Recommend
50 
 Thumb up
 Hide
21 Posts

Combat Commander: Europe» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Yet another review.... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Commander Harris
Netherlands
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Background
I consider myself to be week, a wannabe geek. I’m an obsessive BGG lurker, but don’t play many board games. I do extensive research on games I might like only in the end to decide not to buy them.
Although I’m not just a lurker who’s only board gaming enjoyment comes from reading BGG. There are exceptions and I have some gaming background. I’ve played LotR: Risk, Axis and Allies, Wings of War and War of the Ring. Although I haven’t played any of them extensively, as I’m only occasionally find people willing to play those games with me. The game I play most is a drinking game where you pass around an imaginary ball and I’m getting scared at how good I’ve become at it, so I thought it was about time I grabbed a proper game to play.





Internal purchasing conflict

Quite a bit of internal struggle has gone on in my head to decide whether or not to buy the game. Obviously I bought it, but the discussion with myself might help other people in there decision.

As you can tell I like wargames, or maybe war-themed games maybe a better term. As not to offend anyone’s view on what a wargame actually constitutes. I’m also very much interested in WW II and I find both the western and eastern front fascinating. The fact that CC:E featured both the eastern and western front was very appealing to me. Often games like these only feature one or the other; with this game I can not only satisfy my inner German (which nearly all ETO WW II game let’s you do), but also my inner American and inner Russian. There’s no denying we all have them lying somewhere hidden in our heads. Also this being a 2-player game ensures I only have to find one person crazy enough to play a board game with me.

When doing even the slightest of research into this game, you are bound to quickly stumble across the debate of too much luck and chaos versus realistic combat and efficient hand-management. And somewhere along the road the concept of good old fun also tends to peek around the corner. These make for some interesting discussions and really expose the philosophy of this game. Without having played the game I wouldn’t have any idea which side was right (if any). However, after reading the rules I wasn’t immediately put off by card an luck mechanism. Although I had no idea if I’d like it, I do know I liked for example the tension in Wings of War to find out what your opponent had in store for you and how much damage they had already taken. So this could swing either way for me or for any potential buyer for that matter, but I decided this could very well be something for me.

Then of course came the price tag. It’s not a cheap game and for the same price you can get other games with literally whole armies of plastic goodness. Even though I like nice plastic figures as much as the next guy, components never have been a deciding factor for me as long as they were of decent quality. And CC:E passes this test with flying colours. But then I figured, sometimes I spend as much money on two nights out and I’ll hopefully get more then two night’s worth of gaming time. What the hell! I’ll buy the damn game.

I have to say that in no small way has the support this game receives on the Geek added to my decision of buying this game. Rules questions are amazingly quick to be answered and the designer and a few of his trusting henchmen are eager to answer any questions. What added most perhaps was the developers willingness to explain his choices concerning the game and it’s philosophy. I can only assume that the game was developed with at least the same enthusiasm and it really shows. Whether you like the game or not, there are undeniably some great and subtle mechanics to make the game what it is.





Components

There are already clear descriptions of the components in other reviews and there are also quite a lot of pictures of said components, so I won’t delve too deeply into these.
The components will not have your mind blown away. As some people are prone to with plastic bits and lots of chrome. But needles to say, having actual components as opposed to an imaginary ball was a big bonus. The whole game looks very clean and the graphics are just great. The maps are laid out wonderfully and clear. As are the cards, the chits and the rule- and playbook. I was however very surprised to find a tray with 20 compartments to story your chits sin. I don’t know if this was part of every edition, but I haven’t read any mention of this before. This tray is just great. No need to worry about losing chits or having to craft something of your own to keep them organised.

Oh and the smell…. Maybe it’s because I haven’t bought enough board games in my lifetime. But boy, does this game smell nice, it’s almost intoxicating. Maybe it actually is….




Gameplay
The rules to CC:E can be found online and other reviews have already dealt with how the rules work, so I’ll focus on how the game feels.

Bear in mind I’ve only played four games. In fact try and bear that in mind when reading the rest of the review and interpreting the stuff you’ve already read.

Even after four games I feel I have a pretty good grip of the rules. I got into the flow of the game after played one game and having read the rulebook two or three times. Maybe it’s because I haven’t played a lot of other wargames, but the rules were very clear from the get go. There are little exceptions you have to learn and a lot of the things are on the cards, so only minor stuff has to looked up or checked.

This in no way means that this game lacks depth. That’s the beauty of this game. The idea of ‘easy to learn, but hard to master’. Once you’ve learned the rules you still have to get a feel for the tactics.

Although card driven games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I think CC:E does a great job implementing the cards. The card management keeps you thinking ahead a turn or two all the time and then there’s always the question of what your opponent’s hand has in store for you.
You’re faced with the choice of firing now or firing later so I can respond to my enemy. Should I discard getting a good hand or play that one useful action and risk having a bad hand the next turn? Should I hold the order I don’t need for the good action that might come in hand later?

The game allows you to set up a general approach, but the cards keep you on your toes the whole game through. Also creating a sort of ebb and flow of action. You might be discarding cards for one or two turns, but this could very well be followed by a burst of action later.

One of the best things is that the cards create a kind of fog of war. You don’t know what your opponent is able to do in your turn or his next turn. You don’t even exactly know what you are yourself able to do next turn!

Of course the chaos and luck aspect of the game can’t go unmentioned in the section about gameplay. Again, I’ve only played four games. Thus far I’ve never had a game ruined by luck or chaos. But what defines ruined does differ from player to player of course. What I mean is that I never felt cheated by random events or the odd die roll. Sure I’ve lost a melee because of a hero suddenly appearing, rallying the squad and kicking my arse. However, this happened the other way around as well, so I guess it might even out in the end. I think it’s all about how you look at a game and what you want to get out of it. I don’t mind losing and I like the extra uncertainty and great stories the events like a hero suddenly appearing make. That’s probably one of the great things about CC:E, with this game I don’t mind when things take a turn for the worst. Often it makes for some great story and the same could very well happen to me further along the game. What also helps is that the game is very balanced and events only take away your chances of winning when you were already doing badly.



So unless you think you should always know what’s coming to you and what your options are, this game is just plain good old fun! If not, I think not-liking this game is the least of your problems.



Final thoughts


Young man (seeing Churchill leaving the bathroom without washing his hands): At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet.
Churchill: At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands.


On the one hand I just wanted to shamelessly quote my personal hero and on the other hand I find it somehow does characterise CC:E quite well. It might not work the same way other games do. One could argue it does a messy job. However, in the end it gets you where you need to be.

By now it should be clear I really like this game. And by no means do I think it does a messy job. (it’s the other people!) At first I was a bit taken aback by the people who were saying it was too chaotic and lucky. I took the dive and never looked back. Every game I’ve played thus far was very tense and during the game chances swung either way.

I’d say if you’re willing to pay this kind of money for a game (not that it’s inordinately expensive for a game in its category) and aren’t immediately disgusted with the very notion of that extra bit of abstraction, chaos and luck, this is definitely a game you should give a try.

A sign how great this game is for me is that I’m actually having a fun time when losing a game! All I want to do is rethink my strategy and give it another go. This game has a lot to offer and I can see myself playing this game a lot more for the time to come.
36 
 Thumb up
1.07
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cindy Nowak
United States
Kenosha
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Welcome to the addiction awesomeness that is Combat Commander!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Bohnenberger
United States
Swarthmore
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I appreciate any review that actually includes a opinion on the game's smell. Well done in every respect. BTW, the game gets even better the more you play.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Buetow
United States
McHenry
Illinois
flag msg tools
Combat Commander Archivist
badge
Move! Advance! Fire! Rout! Recover! Artillery Denied! Artillery Request! Command Confusion...say what?!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
max89 wrote:
Background

A sign how great this game is for me is that I’m actually having a fun time when losing a game! All I want to do is rethink my strategy and give it another go. This game has a lot to offer and I can see myself playing this game a lot more for the time to come.


And THAT is perhaps the top reason that this is my favorite game. It hurts to lose, but it doesn't hurt that badly!

PS - Now go find Freddy Dekker, a neighbor of yours in Friesland, and teach him to play!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Freddy Dekker
Netherlands
Friesland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah well, the main reason for me to go buy this game is that it finally will get this Mark fellow off my back.

With all the nagging I get about MUST BUY it's like having a second wife without the perks.



I wonder if my countryman, seeing his problem finding opponents, actually played this game against someone or on his own.
Can you actually play it solo I wonder...

I'd also like to know where he bought it.
Actually I was allready about to go and buy it in the UK.
I had found two shops with interesting prices and my order was one mouseclick away when somehow there was all sorts of 'to do' and neither were able to deliver in time for Christmas, so I decided to for now leave it on my list.

I'd allready convinced my wife I needed this for Christmas, so now, with the opportunity lost, I will have to find a new excuse.
It's either that or wait 11 months.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Davide Banchini c/o SELED
Italy
Faenza
Ravenna
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
max89 wrote:
But then I figured, sometimes I spend as much money on two nights out and I’ll hopefully get more then two night’s worth of gaming time. What the hell! I’ll buy the damn game.



It's a classic, I use these arguments often, to buy a game.

"Damn! I'm wasting only time here, If I watch 6 movies I'll spend the same! Got to buy that game!"


Nice review.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mariano Rico
Spain
Madrid
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
max89 wrote:


But needles to say, having actual components as opposed to an imaginary ball was a big bonus.



Best argument supporting game components i have read in a long time

Great review for a great game. I like your familiar and ironic style, and you point out several thoughts and feelings every one of us geeks have had one time or another.

We are kind of a funny bunch.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Commander Harris
Netherlands
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, thank you for the kind replies. I was a bit daunted to write one because there are already a lot of really good reviews and this is only my second review I've written so far. But I guess one extra opinion can't hurt.

Dweeb wrote:
I appreciate any review that actually includes a opinion on the game's smell. Well done in every respect. BTW, the game gets even better the more you play.


You have to try and look at a game at as many angles as you can

It’s funny to read I’ve fallen for the same excuses to buying this game as many a geek has.
Almost makes me feel like a proper geek.

@Freddy

I bought the game at www.summoner.nl, they have an excellent range of games and they have excellent service. The money got transferred to them on a Saturday and the thing was delivered at my door on Tuesday. Considering there’s a Sunday in between I’d say that’s quick. I believe delivery times like that are the norm for games they have in stock. Their prices are about what you’d normally pay from and the postage costs are alright, especially if you consider you don’t have to get it sent from the UK or US. Got my copy for about 75 euros with 5 euros in postage costs and insurance.

I’ve played against my brother and against a friend of mine and haven’t played any games solo yet. As I mentioned in my review, only one person who really likes the game too is enough to have this game see a good amount of time played.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Borat Sagdiyev
Spain
Madrid
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review.

Btw,

Quote:
Sure I’ve lost a melee because of a hero suddenly appearing, rallying the squad and kicking my arse.


Both sides' FP is locked prior to the melee rolls. Thus, even if a hero pops up out of nowhere and rallies a squad there's no impact at all in the final outcome.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Commander Harris
Netherlands
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Didn't know that, would have won me the game.

The game being so close has a downside to it. You can lose because of one little rules mistake.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Avtges
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
CONCEALED -3
badge
It's not easy being green.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Combat Commander...even better than playing with an imaginary ball!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sigurdur Gunnarsson
Iceland
Seltjarnarnes
flag msg tools
A very good review. I´m trying to decide myself if I should order CC through my LGS or not. I agree with the reviewer that it´s a great bonus that the base CC set gives you the chance to scratch the W-Europe and Eastern-front itch. I will admit that I´m a components sucker so the paper maps are probably the biggest hurdle for me still. I have the feeling I will end up buying this game, it does have a great volume of extremely enthusiastic reviews and session reports.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
flag msg tools
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
badge
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ISOisNo1 wrote:
A very good review. I´m trying to decide myself if I should order CC through my LGS or not. I agree with the reviewer that it´s a great bonus that the base CC set gives you the chance to scratch the W-Europe and Eastern-front itch. I will admit that I´m a components sucker so the paper maps are probably the biggest hurdle for me still. I have the feeling I will end up buying this game, it does have a great volume of extremely enthusiastic reviews and session reports.


I love Combat Commander.

But it is a love-it/hate-it game, for most people. Because of that, I would recommend that you read several reviews and AARs before you buy. Maybe read the rules available for download, too. As they say: caveat emptor; buyer beware.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Kinney
United States
Winthrop
Iowa
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Great review. Me thinks you're much closer to being a true 'Geek' than you give yourself credit for.

Congrats! And welcome to the club.

I've been trying to avoid CC. Telling myself I can wait for Fighting Formations. (which I have pre-ordered) Scratch my Chad Jensen and tactical itch in one swoop with the whole tank bonus thing. Reviews like this make it very difficult to continue to hold off.

Now when I have to buy it and explain to my wife, I'll simply blame you. I'm thinking you live far enough away you should be safe.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cindy Nowak
United States
Kenosha
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jakinney wrote:
Now when I have to buy it and explain to my wife, I'll simply blame you. I'm thinking you live far enough away you should be safe. :D


Explain it to your wife? Tell her you bought it so you two can play together! This is an awesome game!!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Kinney
United States
Winthrop
Iowa
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Actually I have gotten her to agree to play C&C Ancients with me. However we haven't been able to get it on the table, yet. Up to this point the closest I've gotten her to a war game is Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game.

Maybe from one two-player CDG game the jump to another two-player CDG wouldn't be too severe. It's worth the effort.

Thanks much,

Jeff
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pedro Farinha
Portugal
Santarém
flag msg tools
how does this game compare to Memoir 44?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Buetow
United States
McHenry
Illinois
flag msg tools
Combat Commander Archivist
badge
Move! Advance! Fire! Rout! Recover! Artillery Denied! Artillery Request! Command Confusion...say what?!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
telheiras wrote:
how does this game compare to Memoir 44?


It's ENTIRELY different. Other than both being about Word War II and both being run by cards, they don't really have a whole lot in common.

Despite the cool little men and tanks in Memoir, the scale is really not the same; in CC, you're running individual leaders and squads and teams of men. The cards dictate what you can do but not where. So if you "Move" it can be any units you activate not just "4 units Left" and so on.

Combat Commander also is a more traditional wargame with traditional wargame elements such as terrain with movement modifiers, leadership activation, Line of Sight, and so on.

Your best bet is to read the reviews of both, read some session reports, etc. What kind of games do you like? How complicated do you like them?

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pedro Farinha
Portugal
Santarém
flag msg tools
i'm an occasional wargamer.

I just bought Memoir 44 and first expansion Campaign Book Volume I.

But i miss more strategy.And some things i don't like for example only being able to play when i have specific cards.

On the other hand i like the figures, and the simples rules. Rules could go a bit further though.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mariano Rico
Spain
Madrid
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
telheiras wrote:

And some things i don't like for example only being able to play when i have specific cards.


Oh my...you better forget about Combat Commander then

From what you say, i would recommend giving a try to something like Tide of Iron...a step up from Memmoir, with even cooler figures and more strategy depth.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gustavo Vazquez
Brazil
Curitiba
PR
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Best review of CC around! Thanks! laugh
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.