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Subject: First impression after 2 'beginner's rules' games rss

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Jakub Swierczek
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Krakow
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First time I noticed 'Moral Conflict 1941' was while checking what's new, in one of internet shops specializing in board games. What caught my attention was a price of around 150 EUR. I quickly checked BGG what this might be and why it costs so much Then I contacted my playing group and we decided it might be worth buying it, as our perception was that this will be something in between (in terms of play time) Axis & Allies AE and aWaW (World at War). We were lacking such game about WWII in our collection.

I think it may be worth to add few words about my playing group and our experience in gaming. We are playing various board games for around 20 years. Consider ourselves quite experienced gamers mainly interested in strategy games (Historic, Fantasy or Sci-Fi themes).

Once the game arrived there was much of enthusiasm in my playing group and we quickly managed to arrange first session. Although we are usually play games using all the rules from the start, this time we decided to go on with beginner's rules. This was mainly due to limited amount of time for preparation. As it turned out this was a brilliant decision. We met in a group of 3 players and decided to play using a whole world map. In a 6 hours session we managed to finish only first move (and battles) of Germans, Italy and Japan partially. How it happened. It turned out that the rules are so poorly written that understanding what author was thinking takes a very long time. Even when you finally think you got it, it turns out that your friend thinks differently. Let me give you a short example (one of the simplest ones). In the game you are only tracking the victory points of one side (Axis), adding or subtracting points as they conquer or loose territories. Here is a description of when one alliance wins:

'The Axis alliance must have at least the
victory points to win. The Western alliance wins, when the
Axis alliance has less than or the same as the victory points'

Then it is followed by some values. Of course by intuition you know how this should be understood, but on the other hand you start to wonder and have doubts. This kind of word usage continues throughout a whole rulebook and as mentioned earlier above one is one of the simplest examples.

So after 6 hours we managed to made almost half of a turn and thought that we finally have a common understanding of rules. Decision was made to stop and consider this a learning game

We arranged a second game with 6 players and played the same scenario. New concerns about rules arisen, but we spent less time on clarifying them than during the first session. In 12 hours game we managed to complete 2 full rounds. At this stage it was obvious that Western Allies (US, Empires, Soviets) will fall and we decided to end the game with Axis victory. We actually spend 2 hours more on analysing, calculating and discussing the game balance and it is not possible for Allies to win in beginners game. Even if Soviet Union is on their side, and it is possible that it won't be. We actually anticipated this lack of balance, based on the first trial game and increased Soviet starting forces by several armoured groups but this didn't change anything. This is of course true, if we didn't get the rules completely wrong

On a side note. As we were mastering combat rules one of them seems to be totally weird and spoiling the game experience. Basically when unit is fighting you roll a D20 add your respective attack value against target (different for tanks, aircraft, submarines and rest of the units). If your total is more then defence value (DV) of your target you destroy it. There is no auto fail or success. In forest areas all land units (both attacker and defender) receive bonus to DV. If Armoured group is attacking Armies in the forest its DV increases to a level that armies can't destroy it. It means that one tank division can destroy unlimited number of armies unless they run away.

Given this background I will try to shortly summarize my impression of this game:

Positives:
+ Despite all the issues we faced overall impression is that the game is quite enjoyable

+ There are several aspects of the mechanic that are quite innovative and fresh on the market

+ Everything needed to play in the box (removable markers, dices, organizers for playing pieces etc..)

Negatives:
- Terribly written rules that require massive conversion and FAQ released ASAP.

- Totally unbalanced beginners game where Western Allies have no chance for victory (this almost feels like the beginners rules game was not play tested at all)

- Mistakes in various sheets

Other conclusions:
* Game takes more time to play that we originally thought it will. Probably with advanced rules this will be around 7 full day sessions.
* After game there was a feeling that we are playing a beta version of the game. What may be frustrating is a fact that the author is focusing on releasing new games and expansions and not improving main game that still has much to be improved.
* Somehow it still manages to get me interested so that I want to play it using advanced rules.


I will be posting few questions about rules that we would like to be clarified in a rules section of the forum shortly and hopefully have them addressed by a designer.

If we manage to arrange a next session this time using all the rules I will be able to post a comprehensive review in review section and hopefully all our concerns raised so far will disappear
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Ray Smith
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Thanks for your thoughts and impression of MC1941! I've been waiting for some more analyses.
swirek wrote:
After the game there was a feeling that we are playing a beta version. What is frustrating is the fact that the author is focusing on releasing new games and expansions, and not improving the base game that still has much to be improved.

I totally concur.
Even with all of the great components, I would expect a much more polished game for the price. I foresee that I won't be shelling out that wad until a proper rules rewrite is available.

Other than that, how was game flow? Much downtime? Once you fathomed out the rules, was it logical and intuitive, or does it have some clunkiness?

Thanks!
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Jakub Swierczek
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There is a significant downtime for all players from opposing alliance while you are planning the moves. This is one of those games that rules itself are not very complicated (of course it gets more complex with advanced ones) but the analysis you need to make about the opportunities and possibilities each single move gives and dangers it presents for you is extensive.

Battles take some time (in my personal feeling are just fine) but are interesting and fun to play.

In general the game flow is OK and the rules itself are logical (apart from an example with tanks in woods). We still have some concerns about the rules that needs to be clarified (we just agreed on one interpretation for a play sake :))
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Dave Stennett
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Newport Beach
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Hi player's of Moral Conflict 1941,

It is suggested in the rules for first time players to play the much quicker Atlantic or Pacific options each using only half of the borad and giving a much shorter game. You set the victory conditions and can shorten the game with this.

The new Moral Conflct games Moral Conflcit 1940 and Moral Conflcit 1939 have had a major rewrite of the rule books and are considerably easier to use. A few rules have been improved. It is true that the rulebooks for MC41 could be improved.


Many players have been very enthusiastic about the new concepts in a Moral Conflict game. A rating of 8 on geeek for a new game is great. The five dimensions and their interaction. Moral decisions and their consequences. Hidden submarines and surprise attacks. This is the first release from Playford Games.

Keep playing and with time you will see what great options you are getting here. The atom bomb technology is available only in this version.

All your comments negative and positive are helping us improve even more. I'm pleased to hear more.

Best wishes

Dave Sténnett
Moral Conflict 1941
Games Designer



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