Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Block Gamers: Eastfront 2?

Howdy, Blockheads! Does anyone have Eastfront 2 on pre-order? This looks like just my kind of game, and apparently it's slated for release any time now...


At 1:23 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Jonathan W. said...

Rob has Eastfront II, Westfront II, and Eurofront II all on preorder.

At 2:01 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

If it’s truly a cleaned up, larger version of Rommel in the Desert without the supply card thing, then it might just be a great game. Rommel had a good system with poor implementation I thought, so there's definite potential in EastFront. Time will tell…

(Here’s hoping!)

At 2:17 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I really need to give Rommel a try. I thought the supply system was supposed to be innovative hallmark of that game...

At 2:22 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

It's nice to know that if I can manage to resist pre-order mania with the block games, I can count on Rob to carry on the insanity!

At 2:27 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ben, don't listen to Simon. He has yet to play a full scenario. Ted and I did, and so did Jon and I. I think it's probably one of my fav block games. The cards do add some uncertainty, specially in my game with Jon (the bastard deceived me with how many he really had left). Simon, we need to try a longer game.

Yes, I'm a junkie as Ted stated before. I have all preordered. Eastfront should be out by mid May.

At 2:44 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Jonathan W. said...

The starter scenario for Rommel in the Desert is very boring and all it does is get the basic principles of the game into your head.

The scenario that Rob and I played was great, I think that you need a large amount of blocks in a scenario to make it fun with this system.

The bluffing about how many cards you are playing each round does not really do anything for me, and seemed very pointless.

The blank supply cards are only good to keep your opponent guessing how many real supply cards are still in your hand.

At 2:47 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

The supply cards in Rommel are brilliant. Sure, they are a pain sometimes, but they add incredible tension to the game. Every decision feels critical. You're looking at your hand of a few supply cards and mostly duds, and you're wondering "How much supply does the other guy have?"

I have Eastfront. I've never played F2F, but I've done 2 solo games, and it seems very cool. The map is bigger than Rommel. Supply is important, but not the center of the whole game.

Eastfront is much more forgiving than Rommel. In Rommel, a small mistake can be catastrophic, whereas it's just bad in Eastfront.

Supply is abstracted via headquarter (HQ) units. It's a really elegant way to lump together a lot of annoying details. Like in Rommel, a much larger army can run out of gasoline and then be stomped by a weaker force. In fact that pretty much summarizes the first scenario: Germany runs all over Russia till they're out of supply.

Both Eastfront and Rommel are often cited as landmark games. In fact EF might be listed as the best game of 1992 on the 'geek. Something along those lines.

Both are highly recommended.

At 2:51 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

jonathan said: "The bluffing about how many cards you are playing each round does not really do anything for me, and seemed very pointless."

I felt that way at first, but I think it's a subtle thing that shows up after you've played a lot. Once you've internalized the rules and understand retreats, I think these bluffs could become more important.

At 2:57 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

I bolded "card" for emphasis in regards to the supply mechanic. The supply thing is the innovation of the game, but the cards are another story. The whole bluffing thing is done awkwardly.

At 3:00 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Oh and you should probably never listen to me. I know nothing and have an opinion about everything, as Seth Godin would say. -Two important caveats to my being.

At 3:21 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I really should be working, but this Rommel thing is driving me crazy.

jonathan said: "The blank supply cards are only good to keep your opponent guessing..."


Only?! ONLY?! Like keeping your opponent guessing is some minor thing?!

I repeat: WTF!!??!!

I made a post a few weeks back about a game with Rob.

I had extended my supply lines too far. I had 1 pt of supply left, and Rob had 3, but neither had any idea what the other guy had. Rob made a very expensive and slightly risk blitz attack. It took all 3 supply pts, but let him move and attack twice before I could respond. It very nearly worked.

Now I have 1 pt of supply and Rob has none, but neither of us know what the other guy has. The supply to my elite armor is hanging by a thread. If I knew Rob was out of supply, I could continue the offensive, but instead I have to reinforce my position without leaving any weak spots. For all I know he still has several pts of supply. I shuffle my troops, continue an existing battle, and hope for the best.

Now neither of us has any supply, but neither knows it. It's Rob's turn. Rob passes. Huh?

I about fell on the floor when I realized that he must be out of supply, too.

jonathan also said: "The bluffing about how many cards you are playing each round...seemed very pointless."

A well executed blitz can be *devastating*. If you threaten to break through the front and start cutting supply to a big chunk of units, that's a major threat. If your lines are precarious and a blitz goes through, you're 100% SOL, just like in the actual war.

I agree it's a bit strange and 'gamey', but I can see that after we get some more experience, then there will be some real tension with those cards. Not every time, granted, but often enough.

At 6:50 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I'm sorry to keep beating on this dead horse, but the card play *makes* Rommel.

Roughly speaking, spending supply gives you:

1 pt = 1 turn (move&attack)
2 pt = 1.5 turns (move twice, then attack or move once, attack ferociously)
3 pt = 2 turns

In a normal wargame, you know exactly how many turns your opponent has. For each of your turns, the other guy gets one. Not in Rommel. In Rommel, you don't know how many turns the other guy has.

You have stretched to make an attack, with exposed supply lines. You think you're OK, because you think you know where all his armor is. The other guy plays 3 cards face down and attacks with some fast mech units; you didn't know he had rebuilt those. If it's a blitz and he breaks through, half your army could die. Do you play it safe and retreat to a stronger position? Or do you assume he's bluffing and try the battle, risking half your army in the process?

You're looking down the barrel of the most powerful handgun in the world, and the Desert Fox asks you: "Do you feel lucky, punk?"

I've got goosebumps just thinking about it.

At 7:00 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Simon said...


*backs away during uncomfortable silence*

At 7:13 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Wow, that was an awesome rant. I've got to play that game!

At 7:49 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

LOL...haven't had a good laugh in a while. That was good Ted. You are making me want to play. Good job re-recruting Ben.

Read my last post on : http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/893886 to see what happened when I last played with Jonathan. Bastard.

At 8:02 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Brian said...

Well, I really should re-read Europe Engulfed and try to get that played. I owned East & West Front for a long time, and played once. Several years later I tried to teach someone and had to re-read the rules. I sold my set soon afterwards.

You know, I have a good tolerance for rules (I'm teaching myseful Up Front , after all) but sometimes you just sell the game to teach it who's boss.

At 8:34 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I know the feeling... I've tried to teach Magic Realm who is the boss about three times... each time I end up slinking back to E-Bay.

At 11:05 AM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Jonathan W. said...

I guess I am in the minority on the importance (or lack there of) of the bluffing how many cards you are going to play each round.

Maybe it just my style of play, because I am more of an all or nothing sort of guy so trying to bluff that you are going to blitz (or actually blitzing) doesn't really affect my decision.

I mean after all I did send half of my units on the board to their death in Crusader Rex trying to take a town that Rob had 12 units in. The reasonable prudent person would most likely just have blockaded the town and contained his army instead of charging in and getting slaughtered.

At 8:36 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Yes, I believe you employed a similar strategy with your "Napoleon blitz up the middle" strategy in our recent block game reenactment of Waterloo. A very exciting way to go down in glory!

At 11:02 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Jonathan W. said...

Ben, thats another fine example, and it almost worked, one more hit and I would have been home free.


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