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Old 06-25-2020, 07:42 AM
Jason Weiser's Avatar
Jason Weiser Jason Weiser is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 453

Louied, et. al.

I spoke to Mr. Maxwell, and he has given me clearance to give away the store. The Designer's Edition is a far more mobile beast than the old NATO, where the NATO player could use the ZOC rules to hold every other hex and turn cities into veritable Stalingrads.

The '88 ORBAT for NATO makes them a tough customer, and even in the Strategic Surprise scenario, do not count on a quick win as the Warsaw Pact. This was even with me doing a division sized paradrop on the BAOR HQ and taking them out to clear the way for Third Shock!

Another thing is the game punishes low odds attacks ruthlessly, whereas most games usually give you a bit of a slap on the wrist at 1-1 or 1-2, not this sucker. It will make you bleed, as I found out.

Supply is a come as you are affair, in fact, Mr. Maxwell theorizes any war would be a quick affair, citing the logistical demands of Desert Storm and the Yom Kippur War as both sides ran dry of POL and munitions in pretty short order. Airpower plays a big role, especially on the tactical level (I sent my operational air to go hit REFORGER sites, to varying degrees of success). But even so, even cut off units fight at half strength for a turn or so, to reflect the fact they at last have a basic load of fuel and ammunition aboard most vehicles. There is no free lunch in this version of NATO.

We didn't use nukes, but the nuclear rules as written are very weighted towards the "two nukes or so, and it's all Threads, the LARP" sort of school on nukes, definitely no limited nuclear war here. Which, I think, Twilight: 2000 fan aside, would probably have been the most likely outcome. Chemical weapons are also well handled, and I thought very similar, but not identical to the old rules.

This note on the old rules, he includes (helpfully!) a "Veteran's Summary" in each rules section, (so if you've played the 1983 version, you're not killing yourself trying to read every section in its entirety), as well as copious (and I mean copious) designer's notes that are appreciated by this gamer (and considering I edited a version of the rules for him, it was my favorite section to actually read as I edited, as it's a rare look "under the hood" of a design.) I prefer when game designers do this, it's a great way to "show your work. It also illustrates the new sections of the rules. The new map looks great, and is easier to read than the old one, with many of the charts in the margins.

The new reserve rules, and the ability of NATO to laterally reinforce threatened sectors of the line, plus the coordination rules really shine here. I was impressed how the new ZOC rules work (and how they really punish folks who were used to the old "defend every other hex" model.) You really have to pay attention to how that works, and with the older rule about cities having intrinsic defense strengths? Hamburg becomes a real obstacle. Trust me.

In short, I give the new NATO 5 out of 5 mushroom clouds. It plays smart, it plays fast, and you get a good experience of what a European war in the 1980s probably would have been like.
Author of "Distant Winds of a Forgotten World" available now as part of the Cannon Publishing Military Sci-Fi / Fantasy Anthology: Spring 2019 (Cannon Publishing Military Anthology Book 1)

"Red Star, Burning Streets" by Cavalier Books, 2020 - EpochXperience - Contributing Blogger since October 2020. (A Division of SJR Consulting).
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