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Subject: Review of The Fires of Midway rss

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Christoph Haeberling
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CH-8570 Weinfelden
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This is my very first review. Corrections and suggestions are very welcome but please stay polite. My review is divided and rated into 4 parts according to my own rating system. Everybody interested in this system can find it in my profile.

Rules thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
The rules are divided into a Flight Manual and into an Operations Manual. I am well aware that both manuals are downloadable. Nevertheless I give some description.
In the Flight Manual there are the Core Rules of the game.
In the Operations Manual there are:
1 page with Historical Notes
1 page with Design Notes
2 pages with 4 scenarios
2 pages with Advanced Rules
1 page with Historical Rules
1 page with Multi-Player Rules
2 pages with Solitaire Rules
4 pages explaining the components of the game
1 page with a What If scenario and a fantasy scenario
1 page with Nimitz Special Rules
4 pages with Campaign Rules
1 Roster for the Campaign game

In my opinion it is very nice to have separated the core rules from the rest. This way you have everything needed to play a scenario and the access is really easy. Throughout the Flight Manual the rules are well organized and there are many examples of play. My history of understanding the rules was very short. Reading once, playing one scenario, reading the second time and from there never looking again. There were very few questions and nearly all were of minor importance. The orthographic errors are few. This is in contrast to the first game in the series.
The Operations Manual is also well organized with usually clear rules. With the Solitaire and Campaign Rules I had some more questions but all were answered by the designer in a fast and polite manner. Nearly every answer started with: This is a good question.

I give the rules 3 thumbs out of three possible.

Components thumbsupthumbsup
The components are:
200 Playing Cards
16+2 big Carrier and other Cards
56 Counters
3 Play Mats
1 Maneuver Mat
12 dice

The components are usually of acceptable to good quality.
The game box is only acceptable because my copy bends in every direction. I think this is because the material is really thin.
The playing cards are also on the thin side but this problem I solved with card sleeves.
The Carrier Cards are very nice and lay flat on the surface. This is in contrast to the Building and Tracking Cards in The Hell of Stalingrad.
The Counters are top notch. They are big and very good quality.
The Playing Mats are very sturdy unlike those from The Hell of Stalingrad.
The dice are ... well ... dice. Red and blue with white dots.

With the components I have somewhat mixed feelings as I have them with those of The Hell of Stalingrad. As I heard there were some cost issues producing the game. So the Operations Manual is not in color. But there is no influence on game play in any way. One negative point for me is the graphics. As I come from the old school of wargames with very basic graphics my feeling about this game is that there are too much graphics on the components except the counters. After some game plays I got used to though.

For the components I give 2 thumbs out of three possible.

Replayability/Fun thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
This topic is very subjective. The fun for me is immense. I like to build a Strike Force, fighting through the CAPs and the Anti Air Fire and in the end executing the bombing run. Or if you are at the receiving end the fear and tension because you likewise never know whether you succeed with your defense. Your primary goal is to amass more dice than the opponent. With them you have a greater chance to win but there is absolutely no guarantee. I remember a result of my dice with 1,1,1,1 and the opponent’s die with 2. This was very frustrating for me. So whoever wins everybody can tell a narrative of epic battles, epic successes and epic defeats.
The replayability is somewhat limited because there are only 4 + 2 scenarios and a Campaign game. But with the present rules it is very easy to construct a DYO scenario.

For this topic I give 3 thumbs out of three possible.

Solitaire Suitability thumbsup
Now this is a very important topic for me as I play 99.9% of my time solitaire. There are Solitaire Rules right in the box and they work really well. The good news is that each and every scenario and even the Campaign are solitaire playable without quirking the Core Rules too much. There are not many games with Multi-Player Rules and Solitaire Rules on a par. In most Multi-Player games which have Solitaire Rules these are on the loosing side. The only recent game of this sort I have is Frontline D-Day. In The Hell of Stalingrad there are no Solitaire Rules but the designer provided such rules here on the net which were the one reason for me to buy this game and I was not disappointed.

For this topic I give 1 thumb out of one possible.

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Kenneth Lury
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Nice review. I appreciate it.
Is this a strategic, operational or tactical game and how long does a session take on average ?
 
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Derek H
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Pretoria
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Quote:
There are Solitaire Rules right in the box and they work really well. The good news is that each and every scenario and even the Campaign are solitaire playable without quirking the Core Rules too much.

Why then did you only give the solitaire option 1 thumb?
 
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Paul Borchers
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Note that he said just one thumb was possible. Two or more thumbs wouldn't be solitaire, after all.
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Gene Baker
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Games with dragons, spaceships, and bears aren’t wargames. Call them conquest games or strategy games or crap but they aren’t wargames.
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mr_peabody wrote:
Note that he said just one thumb was possible. Two or more thumbs wouldn't be solitaire, after all.


Ugh what?!? I'm with Derek seems like 2 or 3 thumbs based upon the comments.

Anyway to the OP thanks for the review in general.
 
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Antonio Capo
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For being the first review of the game i give him thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup out of 3.

Only minor point he mentions in the review is the graphics, i bought the game cause of the graphics they are lovely. The illustrations are fantastic and colorful.

Also, i think he should have reviewed solitaire a 3 out of 3, not 1 out of 1, confusing consistency change. Three components of solitaire: how well the AI(system) plays, fun and replayability, all top notch. I much prefer the solitaire system here than the one in Frontline D-Day (which uses the equivalent to a cheating AI to make for its weakness).

Now we need a strategy and tactics article so i can learn how to beat the AI

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Christoph Haeberling
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radsailor wrote:
Nice review. I appreciate it.
Is this a strategic, operational or tactical game and how long does a session take on average ?

It is mainly a tactical game with some operational moves.
For the duration of session I can only say something about solitaire play. It is about 1.5 - 2 hours.
 
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Christoph Haeberling
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Quote:
Why then did you only give the solitaire option 1 thumb?

This is according my rating system. For a game I can give maximum 10 points. 3 for Rules, 3 for Components, 3 for Replayability/Fun and 1 for Solitaire Rules. If the game has no solitaire rules or only basic solitaire rules or is a pure solitaire game then I give 0 points. If the game is a multi-player game with elaborated solitaire rules right in the box then I give 1 point.
 
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Ed Wimble
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"As I come from the old school of wargames with very basic graphics my feeling about this game is that there are too much graphics on the components..."

Ah yes, what the emperor said upon hearing Mozart's latest opus... "Too many notes."
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sunday silence
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analogy seems way off..
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Steven Cunliffe
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I believe what Ed is saying is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Mozart had a fresh style that was unique. Not unsurprisingly many decried his use of non traditional compositions which challenged people's preconception of what music was capable of...

However, what this topic is really about is why my graphics are so different. In all honesty most military have a certain style which has been done before and I have never been really impressed. The graphics of these games are safe, tame, and conservative. When I read about carrier they are described as being a lound, pulse-punding, shocking, thrilling, and terrifying!


Why would anyone want to make a game exactly like every other carrier war game? Why not do something different?

You only get to make a game Midway once in your life so I wanted to introduce something new and fun into the gaming world. Some will appreciate it others will not. Either way is fine but I for one am tired of playing games that look the same, I am ready for something new.

S








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sunday silence
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I understand what you are saying, but one has to be careful about using analogies because oftentimes they dont really match up well. You say Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder but then you say every game should do something in a unique way...

Which I get but it's not the same as saying Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder. What I thought the other guy was saying was Keep it Simple, Stupid. Which again is a long way from what you say Ed is saying and to me it's a longer way still from the Mozart analogy which to me is some moron who knows nothing about composition saying it has too many notes.


Again, I can only suggest there must be a more apt analogy to what Ed and yourself are saying.
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Steven Cunliffe
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It is just a game have fun with it.
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Kenneth Lury
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I have never played the game, but have been following this review.


Ditto to what Steve C said
 
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Steven Cunliffe
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Thanks Ken,

This thread should be devloted to the Chris's very detailed review. I think he did a good job of covering all the bases.

 
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sunday silence
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Just to be fair, I did take a quick look at some photos and the art is very cool indeed. That is the best photo I've ever seen of the Midway atoll as well.
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Ed Wimble
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Well, I never would have suggested that Christof was a moron, the emperor did know his music, after all. He was just too rooted in convention to "get" the new stuff Mozart was pumping out. (Christof says as much about himself, at least with regards to the game's graphics.) And, saying "too much graphics" is analogous to someone saying "too many notes;" i.e., too many flourishes, too ornate; etc.
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