Gameplay quibbles aside, the Awakening the Bear PC game shows off nicely doesn’t it?
Played my first game from the Awakening the Bear PC tournament. It was a tough one. I lost 17-32 playing as the Germans on The Ridge firefight. My opponent was very aggressive coming out of his trenches to meet me. I was off kilter from the beginning of the second turn onward.
Not a good showing.
Looking forward to a better 2nd firefight.
Awakening the Bear takes place during the initial German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Quite a number of the firefights take place in modern-day Ukraine. On the PC-side of Awakening the Bear we are playing Crossroad a firefight in our tournament that is set in Kaharlyk a city in Ukraine.
While doing research for the tournament, I came across an excerpt of a Wehrmacht solder’s account of marching to and fighting in that area. Titled In Deadly Combat, it serves as a reminder that the games we play are based on real combat and involved the lives of real soldiers.
The nice-sized excerpt can be found here.
The Awakening the Bear PC Game tournament is quickly approaching!
Here are some things we wanted to share with you as you prepare to play:
Ready to get going? Here’s what you can do to prepare for the Awakening the Bear PC Game Tournament
The Planning and Registration for the Awakening the Bear PC tourney is underway. If you’re on the Academy Games mailing list, you should have received the message below from Uwe. For the rest of you, if you’d like to sign up send an email to:
PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP VIA THIS FORUM
Early details follow below:
Become the top General! Conflict of Heroes PC Tournament Signup
Conflict of Heroes – Awakening the Bear Computer Game Tournament!
Sign up to command troops in a two round tournament scheduled to start in mid-January. Sign up deadline is January 9th.
1. Reply to this email with your name, email address, and country (time zone).
2. You will be assigned to a team of generals. You will be sent your team mate’s emails so that you can come up with a team name, discuss strategies, and get to know each other. You and your team mates will play together for a group win or loss.
3. All teams will be told which firefight will be played in round one (it will not be a firefight included with the board game). Within a team, half of you will play as German commanders, half as Soviet commanders. You will be able to discuss strategies with each other.
4. You will be assigned an opponent from another team. You will have 2 weeks to complete the game. You will post the results on the reserved forum thread on BoardGameGeek. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/10906223
5. Teams will be assigned victory points for wins only. Victory Points will equal the score differential in the game. Team scores will be ranked, along with the three highest scoring German and Soviet generals!
By running this tournament, we hope that you will get to know the other players on your team. They will include people from all around the world and hopefully you will find new gaming friends for the future.
If you do not own a copy of the computer Awakening the Bear game, you can order a physical copy of the game or instantly download the game! It faithfully reproduces the board game, plus adds dozens of new firefights! Play opponents from around the world or against the AI.
Thanks for signing up and good luck with the tournament!
Matrix games has announced the release of a significant update to its impressive Awakening the Bear PC game. The game is impressive in its faithful adaptation of one of my favorite series of games, Conflict of Heroes, along with a slew of nice touches aimed at brining in new and/or PC players.
The details of the update can be found here, but of paramount interest to me is the inclusion of the traditional board/paper maps as playable backgrounds. With these visuals, this is as close as you can get to playing the original tabletop game without being physically in front of your boards. I love playing this way!
Unfortunately, some bugs linger which reminds me of the pitfalls of PC gaming. In particular, a group movement bug is almost game-runing if you are a CoH purist, but Matrix is aware of this particular issue. Matrix is really good about taking in and responding to bugs so hopefully another rond of fixes are around the corner. [UPDATE: A 1.15 beta existis that fixes some of these problems]
As someone who thinks so highly of the traditional boardgame version of the Awakening the Bear, the PC version has been a welcome addition. It plays smoothly, and the stock 10 firefights (scenarios) are quick and fun to play in the PC version. There is a ton of new content in the game too with an additional 20 or so firefights unique to the PC game.
There is also a scenario editor (some Stalingrad maps are starting to appear) and of course multiplayer play as well. One thing it seems to suffer from is a dearth of online players. I rarely find anyone in the lobby when I check or anyone much talking about their online gaming experience with AtB. As with most wargaming, finding opponents can be difficult and this online version seems to be no different. Granted, there is a Facebook group dedicated to the game but it is fairly inactive.
If you are a Conflict of Heroes fan, the PC version is a no-brainer (and it is on sale 25% off through Jan 14, 2013 too!). If you’re thinking about it, a demo is now available too. Hope to see you online!
Over on BoardGameGeek, I had a brief exchange with a fellow geeker about game storage, specifically the great Conflict of Heroes. I followed through on my initial idea and my posted response follows below.
I finally put my money where my mouth is and attempted to implement the system I had in my head.
What I attempted to do is:
In the end each counter has a three color combination that sorts the counters. I used a set of Sharpies that had eight colors which was enough for this exercise.
Pictures tell the story better than I can. Let’s take a look . . .
Here’s a close up on one set of the counter sides (These are primarily Brown/Blacks which I know to the Storms of Steel Axis counters):
Here’s a close up on another section of counters including the Orange = Soviet counters from both SoS (brown) and PoH (red):
Here’s how all the maps and rules and firefights I keep in my PoH box stack up:
And then finally, the lid goes on with a few rubber bands to keep things in place. Clearly the box is overstuffed:
So all three core CoH Eastern Front systems are represented in there!
A few notes about my approach:
1) Yes, you are marking your counters. This is only for those who actually use their games not for those who keep them on a shelf unused and unplayed.
2) Expect to get some of the Sharpie marks on very slightly on the top of the counters if you’re not careful. There are a lot of counters to go through. If you do them en masse, things won’t be perfect.
3) This won’t help you find a specific counter from a specific set, at least not right away. This just gives you a way to pre sort your counters which will hopefully speed things up.
4) Is it worth it? Hard to say a this point. I haven’t really used it in practice yet but I have been on the other end looking for that one T-34 marker in a pile of counters. That is no fun either when you just want to play
5) What about the over-stuffed box? Isn’t that a pain? It is heavy but I kinda like having all my stuff together and not having to buy another solution like a tackle box.
Give it shot or let me know what you think or if you have questions.
I’d be the first to admit that what I did wasn’t perfect. Hopefully you can learn from me and come up with your own solution or make an existing one better!
Well that didn’t take long! So it sounds like we’ve got a lot of folks interested in playing Conflict of Heroes. Please register below so I can get an idea on actual attendance and what supplies we’ll have for playing.
Hope you can make it on the 21st!
Pick up the featured firefight that we’ll be playing here
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Matrix Games has announced the release of Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear for PC. As visitors probably know, Conflict of Heroes is one of my most-played, and most-enjoyed wargames. I love it’s fast play, but meatier-than-a-board game implementation.
The only things holding me back on getting this electronic version is wondering if there will be a Mac OS X version. It doesn’t seem likely although talk of an iPad version is floating around.
Charlescab82 has posted a nice overview of this PC version. It might be enough for me to decde to get it and run it in Bootcamp. We’ll see . . .
Kudos to Uwe Eickert and Matrix from bringing this version to the masses!
Kris and I got in another round of Conflict of Heroes taking on Firefight 7 – KV2. However, our play was such a disaster that we had a chance to play the scenario twice in an evening.
Playing Conflict of Heroes is always a joy, but this one was a tough nut to crack.
As others have pointed out, FF7 is pretty much a puzzle scenario. The Soviets seems to have a distinct strategic advantage with a strong starting position and a killer unit in the KV2. The KV2 is a monstrously powerful tank killing on a whim and with outstanding defensive prowess.
Until we get to man-up on some strategic thinking, I won’t post a fuller AAR here. It just isn;t worth the details, but in short we called the first game after two turns with the Germans down 12-0. The second one ended after 1.5 turns with the Germans down 8-0.
We kept hearing the Germans can win this one, but we’ll see if we can a chance to prove those folks right. . .
Continuing our march trough the Awakening the Bear firefights, Kris and I found another player and tackled FF6 – Breakthrough to the Mzensk Pocket. Dave, from our old Memoir ’44 group, has been playing Conflict of Heroes solo for awhile now. He was looking for some tank action and got his fair share in this battle.
Kris and Dave teamed up to play the Germans while I took on commanding duties for both Soviet platoons.
Firefight 6 depicts the resupply efforts directed at German infantry platoon hulled up in a Russian town about 150 miles south of Moscow and 150 miles west of the present day Belarusian border. A German armored column, with ample supply wagons is heading from the north to the town. A Soviet mortar platoon stands in the way while a Soviet infantry platoon is raiding the village.
From a gameplay standpoint, the Germans stand to win if the can hold the village and their supply wagons relieve the troops while the Soviets score the best by prevent both points.
The Soviets mortars are well positioned high in the hills and can rain down shells on the Germans in the village. However, those Germans are well entrenched and prepared to repel invaders.
In the first one and a half turns, things were pretty even it seemed. The Soviets took advantage of their mortars placed high in the hills and with a Turn 2 artillery barrage. Both did some damage. The limited Soviet armor in the middle of the board, and facing the advancing German armored/supply platoon,held its own. It was well positioned for good shots but didn’t inflict any causalities on the Germans.
What struck me as the Soviet player was while I felt comfortable from a unit volume and type match up, the Soviet problems with AP costs for moving and firing were very apparent. Most units could only get off one shot before really ending their turn and becoming spent.
I also made the mistake of advancing a unit at a time on the village rather than in group movement. I think it would have added some force to the advance but I ended up being a sitting duck for the German LMG.
Things fell apart for the Soviets beginning at the end of Turn 2. With nearly all of the Soviet units spent, Kris, playing the German platoon in the village, took advantage of a +AP card play and really pumped up his LMG unit.
This unit proceeded to move on the spent Soviet infantry units, many who were stacked, and unleashed a fury of firepower knocking out four units in short order. The Soviets were powerless to stop it.
The LMGs 2AP attack cost is amazingly low and it has a healthy firepower rating as well. They are big trouble for any opponent.
On the hill overlooking the city, nearly all of the Soviet armored units were in dire strats. I used some of the wagons to load up infantry and head toward the village. One of my tanks broke off from the main body and was approaching the village from the east where I thought defenses were softer.
Turn 3 provided some hope for the Soviets as armored reinforcements including two T-34s appeared from the East (#3 Objective card). They slowed the German advance some, but were outnumbered in the end.
Soviet mortars scored some kills on the passing supply wagons inflicting some of the first casualties on that platoon.
The loss of further Soviet armored units only reinforced what was already apparent, this was a lost cause for the Soviets. Great rolls, great cards, and the second Vehicle Destroyed chit pulled on the Soviets really spelled out what kind of night it was. Outside of a hit or two on the supply wagons, the Soviets never really threated any of the German positions at all.
We were pushing 1:30am at this point and it was half way through Turn 4. We called the game after a BT-7 was eliminated on a Vehicle Destroyed pull.
Final scoring: Germans: 36 Soviets: 13
This was a tough one to play as the Soviets. I think all my great rolling in earlier firefights caught up to me. Kris and Dave played a great game, I just wish I could have given them a better fight. Having said that, I really enjoyed playing those mortar units. Fun to use for sure.
This was certainly the biggest and longest firefight we’ve played to date. Even pushing 5+ hours we didn’t even make it through the end of Turn 4. I think having another player would have helped had they been experienced. We did spend a lot of time going over rules. Much of that ended up as rules questions over on BoardGameGeek that Uwe was nice enough to answer.
On a related note, I will say this was the first time I felt really hamstrung by owning 1st edition Awakening the Bear. While we were playing with the upgraded Price of Honour unit counters, it was clear the AtB cards and hit counters were missing information relevant to the latest rule set. Also, during set up the number of changed unit stats from the original AtB counters was more apparent to me for some reason.
Not a gamebreaker, but those challenges were very apparent and lead to many questions about unclear rules.
Conflict of Heroes still rules in my book. Not perfect, but tons of fun to play.
Click here to see other Conflict of Heroes articles!
Kris and I played another rousing game of Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear last night at Fair Game. This time around it was Firefight 5 – The Bunker. We were also glad to have Patrick and his son Liam around, from our old Memoir ’44 troupe, who were interested in learning CoH. We were glad to help them and and expose them to this great game.
For this firefight, the Soviets are set up across two maps, trying to hold a village towards the front of the German advance while also protecting a bunker on a hill towards the back of the layout. The Soviets have a nice collection of powerful tanks (T-26) and a single AT gun (45mm). However, they have a lot of ground to protect. The Germans are outfitted with some ok armor, a few units of not so great scouts, and some speedy tucks carrying infantry.
I decided to skip the hidden unit option for simplicity sake. Had I been planning this out more fully, I think I would have hidden a tank or two and maybe some infantry. However, I don’t think it impacted the outcome. As the Soviets, I placed two infantry, my MMG, and a single T-26 within the village. My second T-26 and AT gun were placed high on the first set of hills on map 3. My final infantry unit was placed in the bunker.
Kris initially advanced with his first armor unit (a PZIIIe I think) and moved toward the center of the village. Not knowing what to expect, I activated my bunker unit to stall. Once I saw what he was doing, I exhausted the bunker unit and activated my in-village T-26. While the PzIIIe moved toward a control marker, I swung around some woods hoping to score a flank shot with the T-26.
The PzIIIe was a bit too fast and was able to score some close range hits on the infantry occupying the closest control marker in a wood structure. However, this did give me enough time to get in range with my T-26. I eliminated the PzIIIe with a couple of expensive (5AP) shots. It was a pretty exciting race!
In short order, Kris had infiltrated the town with his speedy trucks and remaining armor. It quickly became a quagmire though. At one point all of Kris’ units had hits on them. We both had immobilized armor and I was so short on CAPs that effectively ordering my units was very difficult.
Eventually, Kris cleared my units off the control markers, but I was still scoring off the remotely located control marker on the back map (3-C10) and a fair amount from inflicting casualties on the Germans.
One of Kris’ armor units rallied and broke away from the village heading toward the bunker with a flanking move along the southern edge of the map. As he approached hill 53, I was able to get one hit on him from my AT gun perched on the front hill. He continued his advance, but another hit from the AT gun effectively ended the game.
This was a great firefight to play. Kris and I were laughing, cheering, groaning, and getting into it all along. I have to admit this is probably my third game against Kris where I’ve had extraordinary rolling against him. At some points we just had to laugh about it.
The final score was recorded as 24-6 but I think we made some scoring errors on how VPs that were awarded. This may have impacted the scores a couple of points either way. Having said that, during our post-game discussion Kris and I came away feeling the Germans were at a very distinct disadvantage from a scoring perspective. That is the only downside we felt, but I don’t think we’d write the firefight off after only one play.
The bottom line for me is, once again, Conflict of Heroes shows itself to be one of the most enjoyable game to play that I own.I can’t believe were having this much fun and are only 1/3 of the way through the Awakening the Bear firefights.
It comes highly recommended from these parts (Chicago suburbs)! Play it now!
After the great time Kris and I had playing firefight number 2 at Fair Game a few weeks ago, we were itching to get some more Conflict of Heroes under our belt. Firefight 3 – General Petrov seemed to be the logical choice.
Firefight 3, like earlier Awakening the Bear firefights, introduces players to a few new concepts along with building on those introduced in prior fights. This time around, we see the introduction of mortars, including indirect fire, a wider array of combat cards, and and entire side,the Soviets, starting hidden on the map. Additionally, we see the introduction of off board artillery for the first time as the Soviets are granted three strikes for use at their discretion.
The scenario is pretty straightforward; the Germans have intelligence that a General Petrov lays wounded in a small village. The are ordered to capture or kill him. There is no other information about the location of Soviet forces.
Playing the Soviets, I plotted my set up on a printed out version of the map. Unbeknownst to Kris, I kept four of my seven units back giving close protection to General Petrov. My other three units were hidden a bit more forward. I was hoping for an assault from the front. Genius, I know . . .
Kris set up his units grouping the rifles and LMGs along the southern part of the map. His mortars were a bit more spread out.
Seeing that Kris had heavily loaded the south eastern part of the map, I tried some hidden movement to get into better position. However, hidden movement is very costly and I generally couldn’t move more than one next per turn with a unit.
Kris approached and seemed intent on using his 8cm mortars too drop down some smoke. While it didn’t impact the game, it indirectly gave us some exposure to the smoke rules which we hadn’t used up until that point.
The challenge I faced was that Kris advanced very quickly on the suspected location of the general. A combination of group movement, full expenditure or Action Points, and full expenditure of CAP put him on the northern end of the southern hill ofon map 4 within two turns.
One of my hidden MMG revealed itself hoping to pin him down as by now I had called in some artillery right where he was. However, while I inflicted some damage and scored a VP, I really couldn’t slow him down. He eliminated my MMG and moved out of the target radius of my inbound artillery.