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Subject: The German Way of War! rss

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Tim Parker
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RAF: The German Way of War.

This review is ONLY about the Eagle version of this game!

RAF: is primarily a solitaire game covering the Battle of Britain. The solitaire game allows the player to either be the British or the Germans and there are rules provided for a two player version as well. As the commander of the Luftwaffee, you must make plans each turn deciding what targets to hit and the size of your raids. In essence, you are trying to wear down the RAF enough to allow the Germans to proceed with Operation Sea Lion. Each turn, you score victory points for hitting targets and damaging British squadrons. You lose victory points for gruppe damaged and days the lapse on the calendar, which allows the RAF to recover. In the end, winning is determined by either a. one side going over the 35 VP level or b. when (or if) Sea Lion is ever launched.

Playing Time: This varies depending on the scenario. You can play the very short (one turn) intro scenario or play one of two shorter scenarios which will take several hours. The campaign game can last a long time and takes numerous hours to play, although this can be shortened by the exceeding of 35 VP victory conditions.

Map: The map covers the area of Southern England which was the focus of the battle. The map also contains a tremendous amount of information! There are boxes for the RAF squadrons and their status, boxes for combat, boxes for the Luftwaffe forces, a day track, a replacement track, and a track for the Germans to plot and plan their raids. Despite all this information, the map is quite pleasant and packs its information into this space without being busy or the player feeling crowded. A good solitaire game, IMO, will have plenty of charts on the map to keep the player from having the tedious chore of constantly flipping player aid cards. shake angry

Counters: The counters are the nice juicy. 5/8 size and depict the fighting formations of both sides with information counters for planning raids and the enemy response. The combat counters are simple, yet elegant with a silhouette of the plane in question and combat values as well as bombing and strafing values for the Germans. The reverse of the counter contains a green stripe which quickly and easily lets the German player know which of his forces are depleted shake as well as indicating the same condition for the RAF. That is, unless that counter is on a sector airfield. Then that tell the Germans that those Brits are green pilots! devil

Rules: I’m not going to go over the rules here in great detail. Suffice to say that each turn as the Germans you have a planning phase where you commit your forces, a raid phase where you execute plans and the battle rages over the skies of Britain (and elements like friction rears its ugly head with approach and target events) and then, once all raids are done for the day, a preparation phase where you find out how many days have gone by, get replacements and reinforcements, and prepare for the next round of battle.

At this point, I’d like to note the rules that I have found make this version of RAF a significant improvement upon the old West End Games version. While I absolutely love the old RAF, the new version cleans up some points of contention, IMO, and makes what was a very good system great! thumbsup
1 The letter designation on all squadrons. In the old RAF, when your squadrons got hit it was an “all or nothing approach” but here you can have part of your formation get beat like a rented mule while another part slips through and hammers the enemy. To me, this reflects reality more and is one of the best improvements in the new version.
2 The replacement points. Unlike the old version, this one has both sides receive replacement points which are then used to bring damaged squadrons back into play. This eliminates the old fatigue mechanism and allows for smoother and more realistic play. The replacement rules also have opened the game in allowing for Luftwaffe depletion and the factoring in of experienced and green pilots. I do like the green pilots concept, but was never too keen on how it was handled in the old game.
3 The day mechanism. Here, it is handled by a card draw rather than a weather die roll as in the old game. This allows for variable time lapses and keeps the player on their toes since you never know if there will be one day passing or 6! This variety helps to increase the replay value and makes weather its own separate function in this newer version, rather than having it tied to the passage of time!
4 The approach and target events. In the old version, there was simply and event, but having these as separate items again increases replay value and can really cause great joy if RAF squadrons leave the raid thumbsup or great sorrow when your own do so! soblue cry
5 The way RAF squadrons are handled. In this version, squadrons are not simply fresh or fatigued, squadrons can be rearming, landing, in flight, on the ground, or damaged. This again is more realistic as committing squadrons to a massive German raid means they may not be available for a similar raid coming within the hour. In a similar vein, German fighter Gruppe are not readily available for raids either and take time to get back into action, so as the Germans you must plan ahead and watch your fighter deployment carefully!
6 The rendezvous rule and RAF response rule. These both do a nice job of portraying the logistical side of the battle.

Things I like about the game:

d10-1 The new improvements in the rules. Makes the game more realistic and even more enjoyable and tense than the original! thumbsup
d10-2 The way the map is laid out and organized. Very effective and efficient!
d10-3 The new rendezvous table. This portrays the logistical nightmare of co-ordination very nicely!
d10-4 The light and heavy damage levels. Makes the game more challenging, IMO.
d10-5 The German strategy cards. This allows the player to have a more active role in planning and plotting.

Things that can be annoying: angry

1 The lack of radar target cards. Hitting the RAF radar is essential and if you don’t draw many radar target cards on the first two turns, you can be in big trouble if the German change priority event comes up on the day card. angry
2 Some events for the British almost seem too strong. The ultra and the non-essential target events come to mind. The ultra lets the British pounce on you big time and the non-essential can wreck a beautifully executed raid on valuable targets like airfields and industry. shake
3 The way German target priorities are changed. I personally like the old die rolling method. Plus, there is little opportunity for the player to dictate how the priorities will be, placing him in more of an operational than a strategic role.

Overall evaluation: d10-1 = I’d rather staple my tongue to the wall for a month! yuk d10-9 = wargamer heaven! cool

Map= d10-9 Without a doubt, this one of the nicest maps I’ve ever seen, blending artwork with function. The art work is so cool Love the pictures of the German planes! And the RAF boards where you record the squadrons status makes me think of the status boards from one of my favorite war movies: The Battle of Britain, which, IMO, should be required viewing for anyone who plays this game!
Counters= d10-7 Nicely done, easy to tell sides apart as well as German bombers from fighters. Not crowded with information. The only minor hic-up I noted was the difficulty seeing the green stripe on the German fighters.
Rules= d10-9 The rules are very well laid out with great care. It does not take long to get into the rules and if you know the old RAF it is very easy to assimilate the new changes. I am on my 4th play of Eagle and have had only one question that I needed resolved. The improvements noted above show a great deal of thought went into the revision, which is more than can be said of a lot of other games that get revised. In fact, this should really be labeled the improved edition.
Playing Time= d10-3 to d10-6 Much as I like this game, it is not one of short duration. So you really need either a nice long evening or afternoon or a game room where you can set it up and leave it. The d10-6 rating is solely for the intro scenario which gives the battle flavor of the game for those who’d like to mix it up, but just don’t have the time to commit to the other, longer scenarios or the campaign game.
Deployment of Forces= d10-9 Fast, furious, and easy!

Overall= d10-9 This is a great solitaire game and, once I play the Lion version, I will probably never go back to the old RAF. Which is, in some ways sad, because the old system was fun and intense, but lacked the chrome that this version has. So I have already given this game the coveted TEN rating for several reasons. First, as with any good solitaire game, it is intense and lets you get caught up into the atmosphere of the game so you really feel like you’re back in the summer of ‘40. Second, this version allows you to play both sides which is just cool on general principle! Third, the new rules for damage, rendezvous, and squadron status work smoothly together. Fourth, the rules are clear, clean, and easy to grasp. And finally, it is just plain fun! thumbsup Bottom line: if you liked the original RAF you will love this version. While some parts can be annoying as noted above, so can reality, yet that does not ultimately detract from what is a well thought out system that lets players feel the intensity and drama of that long, desperate summer so many years ago. And the best part is, you can defend the free world and feel all valiant, brave, and give it your best stiff upper lip or you can be pugnacious and aggressive and try to bring the British Empire to its knees! Either way, this game will provide hours of enjoyment for those who love good solitaire games, World War II, or the Battle of Britain!
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Bob
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Nice review Tim! thumbsup

Looks like another game I'll have to consider. cool
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Christopher Schall
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Great review, Tim! I agree!
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Joshua 龙海峰 Hockaday
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Thanks for the nice review. I have been drooling over the original for years now, and now it seems that I did well by holding out (and lucking out) for a new edition.
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Chris Valk
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Thanks for a detailed and very useful review -- as an owner of the original edition, I am most interested in learning about"Eagle" and rules changes. You covered both wonderfully.
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Lawrence Gamehappy
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Is there a cost for this game ???? Is there another cost for the two person expansion?

LAwrence
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Quote:
Is there a cost for this game ???? Is there another cost for the two person expansion?


Decision Games Sells it, go to http://decisiongames.com/ The game is 3 games in one, You play the Brits in the game Lion, The Luftwaffe in Eagle, and it is a 2 player game too. You won't be disappointed.
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David Span
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Interesting to see the differences in the combat system from the original. The worst thing about the original was being able to see the fatigue levels of the German aircraft and knowing that a bigger commitment when fatigued enemy were involved would be much more likely to be successful and score points.
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