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BazookaJoe2

Advanced Gamers Are Not the Heretics

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I joined this forum about six months ago following my purchase of the game. Prior to my ownership of ToI, my experience with WW2 gaming at the tactical level included Panzerblitz/Leader, Tractics, Sniper!, Combined Arms, various computer games and other games and systems thru the years. Each game system has its own flavor and rhythm, thus capturing or highlighting some specific aspect of genre. I have been involved with wargame design at the local homebrew level and at the professional (non-hobby). I do not claim to know anything special about WW2 history or about game designing that others on this or other forums know. That said, I will move on to the topic.

Wargaming attracts people for various reasons including intellectual challenge, historical interest, simulation, just plain fun, etc. Its broad attraction across a spectrum of generations and interests proves that it has something for everyone and stimulates players at levels deeper than mere thrills. The devotion that some have for the hobby and profession borders on the fanatical and certainly gives credence to suggestions of obsession. Since wargamers tend to be above average in intelligence and thoughtfulness, our opinions can be strong. Combine that with strong loyalties to our favorite subjects and games and we can occasionally overlook the interests and ideas of our fellows. 

I have noted at least two major ToI fan groups in this forum (aside from those new to the gaming world): (1) ToI Purist gamers and (2) ToI Advanced gamers. The "ToI Advanced" label is not meant to infer that "ToI Purist" is less experienced, intelligent or "advanced" a wargamer. Simply put, the Purist sees the game as perfect for there own purposes whereas the Advanced is interested in developing the game to a level where they are happy, either by tweaking rules, adding rules that are consistent with the basic framework, or using the components to create something entirely new. Regardless, neither is wrong or an enemy of the game.

I think I've read 95% of the posts from the beginning to date and have noted a tendency on the part of Purists to become defensive about suggestions of change, enhancement and or modifications of the rules. In many cases, such suggestions are immediately subjected to close assault as if they were enemies of the throne. I understand the feelings of love and respect for specific games and systems, but want to say this...ToI fans with suggestions and ideas that go beyond the basic rules set are not ToI heretics and their postings to this forum are no threat to the game or its system.

A very wise forum member recently noted that games which stagnate and fail to grow to meet the needs of gamers across a wide spectrum fail to last for very long. The endgame for any GAME is to grow and continue to be published. RISK is the perfect example of a system that has basic rules and new variants that continue to attract and interest even the most jaded wargamer. Game companies make expansion decisions on game sales. Gamers with advanced rule ideas are not heretics or the enemy. In fact, they love the game as much as the most loyal purist.

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Hefsgaard said:

The problem is that after each of us have developed out own version of the game, we can no longer play with each other.

I agree completely. That is why I have added things to the game and not changed anything that has already been officially published.

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I agree that the baseline, tournament version is the basic game system as published. And of course, prior to any game, all gamers agree to the use of any house, experimental or advanced rules, especially between newly acquainted gamers. My point was not to suggest otherwise. Standardization is important, particularly across linguistic and cultural boundaries.

It has been suggested in other threads that FFG has lost interest in this game. That would only be possible if sales were flagging, or if the past expansions did not generate equal interest in the original. Flattening sales could be a sign that the game in its current edition is not reaching a broader audience. Consider that Twilight Imperium is on its 3rd edition and ask why?

A "Designer Series: Advanced Rules", does not necessarily need to make the game more complicated or less playable. It could however, attract enough new gamers to rejuvinate sales and support by FFG.

 

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ToI is and remains one of the top 100 baord games in the hobby gaming industry. Its components are high quality, the game system is readily accessible by most people within the published age range and the subject is one of the most popular (WW2). Moreover, the components and the system are readily adaptable to a wider range of gaming levels whether thru rules upgrades, variants, expansions, etc. For this very reason, the development lifecycle for this game appears far from over. Therefore, as it is such a popular game, I think FFG would be considering a range of options to take advantage of the game's potential value. Some options are: (a) sell the game to another company (2) upgraded edition strategy or (3) some form of expansion strategy. Since the game is still quite popular and unless FFG needs cash for new game development within a specific core focus, I would think that an expansion strategy is warranted. Such a strategy does does not immediately mean another boxed, theater expansion. In fact, a different approach might be necessary in order to generate new buzz, interest and sales of the previous sets.

Here is where a marketing strategy centered around a "Designer Series: Advanced Rules" concept might be in order. By properly sequencing and  synchronizing the release of (a) 2nd edition basic rules, (b)  a "Designer Series: Advanced Rules" book with scenarios supporting same © a boxed expansion set that takes advantage of the new edition and advanced rules, ToI could easily grab market in the WW2 tactical level genre.

Many people have expressed a desire to see a new expansion set focused on the Eastern Front. This is a natural extension of FFG's strategy so far. I'm not sure that would grab a big headline. It could be received with a "ho Hum" attitude (i.e. business as usual, just another expansion but same rules, a couple of new figures not much different than the others...). The Eastern Front is interesting and a logical future choice, but I think something entirely different might be more energizing. 

The current game+expansions do not adequately model urban warfare during WW2 (i.e. house to house fighting). Urban warfare during the WW2 posed some incredible challenges to the tactical level leader. Therefore, I would like to see an expansion based solely on urban warfare with maps that model same.  

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It's pretty easy to add special rules in a scenario you make. The problem we run into is that if there are more than a couple of changes we tend to forget something during the game. We get used to playing a certain way then get thrown for a loop when something changes. The basic rules work pretty well as is.

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I have played all sorts of games, but it all started with Advanced Third Reich. Awful, I know.

Fundamental understanding of the rules is usually a sound strategy. Changing rules or suggesting new rules to gamers that are comfortable with a certain style or used to implementing rules a certain way can sometimes be fraught with peril!

I am very comfortable with trying out new rules, I just do not like changing rules for the sack of change.

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I agree with what you have stated.  I grew up collecting the various Avalon Hill war strategy games.  Playing those various games I found what felt to be shortcomings within the game play based on the official rules.  My friends and I made slight modifications that in my opinion corrected those shortcomings and made the games play better.  Unfortunately back in those days there were not any on-line forums to leverage and share our ideas.  With any gaming system it is the individuals that play it extensively that tend to come up with slight changes to give the games a greater feel or make them more challenging.  If those ideas are proliferated through these forums the game creators have a great opportunity to see if these ideas are worth incorporated in a later edition or another game all together. 

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I'd definitely like to see advanced vehicle rules (facing, revised anti-inafrty stats-currently each tank has exactly the same firepower, non-turreted vehicles cannot fire outisde of their arc of fire etc.). I also feel that e.g. the bocage rules are ludicrous as written.

 

However, at the same time I'm defintely interested in a " bland"  Eastern front expansion and I also feel scenarios and card decks offer a lot of opportunities to add specific rules to certain battles already.

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