Monday, February 22, 2016

Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! - Game Review

I picked up a copy of Conflict of Heroes:  Awakening the Bear! 2nd edition a while ago.  It has sat on my shelf for some time.  I decided to pull it down and read through the rules.  I liked what I read and watched a few YouTube videos on the rules.  I was a little worried about this game being a bit heavy, but I think it is a pretty intuitive rule system.  I have played it mostly solo (not with the solo expansion) controlling both sides myself.

This game takes Operation Barbarossa and puts it on the table where players take control of squads and tanks to resolve tactical situations faced during WWII.

This game is highly ranked on BGG (19th War Game) and well respected by many of the reviewers that I enjoy; Derek Case from SingleHandedWarfare and Bart "The Chief" from The Dice Tower.

Games last between 1-2 hours depending on the scenario played.

All of the artwork in this game is top notch.  The map boards look fantastic.  The tokens look great with all the pertinent information being easy to read.  My only complaint about the layout is that I would reverse the front and flank armor values.

Component Quality
Everything in this game is top notch.  All the tokens are printed well and punched out well.  The maps are very nice and, as stated earlier, look great.

Game Play
Each mission offers a different challenge and troops types to engage in the battle.  There is a specific objective to accomplish and details on how each force earns victory points.

Players take turn activating units to move them across the board or shoot at each other in an effort to accomplish the mission's goals.

A player can complete a single action on their turn.  This can be moving a single unit, shooting with a single unit or using a group activation to have multiple units move together.

When a player activates a unit he gets 7 action points (or a random number as an optional rule) to use on that units actions.  There is also the opportunity for shared actions, or group actions that allow more units to activate at the same time.

Players can use opportunity fire to react to the enemy by firing with an unactivated unit and then immediately flipping that unit to its spent side.

In addition, players have Command Action Points (dictated by the scenario) that they can use throughout their turn (and can even be used on spent units).  As a player loses units, they get fewer Command Action Points in future turns.

The activation system really forces players to think about what they are doing because you might have several things that you want to do, but you are limited in what you can do.  The decisions in this game matter and sometimes you can't always do everything you want.

This game has several expansions.  Some are expansions from the first edition and others from the 2nd edition.  More are in the works as well.

The big one that I was most excited about was the Solo Expansion.  This has a variety of scenarios and AI cards that allow the players to fight solo battles where the enemy really fights back.  The battles are very challenging and you will need to use your wits to accomplish the mission in these battles.

The next expansion that has intrigued me is the Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear - Firefight Generator Expansion.  This expansion allows players to build scenarios using a deck of cards.  The cards are used to determine units, victory point conditions, weather, etc for each side.  The players take turns going back and forth with selections so you can react to what your opponent is doing.  This expansion allows you to create an enormous variety of scenarios to play.  The great thing is that this expansion also works with the Solo Expansion.

Overall Thoughts
I think I found a new favorite board game...

This game is challenging, but I have loved every minute of it so far.  The decision points are constant and I love that to do one thing you may be giving up the opportunity to do something else.  There is a level of detail in this game that won't be to everyone's liking, but I am very pleased to have this on my shelf.