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The Big Board

Photo Essays, fun video of historic engagements, badly written narrative concerning those conflicts, its all here. The idea here guys is I want to record my experiences as we journey through the history of mans conflicts. We might learn something. Or we might just have precious time in the Man Cave.

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Returning to the fold! Combat Commander

Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Read & Watch at www.bigboardgaming.com
http://bigboardgaming.com/in-da-house-2/
See link for images:

“Guess whose back…tell a friend. Guess whose back,Guess whose back,Guess whose back..nah nah na..”..channeling Eminem for a moment there.

After selling off the final module of CC: Pacific to a chap, I went to Seattle and …well you likely know the story so here is the recap.

I asked to play CC with one of the competitors in the CC tormentor , I mean tournament and next thing I know I’m actually in the tournament and eventually in the final!

I think they let me win. I dunno why. Hmmm or maybe I do!
So upon my return I decided that this was going to be a game I press pretty hard with my kids. This was dynamic enough and tense enough to keep them engaged. Soooooo much better than solo play allowed me to believe!

2014-06-03 15.50.08

I wont even say what a sweet deal this is.


2014-06-03 15.51.21

Hell with it yes I will.

Clipped tastefully? – check!

Counter trays and fully punched? -check?

2014-06-03 15.52.17



Scenarios organized numerically? check!

tuck boxes for cards? -check!

ok, but are the cards sleeved? -BAM CHECK BABY~

Maps sorted numerically?- Hell to the yeah!

- Thanks to Jesse for a sweet deal and a surprisingly well cared for copy. This is the 2006 edition original with v 1.1 rules included from Med.

#winning

Oh and for shits and giggles I bought an overpriced copy of Force on Force – damn your eyes Chuck!

2014-06-03 15.57.47
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Wed Jun 4, 2014 5:30 am
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A C3i Treasure Trove

Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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http://wp.me/p3euWn-75VDt5 < See link for all images in article.
C3I TREASURE TROVE UNEARTHED!
MAY 28, 2014
Well you know me…well maybe you don’t.

So suffice to say that as I was trolling thru the C3i magazines to ensure I had ALL the bits and extras for Combat Commander….Yeah. Did I not tell you folks?

I recanted. Caved. Relented. Relapsed. I have just reacquired all of my recently sold (2012) Combat Commander modules for Europe.

After playing 4 face to face battles I love it! So who wants to play?… but I digress.2014-05-28 07.54.24

I kept finding cool new things to read and play! What an enormous distraction. it almost blew me off the rails yesterday. I started casting about looking for space to set up ‘quick games’ of Soviet Dawn, Lonato and Drive on Metz! I would settle in and start reading strategy articles on titles I now own. Grabbing the box, pulling out maps – “NO! I have to do some darn work today”I kept telling myself.

“It wont take long I told myself! Truly, you can cycle back to your ‘major’ games being experienced easily.” STOP!!!

Lets look at some of what I found.

First up all the goodies for Next War Korea! then articles and items for Asia Engulfed all recent additions to my GMT horde.




Then since my uber inexpensive bulk acquisition of all of Ben Hulls fabulous Musket & Pike system I can now play this little gem at some time!



A great article on Hellenes and more counters and errata stuff for my newly acquired Battle for Normandy!


The older system to Jours de Glorie- Triumph and Glory clocks in at a light 18 pages and we will mess with this a little to see if we can glean more insights regarding Napoleonic systems!

2014-05-27 12.12.56

So now we await the arrival of all the Combat Commander goodies. With scans of all the scenarios in place, the extra map and all the counters we are ready to indoctrinate the kids into CC this summer!

2014-05-28 09.27.50

Yes, my evil plan for them is – Combat Commander. I am going to insist on a game a week minimum, with a goal of having them playing together without me with ENTHUSIASM weekly by summers end!!

A trove indeed!
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Wed May 28, 2014 3:43 pm
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Quandry

Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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http://bigboardgaming.com/quandry/
QUANDRY

MAY 13, 2014
With NATO Division Commander wrapped up my table in my office is clear!

Now a first world problem. I am blessed with a plethora of games to choose from.

I have a few long term projects going right now, which is causing my pick a game tension level to rise and indecision motor to whir out of control! What to play next?

A summary of the series of articles I’m writing would briefly be: Chronological Walk Thru of WWII, Comparisons of Napoleonic tactical systems, Operational Art of War, and regular thematic Ancients efforts (see here) are the four biggies with side projects for various items, such as LNL’s Modern play and experiencing all of the WWIII titles I own. Help me out here!

This year I have played:

gameplay YTD_2014_May

Note: 17 sessions were from Feb at the Game On Con in Seattle.
Lets look at this in buckets to winnow things down.

The Chronological Walk Thru of WWII which is currently sitting sluggishly at Nov 12th 1941 is situated over in the Eastern Front with our monster play of Case Blue and Guderian’s Blitzkrieg II.

2014-05-10 18.36.59

Slow going, so we must continue but move to the next phase of WWII if we are to do another title. Anew title in the next phase of the war for me would likely be something in the December 6th time frame for the counter offensive and end of Op Barbarossa on the East Front.

Having completed a few plays of Strategic level Eastern Front titles (The Russian Campaign, The Dark Valley and Hitler Turns East), I am wondering if one more is in order?


Most of the actions/events in the time line that are coming up are focused on the Eastern Front in any case. We could look at perhaps Blitzkrieg 1941 from Command Magazine #1 (I finally found the rules summary and rules!). I do not own any operational medium to small sized games on Operation Typhoon or the Soviet Counter Offensive. Suggestions?

We played out the African Campaign segments in DAK II but not the discrete campaigns. I have funnily enough, very few titles on that theatre, so any gaming would likely be smaller scenarios played via Afrika II if at all? Does it even have smaller scenarios? Hmm.

I cannot attend to the war in the Pacific theatre yet as the only real conflicts that are playable are via War of the Suns for 1939 thru 1941. That rule book needs a re write, and as such it is not going on my table…yet. Which is a pity as on December 9th 1941 China declared war on Japan – Perfect timing.

bw_colorsuns

While we are on WWII, if we took some of the titles I own out of Chronological sequence, there are a few I am keen to get to; Ukraine ’44 and the Victory in the West System – Battle for the Rhine. I also did not own Fallshirmjager from the SCS series when I started this Walk Thru. That title would slot back nicely into our run thru with the fall of Holland as a focus!?!

Heck as a filler we could crank out some more Panzer! I am digging that game face to face.

Napoleonic Era:

IMG_1478
The examination of Aspern-Essling at the tactical level to understand which system I like the best at the Grand Tactical scale has been aborted as neither Vae Victus nor NLB from the OSG company work for me. A chap on BGG suggested I use someone’s third party modifications, but the barrier to entry seem high.

So I am planning to play Talavera from Clash of Arms La Batielle series and contrast it to NBS from The Gamers. The only hesitation in starting is the amount of work require to ‘uplift’ this CoA title to current standards.

While we are in Napoleonic era titles I have a yearning for a play of Prado’s Beyond Waterloo and Zuckers Le Guerre, for which I have skim read the rules.

2014-01-25 10.46.24

American Revolution

In the same vein but a little further along the time line the Paper Wars magazine game Rockets Red Glare appears to be a fairly straight forward game, but some of the errors that have slipped thru are worrisome. This might be a good reason to check in and see what the latest is on that game as far as updates are concerned.

Strategic-Tactical Linkages:

Some of you may have seen the efforts to develop battles for GBoH from A Most Dangerous Time, and Hannibal Rome v Carthage and Hellenes, however with Hoplite out, I feel like a bit of a sinner NOT playing the scenarios given by it first! This project I think shall hit the back burner for a while.We have Hoplite which I would love to play again….maybe Plataea?

empires of the world

Modern Wars:

021314_1938_TechnicalDi1.jpg

Last years top ten things to get done in 2014 also included playing all the Lock’n Load modern scenarios. I have made a small start on that with ANZAC Attack, but need to get things in chronological order and make a commitment.

2013-07-18 20.05.23

That said taking things out of order and playing the Day of Heroes campaign would be so awesome I might pee my pants. I just read Blackhawk Down for the first time this spring, and played a scenario recently.

Niggling in the background I have the climax of my Space Infantry campaign to do and re draft. It has been so much fun, I love having a consistent character to write about. So much so in fact that I think that I want to try doing the same thing with Ambush! Perhaps a wrap up of SI and a start on Ambush! is in order?

IMG_2099

Other WWIII themes:

FIFTH Corps/Hof Gap /BAOR combined? I have a rough grasp of the rules, and it would fulfill part of my desire to get thru some of the 30+ WWIII themed titles I have. I’m holding off on GDW’s classic as there maybe a chance to do that in a group setting.

2014-05-10 12.10.38

As an aside I’m passing on the whole Next War Korea thing. A bust. The game is just not believable in how those bad ass Commie armies are so tough rifle for rifle.

AirLand Battle is unpunched on my shelf. Is this a crime? I have heard so many good things about it. A new rule book though and likely some time before I could pop it on the table.

American Civil War:

Line of Battle would be a new system and is huge, but there are a couple of smaller scenarios that would allow me to get my feet wet in an era I have zero exposure to. This title is worth considering for some game play.

For that matter Victory Games Civil War sits unplayed also! This title I am told is easy to pick up especially with the newer rules, but it would require a fresh start.

Musket and Pike Era?

Speaking of systems…. I have flirted with Musket & Pike twice, but not absorbed it or internalized it as much as I would like to. Surely it must figure somewhere in the next to play?

2014-04-20 22.37.20

New Systems:

GTS beckons! I have been eyeing Ty’s videos as a fast start for me on Devils Cauldron. I really want to learn more about this series and work out if I want to make the investment. Perhaps I can do a learner scenario of this title to whet the appetite?

Unconditional Surrender is staring hard at me too, but I cant see my self punching and clipping it yet, no appetite for that bad boy just yet.

My bud Itinerant Hobbyist sent me a copy of GMT’s Caucus campaign, I’d love to do that, but its going to require a really good rule reading first. The game has lots of nuance here on movement modes, and a few other things, which surprised me.

The Campaign Commander Punic Isle; or Coral Sea look like really interesting thoughtful systems. That might be a nice novelty to try as it is out of the box thinking all around.

2014-02-23 09.45.43

Well….shoot that was a core dump if ever I saw it.

I guess we could run a poll?
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Tue May 13, 2014 6:41 pm
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Game On! the Seattle game con 2014. Part 1.

Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Read & Watch at www.bigboardgaming.com
http://bigboardgaming.com/a-well-thought-out-post-con-report...
Full story with images on the link above.
The decision to wait on posting about the 2nd con I have ever been to is an easy one. I should really wait. Put my thoughts on paper. Gather my emotions up, recover, and reflect on the aspects that most mattered to me.

Pull together cohesive thoughts and impressive cogent arguments for cons, the people who play them and the way they are handled…..Screw that. Instead here is what went down.

2014-02-05 21.55.30

I arrived a day early so I could conduct some meetings and get reacquainted with Jeff Newell, Pete Gade and Ralph Shelton. Good news! Jeff is still this happy little bear, Pete is still a insightful funny guy and Ralph is still a dick. So all is well!

This year I was on a mission to experience new games, see how people play games I already play and capture the goings on in my head.

Wednesday seems like a blurry week ago already. We set up OaO (1914 from GMT), OCS The Blitzkrieg Legend, and got in a quick game of Lock’n Load.


The LNLP people show me all the production copy of Forgotten Heroes, the non gloss map format. The perfectly cut counters from it and ANZAC Attack. They also shared the production copies of Heart of Darkness and Nuklear Winter ’68. All looked amazing, easy to read rule booklets (a fix) and well done. I did note that the Chaplain rules were missing from the box, but they intend to rectify that.

2014-02-05 18.44.37

I played two rounds of Heroes of the Pacific with Mark Walker, exploring some of the new rules and scenarios for the Pacific Theatre. It never ceases to amaze me how tight he makes these darn things, yet keeps the strong historical flavor.

2014-02-05 18.46.56

Am I re instating my order? Probably and most certainly for ANZAC Attack, that thing is chock full of scenarios. Note it is a straight reprint + extra counters.

I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Vance Strickland! We played Nations at War – Desert Heat. Totally different feel for NaW vs WaW. While the same system the weapons platforms are chalk and cheese.

Good fun, amazing counter art and work on the boards.

2014-02-07 09.24.04

Took a beat down here, but enjoyed working on the VP conditions. OCs got into full swing Thursday.

2014-02-06 13.22.16At the same time I was player/coaching Panzer, with what ended up being 5 of us. About 6 turns were accomplished with lots of explanatory pauses. Panzer was the more involved game for the day, making sure you were teaching correctly, and not letting your forces be attrition shot away. This meeting engagement had everyone shouting, hooting and hollaring at results as King Tigers popped, Hand to Hand combat was explored and Soviet monster tank killers brewed up.

All that time a Hunters Tournament was raging. With a dozen or more guys competing and cheering each other on to sink more tonnage, blow up Capital ships and avoid air strikes and escorts. At one point several Kommandants played well into the wee hours of the morning with an illegal bottle of Makers Mark! Where is the Schnapps!! I played one round to get a hang for the system. My efforts were less than stellar. One event in 7 checks in Spain. The “HUGE” freighter weighed 1100 tonnes. , I shot I missed and then got one hit. The escort chasing it was aggressive but I shoo’ed him off. At that point some other things were happening that needed attention. By late that night the humor was evident in my Goose Egg. I elected to keep it that way.



The Battle for Normandy was in full swing, the poor guys playing La Bat – Leipzig managed just 3 hours elapsed game time over 4 days…..apparently too cautious play by Napoleon! Totaler Krieg and Dai Senso were linked and war was waged amongst the Zombicide players and Axis & Allies fan…yes 1 poor soul could find no one to play A&A.

I found listening to people talk about their games they were playing was really cool. OCS players Art, Matthew, Steve and Bill recalling past games or reviewing areas of weak play as they stood at 1am pondering the next days play. Hearing someone explain their approach to a game, in terms of key terrain areas to monitor, cards to look for was excellent also.

Another aspect I enjoyed was hanging with designers and developers, listening to their stories, their challenges and what motivated them to create.

Mark Simonitch & I had lunch to explore his past gaming designs, the genesis of Hannibal : Rome v Carthage

2014-02-09 12.19.36

“I stole it from Herman’s title”. Simple enough. He and Mark Herman had discussed what period would work best for the game and some nice refinements to the battle system evolved. Mark went on to discuss map art, his recent release France ’40, (which received some decent play time at the con) and also shared a little about his planned re make of Ukraine ’43.

Mark was one of the friendliest ‘names’ at the con and I enjoyed his company a lot.

Day turned to night and the mood intensifies, people look at game tracks and VPs. How much of this game will they finish? But all in a sense of desire to ‘see the monster done’.

Folks tour the rooms, admire games, ask questions, find ad hoc opponents. Some pc software game designers were in attendance learning a couple of games in stealth mode for future development!

Speaking of PC games….I played some Heroes of Stalingrad. OMG. IT is FREAKING AWESOME…but more on that later.

The Combat Commander tournament was on. I had really wanted to play just one game face to face to see what the fuss was all about since solo really was not much fun.

The price of admission is that I had to play in the tournament. Ugh. I’d rather have a broken tooth…oh thats right I do.. Darn it.

So I squared off with my opponent, let him choose sides, and as the Brits hunkered down to defend the warehouse or something in Arnhem.

2014-02-07 22.19.07

Poor guy I had so many questions for him, I think his eyes bled. After taking his advice on ‘where’ to place a Heavy MG reinforcement (a logic non gamey spot near his advancing forces…I was thinking down the road in the open.), his Germans promptly stormed into the Building!

The one card I knew that would be good in this situation was Mines, and of course the Ambush card. I laid that on his Nazi’s. They broke like a ginger snap dunked in a hot cuppa tea!

With his Left flank eviscerated it was time for that Flame thrower to get to work.

Now as the defender I wanted the clock to run out, and I wanted to see the additional VPs for each turn. I did not want him to capture any of the VP locations. My margin was high on VP’s but a silly mistake could cost the game. I need to get the flamethrower going. I jammed thru cards rapidly.

Shortly there after, several fireteams were smouldering, as the unit went to work. On the last Leader casualty check the German flipped time! A 12! Men died and we hit sudden death. Sweet!

Game over.

2014-02-08 12.44.56

My 2nd scenario on Saturday was a foggy one, and required the movement in recon to gain points. The men moved too slow. The sun burned too bright and my boys were crushed. A very tense game and a lot of fun as the opponents I faced helped me enough to be competent!

Pete Gade and I played a superb game of Lock’n Load set in Vietnam. Replicating part of the battle known as Arizona. Where a listening post and fireteams must stop a night patrol from passing thru.

The Vietnamese forces dodged and weaved, back track and scrambled but could still only manage 8 of the 12 VPs required for a win, but they gave their all on the field. There was no beating Peters depth of defense, star shells and octagon of death pink 1d6.


More coming…
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Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:33 am
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Chits, Chats and Cats

Kev.
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Austin
Texas
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Mon Dec 9, 2013 3:22 pm
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Wargamer Detective

Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Thu Dec 5, 2013 4:04 pm
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Nov-Dec Catchup

Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Read & Watch at www.bigboardgaming.com


A Distant Plain
Space Infantry: New Worlds
Battle of the Bulge
as well as a chat about what ever else is going on!
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Wed Dec 4, 2013 12:54 am
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Operational Art of War.

Kev.
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Austin
Texas
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Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:11 pm
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DAK2

Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Thoughts on the process, and what went on in this theatre.
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Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:19 am
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    AVD & PGG Side by Side.

    Kev.
    United States
    Austin
    Texas
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    Link with images

    When I first thought to play these two titles side by side I imagined that the effort would be nominal and that I would indeed literally play turn about. One turn for AVD, then one for PGG.

    That idea is not a good one! Keeping the rules straight and being able to 'invest' in the mechanics of each game was lost in that process.

    So I elected to play each separately. I am glad I did. In fact I was able to play AVD both solo and versus a VASSAL opponent. This dramatically changes the experience for AVD.

    PGG, was a little different, lining up a player locally was not really an option given the time frame and I had a desire to try this one alone first in any case. There is something about games declared "classic" that I want to experience by myself first off then perhaps with another player, at a later date. Most games, especially new ones I like to play for the first time with someone who is also playing for the first time. I like the Ahaaaa moments, and the oh boy this is great...or broken..or whatever. Playing with a person who has 'worked the strategy', especially with CDG's bugs the crud....well never mind. I digress.

    There is a wonderfully long and rich article online regarding PGG, its back ground, details, rules, and game play. I'll post a link to it. the articles are worth a read for first time players.



    So let's look at scale first off. Both games use similar map sizes but the scale is clearly different. The PGG hexes are stated to be 15kms per hex. There is no similar statement on the AVD title. But if we look at the two maps more closely we can see some key differences. I laid both maps over the current topography of the area and the came out pretty close. So despite this little reorientation they represent reality.



    Yes, the orientation of the battle map is different. Note also that in AVD it includes Minsk at one end, and Moscow environs at the other whereas the PGG map has neither but stretches further North and South.



    Both maps take some liberties with roads, and where forest and rail are in actuality. Most can be forgiven as design for effect efforts. While I am ok with this I wonder just how much designers tweak the map versus a rules clause to inhibit or enhance for terrain. Both pay a price I suppose. In fact AVD has no rail, and thus avoiding the manipulated rail line that PGG uses which wanders around to absorb MP's. AVD simply allows units to 'enter' at various locations, of which most would have been rail linked.

    It is interesting in AVD too, that you start the conflict 25% of the way into the map in set positions, whereas all the Germans move on the map in PGG, after the Soviets move from the Western most map edge to defensive positions. This really evokes the feeling of a defensive mobile battle, with Panzers streaming onto the board as the Soviets scramble to create a defense under difficult circumstances. Where as the AVD title feels like a set piece battle, moving to break out mode.



    The other scale difference is time. The AVD title stretches from July 10th in weekly increments for a maximum of 10 weeks, more likely 8. PGG is a shorter scale 2 days per turn starting 3rd-4th of July and running 12 turns. or 28 days, making for a very intense conflict in a very short period of time. You can hear the trucks fizzling to a stop, and clips emptying!



    The maps both evoke a sense of spartan play. While the color palette on AVD is richer, the stripped down essence of the game is apparent. Of course our older title is done in the mold of the SPI magazine titles art de jour. PGG is simple, effective and pragmatic. It has a beauty all of its own despite the simpleness. I prefer the SPI map as it has less reflection and is generally easier to read. AVD tries to hard to be 'eastern front soil brown', a distinct improvement over the horrid colors of AVL, but nevertheless you are left feeling sepia toned! I think MMP can retire that ink color now....

    Units both work at similar scales Regiments and Divisions. AVD has the annoying counter art, while PGG has the droll red v grey monastic NATO symbols.

    Play mechanics, systems and thingys:

    Chit Pull and Command Control.

    The first major difference is one that brings such a change to the situation as to make comparison difficult. Clearly an IGOUGO situation is going to feel less dynamic than the random drawing of command chits for each side. AVD uses chits to manage a few things.

    Firstly it limits how much the Soviets can do every turn, but ties in command and control and supply elements to the chits also. If the Soviet player keeps tight management of his HQ units (from which we measure command range and activation based upon the chits pulled) then he can move many of his units every turn. Far flung play, or chasing down rogue Germans will cause the Soviet player CnC headaches rapidly.

    The second element is that Supply is a chit pull. Thus if it is pulled early, and both sides are well placed then the Soviets are likely to have a harder time of it, however they do then have the ability to declare a certain number of units of the enemy OOS for the turn. A devastating blow early in a turn to the Axis player.



    The flip side is that as the turn progress, each side is deep in its move or perhaps part the way thru and bam – there is the supply chit, FUBAR'ing one or the other or sometime s both parties. Soviets are never OOS, just isolated with lesser impact. The third element in chit pull is the ability tied to command and control for Guderian to 'hot swap' a chit for his 2nd Corp Panzers to move again. Very powerful and adds an edge to the Germans, that if well managed can allow deep penetration or if the chit pulls come right they can exploit early efforts. The downside here is supply, and isolation. The German player has a limited # of units he can move every turn and a lot of terrain to cover.



    In the IGOUGO model we have some interesting things going on as well. For the Germans have a classic second movement phase that provides a similar punch to units as discussed above. While no combat can occur, if well used the Panzers may change direction or maneuver to limit Soviet reaction in their turn or hinder any counterattack.

    ZOCS



    The games diverge here also. ZOCs are more than sticky in PGG. Once you enter one, you stop. For good. Only 3 events remove you from the eZOC. 1. The enemy dies, 2. You retreat or 3. They retreat. So the decision to enter a eZOC especially as the Germans when you may not know the strength of the enemy is potentially fraught with danger. In a fluid game however, the adroit usage of lower value units to 'lock' Soviets in place, or conversely force combat with precious but fragile Panzer formations makes thoughtful play a must.



    AVD on the other hand allows units to pay extra for the movement thru eZOCs. Standard fair in many of todays games. This places the onus on the Soviet player to ensure interwoven ZOCs to absorb MP's for passing thru the ZOC.

    Untried Units



    Both games use untried unit concepts. The PGG solution being a first of its kind, is stunning to me. All Soviet units fall within a given range, and what they are is unknown to both sides until the battle takes place. There has been controversy and extended discussion over 0 combat value units, with some folks insisting a house rule to make all 0's equal 1 in defense. Untried units arrive in AVD via pulls from a cup as part of the reinforcement pool. A nice touch and a nod to the PGG system, while giving the Soviet player just a tad more control in an already dynamic situation.

    Supply



    In AVD supply is asymmetrical. The Germans can be both OOS and isolated whereas the Soviets can only ever be isolated and may never die from that isolation. PGG is more brutal, it's a 20 hex or 20mp count back to the one road leading west off map. If that is cut, you are toast. In fact ignoring that my first play, I had a debacle and had to reset.

    Movement

    The dual movement of the Germans in PGG, versus the PGG 'hot swap' a chit for 2nd Panzer are 2 very different mechanics that really change how each German player in each game approaches the game. Knowing you have a second move each turn allows you to plan ahead. Not being sure WHEN that second move will come or IF you should take it makes for challenging decisions cycles at various points in the flow of a turn.

    Combat



    Lets face it…..AVD playing the Soviets, you are not attacking unless you get extremely high odds. So expect to take a beating all game. The CRT using a 1d8 versus a 1d6 for the Germans limits the Soviet options to isolated units, and massed attacks, at the expense of an already thin set of inter woven ZOCS!

    Whereas in PGG the Soviets can attack once they know the unit strengths. Sometimes with surprisingly good results. Similarly the Germans pack a punch, complete divisions acting in concert are doubled, and column shifts apply for various modifiers. It is interesting to note that AVD used column shifts as a well versus die roll mods. The Russians have incentives to kill tank units and get in the fight as losing one unit from a division removes the doubling bonus.

    VC's



    AVD with it lineage tied to PGG uses a similar VP metric for its final result; with a twist. Where the PGG players are battling for VPs captured across the board in a straight open count, AVD uses a hidden VC value per city graded at 3 diffeent levels of potential value + points for killing each other's tank units. Results can vary widely. I encourage you to not even look at the value of the chits in AVD, and have at it. Otherwise you will be working percentages the entire time, to no avail until the counters are flipped at games end.

    Which is better?

    Neither. Given my dislike for A Victory Lost, I was pleasantly surprised about AVD. Playing both solo and via PBeM really was a blast. For all the talk of Spartan gaming by disgruntled designers, I really think that AVD shines where it matters most, more on that in a second. Rules are errata free that I know of, whilst not 'perfect' they are succinct and well documented. The map and counters are good but not awesome, and the game clearly honors its roots.

    AVD shines most in 2 key areas – chaos and decision making. By this I mean that while at the end of each turn, you may swipe your brow and thank the stars you got away with another turn, you then tighten up again as you elect which chits to take, looking at the board, wondering if you moved that HQ to just the right spot. All the while not knowing if the enemy will move first, and second and third? Or whether or not your plans will be dashed by the Air /Arty /Supply or reinforcement chit pulls. This makes for lots of replay value and intense experiences.

    PGG is a classic for a reason. In an era of new designs and a new market growing from the seeds of Avalon Hill, this SPI magazine game blew open the doors with innovative mechanics, unknown units, and clever game structure. Its rules are also clean, precise and organized. The replay value is high, but perhaps not as high as AVD. The production quality in some regards is better. No shininess, very clear maps, the focus is on game play. Remember this is a magazine game! Here the thoughtfulness in the way ZOCs are used, the exploit move phase, and combat systems really make PGG a game that once you understand the little system, it has a real nice 'groove to it' especially as the German player. The Soviets as in AVD, must hang on, preserve force, trade space for time and prevent that massive breakthrough.

    Two very different experiences in two compelling games separated by decades from 1976 (Jim Dunnigan) to 2009 (Adam Starkweather). One is a classic now; one might earn that mantle in the future.


    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/31954/a-victory-denie...

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3041/panzergruppe-gud...
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    Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:18 am
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