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Bloody April, 1917: Air War Over Arras, France» Forums » General

Subject: What's the feeling about this game rss

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Nigel Heather
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I'm an out an out propellor head. I love military aviation particularly WWI and WWII so when I saw this in my store I was so attracted.

I almost bought on impulse but thought I'd check out the rules and what BGG had to say first.

And here is my problem. The rules look complex - they don't necessarily put me off because all that detail appeals to my love of military history.

But I'm thinking that I'm going to have to find someone who is equally nuts about WWI aircraft as me for this ever to see the table.

Anyone played it - how would you rate it.

Cheers,

Nigel
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Charles Lewis
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If you've ever played a detailed flight sim then learning Bloody April won't be a problem. Go for it!
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Ty Snouffer
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BA is probably the most complex sophisticated game I own. But after a few plays, I've really come to admire it. The core game (the first layer) takes about 3-5 turns to get used to.

The difficulty is in picking up the games comes in layers 3-7 . There is certainly a lot to keep track of, but I'm finding myself really seeking to understand and incorporate these deeper rules as I'm finding the game so engaging. Even the weather rules have been given a lot of thought!

It isn't an easy game and it wasn't an easy set of battles for the British. I think it makes the game all that more rewarding once you figure it out.

My only knock so far is to wonder if the rulebook is up to the task of teaching such a deep game. Not an easy task for sure.

BTW - I had little, of any, WWI aviation knowledge or interest. Because of this game I am seeking out more about the war and the air battles. The game has inspired my interest.

In the end, recommended without reservation for players who like some meat to their games, even for those who may not be into WWI.

For you, and your self-described interests, it seems like a no-brainer!

If you want to try before you buy, I bet some folks (including me) could run you through a short VASSAL demo.

Cheers!





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Kenneth Lury
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I too am interested in this game, but found Downtown a little too hard to play solo. Too many things to keep track of.
I have however pretty well mastered Whistling Death and can play solo pretty well. How does Bloody April compare ?
 
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Todd Quinn
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The feeling about the game is very good. But I have not played my minimum of 5 games before I can rate it.

The rules are really quite straightforward once you get the hang of them and that does not take too long. If I may, the Expanded Sequence of Play I designed was to make my plays smoother and at least for me it has done so.

The tension as your aeroplanes approach the enemies' is incredible. From the British side it is because you know you are so technologically outclassed. From the German side it is because you are so outnumbered.

It also plays very well by email, allowing you to take that extra time you might want to figure things out. I expect to play most of my games by email and had I not pre-ordered it and having now experienced some of it, I would not hesitate to buy it for only email play. Plus it solos well anyway. So you cannot lose.

Recommended.

Todd
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Ty Snouffer
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Artymorty wrote:

The tension as your aeroplanes approach the enemies' is incredible.
Todd

+1
There is quite a build up to the action!


Artymorty wrote:

It also plays very well by email, allowing you to take that extra time you might want to figure things out.
Todd

Agreed, along with enough fog of war elements to keep it interesting. The VASSAL module is among the best and most full featured I've used.
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Nigel Heather
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The complexity and detail doesn't put me off at all, in fact it quite attracts me.

My concern is whether it would ever get to the table. My gaming community are generally not into two player wargames and amongst those that are, Combat Commander and Tide of Iron are considered complex.

Cheers,

Nigel
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Christopher O
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nheather wrote:
The complexity and detail doesn't put me off at all, in fact it quite attracts me.

My concern is whether it would ever get to the table. My gaming community are generally not into two player wargames and amongst those that are, Combat Commander and Tide of Iron are considered complex.

Cheers,

Nigel


If you read the rules yourself, and know them well, guiding other players through a game is not much more complicated than CC at all. In fact, mechanically, aside from knowing which tables to turn to and in what sequence, it's probably only a shade more complex than CC.

What I did in my three teaching games thus far is asked the players what they wanted to do (imagining their intent) and then guided them through how to do it. Aside from the somewhat exceptional take-off/landing cases and dogfights, getting around and fighting is not so hard, and recon/bombing/balloon busting/spotting is just procedural, not complicated.

After a few turns of guidance, every player without exception generally knew what they were doing. We tackled engagement and combat as it occurred and no one thought it was overly difficult.
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Nigel Heather
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I appreciate that the numbers are just a guide but I wonder if anyone has an opinion on this.

On the GMT website

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-307-bloody-april-1917-air-war-over...

the complexity is set MEDIUM-5.

But on the back of the box it is shown as HIGH-7.

To put this into some context, CC:E is MEDIUM-5 and Virgin Queen is MEDIUM-6.


Which would you say is the correct complexity for Bloody April, the website or the box?

Also, does anyone have a feel for how long the Bloody April scenarios will take to play, assuming you know the rules. Just a rough idea so I can get a feel whether it is a 2 hour game or a 6 hour game.

Cheers,

Nigel

UPDATE

Elusive Victory and Downtown are both listed as HIGH-7 on the website, so I suspect that is what Bloody April should be and the website is in error.
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Christopher O
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nheather wrote:
I appreciate that the numbers are just a guide but I wonder if anyone has an opinion on this.

On the GMT website

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-307-bloody-april-1917-air-war-over...

the complexity is set MEDIUM-5.

But on the back of the box it is shown as HIGH-7.

To put this into some context, CC:E is MEDIUM-5 and Virgin Queen is MEDIUM-6.


Which would you say is the correct complexity for Bloody April, the website or the box?

Also, does anyone have a feel for how long the Bloody April scenarios will take to play, assuming you know the rules. Just a rough idea so I can get a feel whether it is a 2 hour game or a 6 hour game.

Cheers,

Nigel

UPDATE

Elusive Victory and Downtown are both listed as HIGH-7 on the website, so I suspect that is what Bloody April should be and the website is in error.


I don't own nor have I played Elusive Victory or Downtown, but I suspect that the proper rating of this game should be 6 or 7 if CC is supposed to be 5. Then again, I think Virgin Queen is more complicated than Bloody April, so I'm not sure it deserves to be a 7 if Virgin Queen is a 7.

Maybe a 5 or 6 out of 10 for the basic game, and 7 if you're playing with all of the optional and advanced rules.

I have played three face to face learning games with small(ish) scenarios. Each took around 3 to 3.5 hours to play. I've found that learning games (wargames or euros, it doesn't seem to matter) typically take between 50% and 100% longer than the game playing time when you know the rules, so I estimate that a small scenario should take two hours and larger scenarios (such as the shows, or one block of a campaign) would take 4-6 hours depending on its final size.

For example, when I first started playing CC, it took 3-4 hours for a standard scenario, and now I can knock out most scenarios in 2 hours (or 2:15, sometimes). Same with Power Grid - when you first start, it's a four hour game, but you can cut it down to 3 or 2.5 with practice.

There are plenty of patrols, shows and campaigns, so you can probably pick and choose a scenario for whatever amount of playing time you have available (2-6 hours).

To give you an idea of the range of scenario sizes in the game, the smallest scenarios (scenarios 3 and 5) have 4 and 5 flights (respectively) in total and 15-28 planes all told, while larger scenarios I could find have more than twenty flights (both sides included) and 75 or more aircraft in the air in some blocks.
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Martin Gallo
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I have only read the rules for Bloody April and have played Downtown. I would put BA at more complicated than Downtown due to the mechanics of movement (TtC being the main culprit).

Not inaccessibly more complicated, but it feels like it will require more mental horsepower.
 
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Cutthroat Cardboard (Barry)
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It might be useful to consider how the complexity arises in Bloody April.

- the rule book doesn't make getting into the game easy so this adds some complexity for the person that reads it. This is largely because the Downtown system is very procedural and makes more sense once you start to play through the game.

- the actual flying of a single Squadron or Jasta is very simple

- the procedures for each task, dogfighting, bombing, etc are simple but there are a lot of them

- there are a few concepts, like time to climb, that are confusing. Once you grasp them however they cease to be an issue.

Once someone in a group has good a grasp of the rules and understood the unusual concepts then the small patrol scenarios are relatively simple. I reckon these could be taught and played easily.

The real complexity is in the large scenarios where there is a lot going on with many of the procedural sub systems in play. Lots of layers of simplicity eventually building something quite complex.

This makes rating the game in complexity terms a little difficult. It probably ranges from 5-7 depending on the scenario. With someone to teach you and playing a small patrol it's actually fairly simple.
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Nigel Heather
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Bought it.

By which I mean that I purchased it, not got shot down.

Cheers,

Nigel
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Ian Wedge
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nheather wrote:
The complexity and detail doesn't put me off at all, in fact it quite attracts me.

My concern is whether it would ever get to the table. My gaming community are generally not into two player wargames and amongst those that are, Combat Commander and Tide of Iron are considered complex.

Cheers,

Nigel


Note that Terry Simo is currently running his second multi-player online game of BA. By giving each player only one or two Flights it is possible to make this a multiplayer game.
 
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