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#1 wildefox

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:55 AM

I and a friend recently purchased the base game, and have played through all but the final scenario it came with. As we have advanced through the game, we have noticed a steadily growing trend toward the Americans having the advantage in virtually every concievable field. In the initial practice scenario the difference was relatively slight, and we chalked it up to us both being inexperienced, but when doing the later scenarios we feel that the start up so strongly favors the American side that playing it through to the bitter end is just an excercising in torturing the Axis player. Is this just us, or do others in the community feel the same way? And if so, are there scenarios published anywhere that might be a little more even?



#2 Kingtiger

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:36 PM

wildefox said:

I and a friend recently purchased the base game, and have played through all but the final scenario it came with. As we have advanced through the game, we have noticed a steadily growing trend toward the Americans having the advantage in virtually every concievable field. In the initial practice scenario the difference was relatively slight, and we chalked it up to us both being inexperienced, but when doing the later scenarios we feel that the start up so strongly favors the American side that playing it through to the bitter end is just an excercising in torturing the Axis player. Is this just us, or do others in the community feel the same way? And if so, are there scenarios published anywhere that might be a little more even?

 

Scenario imbalance has been the biggest problem with TOI from the outset.I'd go as far as to say that the vast majority of scenarios are imbalanced to a certain degree. In the base game the only one that I found more or less balanced is Stavelot express. In the Days of the Fox expansion the final one is a very good one. In the Normandy  expansion Omaha beach is balanced (although there are some other strange features in it which make it very unrealistic IMHO, but it IS balanced). There are several good ones in the designer series expansion, most notably Night Hunt and To save bastogne (there are probably more, but obviously I haven't played all the scenarios there are). The Fury of the bear expansion does not come with any well-balanced scenarios, I'm afraid. There are also many fan made scenarios available which can be found on www.boardgamegeek.com and www.brummbar44.com . Some of them were written by yours truly (boersma8) which obviously I find to be balanced, although they usually require a lot of expansions and contain lots of special rules to resemble the actual battle as much as possible. I personally also played "Those damn engineers" written by Ray Trochim which is very enjoyable and certainly a lot more balanced than most official scenarios, but this one also requires the Normandy and FoTB expansions.

If I were you I'd defintely buy the designers series 1 expansion book. As far as i know this is where you can find the largets percentage of balanced scenarios.

Enjoy the game. Though many scenarios are poorly balanced the game itself is great!



#3 Grand Stone

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:36 AM

Jupp. I agree. scenario balance is useually crap. The biggest dissapointment though that some of them are unbelievable crap. However, if you do your research apriori about the scenario ToI can be a great game.

 

I find 'silence the guns' to be a balanced one. Design series has a few, Kingtiger named two, but there are a few more which are very very good. The scenarios I have been playing from Brumbar has been excelent. 



#4 PoweredBySoy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:59 PM

I just got this game last week and I'm starting to agree.

We've only played like 3 games so far - one of them being Silence The Guns, which we found it very balanced with the game coming down to the very last round. But yesterday we played Crossroads, and unfortunately I was the Germans. This scenario seemed so imbalanced from the start I had to go check the FAQ to make sure there wasn't a correction for it.

It seemed imbalanced right at setup, with the Allies getting 12(!) tanks and more infantry. But then the real kick in the teeth was the fact that the Allies get their reinforcement deck too. Anyways, I made the comment that surely there must be something I'm not seeing that will make this play out evenly - like my Tiger or the fact I have fixed positions. Nope. It was a landslide of Allied power

And I don't mind losing so much, but what made it truly unenjoyable was the fact that my action turns were over so fast (due to the lack of units), that most of the game I was just sitting there waiting for him to move the rest of his units. Pretty boring for the German player.

Does anybody know of a good write-up or post that gives suggestions for balancing out the scenarios found in the base game?

After playing Crossroads I would definitely suggest taking away the Allied reinforcement deck and giving it to the Germans. Or perhaps even taking away 4 of the Shermans - leaving them with 8.



#5 PoweredBySoy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:00 PM

Let me just add though, that other than the seeming scenario issues, the game itself is great. We love it.



#6 Grand Stone

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:52 AM

If you have design seris, I find 'Bloody Lindern', 'night hunt'  and 'to save bastogne '   to be great scenarios.

 

Further, there are a few very good ones at brumbar44.com

 

And yes, dont expect a random scenario to be balanced.



#7 Jobabb Jobabbsen

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:34 AM

Just got the game. The introductory scenarios (chain of command & breaking the line)  seemed quite balanced. Couldnt have been closer.

Then i tried "At the breaking point" which seemed completely impossible for the germans. I hoped that we just did some noob mistakes, but reading the entire game is very unbalanced is quite disappointing. The game itself seems awesome, but beeing unbalanced is a huge minus. As PoweredBySoy asks, it would be extremely helpful if someone have an idea how to balance the scenarios. Giving the germans some more units or something



#8 neu.descolado

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:56 AM



#9 The Thing In The Attic

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:32 PM

Imbalanced or tough, that is the question.

War was not balanced.

I think this game more than any other war game teaches you to replay scenarios untill you learn the tactics. I've played Breaking point 4 times now and lost everytime as the Germans but each time I change my tactics I get a little closer to victory. 

There are many variables to the game that you have control over other than moving and shooting on the board and they affect the outcome of the scenario. they include how you make up your squads; what unit confiurations do you use? Then there is placement of units once the Americans have placed their units, so until the units have been placed you have to have an open mind about tactics.

Once those choices have been made there is the luck of the strategy card draw. Will the Americans draw mainly Reinforcements or Ground Support, will you as the Germans draw Moral or Command? 

I actually played it tonight again against a new player and he did things with the Americans that no other player i've played had done before. This time I got enough of my squads onto the objective hex's to win but the squads but got wiped out before the end of the round.

For me this means that I can never get complacent or bored with the scenarios- Its like playing Call of Duty on Legendary setting.

The other thing about Imbalance and this game over other war games is that the designers want you to create your own scenarios so that kind of implies that you can also tweak and modify existing scenarios. finding Breaking point too tough as the Germans then put in the German reinforcement deck, or add in the Lay Smoke operational card. remove the Tanks movement restriction or add another Tank. make notes about the outcome, switch sides with your opponent and have another game. If every one agrees the changes made the game more balanced then modify the scenario accordingly    

 



#10 KlausFritsch

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:26 PM

The Thing In The Attic said:

Imbalanced or tough, that is the question.

War was not balanced.

I think this game more than any other war game teaches you to replay scenarios untill you learn the tactics. I've played Breaking point 4 times now and lost everytime as the Germans but each time I change my tactics I get a little closer to victory. 

Thank you. That needed to be said.



#11 Kingtiger

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:58 PM

The Thing In The Attic said:

Imbalanced or tough, that is the question.

War was not balanced.

I think this game more than any other war game teaches you to replay scenarios untill you learn the tactics. I've played Breaking point 4 times now and lost everytime as the Germans but each time I change my tactics I get a little closer to victory. 

There are many variables to the game that you have control over other than moving and shooting on the board and they affect the outcome of the scenario. they include how you make up your squads; what unit confiurations do you use? Then there is placement of units once the Americans have placed their units, so until the units have been placed you have to have an open mind about tactics.

Once those choices have been made there is the luck of the strategy card draw. Will the Americans draw mainly Reinforcements or Ground Support, will you as the Germans draw Moral or Command? 

I actually played it tonight again against a new player and he did things with the Americans that no other player i've played had done before. This time I got enough of my squads onto the objective hex's to win but the squads but got wiped out before the end of the round.

For me this means that I can never get complacent or bored with the scenarios- Its like playing Call of Duty on Legendary setting.

The other thing about Imbalance and this game over other war games is that the designers want you to create your own scenarios so that kind of implies that you can also tweak and modify existing scenarios. finding Breaking point too tough as the Germans then put in the German reinforcement deck, or add in the Lay Smoke operational card. remove the Tanks movement restriction or add another Tank. make notes about the outcome, switch sides with your opponent and have another game. If every one agrees the changes made the game more balanced then modify the scenario accordingly    

 

Though you make some good points, this particular scenario is the text book example of imbalance. Sure, you can get closer and closer by changing your tactics, but I yet have to meet the first person who's ever won playing the Germans. So you beat a novice as he did things you'd never seen anybody doing before as the Americans. OK, but most people will just buy more and more reinforcements and as long as you do that, you WILL win as the Americans. I like your suggestion about the additional tank, though. That should indeed really help the Germans. then again, I personally want scenarios to be balanced. War wasn't balanced you say? Obviously, but the game should be. Even if one side has a definite advantage in manpower or whatever, just make the victory conditions so that they need to win within a limited time-frame, cannot lose more than X units, need to destroy at least X enemy units, need to exit an X number of units off the board etc. Usually not too hard to do.

In at the breaking point, the designers also might have opted to grant 1 command point to the Germans for each reinforcement card the Americans purchase for example. Not sure how this would play out, but at the very least there'd also be a downside to buying reinforcement cards. It could be argued that German units elsewhere are experiencing less resistance as the US reinforcements have been redirected.



#12 Kingtiger

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:00 PM

Oh and one more thing: At the breaking point should not have been the introductory scenario to the game! If a highly experienced German player, plays a novice US player, perhaps then it could be fun, but not for two beginners.



#13 The Thing In The Attic

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:01 PM

Kingtiger said:

 

Oh and one more thing: At the breaking point should not have been the introductory scenario to the game! If a highly experienced German player, plays a novice US player, perhaps then it could be fun, but not for two beginners.

 

 

This scenario was indeed my first game of this game and I got creamed. I loved the plight of the German dilema but it didn't put me off; in fact it did the opposite. I was attracted to the unbalanced sides and increased difficulty      

It taught me two things. 1) War games don't need to be balanced, when presented in a Historical context, to be fun. 2) Not to take this game for an easy ride; It's gonna make you sweat and pay for every victory you win.

On the face of it the game looks lightweight- often being described as a Beer and Pretzzles game. Play it that way and its fun and quick but It's much much more than that, Its a game that teaches you to think and rethink on your feet, think you know the best strategy for a scenario? think again. No two games of the same scenario can ever be the same.

Now myself and the friend I played along with two others in my group have history with Flames of War, Axis and Allies and Panzer Blitz- so yes he was a novice to this game but not a novice to war gaming. He picked up the rules in one session threw me a curve ball and said at the end how much he had enjoyed the game as the Americans. 

Those other war games I just mentioned all start off fairly balanced but can become unbalanced very quickly after the first few turns, Tide Of Iron makes no pretence at balance and for that I admire it. If I want a balanced game- then for breaking point, I could just match the German forces to the American forces unit for unit and include the German rienforcement deck. Done! Balanced!

None of the above games have oportunity fire mode, and they all play in a you take your full turn then stop - then I take my full turn and stop system, Tide of iron has the op fire mode and the inovative 3 action per side rince and repeat to simulate a more realistic flow of action that in itself means you must be flexible with your tactics and strategy .

Another thing about the scenarios I've noticed is that Like episode IV of Star Wars they take place in the middle of the story or the scenario; so the lines aren't neatly drawn up and all equal- they represent units that have recently engaged the enemy taken, losses and fighting impossible odds.

I suppose this discussion will always hang around this game; but know this, I am a player who absolutely adheres to Fair play and game balance and I found myself pleasantly suprised and attracted to this game, and I will never get bored of loosing At The Breaking Point as the Germans                    



#14 Grand Stone

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:36 AM

You have some very good point Kingtiger.

I have thought about this for some while, and games where you are allowed to choose forces, then you are allways fighting a well balanced force. Allways having the optimal degree of armor versus infanteri. Allways fighting more or less the same units. Its far more interesting when you have a bounch of men with bazookas trying to sneak into town and kill of as many shermans as possible. You will never see a large but illequiped army. You can set up the forces so that you can play far more aggressively in such a system.  Cuz sometimes, you have an edge. If you allways can choose your forces, your enemy will almost never have major weaknesses. Scenario based systems gives you so much.

 

I also agree that the 3 action back and forth is a nice mechanism. You never know what the enemy might do. I do remember I once used my flamethrower in a fire and move ment action last action of turn 1, then first action of turn 2 I did the same. Fist action almost killed of one entire infantery squad. The second doing the same. And then the squad ran into safty. Beauty and fun.

 

However, there is one thing that ToI can improve, which I do disagree.  And that is balance. Nothing is more booring than 'whatever you do, the US will win' Nothing is more booring than that. The scenarios could very well be imbalanced, but both teams should be given an equal opportunity to win.

 

But the game DO have scenarios that are far more fun than the ones in the original box.

 

I for  my part find that if the scenario isn't a clear cut 'attacker' versus 'defender' scenario is far more fun. My best example is 'night hunt' from designers series. Where the germans are attacking shermans in a city with bazookas. Its night so the shermans cannot see the infanteri. But the US have an infanteri division close by. If they had been setup correctly, well, I guess the US would have no problem winning. But they are not. They are on the side and need to enter the city themselfs. The germans on the other hand also get reinforcements, which tries to defend against the US. Thus a caotic fun and wonderfull scenario.

 



#15 Latro

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:28 PM

The Thing In The Attic said:

Kingtiger said:

 

Oh and one more thing: At the breaking point should not have been the introductory scenario to the game! If a highly experienced German player, plays a novice US player, perhaps then it could be fun, but not for two beginners.

 

 

This scenario was indeed my first game of this game and I got creamed. I loved the plight of the German dilema but it didn't put me off; in fact it did the opposite. I was attracted to the unbalanced sides and increased difficulty      

It taught me two things. 1) War games don't need to be balanced, when presented in a Historical context, to be fun. 2) Not to take this game for an easy ride; It's gonna make you sweat and pay for every victory you win.  

Then again, you might end up (as an experienced player) playing the "easy" side and basicly wasting an afternoon doing nothing even remotely interesting …

If this imbalance is intentional (which in some cases I highly doubt), it should be mentioned in the scenario itself.

 

 



#16 Kingtiger

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 09:35 PM

Latro said:

The Thing In The Attic said:

 

Kingtiger said:

 

Oh and one more thing: At the breaking point should not have been the introductory scenario to the game! If a highly experienced German player, plays a novice US player, perhaps then it could be fun, but not for two beginners.

 

 

This scenario was indeed my first game of this game and I got creamed. I loved the plight of the German dilema but it didn't put me off; in fact it did the opposite. I was attracted to the unbalanced sides and increased difficulty      

It taught me two things. 1) War games don't need to be balanced, when presented in a Historical context, to be fun. 2) Not to take this game for an easy ride; It's gonna make you sweat and pay for every victory you win.  

 

 

Then again, you might end up (as an experienced player) playing the "easy" side and basicly wasting an afternoon doing nothing even remotely interesting …

If this imbalance is intentional (which in some cases I highly doubt), it should be mentioned in the scenario itself.

 

 

Yes, I entirely agree with you. In many cases the imbalance certainly wans't intended as we both know for a fact from one of the designers himself.






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