MGPRP: Command pocket reviews

Issues 1-9

· Command #1: Blitzkrieg '41
· Command #2: Sunrise to Victory
· Command #3: Samurai Sunset
· Command #4: Lion of Ethiopia
· Command #5: Hamburger Hill / Operation Solace
· Command #6: Krim
· Command #7: Kadesh
· Command #8: Jutland
· Command #9: Inchon: MacArthur's Gambit

Command #1: Blitzkrieg '41
"Null. Not good or bad, but got me to subscribe. Didn't like Proud Monster either..." RL

"Complexity 5. Solid first effort, fussy supply rules. Sharp counter graphics for the time. Only played it twice." RF

"Gem, convinced me to subscribe (though not until issue #3)." DW

"Enjoyed the system. Wish some of the supply rules here had been used in Proud Monster." MJP

"Neither a gem or a dud in my book, that is, I wouldn't place it in either extreme tail of the distribution. But I thought it was good enough to get me to part with my bucks." JB

"A real Gem. I really enjoy this one and it makes my replay list from time to time." HSD

“The first part of the war in the East in WWII at Corps level, covers up until early '42. Map graphics okay, counters good, rules good, (it is possible to release games without critical errata). Plays very well, hard on both sides but generally the German does most of the attacking and the Russian defends, even in Sept/Oct when the Russian starts getting some decent reinforcements the Russian player isn't really in a position to launch a 'major' offensive, but he can conduct local counter attacks. Rating B+” CH

"I got this free in the mail from XTR and it was the hook that pulled me back into wargaming after a long pause from Other Things. Once you get through the long, somewhat rambling rules (which don't have any major issues, by the way), the game itself plays well. The game encourages the Soviet player to occasionally strike back at the German forces and he has to carefully manage his withdraw. I once lost Moscow to a well timed airborne drop. A really cool feature is the German panzer corps that are represented by multiple units to represent their staying power. This is a good long afternoon choice for "good old fashion panzer pushing" gaming. Overall B." SB

Command #2: Sunrise to Victory
"This one had some problems with the graphics, and XTR published a German "perfect plan" for turn one a couple of issues later. Dud." RL

"Complexity 5. Was this the one with the pink blobs? Never played it." RF

"One of my favorites. I liked the strategic choices that you were given at the start of the game. Good follow-on to Blitz '41." MJP

"This was ok; neither a gem nor a dud, but not as much fun (for me) as Blitz 41. I didn't play any of the other first 10. But I did buy.." JB

"Somehow not as much fun as number one, but still a gem." HSD

“A great follow up game, there is in fact about a 3 month gap in the period covered by this one and Blitzkrieg '41. I don't mind the map, counters are again fine, rules very solid. Situation a bit more fun for the Russian but still tough. But tough for the German as well. Plays quickly and tense for both players. Rating B+” CH

Command #3: Samurai Sunset
"Gem 'cause I like alt.hist. Much better than its only quasi-soulmate: Op Olympic (SPI). Complex: 4. Plays great also with counters for TTW varient." DM

"Qualified gem. I've had a lot of fun playing it, but the Allies usually win. The suicide boats are way too effective, also." JD

"Gem. Olympic, Coronet, hunt down the Emperor, the whole shooting match. I do remember, however, some victory condition anomaly concerning occupation of cities. Oh, well..." TES

"Minor gem, marred by ugly map. But I never really could get into it." RL

"Complexity 4. Terrible map. Fun hypothetical game. Biased towards Allies in my opinion." RF

"My first Command. A gem. Hard (if not impossible) to win for the Japanese. There is an error in the VP system, though, which seemingly gave the Japanese VPs the more you bombed their cities. We played with that a few times because we thought the reason was that destroying cities might increase Japanese fanaticism and will to resistance." SP

"Interesting topic, ok mechanics, but a Japanese victory is a near miracle. Complexity: 5." MS

Command #4: Lion of Ethiopia
"Gem. Well developed look at the Italian invasion. Nice chrome. Simple. Complex: 4." DM

"Absolute gem. Add the Tiger of Ethiopia part for some wild alt. hist fun. I didn't think I could have so much fun with rigid ZoCs." JD

"Gem. Good beer-n-pretzels game on the invasion of Ethiopia. The mag article was excellent, especially the sidebar on Graziani. Taught me a thing or two." TES

"One of their best efforts. Only thing that bothered me was the boring Bulge CRT." RL

"Complexity 5. The gem of the the 10. A 'golden age' game with knobs on. My favourite." RF

"Gem, good game on a little known subject - Tiger of Ethiopia alt-hist variant is good, too" DW

"Lion of Ethiopia. It really put me off that Tyrone lifted the whole system from AH's Bulge and slammed it into this game. Bulge has regimental sized units and 12 hour turns. This game has 2 week turns, if memory serves. What in the wide world of sports does a "contact" result mean on a scale like that? There was also something serious missing from the rules--something like reaction ratings or something." DAV

"I enjoyed the game but don't think the Ethiopians can win. In one game, I exploited my opponent's error and surrounded all the proto-blitz units in the south. within a couple of turns, Mogadishu was completely bottled up. All remaing forces headed off to fight the remaining Italians. Poison gas hit next turn and that was all she wrote." MJP

"Another great game, and of particular interest to me personally, since my wife is from Ethiopia and her father fought in the war. The Ethiopians usually lose, but I can recall an Italian defeat (due to some VERY lucky die rolls)." SP

“Lion of Ethiopia (and the Tiger variant) both get a solid "A" ...then again, that's the game that Dennis Bishop and I worked on...his efforts pre-pub, mine post... but either way, that's what started our friendship and then partnership at KPG.” AP

"A VERY good game on a very little known topic of the Italian war against Ethiopia. This is one of those situations where the capabilities of each side are very different and it mixes to become a fun game for both players. The Italian player has lots of cool "toys" to play with, but just because he has tanks and airplanes doesn't mean he can run over the Ethiopians, who can hit back pretty hard: A" SB

"This one covers the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1936. Units are Divisions and Brigades, though the tribal units are not as well defined. The map is fine, the counters for Italians and their allies are standard NATO while the Ethiopian counters for the Tribal units have a little more ‘colour’. Rules are well written but there is a little bit of errata. Has some nice chrome, some Combat Results that don’t seem to be aligned with the scale (2 weekly turns) but it plays well and does have a nice feel to it. Rating B" CH

Command #5: Hamburger Hill / Operation Solace
"Gem for Hamburger Hill. Scary bloody game. Complex: 5. Dud for the 2nd game whose name escapes me for the moment about invading NVN to rescue POWs. Clumsy mechanics. Complex:2" DM

"Partial gem. Slugfests can be fun and this game handles the situation fairly well, but we found replay value to be limited. I didn't like allowing the NVA player to look to see how much US fire support was left -- the results were too gamey." JD

"Gem. Watch the movie of the same name when playing and you'll get a feel why most of the guys in the movie die. Take the hill(s), lose 50% of your force. Never played Operation Solstice." TES

"Couldn't play HH solitaire, Op solace was a fun little game." RL

"Complexity 4. Yuk. Hated this and Op. Solace - Ramboesque rubbish." RF

"'Didn't play HH, but did play the other game in this issue, Operation Solace which I liked even though it was kind of silly." DW

"Pretty good. I like the topic though." HSD

"Haven't played HH, but I did play Operation Solace, the companion game once. As far as I recall it was fun, but I can't remember too many details." SP

Command #6: Krim
"Partial gem. Played it a couple of times but lost interest." JD

"Pretty good. Minor gem." RL

"Complexity 5. Did not gel for me. Moved the counters a few times, but disappointing - MBEF I' afraid." RF

"Pretty good game. Sweep across the Crimea and hammer at Sevastopol before the Soviets can mount a counter-attack." MJP

“This game covers the battles to take Sevestapol then clear the rest of the Crimea of Soviet forces in 1941/42. Map is bland, counters are good, and rules are well written, a small clarification for the VC’s is handy to have. Nice quick game that offers a number of options for both sides. Seems well balanced. Rating B+” CH

“I readily agree. A friend and I played it after getting it and it was good, close game.” SB

"To offer a contrary opinion. This was one of the games that convinced me that, regardless of war, Krim doesn't make for a good gaming situation. In theory, you have a limited area which you can fight over without any map edge end of the world problems. In practice, there are only three places on that map you ever have a reason to visit. Makes for games totally devoid of any movement. And so is the case in this game too." EN

Command #7: Kadesh
"Gem. Some of the rules were a little funky (column and leader movement) and the surprise at the camps was also messy, but a fun game. Great counters -- I wish XTR would strive to maintain that standard in artwork." JD

"Gem. I loved such an obscure topic complete with Canaanites! It did have limited replay value." TES

"The rules were somewhat confusing in places (especially the rules for camp overrun), but also the Eygptian missle capabilites was much better that the Hittes edge in melee. I'd like to see this as a GBOH game to compare." RL

"Complexity 6. Second to LoE in my affections. Great counters only spoilt by the fact that my eyesight will fail me one day. Reminds of the Command babes as well." RF

"Gem, I'm playing this with my wife right now." DW

"Played it once. Seems like a walkover for the Hittites." MJP

"Beautiful counters and a very good game. Not on the quick replay list though, still it comes back out from time to time." HSD

"The counters knocked me out! But, I never could figure out how to play the game. As the Hittites my army just sort of oozed towards the Egyptians in a very weird manner. Never got past that." DLF

"Fun game, but longish. The command system worked ok, with some weird effects, such as divisions forming pseudopods to continue moving while their leader is bolted to the spot. Nice to look at, but I agree the colored shields should be larger - some squinting is needed to distinguish turquoise from green units. Complexity 6." MS

Command #8: Jutland
"Gem. IMHO one of their best ever games. Ben Knight design. Excellent mechanics given its level of abstraction. Eminently playable. Complex.2" DM

"Didn't play it, and probably won't as long as I continue to own AH's classic." JD

"I say gem. Components are nice (although the dark print on the counters gets hard to read under some lighting), rules are short and easy to learn, didn't notice any holes in the rules, game finishes in a sitting. Nice & clean. I've said it before but I'll say it again: this game didn't curl my toes, because I'm used to doing this battle with a tabletop covered in miniatures. This game just made me want to go play miniatures. *BUT*, I could see that it is probably a perfect game for anyone who is not a miniatures nut like me, but who is interested in naval gaming in general or who just wants a quick fun game on the subject. The other downer is that it seemed to quickly degenerate into a contest to see who could roll the most sixes the fastest, but I suspect that was a function of how we were playing it. I'd never heard anyone else make that observation of this game, so it could very well be something we were doing wrong. Overall: highly recommended." DLF

"It was a lot of fun with all that die rolling, but didn't have much replay value except as a solitaire exercise. Still, a neat little game." WS

"Complexity 4. Hated it. Cutting up things." RF

"The system is not bad but I found the torpedo carrying small boys way too powerful. Also, there is nothing to prevent the Germans from running away from the Grand Fleet." MJP

"Gem. I beg to differ with Terry Rooker here (or perhaps I'm just shallow) - while the system abstracts many variables, it manages to integrate the rest into an excellent, quick playing whole. The flaw that the German main fleet can just run away after knocking off the British BCs is easily fixed. A triumph of design for effect, this is in my all time top ten in terms of realism per rule page. Complexity: 2." MS

Command #9: Inchon: MacArthur's Gambit
"Partial gem. Play could be stereotyped. We found it hard to win as the North Koreans." JD

"Gem. Even if the NKPA had limited offensive capability and few options." TES

"I liked this quite a bit, short, well focused, easily understood. A fine example of the early XTR paradim." RL

"Complexity 5. Enjoyed this. Number 4." RF

"Complexity 4. Have this, played it solo a couple of times. It looks like there is a good game in there, but not for solitaire. Easy to learn, too." DGH

"Great game!!!" MJP

"Good, but I've enjoyed other titles on this conflict more." HSD

"This game covers the landing at Inchon and the drive on Soeul. Units are mostly Battalions with some Companies. The map is functional, the rules contain all the information but just didn't seem as well laid out as some other Command games of that era, a little bit of errata, the counters are neat. Some nice bits of chrome. Mainly the US are attacking, as you would expect, not a lot of chance for the Koreans to attack, but plenty of decisions for both sides. A good solid game, Rating B" CH

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