Makis Andreou
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After giving the rulebook another try tonight, I felt obliged to write this in order to warn potential buyers (NOT put them off from buying)

I don't consider my self to be a very experienced player but as a newbie in wargames I am part of the designer's target market so it's only fair to express my honest opinion.



The hype


Before buying this I've been reading how easy it is given its depth and how the designer has managed to create a newbie friendly wargame with excellent components.


Initial out of the box impressions:

Pros:

1. The map is huge and of a very good quality
2. The counters are very nice and laminated
3. The rule book is colourful and of a very good quality
4. Laminated reference cards

Cons:

1. A few of the counters are not centred
2. The printing quality of one of the reference cards sucks (as if someone touched it with wet fingers before lamination)
3. You need to have a very good eye sight to read the counters from a distance.
4. It is hard to distinguish the counter's reduced side (white vs yellow color was not the best choice)

(Note: it should be noted that the Company did replace the defective counters and cards and overall the customer service was excellent)


Getting beyond the rulebook

I was very much impressed with the quality of the rulebook.
26 full colour pages full of counter pictures- WOW

And then I started to read it :)

I read in the 6th page of the rules for example that helicopters do not count against stacking limits (only to find out that stacking limits were briefly explained on page 9) and about opportunity fire on page 7 (referenced and "explained" on page 12), about formations (which were explained a few pages after they were mentioned) and about many other terms whose definitions were scattered throughout the rulebook.

The explanations given were in many cases inadequate.
I know what opportunity fire is for example from other wargames but I don't think its easy for a newbie to understand what's going on just by reading paragraph 6.2.
Or, if each unit belongs to a formation what about all those vehicle counters/units in the box which don't mention one?

The worst part of it all is that there are almost no pictorial examples in the rulebook. How can a newbie fully understand concepts like line of sight for example without extensive illustrations (plateau rules, firing on hexes' edges e.t.c)

I then remembered the Tide of Iron rulebook (a game with a much higher weight than WaW)
-much bigger but with very clear pictorial examples of each basic concept- and thought to my self, if they did include examples for everything in this rulebook like they did with Tide of Iron which has far less unit types, the WaW rulebook would have been much bigger than that of TOI and it could no longer be advertised as simple/newbie friendly wargame.

The aftermath

After asking about a Vassal example in one of the game forums, I got a few emails from people facing similar problems with this game and I read on some forums that quite a few people shared my concerns.

I have to point out of course, that the BGG community has been extremely nice and more than willing to help! (one user in fact started writing a newbie friendly guide after getting similar requests from other users)

One of the emails suggested that I should try Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 instead.

After reading COH's rulebook I realised why that game is so successful.
The rulebook is very clear and full of examples.
Most importantly, it introduces gradual learning of the rules with scenarios gradually enforcing more rules.

I am not saying that it is a better game as I haven't managed to play either at this stage. I am just saying "Kudos to the designer who has made the game more accessible"

Conclusion

Based solely on other reviews, it seems that L&L have a great product here. If they want to make it accessible to more people they should think very carefully when writing the next version of the rules or at least provide further support for the system.





EDIT: Typos, grammar, one clarification.





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Michael Wheal
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Take a look at

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/422057

for the above mentioned newbie-friendly guide !


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Jay Sheely
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On the other hand...

I recieved this yesterday and have now read the rules twice. They are clear, laid out nicely and are easy to read.

I'll be playing the first scenario tonight and am reasonably confident that I'll have a couple minor questions that will be quickly answered.

No problems with the laminated player aids and no problems with offset counters. I am very impressed with my first Lock and Load game and I'll be buying more in the future.

Jay

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Dave Kohr
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I've played Blood & Bridges once, and Conflict of Heroes about 3 times. Regardless of how well-written the rules are, I think Conflict is a much better game. My Blood & Bridges game felt like endless torturous dice-rolling, although it lasted only 2 hours. The worst part is that you spend way too long just resolving attacks. As I recall, typically the defender gets multiple shots per unit per turn, and most of the shots have no effect. Also, attacking units can't combine firepower, they have to attack individually. Conflict of Heroes doesn't have these problems: opportunity fire causes the defender to spend their activation for the turn (so it's a hard decision whether or not to shoot), and you can combine firepower (and there is an incentive to do so, since the odds improve).
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Mark Walker
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Quote:
The worst part is that you spend way too long just resolving attacks. As I recall, typically the defender gets multiple shots per unit per turn,


Nope, only one shot per activation. Now the firepower of that shot might consist of 4 dice, but they are rolled simulataneously. Very fast, in my book.
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Makis Andreou
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The aftermath:

One month down the line, I am beginning to see why this game is so highly rated.

After spending some time studying simpler wargames many of the terms are becoming clearer and the rules more logical.

I see now how Mark has managed to simulate modern warfare quite well by using relatively "simple" rules.

I still wouldn't recommend it to a newcomer but I have to admit that there is definitely a lot of depth in this game!

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Mark Walker
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Makis...

That is very kind. Thanks. I appreciate these types of even-handed assements...your first post you had some problems/concerns...all of them valid.

BTW our goal with White Star Rising (the WW2 version of this game) is to make it even more accesible.
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Jackson Riker
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A player does have to enjoy the combat process to enjoy these games.
Basically, MHW's games feature dice-offs where both players roll against each other, while Ewe's CoH game features a single 2d6 roll against a know to hit number.
Obviously, which one is better is strictly a matter of OPINION and taste.

I love em both, and think that More games, especially quality games like this is great.

Can't wait for White Star Rising, should be the best LnL game ever.
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Mark Walker
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I'm looking forward to the game also.
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kookie antonio
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got mine today from APO and i was so disappointed with the counters. it wasn't what i expected as i read all the reviews regarding this and you can just imagine that it didn't live up to what was being raved about. i was hoping it would be thicker. it's small as it is (counters), and it doesn't help that it feels "flimsy" compared to others. i just got a copy of Hold the Line and that is the kind of counter i was expecting to get... the thickness.

the mounted board map is top notch and and i know the game system too (i've been reading the rules each night as i wait for my copy). maybe LnL can address the materials they use for the counters in the future.

perhaps today was not a good day for me as i also got another game (won't mention the name anymore) and the counters are worst shake and the map wasn't mounted. good thing i had the foresight and bought some plastic civil war soldiers to replace them.

both games though came in sturdy and beautiful boxes, but... i wish they just used better materials for the counters.
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Mark Walker
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That's just silly. The counters in Blood and Bridges are not flimsy. They are high-quality, 1.5mm thick counters. If we had made them as thick as Hold the Line the game would have been unplayable. That is too thick for the size of the counters and the height of the stacks.
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Wulf Corbett
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Katipunero wrote:
got mine today from APO and i was so disappointed with the counters.
From your profile, your wargaming experience so far seems to be Wings of War, Tide of Iron & Memoir 44 (if you class that as a wargame), with the only traditional wargame being Conflict of Heroes.

Well, welcome to proper wargaming. Where it's about the game, not the flash looks. Now, I have a few complaints about the counters in Blood & Bridges myself (or I sometimes have, when I can read them), but thickness is not one of them. These are quality, well-printed, counters (with crap choice of fonts).
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Mark Walker
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Thanks, Wulf...er, ah...I think I should be saying thanks.
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Matthew Lohse
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Pretty much what Wulf said. I have encountered thicker counters in a wargame before, but I have also encountered lots of about the same thickness, some that were slightly thinner, and a few that were a lot thinner [although I think that game company said it would never use that printer again... but I could be mistaken].
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Wulf Corbett
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aluredpopple wrote:
...and a few that were a lot thinner
Anmd then there's Ogre, so beloved by all (including me), which used postcard material!
Quote:
[although I think that game company said it would never use that printer again...]
I think I know the very one...
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kookie antonio
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
Katipunero wrote:
got mine today from APO and i was so disappointed with the counters.
From your profile, your wargaming experience so far seems to be Wings of War, Tide of Iron & Memoir 44 (if you class that as a wargame), with the only traditional wargame being Conflict of Heroes.

Well, welcome to proper wargaming. Where it's about the game, not the flash looks. Now, I have a few complaints about the counters in Blood & Bridges myself (or I sometimes have, when I can read them), but thickness is not one of them. These are quality, well-printed, counters (with crap choice of fonts).


I buy those games because I want something that my son and I can enjoy. regardless of the games i buy, i'll probably just stick with the likes of FFG, DoW, GMT and Worthington. and I don't consider myself as a wargamer, just a father who wants to bond with his son playing board games rather than video games.
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Wulf Corbett
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Katipunero wrote:
I buy those games because I want something that my son and I can enjoy. regardless of the games i buy, i'll probably just stick with the likes of FFG, DoW, GMT and Worthington. and I don't consider myself as a wargamer, just a father who wants to bond with his son playing board games rather than video games.
Very commendable, but your expectations are based on a very artificial selection of previous examples. The components in B&B are actually generally considered good, high quality wargaming materials.
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Kev.
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Makis...

That is very kind. Thanks. I appreciate these types of even-handed assements...your first post you had some problems/concerns...all of them valid.

BTW our goal with White Star Rising (the WW2 version of this game) is to make it even more accesible.


I just received two of your modules (B&B and Garbo) for a SS gift. Funnily enough now I have reservations about punching this game.
Mark- are you planning on making those 'new' rules accessible for WaW also or will it mean jumping into White Star?

I'm going to give this a shot on VASSAL a few times then decide wether to punch this or post for sale.

I really want to like this game. Its good looking but the rules are muddy and it looks very die heavy.
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Mark Walker
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Quote:
I just received two of your modules (B&B and Garbo) for a SS gift. Funnily enough now I have reservations about punching this game.
Mark- are you planning on making those 'new' rules accessible for WaW also or will it mean jumping into White Star?


What new rule would you like to see. When World at War: Eisenbach Gap was touted as the modern-era game of the year at 2009 WBC, one of the specific strong points that won it the award were clear , easily understood rules.
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I just picked up Untold Stories yesterday, after a couple years of having Conflict of Heroes as the only hex and counter counter wargame which would hit the table.

I found the learning curve to be about the same as it was for CoH. Both have plenty of new concepts which just take a lot of wrapping your head around and a single illustration or play example won't cut it for. Both would benefit from a 'Boot Camp' booklet which walks through how the tactical concepts needed for the period can be expressed using the game system.

jacksonriker wrote:
A player does have to enjoy the combat process to enjoy these games.
Basically, MHW's games feature dice-offs where both players roll against each other, while Ewe's CoH game features a single 2d6 roll against a know to hit number.
Obviously, which one is better is strictly a matter of OPINION and taste.


With the regards to the combat system, while I enjoy rolling more dice, I think the CoH system is objectively superior in one regard - it takes less time to conduct the same number of combat events. It may also provide greater and more linear granularity when trying to map different unit's real world combat performance into the game system, but I'll admit I haven't done the math. (Wouldn't mind converting all WaW combat factors into CoH style... hmmm)

All that said I'm really enjoying WaW so far. It's fast and fun. The scale means you get to maneuver quite a bit, yet the system is clever enough so that you get to play with all the modern militarily toys directly. This is a really good balance of simulation system and sheer military geek play!

I like the formation activation system quite a bit and I think games will actually go faster for us than CoH. Factor counting analysis paralysis seems to be less of an issue and the activation system means that there's fewer opportunities to do so than in CoH.
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Mark Walker
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Thanks for playing, Matt. I've played both. Uwe and I have shered booths at a couple of cons. Personally--and I guess this is obvious--I prefer the WaW combat system. I like more dice and variables (I think it more closely models war), butCOH is great fun.
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