Recommend
26 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Nuklear Winter '68» Forums » Reviews

Subject: NW'68 Impressions and AAR from Metro Wargamers of NYC rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Mike Willner
United States
Brooklyn
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Matt and I got a chance to play through the first scenario in the latest LnL addition to their WaW franchise: Nuklear Winter '68. I'd like to offer some impressions, and then a quick description of the game.

First, the game's back story is unsettling: the nuclear war at the end of WW2 takes place in Europe instead of Japan, and this time both sides are armed. Basically, the Allies nuke Germany and environs back into the stone age, but not before London, Paris and a few more notable cities are counter bombed.

Hitler has been assassinated, and the Nazi leadership (don't recall, Himmler, I think) take the entier military might and political population of the Third Reich underground into camp-sized bunkers. Over time, NATO builds a wall around what's left of Germany and the world tries to move on.

Then, in 1968, the Nazi leaders deem the time ripe to re-emerge and continue world conquest. About that time, a mutant / zombie population of the wasteland that was German has decided the time is ripe to break out of the surrounding walls and start world conquest. NATO nervously observes the unprecedented levels of activity in the hot zone with growing alarm. Scouts are sent in to investigate, and hilarity ensues.

The scenarios pit the mutant / zombies, the Black Hand, against both the 3rd Reich player and the NATO player. An interesting campaign context is included, that allows players to build up supply points between games based on performance.

Game component quality is up to or surpasses what we've come to expect from LnL. Mounted board, sturdy colorful counters, high production value rules, all around great. The rules are printed with dark text on dark background though, and that is a bit hard to read.

The counter mix is, well, whacky. the NATO forces are up to 1968 standards, but the Nazis still their WW2 vintage forces ... augmented somehow by a flying saucer! So you get Stukas and Abrahams duking it out. The Black Hand stick with mobs of Zealots (reasonably good infantry) some APCs (Pests), tanks (Megrims) etc.

If you have played the World at War series you will be very comfortable with this game. The factors on the counters are familiar (AP, HE with ranges) but their use is different. No more rolling multi dice for a hit number .. rather your attack value + 2 D6 is opposed by the defender's armor value + 2 D6. The more the attack total exceeds the defense total, the more damage you inflict. Terrain, range, etc. modify this. We found this combat mechanism somehow smoother and faster, and got used to it quickly.

The command rules are souped up, with tiered bonuses depending on the range of the commander to the unit. The activation mechanic is the same as WaW with chit pulls dictating who activates which formation. The Black Hand have a significant advantage in that they activate ALL their units when their activation marker is pulled, they don't have discrete formations. Also, since they are fanatics, they automatically rally and are always in command.

Fire combat is much as you would think, with ranges augmenting or decrementing the effectiveness of the shooting, except for missile weapons. Some vehicles (the King Tiger comes to mind) are nearly unstoppable with very thick armor. There is Op Fire, moving fire. Interstingly enough, there is not defender fire in assaults ... the attacker's roll is opposed by the defender and normal results applied. There are a few assault bonuses for assisting (stacking) with infantry or AFVs. If you fail to take the hex you are thrown back shaken.

Units can be shaken, reduced, Out of Contact etc. and all these states limit their effectiveness. Moving fire rules allow more running and gunning, and more flexibility. We didn't get to play with many of the neat toys (we only did scenario 1) but in addition to the Nazi Flying Saucer there are Stukas, helicoptors, chemical, biological, mines, sandbags ... a seemingly endless array of interesting new battlefield assets.

The first scenario is an encounter between a small German force motering to a arms dump in a local town, and a band (murder? clatch? flock?) of Black Hand zealots. We learned that fire power against units in the open is deadly, about 1/2 of Matt's infantry (he was German) blown away by the overwatching Megrim tank. Matt learned caution quickly, and started exploiting the longer-range German guns to shoot at the Black Hand without risking counter fire.

The Black Hand (who for some reason I imagined as speaking with American hillbilly accents) had deployed far forward and dispersed (mistake). A single infantry can be hard to dislodge, but since the infantry AP weapons can't even pierce the King Tiger armor, the front line was pretty quickly dislodged by rolling up that monster and blasting away.

The scenario objective was a town in the south east corner of the play area. For several turns the Black Hand fell back then fled to the town. Having lost several Zealots, and the tank by now I had little choice but to set up a defensive perimeter around the town. Turns have an exact number of activation pulls, calculated at the start of the game (ours was 5). Matt's German formations had 2 markers each, and he got a streak of outrageous activations, where both formations went twice a turn. And, he took full advantage.

Even so, it was not until around turn 7 that he arrived at the edge of the objective town. I decided that rather than sit on the outskirts and get blown to bits, I retreated into the town, out of line of sight, lurking in the shadows and forcing the Germans to come in after me (shades of Stalingrad).

In he came, and as it would happen, the last turn activation sequence was such that the game hinged on an assault on the very last possible die roll on the very last possible unit activation! Matt managed to dislodge my last desperate Zealot and won the game, but it was a nail biter.

So, in summary: Fun? Lots! Characterful? Very! Legitimate war game? Seem so, need to play more to see. Gonna play again? Oh, for sure ... we'll probably play through the campaign to add some continuity between the scenarios. Recommended? Most definitely!
30 
 Thumb up
0.96
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Very Stout
United States
Back and to the Left-
Up a Bit, Perfect
flag msg tools
An old liberal optimist
badge
An Elf, a Human, and a Dwarf walk into a bar...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting change in the LnL combat system. I am no fan of the genre but it sounds like it plays well, and most important- is fun.

May have to rethink this one. Thanks for the review!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
R. Marsh
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good review. This game's on my list.

From your initial play, how well do you think Nuklear Winter works as a solo experience?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Canada
flag msg tools
Not to steal Mike's thunder, but it plays solo very well. The games has an 'Event' chit mechanic, in which once pulled you roll on a table which creates new units (Black Hand), support weapons, artillery, increased morale etc. Their's even events that have fleeting Black Hand dragon type units attacking your hill top locations or zombied infantry assaulting your road bound platoons! Coupled with the nature of a chit pull formation activation system and the direct and streamlined combat mechanics, its one of the better games for solitaire play. Even with some scenario's having 3 players (though I haven't tried one yet), their should be no problem.

Watch out for the minelaying infantry rules though. Mike doesn’t seem to have used these, but they can give an attacker a nasty time.

Genre:

Not my usual cup of tea either (am I being politically correct???). But an impulse buy that I'm definitely not disappointed with.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B Schneider
Canada
Stittsville
ON
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with Mike. This game is excellent solo. And, as already stated, just be aware that the ueber-powerful mine laying rules are currently undergoing a revision.

But other than that, an excellent game that I will always enjoy playing.

BTW, the German underground weapons program is explained in a way that is plausible enough that I am willing to suspend disbelief.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Willner
United States
Brooklyn
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm thinking that solo will be great, though I haven't tried. I have solo'ed many of the WaW scenarios, and that is always a pleasure.

Also, I have not yet gotten to all the nifty twists in the game system ... dragons, converting troops to Zealot'ism, etc. But I can't wait.

Interesting, the theme I pick up is that a lot of folks who don't bother with the Weird War 2 genre (like myself) have taken to NW'68.

Anyway, I'll post another AAR when we've mastered the rules and play a substantive scenario.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
R. Marsh
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great info, all. You've helped move this game up on my wish list.

Mike, I'm looking forward to the next session write-up.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dennis Gadgaard
Denmark
Copenhagen
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"Scouts are sent in to investigate, and hilarity ensues." - priceless

Good read. I so want this game now.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.