Rack-O with countries instead of numbers. A way to transition 'family' gamers to 'Euros' with the use of familiar mechanics combined with nice components and a colorful (but shallow) theme... but can be very slow and confusing. (And at least needs a map for each player.)
Dropped a point for locking up with no tie-breaker rule (or even a rule for running through the discard pile a second time..). Need to try again but I starting to believe that Rack-O does this better! Rack-O is 'linear' in numbers but many numbers can be used to fill in gaps whereas Tour can present the problem of needing 1 specific country (likely held by another player) or replacing many tiles.
(Suggest that players can sort tiles before initial setting onto their racks and having all of the discarded tiles available for selection.)
Provisional rating after one 2-player trial game. Everything works, qualifying, prelims and final race but some of the restrictions: only one racer in the final/player and duplicate (and exclusive) timing of use of cards in the final take a little away from the earlier efforts. I believe that with 4 or more players this could easily be a 7.
Roll and move. Collecting different items based on which historic 'personality' you are dealt. Not a lot of variation among these cards. Some trading/bartering allowed. Adequate family game as a substitute for Monopoly etc.
First 2-player game was very tight (7797/7791)! Five companies were in play and all but 1 6-train was puchased. Last 2 OR's had no track upgrades so the bank was just about perfect. Actually seemed a better 2-player than Unit 3.
On first reading of the rules they seemed straightforward. Once play began it was clear that we had a lot of questions. Hoping that re-reading and BGG will resolve most of the issues. Rating will go up if once we can be sure we are playing correctly.
Played second game correctly, NBR got killed. Rating is a strong 7 but not quite an 8. I think a third player in 18XX really adds to this game system. Will play again and try to time the endgame a bit better. 6133/4980
Third & fourth games were much closer but I think NBR has a hard time winning. 5516/5411 & 5764/5739
Next play will be an attempt at a 3-player variant; previously 2 of the Minors never even got into play. I think the bank will go up to 5000 (like in Unit 2).
Three-player game worked BETTER than as a 2-player (5881/5655/5503). 5000 bank, 500 cash, & 12 certificate limit. Private companys were dealt out to establish player order; the 160 private holding the Priority deal. No Minors until the one of the 3 Majors was sold out. All but 2 trains and 4 Minor certificates sold. NBR is at a disadvantage such that making the small towns not count against a trains range (ala 18GA) may be necessary (the same as making all the trains 'U' trains).
Update: NBR early is broken. A stratgegy of CAL (60:40) and then GSWR (30:50) early, followed by building in the South is just too one-dimensional.
One 2-player game which was decided by a few 10's of pounds. Not really any faster or significantly easier than other 18XX games, just different. If fact, just enough different that this should be called an 18YY game. The opening card distribution and selection rules are very odd and the other differences just sort of make a muddle of any previous 18XX game knowledge. The potential for infinite yellow tile lays in a turn should probably be restricted to maybe 3 to 5. Need to study rules and play again.
First 6-player game. Looks like at least an 8 but I played it like a 7..... Not too much screwage in our game but knowledge clearly was power. Being ready for the forced train upgrades and having routes to travel on with the better trains are obviously essential. End game went on an hour too long but maybe there an be a better way to handle the repetition.
2nd play with 3-players. I've learned a lot about 18xx since my 1st play. Excellent game with a tight tile-set. I might need to rerate all the 18xx game up to 9.
Very good 3-player 18xx game. It has a very fast 'train rush' and a large number of trains, none with special powers. The 'Obligations' add a little strategy variation from other games of this genre and playing with out them would actually be a significantly different game.
Good for a quick game with relatively new players. Not for multiple plays or for experienced players as they will grow bored with the overall simplicity and limited route variations.
The more interesting Private Co. make this a better game than 18GA although the latter is still the better intro game to the 1830 branch of the 18xx world. I learned a lot from the 1st play so I'd want to give this another go soon.
(New Decatur is only really valuable IF it can be used to get the 1st 5-train; don't count on it.)
The ability to buy and sell (trash) immediately every TURN in a Stock Round can make this a somewhat unpleasant experience. Additionally, this ploy seems to easy to do with no consequences that instead of being a decision (the forte of 18xx games) it becomes rote. Not good.
Several 3-player games. Played very much like 1830 but faster due to the smaller size and lesser money in the bank. The private companies are mostly of limited value (C0G being the exception), the free 2-train was not the good deal it initially appeared to be and the CoG share looks to be worth a lot more than the $190 it went for. Runs a bit long and maybe should have a smaller bank. Floating the 1st company at a high Par can pay off big benefits with train purchases. Privates Co. that control tiles are not useful initially as they only come into play after purchased by a Corp., but by then track may well have been laid around them.
Sadly a 5, nothing to do but roll 6's. A small, concise, solitaire game that I hoped would be good for multiple plays. Looks like I was wrong.
It makes me crazy when designers don't understand BASIC probability. The East Front Commitment Table has various dr6 row results scattered about the columns. The table would look more professional if it were simply organized with Skip/left arrow Skip as dr=1 and progressing with increasing values from dr=2 to dr=5 with dr=6 being right arrow Skip (i.e. dr=1 always bad, dr=6 always good).
Rather than play this game 100x, I used the East Front Commitment Table to determine the AVERAGE dr mod for each Army numbers from 0 to 5. The back and forth Skips require some 1st-order calculations. The 0th-order is just to sum the 4 values in each column and divide by 4. Since the Table is fairly symmetrical in the + or - columns (except for the 0 & 5 where there are no lower or higher columns, respectively). The 1st-order result should be close to the easier 0th-order numbers.
The AVERAGE Result Table VP (integer) corresponding to these 1st-order dr mod: 0 Armies:-1.6 (-2) 1 Army East next Turn 1 Army: 0.4 (0) 50:50 for 1 Army East next Turn 2 Armies: 2.7 (3) 1 Reinforcement next Turn 3 Armies: 4.9 (5) 1 Reinforcement next Turn 4 Armies: 7.0 1 Reinforcement from East next 2 Turns 5 Armies: 9.0 1 Reinforcement from East next 2 Turns
Excellent SPI game. It needs a few house rules to fix game-breaking ahistoric tactics. The historic game is probably unbalanced in favor of an aggressive German player and someone has to be willing, as the Allies, to play a nearly totally defensive game. But if the German dallies in the center and/or tries to force the issue at the sides of the map, the Allies will win a decisive victory.
Learning game. As with all of the CDGs, knowing the cards is vital to good play. In this game it seems that the Issues are more important that either the Debate or Election modules. More play will likely move this up to an 8.
I have an OCD desire to see if the 'poorly rated' wargames are really that bad, so....
Just not a very good game. The hidden movement and the all-or-none combat make this a short guessing game for the quick kill. I think the loss mechanism as in American Heritage Battle-Cry or AH's Civilization would encourage more colonization before major battles. One 2-player game. Four-player isn't likely to be much better with the rules as they exist. Bits are cheesy too.
A truly excellent cardgame. Plays very differently as the number of players goes from 2 and 3 and then upwards. Obtaining a grasp on this game is surprisingly difficult considering the simplicity of the rules. Category 5 version.
Basic game only so far. Clever idea that plays fast with some possibility progressive memorization of the page connections. This could lead lead to stalemates. Still has enough replay value as, with so many other games around,competition will prevent this game from being played too often.
Just learning these complex rules. It's very difficult finding someone/anyone who wants to work through learning this enticing game. I find these are the rules I will be using, foregoing the hyper-complex 2.0 rules found in Whistling Death.
With approximately equal A/C, initiative is all important. Lose it and move so that a neutral position is assured. Gain it and move into a more advantaged position.
Very clever game. Can be played either as a fast, light, go-with-the-flow or as an intense mind-frying contest of bureaucratic back-stabbing and self-promotion. I rate it as a 7 in the former and as a 6 in the latter mode (I just don't like working that hard at a Eurogame.) The paper clips do push it up to the higher rating.
On the verge of giving this game a 7 rating..... but..... just not sure how much is luck and how much is skill. The small deal (12 of 32 cards) prevents any meaningful card counting and the small hand size (6 cards to be played in up to 4 positions) too limiting to give much flexibility. Plays like Balloon Cup except that after you choose the card to play, the opponent may choose to play it in the location of his choice instead (up to a card limit of 6 played per side). The Snake is very damaging, it can be nearly fatal (it should show up about once every 3 hands but we had a string of 7 hands in a row!) So far the Bonus points haven't affected the final result of any of our 4 playings, leaving me thinking that one should play for the high scoring Apples and let the Bonus happen more or less as a byproduct.
Far better than Monopoly but just short of being the clever game in the 'Euro' mold. Now that my boys are older and more sneaky and vicious, a replay might earn this a 6. Strategy may consist of getting in on as many ground floors as possible before any building up, then building up from the highest values down, repeat.
Except for the length required to play and the good chance that one or more players will have no hope of winning by mid-game, an excellent multi-player game. Emphasis on advancing civilization over warfare is an interesting change-of-pace for wargamers. Advanced version is kinder-gentler that the original.
Had an opportunity to observe and play the first scenario with the Abq ASL group. Even as an all infantry, no support weapons, city fight it is clear that ASL (as simplified by SK#1) contains an additional layer of detail beyond the same situations represented in basic SL. This increased fineness in 'granularity' adds more gradual effects that also increases both the decision making and the influence of randomness imposed by the wide ranging possibilities introduced by nearly every throw of the dice. Whereas SL might be seen as quick, sharp and brutal, ASL is a more slow-motion death ballet.
Second play of Scenario 1 still had a number of mistakes. Seems I can't absorb all the ASL detail even at this level. The scenario broke open on turn 4 when the Americans rolled a 2 on a 20FP +2 shot. Somehow it made all the rest of the maneuvering and die rolling seem like a lot of effort dominated by one DR. May not be a lot of replay value in this scenario as the Victory Conditions focus all the action in the same few hexes with everything dependent on a few DR.
Next S#1 play also seemed to be dominated by one low roll. Maybe, in a larger scenario one roll would not be the deciding factor. We gave scenario #1 a 5 (6 & 4).
S#2 playing continued the inability of the Germans to roll anything decent while the Russians picked up where the Americans left off, so many low rolls that it was hopeless half way through.
Played the UGLY GREEN Basic Infantry scenario. Players live an die by big stacks so whomever gets in the 1st big hit has an enormous advantage. If units are maneuvered singly to get off the opposite side of the board then single unit fire/melees will result or the stacked units will suffers from the Panzerbush Syndrome by the swarm of last moving single units. In the limit the 2 sides just switch positions and move off of the board.
Cole's Charge: Basic Rules - In the effort to not be SL/ASL too many changes were made that make the ATS system (so far) distinctly inferior to them. [TOO MUCH HAS BEEN OMITTED FROM THE FULL RULES.]
In many cases the defender wants very little to happen so will pass frequently which, if it is merely a delay to get a better position/shot is OK, but it can also push the game into a more sequential (IGo-UGo) as the attacker takes (at least most) of his turn and then the defender takes his (in the rules 2 successive passes by both players end the turn so the defender will have to be alert as to when passing is no longer to his advantage). As a consequence, in clear defensive scenarios, often initiative is of diminished importance.
Moving units individually, instead of in stacks, slows the game too much and, due to the limited Op Fire rules, somewhat gamey. (And the side with the inferior number of units will be forced to do many 'pass' actions, again being alert as to when actions must be taken (i.e. being forced into a gamey situation where rule 4.712 allows an action to be taken as 'blocked fire' but no Fire marker is placed however the full rules says this counts as a 'pass').) Moving stacks can give the other side the opportunity to have some units able to move in true 'Panzerbush' fashion later in the turn.
The morale rules about adjacent atk/def are grossly overpowered, especially with respect to melee. And if the defender delays enough he can wait for all the attacking units to commit and then move out of the upcoming melee hex. Of course, the next turn's initiative becomes important but the unit(s) have a chance.
Can wounded leaders provide full modifiers (except running)?
The CRT has too much range at the higher odds, it should be much smoother. Casualties mount up way too fast, making ATS more 'Hollywood' than SL/ASL; it almost becomes toy-like.
Casualty assignment is silly. Morale checks are too limited in that only the unit(s) taking casualties need worry (so a single unit in a stack will eat all the bullets). (This is completely different in the full rules.)
Stacking is extremely generous. Massive firepower attacks can be generated with a single leader-led stack.
Surrender rules are too draconian.
Can leaders help every ROF attack?
Why can't units on hills see over buildings, orchards, trees, and grain!!?? (SL does allow a 'shadow' hex directly behind a lower level obstacle) These rules also fail to mention that walls and hedges block LOS of ground-level units.
No point blank fire (hand grenade range).
Possibly I have misread some of the rules and the full rules do address much of this but,so far, I own a significant number of modules to a system far inferior to SL/ASL. (Which is unfortunate as I love tactical systems.)
Colorful, light, and random. A family game that has every appearance of delivering a good 'Euro' gaming experience but falls short of that expectation due to an excess of luck and lack of depth. Gem/Gold/Artifact collecting outweighs the other scoring in the game.
1 game using all but the Axis fuel rule. The rules have a number of gaps that would make rules' lawyers jump for joy:
1) the interaction of roads/ridges (can a ridge entered on a road be exited to an non-ridge hex and conversely?) 2) overruns rules are insufficiently detailed. 3) can replacements that are stacked with an attacking unit advance after combat or even be taken as combat losses 4) when losses must be spread as evenly as possible is it just for that combat result or are previous losses to units considered (very important for taking/re-building units in forts) 5) if units in a Fort attack out must they attack all adjacent units? 6) if a unit is adjacent to both an enemy unit and an enemy minefield, must both be attacked? 7) Does a replacement unit count against stacking if it is being used that turn?
The replacement units and separate and distinct breakdown units are very fiddly.
I won't play this game again without written rules clarifications! With reasonable players this could be a 6.
With Victory Conditions as written I think the game is heavily biased towards the Allies. I prefer AK.
A 3 with the vagueness of the rules as written.
So for the moment I'll average the game that is with the game that I want: (6+3)/2 = 4.5.
The supply rules make this a very 'chesslike' contest of precise moves and fatal errors. The main thing that would allow a 7 rating is a house rule that precludes the all-or-none single die roll for Tobruk that decides too many games. Simple fix is to require separate attacks for each unit in Tobruk.
The Allied player is entirely on the defensive and is relegated to preserving as many units for as long as possible while giving up as little space as possible.
A 3 with the Tobruk rules as written.
So for the moment I'll average the game that is with the game that I want: (7+3)/2 = 5.
One short run through using the 'Introductory' rules pages. Lots of fiddliness that might smooth out after more play (which is planned). It's a more detailed version of New World and perhaps similar to Conquistador (which I haven't yet played). As with many exploration games (including Source of the Nile), this one plays mostly like parallel solitaire and would likely really bog down with more than 3 players. Rating may well go up.
Civilization/History of the World with more card play. The game is won or lost on the Misery Track; the leader, AT ALL TIMES, is the one with the least Misery. Game would rate higher but it's just too too long. Two epochs are more than enough.
First 4-player game was interesting (only 19 points). Need more plays to see how to get a resonable score. Second 5 player game with the K deck demonstrated how much experience is important and that, if you screw up and don't get a food production engine going early, you're doomed. The Family game is necessary to get a feel for how it all should work. I'll be there a few more times before raising my rating.
One play of Malta, basic rules. Rules are a bit difficult to use. Inverted counters are a pain. Axis aerial bombardment only needs to be done 'blind' on the Air Assault turns or when plans are for attacking inverted units, otherwise (when attacks are planned for known units) air units can be placed along with movement. Defensive artillery fire seems too versitile (selecting single units out of a stack). Axis airborne limit makes for a very brittle force than might be best in 'turtling' after a 'secure' beach landing zone is established. Seems to go against airborne 'elan'.
A lot of get-the-leader and screw-thy-neighbor possibilities during game play. Better than the typical 'family game' but not quite as clever as the 'Euros'. Can start pretty slowly but end rather fast too.
Read the rules to this game and several others in the system. I WANT to learn how to play this! Can't seem to quite grasp the vertical rules. My rating is the moth-to-flame attraction this system has for me. I expect it will become a 10 as soon as I can become even a half-assed paper-pilot. Training scenario 1 complete using both the Basic and the Optional rules.
Wow! How can anyone like this tedious game of random die rolling with vague and contradictory instructions controlling all of the 'play'? Being pointless is one thing, being unfun and pointless is quite another.
The game is far more interesting than Monopoly. Lots of critical resource management decisions in the first half of the game. The color coding on the board is non-optimal because it matches the colors of the plastic disks being used, making for some confusion. The rating would be a 7 if it wasn't quite so long, more than 3 hours. In all fairness, a time limit or a goal of $500,000 (probably taking 2 1/2 hours) would be perfectly acceptable. Not a bad game at all for being published in 1972.
Lots of tense interactions with the blind bidding. Spells and counterspell aspects add a random element that may be excessive considering the limited number of artifacts that can be played in a turn (1 except for one player that can earn a 2nd) as well as the very small (basically 6) number of turns.
First Alamein so far. Seems more of a solitaire chess-like exercise than a game. A Draw seems to be the only posible outcome. Supply, Combat (with regards to Minefield situations), and Road Mode (especially) rules are SPI fiddly. Simulation at the expense of the game. The fact that there is real history being simulated and that the other 2 scenarios seem to promise more saves this offering from being a 4.
I have an OCD desire to see if the 'poorly rated' wargames are really that bad, so....
The Mexican player CANNOT win! The Texicans can place 2 Cannons in each of the two '3' areas and 1 in each of three '4' areas. Then they can easily shift sufficient Infantry to thwart any Mexican reinforcement attempts. The most care is in placing the 10 Dummies so they aren't in the way of the redeployed Infantry.
One 5-player game. Plays well but the final scoring may be overpowered.... or have a plan and be very aware of who might attain those final scoring bonuses. Too many campaigns ended after the 1st round; not sure how to alleviate this. And maybe tied players should split the points to add a little spice to a game where there is precious little to do each turn.
The addition of the tile laying (with color distinctions) to Stimmt So! is good. I think 3 or 4 players is best since with more there is so little control over tile planning and selection although it works well as even a 2-player. The multiple small denomination money rule would well serve Stimmt So! Most recent play with several of the expansions changed the game in small ways but didn't really make it any better. Focus needs to be on a few colors, aquiring many target-of-opportunity tiles might make a nice display but will not garner many points.
Excellent game, if a bit random. Very good as an introduction to card-driven 'Euro' games. Needs color coding on the stock cards and could use the collection of multiple low-monetary value card rule from Alhambra.
Adds a little to the game, diamonds moreso than the gates. Diamanten should perhaps be used as true wild cards but maybe only for exact change transactions. Characters had sufficient impact that some thought will need to be given during the bidding rounds. Tore der Stadt did not come into play at all, need to review the rules for this addition.
Simple addition that adds an nice touch of spice to the game without really changing it all that much. Die Gunst des Wesirs was played improperly, I believe, in that the interruption became an additional turn without the loss of the subsequent regular turn. Wechselstube was a nice addition that added a little flexibility but the currency draw field can end up cluttered with them.
Very good light-middle game with lots of opportunity for clever play. Need proper 'tent' management to have enough gold to handle the late turn setbacks as well as gaining collections of 3 specimens for the VPs. Good crossover game and quite pretty.
Very much parallel solitaire with mostly inadvertent screwage. Because of this, probably best with 4.
Destination cards are unbalanced. 3 cards have only 1 village overlap with another card, 4 cards have 2, and 1 card has 3 (7 are on 2 cards). Clearly the initial placement should be in one those villages. What is most odd is that only 25 of the 30 villages are required destinations, using them could break almost all of the overlaps.
Update: Actually a bit difficult to teach as there are enough concepts that every new player will, at one point or another, forget that every concept was explained, probably more than once.
Also, the money does seem a bit too tight; even 1 more gold would make a difference (remember to pay out for Specimen Tiles even if the player does not play that Specimen Income card when the Specimen is on the Event card).
An entirely random 'educational' game. There are 0 decisions. Three (of 5) British boats are selected to race against 'America'; there is absolutely 0 distinction among the 5 boats. 'America' is given a sailing advantage that will usually amount to 3 spaces. As the average turn yields 1.5 space this is a 2 turn advantage. America should win every time. There are Hazards for all 4 boats but all of equal probability. Very sad 'game' overall.
In 1 playing 'America' won by moving from space 18 into the harbor while the 3 British boats were still on spaces 10, 11, and 12.
One trial game gave the impression that the British are going to have a hard time of it if they roll many 1/2Ex results. British started in the Middle colonies and got too much pressure from having to defend conquered territory form both the N and the S. Second play tried a S to N steamroller strategy next. The American needs to attack every chance they get as Winter attrition is brutal (used them or lose them) and every British loss really hurts. Unfortunately, the British waited in G1 with their entire army until the 40 pt replacements arrived. Then a methodical advance cleared northward with victory easily attained. The Americans never had a chance for a single attack, even at 1:1. Canada is guaranteed to the British, American resistance is futile. The American fort strength limit of 5 is all they can do but it's not nearly enough to prevent many 2:1 & 3:1 (or higher) attacks (decimal dice were used for the 'in between' odds). So with attacking at every chance (not likely) and occupying forts as 'Standing Orders', the American side can be played in a way that makes this a solitaire game. There is only a small chance for an American win with cautious British play. (Total of Historical scenario & 112 variations.) Note: Decimal dice are a bad idea for one-sided attack games.
Played pretty well the first time even without a good grasp on the strategies available, and there are several. A good review of the effects (and distributions) on the backs of the tiles is needed for intelligent play. The flood cycle rules seemed a bit unclear too (watch out for those little arrows on some of the tiles). English rulebook is miserable.
The variants rules hold no appeal for me, I was hoping for more.
Likely to move up to an 8.
Desert tiles: 10 hippo, 5 each of the other 1-4 palms
Water tiles: 10* hippo, 15 pyramids, 5 each of the other 1-4 palms (*misprinted green pyramid should be a hippo)
One three-player game. A lot fo fun with not too much randomness as players can control the probabilities of success to a great degree. The game seemed to end too soon and perhaps it should be extended to: number of complete systems = players + 1. Also, the transport cards alomost certainly need to be saved to transport useless cubes back to Earth from completed systems near the end of the game. Next game I'm going to add a VP track to keep all players on an equal footing as to position in the game. I expect the rating may well go up to an 8.
Slightly generous as a 7 for 2-players. Need more play but it was tense for a while before the outcome became obvious. Getting ships early, and especially fast ships from a Public Bldg, could be a dominating strategy.
One of the better Quad games. Attack Effectiveness (SPI required) is a bad idea for such small, short games; the Union has over 4x the troops it can move a turn and the South (while not dying in poor odds counterattacks) will give up too much ground to hold Sharpsburg and will only 'cause' Union losses through EX results. And there are no night turns for recovery. Games are very tense going down to the last turn but the arrival of the AP Hill Division seems to be a bit gamey.
1 3-player trial game. An over-long parallel solitaire resource management game with lots of 1/2" counter fiddling. Having a clear strategy from the outset is essential and the ability to manipulate the available options to execute a strategy will only come with gaming experience (not having that strategy in hand will doom the player to several hours of hopeless piece shuffling). However, I don't believe I'm willing to take that time since there are other (shorter) games of this ilk (even my less than favorite Puerto Rico) that I'd rather play.
Very nice bits in a ahort, fun, and easy game. Loser of the first fight might become the target for everyone else, so be wary. Also, be sure to not box yourself in with actions you might not really want to take. In addition, the luck of the food draws might just have a more dominant effect that would be desireable in a longer more 'serious' game.
One playing of 1st scenario. Rules have some gaps and a few typos. Almost nothing for the German player to do. Might be useful to let a new player get one step up in complexity from NAW mechanics (2 steps up from Battle Cry, Memoir '44). Mostly a somewhat dull solitaire puzzle. Final score 142-0.
Plays likes Santiago-lite. Seems like there are too many 3- & 4- tiles to not use them in every instances. Need to check a couple of rules when I get my own copy, especially in that it would be a more tense game if tiles removed from arid plots were out of the game. Note: I believe this is the correct rule.
One 4-player game. Interesting and well made hand-management card game. I think it could be better if some cards were deleted from the deck at the beginning, otherwise the players know that every 1 and 8 will be in play.
I had 5 8's in my hand but not the 1 I needed to score my best series, anti-climatic.
Another minor (essentially scoring) variation on the Carcassonne format. I like it slightly less than the previous games but it is still an excellent one. The Ark is too cheesy, even a wooden block would have been better. If you already own any of the other versions, only buy this is you want collection completeness.
Not a bad little game that should probably only be played with 4 players. The Risk aspect is that attacking has a 5:3 advantage over defending, all depending on a series of die rolls. Lots of tension as to whom will stab you in the back as you go on your merry way of collecting gold and acquiring territory. No honor among thieves here. Haven't tried the optional rules yet which might only raise this from a low-6 to a high-6.
I have a major problem with the Victory Conditions. If the British 1st Airborne rushes into Arnhem (which they probably should in order to mess up the Germans in a couple of ways)then they give up significant LOC points. With taking some risks the Germans can cut the LOC of 1st British Airborne very early and then just collect ('farm', as noted by another Geek) the VP for the rest of the game. Even without essentially any risk, it is very likely that the 1st Airborne DZ will fall and the Germans will collect 100-200 VP. They have 0 incentive to eliminated ANY 1st Airborne units. At a minimum the non-LOC units should be allowed to 'surrender' and only give up 5 VP/unit.
I believe these Victory Conditions to be a fatal flaw unless XXX Corps can get significant units across the Waal River (which ALL 3 of the German NW reinforcements can move to help block as the British 1st Airborne isn't going anywhere).
In addition, several Canal/RR bridges can be avoided by the Airborne just to keep open LOC,the Germans can't attempt demolition on their own. And even if Allied units clearly control the areas on both sides of a bridge, it can still be blown if they come adjacent. (And why can't airborne LOC be traced over unbridged canals? These would be minor obstacles to such highly trained light troops.)
Lastly, the 17.31 rule on non-airborne LOC needs more explanation; it feels like gamely situations are very likely: 1)Must a unit use the 1st trail/road hex it traces to? Yes 2)If a unit resides on a trail road hex, is that the 1st hex of the LOC route? No 3)Can the LOC be (theoretically)infinitely long prior to connecting to a trail/road? Yes 4)Can the LOC pass through hexes the unit cannot enter? Yes 5)Is a trail/road hex a road hex or can it be chosen as either? Road
These are my opinions. What was the designer's intent with respect to his concept of the reality of the situation?
One six player game that didn't really grab me. Some decision making but overall driven by more luck than skill. And where choices do make a difference, non-optimal play can result in kingmaking. OK to play as a fairly light game, but a bit too long for a filler.
Fun and fast. It's almost a Wargame but in an Euro format. Cleverly reducing playing area, initiative mat options, and some rock-paper-scissors card relationships yield opportunities for strategy and 3-card tactics. Luck is significant but that helps replayability and maintains the pace of the game. Any intial confusion is dispelled before the first run through is completed. Then it's just plain light fun.
An uneven mixture of some very good, some interesting, and some average material. The production quality is, at best, fair with uneven page edges, example typos, and faded print on low grade paper. As part of a large trade I am happy to have it but if I'd had to pay more than $5.00, I'd have been pissed (not in the British sense).
Easy to learn, middle-weight game. Luck-of-the-draw of the gameboard tiles has the biggest effect on play. Otherwise most of the decisions seemed straightforward. It's necessary to build the 7 tile groups in sequence to take advantage of the free tile placement. Maintaining/limiting free space to allow this for yourself and inhibit it for opponents is critical to the endgame play unless victory is achieved through temple connection. Can be played from 2 to 4 players. Temple connection should rarely happen if players watch out for large card hands and collected amphora; so it should be a 30 tile placement race.
Update: I was wrong, all the games have ended in temple to temple connections along the edges of the map using only half the pieces. Every player works their own edge and if any effort is made to block another player the result is both players will lose. A bigger map would help a lot.
I think this game is essentially broken as the Allies should run away to the East with only the swing of which way the Marginal Victory goes to be in doubt (favors the Allies, needing to exit 106 points).
Staying to fight (destroying 175 French points) will doom the Allies as the Stacking rules are sufficiently against them to almost certainly result in Demoralization and subsequent total loss of remaining units.
Running West (exiting 48 points) may end the same way as the French can delay enough to get the bulk of the army into the fight. At least that might be an interesting fight as the Eastern Allied wing cannot be ignored. (But if the 72 Russia points exit East then the remainder must destroy 56 points of French units (or West exit 35 points) for a Marginal Victory with A191 vs F232 strength points.) [Interestingly, 72+35 = 107, close to the 106 needed for the Run East strategy.] Most likely this will end in a fight in the center with the Russian goal of 56 VP before becoming Demoralized being the issue. The Russians should pull in both sides of the pocket (after exiting the Eastern 72) and hit the French wherever they can get a kill. (The French should ALWAYS convert their EX results to AR to avoid this attrition.)
1st play - Allied Marginal: 120 exited + 8 from an EX vs 143 losses; ratio 0.90:1 (Had a 61% chance of the next level up.)
2nd play - Allied Decisive: 72 exited + 89 French losses with 61 Allied losses & a 1 hex opening West edge (due to winning a 1 in 12 pair of die rolls); losses ratio 2.64:1
Where else can you make a diamond and uranium run? Great fun making do with the luck of the draw. Game runs too long with more than 3 players. The east coast connection of towns above Brisbane is extremely valuable. I like the requirement to go to Perth. I think ALL EB games should have such a rule. Note: It's interesting that the initial tracking building turns are the hardest in EB games as there are more options than once some track already has been drawn. This makes EB games difficult for the new gamer to get started, unlike many other games where the beginning is the least prone to AP.
An OK dicefest, but that's all it really is. With small builds (150 points) it becomes a guessing game to build units that can exploit the other side's vulnerabilities without have any yourself. Larger builds would produce actual all-around fleets but then the play area is much too small. The models are terrific and would be great to own except it's a collectible game and would be too expensive to aquire.
A simple game that could have been (and was) replaced by the earliest of computer games. Still, the selection of real (from the local phonebook) people to man the aircraft and the tension of getting the survivors back made for an engaging game. Would have been a sensation if published a decade earlier.
A classic dice game that really only takes on its true nature with the use of the doubling cube and therefore required the risk of losing $$. Was a good 'filler' game between wargames before the introduction of 'Euros' (as both the primary and filler games).
After losing many games due to stupidity I think I'll give this a pass for the foreseeable future.
Great fun with lots of replay value. Easy to learn and play. At some level, letting the game 'lock-up' might be an indication that the 'game' is smarter than the players (not always unavoidable). Only real negative is the flimsy cards. The small deck is recycled so many times in a game that I'm not sure they will last more than a dozen playings, and it's surely worth playing more than that. The included bag for the cubes is relative overkill. I'd suggest a smaller bag and better cards. Recently played with the ammended rule of not playing on your opponents side until your side of the tile is complete; it does make for a better game.
Very preliminary rating (It will only go up). One play of the 2nd Introductory Scenario. The Germans can do very little but die slowly. The infantry only game is a bit too simplistic but I expect it will get much better with all the rules in play.
Fun for the first few games but isn't of much interest after that. Half the games have someone eliminated before they even get one turn, otherwise it's a race to kill the Sheriff before the 'good guys' eliminate the 'bad'. The Renegade is doomed to lose. As an appetizer for an evening's gaming, the elimination aspect requires a filler game for this filler game. Too light for a main course and but as an occasional dessert (where the eliminated can just go home) it's reasonably entertaining.
Not my kind of game at all. To play it for any more than just a silly waste of time requires ALL of the players to take this clay-molding game seriously. Just not worth the effort compared to the 1000's of better games waiting to be played.
Another clever game of optimization, second guessing, and negotiation. The biggest drawback is the need for all players to be on the same level as one weak player can destroy the scoring by poor negotiation offers. Best with 4, only rates a 6 with 3. Game will not play well at all if one person picks the 'gem strategy' and isn't effectively contested by the other players (would rate a 4). Overall, I think it is all about gems though.
Played an old big-box version. Mostly a guessing game it did produce a lot of tension. An extra point for making one feel the anxiety of a real manager although I don't need this kind of stress in my gaming.
Fast, fun, easy to play. Lots of replay value due to the LARGE random component introduced by the cards. That random element is too strong for this to be a seriously competitive game, the movement rate for Infantry should be 2 to make the firing ranges seem more consistent, and it can also be a bit gamey trying to keep some units on the sector dividing lines so that they can go either Flank or Center. All-in-all, almost more of a 'toy' than a game.
One of the best SPI quad-sized games ever. Can be played as 2,3, or 4 player with only the Western Allies showing little movement early in the game; but plenty of tension all around. Soviets and Allies want lots of exchanges but, whereas the Allies can advance into potentially surroundable positions (due to great repalcement rate), the Soviets need to avoid getting surrounded. Soviets also need to avoid losing too many 8-20-3 to exchanges. The Germans need to be especially careful to avoid surround situations becoming victims and the classic 'flank-to-front' attacks. Italy is a total waste of time and will never matter as is Yugoslavia.
The Collapse in the East scenario is fast playing and great for introducing classic hex-and-counter wargames.
Very playable and exciting game system accessible to even novice gamers but holding lots of room for tactical finesse. Introduces the game system for the full size game, Great Patriotic War. Any balance issues can easily be addressed by altering Russian reinforcement rates. On game turn 1 the German are guaranteed a ZOC-free hole on the left and infiltration by panzers in 2 holes on the right. They must push the panzers forward, passing through the reinforcements cities (to deny the Russians their usage) and the infantry must pocket the remaining 1st line Russians. Russian placement then becomes critical to avoid what would be essentially a 2nd turn German victory (actually occurring on turn 5). If the Russian places well then the game will turn on a few Russian die-rolls as the Germans cross the last river. I think balance would be close to 50:50 with optimal play.
Good playable game. Germans may need to concede 15 VP and just work to protect what's left. Otherwise, trying to protect everything will just insure defeat. Slightly out of the 'SPI-norm' but is a quality introductory wargame.
Very difficult for the British to win unless using the suggestion presented elsewhere on BGG where they form a single stack and run over anyone on their way to the Courthouse (which it just too gamey for me). Morale rules are a little vague and it is not clear if all the hexes with bulidings are 'Courthouse' or only the most NW one. It is also odd that British leaders are worth no VP and that Greene is worth so many that he cannot be risked (maybe their dr mods should be VP values). Better balance might be obtained if the Courthouse only gave VP to the British (especially if some rational stacking limits were imposed).
Cute quick game. There are enough different rules to make the game just a bit fiddly which make it a little harder for a new gamer to grasp the overall flow of play; almost pushing it into 'Light-Medium'. The archers seem over-powered as they can mass for kills. The ladder placement/rejection die rolls create replayability.
A fairly simple wargame with just enough chrome to pull it ahead of the more-or-less colorless NAW group of simple wargames.
Rule questions: 1) 3. Stacking: "a maximum of 5 elephant and light infantry units may stack together." So if 4+1 through 1+4 are so limited, are pure stacks of these units limited to 5? Seems logical to me. (The errata limits Hvy Infantry stacks to 6 units.) 2) A Leader contradiction: 3. Stacking - "Leaders are used to add strength to combat and morale situations during the game." 8. Special Rules - " A leader counter does not count as a unit for the purpose of adding one strength point, but does have a factor with which to attack and defend when confronted directly." (The Special Rule takes precedence.) 3) 5. Movement: May units move through other friendly units? (No) 4)"Units may not move adjacent to units they may not attack." So what happens when the latter unit moves adjacent to the former when the former's next turn comes around? (Morale check) 5) 6. Attacks: Personal Combat may be the only way for the Egyptians to lose given average or better Egyptian Hvy Infantry morale. 6) 7. Morale: What happens when a routed unit moves over another routed unit? (The previously routed unit rolls for morale per the errata for unrouted units.) 7) "When routed, an elephant unit moves randomly into three successive hexes." Is rout direction determined for each hex of movement? (Yes) 8) What happens when an Elephant rout leads to a Dune hex (Reroll until a clear hex) 9) 8. Special Rules: It would be much more interesting (and much less dominated by luck) to have each Egyptian Hvy Infantry roll for its own morale. [Guessing that I am not going to play this a large number of times and therefore the few that I do play may be decided with the Egyptian Morale dr; 3 Morale and they cannot lose, 9 Morale and they cannot win. I don't know where the 'balance' point is at the moment.] 10) 9. Victory: There is 0 incentive for the 1/3 larger (in 'spears') Egyptian army to take any risks. The Hvy Infantry could set up facing the rear and head to the board edge, covered by the Light Infantry, Cavalry, and Elephants to delay the various enemy 3 MF units. None of the 2 MP enemy Hvy Infantry could even catch them by game end. I would suggest that only the 'spears' in front of the respective 2 set up lines be counted for Victory. 11) 10. Playing the Game: Are partial Dune hexes prohibited? (Yes) 12) Are 1/2 hexes playable? (No)
A 7 because it is fun to play with the Elephants providing a good measure of chaos. Lowered to a 6 due to the aforementioned rules issues need to be agreed upon in addition to a more balanced Victory Condition (we decided to only count 'spears' forward of each sides respective starting line).
Play 1 (Phalanxes all across the line): P: 122-14 KIA - 2 Behind the line = 106 A: 92-22-18 = 52
Play 2 (As in 1 for Egypt, A loaded one flank with phalanxes and giving ground while pinning the other flank): P: 122-34-8 = 80 A: 92-15-20 = 57
One play that was both fun and too dominated by some hot die rolling. The rules show a remarkable degre of sophistication for a game from this era. There might be some strategy here for the Indians but I think that Custer's best bet it to hole up in the manmade 'terrain' and roll a lot of 6's.
Not quite as good overall as B&G I, Chattanooga is the best here, Fredericksburg is good and the other two are just OK. The unit size was especially off, as was the case with Cemetery Hill. Attack Effectiveness is a bad idea for such small, short games.
Nothing actually historical about the game but it played well. The rail centers and the blocking of the rail lines are critical. Much of the outcome and all of the replayability come from the die rolls. Worth replaying.
I have an OCD desire to see if the 'poorly rated' games are really that bad, so....
Counters are larger than the map hexes but yet have microscopic print on them. The rules seem to be complete but a play-aid of the terrain effects/attack capabilities for the various units would be helpful.
Excellent fun with the SPI SiMov system and the added chaos of a high percentage (1 in 3 for each unit out of Command Control) Panic rule. It's not history but it's fun. Union should play for a marginal territorial win at Groveton and hold the line on Bull Run. Play may well become scripted within the limits of the Panic rule.
1) The Untried concept is silly for a number of NATO units, there is only 1 of several types; hardly unknown. 2) Due to the discontinuous front, it become a big problem being certain of which hexes are 'Friendly' for Supply line tracing. 3) The large number of EX results, which are essentially unavoidable in the city terrain, really damages WP more than NATO. 4) The large movement factors and widely varying MP costs as well as the ZOC rules (not helped by subtle color differences between Suburban/Urban hexes) and the porous U-bahn make for detailed planning and therefore, slow turns. 5) Long artillery ranges and FPF also slow the game significantly. 6) For night turns, are Roads etc considered 'Terrain' and therefore suffer 2x MP costs? (No) 7) Must the Soviet 34th Artillery Division units all be set up within 6 hexes of ALL other 34th units (not just ANY other 34th unit)? (Yes) 8) Rule 5.18 doesn't make sense; how are Police units forced into ZOC any different that non-Police units being forced into ZOC? The only thing I could think of was that Police units are eliminated if they are EVER in a ZOC (through Retreats and enemy Advance after combat, or just poor placement). (My opponent refused to accept this possibility.) 9) The Honors of War table is too risky to use. Even at the highest column there is slightly less than a 50% chance of a NATO Surrender. The 20VP cost of failure is just too high to even make the attempt. (This is just another Jim Dunnigan 'sucker' rules module.) The table would get a lot more use and the game would be more interesting if the VP cost was deleted. 10) Calling this a 16 turn game is absurd. With NATO bombarding the Railroad for at least 4 turns (maybe more), the game must be over in 8 turns for the WP to have any chance of Victory. 11) Leading me to believe this is more of a solitaire than a 2-player game.
6 rating for one 3-player game (full 12 turns, 7 cost to discover tiles). Probably a 5 with 2-players and perhaps a 7 with 4. This 3-player game had an early 2 on 1 situation as I explored first and the other 2, both with a 3-tile movement range, immediately started competing with me for resources on both my home and new tiles. This was equivalent to me bringing 'a knife to a gunfight' because my range was only 2-tiles and I couldn't respond to this 'poaching' in kind. I think this naturally unbalances the game with an odd number of players. For this reason, the player with the 2-tile range should never be the first to do a discovery of a new tile. Also, I think strategy should totally revolve around, and be flexible towards, playing at least one 2x action every turn. Anything less is a waste of opportunities that will cost the game. Lastly, the game ended significantly before there was any real competition for the central tiles. I'm not sure all were ever even inhabited, several were only taken in the final 2 turns. Might be worth a replay with 4-players. (I agree with several comments that the game should either be 18 turns or 3 actions per turn).
Played the earliest Big Box edition and rules. Too many British crusier counters to fiddle with for the searching since the mostly likely outcome of every turn is knowing the exact Bismarck location. Was very frustrating as the British to (almost) always know where the Bismarck is but only having (AT BEST) about a 28% chance of getting a battleship contact on the next turn and then only a 30% chance of fighting at all if the Bismarck wishes to avoid combat. At an 8% chance per turn (max) to engage and the high probability that the 1st British battleship won't survive, combined with several convoy sinkings, I think the game is strongly biased towards the German player. Perhaps the later edition rules improve the game; I hope so.
1 4-player game. Certainly did not grasp how to improve my position. I felt the initial draw (luck) may have too much impact on the outcome. I might be wrong but I'm not sure I'm ever going to play this again.
I have an OCD desire to see if the 'poorly rated' wargames are really that bad, so....
A totally random die-fest. Each Hun army operated independently. 2400 pts with 97 Hun strength points at the end, and I rolled 1 for reinforcements! (map cleared on 2nd campaign turn 5). Nothing clever whatsoever in this 'design'. A 1 rating unless the following are applied, then it moves up to a 2.
Maybe 2nd campaign added Hun forces should be 1d6x1st campaign pts/100 not divided by 10. I then would have had 35 total instead of an insane 116. Also the rules use the small number in each box only for the Pillage dr but the CRT has a listing for an unobtainable 7. And is a modified Pillage dr of 0 treated as a 1? The 'game' would be much more of a (still random) challenge if the small number was used for all Tribute/Pillage/Combat dr.
This is the 2nd game I've played that used this 'Developer'. Both have obvious errors/omissions at the rate of about 3/page. If he was paid I'd ask for my money back, plus damages (to the designer's & publisher's reputations).
Competent Quad game that is potentially exciting; but with such narrow Victory Conditions there isn't much replayability. Japanese likely to win both the 1st & 2nd scenarios unless the US totally focuses on Henderson Field, as nothing else matters.
Not quite as good overall as B&G I, Chattanooga is the best here, Fredericksburg is good and the other two are just OK. Attack Effectiveness is a bad idea for such small, short games. We do use decimal dice for fractional odds (bad idea as it gives too much of an advantage to the overall attacker).
1st Attempt: 2 equal parties starting at opposite ends, going for central computer (5 Blast Packs). 9 Humans made it to Central Computer, killing 7 Robots on the way (plus 4 Dummy). Won on turn 8. Rules are a bit unclear in spots. Amusing but not compelling.
Wonderful card game played with varying doses of co-operation and villiany. Can be a social game or a cutthroat game of stab and stab again. Play rates a 8 because it works for new gamers but only a 7 overall.
Interesting variation on auto racing, but I found it to be just too fussy and non-intuitive. Experience would speed up the game but it played twice as long as Formula De. It never felt at all like racing, just geometry. Could just as well have been a game about surveying; which I think about sums up the excitement level. One six player game using the basic rules. The advanced rules would slow the game even more.
Two trial games. Looks like the Austrians need to be very aggressive to attrite the French and break their line. The French may need to fall back with the initially activated frontline units to achieve 'concentration', disengaging is very difficult. The Austrian artillery unit is exceedingly destructive. The French need to play for time to run out and to be aware that simultaneous demoralization is a goal to strive for. The only random elements in the game are the actual French initial force distributions; this might lead to rather scripted games. The rules are not intuitive but seem to be a construct of exceptions, just did not resonate.
Light auction games that is perfect for new gamers: everybody gets a card each round, some money goes to all the 'losing bid' players, plays fast, and the event-card text is very short (albeit sometimes a bit unclear as to meaning). There is definitely strategy as to what card you want as well as what card you do NOT want (to get stuck with).
One 3-player and one 4-player game. Terrific game with lots of choices, action, and ways to score. Not a lot of screwage but opportunities exists. The ship builds in the 3 ports are very powerful and obvious, canals/tracks are at least as powerful but less obvious (for the 1st game anyway). Want to play again soon.
Canal Phase: Build a 2 counter in at least 2 of the 'biggest' cities and try for connections to them an the 2VP edges. Flip every 1 counter after taking at least 3 30 loans. Rail Phase: Build connection from the 'biggest' cities. Build 2 rails/action as much as possible.
Solid game issued in S&T as an intro to their Thirty Years War Quad. Static artillery (causing Disruptions only), no ZOC for movement, and disruptions instead of retreats add the period flavor. Mandatory combat for adjacent undisrupted units. Double disruptions result in elimination. Easy for the Imperialists to get greedy in crushing the Saxons and get fatally overextended.
Wikipedia shows that the east-west swamp and river are behind (north of) the village of Podelwitz so the game map is totally wrong.
Money is initially tighter than in the other 'crayon' railgames. Even with only 2-players the cheap routes were pretty much all taken quickly. Much of the SW part of the map may never be included in the rail net as all 4 required major cities are in a mid-E-W N-S line.
I hope these simplified rules (think ASL SK) will encourage new players to delve into the FW system and the full 1.0 rules found in Achtung Spitfire! I cannot see any of my gaming associates ever attempting the new, more complex, 2.0 rules found in Whistling Death (much less the next 3.0). The game can be played quite fast once the bookkeeping becomes second nature. However, AP can really drag this down in face-to-face play.
The scenarios and components score a 9, as with Over the Reich and Achtung Spitfire!. The additional +1 is for the rules that allow these components to be used and these scenarios to be played (although the rules and especially the play-aids could use a little more editing) The beautiful map is very difficult to use for new players with the muted hex vertices and very small hex numbers (form overriding function).
The 'horizontal' training scenarios make clear which AC should turn and fight and which should just run. (And reasonably fair 1 vs 1 fights may come down to just low odds luck-of-the-dice combat rolls.)
Scenario 16.2 is grossly unbalanced against the Soviets. They would need to win most initiative rolls and have vastly superior combat DR to win (i.e. flat out luck).
Scenario 16.3 has AC equal in performance but the Finnish Fiat G.50 is hopelessly outgunned. Playing for a draw is the only choice.
I use 'incremental odds' and Pythagorean distances for the vertical/horizontal spaces (the suggested method of the greater + 1/2 the lesser of the FP in WD overestimates the range by 1 in almost every instance, the BW rules increase this 'error'). We also use the standard banking rules (requiring zero added effort and are actually simpler to understand that the written rule) but still no inverted flight.
The corresponding corrections need to be made on the flight log (coming to the same final result).
A complete clean-up rewrite of the rules is needed to really make them useful for new players of this system: e.g. Several scenarios denote situations where 'no collision' will occur but there are no collision rules anyway, Play-aids list Gun Harmony modifiers but no rules, Engine Seize Critical Hit but no gliding rules (just Idle 0.5 speed loss & Overspeed Decel), WIA effects on pilot/gunner (other than 2nd WIA = KIA), does the +15 Severe damage modifier affect all guns ...
Other errors and corrections are noted on the BGG game page. I consider this a failure of development as an introduction to the FW game system should be nearly flawless.
Amusing premise. Play is quite fiddly with very big stacks and lots of movement point costs and die rolling. The use of transport is not entirely clearly explained but otherwise the rules are complete. The game may also be prone to a draw which will cause disinterest sooner rather than later.
Update: Three differing BEM plans each resulted in such poor die rolls for them that I conceded at the end of Turn 1 every time. All had attacks on 2 houses so perhaps the only 'safe' plan is 1 mega-stack going house to house. That seems rather uninspired and dull.
Preliminary rating but the game hasn't clicked for me so far. Wide open spaces, numerous roads, and limited forces have the potential for a lot of hex counting. Complete understanding of the Command Activation rules is essential.
The counter quality is very poor; the cardboard is spongy soft and the matte finish is very porous. These should be redone by a 3rd party.
Definitely NOT my kind of game. Too slow, too restrictive in actions (especially trading). Bridge building may be too hard for the target audience and overall too pointless for older, more serious gamers.
Everything about this game system falls short of the potential of both the research evident on the counters and the mystique of naval combat. Rating assumes house rules using decimal dice for fractional odds and randomly determined turn order each turn which improves the game a lot. Too bad the damage mechanics are so crude.
1 5-player game. Fast and with mostly obvious choices. The scoring rules are more obscure than necessary but just about any interpretation will work. Turnover of the central card is rapid and playing there is often high scoring due to points from the corner cards too. We just played the best cards currently in our hands and did not hold back for better possible future card arrays; so maybe the can be a bit more strategic timing than we used.
Interesting game that falls between checkers and chess, closer to the former. One false move and it's over. Very surprised this game isn't more popular or at least popular during the 50's and 60's like (gack) Monopoly.
A generous 5. Setup rules were vague and we used too many units in only 2-player Basic game. The one kill per turn rule is odd but with the die rolls control of movement it may be essential. To a large degree, better die rolls win, period. An advance after combat option is needed otherwise the units are stuck in either 'black' or 'white' squares (like Bishops on a chessboard). Actual tinting of the squares would be a help. Prussian in a 3-player game would be doomed. May play again if advances allowed by house rule.
I have an OCD desire to see if the 'poorly rated' wargames are really that bad, so....
Fun and fast to play with some thought going to offensive/defensive piece placement. However, with average die rolls, the game is only 10 turns long and doubles are required to attack (and therefore to have any chance of winning). This would give only 2-3 'attacks' per player (I managed 1 double, total, for 2 complete games). The result being that the game is extremely luck dependent. This might be a good end-of-evening filler for the 'Weekly Championship' in the vein of StrikeForce One for wargamers (but more interesting than that mini-game).
I have an OCD desire to see if the 'poorly rated' wargames are really that bad, so....
Wow! This is the WORST 'historical' wargame I've ever played. One play of the Chancellorsvile [sic] scenario (addressing some 10 or so unexplained/confusing/weird situations) revealed that the combat is essentially 1:1 attritional and the the Union is crushed half way through. Somebody should be REALLY ashamed to be associated this 'game'.
1st 3-player game of 1st edition. A little confusion with the rules but it actually plays quite well. Very important to select contracts that have a good chance of connecting up together and then, at the end, connect up with others so you can poach their goods to your advantage. Goods runs are at least as important as fulfilling contracts (and take contracts that include the Cities!).
I did very well and would give this an 8 if I didn't think I was mostly lucky in contracts.
A Light game with Light-Medium rules to get through. One partial 3-player game shows this to be a blind bidding game where luck has more to do with winning a primary than skill. I suppose there are some strategy and tactics to this but I think it's just too much randomness spread out over way too much time. Never got to end game to see if it had problems too.
Not actually a game at all but a way to teach kids about colors, the difference between one and two, visualizing order, playing fair, and winning and losing. Only for ages 3 to 5, after that there are so many better ganes that kids can learn to play (such as Carcassonne without farming).
Clever tile laying game with several ways to win as well as several ways to really screw-your-opponents. It is possible for the leader to reach an unbeatable position several turns before it actually happens, so watch the leader and screw him/her.
Superior tile laying game. Can be taught to almost anyone and is fun for young and new gamers as well as having interesting play for more experience gamers (who increase the amount of poaching and screwage). Plays well AND differently as the number of players vary. Farming and differing farming styles of play are where the depth of the game lies.
Every bit as good as the parent game with the various small additions both adding and detracting for a slightly different play experience. The Hunters vs. Farmer scoring is easier to see for new gamers but the 'Stonehenge' bonus tile seems too strong and insidious.
Fantastic 2 player game. It takes the positive quatities of Carcassonne, quality components, beautiful artwork, ease of play, and short length, and adds layers of clever decision making and player interaction. Can add another player (with borrowed meeples) just by putting wall tiles on both triangular corner spaces (a couple of these can be somewhat unbalancing).
This game is so much deeper than any of the previous versions of Carcassonne. It is no longer a light-Euro or bridge game, this game requires real thought. The 'steward' (aka farmers) rule may be too potent as many many small-but-equal (in final scoring) makets can be created. Terrific game though!
1 4-player game. By far the poorest of the Carassonne line. Graphics look childish, tiles are too restrictive to make significant area growth except by lucky draws, and the scoring isn't as clear as any of the other related games. An unnecessary addition.
A favorite game and fun for all levels of gamers. Lots of ups and downs and amazement at who can become the 'kingmaker' at the end. As usual, experience matters; maybe there should be a handicap system of 5 or even 4 pirates for new players.
Rating for 2, 3 and 4 players (3 appears to be the best balance between luck and 'planning'). Significant luck element in a game where the central purpose is to screw the other player(s). Can be quite fun if taken in the proper spirit or quite frustrating if not. Although not explicitly stated, cards cannot be drawn from the decks if the hand contains 9 (or more) cards.
Wonderful game with several possible strategies that plays differently every time. Always ends a little too soon. A good game for the introduction of 'full scale' Euros to new players. New players would enjoy the room of the 3-player game whereas gamers need the full 4. Better balanced than the card game due ganging up to 'get the leader'. Probably should be a 7 with repeated play. Actually prefer the older edition components to the 3D version.
Unless players are of equal experience, the newer player will likely not know who is in the lead when making trades and placing the robber.
Terrific card game with a strong tendency for a 'snowball effect' to determine the final outcome long before the players want to quit playing. If there were a way to overcome this the game would rate an 8. Enough resource cards exist to make this a 3-player game as well. UPDATE: Decided that this game is better than a 7 and I don't do fractions..so an 8.
Modest additions to the basic game for adding a bit of spice. Only played Trade & Change so far. Interestingly, the expansion cards didn't usefully come into play until the principalities were already fairly established using only the basic game components. Certainly lessened the impact of having an expansion.
Worked through the (poor) rules with four players. Looks to be an excellent game. Clearly, it's easy to make a small error that will cost you the entire turn and may cost you the game. Players have many decisions as to placement and timing with screwage opportunaities abounding. The cube requirement graphics on the buliding tiles are a bit too small with the similarity on color of wood/cloth. Also, some of the onboard cube reminders etc aren't as totally obvious as might be desired (e.g. the Castle cube 'batch' is Food plus two cubes of different colors whereas the board shows Food plus two 'generic' white cubes.) Players certainly need to review all the tiles beforehand and keep on their toes. Game is much less scripted than Puerto Rico and is clearly superior. This game could go to a 9.
One of the poorer SPI Quad games, barely makes a 6 and definitely a 5 if history was taken into consideration. The scale seems wrong, the small number of units make for a very brittle game, and the advance after combat rules make defense of the best terrain a risky proposition. The Union has too much stength, too far forward in the beginning turns so that the battlelines form more E-W than N-S, going through Gettysburg on the 1st night (and staying there). The Cavalry Exit rule will only makes a difference if the Union is already in deep trouble; that is, needing the weak Cavalry units to plug holes in the line. The end game Line of Communication rule also seem to be in play only if the game is already decided. Both rules are just extra 'chrome' without any real luster. I feel that Attack Effectiveness, when used, dominates the Quads and adds too much luck to the outcomes. I still would play it anytime (w/o Att Eff) as it's a quick simple Wargame that presents some interesting and tough tactical challenges.
Atk Eff is officially not to be used in this game.
Next game: 1) Strength markers to make change for Ex & 2) Defenders in doubling/tripling terrain can choose Ex instead of DR with Advance After Combat (but only when the defender has a valid retreat route available, not surrounded with ZOC).) 3) On each night turn, every non-eliminated unit, not in enemy ZOC, that has taken losses rolls 1d6. On a roll less-than-or-equal-to the strength point loss, 1 point is regained (e.g. a unit with 2 points lost will get back a point on a roll of 1 or 2) 4) Artillery speed 5, Cavalry speed 8 with no automatic 1 hex movement.
The Historical Scenario is a fixed 12:10 win for Bolivia (Paraguay receives a -2 Mennonite violation penalty). The Cavalry Patrol rule is the main problem. Gran Chaco Rule21 (Auto Elim) would correct this but would be vetoed by the Bolivian player.
The Vanguardia Scenario is merely a (simple) puzzle for the Paraguayan player, the Bolivian cannot affect the outcome. At best, Paraguay wins 67% and a draw the other 33%.
1930 Attack Scenario looks to be another easy Paraguayan win if Puerto Casado can be held because, in every other area, the initial 'blitzkrieg' advanced will be blocked by the Patrols in the first 2 turns and then by full stacks later turns.
A rating of 5 assumes that the fantasy modifications in the Gran Chaco Scenarios will be worth playing.
I have an OCD desire to see if the 'poorly rated' wargames are really that bad, so....
One game as the Union. This is VERY different than the 74 edition! The Confederates seem to have way too much front to cover either with units that are too few or too weak. There are many more fords than I thought were historically known/accessible. Although they should all be threatened in the Union set-up, an (ahistorical) assault on the Confederate right with the 'four swimmming calvary' should get the Union a bridgehead with little loss, followed by pontoons. The use of HQ effectively as skirmishers is also quite odd. The artillery secondary ZOC seem pretty cool if a bit fiddly; however, the Union has so much of it the Rebel guns get 5:1 or 6:1 entirely blown away in half a dozen turns, then the Gray infantry get crushed. This should be a game that could be rated a 5 or 6, it almost seems like we must have had some rules wrong. I'd be willing to try as the Southern player to see if I could figure out a plan that had any viability. (Note: a game weight of 2 assumes a grasp of the weird artillery rules, fresh out of the box new players would see this as a 3)
A typical early SPI game that has minimal color but a vast variety of 'historical' scenarios. Each scenario can play like a puzzle where both sides attempt optimal unit placement. The solution to the Basic Scenario is presented in an article. Upgraded to 7 due to the abundance of scenarios.
Working through the rules in a 2-player game. Several aspects may make this more of an 'experience' than a competitive game (ignoring play balance issues).
1) Although the chit-pull system adds tension and variety/replayability it also can outright make or break one army or the other. (I could be just playing as to put myself in bad situations.)
2) The Shock CRT has too much of a gradient. As with the above, replayability comes at the expense of predictibility (which may be historical but it takes the player almost out of the outcome).
3) The Shock CRT has steadily decreasing Atk/Def loss Ratios with increasing column strength but the actual losses are not completely smooth. Although relatively minor compared to the above, it could have easily been smoothed. (Atk losses jump 23% going from columns 2 to 3 while Def losses decrease 18% going from columns 10 to 11.)
4) Cohesion hit markers soon cover most of the units, not only obscuring the nice artwork on the counters but also making the intermingled unit types and even sides indistinguishable. At a minimum, hit markers should come in 2 colors. (As a concession to cost, each game in the GBOH series could have less-than-full sets of hit markers in that people that are into this system will have more than a single game.)
This suggests that this (overall) game model is best suited for solitaire play.
Not quite as good overall as B&G I, Chattanooga is the best here, Fredericksburg is good and the other two are just OK. Attack Effectiveness is a bad idea for such small, short games. We do use decimal dice for fractional odds (turns out this is also a bad idea).
One of the best Quad games. Attack Effectiveness is a bad idea for such small, short games. We do use decimal dice for fractional odds. (Ditch the decimal dice, a bad idea that gives too much of a bonus to the attacker.)
Cute game of 'leap-frog'. Nice soft colored froggies try to score while using opposing froggies for screwage. There's a lot of potential for clever play but perhaps at the risk of AP. Quick-witted strategy game players will eat mere mortals alive. A weak player may also become the inadvertant kingmaker. Was pretty busy with only 3 players, 5 would be a very short and brutal game with virtually no control. Can be played with 2 although the second player may have a significant advantage.
All plays with 5 players. Very fast and easy game to play. A good dose of luck but a little strategy (when to use up turns for triples). The game ends so suddenly that losing a turn or more by pressing-your-luck can be fatal; so taking what's available (usually low cards which are good for making triples) can be the best 'plan'.
Wow! This game was SO much better than I'd expected (need to use the updated rules). I don't believe there is any chance that the game will go all 48 turns and a Rebel victory by controlling Union re-inforcement centers seem very remote unless an early turn coup can be pulled off. Want to play again and see if a Union victory is thus guaranteed. Rebels need to make no mistakes and just see how long the Confederacy can survive. The cool map could be used for a redesigned game.
Note: Recent replay with the modified rules still give no hope to the Rebels. Still a good game for learning (the one best Union) strategy and tactics. Dropped to a 5, some form of balancing mechanism is needed. Suggest: CRT column or die roll shifts for the rebels in 1861-1863 and limiting the Union to one pawn at sea at any time.
I have an OCD desire to see if the 'poorly rated' wargames are really that bad, so....
Rated relatively high for solitaire play but the games have hidden stacking.... (Ignore)
Solo mini-play of just the Elkhorn Tavern section of Pea Ridge. Range 1 artillery is devastating and I can't see how this would go anywhere near the full 22 turns.
Lots of modifiers increase the 'fussy factor' quite a bit. It would take multiple playings to make quick assessments of the likely outcomes.
Can a unit change facing while in ZOC (moving out and then back in seems silly)? Would that trigger Opportunity Fire? (Y & N, did not leave ZOC)
5.1 Fire and Bombardment Combat (FBC), Generally is quite muddled and mostly discusses MELEE combat. (The actual rules are in later sections.)
5.2 Line of Sight details the effects on being either up-slope or down-slope but not being ON the slope. (I think common sense will prevail.)
6.1 Pike = Major Road
9.0 Supply (No supply rules were ever published in Boardgame Journal.)
11.0 Leaders (Command ranges are affected by...?) Assume unrestricted in lieu of guidance.
Errata errata: p5,11.0 'reduced' should be 'lost'. Van Dorn XX & McCulloch UCE should be ACE.
Pea Ridge: Two hexside fronts are a little problematic with regard to the hex grain as the initial attacks are from both the N and NE. Confederate Set-up: 1009 makes more sense than 1108.
PS Many of the snarky comments in Berg's "Review" are addressed on the play-aids and BJ errata. (Either he did not actually try to play the game or he just wanted to take cheap shots at FGA, a company that failed on its own 'merits'.)
In addition, most 'raters' of this game either had not seen the errata (players can be excused for this, Berg cannot) or had not actually tried to play the game.
Overall I think there is a playable game here; one that just requires patience for the 1st playing. This even has potential to be a 6.
This is an American Civil War module for a History Class. It certainly would add to the knowledge of young students but it is very unlikely to be considered a 'game' by anyone. It is very hard to rate, as a game it is a 3, informative but boring; as an interactive introductory history 'book' it might be an 8. However, since BGG is a GAME site I guess I have to go with the 3.
Being a reprint of a 'magazine' game the components aren't too bad. As a boardgame they're a bit underwhelming. The gameplay is very chesslike that, with totally deterministic combat (as in AH's Civilization), one false move and the game is over. No reinforcements make for a very odd representation of the ACW.
Tannenberg: Too much depends on the movement die rolls, especially early on as pinning the Russians against the board edges may be the only hope for the Germans. Otherwise the Russians use their greater numbers to outflank the German line. Only attack 2-step units at 4:1+ odds and 1-step units at 2:1 with a 2-step unit. Perhaps the Germans need to move Cav and 1st Corps to Russian 2nd Army flank and press to surround while falling back only as needed against 1st Army. This might be better as a solitaire game as it is neither history nor balanced.
Good game, but excellent bits don't a great game make. And without quite a bit of painting the bits are only good. The distribution of the Artisans, which are required in multiples for almost everything, seem to control the game which adds to much of a luck element. The best part of the game is the mosaic, which has the most 'common' bits. I felt the other bits actually detracted from the game. And the decisions as to what to build were nearly automatic. Very little tension as whatever Corruption is gained is usually necessary and unavoidable.
One playing with 4. Seemed too light and ended too quickly for any real strategy or planning to take effect. Scores were very close (everyone did the same/only thing), decided by the 'mouse' tie-breaker. I'd play it again as a 15 minute filler.
The only effort is the memory element of who has which Roof cards; and I'm not much of a fan of memory games.
An ok word game with the standard problem of disparities due to age/education/culture and if English is not the 1st language of the players. Additionally, the random word cards/designation card selections may lead to very uneven difficulty between the 2 sides. Must be played fast, avoiding AP, with mistakes becoming the norm.
Sure it's a luck-of-the-draw card driven game with layer of die rolls adding to the uncertainty, but it's still a lot of fun. Lots of room for decision making and tactical play. Setting up in leader directed groups is all important but mostly it comes down to just doing the best you can with cards you have (including often discarding them for new ones) and enjoying the ride as it develops. Falls in between Battle Cry/Memoir'44 and real Wargames.
(The more I think about it the less this feels like a wargame and more like a card game with a war theme.)
Small amount of planning and adapting to the vagaries of the die. No AI, just rolling on Tables. Amusing for a few playings but no real replay value. The only possible replay goal is to try to score the ultimate 6 VP but this is actually just a probability event driven by dr.
Went for the 'small solution' with 1 stack. T1 2 drown, 1 man will stay in Hamma T3 8 attack Apollonia, 2 die, Success on 2nd dr round T8 Embark abort T9 7 Embark safely, 1 drowns 1 Battle occurred in Hamma, no effect
A wonderful combination of components, rules, unit diversity, and theme. Remember, just play for the experience, don't expect balanced scenarios (which would be so easy to do by altering the number of 'flags' needed). A few rules quirks and the lack of 'depth' to the board has lowered this from a 10.
One 5-player game. Excellent worker placement game that doesn't feel like the dreary multitude where oftentimes it feels futile in getting what you want. The kickstarter components are more than adequate. Play is simple overall with the trading minimal and not too many opportunities for (excessive) screwage.
One 2-player game. Dice driven movement and generous capture rules make this a cat-and-mouse game that will probably stall out if no one decides to take any aggressive chances. Metal pieces are nice and overall is a good game considering its age. Four-player game might be more interesting.
An ordinary 'trick taking' card game that tries to add 'spice' by introducing Control Cards obtained via auction. Scoring is over-complicated by a multiplicative (overly powerful) use of variously collected 'stars' and then a minor addition for the final score. This makes the game too obtuse for non-gamers and too silly for real gamers.
A provisional 5 for trying but falling between these groups.
One 5-player learning game. Somewhat overly-complicated game of vicious 'take that'. The Character cards have very uneven powers and the Secret cards are mostly not worth the cost to use them (pre-study of the deck would be essential to competent play). Just not my kind of game.
Wow, just don't get this game. Play-after-play of Inner Court Conspiracy destruction.. and nothing else. What?!! (A video explained how we were playing wrong, as a result of poor rules... but the kill-kill-kill plays aren't what we are looking for.)
Mildly amusing but too much luck to really want to play much, so the 6 is being generous. I think people can over-analyze the line of sight situations; any wargamer would see this as a very liberal, easy to use, LOS system.
A 'paper' wargame than required counters to be mounted and colored. It can actually be played and would rate higher if it had ANY production values at all. Simple rules with secret German unit allocation to the three drop sites prior to Allied set-up. Almost all losses will be due to EX (always at printed values). Last playing used decimal dice and attack factor step reduction for EX.
4 2-player games. Easy to play (a little thought needed to glean all from the short rules) and very fast. Only one question though, am I playing the game or is it playing me? Rating will go up if I discover I'm in control. Also want to try with additional players (maybe too much chaos).
Two games as Franks; got smoked. Need to assess stengths and weaknesses. Saracen 'A' units and the Harrying ability to retreat after a quick shot makes it very hard on the Crusader unless using a massive pursuing force (which will not be available until late in the game, if the Franks can survive that long). Crusader charges seem to be a worthwhile tactic when the Saracens do attack. Crusader strategy may be just to hold in VP cities for as long as possible 1st & 2nd yrs and, when one or more is lost, rebuild in the 3rd & 4th yrs and reconquer in the 5th & 6th. Need to re-read rules because there are a number of nuances that need to be clarified. However, (and this dropped the rating severly for me) the Winter Campaign card is an outright game winner for a prepaered Saracen player. Have downloaded and played vers. 1.4.
Wanted to play Nicopolis using the 'chit-pull' version of Markham's system. The published version with the rules just leaves way too much out, especially with respect to mounted skirmishers in Nicopolis (can they really retreat before combat to limit the Charging Knights to 1 hex/turn).
Also the Victory Conditions make no sense. If casualty VC are not met by the end of the game then the Crusaders must have opened the road to Arsouf... 1000 miles away??
The Move/Fire double chit pull gives too much control. A pulled chit can be used for any leader (and any skirmishers, regardless of how far away) which can allow for too much coordination. If the Crusaders can't get successive chit-pulls, the result could see Turkish Infantry counterattacking Charging Crusader Heavy Cavalry before the Crusaders can complete their charge.
We are trying to just do 'Leader' chit-pulls and a conventional move/attack sequence as in the Igo-Ugo rules.
My play as the Crusaders has been very sloppy, I let the Turkish Mounted Skirmishers behind me and now can be incessantly Fire attacked through Flank or Rear hexes (this isn't a bad rule, just bad play). The Crusaders need to sweep the skirmishers before them using the 'edge of the world' for protection from outflanking. Otherwise a sort of moving 'square' formation would be needed.
First scenario is good for learning the basics of this very simple wargame. The Shortbow units are very (too?) powerful and some initial luck might make the difference in the outcome. Counters are thin but nice looking and the map are quite pleasant. The rules are especially incomplete when it comes to line-of-sight. We used decimal dice to account for fractional 'odds'. Rating is slightly generous at this point but the rest of the game will certainly merit at least this 7.
First play is a bit confusing as to the tactics required to implement a strategy (while trying to figure out a strategy). Will need a few more plays to see how many viable strategies are possible.
There seem to be far more tiles than there are strategies. The player boards are too small and limiting as far as builds and the game is too short to do more than have a 3 building engine operating (and once that engine starts, just play the same cards for the final 2 turns). The luck of having shipping opportunities may unbalance the game.
A 'lighter version' of UNO (if you believe that is even possible). As I don't play games with idiotic sounds (e.g. Plem Plem & Mystery of the Abbey) this game's only redeeming features are the cute animal cards.