The review of the board game Kotaku
I examined a parcel video game adaptations as part of my board game coverage for Kotaku. As you can imagine, since it is primarily a video game site. Some of these adaptations have been okay, some pretty good, but I haven’t played any of them like A company of heroes before.
Some of these decent adaptations, like Loss Where Publication date, tried to replicate some of the core gameplay themes and hooks of their digital counterparts while clearly remaining their own distinct tabletop experiences. You could play these games and think, yeah, it ends up getting to the same general place as video games, and I liked this video game, so I like that too.
Better adaptations, like the Assassin’s Creed game I just tested, manages to go a little further. They are able to transplant entire systems from the video game to the table, giving the board game the same overall vibes as the video game. You don’t like the board game just because you liked it Assassin’s Creed, but because you liked Assassin’s Creed’s particularly stealth and evasion, which Brotherhood of Venice was able to reproduce so perfectly.
A company of heroes somehow manages to go even further. This practically is the video game. All. Every system, every aspect, everything you remember and love video gaming, you will find it here, only now you are playing it on a table instead of a PC. It doesn’t matter if it’s now turn-based while the video game was in real time, you get exactly the same feel, but at a slightly slower pace.
It’s so close that I don’t even know if it counts as an adaptation anymore. It’s almost a port, though I say that with the greatest admiration for the designers at Bad Crow Studios, because while the board game manages to put everything from Relic’s 2006 release here, the manners they piled it up are of course unique to the table, and therefore worthy of praise.
A company of heroes comes with different ways to play, ranging from standard skirmishes (taking and keeping victory points) to HQ assaults, and with the co-op expansion, the ability to add opponents and AI teammates (very cleverly managed) to the mixture. There is no campaign, but there are a few great maps you can play with that can be scaled and modified (and even combined if you have the space) to provide different challenges.
Players can choose from four factions: Germany, USSR, United States, and Great Britain. They’re all pretty interchangeable (at least in terms of quantity and mix of units) and so aren’t tied to any particular side in the war, so you can pit the British against the Americans or team up with the Soviets. Germany. However, through the use of special powers and evolving HQs, each side largely follows the same basic themes as in the video game, with the British being geared toward building locations, while the Americans are more focused. on infantry gadgets.
Like I said, the sparkle here isn’t in a pioneering and innovative board game design, since virtually all of the systems here are based on a system that Relic already invented in 2006. But the team at Bad Crow deserve immense credit for the way they figured out these mechanics and then found ways to adapt them to the table, a skill that can’t be appreciated enough when it comes to these kinds of games. After all, if it were so easy to turn a video game into a board game, I wouldn’t be so excited about the work this one did.
Just because it feels like A company of heroes every turn doesn’t mean they’re just copies of the video game; that would be crazy, since the video game was in real time. Instead, it takes all the feel that you have using every system on the PC, and all the satisfaction you get to achieve a great tactical triumph and fills in the gaps, elegantly offering us the same options and choices, from upgrade paths to coaching opportunities, but leaving the execution of these to the dice and hexagons.
The cover is here. Buildings that can be used to protect infantry but collapse under fire are also here. Just like the deletion, and the video the perfect balance of rock-paper-scissor play between units and the way control points are captured, and the way each battle begins with weaker squads then has to move on to bigger weapons and tanks.
You can plan and play a skirmish in this board game exactly the same way you would on PC. Indeed, the only area where you would say there is a big start is combat, as it could never be handled in real time the same way, but even here the board game is doing its best to that it still feels in real time..
At the point of each turn it is time to start firing, each unit that is within range of another can award dice, some of which will deal automatic damage, others that can be rolled with a chance to escape. to blows., depending on what type of unit it is and which unit is attacking it (a simulation of how the video game would not let infantry attack a tank unless specially equipped, for example ). It doesn’t matter if it’s a beaten infantry squad with a surviving rifleman or a tank fresh out of the factory, each unit can trade blows., and no unit can ever be wiped out without having the chance to fire on its own. So while the combat is resolved by the players taking turns rolling the dice, the manner it is resolved always plays as if these bullets and shells were exchanged in real time.
A company of heroes is a wonderfully tactile experience. Even at its smallest scale, it still has thick, huge boards to play on, and the plastic figures you join the battlefield with are fantastic, from the smallest infantry squads to the bigger tanks (which can be painted and come with decals to apply if you like modeling). Things get even better with the optional Terrain Pack, which adds plastic buildings you can place infantry in, small plastic sandbags for cover, and real flagpoles with small flags you can put in. trade whenever a point changes hands.
Between all the units and the board and mountains of dice and tokens, it has all the sensory appeal of a serious wargame with almost no hassle, since A company of heroes is really on the Memoir 44 side of the complexity scale; the fun here lies in the broad brushstrokes of tactical engagement, not in its minutiae. I know it looks like a lot of dice in these photos, but here you have to imagine each one as an explosion rather than a complicated set of rules.
A company of heroes is a game where you’re always on the move and seemingly always shooting, where the front lines constantly bend but rarely break. It is a game where the whole war comes and goes slowly, your plans are always one step away from realization, but also those of your opponent. It’s such a delicious balance, that the video game has succeeded, and the board game does it just as well to make it as enjoyable as it is to play.
Bad Crow Studios deserves immense credit for what they have accomplished here. They didn’t invent or even reinvent the wheel, but what they did almost feels like a translation job, taking the design language of a successful video game and bringing the same joy, if not through the same methods. , on the top of the table. I said once A company of heroes was the perfect RTS and I still think so, but A company of heroes is now also an almost perfect table game.