Author Topic: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?  (Read 6414 times)

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Offline Ian C

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Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« on: October 28, 2014, 10:54:41 AM »
Can anyone sell me / unsell me on this? I'm looking at it and I'm tempted. Never played a John Tiller game before. I want to get my teeth into something deep and interesting.

http://www.johntillersoftware.com/StrategicWar/TheFirstBlitzkrieg.html
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 11:04:54 AM by Ian C »

Offline Asid

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 11:45:31 AM »
Hi

Try a free demo of one of his games here: http://www.johntillersoftware.com/Demos.php

Also most of his titles are available from HPS who do not have DRM.

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Offline Philippe

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 12:00:40 PM »
I won't go so far as to say that The First Blitzkrieg is bad, because it's not. 

But there are other games out there that cover this subject more effectively.

First Blitzkrieg was essentially an experimental title that was the first part of a trilogy that was to cover the entire ETA.  It has a lot of John Tiller quirkiness, and not as many inspired moments as some of his other titles.

It works, but even modding the graphics does not really save it.  The game is missing something (I think it may be the fun factor) but I've never been quite able to put my finger on it, and moved on to other games.

The quality of Tiller games has a lot to do with the designer that is involved in the project.  Having said that, the Tiller designers are generally at the mercy of Tiller engines (different engines for different series),  and Tiller engines are a bit too influenced by the IGOUGO play style, largely because Tiller is generally trying to make animated board games on the computer (and that's not a bad thing). But most of the engines in the different series are a bit too informed by boardgame mechanics for their own good, and this often becomes apparent when a designer tries to talk the programer into making engine changes.  In all fairness, however, most of the series are quite good and they tend to fill gaps in the wargaming firmament.

The strategic series is not my favorite, and even if I were going to play a game from that series I would be more likely to play War on the Southern Front, if only because of its treatment of the Allied invasion of Syria, which only a few other games have touched on.

The two most polished Tiller series (which use pretty similar engines) are the Panzer Campaigns and First World War series.  France '14 is a masterpiece, largely because of the designer, and I can't recommend it strongly enough.  The Napoleonic series is outstanding (a very good designer did most of the games), but the engine creaks a bit in places.  The same engine was used for the Renaissance game, but though there were some clever attempts at adapting it to the period, it tends to creak even more than the Napoleonic series.  The American Civil War series is mind-numbing in its completeness, and the engine feels a tad more polished than the Napoleonics.  The Squad Battles games are extremely popular and some are very good and cover neglected topics (e.g. the Winter War and the Spanish Civil War), but it's very difficult to play a squad level game rooted in table-top and board game mechanics when there are things like Combat Mission out there.

The one caveat about the Tiller games is that the AI is generally not spectacular.  It varies in quality from series to series, but if you start exploring a series you either have to be willing to play head-to-head solitaire (very easy in Tiller games) or should pick a popular series with lots of potential PBEM opponents (not that many people play Strategic War).  The AI in the ACW series is fairly strong by Tiller standards, but I've seen the computer opponent advance to contact by sending unsupported limbered artillery on a reconoitering mission down a wooded road.  If you play the wonderful but quirky Unity of Command (or even Hubert Cater's Strategic Command) and you do something hamfisted, you'll have your head handed to you in short order.  Tiller's AI tends to be much too forgiving.

Make sure you download the Mius demo from Tiller's website and decide for yourself.  The graphics are awful, but there are mods out there, even of the demo.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 12:08:08 PM by Philippe »
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Offline Ian C

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 12:04:55 PM »
Thanks for the replies.


But there are other games out there that cover this subject more effectively.

What would you suggest?

Offline Philippe

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 12:22:20 PM »
Depends on the scale that you're looking for.  I'm currently playing (and modding) Strategic Command WW I Breakthrough.  One of the scenarios in it just happens to be 1939-45, which may have been the original campaign but has gotten very polished after many iterations.  It's also a blast to play it on essentially the same map that you've been playing WW I on.  The one drawback is that you have to buy Strategic Command WW I The Great War to get Breakthrough to work (believe it or not it's an expansion), and the game uses squares instead of hexes (takes a bit of getting used to, but it works).

If you want a narrower focus you should probably look at Decisive Campaigns Warsaw to Paris.  I don't own this one yet but it's next on my WW II list.  The three Unity of Command games are brilliant and uniquely quirky, but only cover the Eastern Front.

What it comes down to is how far down in the dirt you want to go.  Do you prefer strategic, operational, or tactical?  And are you looking specifically at the opening of the war (i.e. Fall Weiss), or did the invasion of Poland come up because that happened to be the first campaign? 
Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.


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Offline MengJiao

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 12:42:38 PM »
France '14 is a masterpiece, largely because of the designer, and I can't recommend it strongly enough. 


This can't be said often enough.  I think I learned more from that game than all the other Tiller-based games combined.

Offline magnus

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2014, 02:50:50 PM »
 If you are a wargamer, run do not walk to Matrix games and pick up both of the Decisive campaigns.

 Especially if you cut your teeth on board wargames.

Offline magnus

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2014, 02:51:17 PM »
 If you are a wargamer, run do not walk to Matrix games and pick up both of the Decisive campaigns.

 Especially if you cut your teeth on board wargames.

Offline Bison

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2014, 02:54:49 PM »
If you are a wargamer, run do not walk to Matrix games and pick up both of the Decisive campaigns.

This is excellent advice.

Offline Al

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2014, 02:58:01 PM »
If you are a wargamer, run do not walk to Matrix games and pick up both of the Decisive campaigns.

 Especially if you cut your teeth on board wargames.

Yea, those are good games.  Wish I had more time to play them. 

+1 on the First World War Campaigns from JT Software.

The First Blitzkrieg games are good, easy games to get in to.  There are some features I quite haven't figured out and are not explained in the rules but it didn't stop me from enjoying them.  Supposedly from J Tillers YouTube interview recently they are still being developed.  The map is in bad need of upgrade if for nothing else to take advantage of bigger monitors.  I thought the AI in these games were the toughest of any game JT developed.
Al

Offline Cyrano

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2014, 03:59:52 PM »
They're good games, although I agree that the DC games are better if somewhat more quirky and chrome-y (I don't much care for the card mechanic).

What would put them over the top in my own view would be if the meta map referred to in the write-ups for both games on the HPS site ever materialized.  Linking the three (?) games into a single ETO game would be remarkable...and the mechanics of the system would allow them to be playable.

Otherwise, I'll just +1 Philippe's assessments:

1.  F14 and EP:  Freaking brilliant.
2:  NapCampaigns:  Only thing worthwhile on the subject, if occasionally deficient.
3:  PzC:  Just buy them
4:  SB:  Better than they get credit for.

I would also note that I'd be surprised if you couldn't snag First Blitzkrieg on the secondary market at a good price.

Best,

Jim
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Offline southern_cross_116

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2014, 04:08:54 PM »

... that was the first part of a trilogy that was to cover the entire...   (Edited- I think Philippe meant ETO)

I don't think this part is accurate -the rest of his post was opinion - however I think there were supposed to be more than 'a trilogy'.

I haven't ever played it much, but I do know that it plays differently -from what I remember it was a lot different -but that I think was due to its scale being operational instead of grand tactical.

In my case I set it aside until what point there might be more material (as far as playing it) -the scenarios are ok -but I guess I got sold at the time as for it to be a replacement for something like War in Europe or Europa (boardgames) ... so when things get to that point I might revisit things in a much bigger way. Judging by the Tiller interview it does sound like there is something still in the works with that series (I believe the notes or something mention a reason for delays - something along the line of material not being backed up, and losing a computer to a flood ... etc - I don't have it at my finger tips and it isn't particularly new information in any event.).

As far as 'selling someone' -frankly I can't say anymore than at the moment -the series is what it is.

Edited: I should also add, while the demos are free - in my opinion they will not give you an idea how any other series' plays, particularly Mius  -that is a Panzer Campaigns' title and that series plays entirely differently that the one in which the OP was querying. Get it if you want to have a look at PzC - but I am afraid it is not terribly informative about what TFB of WSF plays like.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 04:19:37 AM by southern_cross_116 »
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Offline jomni

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2014, 01:44:33 AM »
The quality of John Tiller games greatly rely on the actual scenario designers involved in the project. Some titles are outstanding, some are crap.

Squad Battles and the Operational Campaigns are the best scale.

Offline Ian C

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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2014, 03:27:54 AM »
If you are a wargamer, run do not walk to Matrix games and pick up both of the Decisive campaigns.

 Especially if you cut your teeth on board wargames.

I have the first one in the series and enjoyed it greatly.

Thanks for all the replies. I think I have enough of an idea now. The First Blitzkrieg was the exact period and scale I was after, but I think I will pass on this for the moment.

What I was looking for was specifically a WW2 game that would be a challenge both in learning and playing (I already have War in the Pacific - and that's TOO much scale). I think I've played every WW2 strategic game out there and was looking for a new challenge.

Going off-topic for a moment, I will mention that it's dissapointing that no one has made a modern grand strategy game. I played GDW's Third World War series back in the 80's and hoped someone would have transferred this to PC by now, or similar.




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Re: Sell me on John Tiller -The First Blitzkrieg ?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2014, 04:25:40 AM »
You could also surch for Open General  or Peoples General ww2 which are both freewaregames with countless campaigns and Scenarios.