Bar-Lev Conclusion

The game of Bar-Lev that my dad and I had been playing wrapped up last week. I managed to plug the hole in Syria and keep the pressure up in Egypt enough to prevent an Israeli comeback.

We could’ve drawn it out a few more turns, but there was no real chance for Israel to turn things around on either front.

One of the strange things about the morale break rules that is unlike any other war game I’ve played is how it boosts attack values but doesn’t necessarily do anything else. In most games I’ve played, when a side’s morale breaks, it usually does all sorts of things like negating zones of control, reducing attack values, prevents or reduces chances to rally broken troops, incurs overrun rules, etc. In Bar-Lev, once a side is broken, all attacks against units from that side receive a bonus of 1. To give you an idea of what that means, a 1-2 attack goes from a 17% chance of success to a 34% chance of success and a 1-1 attack goes from 34% to 50% chance of success. Note that those are already better combat odds than most board games give you on attack (partly because rather than adjudicating combat on a single table with one roll, both sides get to roll to see if they inflict casualties). So, rather than the game slowing down when one or both sides’ morale breaks, it becomes a bloodbath.

My numerical superiority in both theaters allowed me to continue throwing troops against the Israeli remnants; for every regiment of infantry or tanks blown away by Israeli artillery, there were more to take their place and press the assault. Once I managed to neutralize a unit or two with artillery and airstrikes of my own, I was able to move through ZOC to knock out the surviving artillery.

Of note, the Syrian Air Force was almost completely destroyed. I think that the mistake my dad made was concentrating his fighter sweeps in singular theaters. The Israeli fighter planes are far superior to the Arabs; with about half as many planes running missions, there is a 100% chance that at least 1 Arab plane will be shot down, while generally, even if the Arabs run all of their planes, they can never quite get sure thing kills the way the Israeli Air force does. We plan on playing again, switching sides, and I’m going to test this – after a few days, the attrition on the Egyptian and Syrian air forces will give me the dominance I’d need to run heli-attacks (which my dad never managed, because he could never get the needed +50% air superiority needed until the war was already lost). Unless I’m REALLY unlucky, if I split my air force consistently, I’m looking at around 3-1 or even 4-1 rate of air combat casualties.

We’ll see!

Coming soon, more reviews of old SF stories.

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10 responses to “Bar-Lev Conclusion

  1. This reminds me that I have a bunch of new games that I need to play. The only one of the games I got for Christmas we’ve played so far has been “Red Dragon Inn,” which one of my friends liked so much he went out and bought two of the standalone-expansion things.

    (Really not sure what to call them since they’re standalone but also have interchangeable bits. So confused!)

    –Dither

    • The concept of standalone expansions is kind of hard to wrap one’s head about outside of CCGs.

      And now I’m imagining bizarre ways in which one could play multiple parallel games of regular Catan as part of a Star Trek Catan meta-game…

      • Guild Wars managed it, as their expansions were a lot more like “campaigns.” You could either start a new character in the expansion using one of the new classes or new skills for one of the old classes — or you could bring one of your veteran characters from a previous campaign over. It was pretty cool either way.

        Never really seen anything else like that. But I haven’t played a lot of MMOs either, so I might just lack the experience.

        –Dither

      • I remember reading about how the original plan for the Elder Scrolls was to do something like that, but scope creep combined with OP characters kinda throws a wrench in things when it comes to RPGs.

        Now, I know that a lot of the older PS2 Gundam games had weird flags where if you had certain save files for various games, it would unlock certain stuff or change mission paths a little bit. But nothing quite like having modular characters that could move about from game to game.

      • Neverwinter Nights let you bring your PCs between the different modules — Classic, Shadows of Undrentide, and Hordes of the Underdark. The first and second campaigns generally had you start from 1st level but Hordes assumed you were playing a PC from either (or both!) of the previous two games. And if you weren’t… you still got to start at 15th level.

        I don’t know how well the sequel fared but I thought it was really encouraging to have D&D modules built from the same basic game on the PC. I’m sure the modding community is still going strong. Modders tend to look after their own.

        –Dither

      • I really wanted to like Neverwinter Nights when it came out (Megatokyo really oversold it back when Megatokyo was on the same tier as Penny Arcade in the gaming/geek community, and I’d bought it in no small part because of their/Piro’s endless shilling), but my computer choked on it like an unchewed stadium sausage. That and I didn’t have (real) internet when I had it, so I wasn’t ever able to really patch it, so it was always crashing. I did eventually manage to finish it (twice!) but was kinda bummed that no matter what you did with Aribeth or what “henchman happily ever after” you went for had no effect on the outcome. And to think that the internet exploded when Mass Effect did that!

        Sometimes I consider dusting it off, or looking into the expansions, but I get distracted by flash games instead.

      • No doubt, Neverwinter Nights’s time has passed. I’d say the same for Bioware but this is the Internet and the Internet likes Bioware.

        Somehow, I managed to play Hordes at just the right time — and also first. I only played the classic module and Undrentide afterward and I found them to be … not very good. I think Bioware hit their peak with Hordes and that was the last big module before NWN2.

        I heard some good things about some of the “premium modules” they produced like Kingmaker and stuff, but I wasn’t willing to shill out money for them so I can’t speak to their quality.

        Most of the player-made modules I tried were pretty awful.

        For several months, I worked on a module that I hoped to make into a sprawling urban crawl but when I got into the scripting process I learned exactly how… limited… the NWN script was. I broke it several times trying to get it to generate — and then track — random NPCs for radial-type quests. Then I moved on.

        –Dither

      • Well, Bioware’s been riding on Dragon Age for awhile now. I’ve alternately heard that it’s the best and worst thing ever. All I know is that I’ll probably never play it because graphic video game sex is hella weird lookin’. :/

    • I played Red Dragon Inn this weekend at a game store. They had a giant box with all of the decks. I am sad that it would cost me like $200 to get all of it because I DO want all of it. I also want to try it with real drinks…

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