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Subject: Band of Heroes or Conflict of Heroes - Awakening the Bear? rss

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Tyler
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Similar name and scale, different fronts. Let's assume the setting is a push -- which system would you recommend, and why?

Things to consider:

Complexity (how easy is it to learn and, much more importantly, to teach?)
Solitaire suitability

(For what it's worth -- probably nothing -- I'm pairing this purchase with Landships. Yay for tactics!)
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Keegan Fink
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Leaving work, so I'm in a rush: For what it's worth, Conflict of Heroes (starting with the new 2nd Edition of Awaking the Bear) counters have been future proofed in anticipation of an upcoming solo-play module by John Butterfield.

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Josh
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Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles is a great game that is easy to learn and teach. For the ones on your list, CoH has a solitaire module coming out soon. BoH was ok, but we like BoB more.
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Jim F
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The rules for BoH aren't the best. CoH rules are v well written and will have you up and running in like a pro in under an hour. If you can get someone to teach you, ten minutes.

I must admit I didn't like either much (and sold them off) but definitely had more fun with CoH.
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It's a personal choice here--both games are top notch. My personal preference is Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes. With the hero rules, it's more of an infantry game but also has a little crunch in its treatment of armor. Conversely, Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 is an armor-centric game that doesn't get bogged down even in larger tank battles.

There's a lot to like with Conflict of Heroes. It has big counters, and the rules are short and clear. Once you play through a few games, you don't have to consult the rules at all. The Action Point/Command Point system is unique and works well, and the chit draw makes tracking damage easy. The only knock is that, at least for now, it's limited to East Front. CoH: Guadalcanal and CoH: First Men In - Normandy 1944 have been delayed for some time.

That said, I prefer Lock 'n Load. While the counters are smaller, I think the art is better. As advertised, LnL: Band of Heroes plays like a war movie--heroes play a big part in the game system. Variety is also a strength--everything from WWII (West Front/East Front) to Vietnam to the Falklands to Somalia to the 1985-WWIII-that-never-was. Lots of complaints online about the disjointed rulebook. There's a V3.1 rulebook posted--once you read through, you'll find it's not bad. My only complaint is that there are lots of admin counters.

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red_herring wrote:
It's a personal choice here--both games are top notch. My personal preference is Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes. With the hero rules, it's more of an infantry game but also has a little crunch in its treatment of armor. Conversely, Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 is an armor-centric game that doesn't get bogged down even in larger tank battles.

There's a lot to like with Conflict of Heroes. It has big counters, and the rules are short and clear. Once you play through a few games, you don't have to consult the rules at all. The Action Point/Command Point system is unique and works well, and the chit draw makes tracking damage easy. The only knock is that, at least for now, it's limited to East Front. CoH: Guadalcanal and CoH: First Men In - Normandy 1944 have been delayed for some time.

That said, I prefer Lock 'n Load. While the counters are smaller, I think the art is better. As advertised, LnL: Band of Heroes plays like a war movie--heroes play a big part in the game system. Variety is also a strength--everything from WWII (West Front/East Front) to Vietnam to the Falklands to Somalia to the 1985-WWIII-that-never-was. Lots of complaints online about the disjointed rulebook. There's a V3.1 rulebook posted--once you read through, you'll find it's not bad. My only complaint is that there are lots of admin counters.


Agreed. COH feels like a bigger picture game, BOH feels like an exciting story with a much more in game/personal feel
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Tonny Wille
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I prefer Conflict of heroes. It easy to learn and has great components. It can be gamey but I do love the system. There is almost no downtime and it plays quick.

Considering Lock n load... I would not advice band of heroes surprise
After playing Lock 'n Load: Heroes of the Blitzkrieg I Have decided to trade my BoH. I think Heroes of the blitzkrieg has way more interesting scenarios (I think it's the best game in the series). There are two that involve belgian units, so an extra + for me, and it has a great firefight with armored units on both sides. I own Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles which let me also fight with airborne units in Normandy and I like it more than BoH (my opinion). The only donwside is that BoH has way more expansions.
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Tyler
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I appreciate the feedback. Think I'm leaning toward BoH -- tipping point is availability (which I hadn't considered initially). CoH appears to be abundantly available (20+ at CSI), whereas BoH is out-of-print. I'm sure I'll eventually pick up both, but the tie might go to the OOP title.

Edit: But then, Band of Brothers looks mighty sweet...
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I would like to recommend Fighting Formations, although it uses a slightly bigger scale (mix of squads and platoons). I tried a couple of scenarios from Conflict of Heroes, the demo scenario of Band of Heroes, and about half of the scenarios from Band of Brothers, but all of them disappointed me for different reasons. Fighting Formations delivered such a great experience that I just don't feel like looking for any other WW2 tactical games anymore. You should check it out!
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Miguel
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I found BoH harder to understand, partly due to it's poorly written rule book and partly because it's a touch more complex... Particularly once you get beyond pure infantry battles. I don't recall how well it played solo, but I don't think it had much in the way of hidden information so it should be ok. One thing to remember is that the scenarios have a narrative, meaning that certain conditions trigger the reading of a new paragraph that represents a new development in the battle. It's interesting, but it sort of limits replayability (if the surprise is important to you).

CoH is a very streamlined and easy to learn series. It's also modular, so you can play the scenarios by learning a few rules at a time (good if the whole genre is intimidating to you). It does a good job of mixing up infantry, artillery, tanks, planes, hidden units, etc all together without being difficult or rules heavy. It also has a nice amount of surprise through cards, hidden battle damage and hidden units. It's a little gamey, but I quite enjoy it. The hidden information should preclude it from solitaire suitability, but a solo system is included in many scenarios (I haven't tried it, so can't vouch for it being any good). It also has the advantage of playing up to 4, if that interests you.

BoB I've only played once, and only the intro scenario, but I really enjoyed it. It's also quite simple to learn, at least for the infantry rules used in that scenario. The way morale is interwoven into the rules is very different that the other games I've played, and leads to gameplay that more closely reflects how I imagine people would really do things in those situations. I don't think it would play solo very well at all, however.

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whisky_bear wrote:
I appreciate the feedback. Think I'm leaning toward BoH -- tipping point is availability (which I hadn't considered initially). CoH appears to be abundantly available (20+ at CSI), whereas BoH is out-of-print. I'm sure I'll eventually pick up both, but the tie might go to the OOP title.

Edit: But then, Band of Brothers looks mighty sweet...


Try Wargame Depot: http://wargamedepot.com/catalog/

I have to vote for BoH if you like story and cinematic gaming. It is wonky and the rules are not elegant, but the gameplay is a blast and it solos well. Plus you can't beat the range of periods available. So once you learn it you can really use it. Band of Brothers is also a great choice. It is elegant, but less story driven - no leaders, heroes or random events. It offers "realistic" combat involving suppression levels. It solos ok, but there are concealment markers that make it a bit harder to solo.

We are really overwhelmed with great WWII squad level games. I like all of them and they all bring something to the table. You will find the one that you like best.
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Based on what you're saying Conflict of Heroes will fit your bill best.
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I recently decided between these two, as well as some other systems, and ultimately settled on BoH. My decision was based on watching some of the Lock 'n Load games on Youtube, the fact is plays solitaire quite well, and after reading the entire rulebook, which I felt was quite adequate. Granted, I read the rules after watching 3-4 games on youtube, so the concepts were not simply conceptualized without seeing them acted out.
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Matt Jolly
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Tyler,

before dashing out to the pub,

my quick answer would be in time, try both.

I have, and like them both.

Recognising that economics might be an immediate constraint, I would say that BoH is a WW2 squad-level game, whereas CoH is a WW2 squad-level puzzle..... Which sounds more interesting to you? Neither is first and foremost a WW2 squad-level simulation.

Apart from that, I'd echo everything said above. CoH involved the lowest learning overhead of the two for me, but BoH has loads more available time periods.

I have just got BoB, but it's very limited in scope, and not as good as either of the others for solo-ing. Still fun though, and maybe more of a simulation?

Cheers,

Matt

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Val Ruza
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Of the two options you have asked about I would got with Conflict of Heroes, but I really think you should look at and seriously consider Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1, as I believe it is an even better game.
 
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Stephen Harper
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Based on your criteria, CoH. CoH has an excellent programmed instruction rulebook that is very complete with few if any loopholes, and physical presentation is top notch. Awakening the Bear 2nd edition was just published last month and is a good place to start. CoH Guadalcanal should be published within the next six months, with latest report suggesting around March.

I have all the games for CoH, BoH, Combat Commander, and Band of Brothers, and CoH is my favorite of the bunch, mostly because of the greater scope for maneuver and the combined arms aspect.
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James McHaffey
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pavobueno wrote:
I have all the games for CoH, BoH, Combat Commander, and Band of Brothers, and CoH is my favorite of the bunch, mostly because of the greater scope for maneuver and the combined arms aspect.

This GEEKLIST has a great summary and ensuing debate of almost all the games available in the genre.

pavobueno wrote:
Based on your criteria, CoH. CoH has an excellent programmed instruction rulebook that is very complete with few if any loopholes, and physical presentation is top notch.

I beg to differ. CoH is fraught with loopholes. Below I'll cite my own post from the aforementioned GeekList, where I outlined the significant ones. Many of these are "fundamental" flaws with the system that have dissuaded me from investing any further in the series. They cannot be fixed without a TOTAL rewrite of the rules, which would make all the prior releases obsolete. Now that AtB2e is out, and from what I gather there were only minor tweaks, that ship has sailed. It's better for Uwe to just gloss over the flaws when people like me inquire about it, and continue adding more "chrome" and expansions for the 90% of fans who seem content with the system.

heinz_guderian wrote:

brauerle wrote:
I am interested why some people find CoH unrealistic.

Is it because, there are for example no special rules for rotating a tank's turret? Or is it because of something greater?

Just for curiosity...


I realize I'm crashing the party kind of late but I missed this great thread originally and figured I'd chime in.

I played CoH several times, and initially I liked it. Quite honestly, I think I was a bit caught up in all the euphoria about it. After several plays, however, I began to recognize some serious shortcomings. Once players begin developing advanced tactics, the game starts to fall apart and gets REALLY gamey.

1) First and foremost, the infantry damage system just doesn't work. I think I know what they were trying to model: suppress a unit, then close assault to take it out - but it doesn't really work that way in practice. Real infantry doctrine is to suppress as MANY units as possible, then close assault. In CoH, the ideal tactic is to save your CAPs and fire volley after volley of low odds probing shots, while not exposing your units. Once you get a lucky hit, that damage chit becomes a magnet to pile every shot with +2 CAPs modifier on that target before it can rally and "auto heal". The model breaks down for three reasons:

a) The extremely gamey CAPs +2 DM allows you to dramatically increase your firepower for “important” shots i.e. once a unit is wounded. Thus there is no need to expose your position and close assault suppressed units.

b) Morale is married to real damage i.e. a second hit and the unit is ALWAYS killed, meaning that suppressed units are much easier to kill than healthy units. Again this is completely contrary to fact. A suppressed unit has yielded its firing position and is likely entirely shielding himself from fire - he's prone, cowering behind cover, or completely in his foxhole. This is when you close assault him, because he's not shooting back yet but is harder to kill at range. In CoH, he is just as easy to kill at range as close in, so why close assault?

c) Units "healing" by rallying creates a unrealistic incentive to pile on one unit before it does so. The single greatest impact of suppressing fire should be that the unit may no longer react or return fire. In CoH, 14 out of the 19 damage tokens allow him to blast me if I close assault. Combine that with cards he may hold in his hand and no thank you. But 19 out of 19 damage tokens make it easier for me to kill that unit from long range. So the real incentive of suppressing fire is not to reduce his battlefield awareness but to soften him up for one mega group activation with +2 CAPs for a near guaranteed kill shot...

2) Units can perform too many actions, specifically move too far, with a single activation. This led to many gamey situations in the first edition with units being outflanked once they became spent. Fresh units could literally run circles around spent units. Some of this was fixed with SoS, but at what cost? Now CoH has a deliberate phase by phase movement system that reminds me of Car Wars and Star Fleet Battles. Hardly, the stuff of euros. Opportunity fire is still way too costly and the fundamental problem remains: units can move too far with a single activation. The maps are 11x17. A T-34 averages 21 hexes a turn on road. That’s without CAPs and without a lucky activation role. I could theoretically move a T-34 42 hexes in one turn! That was a real culprit of all the odd flanking situations. Phased activations just bogs down the game and only partially fixes the problem.

3) The +3 DM for shots at 1 hex range is too much. Particularly when combined with the absurdly high movement rates. Since suppressing a unit is almost worthless in terms of reducing its firepower, the tactic for reducing his firepower is to get all his units spent. Once that happens, you can close assualt with impunity – that is if you know how to game the system. Run clear across the map: 9 hexes with infantry and 27 hexes with T-34s on roads! Invariably skilled opponents save their Command Action cards for blasting you in these situations. So send your weaker unit in first. If you are within 4-5 hexes, you usually have enough APs and CAPs to get a flank shot at range 1. Be sure to stay at least range 2 throughout the approach in case he has a Command Action card. Once you flank him, move to range 1. He’d need to use his Command Action to pivot instead of shoot so he’s meat. Now of course the obvious rebuttal is to not get all your units spent. But should that be the most important tactic? That a defender who is outnumbered needs to know how to manage his passes and stalls so as to not get schooled by an expert attacker?

One clever thing they have done to mask many of these problems is to make the game entirely scenario oriented. When I was high on the game, I e-mailed Uwe about a points system for DIY. He said that and minis were coming soon! It's been almost 2 years now. I suspect a point system will never be coming because it won't work. There are some serious balance issues when you setup the units on an open tabletop without the geomorphic maps. The maps have been carefully crafted to hide the excessive movement problems. The scenarios have strict time limits so the attacker can't just blast from long range forever as I described above. There is an artificial time limit, like we're playing an overtime hockey game or something. Therefore I eventually feel compelled to close assault when I know the best tactic is to stay at range.

Does that sound like real WWII tactics to you???

If you really want me to nitpick, I could send you quite a lengthy list of loopholes that can be easily "house ruled" but for some inexplicable reason Uwe hasn't fixed. Here are just a few:

1) AT guns should not have a blue front defense (13). Gun shields were of dubious merit for protecting crews anyway. But assigning a blue defense creates the incredibly gamey situation whereby I always try to save 1 AP after firing at a tank. Why? In case I miss, pivot so my flank red defense (10) is now facing the tank. A Panther now needs to use his red firepower (5) instead of his blue firepower (13). So if I were in woods (+2DM), he now needs a 7 to hit (11 to kill) instead of a 2 to hit (6 to kill). Just dumb. I (and others) argued incessantly for this to get changed but to no avail in Storms of Steel. I'm hoping he finally fixed in or Price of Honor or AtB2e but I'm not holding my breath as I've already retired the series.

2) Airplane rules are totally broken. ALL planes can turn 60 degrees after every hex moved. I believe the scale is 45M per hex. This gives a Stuka a turning radius of 45M. LOL! That's almost as good as an AH-64 Apache! Current research actually shows that armor kills by planes in WWII were greatly exaggerated, but even if we accept the "legend of the Sturmovik" as fact, it's even grossly overpowered by those standards in CoH. It's an attack helicopter gunship that can precisely maneuver, line-up, approach, and wipe out units with a surgeon-like precision. We completely banned them.

3) This is one almost seems like a typo, and is rarely relevant, but why it never was changed after several editions amazes me. EACH vehicle offers a +1DM for ALL infantry in the same hex. So if I huddle 5 infantry behind 5 T-34s, they are almost impossible to hit (+5DM).

4) It costs 1 AP for an ARV recovery crew to unload, hitch, and start towing a tank. It costs my rifle squad 4 AP to shoot at them. That is just one of many completely whacky disparities in AP costs...

I would agree that CoH has a greater scope at the moment, but IMO the rules are broken. It has the same flaw that CC, ASL, and just about any other WWII game has. Suppression is married to permanent damage. BoB is the first game that got this right. So if I were you, I'd "invest" in the BoB series. My principal criticism of BoB are that there are too many "missing" rules and the components are mediocre at best. It certainly suffers from a lack of "chrome". There are so many almost essential WW2 tidbits missing like mines, bunkers, snipers, barbed wire etc... Also armor combat is head scratchingly simple. You either miss or kill, nothing in between. Considering how elaborate the suppression system is for infantry, I'm chalking this up as a design choice by Jim Krohn to focus on infantry but I don't like it. I'm expecting this to be addressed with future expansions - namely Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer. But there are no broken rules, just missing rules. That's a different problem than CoH.

As as footnote, I'd mention that a reprint of Up Front is coming later this year. With updated artwork and streamlined rules, that might become my squad level WWII game of choice once again. If you prefer a "boardgame" and not a "card game", War Stories: Red Storm looks very promising as well. The card system for combat looks awesome!
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Tyler
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Post-script: Band of Heroes arrived in the mail from Wargame Depot yesterday. Punched and sorted the counters last night, all set for a solo play tonight and some face-to-face scenarios this weekend. We'll see how it goes!
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heinz_guderian wrote:

I would agree that CoH has a greater scope at the moment, but IMO the rules are broken. It has the same flaw that CC, ASL, and just about any other WWII game has. Suppression is married to permanent damage.


The rules to ASL, CC, COH et al. aren't 'broken' as much as they are 'unrealistic in a few key areas, given what we know of WW2 combined-arms combat'. There's a world of difference.

You might as well argue that the rules of Chess are 'broken' because they don't simulate Medieval warfare as we know it happened.
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I'm a COH gamer. Great mechanics that makes the game fun and
Challenging every time.
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
The rules to ASL, CC, COH et al. aren't 'broken' as much as they are 'unrealistic in a few key areas, given what we know of WW2 combined-arms combat'. There's a world of difference.

This exactly. One man's fish is another man's poisson, and each have their own foibles. I'm just happy that there are so many different system for every tactical level wargamer to find one that he/she likes to play. I've played all of them since the early 70s and probably wouldn't turn down any of them.
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
heinz_guderian wrote:

I would agree that CoH has a greater scope at the moment, but IMO the rules are broken. It has the same flaw that CC, ASL, and just about any other WWII game has. Suppression is married to permanent damage.


The rules to ASL, CC, COH et al. aren't 'broken' as much as they are 'unrealistic in a few key areas, given what we know of WW2 combined-arms combat'. There's a world of difference.

You might as well argue that the rules of Chess are 'broken' because they don't simulate Medieval warfare as we know it happened.


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DaveyJJ wrote:
I'm just happy that there are so many different system for every tactical level wargamer to find one that he/she likes to play. I've played all of them since the early 70s and probably wouldn't turn down any of them.


I agree completely. With the exception of ATS, I'd be happy to play just about any of the tactical levels games out there now. I made this recommendation for someone else in a similar thread: Band of Heroes. It's light enough not to get bogged down in too much detail, and the time/conflict span represented by the modules--WWII, Vietnam, Falklands, WWIII in 1985, and Somalia--provides a lot of variety from only one system.

I don't know what people have against the rules for this game, other than they could have been better organized maybe. They're a little longer than the rules for some of the other games mentioned, but they do have to address single man counters (leaders, snipers, medics) that some of the other games don't represent, and they include armor and air unit rules. There's example of play in the back of the rule book that cover the basics, including armor/air, so all in all, I don't think the rules are overwhelming.

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Lugburz wrote:
Leaving work, so I'm in a rush: For what it's worth, Conflict of Heroes (starting with the new 2nd Edition of Awaking the Bear) counters have been future proofed in anticipation of an upcoming solo-play module by John Butterfield.

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Huzzah!


Where can I stay updated on this? Any solo by Butterfield is a must have for me.
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stemcider wrote:
Lugburz wrote:
Leaving work, so I'm in a rush: For what it's worth, Conflict of Heroes (starting with the new 2nd Edition of Awaking the Bear) counters have been future proofed in anticipation of an upcoming solo-play module by John Butterfield.

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Huzzah!


Where can I stay updated on this? Any solo by Butterfield is a must have for me.


I would stay tuned to www.academy-games.com (or their Facebook page) and the BGG page for Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! (second edition) (since this edition received new counter icons in preparation for the upcoming John Butterfield expansion module).

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