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Subject: A Review of NGP... roughly 20 years after its release rss

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Matthew Lohse
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I thought I would write up a review of may favorite game from the Central Front series of games, as it is the game I play most in this series and uses what seem to be the less popular system mechanic.

As one of the later 2 [of 5] games in the series, NGP replaces the earlier friction point system, which takes away a bit of the novelty of the system [the option of pushing units until they break] but makes it a LOT easier to keep track of units due to the lack of FP markers. [For those of you unfamiliar with the earlier games in this series... you spent friction points to get a unit to do something and took them as combat results and when you got enough friction points the unit fell apart]. In my opinion, the loss of chrome is well worth the increased ease of play. The unit facing system is interesting as the direct your unit faces determines which directions it defends the best in or can attack in... requiring a lot more attention on your part. As such, you have to give some thought not just to where you put your units but also how you decide to orient them. It also raises the option of using two units to create a defensive hedgehog to be protected on all sides. I find that this mechanic manages to add some new detail/chrome to the system in a way that is a lot easier to manage than a second set of counters that were having to constantly be adjusted.

This game focuses on the northern end of the Central Front in a hypothetical WWIII. As such it has the West Germans, the Brits, the Dutch, and the Americans versus the Soviets and the Poles. This makes for a wide range of units with a wide range of capabilities [especially when you get to some of the late-game WP reinforcements].

I think the best aspect of this game is the number of different victory objectives. Basically, the WP player has four distinct objective sets [exit a division on the Danish border, capture one of the main WG ports used for REFORGER, isolate Hamburg, and drive as far to the west as possible], with victory levels based on how quickly the objectives are achieved. As the WP player, this means you have to make some really tough decisions as you try to achieve all those objectives... do you send that new division to the north or do you use it to exploit a gap in the NATO lines near Hamburg? NATO faces similar choices... if you can't beat the Pact everywhere, where do you want to focus your efforts. It also keeps the game from playing out exactly the same way each time [although a lot of the opening moves are going to be similar no matter what objectives you go for] depending on where the players decide to focus their main efforts. The potential downside to this is the lack of a overall victory structure linking the 4 components. If the WP player accomplishes 0 or 4 of the objectives then it is pretty clear... but what about cases where only 2 are achieved... and what about different combinations of 2 or 3 achieved. Perhaps I am being overly demanding, but I would have liked there to be a bit more detail on that front.

Still, despite having some minor complaints about certain details of the system, I really enjoy NGP. I think the rules are a bit easier to pickup that the first trio in the series, the components look nicer [being late from the late 80s rather than c1980 SPI ones], and I do like the chaos created by the multiple victory conditions. All in all, this game is a lot of fun to play, and gives both players a lot of challenges.
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Darrell Pavitt
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Anyone who has the whole series might be interested in the posts on consimworld, where Dick Vohlers has redone the counters for all 5 games (allowing you to use the friction point system for the new games).

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@936.hZrtaFafO1P.32@.ee6d...

Check the later entries for possible corrections. You will also need to download the symbols file to get the counters to display correctly (link in the pdf).

Not sure if anyone has done the reverse, converting the old counters to the new system.
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Keith Plymale
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I'm playing this with his counters and the original rules and have found an issue. There is a difference in the maps. In the original three there is just "marsh". In this game there is "low wetlands" which seem the same as the original "marsh" and "dry wetlands" which seems to represent low lying ground that floods seasonaly.

How does anybody out there play this? In my playing of this the WP blew the Dutch Covering Force batalion and the 2 German companies away and advanced to this area, south of Hamburg, in the first turn. I first thought it was all marsh and played that way.

Should I play it as a weaker woods, +1 to COT? Pay broken or rough cost but not use there terrain line on the combat table? I would thing that mobile combat here is NA. Would you use the flat/woods line?
 
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Kim Meints
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Keith

There are regular Marsh hexes and then there are High Water which are next to the marsh

It say's right in the Terrain Effects Chart Notes(Page 33) that prior to play the Nato player rolls a die.

1-3 High Water hex is Dry

4-6 High Water hex is Wet

This is in effect for the entire game and go by what the TEC say's for that condition.

Are you missing the small Errata sheet that came with the game that has the Terrain Key on it which was missing from the rules?

If so I will scan it for you.
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Stu Hendrickson
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Umm, why exactly do you need new counters to implement FP system?
 
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