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Offline plasticpanzers

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Initial impression of game
« on: July 29, 2016, 09:22:47 AM »
These are impressions of loading the Crete scenario for a simple first game.  Mostly issues with game
as I see it from a 1st impression playing with a totally new system.  Now I may be totally wrong in my
impression being new but this also is how a new player might see this and having the same issues as me.
My opinions are just that.  Not a critique of the game nor trying to blast it feeling somehow superior.  Just
A new gamers view of how it runs right from the start with no experience from the start with the system.

1:Turn sequence needs to have a simplified chart.  The length of the turn sequence as listed is fine for
detail but far too long to use as any kind of reference.  Not a clear separation of step/phase/turn.  For
example in the rules the naval step-phase take an entire page.   A simple intuitive chart showing steps
and phases and turns with appropriate keys for each.  Your newer wargamer (not an old timer like me)
would be turned off immediately with the complicated and somewhat confusing set up as now.

I say this as I have gamed since 1962 in almost any type of board wargame and miniatures.  DNO/UNT
combined War in Europe/Pacific by SPI, Longest Day, and so many I have forgotten many over the years.
A complex description of the rules is good but a simple chart showing the turn sequence would be better
with the more complex description further down the rules.  Most folks learn basic first and detail later on.

2:Map resets in middle of ocean even for Crete scenario.   This can be annoying as anytime you click over
to another chart or subject and click back your sitting in the ocean and not on the center of your scenario
map requiring you to 'find' you place again.   Would be nice if it reset in center of scenario map.  Even more
so in larger games.

3:Controls are not set up concurrently on map top with steps and phases in different parts that require
clicking not in a simple sequence but find/click step/click phase/end of phase and all 3 are on different parts
of the top of map menu.   Having an ABC setup might be easier to do in a turn with many units. 

4:Step/Phase not clear on map bottom.  A different color for each sides step/phase/turn might be good
because if your going thru quickly Axis-Allied can be at times easily mixed up and you go past where you
wanted to go. 

5: Scenario opponent 'plans' choice.  I don't remember reading this in the initial rules (possibly in my case
as I see them as too complex and needing a simpler chart like system for turn to turn use).  But suddenly
I have to choose an AI 'Plan' for the opponent?  Since it lists them in sequence of scenario I assume I have
to hit the number that matches the scenario or does that matter?  There is no apparent explanation of this.
Also since I may not remember the scenario number will clicking on a different number crash the game?

6:Lastly for me is multiple crashes of the program which might be my download but after I try and skip
forward just to see what the opponent will do and I do nothing the game crashes to 'not responding' on
the scenarios I am playing to begin with (WDF and Crete).

Again, please don't see this as a critical view of the game but as an impression of the system by an 'outsider'
as most games are designed with a small crew and testers who are few in number when the game starts to
go mainstream then is where you find the rule setup and turn sequence can be confusing.  I mean this post
only as a first view. 

Thanks for your hard work and I will continue to bang away at this (only been an hour) so I can get into the
majority of the scenarios.

Tim
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Offline plasticpanzers

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2016, 10:00:28 AM »
few more issues.

1: Counters/units are the heart of the game yet there is no description of them at all in the rules.  You are told to
check the 'chart' which is not in the rules but I think may be the simple one shown on the scenario at the top menu?
This is not explained.   As a player I would want to know a detailed description of the unit and all the numbers/letters
on it.  What is supply and that does the number mean?  Reserves mean what?  Dig in means what by letter?  How to
I add to 'reserves'?  How are supplies used/replaced? What does digging in consist of and what effect to they have?
These are not explained in the game or rules as I can see at all yet this is the most critical part of the game.  Off the
bat playing is a literal shot in the dark. 

2: Going back to the download manual.  One is in page sequence while the other download has mixed pages such as
2 or 92  3 or 93 reversed etc and they do not match up.  This can obviously be somewhat confusing.

3: Going back to a the turn sequence complexity it is 34 pages long to describe a turn in detail but it does not describe
on in simplified terms that can be understood easily at all.   You must scroll up and down to follow the sequence to make
sure you get it all.   There is a screaming need for a simplified turn sequence of Step-Phase-Turn that does not exist
apparently.

4: I have tried the Crete scenario as the UK.   The computer seems to move units for the UK without my help and the
Germans only appear to bomb but not invade.   Why is the computer moving my units if the computer is playing the
German side?  If I don't want a unit to move in a test game it does not make an effective test of the game if they are
moving around on their own.

5: Map 'resets' after you look at another menu and click back can be annoying or amusing.  From some menus I find
myself in the middle of the sea.  In some I am in lovely Ragusa in Italy or on an empty island South of Turkey.  No
apparent reason why the map resets to these curious locales...
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 10:03:26 AM by plasticpanzers »
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Offline Asid

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2016, 03:33:02 PM »
Hi plasticpanzers

Some good feedback. AGW is the older title with the older engine. It has been a while since i fired it up.

I am sure Ron will answer some of your points.

Regards
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Offline plasticpanzers

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2016, 12:52:48 AM »
Thanks.  Again, no criticism of the game just thoughts on the rules.   Often I have found that those who design and
those that help are like a group of monks who know all the ins and outs of the system but need to remember that
those walking in thru the door have no idea what to expect and rule systems need to be designed for them and not
for those who already know it all.

1-4: I see the little AX/AI box showing whose part of the turn it is but again the color might want to be added to the
bottom of the page where the turn sequence is being shown rather than the opposite side of the page.

I had no idea it was an older game system as the 'catalog' page does not mention this.  If I had known I probably would
have saved up more pennies (lol!) and bought the newer full Europe version with the new engine.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 12:54:22 AM by plasticpanzers »
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Offline plasticpanzers

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2016, 06:58:02 AM »
I am trying the Kasserine scenario as a test game playing both sides but just moving the Axis.

One: In the scenario evidently the Axis ships don't ship and the planes don't plane because in their step/phase (the
rules are unclear on what is what in a turn) they accept no orders.   Aircraft movement in the scenario has them
limited to 2-3 hexes which is worthless yet when I play the Allies with Axis computer opponent they pound my Allied
units...

Two: Movement rules are very, very vague for land units.   Yes I can see where they move under specific orders but
what order do you give them to attack a particular unit?   Nothing I do can get the 15/21st Panzer to attack a lone
US 1st Div brigade.  The outlined white hexes showing movement allow movement to everywhere but to the hex with
the allied units in them.  There is no description in the orders page that explains this and since combat is the key to
win in a wargame you kinda need to know how to do it and have it clearly explained.    Move to attack does not seem
to do it nor any other order.   

Also if you click the magnify button top left forget about left clicking on a hex to give orders as you need to unclick this
first or you just zoom in/out on the map.   Then afterwards you have to click it again to zoom and realign your view of
the battlefield.

Most of the problems I see are a glaring amount of detail yet not much usable information on how step/phases/turns go
and on movement/combat especially on land units.   The biggest need is a detailed explanation of the factors on the counters
to explain what are supplies/how are they used/replaced.  What are reserves and how are they used/replace.  What are losses
and what to they mean to the counter as it already shows lower strengths after combat.   I imagine I will eventually figure it
out using hit and miss gaming but this is not optimal for a wargame.   This again goes to the vagueness of the rules that reams
of info do nothing to help the player in practice.   Simply put you need to know A: how to move and B: how to kill the other guy
and you cannot do this with the information as given in the rules.

There are several points in the upper menu for steps/phases.  Why so many?  Should you not just have one step at a time listed
rather than 3 times?  apparently 3 phases as well but neither phases nor steps are clearly shown at the bottom.   Should not OOB
be an option per turn rather than a step/phase to go thru constantly?  This goes to the very confusing step/phase/side/turn.  Its
rather like a fancy dance and you dare not miss a step.

Again I strongly stress a need for a simplified turn sequence chart and more explanations in the rules on ground movement and combat.
I am sure the close knit members and the designer are knowledge about all this but when you walk into this game your in for a lot of
disappointment in how the rules are set up and explained.   This is a shame because it such a great looking game but I don't think many
new gamers will walk into this and be happy and heck I played a 2 person game of SPIs War in the Pacific and Europe combined on a huge
wall map for 6 months with tons of custom rules but since they were explained simply with later detail we could cruise thru turns.  Fun
part was catching German BCs, a CA, and DDs/TRs unloading troops in Reykjavik with 4 R-Class BBs, CAs, CLs, and DDs.  We used Europa
modified naval rules.  If its not fun it becomes a job.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 07:08:11 AM by plasticpanzers »
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Offline plasticpanzers

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2016, 10:36:10 AM »
Well, I figured out how to land attack tho it is clearly not shown in the rules.   I did Kasserine over and over
with an Axis AI.   Different outcomes each time.  One it attacks and wins, one it moves, attacks nowhere
goes out of supply and the Italians on Sicily try to walk to N. Africa and it wins (!?) and another time it half
attacks and wins.   I play it and attack and get a stalemate....Then I played a number of games as both sides
at once to get more feel of the turns step-phase-turn which is still quite confusing as their appear to be so many
steps (or are they phases?).

I played each game in a box on the left of my screen and the rules in a box on my right.   There is a somewhat
simplified turn chart but it is devoid of information (keys, shifts, or any mention of what to do) which requires
you to go back and back again to the rules.   The ground combat section refers you back to a section of ground
combat rules that tell you basically nothing and is circular instruction (go thru door..read rules...rules read go
thru door...go thru door...).  Its the kinda stuff that make you want to tear you face off (lol!).   The Naval and
Air rules are much more clear tho they appear not to work for the human player in the scenario but do work for
the AI in the scenario..my aircraft do not fly nor do the ships move but AI ones do).

The rules on the AI (CO rules which should read AI) need to show that the AI can do some of the work for you
and is not clear in the rules and should not say 'CO' (Computer Opponent) if its an AI the player is using to help
them VS the computer CO.  It should not suggest the computer opponent helps you and fights you at the same
time.  The AI for each side is separate and should be mentioned so...ie: CO (enemy) and "AI Staff"(player).  Also
it must be much more clear on 'plans' when they pop up what to do about them.  Do they help/hurt/you/AI/what?

I can say that my mouse wheel is getting a lot of work scrolling up and down the rules trying to find specifics tho
I did find supply but not reserves and their use.   Still very thin on what the counters numbers mean.  I am still
bulling my way thru and have been playing (or when not taking asprin) for 4 hours now.   Will keep at it...
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 10:39:08 AM by plasticpanzers »
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Offline Asid

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2016, 06:51:07 PM »
Hi plasticpanzers

Have you used the "help files"?  http://dogsofwarvu.com/forum/index.php/topic,2890.0.html

Regards

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Offline plasticpanzers

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2016, 06:33:17 PM »
Thanks!  Taking a few days for family and will be back.  I usually playtest 30-40 test games of any new strategy game
to see how they work.   Looks good I just need to figure more out.   Will probably get the newer game in a few months
with the new engine tho.
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Offline plasticpanzers

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2016, 05:55:23 AM »
I am back and working on some Poland 39 games playing the Germans or both.  I did find the combat rules
6.4.3!  Yes they were there but there was a large separation between move and combat rules your eyes can
glaze over.  Sorry to say mine did.  My bad.  But remember- Simple is good when starting so some work on
making a more streamlined turn sheet (that can be printed and taped up above the monitor).  Also a much
clearer and complete description of all the numbers and letters on a counter in one place.

I am finding the game play perfectly acceptable as any other board wargame and certainly equal to many
current and past computer games.  Combat with air and ground units goes very well.  The hardest part of
a computer game such as this, especially with the extended rules, is to remember everything before you
hit the phase button. 

Note:  Please, please add a "Quit Game Y/N" to the menu as I am often too dumb and clumsy and instead
of hitting the full page/part page boxes on the computer upper right screen I have hit "Close" and ended
a game instead (3 times in a row in one instance).

The key is constant replay of simple then more advanced scenarios to train the player in how to complete
turns effectively and not miss units before advancing to the next phase.   The rules explanation for new
players should up-front tell folks that the steps are exactly what they mean which are the sub-phases of
each turn.   Learning this up front and doing it repeatedly will get the new player off to a better start.

Again, the game itself plays very well and I agree with all the combat that I have seen but there are a few
question and comments I would like to add tho I am delighted to say I fully endorse AGW 1939-45 tho I have
yet to finish a full scenario yet I look forward eagerly to try out the full campaign once I get more of my
'sea legs' concerning turn playing effectively.

EDIT: Question:
In campaign games how does the player or AI extend supply lines?  In the rules the supply railheads don't appear to
move or adjust on captured roads or railways.   This  would present a lot of problems in a campaign game in France,
Russia, or most places actually.


Comments:

US use of Corps assets changed the power available to US infantry (and to an extent Armored Divisions)
from 1943.   More and more artillery and independent tank/tank destroyer forces were available to the point
that a division could call on more and sometimes very much more artillery support than their own divisional
artillery could supply in all gun calibers.  In mid 1943 US Infantry should jump from 8-8-4 to 9-9-4 and in or
about July of 1944 from 9-9-4 to 10-10-4.

UK Infantry should increase to at  least 9-4-4 by early-mid 1944 for the same reasons.

I do not know how the German player gets the newer smaller 2 Regiment + 1 fusilier Battalion of 1944 and if
they are included later in the game as few Divisions once bled out were not rebuilt as 3 regiment but were
converted from the 3 regiment to 2.

To include the addition of Tiger Tank battalions to some German Panzer units (to be noted in the rules) that
when they are available the German player may then increase by using reinforcements to increase the size of
these specific (like Lehr, HG, GD, 1st SS) by 1 or 2 combat points and can continue to spend these points if
he/she wishes to keep these 'oversized' Panzer units.  Edit: note the US 1,2,3rd Armored Divisions were 'heavy'
tank divisions unlike all later units and included 4 battalions of M4s and 2 of light tanks in 2 regiments rather
than the 3 M4 tank battalions and 3 light tank companies.  They should be a bit larger and be able to be reinforced
as the German 'oversized' units.

US Fighters once clearing the skies of most of the Luftwaffe spent most of their time in ground attack and I am
unsure if this is included in the grand campaign.  'Hunting parties' of P38 and P47 and Typhoons roved over W.
Europe attacking ground units.   Perhaps if the Luftwaffe is reduced to a certain point vs W. Allied air then the F
units will become FB units while the P51s continue to escort bombers in the Strategic Air War.

Personal point on the P38.  It was vastly superior to the P40 and ME110 and most people mistake a 2 engine plane
as being automatically inferior to a single engine plane.   This is something many late war Japanese pilots could
attest to as being wrong.  The P38 should be at least a 9-9-12 not an 8-8-12.   Despite a lot of prejudice the Germans
had a healthy fear of these planes.   Also a point in that the Spitfire should drop a point or two as the early Spit was
barely superior to the ME109 and just as short legged.   The Hurricane actually shot down more than the Spits if I
am correct during the Battle of Britain.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 07:58:07 AM by plasticpanzers »
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Offline blond_knight

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Re: Initial impression of game
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2016, 03:01:31 PM »
Its not comparable to WITW but AGW certainly has its charm.  This is the closest I've ever seen a war game recreate the experience of playing the old Avalon Hill title "The Longest Day". And that's pretty neat.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 02:28:39 AM by blond_knight »
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