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Old September 4th, 2007, 06:48 PM
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RichardD RichardD is offline
 
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Duel In The Dark

A two-player Euro-style wargame based on World War Two bombing raids, that takes less than an hour to play. What's not to like? Well, apart from the cheap and nasty cards, a "fold it yourself" box insert that's slightly too tall, and a rulebook that fell through a babelfish translator and was printed "as is".

Good game, though. Very interesting. Quite how many real decisions there are remains to be seen (I've only played it solo twice tonight, but both games were interesting).

Q - "Are you one of those people who does The Times crossword puzzle in 10 minutes?"

A - "I have NEVER taken 10 minutes!"

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Old September 4th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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Re: Duel In The Dark

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardD
(I've only played it solo twice tonight, but both games were interesting).
Who won?
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Old September 5th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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Well, these are all solo games for me so far (I should play it head-to-head tonight), so bear in mind you have a fiendish intelligence controlling the Germans, and a random deck controling the Brits.

First game the Germans hammered the Brits, by something like 22 points. I caught the bomber time after time, and the Bomber dropped it's load with minimal effect.

Second game turned out to be a very short hop into Western Germany, hammering Frankfurt, then running away barely giving the Germans time to scramble. I'd planned my ground defences based on them doing a deep strike, so the Brits were a bit banged up on the way in but flew out along a corridor that was almost completely undefended. Very narrow victory to the British, by three points (I did manage to get some good tags in at the end with German fighters lurking over Kent, with just enough fuel to get home).

Third game was a 15 point win for the Germans again, with Lubeck taking a second carpet of bombs. For the first part of the game, the points all went Britain's way, but by taking a few risks I caught the bombing fleet heavily twice, both times over some highly effective ground defences, and quickly negated any points made from the actual bomb drop.

So far I've only used basic defence resources and the standard rules - I can see that at least some of the advanced rules are going to be necessary to give a randomly-controlled Britain any real chance against a human opponent. My thoughts are that the solo game is probably too random and too easy to hold interest beyond 6 or 7 games (except as a way of testing ideas out). But the sort of tricks you can run against the solo game won't work against a human player too often (dogpiling defences along the North Sea coast will usually hammer the bomber fleet; try that two games in a row against a human and I'd imagine that he'll just fly round you on the second game (or use the mosquito to hammer a corridor open).

The game is *very* assymetric - I'm trying to remember a more unbalanced game (War of the Ring is asymetric in terms of victory conditions and resources, but Duel has asymetric gameplay styles - the British player does 80% of his game's decision making before the board has been laid out, and can only use one piece to run interference for the pre-planned bomber). But it does seem to work well.

I bought The Burning Blue last year from GMT Games - this is supposed to be the ultimate Battle of Britain game, where the RAF has to defend against pre-planned Luftwaffe raids. Well, as good as it is supposed to be, I've never played it; it's just too big, and too complicated. Maybe I'll get the chance to play a solo game or two before I die, but I can't see me ever having the time to learn and teach the game to another player.

Duel In The Dark covers a very similar theme, with one player intercepting a pre-planned raid, but does so with a much lighter approach. I don't doubt that BB is the better simulation, but if it never gets played it hasn't really achieved its aim (my fault, I know, but time is not infinite for me).

The only real drawback with DitD (apart from a few very minor niggles, or things I'd have done differently - like a box insert that is 4mm too tall to allow me to fully close the lid on the box when the rules, reference cards and board are placed on top) is that the ruleset isn't particularly well translated. there are a couple of rules that are either mssing or easily misinterpreted, and the style of the writing is very stilted. But after reading through the example game in the rulebook (great idea), checking some of the clarifications on BGG (hopefully there'll be an official FAQ soon), and playing a couple of games, I reckon that the rules are actually a lot more straightforward than the rulebook might lead you to believe.

Q - "Are you one of those people who does The Times crossword puzzle in 10 minutes?"

A - "I have NEVER taken 10 minutes!"

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