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Subject: V&V - Perhaps The Perfect Hex-and-Counter Game. rss

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Greg Gresik
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Bolingbrook
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It looks like it's been a while since anyone has posted a review for V&V. Well, I’ve logged at least half a dozen plays, played several that I haven’t logged and even written a scenario for this fine free Print and Play game - I figure it’s time to actually sit down and put together a review:

COMPONENTS: Now, at first you may think "It’s PnP - how do you grade components?" Well first off, you could look at the artwork. For V&V the simplicity, clarity and functionality of the unit counters is outstanding. In fact, it is at least as good as (if not better) than most commercial counter art. Units are easily identified, the counters easily read and their purposes obvious. The same holds true with the other on-board counters (fox holes, barbed wire, etc.) Look at what I mean:
From gallery of Nikoms

Please note: Any "fuzziness" is due to bad camera work by me, not the actual pieces. blush

The maps are also extremely well produced. The terrain types are clearly depicted, intuitively represented and in general pleasant to look at. The fact that each of the maps (of which there are 20 at the time of this review - 18 official and 2 user-generated) are designed in such a way that they can be adjoined to other maps in any direction also makes for endless possibilities in terms of map set up. Take a look:
From gallery of Nikoms


A few things about the above two images:
- It is two maps joined together at the center(that particular scenario calls for that set up)
- You may (if you have good eyesight) have realized that the maps appear larger than 8.5 x 14 - they are. I printed my maps on 11x17 paper (what can I say? I work for an office). I found this to be helpful in laying out stacks (notice the infantry near the building close to "us" - you can see it and the mortar under it, without any overlap into adjacent hexes.)

Another point to bring up in "components" when it come to a PnP game, is how easy are the components to actually produce? Well I am no artist nor craft hobbyist (I’m just a gamer!) - but the simplicity of design was one of things that attracted me to V&V to start with - one sided counters, 8.5 x 14 (legal) paper-sized maps and a rulebook that can be printed in standard 8.5 x 11. I will be posting a "How I assembled V&V Inexpensively" with pictures soon, but suffice it to say that a color printer, some paper (letter and legal) and, for counters, some full sheet labels and some old legal pads or spirals (to snag the cardboard backing to put the labels on) - and you can print up a very nice set. The game pictures above are made as described (save for the 11x17 paper for maps).

RULES: First off, this might be one the better wargame rulebooks I’ve ever read (notice I didn’t say "PnP wargame rulebooks") - the rules for V&V are nicely laid out, well explained and loaded with nice graphics and examples. Now, in any rule set you can’t cover every eventuality - but these rules come really close. And if they don’t, there’s support....I’ll cover that in a minute. The rules themselves are complex and detailed enough to give the "squad level feel" without being so bloated that you are constantly re-checking every little thing. V&V is the perfect balance of detail and simplicity.

GAME PLAY: This was another aspect of V&V that I really liked - especially as my primary fellow player for a WWII squad level war game was likely to be my 15 year old son. BGG says 60 minutes - and that’s really close. We usually get a game in just under 90 minutes - which for a wargame is nice and short - and I mean that in a good way. For my son, it’s just long enough, for me it definitely is long enough to scratch the hex-and-counter itch, without dragging on to a forgone conclusion (which can happen in longer war games) or bogging down in overly detailed minutiae.

SUPPORT: As if all of the above wasn’t enough - elegance of design, balance between simplicity and detail, excellent artwork on counters and maps, playability, etc. - there’s the tremendous support for V&V. Support not only from the designer, who is typically amazingly quick to respond to rules questions here on BGG, but also from the V&V community here on BGG as well. At last count there are 26 scenarios - many play tested and balanced. There is even a Geeklist of those scenarios (here), where those who have played them can rank their balance and offer comments (thanks to Andrew Tullsen for that!). There are numerous other files from counters for new units to entire nationalities and variant rules. I have never posted a question or rules clarification that hasn’t been answered in under 24 hours.

SUMMARY: Valor and Victory is a well written, thoroughly play tested, excellently produced hex-and-counter WWII tactical game. And almost as importantly, one that can be assembled fairly quickly and inexpensively - and is playable in 90 minutes from set up to clean up. Not only all of that, but it is intuitive in it’s play and easy to learn. Upon writing this review, I changed my rating of V&V from a solid 9 to a 9.5, mainly because I was reminded of how awesome it is.

Still not convinced to give this great game a whirl? Then start here!
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I agree with you - V&V is great game and deserves any prize it has got and will get.
So far I've made two full-game sets and two starter scenarios and I has been worth every second. For myself I also had A3 format maps printed out. Less messy than regular A4 format maps - just easier to read out your troops.

Great review anyhow.
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Michel Sorbet
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I agree with every single word in your review. V&V is one of my favorites WW2 games. It's simple yet complex, it's fast, it's extremely well thought and what is important for a P&P title it's easy and very nice to make. I enjoyed making it a lot and I find the final result just as good as in a commercial wargame.
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Richard Savage
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Looks good, but PINK pieces? Reminds me of the old AH Battle of the Bulge game.
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Greg Gresik
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Pink pieces? There are no pink pieces. If you're referring to the top picture, it's the fault of the cameraman (me) - the pieces are not pink - they're tan (as can be seen in the second picture - which is of the same pieces).
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Take joy from your wins; take lessons from your losses.
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    That's lavender thank you very much and they're actually gray. The German pieces are gray and the Russians are tan in that photo. The color correction on the image is off.

            S.


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V&V is UNIQUE in terms of quality, support and selfless contribution from the designer to the gaming community.

Of all the commercial tactical games that I have bought and owned, V&V is probably the tactical game that I would have been most willing to have bought on a commercial basis and feel that this system is more deserving of a 3000 unit print run than some of the stuff that I have bought.

In playability terms, Barry seems to me to be the designer who has best managed to deliver the promise of tactical flavour in a streamlined and very playable format that can appeal to a wide audience. Tank on tank rules and artillery rules are superbly straight forward - both being rule areas that traditionally cause problems for lots players, who as a consequence just stick to just infantry based scenarios and miss out on all the tank and art stuff.

Hedge hopping has never been so much fun :-)
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Rick Barber
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I've had a lot of fun with it too (and have always had a hankering to start doing my own set of maps at this scale to help the thing along!) One thing that I've done, with this and other squad/platoon level games, is to print up a double set of counters (actually I have far more than that for V&V) and then make them two sided. I took a small graphics template and drew a circle over the national symbol on one set of the counters, and then back glued them with the other set so that I had nice thick counters, with that black dot on the second side showing that the counter had been 'used.' Saves a lot of markers, and keeps the board a lot cleaner! sauron
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Mark Goss
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It would be nice to see this game get a similiar treatment like VPG's "No Retreat" by GMT. Still, all in all, it's one of the best games out there dealing with small unit combat in WWII that doesn't take a binder to store the rules in or a couple of tackle boxes for the pieces....
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