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Subject: An Old Grognard Takes on Earth Reborn rss

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Lowell Drake
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I’m an old grognard. I discovered wargames when Charles Roberts was still designing them and Avalon Hill was the only game in town. (Pun intended.) Although I do own Puerto Rico and Railroad Tycoon, the vast majority of my game collection is historical simulation. I’m also an avid historian, like most all wargamers. Rarely do I not have a history book close at hand.

So how did I get hooked into playing a game with zombies!?!? I’ve never seen a movie about zombies, or vampires, or anything that smacks of the stupid and ridiculous.

Well, I was in Texas visiting my son and family, and he pulled out Earth Reborn. He said he knows it’s not my kind of game, but it’s a lot of fun, so we should try it. We’re setting up this huge gameboard that’s like doing a large jigsaw puzzle - good family time, but not quite a gaming experience - and I’m looking at the miniatures and as I see the zombies I roll my eyes. I’m thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" Then we start playing the game. I’m playing the NORAD side and trying to get Vasquez out of her cell and off the board. I began to notice the amazing detail of the miniatures - not the miniatures themselves (which are great btw) but all the detail on the bases that makes each one unique. I’ve never seen THAT in a game before. I got caught up in the game, moving Frank from room to room trying to find Vasquez, while he’s taking hits from Deeler and the zombies are closing in. Hard to decide if he should fight the guys or ignore ‘em and rush to find Vasquez. He does, the zombies are in the hall, but there’s still a gap and Vasquez rushes through it and makes her break. And you know what? This is a fun game.

It may have helped that I won that first game. We set up and played the third scenario, and by now I was getting drawn deeper and deeper into this futuristic fictional reality. And I won that scenario too. Killed that pervert Kendall and ran the deadly virus off the board. By this point I was sold on the game. Got back home to Reno and bought it on the Marketplace.

Actually, I only planned on saying a bit about my enthusiasm for the game, but since I’ve gotten this far, let me speak to some of the details. The rules are tight. Very clear and, IMO, not all that complex, and easy to understand. (Of course I’ve only played the first three scenarios, so I haven’t gotten to the tough stuff.) VERY well illustrated with many excellent examples of play. I taught school for several years, and taught English overseas for several more years, so I’ve become a bit of a grammar Gestapo. Many rulebooks leave me thinking, "Why didn’t they ask me to edit this first?" Well, I’m shocked. I haven’t found ONE grammatical or spelling error, and no typos. How’d they do that?!? These rules are just too slick - honestly one of the best rule sets I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot.

Then there’s the Background and Scenario booklet. Folks, this is a GREAT story! I have no idea if they’re building on someone’s work of fiction (remember, I’ve never seen a movie with zombies) but the story presented in the booklet is engaging and well written. Now when I play the game, I play it in theme. And I love the play on names - Frank Einz becomes Frank Einstein, and Jack Sawyer becomes Jack Saw. Not only amusing, but very clever.

The scenarios appear to be well balanced, though I haven’t played enough to say for sure. I’ve played both sides now, but from an existential perspective, I hate to see the Salemites win. They are really really bad guys.

I’ve read some of the comments on the game, and a few guys complain that the gameboard is too ugly. I suspect they haven’t read the story, because I think the board is so very appropriate to the theme.

My one less-than-positive opinion on the game is that there are too few miniatures. How is it that Nick Bolter or James Woo can die in one scenario and yet bounce back for the next? I can understand if a zombie bites it, but even if Jeff Deeler gets tagged, he can’t realistically come back as a zombie. WHAT?!? Does NORAD only have three or four scouts out of a population of nearly 8,000?? I think the game needs at least twice as many characters. I’m hoping there will be expansions.

And my last thought: as I was playing with my son, I said a few times, "This would make a perfect game mechanic for a game on Stalingrad! Think about it; squad vs. squad in the rubble of a factory, cleaning out a machine gun nest, taking out a sniper, . . ."
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Derek Anderson
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There is nothing better than playing board games with my 4 sons!
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L4D2 wrote:
And my last thought: as I was playing with my son, I said a few times, "This would make a perfect game mechanic for a game on Stalingrad! Think about it; squad vs. squad in the rubble of a factory, cleaning out a machine gun nest, taking out a sniper, . . ."


Now you're talking!!!

D.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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L4D2 wrote:
And my last thought: as I was playing with my son, I said a few times, "This would make a perfect game mechanic for a game on Stalingrad! Think about it; squad vs. squad in the rubble of a factory, cleaning out a machine gun nest, taking out a sniper, . . ."

I had the same thought when I first played. I tried to stir up some interest on ConsimWorld back in March, but didn't get a lot of response. I do think a lot of old school wargamers would be impressed with this game if they gave it a shot.
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John McKendrick
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I'm trying to get some of my old wargaming buddies interested too, what are the barriers to playing or becoming interested in this game? It's beginning to annoy me

-John

[edit for clarity]
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Andy Andersen
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I'm just getting into the rules. Looks like a fantastic game.
 
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dustin boggs
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If it had a ww2 theme I would have purchased this upon release instead I just made a trade for it and am eagerly awaiting getting this to the table
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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L4D2 wrote:
So how did I get hooked into playing a game with zombies!?!? I’ve never seen a movie about zombies, or vampires, or anything that smacks of the stupid and ridiculous.


Wait, your username is "L4D2" and you couldn't be convinced to play a game with Zombies???

-shnar
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Brian McCormick
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Great review! This really is a great game. For me, the bidding for interrupt and the tile/CP management really makes this game a winner. Yeah, the shooting rules, destroying any element in the environment, the scenario generator...all of the different rules are cool.

But at the core, the tile/CP management and interrupt rules are what make every single activation intense.
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Just dug up the link to my posts on ConsimWorld. Four of them on that page; starting with an AAR of my first play session.
 
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John McKendrick
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Sphere wrote:
Just dug up the link to my posts on ConsimWorld. Four of them on that page; starting with an AAR of my first play session.


Aye they're a hard bunch to convince those CSWers (I was one btw) as you ably demonstrate here Sphere

-John
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Lowell Drake
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shnar wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
So how did I get hooked into playing a game with zombies!?!? I’ve never seen a movie about zombies, or vampires, or anything that smacks of the stupid and ridiculous.


Wait, your username is "L4D2" and you couldn't be convinced to play a game with Zombies???

-shnar


Um, L4D2 stands for my and my wife's initials. Star Wars had no inspiration in this moniker.
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T France
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L4D2 wrote:
shnar wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
So how did I get hooked into playing a game with zombies!?!? I’ve never seen a movie about zombies, or vampires, or anything that smacks of the stupid and ridiculous.


Wait, your username is "L4D2" and you couldn't be convinced to play a game with Zombies???

-shnar


Um, L4D2 stands for my and my wife's initials. Star Wars had no inspiration in this moniker.


Shnar actually meant Left 4 Dead 2...
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Lowell Drake
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Titeman wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
shnar wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
So how did I get hooked into playing a game with zombies!?!? I’ve never seen a movie about zombies, or vampires, or anything that smacks of the stupid and ridiculous.


Wait, your username is "L4D2" and you couldn't be convinced to play a game with Zombies???

-shnar


Um, L4D2 stands for my and my wife's initials. Star Wars had no inspiration in this moniker.


Shnar actually meant Left 4 Dead 2...


LOL. It must be a generational thing.
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JohnMcKendrick wrote:
Aye they're a hard bunch to convince those CSWers (I was one btw) as you ably demonstrate here Sphere

I still am one of them, and I'm convinced, but different people are looking for different things.

JonJacob wrote:
I wish the theme wasn't such a detractor for so many wargamers but what ya gonna do?

Nobody has time for everything. A substantial percentage of CSW members are focused on historical subjects, and I see nothing wrong with that. There's enough in that line to keep a person absorbed for a lifetime. I do think that ER has a system that would port very well to real world situations, though, and if it did, it would certainly draw more attention from that group.
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Aaron Silverman
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L4D2 wrote:
Titeman wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
shnar wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
So how did I get hooked into playing a game with zombies!?!? I’ve never seen a movie about zombies, or vampires, or anything that smacks of the stupid and ridiculous.


Wait, your username is "L4D2" and you couldn't be convinced to play a game with Zombies???

-shnar


Um, L4D2 stands for my and my wife's initials. Star Wars had no inspiration in this moniker.


Shnar actually meant Left 4 Dead 2...


LOL. It must be a generational thing.


Left 4 Dead 2 is a popular video game about zombies.
 
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Tim Kelly
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Lowell: you are absolutely right! Enjoyed reading this. REALLY glad you enjoyed the game!
TK
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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DJ Kuul A wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
Titeman wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
shnar wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
So how did I get hooked into playing a game with zombies!?!? I’ve never seen a movie about zombies, or vampires, or anything that smacks of the stupid and ridiculous.


Wait, your username is "L4D2" and you couldn't be convinced to play a game with Zombies???

-shnar


Um, L4D2 stands for my and my wife's initials. Star Wars had no inspiration in this moniker.


Shnar actually meant Left 4 Dead 2...


LOL. It must be a generational thing.


Left 4 Dead 2 is a popular video game about zombies.


Probably the *best* game ever made about zombies! I've never heard it used in any context other than that, so forgive my ignorance (on the topic, initials? I don't follow).

-shnar
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Chip Hundley
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Shnar, you must give the recently released Dead Island a go. It's fantastic!
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DJ Kuul A wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
Titeman wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
shnar wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
So how did I get hooked into playing a game with zombies!?!? I’ve never seen a movie about zombies, or vampires, or anything that smacks of the stupid and ridiculous.


Wait, your username is "L4D2" and you couldn't be convinced to play a game with Zombies???

-shnar


Um, L4D2 stands for my and my wife's initials. Star Wars had no inspiration in this moniker.


Shnar actually meant Left 4 Dead 2...


LOL. It must be a generational thing.


Left 4 Dead 2 is a popular video game about zombies.


Definitely a generational thing, then. Never heard of it, and I'm only 43 (old and uncool already).
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Snappy Dan
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tssfulk wrote:
DJ Kuul A wrote:
Left 4 Dead 2 is a popular video game about zombies.

Definitely a generational thing, then. Never heard of it, and I'm only 43 (old and uncool already).

Bah! I'm 46 and I play it! Get with the times, young one!
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TS S. Fulk
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Mysterio wrote:
tssfulk wrote:
DJ Kuul A wrote:
Left 4 Dead 2 is a popular video game about zombies.

Definitely a generational thing, then. Never heard of it, and I'm only 43 (old and uncool already).

Bah! I'm 46 and I play it! Get with the times, young one!


Just not interested in video games. We don't even have a TV that hook up to a modern console.
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tssfulk wrote:
Just not interested in video games.

Ditto. Plus, I'm older than dirt and never heard of it either. I figured L4D2 was a result on some CRT, and was actually trying to think which one it might be.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Mysterio wrote:
tssfulk wrote:
DJ Kuul A wrote:
Left 4 Dead 2 is a popular video game about zombies.

Definitely a generational thing, then. Never heard of it, and I'm only 43 (old and uncool already).

Bah! I'm 46 and I play it! Get with the times, young one!


I'm only 38, I'm not that much younger than you

If you are going to play, get it for the PC. *Much* better than any console crap...

-shnar
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shnar wrote:
Mysterio wrote:
tssfulk wrote:
DJ Kuul A wrote:
Left 4 Dead 2 is a popular video game about zombies.

Definitely a generational thing, then. Never heard of it, and I'm only 43 (old and uncool already).

Bah! I'm 46 and I play it! Get with the times, young one!


I'm only 38, I'm not that much younger than you

If you are going to play, get it for the PC. *Much* better than any console crap...

-shnar


(cough) You mean, get it for the Mac.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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tssfulk wrote:
shnar wrote:

If you are going to play, get it for the PC. *Much* better than any console crap...

-shnar


(cough) You mean, get it for the Mac.


Without going into PC vs Mac, either is better than console. Keyboard + Mouse > Gamepad

-shnar
 
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