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Subject: Am I the only one ... who finds the scenarios take FOREVER to play? rss

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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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I tell you, this game is pure genius, almost (just about) up there with Up Front. But ... and this one is a huge but ... the game takes forever to play. I was tackling the first WW2 scenario again over the weekend, and I do know the rules pretty well, and it must've taken me five hours. It's one of the two things I can't stand about this game that just make me want to tear my hair out.

Is this normal? Does everyone take this long to play a game? Am I just slow and challenged?

For me, if this game took 90 minutes to play (and wasn't so chart and chit fiddly) it'd be a 10. Pure genius. As it is, it's that plus hours and hours of play for a 30 minute firefight.
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Kenneth Lury
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BACK WHEN I WAS PLAYING REGULARLY, I GOT IT DOWN TO ABOUT 2-3 HOURS.
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Good points David,
I'm wondering if we can itemize what elements or procedures slow the game down and then maybe work to streamline it a bit?

In my games the biggest time waster is me, I take a lot of time to make decisions.
The final combat resolution moves quickly, adjusting PDFs is a bit slower. Resolving PC's and figuring out enemy actions does take some time.

Quote:
...a 30 minute firefight.

I always play it as a full day of combat.
 
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Christopher O
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I found that after two or three consecutive plays, you can resolve a scenario in 2-3 hours instead of the 4-5 it does initially.

That said, recently when I've had a couple of extra hours free in the week (a relatively rare occurrence), I've been trying to organize FtF play of other games rather than FoF, so I'm probably rusty on the rules again. If I tried to play that first scenario now, after such a long absence, it would probably take me 4-5 hours again.

I should dig it out again and play just to check.

The patrol scenarios shouldn't take more than 2-3 hours, for sure. Maybe if you tried those once or twice?
 
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Steve Bishop
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4 - 5 hours well spent

cool
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Christopher O
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bishuk wrote:
4 - 5 hours well spent

cool


Amen, but he does have a point.
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Hannes Riener
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tc237 wrote:
I take a lot of time to make decisions.

Does the system require well-planned moves?
Or can it also be played in a fast although more erratic way?

You know, I often recall what I read one day from a guy from AH who said about SL that it was never intended to be played like chess - it is about the chaotic nature of a firefight and no science.

Of course there is a difference between a ftf-game and a solo-mechanics - but still...
 
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Peter Kossits
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My games (ignoring rules checks) have not been that quick. I usually finish a mission over two nights in several small spurts of an hour or two. A lot of my play time is thinking time as others have noted. That said, there's no single procedure in the game that is tedious or takes an inordinately long amount of time.

Nonetheless, a few things that slow things down a bit for me:

o having to check the paper log to see if unit is green/line/veteran on every action, how about separate counters so that it's instantly visible a la Squad Leader?

o When using the mission booklet to generate contacts. I'm moving back and forth between the pages for my specific mission and the table at the beginning containing all of the possible enemy activations a few times (yes, I realize that all of those are available on a separate card as well; I'm starting to use it). How about instead of a large booklet, having one sheet used only for the specific mission being played (again like the SL scenario cards).

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Peter Kossits
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Hannes wrote:

Or can it also be played in a fast although more erratic way?


If you play this in a fast erratic way, I think you'll lose most of your guys very quickly and all of your good weapons will be out of ammo before you need them.

There's a little (lot) more thought required here than in SL because you cannot do the "I'll do this and see what happens and then depending on the result I'll do something else" technique. You have to make all of your moves first and then only at the end do you see what happens.
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Ron Lacock
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peterk1 wrote:


Nonetheless, a few things that slow things down a bit for me:

o having to check the paper log to see if unit is green/line/veteran on every action, how about separate counters so that it's instantly visible a la Squad Leader?




Peter, I use this tool:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/70977/command-tracking...

and write the green/line/veteran status of the leader and the +/- 0/1 on their command draws in pencil right on this tool during the game. That way the number of commands they have available, their veterancy and the impact to their command draws is all in one place.

Maybe this will help speed things up for you.

 
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Peter Kossits
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Actually I was thinking about the squads when I mentioned that suggestion. I can pretty much memorize my commanders since I'm using all or most of those at the beginning of every turn but I'm constantly checking the experience levels of my squads and support weapons. I think with everything on the board, there's about 20 or so experience levels in play at a given moment and they're almost never easy to memorize (ie. 3rd Plt is all green; support weapons are all Line).

Since we're scanning the board and maybe even touching/examining a stack/counter when we're trying to decide what to do next that would be the ideal spot for the exp. level.

Another suggestion - how about an ammo tracking strip on the command chart? Would need a counter for every unit that tracks ammo, but it's one more thing that you could get under the eyes fairly easily without having to break to check/update the paper log.

Any Hornet Leader fans here? You can play an entire mission of that without lifting your eyes off the board. Does wonders for immersion never having to be interrupted by having to look up something somewhere else.

 
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Ben Hull
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Quote:
... As it is, it's that plus hours and hours of play for a 30 minute firefight.


A mission covers hours of combat, a mission is typically a day of action. Some cover as little as 3 to 4 hours of action. A mission normally takes about 4 hours to play. Playing time varies on familiarity, planning and prep and agonizing over decisions.
 
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Ben Hull
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peterk1 wrote:
Actually I was thinking about the squads when I mentioned that suggestion. I can pretty much memorize my commanders since I'm using all or most of those at the beginning of every turn but I'm constantly checking the experience levels of my squads and support weapons. I think with everything on the board, there's about 20 or so experience levels in play at a given moment and they're almost never easy to memorize (ie. 3rd Plt is all green; support weapons are all Line).

Since we're scanning the board and maybe even touching/examining a stack/counter when we're trying to decide what to do next that would be the ideal spot for the exp. level.

Another suggestion - how about an ammo tracking strip on the command chart? Would need a counter for every unit that tracks ammo, but it's one more thing that you could get under the eyes fairly easily without having to break to check/update the paper log.

Any Hornet Leader fans here? You can play an entire mission of that without lifting your eyes off the board. Does wonders for immersion never having to be interrupted by having to look up something somewhere else.



We have tried several different ways to make experience level easier.
One is different counters - this method takes up the least space on the map, but increases the number of units counters significantly. A marker for Veteran front / Green on back is a compromise as the base unit is Line and only marked when veteran or green. Some do not need markers, but it could be added to the counter as a reminder.

Tracking ammo is a bit more tricky. On map counters are easy, but can cause all sorts of clutter. Many games do away with it with randomization of ammo supply, but fundamentally I wanted troops know how much ammo they have, and they attempt to budget it and ferrying up machine gun ammo under fire is a common undertaking. The ammo markers provided in the counter mix are for transporting ammo. Once a unit has the ammo, I consolidated the tracking to the Log, except for RPG2/B40 shots in Vietnam which are handled like rifle grenades.
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Peter Kossits
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Hi Ben,

Really impressed with how you pop in here every day or two to chit-chat with us about the game.

Disregarding the business financials of having more counters, I would consider going with the green/veteran markers. 3 copies of each squad/leader/platoon would be even better from a playing point of view (you choose the correct counter at start-up and then don't worry about it anymore), it makes counter organization and storage way more heavy - still, it works well in SL/ASL.

I'm fooling around with using the command display track for doing enemy ammo. If I generate a German LMG for instance, I put it on the board but then I dig out another LMG counter and place that on the command track for its ammo. If I run out of German counters by doing that, I dig up an unused counter from the enemies of the campaigns I'm not playing and try to get the IDs to match fairly closely. Worked well on a patrol mission without too many enemies being generated, but the jury is waiting to see if it helps at all in a bigger battle.


 
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Mark L
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I'm an old school grog, so having some information on a log sheet doesn't bother me much. Veteran/Green counters seem like a reasonable compromise. But frankly, if I feel a need for something like that, I could just make my own using a blank counter-sheet and a writing implement.

For tracking ammo, how about a two sided counter with numbers 1-4 along each edge on the front and 5-8 on the back. Rotate the counter so current ammo is at the top.

Other than mission planning and agonizing over decisions ,the parts of the game that seem to take the longest for me are resolving PC markers and enemy activity, especially when there are lots of them to do. They need to be done in random order, which requires a random number draw before each one. Plus I sometimes lose track of which ones I've done! In contrast, resolving combat goes quicker - order isn't important, so you just work your way across the board. (tho it can be a bit tedious when there are a bunch of LATs on one card!)

 
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Pablo Klinkisch
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zhredder wrote:
Plus I sometimes lose track of which ones I've done! In contrast, resolving combat goes quicker - order isn't important, so you just work your way across the board.


This. I can remember (or just check) which units are veteran but when you have 5-9 cards with enemies on them it is really difficult to remember which ones already fired: a "resolved" counter would be great here (a bit like the activated for Vehicles).
Not that the game needs more counters, mind you
 
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