Monday, October 15, 2007

Simple Wargames I Have Known

Ted and I showed up at The Lair around five. After staring at the tumbleweeds, we broke out Battle Lore. We used the Call To Arms system to pick a scenario and then build our armies. It seemed to work reasonably well, although I've got a feeling we were doing something wrong. In any case, we had a heavily wooded area, and both sides had a nice mix of units including heavy infantry, heavy cavalry, dwarves, goblins, a Giant Spider, archers, crossbowmen and the like. I also had a rogue's den, so we had a fair number of the rules.

I killed the spider, and then got decimated. It probably had something to do with running up a few heavy units, which smashed nicely, but then got decimated when they couldn't battle back (not being bold). I also risked using my Rogue's Den to 'teleport' a unit behind enemy lines, but that didn't work out so well. I should have teleported the dwarves...

During our game Jeff and Amy showed up, but after a game of Voltage and Hansa (I think) they called it a night and packed up. So after finishing my humiliating loss, we pulled out Combat Commander. We played Scenario #3, where elite Germans face a lot of poorly trained Russians who have to defend their headquarters. The germans real enemy is time. Early on Ted mopped up the Russians I had set up forward, and marched halfway up the map when the Time Trigger had gotten to '2'. I managed to kill a few Nazis while losing another objective, and pin a few units as they approached my command bunker. With time starting to run out, Ted placed some smoke and ran into the wire outside of my HQ. But as he moved my opportunity fire finished off Ted's deck, triggering the first of two time advancements I needed, which also removed the smoke. My followup fire combined with Spray fire to hit all the moving units. I made a great rolls, breaking almost everyone in the main hex. I followed up with the commander's pistol. Originally I had just hoped for a time trigger anywhere, but now I found demoralized Germans trapped in wire on an open road and made another great roll, to kill several units and cause the germans to surrender. A bloody engagement, with both sides suffering heavy losses.



At 10:50 PM, October 15, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

I read Tom Vasel's review of Call to Arms, and he states that you randomly deal out four of the 'setup' cards and then just to arrange them (L,C,R and reserves). That's probably a better system (faster, at least).

I must admit, Call to Arms does seem to me (from my admitted single play) like stuff that should have been much cheaper.

At 1:37 PM, October 16, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

There's two "modes" for CtA. Tom describes one, and in the other you pick your cards like we did. Certainly the deal 4 random cards is a lot faster.

I enjoyed BL quite a bit, but the set-up did seem to be a bother. It wasn't helped by the fact that I'd never played CtA before. Also, I might get a tackle box to replace the baggies.

At nearly $20 (IIRC), CtA is not a bargain. Still, however, deciding on the value of a game is tricky. You aren't really buying the physical components; you're buying game play. CtA creates a virtually infinite # of (somewhat) balanced scenarios quickly and easily. What's that worth? Dunno.

Playing CC:E and BL back to back, I was struck by how much faster CC:E is to set-up. Perhaps the biggest advantage CC:E has over BL is that the victory conditions are much more interesting. They both have a "surrender limit" where you lose if you have too many units killed, but BL stops there. CC:E adds geographic objectives along with more movement.

I had two problems in the CC:E scenario:

1. I didn't appreciate how deadly defensive fire is
2. I didn't plan my approach considering terrain

Overall, I still give the edge to BL, but I wouldn't want to exclude CC:E from my game closet. If I can accelerate the set-up time, BL would look better; right now it's a touch excessive for a shorter, simpler game.

At 1:58 PM, October 16, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

Agree that CtA should have actually been part of the base game.
And yes, you should stick with the Impromptu setup (which I think is the one you describe).


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