Monday, September 01, 2008

Gaming Update

Not a lot going on in the afterglow of WBC West, but a few things:

Eric and I played (part of) a Panzer Grenadier scenario recently, from the new Elsenborn Ridge boxed set (which I'm still waiting for from Avalanche - they are *so* hit and miss when it comes to customer service). Eric made a few bad choices with respect to set up, and I was doing well, but he had a huge arty advantage and it looked to be going toward his side when he was able to break up my southern assault without managing any friendly fire casualties. I did manage to destroy his tanks, though, and I think that he made a mistake in how he used them - better, I think, to occupy the light woods to the east of where my assaulting forces would come in, forcing me to root them out so that my units would have somewhere to flee to. A very good system, plagued with some really obtuse rules and scenarios that are considered "playtested" if someone plays them once.

All of that said, we really like the system. Things can go very badly for one side or the other very quickly, and can get back into shape equally quickly. Or not. The one exception is armor, which is either dead or it isn't, morale doesn't come into play. That makes armor both very powerful and very fragile all at the same time, and knowing what you are capable of (and what you aren't) is very important. 

I've gotten the initial scenario for Devil's Cauldron set up, but have yet to give it a try. Jesse and I are scheduled to play a bit sometime this week, and the scenario is very light on troops - around 10-12 units per side. Looking forward to this, despite some of the problems that others in my group have reported. 

I also have been *slowly* running a test Burning Blue scenario, and even have it all set up and ready to start player turns. It's a Channel Raid scenario, so it should take less than ten turns, and much of that will be the Luftwaffe raid forming up. It does give me a chance to run through the various systems, which seem easier and easier the more I read the rules. The examples of play in the back of the play book are finally starting to make sense too. Like Downtown, though, I expect this will be another game I'd really like to play but never actually do because the perceived system is too involved for those I play against. Chris liked Downtown, but it was too much for him to retain given his busy schedule, for example. I keep hoping, though. 

I really need to get an OCS title on the table for solo play to retain that ruleset. I'm debating between the Tunisia Kasserine scenario, the Burma Chindit scenario (which is really more Burma than OCS, the game plays much differently in this volume), the Case Blue Edge of the World scenario, and one of the lighter DAK2 scenarios (Eric *very* kindly allowed me to buy his extra copy, which he was saving for eBay. You da man). I'm thinking that the Case Blue scenario will win, mostly because it's a one-mapper but has almost exactly the same rules as Tunisia - DAK2 tends to have somewhat different rules in some areas, even mentioned in the core ruleset, and Burma is simply a different beast because of the theater. 

Exactly *when* I get all of these games on the table will be a bit of a trick. We have my in-laws coming to visit for ten days, and four of them will be spent at Sunriver (I get to drive a mini-van over the mountains. Yay.) I think I'll be finishing up the Burning Blue game first, then probably trying out Devil's Cauldron to make sure I have the system down (the flowcharts should help). I doubt I'll get to OCS before mid-September, and to be honest I'm probably high just thinking I'll get through Burning Blue, but here's hoping. I may spend part of tomorrow doing just that, and will report on how the game goes.

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