Donetsk: Battle for the Airport is the feature magazine game included in YAAH! #9 from Flying Pig Games.
Donetsk is not like most tactical level games on the market. First, it differs in scale – while units are relatively small (squads, individual teams and vehicles) the hexes are relatively large (approx. 150m). This was done to simulate the relative emptiness of the modern battlefield as compared to earlier conflicts. Modern combat units move slower and more cautiously due to the increased range and lethality of modern weapons. These factors explain why leg unit movement factors are low and there are no ‘close assault’ rules like earlier conflict period tactical simulations.
Second, even though the battle was called Little Stalingrad, unlike the forces involved in that pivotal WW2 battle, the forces in these battles were very brittle. It did not take many setbacks and casualties before a side lost their aggressive spirit and will to fight. The central game mechanic that depicts this, which the player needs to manage, is initiative /Hesitation. Protecting your Initiative Level is critical to keeping your tactical options and chances for victory open. Initially the player with the highest initiative normally gets to activate first – especially if in a close quarters battle in the Terminals the ability to fire first or withdraw from a bad situation before the other side can fire can be critical. Later, if your initiative level drops to your Hesitation Level then your options become very limited. If on the Offensive, the player is left with ranged fire hoping to attrition the defender to victory. If on the Defensive, then the other player can be more aggressive and it becomes very hard to hold important objectives in the face of a determined assault. Therefore, being sensitive to casualties is critical to winning.
As I have said before of these magazines, there is always a lot of content for the price.
Nice presentation. Crowbar: The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc instantly caught my attention. Hopefully, it will show up soon on Kickstarter.
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I think they are shooting for the fall on the Kickstarter. It definitely looks great!
My impression is that you do well balanced reviews and keep a neutral tone when games deal with sensitive conflicts. This is for sure not a game I would own in respect of my friends on both sides of that battle line, something that leads to a question I have to you and your gaming experience:
How do you deal with games that are based on recent events and that might be part of an ongoing propaganda war from all sides? Do you like me, find it easier with games based on not so recent events?
It’s of course difficult to be sure of anything and there is no number of years that guarantee a just interpretation. Still it would be interesting to hear your viewpoint on the matter.
Thank you. We do try to stay neutral on the politics of conflicts, especially when they are sensitive. My basic philosophy for games that deal with sensitive topics is that I tend to see them as a view point only, meaning the designer has a certain opinion and will most definitely have that opinion come out in the design. I enjoy learning and playing military conflict simulation games for fun but also to expose myself to different issues that I can learn something about. I am fine playing a game that is more recent. One of my favorite games is Labyrinth that deals with the global War on Terror in a CDG format. I love this game because it is a great tool to teach about these conflicts. I have learned more about that conflict from reading the cards and trying to understand how they effect the game and the world.
That’s a sound approach. I fully agree that you learn a lot from some games, or even if not very historically accurate, it could trigger an interest to read up on the subject.