Sunday, June 28, 2009

On the really beautiful version 3 Koenig's Krieg

A much more detailed commentary will be written up in a week or two. This is not a review, but more an initial reaction ... and I've promised them a review. So far, I’ve got two pages of notes on things which were either new or troublesome to me.

Let it be understood, none of them (except for the missing cheat sheet) would put the kabosh on me really liking and supporting these rules. Furthermore, the incredible and perhaps overly ambitious use of many, many color photos of figures in formation, etc. undoubtedly ran up the price of the book massively. Having seen it, I’m no longer surprised at the price.

* One: they really got fancy: wonderful eye candy, lots of figure photos, very sharp graphics which more clearly illustrate rules, and detailed summary charts. Moreover, they were at pains to repeat stuff whenever it was pertinent ... which was irritating to me, but understandably very helpful to folks who would be perusing the rules to determine what to do next. Also, they deliberately introduced double spacing in between the various points, which also made the rules structure easier to understand. Some of the many charts to summarize the rules were perhaps too detailed (the flow chart for turn sequence, for instance, which is done in such a way to enable a computer programmer to work it, {Laughing}), but will invariably speed up finding and applying a given rule (but the important ones simply will HAVE to be put on a cheat sheet).

* Two: by and large they did some excellent things to make the rules understandable and put the kibosh on rules lawyers. For instance, I found the write up on defensive fire to be most understandable (by the way, I’ve flipped on this a bit ... looking at the game logic, no defensive fire is more appropriate than what I originally fought for).

* Three: Since the game is based on Brigades and independent units, they redid the cost analysis from individual figures to Brigades and such units. While they do provide for a lot of flexibility, it is just rigid enough not to appeal to an ad hoc gamer who plays undersized games (like myself). On the other hand, the approach does make building armies much more rapid and enables the creation of "victory point" systems as well as nicely analyzed cost comparisons. Also, this method let’s them include many considerations which would otherwise require more figuring on the part of the player (such as the much more expensive staff for larger armies .... put into the cost of the general).

* Four: They also included rules to make the game much more effective for battles outside of the European theater. The effort to do this introduced a new level of complexity, which I deplore, but do vastly expand the utility of the game within the era ... Once again, one can fight for India or face the American Indian swarms ...

Of course, I have my own quibbles .... I've got to maintain my standing in the elderly, obese, curmudgeon club!

* First: Most of the rules changes seem to have obviously been done to produce a greater focus on the period of 1730 = 1780. I'll be doing a more complete write up later, but IMHO, quite a few of these new rules introduced an unnecessary level of complexity. I was particularly bothered by the new way in which the artillery rules were written ... which did not really change things that much as make the system more flexible, especially for battles outside of Europe. On the other hand, the new complexity is not too bad, easy to follow their reasoning, and not only widen the scope of play but also definitely increase the period flavor in tangible ways. The 2nd edition was quite easily used to play a basically Napoleonic army ... which is now patently improbable.

* Second: There are some amusing typos ... only two of which could cause any confusion in play that I saw so far. I understand that the proofreading was rushed and done under confusing circumstance to begin with. Should all be easy to fix in the next printing (which I also suspect, will include less of the wonderful photos of figures and so forth, as those are sure to be running up the price).

* Third: (both a very good thing and a quibble together) They include the basic major armies of the 7YW; some very nice scenario designs, and an historical battle (Mollwitz). On the other hand, the wonderful army features of the 2nd edition and its list and classification of historical period generals is missing. Nor do they have the supplements for WSS, Festung Krieg, etc. I suspect that this is because their very elaborate method of providing army lists was also a huge expense ... though it does make the lists rather easy to understand.

* Fourth: This is a lethal error, I think. They did not include cheat sheets!! They have already realized their mistake and are putting them and some supplementary material together as a freebie supplement already ... we who already have the rules can get them as a free download.

By and large, this is a very good job. The things I didn't like (almost always because I felt that they weren’t really necessary) would not impede the play and would definitely add clear period flavor. Just leafing through the book and looking at the pictures and skimming the side bars was quite fun. Really, this IS one of the games in which I'd like to participate ... if ever I can get to a convention myself! So, back to the painting board.

28 June 2009
Arthur Pigg


Fitz-Badger said...

Thanks for the first impressions! I'll look forward to your review later.

Fitz-Badger said...

Your comments here and elsewhere (SOD? I think that's you) make me want to give KK a try. Do you know if there is anyone in the US who sells the rules? (hoping to save on the postage from down-under)

Frankfurter said...

Actually, SOD isn't me ...
I wonder who s/he is??

Anyway, they don't have any foreign distributors for a number of reasons ... most of which source back to the bum deal they got in the printing process which really hurt their capital as a minuscule start up ... they've already located other printers for the next phase!

There are quite a few folks in the usa which would love to be distributors, but right now, it's just as simple to get from Australia ... the postage isn't that much, but the costs involved in making such a deal plausible would be much worse right now.