Recommend
39 
 Thumb up
 Hide
15 Posts

Axis Empires: Dai Senso!» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review after first play rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We played the Dai Senso campaign game starting with the 1937 set up. Finished the game on turn 6 or so. People thought that the game lacked the maneuver part (most units have only 1 movement point) but I am fine with it because I don't think China is a theatre for a mobile war. The terrain to the west is always hill or rough. The only natural choice for the Japanese (Eric and I) was to go south attacking Shanghai.

I love the game design in which it integrates the political module with the military module very elegantly. The "Initial Administrative Phase" gives its due emphasis to the political events, played out by Options Card chosen by the player (with some preconditions) instead of random pick, and military build up operations and tempo in the Support Segment and Organization Segment.

People definitely like the game with so few counters on the map (at least in the beginning) but so many things can happen. The Soviet player, Leonard, controlled the Hopeh country after it resisted the Japanese invasion. The Western player, Anthony, looks a bit boring though with rolling dices leading to no result.

Movement is called "Operational Movement Phase" in the game, nothing really special but just a different name which sounds better. Moving into EZOC stops the units but otherwise it doesn't cost MPs to exit and re-enter another EZOC. Moving on road or rail is based on whether the size of the unit - single or multiple steps unit. Weather effects can affect a unit's ability to move out or into an EZOC. Overruns can occur during movement - a multiple step unit can just move into, ignoring EZOC the unit it will overrun, a hex containing a single step one and eliminates it if the hex is a clear terrain. Other unit's EZOC cannot be ignored though. So watch out those lone units often. There are quite some rules on beachhead movement, port-to-port movement and off-map box-to-box movement procedures but basically the unit uses its entire MPs to move into a beachead marker or an off-map box. Unit can travel across different naval zones to another port though.

EZOC rules are simple basically. Units have to stop in EZOC upon moving into it unless the enemy is being overrun. Friendly units negate EZOC and it is important to remember! That means the unit can continue exploitation into EZOC. Supply line and retreat cannot come across EZOC. In snow, storm and mud, units cannot move out of EZOC. During reserve movement, no unit can move into or out of EZOC. Stacking is generally 3 units per hex with no more than 6 steps. Supply line can be traced through the first two hexes of any kind of terrain for free to a road or railroad back to a supply source.

There is a Blitz Combat Segment and a Regular Combat Segment. Blitz Combat refers to the special types of combat e.g. airdrop, airlanding, beachhead landing and the most important blitz combat of the "blitz-enabled" units. The Russian can attack in snow in this combat while others cannot. Think of the winter uniform for the Russians in a general counterattack! One thing hard to remember is that you would return the CV Strike units back to Naval Zone's Used Box in this segment.

Regular combat cannot be done for odds less than 1-3. HQ can provide attack or defense support within two hexes. Don't forget HQ also contribute a CRT shift in combat too. HQ is therefore a thing being encouraged in the game. Marine units can attack beachhead.

The "Initial Administrative Phase" is a unique feature in Totaler Krieg/ Dai Senso and this is what distinguishes the gaming system from others. This phase contains the highly acclaimed Political Events Segment, which integrates the political system with the military system in the game. The Support Segment manages the Beachhead, Convoy, Blitz markers. Support units or markers with a Delay Stripe returns to base in the "Delay Box". Lastly, two units of the same no. of steps can be combined into a two step units during the Organization Segment.

Component-wise, the map is colorful enough with the money I spent on the game. But DG counters remain something to desire with regards to their thickness. The cards, while drive the narrative development so well, have virtually no card art whatsoever like that of GMT.

Overall, this game is fun and realistic on the strategic level for WWII Asian theatre. China is the focus in the game, the only game that I can think of so far that deals with the Japanese invasion of China directly at this level (whereas Empire of the Sun left China entirely). There is a lot of depth to the game for many years of enjoyment, with different development of stories every time (for example, in one game Hopeh country may resist the Japanese invasion while in another game it may be ceded to Japan early in the game!). Players' strategy on the board would be obviously affected by it, reacting to different circumstances. The game is perfect for solitaire study and PBEM too. I am going to study it more. If stepping into the hot kitchen of the strategic command center is what you want, DS is by far the most chellenging and playable game.

45 
 Thumb up
6.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Fridy
United States
Kent
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I didn't see you mentioning Reserve movement phase, is it still around?

It was the part after combat where you could move troops just like in movement, but never into or out of ZOC. So you could really move rear area forces towards the front.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Lai
Hong Kong
Happy Valley
None
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes the Reserve moment phase is still there, just like you've said. Its sort of like strategic movement and its an opportunity to stack units you intend to combine in the next combination phase.

As for the lack of card art... there is a lot of information on each card and I suspect there wouldn't be the space even if they wanted to include it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Lawrence - nice review. You note that China is the focus of the game, and that is historically valid, of course. However, I do want to know how the Pacific aspect of the game (i.e. Japan vs. USA and Commonwealth) was handled. What was your opinion of that side of the game?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Leo,
Ah....we haven't had a chance to test out the Pacific aspect of the game as we didn't come to a stage where U.S. entered the war. However, I heard from others that there may be a lack of task force operations in the game. So, I really don't know what alternative the game can offer and how does it go. Sorry about this.
Lawrence
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob Goddard
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
There is a naval expansion to TK2/DS called Schiffskrieg by Darren Kilfara. I'm not sure if it's all done, but it looks to use a system very similar to War at Sea/Victory in the Pacific.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Fridy
United States
Kent
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As much as I like the abstraction in TK, I really want to see the detailed naval rules.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Hopcroft
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What I'm wondering is how it is even possible to do a representative Pacific War game with naval rules that abstract....
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Haley
United States
Dallas
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I have the rules to Schiffskrieg, but the counters had not been created at the time the rules were available. I haven't seen anything on the Decision Games website about the expansion, but I hope they haven't abandoned the effort. I think a Pacific game without some tactical-level naval interaction would be incredibly flat.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
St.John Wright
United Kingdom
London
London
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I normally love to see a detailed naval system in PTO games, but I believe that the design philosophy used to create the two Axis Empires games takes a very different approach to the usual "every aircraft and capital ship is represented!" method. Naval and air power are treated correctly for a grand strategy - they are means to project power and reach territory. My reading of recent PTO history books has made me give much greater weight to the gruelling island-hopping work of the Army and Marines, backed up by Air and Sea Power, rather than the carrier battles that have traditionally grabbed much of my attention.

I am concerned that a detailed naval system would detract from this design.

9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SommeGrandads wrote:
My reading of recent PTO history books has made me give much greater weight to the gruelling island-hopping work of the Army and Marines, backed up by Air and Sea Power, rather than the carrier battles that have traditionally grabbed much of my attention.

I am concerned that a detailed naval system would detract from this design.



Agreed completely. The naval operations would sidetrack much of the land warfare in China - one that should not be seen as a sideshow to many Chinese....
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
flag msg tools
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
badge
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SommeGrandads wrote:
I normally love to see a detailed naval system in PTO games, but I believe that the design philosophy used to create the two Axis Empires games takes a very different approach to the usual "every aircraft and capital ship is represented!" method. Naval and air power are treated correctly for a grand strategy - they are means to project power and reach territory. My reading of recent PTO history books has made me give much greater weight to the gruelling island-hopping work of the Army and Marines, backed up by Air and Sea Power, rather than the carrier battles that have traditionally grabbed much of my attention.

I am concerned that a detailed naval system would detract from this design.



Valid point. But this game ALSO is supposed to cover the entire Pacific War, right?

I like Totaler Krieg (2.0), and I'm now playing AE:TK. But I'm skeptical about Dai Senso precisely because I wonder about how the non-continental parts of the theater are handled.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
sub unit
Canada
Toronto
ON
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Lawrence Hung wrote:
SommeGrandads wrote:
My reading of recent PTO history books has made me give much greater weight to the gruelling island-hopping work of the Army and Marines, backed up by Air and Sea Power, rather than the carrier battles that have traditionally grabbed much of my attention.

I am concerned that a detailed naval system would detract from this design.



Agreed completely. The naval operations would sidetrack much of the land warfare in China - one that should not be seen as a sideshow to many Chinese....


Are things like the effects of the American unrestricted submarine warfare campaign modelled on Japanese supply through cards?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Prowell
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
mb
subunit wrote:
Are things like the effects of the American unrestricted submarine warfare campaign modelled on Japanese supply through cards?


The US submarine campaign is modeled both implicitly through the rising Delay DRM that happens after US Entry (this slows the arrival of Japanese forces and support units) and explicitly through a Sub Fleet support unit.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Spear
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
wifwendell wrote:


Valid point. But this game ALSO is supposed to cover the entire Pacific War, right?

I like Totaler Krieg (2.0), and I'm now playing AE:TK. But I'm skeptical about Dai Senso precisely because I wonder about how the non-continental parts of the theater are handled.

I know this is an old thread, but as someone who was extremely skeptical of how the TK air and naval system would simulate the Pacific War, and who is now convinced that the designers are geniuses, I want to throw in my 2 cents. I think the Pacific War in DS can be most easily summed up as a fight for bases. Fleet battles are abstracted to the delay box, and naval and air units represent power projection rather than ships, etc. That said, the rules for placing air and naval units mean that the Americans and Japanese are constantly fighting for strategic bases across the Pacific.

The layout of the map, especially the all-important multiple seazone ports and the 'intrinsic' supply convoys, give the historical trajectory of the war a certain logic without feeling like the players are being railroaded. For example, I have played 4 games of DS, and 3 of them involved prolonged fighting at Guadalcanal, while 2 involved major fleet actions at Midway. Neither of these are 'strategic hexes' used in victory calculation, but Guadalcanal is extremely important, if not essential, for the US to maintain a presence in the South Pacific (or if Japan gets ambitious it can open the door for them to reach a few more strategic hexes), while Midway sits astride the most convenient route between Honolulu and Japan. All of my games involved American island hopping while the Japanese desperately tried to figure out which islands to fortify using their limited resources.

Given the scale of the game, the abstraction is of course appropriate from the perspective of realism. From the standpoint of the game, I don't find that it detracts from play at all. If you like pushing Panzers you might find DS frustrating, but in many ways I find the Pacific theater even more interesting than the continental theater. An added advantage is that DS takes a lot less time than TK. I've finished a full campaign game in a single (long) day.
28 
 Thumb up
1.05
 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.