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Subject: Academy Games Strikes Again! rss

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Basem C
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Introduction

I’ve been a member of the BGG community for around 8 years and wargamer for over 30 years and still haven’t written a single game review.
Like most first-timers, I guess, a game comes a long and sweeps you off your feet and once you realize it has no reviews yet, you swing into action!

Components

If you’ve owned any of the previous Academy games, then you can move on to the next section. This game is on par with the outstanding component quality of other Academy Games.

If you haven’t seen any previous games done by the publisher, you owe it to yourself to take a look.

The quality is simply amazing. The counters are thick and a pleasure to hold. Cards are probably the same size as playing cards and feel right in your hand and when you handle them. The map is mounted on a thick board and is gorgeous to look at. This is probably one of the most beautiful maps I’ve ever seen.

I played this game three times at WBC and had over 20 people stop and admire the components while we were playing. Some of those people were Euro gamers. Yup, the components are THAT good!

Rules

The rules are only 8 pages and are well laid out and easy to understand.
Around page 6 or so, the instructions tell you to play scenario 1 before reading on. It’s a similar concept that Academy Games used in Conflict of Heroes and I love it.

This process of progressively learning the game as you play the scenarios makes it significantly easier to learn the game since by the time you move on to advanced topics, you’re already played a scenario or two with the basic rules and have become familiar with them.

Not sure which company invented this process but kudos to Academy Games for implementing it!

To put things in perspective here, it took me about 1.5 hours from the time I tore the shrink wrap until I was ready to play. This includes getting familiar with the components, reading and understanding the rules, putting the stickers on the blocks, setting up the first scenario and teaching the my friend how to play. It’s pretty impressive in my view given the depth of game play.

Gameplay

This is where the game really shines.
I will not go through how the game plays since Carlos did a great job with his preview which can be found here

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/646069/preview-of-strike...

The game flows really well and although you can learn the rules in 10 minutes, it offers a lot of depth and agonizing decision making at each point.

Should I use this card to add to my orders or as an event and deal a major blow to my opponent on this front? Or maybe I should use it as a combat modifier and swing one major battle in my favour?

What are those two orders which my opponent just placed? Is he planning to attack, in which case I need to spend an order to reinforce that flank and maybe place a defend order as well. If he’s bluffing and just regrouping, then I would have wasted a valuable order which is badly needed on another front. Hmmm…but if he attacks, he’ll probably break through and I’m in deep trouble…

This is a small sample of what goes on in your head with at every moment in this game.

I’ll just wrap up this section and mention that this game doesn’t play like any other block game I’ve seen, and I do own quite a few block games. The game design, especially the hidden order placement, is really innovative and gives it a different flavor from anything I’ve seen.

What I like

- Easy to learn: You can teach this game to a complete newbie in 10 minutes

- Fresh Topic: Yup, this is not another East Front or Normandy game. To be honest, I didn’t even know that the Polish and Russians fought a war in 1919. After playing the game and reading the historical notes, I learned something new which one of the things I like about this hobby.

- Innovative order system: Really outstanding game design here. You’ll need to play the game to really appreciate it

- Front Initiative system: Again, I haven’t seen this before. Having initiative in a front gives some subtle but important advantages during the gameplay. You’ll often find yourself attacking or not attacking based on the potential impact on the front’s initiative.

- Flanking and Supply rules make this a very dynamic game with lots of maneuvering. You’ll learn very quickly that if you take your eye off your supply lines, there won’t be anything left to supply

Suggestions for Improvement

(There really isn’t anything I don’t like, so I’ll just add a couple of suggestions)

- Include extra blocks: The game ships with just the right number of blocks. Of course, given the high quality components, none of the blocks were damaged or unusable, but I would still suggest including a couple of extra blocks in case one gets lost or something

- Add a mid-range scenario: The games ships with 8 scenarios including one full length campaign which lasts 5 rounds and the other 7 scenarios are 1 to 2 rounds. It would be great to have a scenario which lasts 3 rounds where the players get to use replacement phase twice

Conclusion

After five plays, I can safely say this game is a solid 10 for me and is one of my favorite wargames ever played. If you like deep strategy war games that are easy to learn and force you to continuously make difficult decisions at every corner, you really need to check out this game.

Finally, I got a chance to play the full campaign scenario last week and will try to post an AAR in a week or two. That should also help give everyone an idea of how the game plays.
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basem2502 wrote:

- Add a mid-range scenario: The games ships with 8 scenarios including one full length campaign which lasts 5 rounds and the other 7 scenarios are 1 to 2 rounds. It would be great to have a scenario which lasts 3 rounds where the players get to use replacement phase twice


Still waiting on my pre-order copy but a question for you: Now that you have a few games in, do you think the gamer community could create additional scenarios for this? Seems like it should be possible...

Looking forward to your full campaign review!
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Kevin Marshall
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I pre-ordered this as well. I suppose it's on its way. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for the review.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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The BGG contest for Strike of the Eagle, where you got to step through a turn making tactical decisions and getting a bit of instruction, was the best of its type I've seen. It definitely put this game on my radar.
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Barton Campbell
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Thanks for the review. I'm definitely interested, however, why is it taboo to mention that this game does not use dice? None of the Academy games copy mentions it. The only clue is dice are not mentioned under the game components. I think the lack of dice is notable detail and a major factor in perking my interest.

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Basem C
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UniqueRabbit wrote:
basem2502 wrote:

- Add a mid-range scenario: The games ships with 8 scenarios including one full length campaign which lasts 5 rounds and the other 7 scenarios are 1 to 2 rounds. It would be great to have a scenario which lasts 3 rounds where the players get to use replacement phase twice


Still waiting on my pre-order copy but a question for you: Now that you have a few games in, do you think the gamer community could create additional scenarios for this? Seems like it should be possible...

Looking forward to your full campaign review!




This is a game where the Polish player begins the game on the offensive but that quickly changes with the arrival of the Soviet First Cav army end of round 1/start of round 2. Then the Soviets get 2 or 3 rounds (each round is 5 Operational turns) of major attacks and should be able to drive the Polish troops all the way to Warsaw. Somewhere along the way the Poles needs to break the Soviet momentum and retake some of the lost ground.

Shouldn't be a major issue to do a 3 or 4 round scenario by pasting up some of the existing ones but would certainly require some major testing to make sure the victory conditions are balanced.
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Basem C
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bartman347 wrote:
Thanks for the review. I'm definitely interested, however, why is it taboo to mention that this game does not use dice? None of the Academy games copy mentions it. The only clue is dice are not mentioned under the game components. I think the lack of dice is notable detail and a major factor in perking my interest.



No taboo as far as I know

The combat is essentially adding up the total combat strength of all your units + any combat card you'd like to play (as event) + EITHER pulling up a card from the deck and using it's combat modifier (this kind of acts like a dice) OR playing a card from your hand and using its combat modifier.

The two advantages of using a card from your hand is first: combat strength is increased by 1 and second: you eliminate the random element which could be important in major battles. Downside?? You have a very limited number of cards to use each round and you'll spend half your turn scratching your head trying to determine the best way to use those cards

Once total strength is determined by adding up all the above, you look up how much damage you've inflicted on the enemy through a simple table and he looses that many steps. Defender does the same and whoever inflicts most damage, wins the battle. No dice!
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Tim McCormley
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Sphere wrote:
The BGG contest for Strike of the Eagle, where you got to step through a turn making tactical decisions and getting a bit of instruction, was the best of its type I've seen. It definitely put this game on my radar.

Not only did it put it on my radar, it made me preorder it.

Of course, getting a free T-Shirt for the pre-order didn't hurt any either.

Conflict of Heroes is awesome, Storms of Steel is awesome, this game would appear to be awesome, the Guadalcanal game looks awesome...Academy games is just full of awesomeness.

More proof that we're REALLY in the Golden Age of Gaming right now.

Tim
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Tim McCormley
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basem2502 wrote:

Not sure which company invented this process but kudos to Academy Games for implementing it!

It's been around for a while.

Avalon Hill always had "Basic" and "Advanced" rules for their games, but the first game I played that really used the scenario based learning system was "Up Front," back in 1983. Maybe Squad Leader had it as well?

Tim
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armor_11 wrote:
Avalon Hill always had "Basic" and "Advanced" rules for their games, but the first game I played that really used the scenario based learning system was "Up Front," back in 1983. Maybe Squad Leader had it as well?

The technique of adding rules incrementally over a series of scenarios is usually called programmed instruction. Starship Troopers used it, and that came out before Squad Leader. That's the first one that comes to mind, but I think there may have been even earlier games that took that approach. A recent game that uses it beautifully is Earth Reborn.
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Andrew Migliore
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Quote:
Include extra blocks: The game ships with just the right number of blocks. Of course, given the high quality components, none of the blocks were damaged or unusable, but I would still suggest including a couple of extra blocks in case one gets lost or something


I suggested the same to Uwe. I actually had to request 6 replacement blocks because of a few blocks were not square.
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pkmatchbox wrote:
Just received my game "Strike of the Eagle", wow! what a game, the map is absolutely gorgeous, the component are top notch, the rules are very well written and easy to understand and the game is a blast to play.

I also like the play-example on the Academy Games website, makes it easy to pick-up. I couldn’t be happier about this game.

If you are just getting into war gaming or even a seasoned Grognard, I highly recommend this game.

I can honestly say that Academy Games have outdone themselves this time.

One last thing, the "Strike of the Eagle" tee-shirts are beautiful; all of my friends are jealous.


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