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Subject: Some game analysis rss

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Gary Christiansen
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All wargames, and all games in general that have a theme, have a couple elements that are key to the value of the game to players. Two elements in this game are extremely important and worth some time to spell out.

One is that the game succeed in suspension of disbelief. The game must engage the players' imagination in such a way they feel the theme successfully is the game's nature. It has to give a feel fitting their basic feelings about how the theme should work. In this case, Mighty Endeavor is striving to recreate the period of WWII from the D-Day Invasions to the crossing of the Rhine.

The other key element I'd like to discuss is play balance in the game. Most of the time in playing a game it's critical both players believe they have a chance of winning during the game in order to make it enjoyable. A game where one player feels they are being trounced and the other is just rampaging is of limited enjoyment since the natural result is one of the two participants feels they've wasted their time.

The game suffers a wee bit on the realism side from a couple minor issues that may disturb the serious historian but not the game player. The reality is any number of beach landings in this game should be more feasible than they are, yet the only one that makes any sense on turn one is the historical invasion of Normandy. Some of the play in the bocage area is going to be iffy or difficult at first, but the Allies will not only get ashore but eventually break out.

How fast they break out, how long they are held in the bocage influences the eventual outcome of this game, but I have not seen one game out of the dozen or so played where the Allies cannot get ashore in sufficient force to stay ashore and fight through to the open terrain.

To do this some sense of unreality may be encountered on the first turn, as the allies could potentially be ashore with 15 full divisions (counting the paratroops) and impossible to counterattack for the German player. This very mildly violate the sense the Germans had a chance to break through to the beachheads if they'd released the panzer reserves immediately. While this is open to a certain amount of dispute in a historical sense, the game creates a free field for suspension of disbelief by creating a struggle in the hedgerows yet the success of landing is never really in doubt.

Another element of unreality comes towards the end game where the Allies are likely to be bridging the Rhine. There's absolutely no need to perform a Battle of the Bulge action in this game, so the Germans most certainly can sit back on defensive terrain to hold off the final decisive victory for the Allies by simply keeping them out of Germany. The strength of the river crossing positions pretty much will allow the battle to become one of attrition there if (and here's the IF that matters) the Allies have not caused sufficient losses to the Germans on the race across France. It is hard to imagine river crossings could not have been forced somehow, but then here again we have a game design consideration. This is about the real success crossing France, not about the entry into Germany.

Game Balance comes from these two extreme issues. The game is ultimately decided at the Rhine, not at the beaches. When you arrive at the point in the game where you need to breach the last line of defense for Germany, the German must either be significantly reduced in strength or they will sustain that last bastion. A close result at this point means it's been a tough fighting defense across France to get there. An easy hike across the Rhine means the German lost the game in the attrition across France.

On the whole the game captures the feel of the race across France, the struggle to hold a line for the Germans, the supply shortages for the Allies, the difficulty in managing a real break out capturing the bulk of the German's defending panzers. But because there is ample design for effect, the hard core reality junky may not find everything to their liking. Air power is well represented, the impact of paratroops can be felt, the defense at the German West Wall can be noticeable. But historic elements may be missing for the most serious types.

Treat this as an 8-12 hour game with the race across France theme and it's substantively effective and good. Treat it as a deeper history title and you may be disappointed. The balance works well if you play out to the end and have a good fighting defender in the Germaans. It will be a romp for the Allies if the German is a careless player.
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Barry Kendall
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I appreciate your objective review. Since the game had gone OOP before I got around to it I've been pondering the merits of tracking one down. You've helped convince me that another target would be preferable.
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Steven Bucey
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I want to add that the German player in this game can and should be able to bite back hard. Regardless of what else is going on, if the German player doesn't at least keep a mobile reserve the Allied player will be able to do pretty much as he pleases. I think that in all my games as the German player except the first one I've been able to hurt the Allied player with a sudden counter attack just when the Allied player took a risk.

I agree with Gary that the seeming choice of landing sites is, in the end, a false choice, and that assuming the Allies make their main effort in Normandy there is little, if anything, the Germans can do about it, and will even have a very hard time reproducing the protracted struggle for the breakout that historically occurred.
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Gary Christiansen
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Barry, make no mistake. It's a lot of fun and the sense or feel for the
Battle for France '44 is there.

It is clear though after you've figured out the choice of beach is really limited, and the fight in the game comes from keeping tight control over your play once you're off the beaches, you really have no option but to look towards the end of the game to see the result. You just won't know who wins until the clash around the Rhine.

This is a good and bad thing. It keeps the game lively even towards the end yet it certainly makes the game more specific to what it represents. It's not the beach and not the river but the attrition.

To make the attrition work the whole gamut of tools have to be used. Overrun, pocketing and quickly (stress on quickly) destroying those tanks, really crushing the other side. Concentration of force and holding reserves, they're all there. But it's obvious where the balance of play matters most.
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Steven Bucey
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Yeah, I've definably gotten my money's worth out of this one.
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Robert Stuart
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WatchmanX2000 wrote:
The game suffers a wee bit on the realism side...

...towards the end game where the Allies are likely to be bridging the Rhine. There's absolutely no need to perform a Battle of the Bulge action in this game, so the Germans most certainly can sit back on defensive terrain to hold off the final decisive victory for the Allies by simply keeping them out of Germany. The strength of the river crossing positions pretty much will allow the battle to become one of attrition there if (and here's the IF that matters) the Allies have not caused sufficient losses to the Germans on the race across France. It is hard to imagine river crossings could not have been forced somehow, but then here again we have a game design consideration. This is about the real success crossing France, not about the entry into Germany.



To me this would make the game more, rather than less, realistic. I'm convinced that by the summer of '44 Germany's best course would have been to have abandoned France entirely, before D-Day, and defended a line in front of and behind the Rhine. It could possibly have successfully defended Germany, at least in the West.

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Martin McCleary
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I received a pre order of another game from MMP today. There was a April 2013 flyer enclosed, they have Mighty Endeavor expanded edition up for preorder.
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Subatomic Birdicle
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WatchmanX2000 wrote:
To do this some sense of unreality may be encountered on the first turn, as the allies could potentially be ashore with 15 full divisions (counting the paratroops) and impossible to counterattack for the German player.


This sort of statement always makes me wonder whether everyone is playing by the same rules.

The class 3 beaches in Normandy allow two divisions to land, plus 4 more in shipping by the end of the Allied turn. That is six per beach, or 18 plus the paratroopers for 21 total, not 15. Even if you land two HQs (and you don't need them to attack adjacent to the beach, or move out if the Germans don't defend closely, and you can use an Emergency Attacks to make key attacks away from the beach, like taking Cherbourg) that is still 19 divisions plus 2 HQs.

Where does 15 come from? That seems way low.
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