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Subject: A second (authorized) small sneak peek at the new Up Front rss

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David Janik-Jones
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Hi again!

This going to be a short update to let everyone know about two changes that the team has decided to make.

First, news about the Italian and French forces. As several posters familiar with Up Front have pointed out, the Italian and French forces in the original release reflect a slightly biased 1970s and early 1980s view of the effectiveness of these two nations. The compiled database of games recorded statistics bear this out ... the Italians win in just over 30% when playing as the Axis. The French forces don't appear from the stats to be too bad at first glance, but in reality aren't much better when you normalize the stats by removing the games against the Italians. When that happens, the French win record is just 40%.

Officially then, we are looking into ways to bring play balance to the Italians and the French forces. There are a number of ideas under consideration, and we'll post more news as we move along that road. Rest assured we're trying not to mess with the fundamental mathematics of the game, but rather reassess these two nations to bring them more into the game.

The second bit of news involves a re-think about tapping crew soldiers. We've not going to do that in the new release any more, and will be bringing back crew chits to indicate that a soldier is crewing a weapon. So no tapping of soldiers. There are a number of things not really up for consideration, but there seemed to be an overwhelming desire to revert back to the old way of doing this so after some discussion, that's what we'll do.

Again, questions and comments are more than welcome! And there will be more things to see coming very soon, I just can't say what right now.

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Team Ski
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What recent academia has changed the perception about relative effectiveness of the squads? Any book titles or articles? I'm sincerely curious. Thanks for the update!

-Ski
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Mark J
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DaveyJJ wrote:


The second bit of news involves a re-think about tapping crew soldiers. We've not going to do that in the new release any more, and will be bringing back crew chits to indicate that a soldier is crewing a weapon.


Oh great now my poll question thread is all screwed up.

De-tapping crewed men is a good decision in my opinion.
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David Janik-Jones
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DiploGuy wrote:
Oh great now my poll question thread is all screwed up.


We're doing it specifically to mess up your poll. whistle
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Jason Sherlock
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At the squad level, the French and Italians weren't that bad. Their command doctrine and logistics at the higher echelon levels sucked.

French soldiers were well trained (although not as experienced as the Germans who cut their teeth in the Spanish civil war) and well equipped. Their tanks were big brutes that were slow and could be outmaneuvered, and thus somewhat easily avoided by PZ Is and Pz IIs (a large portion of the German armored forces at the time).

However, in a squad level game, the high level command problems of the French and the advantages of Blitzkrieg style warfare vs slow moving forces are not factors.

The Italians got the shaft in the desert because they lacked vehicles. When the Germans were losing a battle, they could high tail it out of the situation. The Italians would get surrounded and forced to surrender. Again, issues of mobile warfare are not applicable in squad scale engagements. The Italians weren't the best army in the world, but they often fought with bravery, especially their armored forces which would charge superior British tanks knowing that they could only damage them at close range.

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Martin Gallo
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Sounds like you guys are listening, thanks. Now just go back to using smaller cards for personnel (and weapons) and you have a great game.
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Abdiel Xordium
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martimer wrote:
Sounds like you guys are listening, thanks. Now just go back to using smaller cards for personnel (and weapons) and you have a great game.

Please no. All cards should be the same size, and the standard Magic size at that. Including all AFVs.
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abdiel wrote:
martimer wrote:
Sounds like you guys are listening, thanks. Now just go back to using smaller cards for personnel (and weapons) and you have a great game.

Please no. All cards should be the same size, and the standard Magic size at that. Including all AFVs.


As a sleever, I have to agree...
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Greeek geek wrote:
abdiel wrote:
martimer wrote:
Sounds like you guys are listening, thanks. Now just go back to using smaller cards for personnel (and weapons) and you have a great game.

Please no. All cards should be the same size, and the standard Magic size at that. Including all AFVs.


As a sleever, I have to agree...


Why would you sleeve your UP Front cards. mine are almost 30 years old and are still fine.
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Stefano Calzighetti
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Hi

a couple of good news (I was one of the ranters about italians and frenchs :p)

now if only the personality cards will have the base weapon's stats printed on them and separate weapons cards (to overlap printed weapon info on personality cards) for DYO scenarios and I'll be an happy boy ... man ... ok quite old but still happy ;)

ciao
Stefano
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Michael Dorosh
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jackalope wrote:
The Italians got the shaft in the desert because they lacked vehicles. When the Germans were losing a battle, they could high tail it out of the situation. The Italians would get surrounded and forced to surrender. Again, issues of mobile warfare are not applicable in squad scale engagements. The Italians weren't the best army in the world, but they often fought with bravery, especially their armored forces which would charge superior British tanks knowing that they could only damage them at close range.


Excellent summary. Conflating strategic/operational issues with tactical ones is often a theme on wargame messageboards.

Note also that Rommel is lauded for his conduct of the North African campaign, yet I am under the impression it was his erratic behaviour, including leaving his allies in the lurch in exactly the manner you describe (pulling out the Germans with all the vehicles - and water) that made things so costly for his Italian allies, for whom he at times expressed a great deal of personal disdain. If I recall correctly, Rommel had been awarded his Pour le Mérite (Blue Max) for fighting against the Italians in the First World War.
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Mark J
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Greeek geek wrote:
abdiel wrote:
martimer wrote:
Sounds like you guys are listening, thanks. Now just go back to using smaller cards for personnel (and weapons) and you have a great game.

Please no. All cards should be the same size, and the standard Magic size at that. Including all AFVs.


As a sleever, I have to agree...


They make sleeves for smaller than standard card sizes yah know?
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thanasis louridas
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On my point of view I agree there should be changes. It happened when we used to play Italians, to have second thoughts whether to play them or choose new pair. The french are quite better but during the game they will definetely get stuck with this 1 discard issue. And then they are hopeless.

For Italians, I would suggest no "surrender" rule (I think there is not such thing in Bruce's "Internet up front League" program) and at least same morale-panic values. For French I haven't thought of anything so far to balance their 1 discard inability. Let's hear some thoughts from others..

Everything in upfront (like the panic value less than morale value in Italians)represents something historical, but the fact is that if they are so weak, with minimum chances to win, then it's like not being there.

I prefer them being there...


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Martin Gallo
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When do we get to debate the new cover art?
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Bradley Knoll
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martimer wrote:
When do we get to debate the new cover art?


People tried to beat that already dead horse here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/845616/up-front-reprint-...

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Orion J.N. Winder
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As an AVID fan of this game, and a player of it for years, I jumped right on the bandwagon at kickstarter when I heard of a reprint. Sure, I've got everything that originally came with it and expansions, still playable (but worn), and all the extra stuff put out in fanzines and The General, but I thought (and am still hoping) that a fresh printing/upgrade would be nice.

Now I'm getting slightly worried, and am wondering if it could also be affecting others too, as it seems to me that I looked at the page and it was up to 416%, and is now down to 410% (seems that it'd hit $125K, and now's backed off to $123K), but I could be wrong.

Anyway, what's concerning me is that too many cooks might be mixin' in the kitchen (some say it "spoils the broth"), and my main concern is not "fix'n" what ain't broke. I'm not really fond of the resizing, weapon extraction, or too much busy graphics, but I do know as a player for years and also a slightly old codger that perhaps that's just my resistance to change. I do realize that there are bennies to the resize and weapon extraction, and some newbees might need "prettier" poses/cards get drawn to the game. But here's some of my basic concerns with the same;

The size of cards and chits before (and will) dictate what size surface is easily played on. Before it was great, I'm wondering how this will scale.

With "normal" weapons attached, set-up was pretty quick, and one could always (albeit with a little bit more "clunk") change the weapons with chits, or even the man's individual states with # counters. How much more fiddly I wonder will this be in play, and will you mostly be putting the same old guns on the same old men... but just adding a second step incase of needing to change same?

The graphics were VERY player friendly before, I'm wondering just how easy it will be to see the NEEDED numbers, or symbols, IF the graphics get busier, more colorful, or (especially concerning me with aging eyes) God forbid SMALLER? I have to use reader's now to play many games, (including UpFront) and some cardgames get VERY tough for me to ever play well at speed, as they have just too much on their cards, not distinctive enough for quick glance, or too similar/busy of graphics.

And now I hear about perhaps changing some of the basic factors in the balance of the game, with perhaps only 6 months before re-publication? I'm not even sure it's really needed in the first place, as I've never found an issue playing with any of the given forces. YES, the Italians and French are harder to play, and have some "balance" issues, but yet I've won more than my share of games with the same. I've many times felt that they were the perfect handicap for playing someone that has played less, or someone that you just smoked badly a couple of times recently. If historical concerns can be PROVEN, I'm all about attempting to make it more historically accurate, or better (as we talk "simulation" but we play "games" at best) if it FEELS more historically accurate then I'm for it. But I don't see how 6 months is really time for all the changes that are already supposedly in the works, AND revamping complete counties order of battle, AND playtesting SAME to see if it WORKS!

IMHO I'm wondering if I'm not watching the dismembering and reconstructing of something that was "pretty damn perfect" the way it was, and perhaps might be about as good a "revamp" as New Coke. Would be sad to see this great game, go the way of Betamax or SwissAir.

Perhaps re-PRINTING, is the #1 concern, and making it available widely again; and THEN re-INVENTING the wheel?


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Roar Stensrud
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French:

1 discard with no action is tough, but not impossible. Throughout my many campaigns played, the French have lost more scenarios than they have won, but they have beaten both Germans and Japanese. So I don't feel the French should be altered too much. Here goes:

-Use the highest morale SL and ASL for the standard squad setup.

Suggestion for French hand:

Line troops:
Six cards, 1 discard if no action. Split cards: BOTH German and US (like the British, with the same limitations as the British).

2nd Line:
Same as above, but use only US split cards.

Elite:
Same as line troops, but can take one action and still discard one card.

Keep squad break at exactly 50%. Elite breaks at 51%

Italians:
These could do with an improvement. But dn't forget: The Italians were smoked quite bad by a rather meagre British force before the Germans even set foot in Africa. And the Soviets just ran them completely flat. So the Italian army must have had quite a few serious issues at all levels of command, though mostly in the higher levels.

-Use highest morale SL and ASL in standard squad.
-Rid the surrender rule for Line and Elite (keep for 2nd Line)
-Increase Panic by one for Line and Elite (keep as is for 2nd Line)
-Elite breaks at 51%
-Line breaks at 50%
-2nd Line breaks at 40%

Hand:
Line: Four cards, two discards if no action. German split cards.

2nd Line: Four cards, two discards if no action. No split cards.

Elite: Four cards, two discards if no action or 1 action and 1 discard. German split cards.

R.
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Martin Gallo
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bk_otj wrote:
martimer wrote:
When do we get to debate the new cover art?


People tried to beat that already dead horse here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/845616/up-front-reprint-...

Sorry, I quit following that thread a while back and missed any discussion of the box cover artwork.

I do see where you declare that we should shut up about discussing the old cover because there is new cover art.

What I do not see is a representation of what the new cover will or might be. It is true that the publisher gets to decide I just wonder what artwork they are or might be considering. Given what the last publisher did with the cover for this game it might not be a bad idea to let the customers have some actual and direct input.
 
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OrionDD wrote:

Now I'm getting slightly worried, and am wondering if it could also be affecting others too, as it seems to me that I looked at the page and it was up to 416%, and is now down to 410% (seems that it'd hit $125K, and now's backed off to $123K), but I could be wrong.



You're right, the pledge amount has dropped a good bit after this preview was posted (at this time, it's actually negative for today!)

Not knowing anything about the minor nations (only played with the basic set, and just US and Germany!), I hope these changes aren't coming across as too unsettling to potential backers.

I hear the artist is under the weather and that previews of the painted card art are delayed, but I really do hope that once they go up, this kicks up interest once again. I want those paratroopers (and hopefully all the stretch factions)!

edit: typo
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mattprice wrote:
OrionDD wrote:

Now I'm getting slightly worried, and am wondering if it could also be affecting others too, as it seems to me that I looked at the page and it was up to 416%, and is now down to 410% (seems that it'd hit $125K, and now's backed off to $123K), but I could be wrong.



You're right, the pledge amount has dropped a good bit after this preview was posted (at this time, it's actually negative for today!)

Not knowing anything about the minor nations (only played with the basic set, and just US and Germany!), I hope these changes aren't coming across as too unsettling to potential backers.

I hear the artist is under the weather and that previews of the painted card art are delayed, but I really do hope that once they go up, this kicks up interest once again. I want those paratroopers (and hopefully all the stretch factions)!

edit: typo


The drop coincidentally happened around the time that it was announced that there would be more named characters up for bid. Could some of the people who dropped be looking to make a run on these characters when they are open for purchase?
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jackalope wrote:
The drop coincidentally happened around the time that it was announced that there would be more named characters up for bid. Could some of the people who dropped be looking to make a run on these characters when they are open for purchase?


Lack of finished (or late draft) components is dragging the campaign. Hints like "we are looking into ways to bring play balance to the Italians and the French forces" are not going to motivate people to pledge/up their pledges. They need to start showing off cards, finished rulesets, another video play example maybe, stuff like that. Otherwise I don't see things improving much, before the final 48 hours rush, when "remind me" notifications will be sent.

If at that time the $180.000 isn't reached, the campaign will get even less money from the backers who'll be downgraded from the CPT and LTC levels.
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Orion J.N. Winder
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jackalope wrote:
mattprice wrote:
OrionDD wrote:

Now I'm getting slightly worried, and am wondering if it could also be affecting others too, as it seems to me that I looked at the page and it was up to 416%, and is now down to 410% (seems that it'd hit $125K, and now's backed off to $123K), but I could be wrong.



You're right, the pledge amount has dropped a good bit after this preview was posted (at this time, it's actually negative for today!)

Not knowing anything about the minor nations (only played with the basic set, and just US and Germany!), I hope these changes aren't coming across as too unsettling to potential backers.

I hear the artist is under the weather and that previews of the painted card art are delayed, but I really do hope that once they go up, this kicks up interest once again. I want those paratroopers (and hopefully all the stretch factions)!

edit: typo


The drop coincidentally happened around the time that it was announced that there would be more named characters up for bid. Could some of the people who dropped be looking to make a run on these characters when they are open for purchase?


Could be all that, but I wondering if more folks are starting to come to some of the same concerns that I'm starting to feel.

First there was issues about printing rights, and legal issues, and I can pretty much ignore that if funding and game issues are straight forward, ie not much work at making $ if it gets well funded and not much changing to do with the original design. I'm big on supporting that this ORIGINAL game be reprinted, so more folks can have the fun and perhaps come to love it as much as I have for almost 30 years.

Then there's the beginning of changing of original rules, such as some switching of RR/Distance/Range, etc. Which personally I'm not fond at all of, and secondly some folks have already found some spots were OTHER things would need to be changed to "adapt" to the NEW way.

Now, there's a whole lot of new art (which I realize was already "concepted"), but seems to me that it's not hard and fast, as it appears to be kinda in flux, or that's at least what many of the folks that want changes seem to feel. And some of the graphics (to me) appear to be a giant step away from simplicity and playablity.

Lastly this issue of re-working complete nationalities, to conform more to certain folks ideas of "correctness" is worrysome at best, and make me so VERY happy that I've all the original stuff, that is already proven (in my book) to work so well together.

One thing I'd hoped for from this reprinting, was a complete rewrite of the rules, and possibly putting in a couple levels of difficulty for those who don't want to wrap their head around wounds, infiltration, close combat, or some of the other points that are confusing to a newbee player. Yes, I felt the original rules with their progressive rules were great, same way I learned SL, but I understand also folks who love the rules to such gems as Combat Commander might have difficulties with them, and they could be a pain to look things up in at times.

I still feel that the most productive thing that this reprinting could do for this game, is keep it as much original as possible, and rewrite the rules in a much more modern style; with much more use of examples and more charts incompassing all the given armies, equipment, terrains, and theater specifics. A full encyclopedia of UpFront between the binders. Clean-up, especially with all the expansions and additions, but I'm completely opposed to re-writing the basic game. Heck, if one did that you could have just made a different game using the same principles, and called it art.
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Todd Banister
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OrionDD wrote:

Could be all that, but I wondering if more folks are starting to come to some of the same concerns that I'm starting to feel.


One pledger from the $2500 level backed out today - that is why there is a negative total. Otherwise, there has been the normal amount of new contributors to the campaign. Nothing really to read into it more than one person backed out.

OrionDD wrote:
Lastly this issue of re-working complete nationalities, to conform more to certain folks ideas of "correctness" is worrysome at best, and make me so VERY happy that I've all the original stuff, that is already proven (in my book) to work so well together.


The only thing that was said was we were "looking" into bringing balance to the Italians and to a lesser extent the French. There is historical data that in the last 30 years of playing, the Italians in this game have lost close to 70% of their games. This isn't us trying to conform to a certain folks ideas of "correctness" - its about trying to have a game to where when you play it, you think you have a reasonable chance of winning no matter what nation you are playing.

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Todd Banister
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NasosP wrote:

Lack of finished (or late draft) components is dragging the campaign. Hints like "we are looking into ways to bring play balance to the Italians and the French forces" are not going to motivate people to pledge/up their pledges. They need to start showing off cards, finished rulesets, another video play example maybe, stuff like that. Otherwise I don't see things improving much, before the final 48 hours rush, when "remind me" notifications will be sent.


The preview is almost complete as we were putting on the final touches this morning. It should be up sometime this weekend barring any last minute problems. Just be patient a little bit longer.
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toddbanister wrote:
NasosP wrote:

Lack of finished (or late draft) components is dragging the campaign. Hints like "we are looking into ways to bring play balance to the Italians and the French forces" are not going to motivate people to pledge/up their pledges. They need to start showing off cards, finished rulesets, another video play example maybe, stuff like that. Otherwise I don't see things improving much, before the final 48 hours rush, when "remind me" notifications will be sent.


The preview is almost complete as we were putting on the final touches this morning. It should be up sometime this weekend barring any last minute problems. Just be patient a little bit longer.


I'm not the one that needs to be patient Todd, I've already signed up! You need to provide backers with something to thumb and share with others, hence bring more people aboard.
Great news on the preview! Bring it on!
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