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Subject: A Good Scenario to start with? rss

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Steve Bishop
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Lytham St. Annes
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Having just picked this game up at a very reasonable price on Ebay my gaming buddy, Andrew, and I are keen to give this a go at our next gaming session.

Reading all of the threads on here I get the impression that the first scenario is a bit of a damp squib and is highly unbalanced in favour of the Germans, so I have a couple of question for WFTL veterans out there in the hope that our first experience of the game will not just be a 'training' session but enthuse us and bring us back for more.

1) If scenario one is so bad (and I have seen that some players propose changes to balance it) which of the other scenarios would make a good place to start?. Is this scenario short enough to use it just to learn the system then move on to another?

2) Bearing in mind that we are both experienced wargamers and don't mind a bit of complexity would it be better to start with one of the more advanced scenarios jumping straight in to include the other, non-armour, units?

3) Any recommendations on which order the scenarios may be played either in terms of complexity and/or time taken.

Thanks for any replies in advance, I look forward to getting this to the table.



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Andrew J
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Sorry I can't help but I'm intrigued to know the answers to your questions too. I have the game but haven't played it yet. This system looks tantalisingly interesting but haven't worked out whether it's worth the effort to learn. Do let us know how your sessions go.
 
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Steve Bishop
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Well, without any replies to help and as I had already sorted the map, units and cards I decided to go with scenario one just to learn the system (number 2 looks to have too few troops). As I was more up to speed on the rules I gave Andrew the Germans and we just played the scenario as it was set out in the book with some changes to fix the obvious set-up errors.

Despite what I had read I didn't think the scenario was too bad, the Germans do have a massive superiority in firepower but a lot of their units were pretty slow (apart from the Panthers). What made it really tough for the Brits was the rolls we made for the terrain, unfortunately all of the roads became trails and all of the vegetation (apart from Bocage) was Forest, also all contours were in play, making it hard to find hiding places.

This made it very hard to either speedily advance on the objective town OR skulk about in the woods. As all greenery was forest I couldn't enter them and this made the going very slow with deadly fire lanes in the gaps between the Forests. Andrew did particularly well to site some of his initial forces on the central hill which made it painful for me to move about.

Nevertheless my reinforcements that entered on the North edge did make it through the woods (Bocage) and managed to actually enter the town, but by this time Andrew's Tiger's had prowled their way into the town also and my Squadron was basically wiped out.

It ended up a marginal German victory as I decided to basically scarper and stay out of line of fire so the requisite number of British eliminated units was not high enough for a Decisive German win.

I still enjoyed the game, the card play whilst most of the time pretty obvious did lead to one or two situations where I was attempting to trump (unfortunately not with a lot of end result). I can see how a larger scenario with a better mix of C3 cards on both sides could lead to some interesting situations.

I can also see the problem with attempting to get a balanced scenario using the random terrain set-up; this may make each scenario more replayable but will also lead to some very lop-sided situations. If you can accept that and just play the game for what it is then I don't think that will matter too much.

We both enjoyed the game and are willing to give it another go using the advanced rules, but we had to move on. We have so many unplayed games to play and only meet up once a month so we tend to try to play more than just a single one in each session.

I hope we can revisit WFTL as I think it has some promise.



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Andrew Saunders
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Hi Steve

Just read this and yes, I too want another game of this. I like it. It has some really interesting concepts

Thanks

Andrew
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M St
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bishuk wrote:

I still enjoyed the game, the card play whilst most of the time pretty obvious did lead to one or two situations where I was attempting to trump (unfortunately not with a lot of end result). I can see how a larger scenario with a better mix of C3 cards on both sides could lead to some interesting situations.


Some very good observations in your post. Let me just comment on that one, as it is often one that people have exaggerated expectations for (and I'm not saying you have, it's as much for the benefit of any unexperienced bystander).

This is not a CDG or a deck building game. The purpose of the card play is not necessarily to have unexpected combinations - there are certain patterns that keep repeating (when you're far away you want to go last, when you're close, you want to go first etc). The point is that your tactical play on the map has to adjusted to fit these patterns ("when we'll get close, he'll start moving first") and this requires planning to be in a position so the negative effects are minimised and your advantages maximised once the point of application is reached. It is that property that leads to much more varied and critical variation of tactics compared to games where moves are in strict or alternating or random sequence.

And I think this is a very good way to do it. In historical terms, it would be unlikely that the C3 better side would "surprise" the weaker side by being intentionally slow. Instead the "surprise" is at the tactical level, expressed by the double turns that the good C3 units can engineer over the weaker ones. What the game asks of the player is to know and accept that that "surprise" will happen to his tank commanders inside the counters, and plan your strategy and approach accordingly. The other tradeoff is that usually, to maximise the effects of an interruption, you want to be as close as possible so you shoot as well as possible in your double turn. But that exposes you to higher risk as you approach, and if your fires don't give you the immediate big advantage that you hope for. It's this risk management where a lot of the uncertainty in the game lies.

Ironically, since I learned to appreciate that and see the game not in terms of a myriad of possible decision outcomes but more in terms of patterns of "reasonable sequences", these decisions often come down to just a few per turn ("does X or Y go first or do I let A or B move before that". Once I got to that level, it also immensely helped solitaire playability, because surprise no longer was a big factor in my play decisions.

You are correct though that in general the Advanced scenarios have more complex combinations of C3 values, so that the decisions typically become harder. But even there the surprise will not be in "can he steal a march on me" - if his C3 is better and he's playing well, he will. The question is, with what unit, and when, and one has to be ready for all of these (or perhaps entice him into a particular direction).
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