Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
3 Posts

Western Front Tank Leader» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Khaki Storm Rising - some initial impressions rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
O
United States
Mountain View
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So yesterday we played our first game of WFTL starting logically enough on scenario 1. Conditions were hilly, devastated, forested and sparse road net.

The Germans won a decisive victory. Although the British tried to loop around the north and then drive down through the highway in the middle of the town, the German reinforcements were able to set up dense defensive fields of fire around the objective town. The devastation meant lots of clear terrain for easy (or auto) spotting. Once set up, their activations mattered little as they would just op-fire, and given that several were veteran, Quick Kill and then op-fire at the next mover. We didn't sweat the strategy too much because we were trying to get a hang of the game system.

So here's my first impressions:

The Good
1. The card play and trumping in general was quite fluid, fun and overall I liked it much more than most other "modern" activation systems I've tried. Less random than the chit draws of WaW. Can't be gamed like CoH. Not abstract and 'gamey' like FF:GD. Given that this was the main reason I wanted to try the game, this is probably the most important thing to have show up on the "good" column.

2. As an secondary effect of the card play, I really appreciated the way this game focused on realistic organization. In most game of this scale that I've played the organization of units seems like an afterthought. Here, I really felt like there was a reason beyond arbitrary command radii to keep units from the same formation together, both at the higher and lower levels. Units *do* act better in coordination with other units in the same formation.


The Bad:
1. Combat results seem overly dramatic. Formations melt away once units get into range of each other. I really would have preferred a step reduction, or a hit counters with a set of stat degradation, to mitigate a bit of the overly "lucky-roll" events.

2. Combat, spotting and morale procedures were a little fiddly. Practice with the system would make it more natural over time, but it really was a "blast from the past" in terms how the rules were written. The procedures were conceptually straightforward but the details... some rolls are high some are low, and really... "divide by 3" on spotting checks?!

3. Speaking of a blast from the past.. wow the components were a definite minus. Lower contrast printing seems hard to imagine, and could we choose some more garish colors! Small counters didn't help, but I do have mention that the layout of the formation cards was quite good, with each card's unique number in the upper left for easy setup.

4. One thing I didn't like about the card system was the lack of granularity. Too often the card trumping came down to "Germans trump". I wish there were more steps to C3 quality or one more factor that affected activation order (such as distance or movement messing with communications perhaps impacted by national doctrine).

Other notes:
1. This scenario seems very hard for the British unless we are missing some key element. The balance suggestions in the other thread seem like a must.

2. Panthers with a movement of 6? Wow, I need to get East Front 'cause I can't wait to see how the hard stats of the T-34s measure up!

In conclusion:
Overall I am looking forward to trying a few more plays with this system - there's a ton of fascinating stuff here from a design perspective. I can see how bits and pieces of this point of history have made it to other games. Did the card play here influence We the People, and in turn lead to Combat Commander? The scale and theme are quite like World at War, and clearly the designers agreed with my desire for step reduction in games of that scale, but ended up cluttering that design with a ton of "ops-complete counters. Conflict of Heroes is the only other design I've played that flips units to mark them spent, and added hit counters to make up for the lack of step reduction.

However it's hard to imagine this regularly hitting my table. The combination of ... er ... "nostalgic" components and rules make it challenging to get opponents who are willing to give the uniqueness of the system a shot, especially when we have such a bounty of options today! Still I'm glad I got this in my collection, and I do feel like I should pick up the other two games for completeness sake even if I play them irregularly.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Captain Nemo
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
adorablerocket wrote:
However it's hard to imagine this regularly hitting my table. The combination of ... er ... "nostalgic" components and rules make it challenging to get opponents who are willing to give the uniqueness of the system a shot, especially when we have such a bounty of options today! Still I'm glad I got this in my collection, and I do feel like I should pick up the other two games for completeness sake even if I play them irregularly.


What would it get replaced by? Anything better on the market?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M St
Australia
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Nothing better out there that I'm aware of.

Note that there's now a set of full colour counters available for download (see Web links section). The same page has colour EFTL counters, and yes, the T-34/76 has a movement rating of 8, and the T-34/85 of 7.

Concerning the scenario: yes, that one is very hard on the Allies (and people have questioned its selection as scenario #1 in the past). The combat results are dramatic in this scenario because this scenarios has some of the most powerful guns across the whole series, and the Allied tanks are comparative eggshells. (One could also say, this was a scenario put in for the kids who want to see something blow up quickly, and for those who want to see the monster tanks in action.)

A way to win is to manage to put the hurt on even one of the Jagdtigers - they have a strong morale modifier which has the rest going skittish after the first counter is destroyed. But yes, that's easier said than done.

Scenario balance varies across the list - however from my experience with everything from Panzerblitz over Panzer Grenadier to World at War that is merely part for the course for this type of game.

Concerning the card system, two comments. First, the simpler the scenario, the simpler the card choices. The further you go in the list, the more complex the choices, with two major steps in there - first, command cards which put in multiple layers of priority, and second infantry which is generally slower, so that even the better side will have some units that are slow to react.

Second, it's important to note that the card system does not replace tactical play on the map, it merely adds to it, and making it much more complex would turn this into more game but less combat. The key juicy decision aspect that the cards add to the play of game is not just the "when do I move" (which is indeed often a trivial decision - because it was in the real thing! If you need to move faster and can, you will, period) but "given that I know the other side is faster/slower, how do I exploit this with my tactics" - unit positioning, overwatch, what range to choose. The better side in those scenarios did not go through complicated shenanigans to create the advantage, that is outside the scope of the game. They had it, and they used it.
14 
 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.