Author Topic: Black Orchestra  (Read 1084 times)

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Offline BanzaiCat

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Black Orchestra
« on: March 27, 2018, 01:00:20 PM »
Looks to be a VERY intriguing game based around the many plots to kill Hitler during World War 2.

Company website: https://www.starling.games/black-orchestra/

Quote
THE YEAR IS 1936
As Hitler's grasp on Germany tightens and his maniacal fervor is unmasked, men from the highest levels of the Reich begin to plot his assassination. As the clock ticks and Hitler's ambitions grow, these daring few must build their strength and prepare for the perfect moment to strike. The Gestapo hound their trail, calling these conspirators "Schwarze Kapelle", the Black Orchestra.

Black Orchestra is a tense and heart-pounding co-operative game based on historic events, in which concerned German officers and citizens attempted to remove Hitler from power, by any means necessary. Players take on the roles of these conspirators and engage in a high-risk game of growing suspicions, daring actions, and desperate plots.

BGG page: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/156858/black-orchestra

Good video review of the game (fully starts at 0:52):



I am going to make the publisher aware of this page in case anyone has any questions.

Forum member SDR did bring this game up last year, which leads me to my first question...

It looks like the original came out in 2016 (according to BGG). Last year there was a kickstarter campaign and now there's this edition. Was there really a previous version or is that date in BGG incorrect? Maybe a bit of history on the development of this game would be awesome, thanks. :)

Next I'd have to ask is regarding the use of swastikas - don't worry, I think it's great that your game company took this path, not because I'm a fan of the swastika or anything it represented but because it's history, it happened, and this game quite frankly is centered around eliminating the very heart of the Third Reich. It makes perfect sense to include it but I'm wondering, were there discussions during development, whether or not to include it?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 01:01:54 PM by BanzaiCat »


Offline Silent Disapproval Robot

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Re: Black Orchestra
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2018, 01:06:09 PM »
Yup, there's a 1st edition version which is the one I played. 

It was a lot of fun and very tense.  I liked it because there's a lot of historical theme present within the game but it doesn't affect gameplay.  For history geeks like me it adds a layer of immersion to it all and for the casual gamers in my group who are more into Euros and not that interested in history, lack of knowledge doesn't penalize the player or detract from the experience at all.

There is a 1st edition still available on the shelves in one of the FLGS's here but I've had 2nd on back-order for almost a year.  Initially, I was going to pass on picking it up but I fell in with another couple of gaming groups since then and I know both would really enjoy this one.

« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 01:09:21 PM by Silent Disapproval Robot »

Offline Silent Disapproval Robot

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Re: Black Orchestra
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2018, 01:16:17 PM »
Looks like they swapped out the playing pieces from plastic to wood for the 2nd ed as well as removed three of the conspirator cards from the deck.  Play balance thing, I guess?  They also re-did the rules for being interrogated.  Not sure how the new rules work but I rather enjoyed the system as it was in 1st edition. 

Offline StarlingBrenna

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Re: Black Orchestra
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2018, 01:44:37 PM »
Hi all! I'm Brenna from Starling Games, here to answer whatever questions you may have about Black Orchestra.

We did indeed change up the player pieces from the 1st edition to the 2nd, making the switch from plastic to wood and also making them smaller. We downsized the pawns to better accommodate multiple conspirators on the same space. There are other minor aesthetic changes that do not affect gameplay, such as the new dice. We also did some balancing on certain cards and player boards, and revamped some of the rules surrounding Interrogation. All just things to make the game that much more balanced.

As for the imagery used in the game, yes, it was definitely something discussed at length. We try not to use it overly often and only when necessary, so you'll see other symbols used such as the Imperial Eagle. When dealing with a sensitive subject such as the Holocaust it's a difficult but also a hugely important task to stay true to history while also being respectful of those who were affected by one of the worst events in human history. For example the 1st edition had a part in the rulebook where, depending on how long it took for you to kill Hitler, it told you how many lives you saved (of course, also with the correlation of how many lives were you lost if you took too long). This was an attempt on our part to show the magnitude of the enormous loss of life. However, we were met with some constructive criticism that some people felt we had attempted to gameify this loss of life. After discussing it internally we acknowledged that, while our intentions were good, ultimately the result did not reflect those intentions. So, you may notice that part of the rulebook has been removed from the 2nd edition in the interest of being more respectful to the victims and survivors.


Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: Black Orchestra
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2018, 02:31:12 PM »
Welcome Brenna!  Glad to have you :)

I'm sure some add'l questions about the game will pop up as the guys dig into it.
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Black Orchestra
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 07:21:22 PM »
My copy just arrived today. I unboxed it, got a quick article in and submitted to Brant, and even started playing it.

I jumped in with three conspirators instead of the stated two for a solo game, so I might have bitten off more than I can chew. I can also see how this game would be more fun with multiple players as opposed to just going solo, but you can make that exact argument with ANY cooperative game you play solo, so it's not a call-out or anything.

I really like the theme and how the Events decks more or less mirror history. Great fun solo play so far though I think I'm going to reset tomorrow and play with just two, and then try it out with others later and then do a full review of it for the site. I'm already almost done with Stage 2 and haven't had a Gestapo Raid yet, which means it's going to happen, even though all three of my conspirators are at Low suspicion right now.