My first AAR

Gary Grigsby’s War in the West 1943-45 is the most ambitious and detailed computer wargame on the Western Front of World War II ever made. Starting with the Summer 1943 invasions of Sicily and Italy and proceeding through the invasions of France and the drive into Germany, War in the West brings you all the Allied campaigns in Western Europe and the capability to re-fight the Western Front according to your plan.

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RichMunn
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My first AAR

Post by RichMunn »


So I have at last invested in the behemoth of Grognard games.

I expressed my doubts about whether I should do this in an earlier thread, and was welcomed warmly by helpful posters here, to whom I am grateful.
This is an expensive investment; however, if it proves to be a game for me I can see that the initial expenditure will dwindle to nothing over many hours of war gaming pleasure.

So – today I purchased and played, for a couple of hours only, Gary Grigsby’s War in the West. Is my first AAR to be an “Awful and Anachronistic Rip-Off”, an “Amazing Achievement by Realists” or an “Authentic and Accurate Response” from a newbie?
Well, it’s a combination of these possibilities.

The short (32 page I think) and much-vaunted player’s handbook is hopeless to get you started unless you know this sort of game. I have no doubt that should I persevere it will be my right-hand man. Or woman. I tried to read it and it was full of that stuff that puts you off if you’re trying to understand what to do next to progress in the game. Goodness knows what the 300-page plus manual is like, even if beautifully presented in a leather binding.

The video tutorials, on the other hand, do help. The bit when the presenter stifles a yawn is not particularly inspiring, but this is clearly a long-term project and any such production is bound to have its tedious moments. I watched 2 and a half of them before becoming impatient and starting to play.
I then tried to engage “Operation Husky” and could not remember if I should cancel North or South attacks. My fault. I tried again.
This time my air attacks went as planned. (Well, as planned by the AI.) I had no idea whether the losses shown were acceptable or not, and there is nothing to tell me if these attacks were successful or what their effect would be. However, I don’t want to have my hand held all the way, so I thought let’s get on with it. However, I pressed “end turn” before doing anything with the invasion troops, and that seemed to be a mistake, because I missed a rather important bit of my first turn, so I started again.
I must admit that at this point I was questioning my sanity in spending a large amount of money on a game that was designed to frustrate me, with no action and a few anodyne screens to tell me the state of affairs in 1943, something which is more fitting for a peace-time Parliament than during a war.

However –

The next thing I knew, having remembered something from tutorial 3 about the second phase of “invade”, I was in the scenario and I played right through to the end, all 7 turns. (Wow, stamina!)

Towards the end, since the aim of this scenario was to take Sicily, I diverted some air attacks manually. I threw the Nazis and their acolytes out of Messina. It was great fun. I didn’t even consider the abilities of my ground troops, just stuck them in there.

I lost, of course, but Hitler had only a minor victory. OK, it was on Easy. OK, I did it all wrong. But there was enough there to make me come back. I’ve hardly tried yet. I could yet become reasonably incompetent.

Rich












RichMunn
marion61
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RE: My first AAR

Post by marion61 »

WELCOME TO THE RANKS OF INCOMPETENCY![8D]

Scottish Battlefield: "I'm pretty sure God's gonna get me out of this one, but he says your pretty much screwed"!
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Fallschirmjager
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RE: My first AAR

Post by Fallschirmjager »

I have been playing PC wargames for 15 years (not as long as many, but I am half as old as many :D)
I am terrible at this game. But you have to be able to laugh at yourself and have fun and keep going.
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Q-Ball
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RE: My first AAR

Post by Q-Ball »

You're doing fine; it's difficult first time through, but I am finding you can get the hang of it

By the way, I don't think this is the behemoth of Grognard games; that would be WITP-AE; I think that one is more complex than this!
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Kumppi
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RE: My first AAR

Post by Kumppi »

Yeah it's hard to call any other game a behemoth after struggling with WITP-AE. Good thing is after that game everything else is a breeze [8D]
RichMunn
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RE: My first AAR

Post by RichMunn »


Eeek!

Please never let me buy WITP-AE.

Thanks.
RichMunn
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Fallschirmjager
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RE: My first AAR

Post by Fallschirmjager »

ORIGINAL: RichMunn


Eeek!

Please never let me buy WITP-AE.

Thanks.


Oh you will want to one day. It is utterly amazing. Probably the only war game I have every played where I feel like it actually depicts an entire theatre of the largest war in history.

One suggestion. Next time Uncommon Valor comes up for sale, I would purchase it. You can get it for $20 when it is on sale and it is probably my favorite wargame ever.
It uses the same mechanics and engine as AE but instead focuses the war from the entire Pacific down to the South West Pacific from mid 42 to the end of 43.
The game has a razor sharp focus, great balance and is just wargame design excellence. It is also cheap and if you don't like it...then it is only $20.
If you end up liking it...well you might wan to step up to AE.
RichMunn
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RE: My first AAR

Post by RichMunn »


Well thanks for the advice! For the moment I am deeply unhinged in WITW.

However -
My second play through of Husky (on Easy of course) was a minor victory with 9 hundred and something to 5 hundred and something, though I don't yet get how victory points are garnered. I'll look it up in a quiet moment.

If I pose a few questions I will appreciate any answers, because it is quite likely that the questions are rather annoying and the answer should be "read the handbook" or "what on earth are you doing playing this game?"

But these occur to me -

a) when I set air directives through the helpful auto-system, despite the fact that Sicily is the only aim of this introductory scenario, I seem to have:
i) excessive recon, and
ii) forays into areas which can't really effect an invasion of Sicily. (Unless they are to do with really helpful air superiority or interdiction, but I haven't noticed that they are.)

I have begun to tinker, which is great fun but rather worries me.

I also agree with the poster of another thread about the time it takes to watch the results come in because of the number of recon missions which seemingly never reap any rewards. I must be missing the beneficial effects. What are they in this scenario? The results of attacks on level 3 are really good; but the recon missions go on and on.

Should I limit my recon in such a small scenario and use my aircraft for something more useful? Or not use them at all?

Finally, in the summary after air execution is complete, I find it hard to reconcile the results as they have come in with the figures laid out. This is probably something very basic.

Anyway, I am having fun with this game in a strange but developing way. The "Depot" video tutorial, though, has shown me the future in a way of which I am not sure...... and is that the last video tutorial?

Excelsior!

R
RichMunn
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Joel Billings
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RE: My first AAR

Post by Joel Billings »

The air AI is pretty much thinking in terms of the campaign, so it may assign directives that make more sense in a campaign then in a short scenario.

As for showing the results, I think that if you press 0 or 1 you won't see any recon flights during resolution (this sets the combat message detail to 0 or 1).

Yes, the logistics video is the last one. By the time you have played through Husky a few times, and watched the video tutorials, you are probably ready to read some of the pages in the Player's Handbook (just the ones that seem to interest you is good enough to start). Congrats on winning. Both sides gets points for casualties caused and for certain objectives (just press the V key).
All understanding comes after the fact.
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HMSWarspite
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RE: My first AAR

Post by HMSWarspite »

For watching the air phase, I hover fingers over the 1 and 2 keys. When I see I am on the recce ADs I hit 1 then back to 2 again after. You miss the first mission of a bombing AD sometimes but it works fine for me
I have a cunning plan, My Lord
HMSWarspite
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RE: My first AAR

Post by HMSWarspite »

Oh. And you do need to adjust the ADs for husky, the zones could be better. But I think that's part of the learning process. As a rule though, there's no such thing as too much recce! And the aircraft can't do anything else generally. You can always switch escorts off
I have a cunning plan, My Lord
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Fallschirmjager
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RE: My first AAR

Post by Fallschirmjager »

Recon seems more important of getting interdiction value in hexes than do FBs armed with bombs, rockets and cannon. Recon is a great tool and you can never have too much. And you have a lot of recon planes and they never seem to suffer very high losses.
RichMunn
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RE: My first AAR

Post by RichMunn »


Thanks everyone for the advice, very helpful.

I am not regretting buying this game at all yet!
RichMunn
HMSWarspite
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RE: My first AAR

Post by HMSWarspite »

You have been assimilated. Your designation is now 4 of 7.
I have a cunning plan, My Lord
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