I got my copy of CWGH yesterday and I’m just reading through it the second time. I’d like to give a quick insight into my ideas on the book. Several aspects came to my attention, some of which were known by pre-release insight. I will adress them nontheless:
The supplement is basically three-parted: First some special rules for the setting. They all seem very fitting to me, but simple at the same time. Without in-game experience, I imagine them to give some extra ‚feeling‘, but not alter the game hugely. I like that.
Second is a ton of scenarios again in three categories; a) NATO’s feared Red Tide assault, b) more realistic background of weaker WP and agressive NATO, and c) fantastic scenarios inspired by movies from the era. I like that, too, as it spins off many new and diverse ideas. What I don’t get though, is the immense focus on US vs USSR scenarios. True, you can always rewrite a scenario for other forces, but would it have hurted to make one of the scenarios fit the smaller nations covered in the book? A GDR tank offensive in the LANDJUT or NORTHAG are defended by Danis and British forces? Also, why not give neutral army lists and then specifics like the FoF Primer does? In fact, a 4-6 scenario mini-campaign would have been great!
One more thing I observed were the maps in this supplement (and the rulebook for that matter). They seem to be very improvisional. To me it’s not clear what the map ought to be: A very true picture of the proposed battlefield, on which every item has an important place or just a rough scetch? The map of the scenario ‚Soviet Assault‘ features a village consisting of roughly a dozen building-like icons. On the proposed 6’x4′ board this seems hard in 20mm scale or greater. Especially the space needed by vehicle models grows with larger scales. So it becomes difficult to put the same amount of units on the table. So how important, how true are scenario maps supposed to be?
Third follows an oversight over NATO and WP TO&Es and equipment. The TO&Es are kept short. Except for the US forces the overview is very basic in fact. In addition to TO&Es there is a motorpool table and an AT-weapons table. This third part is a bit lacking – from my point of view – the spirit of the other parts. While the US forces recieve very much attention, other NATO countries receive only very few. True, smaller countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark are reprsented, but Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada are kept very short. France (!!!), Norway and the southern countries are not in the book at all. The WP countries fare the same: TO&Es for the Soviets are kept to a minimum and largely resemble those from the rulebook. All other countries in the WP are summarizied as following the same guidelines, but with diffrent or older equipment (GDR, Poland, CSSR, Hungary). Again, southern WP countries were omitted totally. Neutral countries, which might have taken considerable military attention (Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Albania) are not considered in the supplement as well.
In terms of editorial work, especially consistency and readability, the supplement beats the rulebook. While the rulebook sometimes openly appears as a rework of older rules, with old and new terms apprearing palallelly or omissions in tables, CWGH has less of these mistakes. Just two prominently stuck in my mind: The German IFV ‚Marder‘ is correctly put into the scenarios as ‚Marder 1A2‘, but spelled ‚Marder 1A1‘ in the equipment table. This might seem nitpicking, but the attributes in game terms should vary. Also, the ‚Marder 1‘ (until upgraded to A3 post-Cold War) was equipped with a rearfacing MG3, how is this to be implemented into the rules? No clue is given. The second item is the Stridsvagn 103, the famed Swedish S-Tank. Sweden is not covered in the TO&E section (see above), but this one vehicle is. Why? Also, why does the tank not feature the attributes ‚Limited Traverse‘ and ‚Poor Move & Fire‘ which fit the other casematte tanks of that era (ASU-85 and Jagdpanzer Kanone). From my own editorial work I know you always oversee small things, so no harm done. But a statement and a PDF would be nice.
With some 120 pages, including a slightly modified ‚Fog of War‘-cards set the softcover is handy, well written and reasonable priced. It also covers my favorite era. Small mistakes and omissions could be covered via PDFs. I recommend the book to all fans of the Cold War era and FoF. On my wishlist for Cold War FoF would be the following: a) Integration of the omitted nations, France would have played a prominent role, as would Italy. b) Why not de-nationalize future scenarios for supplements with so many nations involved? The FoF Primer is a great example for that and it keeps the customers from doing one working step. c) No matter what you do, keep it coming! This stuff is hot!
Thanks a lot!