Friday, May 5, 2017

Blitzkriegcommander III

I received the newest version of the Blitzkrieg Commander series a couple days ago.   After Pendraken purchased the commander series I have been waiting for this to be completed so that they could then proceed to update Cold War Commander and Future War Commander to the format used for BKC II.

Shortly before receiving BKCIII I started noticing posts on The Miniatures Page, the Commander Series forums and the Pendraken forums about problems with the army lists and rules.  The arrival of the rules confirmed these problems.

The army lists are vital as they provide the vehicle stats for playing.  Some army lists are missing a number of vehicles that were included in the second edition.  While in some cases there are years of service listed for vehicles they do not include the month they entered service.  Armor values for PZIV drop off in army lists for later years.  There are other items that have been noted.

The rules for recon units are contradictory and prevent them from being used in some cases.   Forward Artillery Observers and Forward Air Controllers are now just listed as a Forward Observer.  FAC's were not equipped or trained to direct artillery nor were FAO's trained or equipped to direct air attacks.   By combing them as one item, all those army lists that did not have FAC's now do, even if they do not have the planes to direct.  The scenarios do not have force ratios,  the tactical doctrine rules that gave a bonus to CV for rigid doctrine units in the same formation are gone, field defenses are free?!?!?!, etc.

In BKC second edition Rigid Tactical Doctrine required formations be created at the start of the game and maintained throughout it.   If the same order was given to all units in the formation then they received a bonus to their command role encouraging group action.   Now any group of units in the same formation can be grouped together each turn and given an order with no bonus. 

While there were some changes that might be good, there are a lot of unnecessary changes that have been made.  The updating of the rules was entrusted by Leon of Pendraken to someone he felt was an experienced rules author.  Instead of doing that the author made wholesale changes that were not needed.  While there have been a number of rules questions raised on the Pendraken forums the author has not responded to any of them as of this time.  Others on the forum have noticed that he has logged in, but has not responded.

There have been posts by experienced BKC players who have tried to play the new rules, given up after a turn or two, and reverted to using BKC II to finish the games.

I feel sorry for Leon that this has happened.   While still listed on his site and at Wargames Vault the third edition is no longer available for purchase.  Leon has also established a pole on the Forum requesting input on a way forward.  I also regret that I did not have the time to volunteer and participate as a play tester.   If I had I would have raised strenuous objections to what was happening.
There is a post on the Pendraken forum from one who participated from the beginning of BKC I through BKC II who also regrets not being able to participate in the update of the rules.

A bit of an update.  I visited the Pendraken forums and noted that Leon has posted that they plan to do a reprint within the next two to three months.  I hope that they are able to do a proper fix and not rush it.  Leon's post

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