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Q: Earth Reborn vs. Legion of Steel

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30 Aug 2011 15:40 #102472 by Chapel
So I am interested in the Earth Reborn system, and was wondering if anyone who has played it might give a comparison to Legions of Steel. LoS is an excellent skirmish and close combat rule set. I have been looking at earth reborn, and had a few questions. One, is it more character based(with the cards) or squad level based? Second, is the system generic enough to expand into other genre's? e.g. would it be easy enough to port say LoS to the Earth Reborn system? I guess you could also compare it to Space Hulk, but I've always found Space Hulk a very simplistic system that left out important details that made is feel less realistic.

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30 Aug 2011 16:53 - 30 Aug 2011 16:55 #102476 by mjl1783

One, is it more character based(with the cards) or squad level based?


I'm not quite sure what you're asking here, but I'd say ER is more character based than LOS. Unlike LOS, there are no generic units in ER (Zombies excepted, but there are only two of them); each one functions differently than all the others, and often dramatically so. On the other hand, there is a sort of chain of command in ER similar to the one in LOS, where leader units can give AP to subordinate units within his LOS, it's just not structured the same way.

Second, is the system generic enough to expand into other genre's? e.g. would it be easy enough to port say LoS to the Earth Reborn system?


First of all, why would you want to? Second, it's always possible to shove anything you want into any type of modular game system, so theoretically, yes you could. It would be fairly big pain in the ass. Characters in ER have far more stats than in LOS. On top of your basic movement, armor, marksmanship, weight limit, science, engineering, searching, and four different close combat ratings, you factor in modifiers for your gear, plus whatever special abilities it might give you. To do even basic LOS with the ER system, you'd need to come up with a lot of stats before you could play.

With something like LOS, the only thing that really differentiates units besides their weaponry is the number of APs they get, so LOS is much more portable to different genres. Also, the victory condidions, or at least the way you acquire VP, tends to vary much more from scenario to scenario with ER. No, I guess I woulnd't recommend ER for these sort of purposes.

So I am interested in the Earth Reborn system, and was wondering if anyone who has played it might give a comparison to Legions of Steel.


Too be honest, there's not much comparison between them. LOS is basically Space Hulk crossed with Battletech; you're either trying to get to a certain space alive, kill X number of things, or destroy such-and-such object. Shooting is easier if you don't move and only shoot one thing. Broad brushstrokes, that's the game.

ER is much more RPG-ish. There are a lot of exception-to-the-rules type special abilities, not just for each character, but for many of the items and board tiles themselves; lots of stuff that is not just moving and shooting. The moving and shooting rules themselves are actually simpler and less realistic (very loose use of the word) than in LOS.

The best way I can describe it is that ER has a scenario where one side is trying to infiltrate a complex where the enemy is keeping all their R&D material, plus their nuclear missiles. This will mean that one side will try to get in and destroy the generator that's supplying the place with juice so the bad guys can't launch their nukes, then sneak around, steal their top secret files and jetpack, then get out of dodge. The other side is trying to set up booby traps, download their data from their computers before the good guys tear the place apart, and launching the missles. Meanwhile, there are shootouts and fisticuffs and whatnot.

A similar scenario in LOS would amount to this. UNE objective: Get to the other side of the board and shoot the enemy's computer. Machine objective: Kill all the other guys before one of them shoots your computer.

But the rules for how the guns work are better.
Last edit: 30 Aug 2011 16:55 by mjl1783.

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30 Aug 2011 17:08 #102477 by Chapel
That is all great information. I am just trying to get a feel of, I love LoS as a miniature game, so what does Earth Reborn(As a miniature game) offer in gameplay that I couldn't get from a Role Playing Game? I am of the philosophy that the miniatures have to have a reason for using, e.g. Line of site, distance, weaponry, movement rules, etc. etc.

See for me, using miniatures in games like D&D 4e is tertiary to the game play, yet in LoS it's primary. I could play D&D 4e with no miniatures at all, and deal with space in my head. Earth reborn has elements of Role Playing, and skirmish rules. I just wanted to know how much of the skirmish came into play. If it is a robust "system" of rules, and not just proprietary to the role playing.

I guess I just don't like plastic for the sake of aesthetics.

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30 Aug 2011 23:18 #102486 by Josh Look
I don't think I'd go as far as to say ER is an RPG or minis game...it's still very much a board game. It has enough slight hints of Euro game in there for me to call it a hybrid, though heavily tipping to the AT side. Still, those elements keep it from rising above the board game genre, not that that's a bad thing. There's mechanical things that reinforce the characters and the game does have a strong narrative, but you're still doing things like resource management, bidding, and whatever you want to call that insane streak of genius that is the search system.

I will say that it would certainly deliver on what you thought SH was missing.

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31 Aug 2011 00:01 - 31 Aug 2011 00:02 #102488 by mjl1783

That is all great information. I am just trying to get a feel of, I love LoS as a miniature game, so what does Earth Reborn(As a miniature game) offer in gameplay that I couldn't get from a Role Playing Game?


A definite starting and ending point, concrete rules for line-of-sight, distance, etc. and a clear winner and loser at the end. Other than that? Nothing, really.

Theoretically, you can do anything you want in an RPG as long as the DM lets it go. Obviously, no board or miniatures game is going to give you that same level of freedom, so no, ER isn't going to give you anything from a narrative standpoint that an RPG wouldn't. On the other hand, it lets you do a hell of a lot more things beyond moving and firing your weapon than something like LoS does, but still with the strict rules for line-of-sight and that other stuff you mentioned that necessitate the board and the minis (or at least, playing pieces of some kind).

See for me, using miniatures in games like D&D 4e is tertiary to the game play, yet in LoS it's primary. I could play D&D 4e with no miniatures at all, and deal with space in my head. Earth reborn has elements of Role Playing, and skirmish rules.


Well, ER has actual no role playing at all, and no way could you play it with everything in your head. Again, it's only RPG-ish in the sense that, instead of being forced to find a key to open that locked door, you could just knock it down, go look for a bomb to blow a hole in the rear wall, find the building's wiring plans and disable the power to the lock, or have somebody go down the hall and shoot the generator. It is a skirmish game, but with special character abilities, lots of special items, and much more flexible and varied win conditions. So basically, there's just a lot more chrome than LoS.

If it is a robust "system" of rules, and not just proprietary to the role playing.


I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here, but no, probably not. The core skirmish stuff in ER is not as robust as LoS (i.e. no rules for cover, going prone, sweep fire, throwing grenades around corners, etc.). At it's core, the combat is still that old HeroQuest-style count-the-bullet holes-and-subtract-the-target's-armor thing. On the other hand, it has a weird combination chit pull/AP/bidding system to handle initiative and simultaneity which makes the actual play almost as robust.

As far as being a sort of universal minis system goes, it could work that way, but you'd need to put a lot more work into the game than just coming up with a map, OoB, and a simple "get to here" objective. It's much more dependent on good scenario special rules and the righ combination of forces and equipment to be at its best than LoS is.

If LoS is a finely-tuned FPS computer game with great controls and really challenging weapon mechanics, then ER is a simpler, more arcade-y game but with much more inventive level design, destructible environments, way cooler gadgets, and more exciting events. Both are good in their own way, and both are totally worth playing, but one cannot replace the other.

I guess I just don't like plastic for the sake of aesthetics.


That makes two of us.
Last edit: 31 Aug 2011 00:02 by mjl1783.

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