Quick Playtest review from WBC

Discussion in 'Kontact Now - Red Eclipse' started by Tony Costa, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Tony Costa

    Tony Costa Member
    Staff Member

    Mar 11, 2017
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    During the recent World Boardgaming Championships Convention the game I was helping to demonstrate for LnL ("A Wing and a Prayer") was directly adjacent to Red Eclipse, so I sat next to Steve and his game for the entire week. Steve had a very basic playtest kit on hand, the art was simple placeholder art so not really appropriate to post here.

    Throughout the week I watched a number of gamers sit down to run through a playtest, none of them had ever seen the game before.
    After the second game turn every one of them had a decent enough grasp of the rules that Steve no longer needed to explain anything, they were all just having fun playing the game.
    Most playtest scenarios I observed lasted maybe a total of one hour, with the new players learning the rules and completing the scenario in that time. Any second scenarios went much faster.
    It was very impressive to watch how fast the game played but yet how most of a players time was spent on making tactical decisions instead of looking at rules and charts.

    In fact all the charts needed to play the game were on one sheet of paper (although I would assume in any final printed game that will be expanded to 2-3 sheets given larger font size and additional graphics). There were no chart lookups for combat, everything is based on the unit counters firepower and morale with easy to remember modifiers for terrain and leadership.

    Early the final morning I had time to run through a quick game, I haven't played a tactical game in a while so was worried I wouldn't be able to grasp the rules concepts quickly enough.
    I shouldn't have been worried; Steve taught me the rules in five minutes, we setup up and played through a scenario in maybe an hour. And most of that time was spent in designer-playtester conversation discussing small fine tuning possibilities, the time spent actually playing the game was maybe 20-25 minutes.

    The Tactical Events Cards really enhance the fun and dramatic action of the game. (I typically don't play card driven games and was hesitant when I first saw them)
    Make no mistake, this is not a card driven deck management game, this is an extremely well researched finely crafted wargame who's heart and soul is (in my opinion based on the scenario we played) leadership and fire & maneuver at the tactical level.
    Instead of the standard dry slog through charts and tables turn-after-turn the Tactical Events Cards provide for some very tense unpredictable moments and are an accurate representation of the friction and chaos of combat.

    I had a blast playing just that one quick game. Steve's lead squad gained the objective building first (OBJ Bravo, a two hex building) but command confusion and an obstacle (minefield) delayed his follow on squads. This allowed my force to set a base of fire (fire team with LMG in woods) and position the assault element (full squad) in the woods adjacent to OBJ Bravo. A turn was spent pouring in suppressing fire, then when the assault went in they took half the OBJ easily. My reserve squad now came up and finished the destruction of the defenders and took the second half of the OBJ. Steve's remaining force retreated back to hold OBJ Alpha (one hex building), but again command confusion slowed one squad and the other was destroyed by the base of fire position. Steve did get the last squad into OBJ Alpha but a smoke screen allowed my force to close the distance and make the final assault.

    Later that day as we were packing up our respective games, cleaning off our tables and getting ready to head home I looked up at the clock and said "Steve, we still have about thirty minutes, that's enough time to run through another quick game!"
  2. Keith Tracton

    Keith Tracton Member
    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2016
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    Excellent! Only going I did not get to, though I did see all the activity down at Steve's end if the table. :) I am looking forward to it down the line!

    Sent from my SM-J320P using Tapatalk
    David Heath and Tony Costa like this.
  3. Håkan Lundgren

    Sep 22, 2015
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    Great writeup!

    I feel that one of the best things about this game will be how quickly one could setup, play and clean up any given scenario. As people tend to have less and less spare time in which to duke it out face to face it's truly valuable feature. Fast play and low downtime in a tactical game without losing depth is no small feat.

    Now, LnLP, get it to the stores so I can have some as well!
  4. Ralph Ferrari

    Ralph Ferrari Designer
    Staff Member

    Jul 23, 2013
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    I also had the opportunity to playtest Red Eclipse at WBC. Steve is a great guy and very patient. He set up the game, and by the end of the first turn I had the rules down thanks to his help. The game is very easy to learn, plays quickly, and is very fluid. I really enjoyed it, so much so, that I played it a second time, and then had my cousins come over and play a game for themselves.

    I am not a fan of card games or Card Driven Games, but the cards in this game make the play exciting and unpredictable. The cards, and the rules for that matter, make perfect sense and are intuitive. I can't wait to try out the AFVs and Helicopters in this game.

    It was a pleasure to finally meet and spend some time with Steve. Thanks for taking the time to teach me how to play, and for the background of developing the game system. Looking forward to more of it in the future.
  5. Steve Overton

    Steve Overton Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    Thanks to all those that stopped by at the WBC Convention. It was really good putting faces to people that I've 'known' for years, as well as meeting/making new friends.

    The game is easy to learn and probably not even hard to master. There are so many decisions to make that knowing if you are making the right or wrong one may only be revealed later. This is a very chaotic, intense, split the game table down the middle style of a game.

    I'm glad that everyone had a good time playing FTRE because I had a great time showing those who came to fight just what the game could do.

    Good Hunting.

    Keith Tracton likes this.

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