John Collis
Canada
Toronto
ON
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I have played this game a number of times and after checking out the 'Beyond the Beaches' (BtB) scenario made some observations and had an idea.

At the end of turn 16, the US needs 20 VPs for a win in the initial scenario, and at least 13 to continue onto the 2nd half. Counting all VPs at the beginning of Turn 17, with the BtB scenario, the US actually only has 9 VPs! These are:

1st Division
C3
C1
Purple reinforcement

29th Division
Purple Reinforcement
E1
Red Reinforcement
E4
G3
WN70

Moreover, a study at the beginning of the BtB map shows that all available VPs are secured through the US Line of Communication (LoC) through hexes 0709-0808-0909. So every VP by the 116/29 is traced through the south of the map, through holes in Axis lines and the Axis rear. In any game that I have played, I can't imagine this being a realistic expectation.

I have two observations about this:
1) It seems very tenuous that communication for VPs should be traced in this way; and,
2) The victory conditions, as currently set, do not encourage historical game play.

I believe that point (2) is the more interesting. In every game I have played, in order to secure VPs, I had to bludgeon my way through more WNs, usually WN 62 and 68, to secure any VPs on the near high ground. Seeing others' photos of their games, this seems typical.

From the set-up for 'Beyond the Beaches', and the historical notes, the US strategy was to forge ahead to the higher ground, bypassing WNs to be taken care of later by the 2nd wave. Practically speaking, I do not think that maintaining communication in the sense outlined in the rules was a priority. Really, hoping for a razor thin LoC on one end of the map extending through vast unoccupied enemy territory is unrealistic. Within the game, just such an LOC could be easily cut by reinforcements popping up.

Instead, I think that the determination of VPs should be adjusted slightly. Here's my suggestion. Those at the end of turn 32 would remain the same; only those at the end of turn 16 would change. Consider these:
- US communication is not required for control of a VP location. This would bring the total up to 10, including WN 73, and remove the need to clear more WNs or the hoped-for "Hail Mary" LoC through Axis lines;
- a VP is gained for control of any WN, whether under German fire or not. This would add 3 VPs (WN 60, 61, and 64); and,
- 2 VPs are awarded for every non-WN unit destroyed. This would add 6 VPs.

This would bring the total VPs to 19, one short of a victory for 'The First Waves' scenario. It would be a middle-ish result for continuing the extended game. This change would make reasonable game results more common. It would also let the player consider different priorities:
1) Forge ahead, bypassing WNs (historical); or,
2) Clearing the WNs to let a stronger presence be felt later on.

Based on historical research, it would be interesting to know if (2) may not have been a realistic strategy; according to the game this is what needs to be done - a player has to deal with more WNs initially than was done historically.

I really enjoy this John Butterfield's other games. I haven't been captivated by a game design like this in a long while. Part of the enjoyment of this game is the masochism of playing so often and doing so poorly; I think that what makes it a great challenge - but having such difficulty matching historical results is a nuisance.
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Matt Siegel
United States
Grand Rapids
Michigan
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I think you made several incredibly valid points. I have not had a chance to actually delve into sources myself at this time, however, I applaud your analysis.

I find that you serve a suitable, valid and alternate for those who find the game imbalanced or for younger players. Thank you for posting this.
 
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Mark Kolenski
United States
North Andover
Massachusetts
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It IS incredible infuriating to clear a bunch of WN's and have the VP's taken away because of one lone area holding out and putting them under fire (often with sporadic fire), e.g D-1 on WN66S. WN66S is already difficult to take and needs to be taken to get points for WN68. Your suggestions seem reasonable and might help make the game less frustrating.
 
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Mark Kolenski
United States
North Andover
Massachusetts
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Oh, I also wanted to mention that although the historical result in BtB has few VP's, the victory conditions are all skewed up by 5 points, implying that the position one starts with is handicapped (in one's favor) by 5 points! So, in your system, you may not even be assigning enough VP's in a way.
 
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