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Subject: Don't Stop Believing - a review of TitE rss

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Alan Emrich
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Honestly, I'm still confused between strategic, operational, and monster wargames, sometimes... Man..
Grand strategic, strategic, operational, grand tactical, and tactical all describes game SCALES. The scale of the game is measured in time (how much time each turn represents), distance (how much each space or other measures of distance represents), and unit aggregation (how much stuff does each piece represent.

So, when you're playing a Grand Strategic game, you're moving armies, fleets, air forces, starfleets, etc., moving vast distances at a time measured in months, seasons, years or decades, and conquering continents, worlds, solar systems, etc. Big stuff. When you move that Army counter, that could be a quarter-million souls represented by the fate of that one unit.

For a tactical game you're looking through the other end of the telescope. Each unit is a guy or few, time is measured in seconds or minutes, distance is it meters... you get the idea.

"Monster" games refer to their physical size, their "bigness." That is, they generally take up two or more regular size game tables.
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Alan Emrich
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Sir Alan, is TitE Vassal a full game, or I need to pay for full game
For now, you get the whole enchilada and it's free.
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Terry Lewis
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Imaginary Star wrote:
TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
Imaginary Star wrote:
Mr. Lewis, when I was talking about the game's scope I was speaking with an eye towards the overall grand plan of the series - a mammoth unified grand map of all Europe and some outlying territories.

TitE's maps will not even be a quarter of the eventual grand composite map.

But, it appears that Alan did bring out the fact that SPI's game will still be comparable in size to the ETO's grand campaign, so I stand corrected there.

Any recommendations for "operational simulations with smaller units and fewer miles per hex, even fewer than the Europa Series"? Sounds like you have a wealth of wargame suggestions up those sleeves of yours.

Thanks for the kind words, Alek! I wouldn't know where to begin with recommendations -- most of my 300+ simulations are operational in scale. Check out my BGG profile page, both the written profile and my list of games. The big categories are Napoleonic, WWI, and WWII, but lots in other eras as well -- they run the gamut from ancient to WWII.

Check out Eric Walter's BGG profile page and fantastic collection [ for example start with --
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1195258/building-wargame-wa... ]. Also see the BGG profile pages and collections of M St [Markus SHUMPTER]and Jason Cawley -- you can pick up their BGG profile pages from their posts in this thread -- https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1984437/what-driving-philos....

tml
My preference, first and foremost, goes to games that are most pleasant to play solitaire. Does that narrow it down any?
Nope!!! I'm almost exclusively a solo player these days!! shake
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jupiter999 wrote:
Imaginary Star wrote:
I would describe it as more of a grand operational level wargame. Close to strategic level, but it’s soul is still operational.


Strategic one would be something like Unconditional Surrender - there you run the whole faction, allocate all resources of the nation, and make decisions that visibly alter situation on the globe.

TitE belongs to the class of “monster wargames”, and while it does make a solid effort to streamline rules for the sake of fuidity and greater playability, it also aims to grow into a combined massive campaign that would dwarf all other games of its class.
Honestly, I'm still confused between strategic, operational, and monster wargames, sometimes... shake Man...
Imaginary Star wrote:

As such, I struggle to call this a game for non-wargamers... ‘tis game aims to be the wargamiest wargame of them all.

I don’t mean to scare you away, but make sure you understand what you are getting into. Monster wargames are not the faint of heart, and require a commitment.
I'll try the Vassal version if it clicks for me or not
See my comments on tactical, operational, and strategic simulations on my BGG profile page.
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Alan Emrich wrote:
Grand strategic, strategic, operational, grand tactical, and tactical all describes game SCALES. The scale of the game is measured in time (how much time each turn represents), distance (how much each space or other measures of distance represents), and unit aggregation (how much stuff does each piece represent.

So, when you're playing a Grand Strategic game, you're moving armies, fleets, air forces, starfleets, etc., moving vast distances at a time measured in months, seasons, years or decades, and conquering continents, worlds, solar systems, etc. Big stuff. When you move that Army counter, that could be a quarter-million souls represented by the fate of that one unit.

For a tactical game you're looking through the other end of the telescope. Each unit is a guy or few, time is measured in seconds or minutes, distance is it meters... you get the idea.

"Monster" games refer to their physical size, their "bigness." That is, they generally take up two or more regular size game tables.
Well this is good stuff. Better understanding definitely.

Alan Emrich wrote:
Quote:
Sir Alan, is TitE Vassal a full game, or I need to pay for full game
For now, you get the whole enchilada and it's free.
OMG, I learn new word from you yet again this time: "enchilada" wow
By the way, thanks for the Vassal TitE. Just awesome.
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
See my comments on tactical, operational, and strategic simulations on my BGG profile page.
OMG, your profile is like novel
I'll get my coffee while reading them laugh
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:

My preference, first and foremost, goes to games that are most pleasant to play solitaire. Does that narrow it down any?

Nope!!! I'm almost exclusively a solo player these days!! shake
Surely, not all your games are capable of providing an equally wholesome solitaire experience? You must have preferences, sir! Show us those hidden gems!
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We're having fun talking about the size of the game, and the projected size of the ETO series, but I wouldn't want to unnecessarily scare off people, so I'll offer this observation:

The game is physically quite large but I wouldn't call Thunder in the East played standalone (as opposed to ETO all linked together) a "monster" game. In particular the counter density is actually quite manageable. A good ol' single map classic like The Russian Campaign is corps level formations for the Germans, army level formations for the Soviets. In TitE formations can build-up and breakdown but it still seems to be nominally centered around corps/army level scale. For example the Germans can assemble corps into armies or breakdown corps into divisions. I haven't played the game yet, but in practice, I'm expecting early in the war when the Germans can afford to be assembled into larger formations, that means TitE, unit-wise, is at a larger scale than some single map treatments! Similarly, in the late war years, I'm expecting the Soviets will be able to form into large formations again keeping counter density low.

I just thought I'd point the above out given mentions of War In Europe and Drang Nach Osten, both of which I owned, played, and have fond memories of, but are true "monsters" with division level units (and in DNO's case a multitude of ant units, all the way down to battalion level I seem to recall ... hence the game's towering stacks).
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Oh ... I got 30 seconds into my unboxing and have this observation:

Alan! ... how did that choice of font size for the rulebook get by you? I can read it, but I can feel it fatiguing my eyes. That size font is what I expect to see for a footnote (or maybe a footnote to a footnote) but not for the main body text.
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rayofsunshine wrote:
Oh ... I got 30 seconds into my unboxing and have this observation:

Alan! ... how did that choice of font size for the rulebook get by you? I can read it, but I can feel it fatiguing my eyes. That size font is what I expect to see for a footnote (or maybe a footnote to a footnote) but not for the main body text.
I don’t know what you mean...
http://gph.is/1xQRLsL
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Terry Lewis
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Imaginary Star wrote:
TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:

My preference, first and foremost, goes to games that are most pleasant to play solitaire. Does that narrow it down any?

Nope!!! I'm almost exclusively a solo player these days!! shake
Surely, not all your games are capable of providing an equally wholesome solitaire experience? You must have preferences, sir! Show us those hidden gems!
Alek, I'm something of an "omnivore" when it comes to historical conflict simulations ["war games"]. I like a variety of different approaches to the same topic or conflict -- its like reading several books by different authors on the same topic -- each brings their own perspective, and the more one reads, the more one understands the overall complexity and depth of the issue.

As I note on my BGG profile page, I am very selective about my game acquisitions [for a variety of reasons which I explain]. Which means, among other things, that if its in my collection I really like it!!! There are some older games that I keep primarily for nostalgic reasons, but I still might give them a whirl. For example, I will never set up all of SPI's War in Europe again, but I might set up a 1941 scenario of War in the East.

One of the sections in my BGG profile has a discussion about my favorite level of play [operational] and compares it with tactical and strategic simulations. In each category I list some of my favorites as examples. Those lists don't have my newer acquistions, but they show the "families" of games that I like. After checking this discussion out you can then look at my list of games for all the titles ["Collection Summary" -- right hand column on profile page]. You will see clear family lines such as David Schroder's [SPW] WWI Der Weltkrieg Series, Ted Raicer's Clash of Giant series, MMP's SC, OCS, and BCS series, multiple sims from GMT, Napoleonic gems [and series] from Didier Rouy [[Vive l'Empereur! Series], Walter Vejdovsky [Eagles series], Richard Berg's Triump and Glory Series, and many more!!


Basically, if a simulation won't work as a solo game, its not in my collection!!

Cheers!
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jupiter999 wrote:
TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
See my comments on tactical, operational, and strategic simulations on my BGG profile page.
OMG, your profile is like novel
I'll get my coffee while reading them laugh
It grew over time!! Issues and ideas just kept bubbling up over a couple of years or so.

Now I try not to add new sections, but merely update what is already there.

We'll see how that goes! shake
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
[q="Imaginary Star"][q="TCLCATSPAW8MCHS"]
Basically, if a simulation won't work as a solo game, its not in my collection!!

Cheers!

Thoughts on MMP's Last Blitzkrieg (2016)? Aside from its historical naivete (and an absurd 88" full map!), it seems to garner unusual near-universal praise and seems exactly like your cup'o'tea.
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Terry Lewis
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Imaginary Star wrote:
TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
[q="Imaginary Star"][q="TCLCATSPAW8MCHS"]
Basically, if a simulation won't work as a solo game, its not in my collection!!

Cheers!

Thoughts on MMP's Last Blitzkrieg (2016)? Aside from its historical naivete (and an absurd 88" full map!), it seems to garner unusual near-universal praise and seems exactly like your cup'o'tea.
Alek, MMP's Last Blitzkrieg (2016) is one of the simulations that I subscribe to on BGG because I have an interest in the topic and like to read what others have to say about it. I have not acquired it for my collection because it seems a bit too "monsterish" for me these days, along with "It Never Snows." So, I have no personal experience or opinion on LB or INS. However, the dimensions of all four LB maps laid out are 68" x 44" [four standard 22" x 34" maps].

Besides, I already have the following on the topic:

Bastogne: Screaming Eagles Under Siege, 18-27 Dec ’44 [SCS]; 2008; MMP; Dean Essig; Nicolás Eskubi.

Battles of the Bulge: Celles [The Ardennes: December 23-27, 1944]; 2012; Revolution Games (II); Roger Miller / Artist: Mark Mahaffey.

Wacht am Rhein: The Battle of the Bulge, 16/12/44 to 2/1/45 (grand tactical simulation); 1977; SPI; Joseph M. Balkoski; Jim Dunnigan; R. A. Simonsen. [a" true Monster"]
https://boardgamegeek.com/image/3378880/tclcatspaw8mchs


Post Script (Edit): Two other "Bulge" sims are on my potential "wish list" and rate way above either LB or INS as potential acquisitions -- no decisions made so far:

Bitter Woods (Designer Edition); 2014; Compass Games; Designers Randy Heller & B. Sinigaglio / Artists David Pentland & Mark Simonitch. [2 maps].

Ardennes '44; 2nd 2012; GMT; Designers Tony Curtis & Mark Simonitch / Artists Rodger B. MacGowan & Mark Simonitch. [2 maps]


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Alan Emrich
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Alan! ... how did that choice of font size for the rulebook get by you? I can read it, but I can feel it fatiguing my eyes. That size font is what I expect to see for a footnote (or maybe a footnote to a footnote) but not for the main body text.
Sure, I wanted larger print, but we really didn't want a larger rules book. The compromise was to put the .pdf of the rules out there and then everyone can make the print as large as they want.
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Terry Lewis
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Alan Emrich wrote:
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Alan! ... how did that choice of font size for the rulebook get by you? I can read it, but I can feel it fatiguing my eyes. That size font is what I expect to see for a footnote (or maybe a footnote to a footnote) but not for the main body text.
Sure, I wanted larger print, but we really didn't want a larger rules book. The compromise was to put the .pdf of the rules out there and then everyone can make the print as large as they want.
Great concept, Alan!! I wish this would happen a lot more often -- like with every game published!! As an educator and avid reader, I always encouraged my students to interact with their books by underlining and writing in the margins -- there was data to show that this helped many people understand and remember material. So, to this day [even as a retired professor], I am a chronic "underliner" and marginal note guy in non-fiction books and the rules for my war games. But I don't want to mess up the original rules that come with an historical conflict simulation ["war game"]. PDFs of rules are perfect for someone like me!

The ready availability of a PDF of the rules is also another factor in the plus category to potentially add a simulation to my collection.

Thanks, Alan!

TML [a "war gamer" for 50+ years]
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:


Great concept, Alan!! I wish this would happen a lot more often -- like with every game published!! As an educator and avid reader, I always encouraged my students to interact with their books by underlining and writing in the margins -- there was data to show that this helped many people understand and remember material. So, to this day [even as a retired professor], I am a chronic "underliner" and marginal note guy in non-fiction books and the rules for my war games. But I don't want to mess up the original rules that come with an historical conflict simulation ["war game"]. PDFs of rules are perfect for someone like me!

The ready availability of a PDF of the rules is also another factor in the plus category to potentially add a simulation to my collection.

Thanks, Alan!

TML [a "war gamer" for 50+ years]
It is perfectly sensible - if you are not actively interacting with the material you are reading (or listening to) you are getting only a fraction of what you could be getting.

Further, the fact that you feel complleled to interact with the material is clear evoidence of your complete engagement with it.
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Alan Emrich wrote:
Oh, dear. If you really want to "see the elephant" of where we see the table footprint for this series and every envisioned expansion, this article explains it all (and should scare away the faint-hearted): https://www.victorypointgames.com/blog/etos-combined-tableto...
Alan, I HAVE COPIED A PORTION OF YOUR ABOVE NOTED QUOTE FROM 10/3/18 -- READERS SHOULD DEFINITELY FOLLOW YOUR LINK, & READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE -- THE PICS ARE GREAT AS WELL:

"Volume I: Thunder in the East

The first volume of the Frank Chadwick’s ETO series, Thunder in the East, has the distinction of “anchoring” the maps for the entire series. Designer Frank Chadwick pushed, turned, nudged, and angled his Big Picture vision of the grand ETO series map layout before carving out a nearly-square plot of land (2 Full Sheets on the upper and lower left side plus 2 Half Squares on the upper and lower right side) these would become the maps for Thunder in the East.

And you will notice that every hex of the combined maps is individually numbered. Stockholm is hex 7226 (72 columns from the leftmost map edge and 26 hexes down from the top row of hexes) and Stalingrad is hex B652 for a reason! (And, yes, we started plugging letters in for a pair’s first digit after it rolled over 99.) So, in case you were wondering, we have given these maps a lot of forethought.

By using 2 Full Size maps to cover the majority of the action in the northwest and southwest sections, and abutting them with 2 Half Square Maps along their eastern edge, the map area for Thunder in the East is about 50” x 44” and fits on 2 Game Tables with room to spare for charts and mats.

Given the popularity of the Russian Front in WWII wargaming, this is a very nice configuration."

xxxxxxxxxxxx

Alan, I am upgrading my game room this winter with a new game storage cabinet with vault and removable top. The dimesions of the playing surface in the vault [51.5" x 46.5"] will accomodate TitE. My current gaming table is 36" x 72", and the new gaming table, which might not be finished this winter, will also have a vault with removable top -- the basic outside dimensions will be 53" x 72", and it will be expandable [with vault and removable tops] to both 60" x 72", and 72" x 72". The new gaming cabinet and new gaming table will be the same height so that they could be set up end to end: 120" long. Still not big enough for the entire ETO project. However, I am one of those who prefers to set up single conflicts like TitE rather than the "whole enchilada" as noted in your article!!!

So, even though the whole project is BIG [like SPI's WIE and GDW's Europa Series, or David Schroder's SPW WWI Der Weltkrieg Series], one need not set up the whole thing to enjoy the parts!!!! The Big Picture ["Elephant"] should not scare anyone away!
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:

So, even though the whole project is BIG [like SPI's WIE and GDW's Europa Series], one need not set up the whole thing to enjoy the parts!!!! The Big Picture ["Elephant"] should not scare anyone away!
Sadly just the 'trunk' (TiTE) is too big for many (most?) gaming tables. 3x6 is a pretty standard table size (at least in the U.S.), and anything that doesn't fit on that is going to exclude a whole lot of potential players.
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cfmcdonald wrote:
TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:

So, even though the whole project is BIG [like SPI's WIE and GDW's Europa Series], one need not set up the whole thing to enjoy the parts!!!! The Big Picture ["Elephant"] should not scare anyone away!
Sadly just the 'trunk' (TiTE) is too big for many (most?) gaming tables. 3x6 is a pretty standard table size (at least in the U.S.), and anything that doesn't fit on that is going to exclude a whole lot of potential players.
It is easy and inexpensive [plywood and 2"x4"s] to build a removable temporary expansion for a table of any height to achieve the required width. Lumber can be pre-cut to your specifications at just about any lumber yard. Can be done in a short period of time -- only need a drill/driver, screws to bind top to supports/frame, and a wrench for the carriage bolts [1/4" should do it] with washers & nuts for attaching removable legs to supports. Once completed, set up and removal only take a few minutes. Removing the legs makes the whole extension easier to store in one's garage or under a bed. I had two tables [3' x 6', and 4' x 8'] for decades that worked in this manner.
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cfmcdonald wrote:
Sadly just the 'trunk' (TiTE) is too big for many (most?) gaming tables. 3x6 is a pretty standard table size (at least in the U.S.), and anything that doesn't fit on that is going to exclude a whole lot of potential players.
I for one would have preferred smaller hexes and thus a smaller map, even if it did fit my table.

Having to create a lane through the middle kind of ruins the idea for me with regards to setting up all the games combined.
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It is perfectly sensible - if you are not actively interacting with the material you are reading (or listening to) you are getting only a fraction of what you could be getting.

Further, the fact that you feel compelled to interact with the material is clear evidence of your complete engagement with it.
I always think back to the books Presidents Adams and Jefferson donated (well, Jefferson "sold") to the Library of Congress. Adams' books were annotated with his very pointed remarks addressed to the author and reminders to himself scrawled all over them (his notes are often more interesting than the books). Jefferson's books were pristine.

I'm more the Adams type, for sure!

Quote:
Sadly just the 'trunk' (TiTE) is too big for many (most?) gaming tables. 3x6 is a pretty standard table size (at least in the U.S.), and anything that doesn't fit on that is going to exclude a whole lot of potential players.
We knew going in that each volume would be a stand-alone "monster" size game and it would not fit on most game tables. Sorry, but that was the call we made.

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I for one would have preferred smaller hexes and thus a smaller map, even if it did fit my table.
There is an old proverb that "God cannot please everyone either by making it rain or stopping it." We made the hexes and counters the size we wanted that worked for us; personally, I'm LONG past the day of squinting at little 1/2" counters jammed with data points...

Now, that said, it is my hope and plan (time permitting -- and on a project this size, time is a much-used resource) to carve out a series of "Battle for ________" mini-games using this engine. These would not be the introductory wargames that Battle for Moscow was, but close.

They would share standard rules, have their own exclusive rules, and look at smaller campaigns like Sicily, Italy, Greece / Crete, etc. Oh, yes, and Moscow. I have the "Reverse ETO Battle for Moscow II" game pretty much blocked out to use as the template for the others. And a small air game that only covers the Battle for Britain in alpha. But those are all a long way in the future, I reckon.
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
cfmcdonald wrote:
TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:

So, even though the whole project is BIG [like SPI's WIE and GDW's Europa Series], one need not set up the whole thing to enjoy the parts!!!! The Big Picture ["Elephant"] should not scare anyone away!
Sadly just the 'trunk' (TiTE) is too big for many (most?) gaming tables. 3x6 is a pretty standard table size (at least in the U.S.), and anything that doesn't fit on that is going to exclude a whole lot of potential players.
It is easy and inexpensive [plywood and 2"x4"s] to build a removable temporary expansion for a table of any height to achieve the required width. Lumber can be pre-cut to your specifications at just about any lumber yard. Can be done in a short period of time -- only need a drill/driver, screws to bind top to supports/frame, and a wrench for the carriage bolts [1/4" should do it] with washers & nuts for attaching removable legs to supports. Once completed, set up and removal only take a few minutes. Removing the legs makes the whole extension easier to store in one's garage or under a bed. I had two tables [3' x 6', and 4' x 8'] for decades that worked in this manner.
Thankfully there are thousands of other games that fit on my table already, so I can spare myself all that work. I'm just trying to signal to the publisher that I would have bought their game if they had made it more compact. I'm not going to go out of my way to reconfigure my game room to support one game that I maybe kinda want.
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Alan Emrich wrote:
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I for one would have preferred smaller hexes and thus a smaller map, even if it did fit my table.
There is an old proverb that "God cannot please everyone either by making it rain or stopping it." We made the hexes and counters the size we wanted that worked for us; personally, I'm LONG past the day of squinting at little 1/2" counters jammed with data points...
No, obviously you can not please everyone. But if noone tells you whatever issues they have with the game, how are you to know?

That said... surely other sizes than the current and 1/2'' exist : - )
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I'm just trying to signal to the publisher that I would have bought their game if they had made it more compact. I'm not going to go out of my way to reconfigure my game room to support one game that I maybe kinda want.
I totally understand.

When my wife and I bought our home, we could each ask for 1 "must have" feature and would be flexible on the rest. She wanted a large yard (this is Southern California, so we're not talking "acres" here, but a large suburban yead -- which is all but impossible to find in our bustling city). For my part, I wanted a game room that would fit WAR IN EUROPE. It's a long story, but we searched hard, found that house, and have been living here nigh 19 years now.

But I knew I wanted room to play monsters size wargames. They're a big commitment and always require some special planning to leave set up, so they're not for everyone.

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That said... surely other sizes than the current and 1/2'' exist : - )
Absolutely right, and we used 'em. People really "get" that we used the differently sized units, what that means in gameplay, and how it all comes together ergonomically. If you haven't played TITE yet, please try it and see.
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