Saving Private Ryan module by WBW (LONG!)

thedrake

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Purchased a copy of Wild Bill Wilder's "One Out of Four:The Saga of Saving Private Ryan" and thought would post some initial thoughts on this module.

First off the module comes with a cover sheet describing the product contents on the front side and the reverse side is an ad for more of WBW's ASL mods that he sells on ebay.The next page is double-sided description of this product,part of the Great Movie Series,talking about the movie itself,which 5 scenarios are in the pack,and then the counters and maps. Paid a few dollars for it but am interested in this one as I did design a scenario on the last battle scene (which Michael Dorosh used in his Scenario Design Guide.):

http://www.freewebs.com/heavymetaldrake/SPRscenariocard.pdf

There are 106 counters of varius types included.One of the attached pic shows some of the informational markers (which there are 36 of in this pack) one of which is the French family shown in the film which appear in scenario SPR03 "The Square."

Overall the counters breakdown as follows:
36 info markers
24 SS (4 SMC, 4 1-3-7 Crews, 8 6-5-8 squads,and 8 3-4-7 hs)
36 US (3 7-5-8 para squads, 5 3-5-7 para hs, 7 7-5-9 ranger squads, 3 3-4-8 ranger hs, 3 3-4-9 engineer hs and 15 SMC)
10 5/8 counters

Since can only attach 6 pics per post I will post the other later on tonite along with more of my first impressions of this module.

Mark
 

thedrake

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Second part of my post--the scenarios. There are 3 cardstock cards with 5 scenarios.Four of them are based on actual scenes from the movie.The scenario titled "The 88's" is based on the scene where Miller describes his mission to his CO about knocking out some 88's. The last battle scene scenario "Miller's Last Stand" is printed on both sides of one card and is the largest of the bunch.

I have not played any of the scenarios yet but I do plan on comparing WBW's last battle scene scenario to my version that I posted to the link to in my first post.

Next part: maps.
 

thedrake

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Third part--maps.

There are 5 cardstock mapsheets in this module.
One is the bunker complex overlooking the Omaha beach secton where Miller and his squad landed and attcked.
The second map is a small half-map with the square in the French town where Miller's squad ran into the French family,dueled with a German sniper,and shot up the German hq with US paratrooper help.
The last 3 mapsheets are of the same battle--the town of Ramelle where the climactic battle of the film takes place.One sheet is a small hex map of the section of town leading to the bridge.Two more mapsheets are larger hexed maps of the same battle,but each sheet depicts half of what the smaller map shows.I even showed the large complete map with some of the enclosed counters to depict part of the last battle.
Also one of the half-map sheets (the Square) does have a small overlay of the radar station for scenario 4,
where Miller's squad attacks the German mg nest in front of the radar station.

Next up:unit counters.
 

thedrake

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Last part--unit counters along with overall impression.

The attached pics show the unit counters included.Only 10 5/8 counters,showing 2 LC,20L AA Gun,2 P-51 Mustangs,and 5 German Wrecks. I described the numbers of the US and SS counters in the first post.As you can see the SMC are close to official ones but most of the unit counters are a different interpretation of what we are used to seeing in US and SS OOB's. Not a big thing to me as I have seen this sort of variant in other
third-party modules.Just would like to know why these particular values were chosen for each type of unit.
Did notice that the unit designation for Pvt. Ryan shows he is a member of the 2nd Rangers--thought he was 101st in the movie.

Overall I think this is a module that has potential. The counters are not bad but could be better. The maps look very amateurish and there are no rules on the terrain--for example on the Ramelle maps how would you handle play in many of the road/building hexes? On the Omaha map what is the CA of the bunker?
There is no explanations for these map issues! This is definitely the weakest part of the module. Too bad there are not even any map SSR's for these mapsheets.
The scenarios look ok at first for an amateur effort but further in-depth study shows there are some questions in each scenario. Mentioned about the CA of the German bunker in scenario 1 "Dog Green";in scenario 2 "The 88's" the German OOB allows 2 Panzerfausts,and an SSR allows the Germans to set up mines with AF4--what is that? Looks like leftovers from when he designed old SL scenarios. Scenario 5 "Miller's Last Stand" the SSR allows the US side to use HIP and ?--how many setup HIP and Concealed? Just a few issues with the scenarios.Too bad as I think these scenarios could have been made into some interesting ones to play in ASL.
Overall this is a poor effort,which I expected given the history/quality of past ASL products from WBW.I think this module could have been done much better and even wrote to the producer of these modules (Tom Tietz) not only asking him to consider making improvements but offering to assist in improving the quality of his modules.No response.Not surprising given that folks buy his modules at ebay for a nice chunk of change (and I am guilty of this as well,as this is my 4th item I have purchased but also the one I paid the most for due to curiousity of what the quality of it may be as well as the subject matter.)
If you are looking to get this as a module that you expect to play right out of the package then you will be disappointed. There is a LOT of issues just reading thru this module that require fixes/modifications if you wish to actually play any of the scenarios. If you are interested in this as a novelty/collector's item then it fits the bill perfectly. Too bad it is not more on the playable side.As I expected when I purchased it,but I also pretty much thought I can make some modifications to what is here and play it solo for my own amusement.

Hope this was helpful.Thanks for looking it over.

Mark
 
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skarper

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Always curious to see what Wild Bill is doing.

Thanks for posting all the scans/pics. Maybe it will stop someone from buying this just to see what is inside. Doesn't look much good.
 

Vinnie

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Thanks for the work and the investment.
I feel it is a great shame that such work is spoilt by basic mistakes/errors.

I look forwards to hearing more as you play the scenarios. Maybe the fun factor will redeem the pack.
 

thedrake

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Thanks for all the positive feedback on my review. I admit I was a bit nervous wondering if I would receive some harsh criticism for this purchase but it was a module I had interest in personally as a comparison to my effort.Did state that in my review as to why I bought it but also wanted to show the product to other folks here to let them decide for themselves if they thought it would be for them to buy or not.
Like I said even though it is based on a movie I felt this had some real potential,but believe it falls short. Think with a little effort it could have been a well done module.Perhaps if someone like Xavier Vitry and LFT or Evan Sherry at Schwerpunkt had produced it I believe it would have been a higher quality product.Knowing which producer it came from though I sort of expected it to have quality issues (which we see it does.) Maybe as a project for solo play after some modifications then it may be quite fun,we'll see.
 

skarper

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Can't help thinking you could have made your own counters and maps with very little effort and at a fraction of the cost. You would also have avoided being traumatised by the purple prose that plagues the text....

Still - if you have 80 dollars to spare - whyever not?
 

kempenfelter

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Please write an AAR if you ever get around to playing a scenario from it. With all the counter and terrain differences, would it even work like ASL? The maps remind of what On All Fronts used to produce...
 

ASRomafan

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Thanks for all the positive feedback on my review. I admit I was a bit nervous wondering if I would receive some harsh criticism for this purchase but it was a module I had interest in personally as a comparison to my effort.Did state that in my review as to why I bought it but also wanted to show the product to other folks here to let them decide for themselves if they thought it would be for them to buy or not.
if you haven't already you should consider doing them for other products as well. If you do, as a blog or something let me know where you post them. Well done, it was nicely written and informative. The only product he's done that remotely looked interesting, that I thought of getting, was the aircraft pack but I still had to pass on that.
 
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Michael Dorosh

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Great review.

When Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord came out, Wild Bill and I both produced "Ramelle" scenarios for it. His was first and I believe I was unaware of the existence of his scenario when I did mine. Neither one was earth-shaking. I did note when I became aware of his scenario that his was rather fantastic in its approach, mine more "realistic" in that I tried to go for a 1:1 force ratio. Which, naturally, was hard to do given the super-human feats of the characters in the movie and the lack of modelling of some of the equipment used (60mm MTR rounds, sticky bombs, molotov cocktails, Hawkins mines as an ad hoc anti-personnel device, a unique use I am unaware of in reality) in the game. WBW's scenario featured an entire company of paratroopers, on the other hand, and was something "Ramelle-ish".

I believe I made my thoughts on his creation known at The Scenario Depot, as it was known then, a website a little similar in function to the ASL Scenario Archive. We had a friendly discussion via email and agreed that there was plenty of room for different interpretations of the same battle.

Ramelle is indeed an interesting situation - I note that several authors - including the OP here - have created scenarios for ASL. I've compared and contrasted them in the Scenario Designer's Handbook as a kind of case study in how different authors can approach the same material with success.

Perhaps like the Battle of Singling, it is destined to be recreated over and over again simply because it has some indefinable quality to it. Or maybe a minority of designers simply have no imagination. :)

Thanks for the review.
 
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AZslim

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Great review.

When Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord came out, Wild Bill and I both produced "Ramelle" scenarios for it. His was first and I believe I was unaware of the existence of his scenario when I did mine. Neither one was earth-shaking. I did note when I became aware of his scenario that his was rather fantastic in its approach, mine more "realistic" in that I tried to go for a 1:1 force ratio. Which, naturally, was hard to do given the super-human feats of the characters in the movie and the lack of modelling of some of the equipment used (60mm MTR rounds, sticky bombs, molotov cocktails, Hawkins mines as an ad hoc anti-personnel device, a unique use I am unaware of in reality) in the game. WBW's scenario featured an entire company of paratroopers, on the other hand, and was something "Ramelle-ish".

I believe I made my thoughts on his creation known at The Scenario Depot, as it was known then, a website a little similar in function to the ASL Scenario Archive. We had a friendly discussion via email and agreed that there was plenty of room for different interpretations of the same battle.

Ramelle is indeed an interesting situation - I note that several authors - including the OP here - have created scenarios for ASL. I've compared and contrasted them in the Scenario Designer's Handbook as a kind of case study in how different authors can approach the same material with success.

Perhaps like the Battle of Singling, it is destined to be recreated over and over again simply because it has some indefinable quality to it. Or maybe a minority of designers simply have no imagination. :)

Thanks for the review.
I guess desigining scenarios for another game you don't play doesn't work very well, either.

Keep trying though, even a blind sow gets an acorn once in a while.
 

AZslim

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Thanks for all the positive feedback on my review. I admit I was a bit nervous wondering if I would receive some harsh criticism for this purchase but it was a module I had interest in personally as a comparison to my effort.Did state that in my review as to why I bought it but also wanted to show the product to other folks here to let them decide for themselves if they thought it would be for them to buy or not.
Like I said even though it is based on a movie I felt this had some real potential,but believe it falls short. Think with a little effort it could have been a well done module.Perhaps if someone like Xavier Vitry and LFT or Evan Sherry at Schwerpunkt had produced it I believe it would have been a higher quality product.Knowing which producer it came from though I sort of expected it to have quality issues (which we see it does.) Maybe as a project for solo play after some modifications then it may be quite fun,we'll see.
I think it would be useful if you bought all of WBW packs that come out and posted pictures and reviews. AAR's would be great, too.
 

hayman

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I agree with delerium, those Ranger squads are over firepowered and over-ranged for ASL (American uber mensch?).

I also don't like the all grey urban hexes.
Just my little quibbles.
 

ASRomafan

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Just my little quibbles.
little quibbles can become big ones when they cost what they do :laugh: I really liked the idea of the airplane pack, and was generally interested in that. However once I looked at it, I decided I sure as heck wasn't going to pay substantial dollars for upside-down counter art. Sure it would have worked but it just didn't look right. If your chrome is tarnished,rusty, and battered what is the point of having it. Now if a $10 pack fell into my lap I'd probably buy it and imagine they were right side up :)
 
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