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World at War: Blood and Bridges» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Thinking of buying it? - Ones Initial Impressions rss

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Steven Price
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Well, I took the plunge and bought Blood & Bridges, from Lock 'n Load via pre-order.

Below I present my honest initial impressions of the game (at the risk of inflaming the game developer) based on playing through scenarios 1 to 8, some solo, others face to face.

World at War System



This World at War game follows earlier releases in the series: Eisenbach Gap and Death of the First Panzer. I've reviewed those games previously giving 8/10 for both. So you can see I like the system, but I'm no fan-boy (threw that in for you Colin).

The basic system is activiation of units by chit draw from a cup, thus creating a somewhat random sequence of unit activations. Fighting is normally resolved by 'bucket-of-dice' or 'opposed-dice-combat' (as I believe the developer refered to it). Elements, whether they be infantry, tanks, planes, MICVs all have attack and defence values. So you roll to attack and the target then rolls to defend - simple. These odds are modified by terrain and movement.

These simple mechanisms create fast-paced, deadly games. With playtimes of less than 4 hours, but for most scenarios less than 2hrs.

This game edition has some additional rules and features to those previous, largely revolving around aircraft, bridgelaying, rocket artillery and weather conditions. The question is: does this improve the game?

What do you get in the box?



Some beautiful components as shown in the picture.

The box is slightly larger than Eisenbach Gap. It is sturdy and covered in attractive artwork.

The large map (22" x 34") is mounted on 2mm cardboard and is very solid. My 3 year old son pronounced it to be 'beautiful and pretty' and then proceeded to step on it, just so it knew its place!



The rules are in full colour and look great. They have been tweaked since Eisenbach Gap, generally for the better, however there are some minor errata.

The player aid charts look great and are laminated. These have all the important info and I find the edge useful as a Line-of-Sight aid for those long range engagements.

The counters are beautiful to view and printed onto thicker cardstock than previous, making them easier to pick up. They are very glossy. I like it, but others may not.

The 4 six sided dice are bigger and an improvement over that provided in Eisenbach Gap,

Scenarios

The game comes with an impressive 12 scenarios (compared with 6 for both Eisenbach Gap and Death of First Panzer). The scenarios range from small (using only a quarter of the map) to large. There is a wide variety of situations including, recce battles, Soviet probing, British counter attack, assault on the Rhine River crossings.

Also included are further US and German forces for added variety.

No room for boredom here.

In the past the WaW scenarios have often been well balanced, finishing in nail bitting, last turn results. Although too early to definitively tell, some of the scenarios from Blood & Bridges appear to be clearly slanted, typically toward NATO (however, it is early days to make a call on this). Below is an image at a game conclusion following a good whumping for the Soviets at the hand of British Challengers. The wreck markers define burning Soviet hulks.



The New Stuff

Does the new stuff work? Overall I have to say yes. Some fine tweaking of some aspects will be needed (such as maximum range in fog conditions), but the new items bring new enjoyable elements to the table. Nothing broken.

Aircraft can be a hit and miss affair. They are very powerful and can obliterate tank platoons, however, they can be easily fended off as-well.

What's Not to Like?

There is nothing major in this game I dislike. But there are some minor matters that could potentially be improved:

- 3s and 5s are still difficult to distinguish from distance due to font type.
- Longevity of the paper hinges on the map.
- Uber-ATmissles (get 1 infantry platoon, with Milan missle, one HQ, place in wooded hill hex and attempt to destroy the opposition)
- A few miscut counters on my set. This has been immediately rectified by the publisher.
- NATO vehicle images face west, whilst Soviet face east. Shouldn't they be pointing their guns at each other, not the bloke following behind?
- Flimsy cover to the rule book (compared with Eisenbach Gap version)

Is it Worth Buying?

Do you have an interest in wargames? Are you interested in fast playing platoon level simulations? Do you have an interest in Cold War conflict?

Well I would answer yes to all the above - so it's a no brainer for me to get it.

If you answered yes to 2 of the above, the I would still recommend it to you.

If only 1 of the above - then perhaps play a mates version first before taking the plunge.

Summary

More goodness from the World at War series. This adds new elements to the series, higher quality production, more units and larger map.

It is a clear improvement over Eisenbach Gap. However, there are still a few minor issues that could be addressed in my humble opinion.

Strongly recommended to those with an interest.
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Colin Hunter
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Nice review steven, you so are a WaW fan boy (ok maybe not). We need to get this to the table!


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Steve Rothwell
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I think this a pretty good summary.

I also share the first impressions on the scenarios though I have only played 1 and 4 so far. However what I will say is that the scenarios present different problems than those set in Eisenbach gap or Do1P. There is more emphasis on winning whilst preserving your forces, which possibly makes for a more realistic set of objectives. Sometimes it's easy to win by throwing everything in through a hail of fire and swamping the defences, but even the Soviets would have been concerned to retain strength for subsequent developments.

The scenarios all want (and encourage) further study and lots of play to explore every avenue and tactic.
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Jim Snyder
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Steve,

In talking with Mark at Prez-Con this past weekend, we will address a fix in the next FAQ for the weather range reduction both for ground and air units which should solve the issues folks are having. I'm also going back through the scenarios this week to see if there are some items which need a tweak or fix but you are right that some scenarios have a bit of force bias which is accounted for in the VP points but may need a bit of help for the basic victory conditions (see my post on CSW for more info).

Great review, I hope you enjoy the game. cool
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Christopher O
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I've played scenario 4, 6 and 7 face-to-face now - scenario 7 against an opponent who knew the system, scenarios 4 and 6 against experienced wargamers who were newcomers to World at War. I've also introduced the original WaW: Eisenbach Gap game to a lot of people through local gaming groups.

Everyone I've played it with has enjoyed it. Some point out the deadliness of the missiles, which I happen to agree with, but it's not a game-breaking issue.

As long as you don't expect a high level of "simulation" from it, this is a very quick and fun game. I'm very pleased with this package and I think it stands to rank among my top 5 wargames.
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Doctor X

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Unfortunately, I have no game group, but this title (and the other World at War sets) are right up my alley. How does this game lend itself to solo play? I'd love to find a dependable solo war game that isn't over-complex - something I could finish in a good weekend sitting.
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Brandon Pennington
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I want this!
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Steven Price
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Doctor X wrote:

How does this game lend itself to solo play? I'd love to find a dependable solo war game that isn't over-complex - something I could finish in a good weekend sitting.


There's no hidden information, so it's highly suitable to solo play.

Steven
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Steven Price
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Kozure wrote:
As long as you don't expect a high level of "simulation" from it, this is a very quick and fun game. I'm very pleased with this package and I think it stands to rank among my top 5 wargames.


Possibly the scenarios are more simulation than we give credit. As gamers we want close, nail biting battles, but in reality many of the hypothetical battles would likely have been one-sided affairs.

Steven

P.S. Really enjoyed scenario 8, with melee fighting in Dattenburg between infantry, BTRs, Scimitars and FV432s. Compliments to the chef.
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Andrew C
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Thanks for the great review.

This is one I'm interested in, but I was disappointed with the production quality of 1st Panzer (small paper map, counters matte and different size from Eisenbach).

Looks like B&B rectify those concerns. Does it also have enough markers? (Eisenbach also suffered from too few markers.)
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Steven Price
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Cleitus the Black wrote:
Does it also have enough markers? (Eisenbach also suffered from too few markers.)


Don't you hate it with Eisenbach; after 4 turns you've run out of wreck markers!

B&B has more admin markers than you can shake a stick at. In fact there is so many I don't think you can use them all. Shame a few spots couldn't have been used for damaged bridge markers.



Another interesting item is there appears more unit counters than needed in the scenarios. Also there is a Soviet 'designated formation' marker, but I'm unsure where it is used.

Steven
 
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Jeffry Welfare
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wrgplayer wrote:
Cleitus the Black wrote:
Does it also have enough markers? (Eisenbach also suffered from too few markers.)


Don't you hate it with Eisenbach; after 4 turns you've run out of wreck markers!

B&B has more admin markers than you can shake a stick at. In fact there is so many I don't think you can use them all. Shame a few spots couldn't have been used for damaged bridge markers.



Another interesting item is there appears more unit counters than needed in the scenarios. Also there is a Soviet 'designated formation' marker, but I'm unsure where it is used.

Steven


Scenario 11 uses the Designated Formation marker for the 74th GTR
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Jeffry Welfare
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Rothy wrote:
I think this a pretty good summary.

I also share the first impressions on the scenarios though I have only played 1 and 4 so far. However what I will say is that the scenarios present different problems than those set in Eisenbach gap or Do1P. There is more emphasis on winning whilst preserving your forces, which possibly makes for a more realistic set of objectives. Sometimes it's easy to win by throwing everything in through a hail of fire and swamping the defences, but even the Soviets would have been concerned to retain strength for subsequent developments.

The scenarios all want (and encourage) further study and lots of play to explore every avenue and tactic.


As I understand what Soviet doctrine was they would have been concerned more with achieving a breakthrough and if they would have required the breaking of three or four armies to get it that would be perfectly acceptable. There were more coming into the line to exploit the gap created and the idea was that once the breakthrough was achieved the casualties suffered by the attack would reduce greatly.

Based on the fictional timeline that the scenarios present it looks like they moved pretty fast. From the 1st scenario of Eisenbach Gap at the border to the crossing of the Rhine and the advance on the Meuse takes 2 weeks in universe time. Plenty of divisions moving in from the Rodina.
 
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Steven Price
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Quote:


Based on the fictional timeline that the scenarios present it looks like they moved pretty fast. From the 1st scenario of Eisenbach Gap at the border to the crossing of the Rhine and the advance on the Meuse takes 2 weeks in universe time. Plenty of divisions moving in from the Rodina.


Looking at the timelines, I thought NATO is doing well. Two weeks to cross the Rhine is likely slower than what WarPac would want.

In addition, I notice the B&B timeline shows approx 5 days for WarPac to successfully breach the Rhine River. That's a NATO success! REFORGER elements will now be attacking the breakthough flanks thanks to the time gained by the British forces.

Anyway, let's not take it too seriously. It's just an excuse to push some cardboard around and make some shooting noises (what? - not everyone does that?)

Steven

Thanks for the info on the designated formation chit.
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