I'm 22% into the 10 games, 10 times, challenge and I thought I should post an update, because I think the experience has already been worthwhile.
What I am finding, and it confirms what I think most of us already know, that multiple plays of a game help reinforce knowledge of the rules, help us learn and improve strategy and tactics, and help us decide how we really feel about a game beyond the first impressions.
By way of example:
One of the games on my list, Urbion, is a solitaire card game that offers both a basic game, and several advanced options, all within one box.
I had thought when I started that I would focus on getting into those advanced options, since I had already played the basic game a number of times.
However, I found on the first game after I officially declared the challenge for myself (and game here means gaming session. I can play multiple games of Urbion in an hour, but I only count that as 1 for the sake of the challenge) that I not only needed a complete rules refresher, but that I had been doing a few things incorrectly the first 5 games which I had credited myself.
It wasn't until the 7th game that I finally won playing the basic rules.
The game was harder to win than I thought it might be, but, with repeated play, I had developed some strategies that seemed to work, and i was seeing things I could do each game turn that I couldn't see in those earlier games.
About 2 weeks passed between the 8th and 9th session, and so I decided to stick with the basic game. Lo and behold, I remembered the rules! I didn't win mind you, but I played well enough to feel like it was time to try the first of the advanced options.
In the 10th game, I tried the first of the advanced options.
They add a fair degree of difficulty and the first option alone includes many possible choices. I greatly underestimated the depth of this game in the sense that I thought I'd explore the all of the advanced rules, or at least many, in 10 games.
This was a pleasant surprise and I see that I will get many more hours of enjoyment from this game. So, despite having completed the challenge for Urbion, I will continue playing it.
Well, all is not rainbows and unicorns in the realm of Ol' Tabletop:
I have played 7 games now of Nuts! Final Version, and all of these games have been infantry only. I have yet to touch the vehicle rules, nor have I tried the Chocolate & Cigarettes rules.
Whenever I played Nuts! 2.0, I was always looking up something or other, and that was the case when I started playing Final Version. However, by game 5, except for the non-player "ai" and the reinforcements table, I needed to only refer to a chart once in awhile; repeated play has its merits.
By the time I finished the 6th game (which was the first mission I completed successfully), I was feeling dissatisfied and started to consider whether or not I should cut my losses and pick a different game to play ten times.
Another benefit of repeated play: This is a game that at first i was quite happy with but something about the game, after several plays had soured that - having the experience of playing multiple games of Nuts! meant I had data to mine to find the source of my dissatisfaction.
What I found was, it's not the rules generally, but that I don't really like the "ai" for the non-player side.
This isn't to say the tables controlling the non-player side aren't well done (I lost to it 5 times in a row after all), but that the dice rolling each turn for tactics doesn't suit me - even though it provides a result, it still requires interpretation and I have to wonder then, why roll each turn at all?
What's more, with Nuts!, and the THW reaction system in general, I don't think a non-player decision table is necessary.
All you need is to know the enemy's mission and maybe their general posture (aggressive, cautious, or somewhere in the middle). That should be enough - because the rest of the rules will take control away from you, making sure that, even if you try to make the enemy do something stupid, you'll probably fail because they'll duck back to cover.
Finally, the provided NP rules and the reaction tables themselves, don't provide an easy way to determine when or if the NP enemy will surrender or fall back.
Rather than throw the baby out with the bath water, I dropped the built-in NP tactics rules (although i kept the rules for moving PEFs as I like those) and used a much simpler system of my own for game 7.
The result was a more enjoyable game (I'll post a write-up tomorrow).
Regardless, after 7 games I don't know if Nuts! is going to be the go-to game for me at this scale of battle - which, even when it starts with a single squad, ends up being around a platoon on at least one side, if not both. It's too many individual reactions and resulting statuses that have to be indicated (even if you roll once for the group, it applies to each individual - your rep 3 Private is going to react differently than your rep 5 Corporal).
Iron Ivan's Disposable Heroes/Coffin For Seven Brothers or my own Featherstone's Nuts! (which I continue to tweak) are probably more likely to scratch the squad to platoon game for me, although they should each be subjected to a similar 10 game experience, to be sure.
I have 3 games left in the challenge for Nuts! and I have decided these will all explore the Chocolate & Cigarettes rules.
This is something new between 2.0 and 3.0. At 3-5 figures, this is the scale of game at which I think THW rules shine - CR3:FV is always a blast to play with just a handful of figures, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the additional role-playing elements add to the game.