this will require changing the game completely and adding new components/rules.


Personally, I've been enjoying the game immensely as is and never had to use any home rules. If I must say something that I wanted for this game to be different I'd say that it would be really nice if Sections had to move a little bit more before they've reached their lethal ranges.
Another minor gripe is that the Tanks never gain/lose effectiveness with range. They have the same Firepower regardless of range. This seems a bit weird. You can actually park your Tank in Terrain 2 and shoot everything in sight with maximum effectiveness. No good Cover in Terrain 2? Move to Terrain 3, nothing changes. Not good enough? Move to Terrain 4. Again you don't lose/gain anything. You can even get to the same Terrain as the enemy, the produced firepower is still the same. wow
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Todd Reed
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Just played first solo rules scenario 1, as the British - complete disaster for the Brits. Thing is, I forgot to bring in the German reinforcements in turns 2 and 3.

I write it up here cause I moved the Brits in Turn 1 and then the Germans fired and pretty much ruled the game from there on. As mentioned above, I had to prep instead of doing anything else. And then I would get shot. Prep. Shot. Etc Etc.

I played this solo, as both players, to learn the game and while the Brits lost, it didn't feel as though it was no hope for the Brits - thought they lost badly in Turn 8.

Won't pass judgment yet.
 
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Jeff Cohen
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Two suggestions for random games:

1) the player going second chooses there starting terrain.

2) both players may flip one of there starting terrain cards.

Not sure if both are needed, but this would smooth out the star.
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Mike Kent
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gentsrugby wrote:
Played my first game against my friend tonight . . . and experienced the first turn cycle. He went first and attacked. I expended ammo and took pins just to survive. On my turn I had to prepare, so of course he did, too. Then he attacked again. The cycle continued until I lost.


This is what turned me off to the game. Is there a fix? If not, anyone want to buy my copy?

-Mike
 
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Vasilis
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mikus42 wrote:
gentsrugby wrote:
Played my first game against my friend tonight . . . and experienced the first turn cycle. He went first and attacked. I expended ammo and took pins just to survive. On my turn I had to prepare, so of course he did, too. Then he attacked again. The cycle continued until I lost.


This is what turned me off to the game. Is there a fix? If not, anyone want to buy my copy?

-Mike


The fix is to play the Historical scenarios and not bother with random scenarios. I don't find that a point system is viable in a historical wargame anyway. This is not Warhammer.

If you absolutely have to play random scenarios, Dan Verssen {the game's designer} suggested to halve the Firepower if anyone attacks on the first turn. When both players have finished their turn the game is played as normal from then on.
 
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