Atlantic Wall prep

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MTierney
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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by MTierney » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:46 pm

I don't expect things to be that bad. From our play here at home there are still a few things to go over before we start at the Fest, but I do not see any show stoppers.

Merv

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by mignered » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:12 am

Hi Merv,

I hope you are right because Joe's designs are superb when someone is controlling his "creative genius". We had a great time with Wacht. I was just pulled away by La Bataille, Line of Battle, and OCS.

Dave M

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by tombeach » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:27 am

Although I don't doubt we will keep the rules nearby at all times, I would second Merv's comments.

Dave and I played again this afternoon. We put our Scenario 4b on hold and moved down the table to the Caen map where I had set up the June 6 AM Germans. We then proceeded to play the Airborne Module, not quite to completion, both wanting to at least understand the mechanics of this opening activity before arriving. Yet another mini-game within a game to be sure. But a very neat game at that. And with but a few issues we proceeded with little trouble and great enjoyment. I discovered as the Brits a lot of subtle choices to be made. I do have a couple of questions for you though, Merv.

Could not find the 2nd Ox & Buck 2-2-6 glider infantry unit (Pegasus Bridge) in my photocopied counter inventory. We presumed it was Howard's 1-1-6 unit originally landed in Step 1 as the remaining Ox & Buck's units (A,B & C,D) are accounted for on the June 6 PM landings. Same for you?

Also, the Glider Merville unit is not a z-step unit as listed on the Airborne Display but instead a 1-step unit. Same for you?

Finally, I see no mention of advance after combat. Only retreats are covered. Does this mean winners of combat are not permitted to advance as in normal GA?

Thanks

I can say without any hesitation whatsoever that, warts and all, GOSS is by far the best battalion-level WWII simulation in the history of our hobby. And while GOSS' admitted complexities makes OCS look like an Avalon Hill classic by comparison, I believe it is worth the time investment for the comparable increased rewards offered.

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by mignered » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:44 pm

Tom,

How does it compare with La Bataille?

By the way, what determines the stripes?

Dave M

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by Madison » Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:30 pm

If GOSS goes to the east front, I'm in on the system as a whole and will backtrack to AW.

Maybe by then he Joe will hire a veteran war gamer/writer/editor(s) to edit his rules before publishing.

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by tombeach » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:10 pm

Hi Dave,

By that I presume you mean complexity and modeling? To that end, while definitely more complex (degree is a matter of personal perspective) I think its not very different than what Regs XXX is to Napoleonic's. ML is definitely much less complex.

I'd be interested in Merv's opinions here. But for me, the real hurdle with GOSS is simply the rules writing and development. By development, I don't mean to speak of the restraint that the developer should impose on the designer. In retrospect, I don't believe that Doug failed in his duties, unless one thinks that he should've forced Joe to cast off a long list of the detailed modeling in GOSS. To be honest, I once held that view (during Wacht's initial play). But as I have witnessed the evolution of GOSS v2 rules and the level of continued advanced modeling in AW2, it's obvious to me that Doug must've been on-board with Joe where the unrestrained nature of the modeling was concerned. Otherwise you're left to conclude Doug had no input at all. Because its clear Joe got everything he wanted. At least that's my opinion three games into the series now.

The development criticisms I have center on playtest time, management of playtesters and teams, proper feedback, revisions to the rules writing and proof reading. There is no good excuse for releasing a game series of this complexity level without a tight, or very near tight set of rules. None. Moreover, where is the much needed GOSS v2 Errata? Again, no excuse at this stage. But if the pre-pro expenses were too limited or there simply wasn't enough time to wait on recoup of those expenses, then I might understand why GOSS is in the current state it is. Or, they just got too excited with the project. The other complaint is with (as John pointed out so well) the complete lack of an index or even a table of contents for AW2. This is where Doug should've exercised his authority and put pressure on Joe and Doc. After all, his name's on it too. But we all know what a good developer Doug is. So again, I expect it was other pressures at work. As I've pointed out before, when I can count six rules-jump references in one afternoon of play that don't even exist, there's a problem. Finally, in defense of both Doug and Joe, I have witnessed improvements between GOSS v1 and v2. Yes, believe it or not there have been some. A few have been wholesale like the full change-up of the Fire Support Mission rules. And while its easy to jump on them negatively, I think it reveals an attempt to improve on a system in a positive way. After all, take a look at Antietam I and CWB v3.2 and witness the wholesale changes there. So no system should be pilloried because of design evolution.

Dave, modeling is not too far off between Regs XXX and GOSS v2. For me, they both fall into the "kitchen sink" category. Again, personal perspective will be the deciding factor.

There is nothing new in this next statement. This game, perhaps more than some and less than others, benefits from a commitment of play. You WILL NOT EVER come to enjoy playing GOSS if your approach is a one-off and then moving on. Whether intentional or not, Joe simply isn't going to allow you to get off that easily. And this is where the layers of the onion begin to peel back and a fair comparison with Regs XXX can be made. But to an even greater degree. Its not just understanding the rules. Its about the incredible amount of subtle interaction between the design concepts. With further play, I find myself constantly realizing I have found something new in a rule which I had previously thought stood on its own until considering the ripples that one rule will have upon other rules. And suddenly you realize that the rules are not just a series of isolated concepts like the days of old. Instead they are cross-weaved together as part of a larger design concept. And that is where I think the brilliance in Joe's design lies. It then goes without saying that there are two distinct levels of play in GOSS. Learning the mechanics (rules), and then learning how to play the game! I expect you'd be able to easily relate to that concept, Dave as compared with your many years of commitment to play of La Bataille. And I confess I am still mired in the former and don't even worry about my level of play at this point.

It is this subtext in GOSS that I most appreciate -- the interrelationships between concepts. Once this relationship is understood, it quickly becomes apparent why Doug would've have a hard time reeling Joe in on many things. You can't. He has created too many concepts which are interdependent upon each other which affect the way that the player must think in terms of tactics. This subtext exists as well in the operational aspects of the game which of course, then trickle down to the tactics. Its a beautiful design, if admittedly not elegant by any stretch of the imagination given its current state.

I don't want to be too dramatic here. It is still a game and can be enjoyed on different levels by different players, depending on ones own definition of, "enjoy." Additionally, I hear there is a streamlined version of GOSS in the pipeline. So take what I say with a grain of salt and as my own personal opinion and personal enthusiasms.

But the real tragedy here in my opinion, is that even players who like detailed simulations (e.g. OCS/EFS/La Bataille) and are willing to read a lot of pages may be turned back from GOSS long before they ever experience the aforementioned beauty of Joe's design, all as a result of the sloppy rules-writing itself. And that's a shame. I have had numerous bouts of frustration and anger at some of the oversights and flat-out boneheaded errors in GOSS. But I have found myself able to stand back, take a deep breath and remember what really excites me about the game and then plod ahead. Later I go and search for all the hurled dice.

I'm with you, John and hope Joe goes after the East Front too. In fairness, I will tell you that I am a Western Front/Med/Africa guy far more than an Eastern Front guy. So maybe that also influences my enthusiasm. But I'd still be right there to play any East Front game in the GOSS system.

PS -- Stripes are handed out based strictly on wargaming prowess. :roll: Seriously though, your number of posts gets you more stripes. So as you can see, I'm a confirmed blabbermouth. :D

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by MTierney » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:10 am

Tom,
That was really a well spoken, thoughtful piece of writing! I have to say that I am personally right there with you on why I love the game/system, to your lament about so many gamers who will never get past its rules "warts". Most of our group who tried to play WaR two years ago at Winterfest walked away never wanting to see it again! That was very disheartening to me because even early on I was seeing those complex layers you spoke of and the gaming happiness it brought that I had not felt since Panzerblitz!!

This reasoning led me to be rather picky in who I asked to play AW this year. Sorry guys, but I want this game to "show its stuff" this time around and so asked only those who were really committed to it. I am even more confident at this point that we will, 1. Have a great time playing it and 2. Show everyone that GOSS is the best battalion level game system ever for WWII.
Merv

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by mignered » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:58 am

Tom,

That is an excellent posting. A group of us, including Doug Johnson, playtested Wacht I at a couple Consim Expos and at Origins. Your response has given me some insight into what Joe is doing in this design. Now, some new conclusions based on a lot of conversations with Joe and Doug are falling into place.

I love grand tactical treatments of Napoleonic, Civil War, and WWII engagements. I like complexity if it teaches me something about the event. If it fits in the context of the art of war interpretation being modeled. For example, the Caissons, in the Regs, add very little detail or insights on how artillery worked on the Napoleonic battlefield other than the taking up of space. The resolution of cavalry charges into "waves" also adds little on the overall impact of say heavies vs light, or some other cavalry type vs. target type. Not much bang for the buck. The two hex deployment only makes for a more crowded battlefield and an exaggerated level of bounce through casualties (try it with Moscowa). ML definitely gets the ebb and flow of the battle and eliminates unnecessary detail that while interesting, contributes little in terms of the dynamics of the battle modeled.

A lot of what the Regs and GOSS are doing I believe belong to tactical treatments as opposed to what I understand as belonging to the grand tactical realm.

Really looking forward to how far you guys get into the game and how smooth the process is.

Dave M

PS: If I can make it to corporal, I will be happy :D

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by MTierney » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:11 am

tombeach wrote:Although I don't doubt we will keep the rules nearby at all times, I would second Merv's comments.

Dave and I played again this afternoon. We put our Scenario 4b on hold and moved down the table to the Caen map where I had set up the June 6 AM Germans. We then proceeded to play the Airborne Module, not quite to completion, both wanting to at least understand the mechanics of this opening activity before arriving. Yet another mini-game within a game to be sure. But a very neat game at that. And with but a few issues we proceeded with little trouble and great enjoyment. I discovered as the Brits a lot of subtle choices to be made. I do have a couple of questions for you though, Merv.

Could not find the 2nd Ox & Buck 2-2-6 glider infantry unit (Pegasus Bridge) in my photocopied counter inventory. We presumed it was Howard's 1-1-6 unit originally landed in Step 1 as the remaining Ox & Buck's units (A,B & C,D) are accounted for on the June 6 PM landings. Same for you?

Also, the Glider Merville unit is not a z-step unit as listed on the Airborne Display but instead a 1-step unit. Same for you?

Finally, I see no mention of advance after combat. Only retreats are covered. Does this mean winners of combat are not permitted to advance as in normal GA?

Thanks



I can say without any hesitation whatsoever that, warts and all, GOSS is by far the best battalion-level WWII simulation in the history of our hobby. And while GOSS' admitted complexities makes OCS look like an Avalon Hill classic by comparison, I believe it is worth the time investment for the comparable increased rewards offered.

Tom,
In answer to your questions....yes, yes and we don't know. Advance after combat seems like it should happen, but it is not mentioned anywhere. It is something we will have to get a ruling on or just decide on our own. I am good with either, but do think there should be AAC. Thanks.
Merv

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Re: Atlantic Wall prep

Post by tombeach » Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:02 am

Dave and Merv,

Thank you for the very kind words. I'm glad my comments seemed to make sense and resonate with you. You made some very good points Dave where the value of added complexities is concerned and with great examples I can absolutely relate to. I too have come to feel that ML strikes the perfect balance in La Bataille. I agree, Merv. I think we're going to have a good time with AW regardless of how far we might get, and look forward to all of those concepts we enjoy so much, coming together.

Tom

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