As I mentioned in the "Old Magic" that were SPI games and gaming discussion in the All Thing SPI group, I'm relegating my aged copy of HIGHWAY TO THE REICH (2nd Ed) to the closet now that this game is out. Holy cow. I've been eagerly anticipating this release for two years, and the day has at last come.

I've ranted and raved about this new release already--so what are the others who are familiar with this title saying? Meier? Chacon? Tom, you and I played HIGHWAY TO THE REICH with the Richmond Monstergamers way back when...what say you now?

If you don't know about this game, check out the support website at URL:
http://www.dfwfront.com/dc/game.html

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Replies to This Discussion

I cut and paste the below discussion from the "All Thing SPI" Group when I lamented that THE DEVIL'S CAULDRON made me put HTTR In the closet--as Matt Severns pointed out, this thread belongs in this Group far more....

Reply by Matt Severns on May 13, 2008 at 11:29am

HERETIC! Just kidding....TDC is that good?

Reply by Jack Beckman on May 13, 2008 at 12:03pm

I'd sure be interested in knowing what's improved with TDC. I have HTTR (unplayed, like way too many games) so I'm interested in this - is it something I should spend money on? I have so many good games that I have yet to play it seems crazy to keep buying more, so I try to be choosey.

So I'd appreciate you letting us know what in TDC has made you put away HTTR.

Reply by Eric Walters on May 13, 2008 at 2:23pm

WHY THE DEVIL'S CAULDRON replaces HTTR (at least for me). I knew this would happen, ever since I read Adam Starkweather's postings on the ConSimWorld Forum on playing HTTR campaign games in the early part of this decade--he and his buddies were so frustrated with the the game. I nodded my head as I read them. I remembered that well. What blew me away was that he picked up the gauntlet to design a Market-Garden game that had the same scope, but fixed all the problems as he saw them. I never would have dreamed he would do what he did with THE DEVIL'S CAULDON. A few things to explain:

First of all, he took the system from Victory Games's PANZER COMMAND and adapted it. I always loved that particular title and bemoaned that the system wasn't widely applied elsewhere. Apparently I wasn't the only fan. So was he. If you aren't familiar with it, it's VERY interactive, using chit pull systems that are by now very familiar to us from a number of other publishers/games. It really highlighted differences in command and control. Creates a highly interactive game situation with tons of surprises/friction/fog in every turn. Addictive.

Second, the graphical treatment is simply breathtaking. You have to see this game to believe it. The hex pattern is greatly subdued on the maps, so the terrain feels and looks very natural, yet contains a wide variety and yet is functional when you play upon it. The counters are even more impressive. And where HTTR had Division commanders, here you get a lot of the subordinate unit leaders as well.

Third, THE DEVIL'S CAULDRON has the most recent, updated scholarship on the battle, terrain, and OOB available. We can expect much the same thing with WHERE EAGLES DARE, the companion game on Hell's Highway.

Fourth, there's a wealth of scenarios of all scopes and sizes. Even the introductory scenario is quite a puzzle and great fun to play. Check out the replay of that scenario that Adam Starkweather posted in the CONSIMWORLD Forum for this game...it's lavishly illustrated and well describes how the game plays. I read it word-for-word, spellbound, about one or two years ago when it was first posted.

Fifth, I was fortunate enough to witness the game in playtest a number of times in the past couple years and got to talk to the playtesters who had nothing but praise for the game. I could see why...and have looked forward to this title seeing the light of day.

A warning. This game is VERY expensive. I'd talk to other owners/players before purchasing--this is not a game to have sitting on your shelf. It deserves to be played. Good news is that you'll really want to play it--and it's easy to get into, despite its size, scale, and scope. Is it worth the hefty price tag? I'd argue it is. But time will tell. No doubt it will garner and maintain a devoted following.

Reply by Wilhammer on May 13, 2008 at 2:29pm

Being reluctant to shell out 160 dollars for TDC, and having an unplayed (but punched) HTTR (2nd Edition) to play, should I play it or sell/trade it out for TDC?

As you say, HTTR is a fine looking game, and it looks like it wants to be played. I had it stretched out recently on the 4.5 X10 table and it was so attractive....

To get the same scope as HTTR, one would have to shell out nearly 400 dollars to get both MMPs Games to complete it.

Reply by Matt Severns on May 13, 2008 at 2:47pm

I would like to purchase this game, but I am also interested in how the HTTR redeux from DG turns out.

Reply by Eric Walters on May 13, 2008 at 2:56pm

Deciding whether to pitch HTTR for TDC would be a no-brainer for me, but I can't necessarily advocate that for anyone else because we all want so many different things from our games.

To get a view of some of the game components for TDC, check out the website at:
at: http://www.dfwfront.com/dc/game.html

Here's my logic behind this--it may or may not match yours:

What worked in HTTR was the scenarios, not the campaign game. I don't know how far into the campaign that TDC/WHERE EAGLES DARE will go. It may be that you won't get the whole campaign game from start to finish, but knowing Adam Starkweather, chances are good you'll get that. It was his whole rationale for creating the game. You can see his frustration in the June and July 2002 entries for HTTR in the Consimworld Individual Game Forum for WWII Western Front Games. Now, for me, there far MORE scenarios in TDC than there ever was in all of HTTR.

Second, the campaign game in HTTR is fatally flawed. I would hope that DG fixes this. It may be that they will. Whether or not you think they've got a good track record in that depends on how well you thought WAR IN THE PACIFIC (2nd Ed), WAR IN EUROPE (2nd Ed), WAR BETWEEN THE STATES (2nd Ed), and WACHT AM RHEIN 2 turned out.

Third, I love the PANZER COMMAND system and this is perhaps the biggest attraction for me, personally. It may not be for you. I say this even though I do love what HTTR did for division-level tactics where each piece was a company/battery and vehicle platoon.

The expense certainly is not to be sneezed at and it's worth your careful consideration to shop around before you buy. You may have preferences far different than mine.
From the summary rules - TDC Sequence of Play

1. Check weather (first daylight turn of the day only)
Roll on the Weather Table to determine weather.
2. Determine airpower availability (first daylight turn of the
day only)
Check scenario rules for availability and roll on the Airpower
Table.
3. Determine if weather changes
Consult the exclusive rules to see if the weather can
change during the course of the day. If so, follow the
weather change procedure.
4. Purchase Formation Activation Chits
Direct Command and Division Activation Chits are free,
Formation Activation Chits must be purchased (2 Dispatch
Points for this turn, 1 Dispatch Point for next turn). A
player can only purchase Formation Chits that are in play.
A reinforcement Formation Activation Chit is not available
for purchase until the turn after the Formation's Leader
enters play.
5. Place reinforcements and conduct airstrikes
Check scenario rules for the entry time and location of reinforcements.
Stacking limits do not need to be observed
until after their initial activation (stacking limits never apply
in entry hexes). Reinforcements are Out of Command
until they enter play, and can come into play either in Column
or not.
Units in entry hexes may not be targeted by any type of
fire.
6. Place Activation Chits in mug
7. Draw a chit
Activate Units as indicated by the chit. Once activated,
Units can perform a single Action (possibly restricted)
and a possible Second Action. Actions include move,
Direct Fire, Assault, Rally, and others. The last chit in
the mug is not drawn and it is not put into play; instead it
becomes the first chit for the next turn.
8. Remove all barrage markers
9. Advance turn record marker
If the scenario is over, determine victory, otherwise advance
the turn marker and return to step 1.

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