From: Bedfordshire UK
More like Second Impressions :
I have had a chance to play the game for a while now, it's the same scenario I started way back, after some smaller trial runs, but with travelling just don't get the time.
It's now Christmas 1940, game time, in Fall Gelb Axis v AI. France defeated, Vichy government in place, Soviet attack in turn 4 (I hope we don't lose that possibility entirely - I think it should always be a risk) means that this is no standard Barbarossa, do the Lvov opening, AGN does this, AGC does that, you know what happens next. The Baltic states are still neutral, neither the Soviets, nor Axis, have attacked them, but they sit like a huge open flank, only I haven't got the spare troops to take them on. Finns are quiet and I can't quite take Narvik, the British have landed reinforcements, which bombardment from the sea, air attack and land forces haven't dealt with.
Never had time to deal with Yugoslavia, or Greece, as whilst I was engaged in France the Soviets launched a major attack into Romania. I came close to victory in France just in time to send units East, just as the Romanians began to collapse after a valiant AI controlled struggle and the Soviets were heading for Ploesti and Bucherest. Again, just in time Hungary joined the Axis, delayed because I had earlier tried to hurry them up with a coup attempt which failed, but I got the use of their railway to save the oil wells.
That meant that I had first to hold back the Soviet attack into Poland and the Soviet AI made some armoured penetrations, which I was able to cut off. I used the limited mobile forces available to exploit gaps, which worked at first, but slowly the AI began to close in and crush any exposed units, I felt that the line would give way, but was able to move forces just in time to reverse the situation. Was able to win the Frontier battles with large encirclements, as more forces became available to move into the East. Next move had to be to launch a Southerly attack into the Ukraine to Odessa to cut off the Soviet units in Romania, battles there are just coming to a close.
Objective was to move forward to the fortifications of the Stalin line and consolidate there for the winter and launch a major attack in early 1941, again nothing like the usual Barbarossa. The capture of Minsk left a huge hole which the Soviets did not, or could not fill, additionally there was nothing much to stop me taking Gomel, but a big fight in the South on the approaches to Kiev. However, I have captured almost all of the Stalin Line.
OK so the AI may not be very bright, but neither were the Allies at the beginning of the war, so it feels realistic.
I was beginning to think that the game was broken, as there was little Soviet reaction in the North and Centre, it was wide open, but the infantry could only crawl forward at 1 hex a week in the snow, armoured units pressing forward found little and almost reached Veluki Leki, which was empty, but couldn't reach it in time. It's well into the winter now and I cannot exploit the gap.
Now as we settle down for the 1940 Christmas feast, the game's not broken, long range recon shows large Soviet forces gathering on all fronts and I am building Infantry Korps as fast as I can, it's now me who has to fill the gaps.
Meanwhile in the Med an attack on Malta failed, whilst the Italians did well in NA, cutting off and destroying the initial British attack, with the help of shore bombardment from the Fleet.
The Italians have just captured Sidi Baranni and all looked good, until recon again showed major British forces gathering beyond Alexandria. When the option came up earlier, offering the DAK armoured unit, I decided to keep it for Russia and not have it arrive in NA, that might have been a mistake. At least, if the British are reinforcing NA, they shouldn't turn up elsewhere, or will they.
Using Agent S maps and Nato icons, GWGardner transparent and reduced size combat and info boxes and BCGames intro screens (sorry Doom, better than stock items), the game looks really good, although I know that's a matter of taste.
I have had issues with the game supply system, but that seems better with 1.01B, although the winter has arrived and I am not sure what is having most effect. I have made comment in several threads about rail damage in Russia, I think all rail in Russia should be damaged as control changes, to represent the different rail gauges used by the Soviets and the Germans. I have a self imposed rule to restrict the use of Strategic Movement along lines that have only recently been captured, otherwise you can rail into the depths of Russia, in the winter snow, without much penalty. I haven't seen Doomtrader comment on this issue yet.
The various info boxes work very well, you can quickly check the status of all your various types of units, Land - Air - Naval, you can scan supply levels for all units at a glance, to spot problems. This is very useful for the Italians, who have to run convoys to Sardinia, Albania, Tripoli and Tobruk, monitoring the low supply levels in the unit list warns you which convoys should move to the top of the convoy list. I use the the unit renaming feature to add detail and reminders, e.g. adding 'in dock' to the fleet names for damaged ships, as a prompt to repair when PPs allow when I scan down the Naval Unit list. Very flexible and user friendly information displays (but lots of mouse clicks), once you have worked them out. I know it is not perfect, but when you take into account that you are controlling Technical Development, Political actions, Production - unit building, etc. and monitoring all your units health, which is possible quickly at a glance, must be good. I am also using the unit renaming feature to introduce some Armee and Luftflotte organisation, so that there is some more realistic deployment control.
The move into 1.01B has improved the game, supply and reinforcement are more realistic, but I have needed house rules to moderate the game. ToF has been called a fun game, but it can be much more than that, whilst still being very enjoyable.
Overall the game has felt right, individual events sometimes are odd, but the wide scope of the game gives you the feeling of the extent of a world war. This has been one of the best gaming experiences that I have ever had, thanks to everyone involved.
< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 2/25/2012 9:02:21 AM >
"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon
“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon
“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon