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Subject: Avalon Hill's Maligned Classic rss

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Rise and Decline of the Third Reich » Forums » Reviews
Avalon Hill's Maligned Classic
Back in 1995 I got this game for Christmas. Of course I couldn’t play until 2005 when I actually found folks willing to give the game a shot. Love it or hate, the game pretty much created and defined WWII grand strategy.

Gameplay (28 out of 30): The game is mostly damaged by a large and cumbersome rulebook, which is to me thankfully well organized. While combat is overly brutal and the game can be easily manipulated (sending all infantry against Poland, while all panzers strike France) it is also a solid simulation of armored warfare. Some dislike the BRP system of determining initiative, but I feel it prevents players simply spending on units and rushing them forward. It can also lead to some nasty surprises, as BRP manipulation becomes an art in itself. Much of the game relies on the scenarios and their mostly open deployment rules that allow a player to change history:

1939: The open ended nature of 1939 does much to make the game beloved. From the start Germany has options, but a ticking clock(new Russian units in 1942 and the entry of the USA) to work against. Once France is defeated the strategic possibilities blossom for Germany, with fronts in Turkey, Spain and a stronger North Africa adventure being just a few. In addition the British can choose alternate paths by concentrating their weight in one area. One session saw the British enter Greece and create a second front that took Bulgaria and Romania. Needless to say Germany did not last long.

1942: The race is on. Germany is strong but cannot sustain the war for long. I actually find this one dull, as Germany’s best option is to push for Moscow. I’m guessing there have been great 1942 sessions but I have yet to see or play one. If you have let me know.

1944: This may not seem fun but I find it rewarding. As Germany you must be creative in defense, while as the allies different strategies can be pursed such as landing in Greece, or invading France through Gascony or Calais. A great introductory scenario as both sides will learn most of the game basics except for diplomacy (a poorly explained component in the fourth edition rules)

Components (10 out of 10): For a 1970s AH game I’d say it is among the best, especially the map.

Originality (5 out of 5): It created a genre of World War II gaming that we all wonder about: what could Hitler, Churchill, FDR and Stalin have done differently?

Historical Quality (5 out of 5): The game wants you to rewrite history but it also conveys the period through many aspects. Here are a few:

Once France falls Britain is on her own and in dangerous territory.
An invasion of Britain via the sea is very difficult.
The Red Army before 1942 is big but awful.
Starting in 1942 Germany’s situation deteriorates.
Italy is fully outclassed by 1943.
British and American infantry units are highly mobile.

Overall (48 out of 50): After playing this game I did a session of Axis and Allies and found myself bored with the raw stupidity of the game. I guess if I’m going to set up pieces and play for a long period of time I’d prefer Rise and Decline of the Third Reich. While I love this game I really want to try out other strategic World War II games set in Europe. Any suggestions?
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Todd Pytel
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You could certainly give Advanced Third Reich (A3R) a try, and possibly A World At War. It's been a long time since I looked at the original 3R rules, but I don't recall A3R being particularly more difficult - certainly not if you've played 3R already. It also cleans up a lot of the rules problems and provides you with more variants and optional rules (Research, notably) if you want to go that way. A World At War (AWAW) takes the whole thing and expands it even more to cover the entire globe, incorporates and expands the optional A3R Research rules into the core game, and adds some more mechanics here and there. However, if you just want to play a straight-up ETO game without all the frills, there's a historical scenario for that which cuts out all the research/production/mobilization stuff and lets you concentrate on the basic military/economy/diplomacy stuff that you're familiar with from 3R. Both A3R and AWAW have very active PBEM communities as well as a very nice dedicated PBEM program - both can be found at http://www.warplanner.com. A3R can often be picked up pretty cheap on eBay, AWAW not so much.

The other two big grand strategy games would be Europe Engulfed and A World In Flames. EE is a block game that's supposed to do a bang-up job of covering the entire theater in what could be one long day's playing time. WiF is a monster game of incredible detail that few people seem to complete. I haven't played either.
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Dow Jones
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I have played Tr A3r and WiF, Of the three A3R is my pick. It adds some new rules cleans old ones and adds flavor to air to Air and ship combat.

World in flames is my next choice. larger scale and has many additions that add more planes and ships. Planes in Flames and ships in Flames. If going with WiF buy the classic edition. It has all you need to play.

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rick nichols
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Paul, I agree with your high rating of Third Reich. It is one of the best wargames of all time due to the variety of options available to each side, the balance, and the pure enjoyment. I don't have the time I used to, but I keep playing with the idea of trying to get a game together again soon.

I think that the 3rd edition of Third Reich is more playable and balanced than Advanced Third Reich.





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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Two games I've been looking at are Euro Front(I have EastFront I) and WW2: Barbarossa to Berlin (mostly because I'm a Paths of Glory fan).

I don't like the look of Europe Engulfed or the map(I prefer point to point and hex). Does the game have a serious diplomatic aspect?
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Steve R Bullock
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A friend of mine who loved this game gave me a copy. I opened it, looked at it, then placed it on a shelf to look at later.

I never did.

He came over one day weeks after he had given it to me, picked it up, blew the dust off of it (!) and said since I didn't like it he may as well give it to someone else. I said sure.

He never found anyone to give it to.

The game had a devoted following, but unless you were "really into it", the game was just too much.

I will take Axis and Allies any time.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Just for the record I'll play A&A: Pacific anytime.
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Mijjy B
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I would never malign this game, it is one of the classics I grew up with & have played more times than I can remember. The mechanics of it, despite the size of the rulebook, are quite simple as well & with 5 players it was easy to finish the campaign in a single sitting.

It was somewhat ruined with later versions though as it became more of a historical simulation than a game with things like "German player MUST attack Poland in Fall '39" one of my favourite sessions of the game was (when it was allowed) an immediate attack by Germany on the USSR.

The tactical factors that were introduced were pointless as well, ie, the threat of Italian naval any further than a popes blessing from Rome or fisherman's cast from Taranto was severely curtailed. The Baltic became a Germany's personal waterskiing lake as the USSR ships were no longer a threat, etc.

But the version before all this pointlessness was introduced?? It was a fantastic game, pity none of my regular gaming friends now are interested in such games, have to return to my home town & track down the person that introduced me to wargaming almost 20 years ago & see if he still plays, hehe.
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Brian and Holli Jones
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I am a 41 year old wargamer from the good old days. In my opinion the greatest wargame made to this day is 3rd reich. I find Axis and Allies to be the single dullest game about war ever invented. Stratego has more strategy. For example, in A&A the british fleet gets wacked on like turn one and is never a real factor ever again. That is about as historically acurate as aliens invading Europe during the war. So since A&A has no significance as a historical simulation then you have to judge it purely on itself as a table top game. To me it turns out to be a luck game with about as much strategy difficulty as Yatzee, but it lasts as long as playing like 30 Yatzee games. Not worth the time. (hell A&A does not even have French or Italian troops who were two of the most important nations in the war... simulation value of A&A about a 2 in a 10 point scale)

Whereas 3rd Reich as a simulation is brilliant, beyond brilliant, because it gives you all the same decisions as the great leaders of its day, accurately represents the economies during the war, handles changes in technology, tactics can be as important as strategy, makes minor countries matter, and is still very playable. Once you learn the rules, then the game flows like water in a stream. Sure the rules are somewhat challenging at first, but once you get them then they are easy to play.
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Justin S.
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Well, I read the rules (Im a 15 year old, a fan of A&A) and my mind was blown out by the rules. Too many "What's if's in the game." My brother doesn't like the cardboard peices, he only likes plastic minis, thus I have no one to play with. Alot of people my age now adays only like video games, no one likes game boards
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Tom Duensing
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A wonderful classic. I played a ton of 3R games and loved every minute of it. It was pretty easy to learn and the results seemed pretty accurate. I'm tempted to break this one out and play it again.
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Hi,

what about "Hitler's War (Avalon Hill)"?
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Ted Spencer
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Was wondering the same thing.
 
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Having played both 3R and WiF extensively, I would WiF any day of the week. 3R is limited imho by the naval rules, air rules, size of the map, and strategic warfare abstractions. The economic engine is quirky. I view it as a superceded classic--kinda like The Russian Campaign.
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