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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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No Retreat: Deluxe Edition is a GMT wargame that upgrades Victory Point Games' No Retreat! with better components and the addition of all the expansions. It is also the latest strategic game to cover the most over simulated military struggle of all time: the Eastern Front of World War II. It is not too hard to see why, as the Eastern Front was history’s biggest and bloodiest conflict of all time, featuring battles that dwarfed all others before and since.

So why buy No Retreat if you can pull out classics such as Russian Front, EastFront, and The Russian Campaign? I hope this review can answer that question.

Gameplay (70/70): No Retreat is a strategic game, so the scope takes into consideration only Axis armies and Soviet fronts. These formations move on a hex map of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. At this point the game feels particularly old school. The CRT is decided by 1 six-sided die (although each side has a separate CRT). However, losses are rare, and never permanent, so while your front may dissolve in 1 turn, you have a good chance of patching things up in the following turn. So in terms of basic movement and combat, the system is stripped down and old school, comparable to the best of the Avalon Hill classics.

Where this game is different is in its use of cards. Unlike other CDGs the cards do not move the armies. I think the later point is where Ted Raicer went wrong in World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin, because he stuck to the tried and true CDG format in which events are one-time occurrences and you need to spend OPS in order to move. Carl Paradis did not fall for this trap. The cards instead represent only events and the resources needed to do more advanced functions, such as drawing replacements, making railroad moves, and launching counterblows. The later is wonderful mechanic that forces the enemy to make poor odds attacks, simulating bad offensives and the local struggles on the Eastern Front.

Outside of some chrome this is the heart and soul of the game’s mechanics. The low unit density allows one to concentrate upon grand strategy rather than operational maneuver. So if you want to replicate the Kiev pocket, I would look elsewhere.

The Gates of Moscow:


Accessibility (10/10): The rules are crystal clear and leave few ambiguities. Do not by daunted by the length of 24 pages, for the print is big and bold and laced with examples of play. All told, the game moves quickly and with few if any bumps. It is certainly the simplest game I’ve yet played on this titanic struggle. There is chrome, but it is effortlessly incorporated into the design, including the turn records track, forgoing confusion.

Components (9/10): When No Retreat was accused of having “bland graphics” I replied that “one man's bland is another man's functional.” Having played the game I can safely say that such an observation holds up. The map and pieces in terms of looks will not blow you away, but they are clearly not an eye-sore, and the minimalist approach works because it is consistent throughout the design. So the game is aesthetically pleasing, although the armored units look best with the tanks drawn on them. Best of all, the counters are thick and punch out evenly.

The Map:


Historical Quality (9/10): No Retreat succeeds as a simulation because of the immense scale. The key here is the application of certain strategic issues. For instance, the Germans lose victory points every few turns due to the worsening war situation elsewhere (Midway, Normandy, etc). The Soviet army starts off poor, but gains experience and power. So these events are handled in a pretty simple but effective way. There are also some excellent light touches. The Finnish cannot move, but defeating them will give the Soviets 1 victory point. Minor Axis forces are not rebuilt through cards. Rather they come back 4 turns later. This simulates the inability of Germany to speed along the reconstruction of such formations, but also the fact that Germany’s material aid to their allies was never that great to begin with. My only historical complaint is for the surrender rules. They seem to punish failed offensives, in that one army advancing can easily be cut off if the rest must retreat, thereby causing them to surrender. Meanwhile, actually creating a large pocket is perhaps a bit too difficult and time-consuming. However, even these complaints may fade with further plays.

Overall (98/100): I feel my small review hardly does this game justice. I expected a good game, but not something on the order of this masterpiece. Carl Paradis has honored the old wargaming traditions of hexes, CRTs, and NATO emblems, while adding card play. Combined with that special GMT look, you have a game that takes the best of two worlds. More importantly he has made the greatest military conflict of all time into a relatively simple game that still stacks up as a fine simulation. I can think of no greater praise in the world of wargaming.

I Hope He Designs Some Napoleonic Games Too!
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Roger Lai
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Good review.

Love this game. In particular, the cards add flavour while adding a lot to excruciating decision making - should I sacrifice a favourable attack card to upgrade units or use it to beef up the rail movement strategic reserve to patch up the inevitable hole in the lines?

The severe surrender rules add a bit of chess thinking - move to the wrong hex and watch your armies get surrounded and evaporate!

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David G. Cox Esq.
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Review (50/50): your comments are clear and incisive. By making comparisons to other games it makes it easier for us to gain insight into what makes No Retreat unique.


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Tony Kerstan
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Good review, thank you. NR is a wonderful niche game. Ironically two of my favourite designers are Canadians, the other being Craig Besinque.
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How does this compare to other hex&counter titles? I haven't tried any hex&counter wargames. Usually the overall appearance is dull with low quality components. As far as components goes, this is looks top notch.
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Carl Paradis
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I Hope He Designs Some Napoleonic Games Too!

Well.. In fact Napoleonics are my first area of gaming "expertise". This is what I would have designed first when Victory Point Games gave my my first chance to publish a game. BUT at the time they already had their Napoleonic Series 20 games, so i decided to do WW2 stuff instead.

Do know that I am helping another would-be designer to do a strategic Napoleonic game coveruing all of Europe, 1805-1815; using a similar "Design Philosophy" as my "No Retreat!" series of games; BTWthere will be 5 titles in the strategic NR! series, NR! and NR2! are out, NR3! (France 40) will be very soon, and NR4! (Italy 43-45) next year, then NR5! (D-Day France 44-45).

I'll also do a more tactical/operational series (no dice or combat tables in this one!), a "PanzerBlitz2 remake, and also a few solitaire games where you are the skipper of just ONE submarine, WW2.

If only I had more time... whistle
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I agree that this is a fantastic game. It's the first strategic eastern front game that I've played or owned in 25 years of wargaming (blush) I do well at tactical games but I have a really hard time wrapping my head around the strategies of strategic level games. I've played this game 4 times in the last 2 weeks. It's beautiful, simple enough that even I can form some coherent strategies and complex enough that it impressed my friend who is VERY particular about these kind of games. Since I don't have a lot of knowledge about this part of the war I'm now looking to find/make a bullet point list of where the Russians and Germans were in the months corresponding to the game turns as I think it would be very cool to compare the progress of a campaign game to the actual progress of the war. Thank you Carl, you made an excellent,excellent game.
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Oliver Paul
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Great review... Looking more and more forward to getting my copy with every passing day.

A question to the designer... You mentioned that there are numerous sequels to the game either out or in the works. Considering the popularity of No Retreat on the P500 list (over 1200 orders), is there a chance that the other games might get the same deluxe gmt treatment? I'd love to have different battles/theaters to play with these or similar rules.
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Carl Paradis
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murksofus wrote:
Great review... Looking more and more forward to getting my copy with every passing day.

A question to the designer... You mentioned that there are numerous sequels to the game either out or in the works. Considering the popularity of No Retreat on the P500 list (over 1200 orders), is there a chance that the other games might get the same deluxe gmt treatment? I'd love to have different battles/theaters to play with these or similar rules.


Yes, it is possible. we'll see in 2012. NR2 (Afrika 40-43) is already out since March, NR3 (France 40) is coming our next month' the expansion for NR2 shorlty after ( Tunisia ), etc... those games are not exactly like the first one, there is is some variations and surprises in the Rule system. I also have other plans.

All my games will be first published by Victory Point Games, and if successful maybe GMT will pick them out for a deluxe edition. and there is a Catch 22: if they don't sell, people waiting for a better version to be published, those might never see the light of day. Yet, with the P500, who knows?



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Chris Heap Senhouse
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For one, I would immediately P500 any of them in deluxe edition.

I love No Retreat!

Once I've played it enough to feel really comfortable with it, I'll probably buy the new one from VPG.

Chris
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Quote:
All my games will be first published by Victory Point Games, and if successful maybe GMT will pick them out for a deluxe edition. and there is a Catch 22: if they don't sell, people waiting for a better version to be published, those might never see the light of day. Yet, with the P500, who knows?


This is my hope. I don't have the money to buy two versions of a game, but I'd gladly pre-order the rest of this line of games if GMT put them out.

But if money was no problem, then sure I'd buy both!

I take it the rest of the games in this series will not connect to make a grand "western front" treatment?
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Quote:
How does this compare to other hex&counter titles? I haven't tried any hex&counter wargames. Usually the overall appearance is dull with low quality components. As far as components goes, this is looks top notch.


Hex and counter has been around for so long, it is hard to place a game. I'd put this one in the low-medium complexity range. I forgot to add in the review that the map is hard-mounted and the cards are made of a thick stock, so this is a far more durable wargame than most out on the market, past and present.

btw, great Churchill avatar.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Quote:
I Hope He Designs Some Napoleonic Games Too!

Well.. In fact Napoleonics are my first area of gaming "expertise". This is what I would have designed first when Victory Point Games gave my my first chance to publish a game. BUT at the time they already had their Napoleonic Series 20 games, so i decided to do WW2 stuff instead.

Do know that I am helping another would-be designer to do a strategic Napoleonic game coveruing all of Europe, 1805-1815; using a similar "Design Philosophy" as my "No Retreat!" series of games; BTWthere will be 5 titles in the strategic NR! series, NR! and NR2! are out, NR3! (France 40) will be very soon, and NR4! (Italy 43-45) next year, then NR5! (D-Day France 44-45).

I'll also do a more tactical/operational series (no dice or combat tables in this one!), a "PanzerBlitz2 remake, and also a few solitaire games where you are the skipper of just ONE submarine, WW2.

If only I had more time... whistle


Good to know you are doing something for Bonaparte. The Napoleonic Wars are my favorite gaming subject (and Zucker is my favorite designer, so go figure). I wish I could easily pick up something on the Italian Campaigns, but it seems there are only a few games covering that on the operational level.

I heard about the other No Retreat games (Italy and D-day really catch my interest because I do not have games on them). Usually I am not a solitaire gamers, but the submarine one sounds excellent. It will give me an excuse to play my Das Boot soundtrack too.

Is the "tactical/operational series" for WWII?
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Kevin Davidson

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licinius wrote:


Yes, it is possible. we'll see in 2012. NR2 (Afrika 40-43) is already out since March


Through Victory Point Games? I had no idea, I shall look into it.
 
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gittes wrote:

btw, great Churchill avatar.

You can't go wrong wearing a suit and a top hat, smoking a cigar and holding a tommy gun.
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Kevin Davidson

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RoadHouse wrote:
gittes wrote:

btw, great Churchill avatar.

You can't go wrong wearing a suit and a top hat, smoking a cigar and holding a tommy gun.


Gangster Churchill saying, "Let me introduce you to my little friend!"
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Helmut Apel
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Awesome Edition of an awesome Game, i am excited Since "The Barbarossa Campaign" is one of my favorites from VPG. is there any chance about a GMT-Version of it?
 
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Carl Paradis
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TylerDax wrote:
Awesome Edition of an awesome Game, i am excited Since "The Barbarossa Campaign" is one of my favorites from VPG. is there any chance about a GMT-Version of it?


Yes, very nice game, I have helped on this one a lot. No idea about a reprint by GMT, but it's a very good idea!
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gittes wrote:
This is my hope. I don't have the money to buy two versions of a game, but I'd gladly pre-order the rest of this line of games if GMT put them out.


Count me in for an automatic preorder of NR2-? as well.
 
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Henrik Johansson
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This review made me buy the game today
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Same here! Was trying to save that money too...Guess I'll have to hold off on Birth of America.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Good to know my review is generating some more sales. I hope you both like No Retreat.
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licinius wrote:
I Hope He Designs Some Napoleonic Games Too!
I'll also do a more tactical/operational series (no dice or combat tables in this one!), a "PanzerBlitz2 remake...


PLEASE do a better job than MMP's PanzerBlitz: Hill of Death. They took an essentially easy system and overchromed it. Not a bad game, but it does NOT capture the heart of PanzerBlitz. The simplicity of PanzerBlitz (relative wargame simplicity, that is) was one of the best things about it. It doesn't take too long to learn or teach, and plays fairly quickly (although a scenario takes a while, moves do not).
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Carl Paradis
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swandive78 wrote:
licinius wrote:
I Hope He Designs Some Napoleonic Games Too!
I'll also do a more tactical/operational series (no dice or combat tables in this one!), a "PanzerBlitz2 remake...


PLEASE do a better job than MMP's PanzerBlitz: Hill of Death. They took an essentially easy system and overchromed it. Not a bad game, but it does NOT capture the heart of PanzerBlitz. The simplicity of PanzerBlitz (relative wargame simplicity, that is) was one of the best things about it. It doesn't take too long to learn or teach, and plays fairly quickly (although a scenario takes a while, moves do not).


Absolutely. I own MMP's Panzerblitz and was a bit underwhelmed: it's a nice game, but I expected something very different.

This will be a very simple game with very little rules. BUT it will be as realistic as possible, and FUN (hopefully) and FAST. I don't want to go the way of GMT's "Fighting Formations" either and use those elaborate activations and Control point tallies. It'll be a "Shoot from the Hip" tactical game system, battle chaos will abound, you'll need quick thinking, like the actual field commanders.
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