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Michael Lessard
Canada
Breakeyville
Quebec
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Andean Abyss has been designed by Volko Ruhnke, well-known for its excellent boardgame Wilderness War and its latest game Labyrinth - The War on Terror,2001-?, currently in development and available for pre-order on the GMT P500 (http://www.gmtgames.com/s-2-p500.aspx)

PLAYTESTING

I joined the playtesters group in January, so I have had the chance to play this game a couple of times through Vassal, and even sometimes with the game developer, highly respected in the wargame community, Mr.Joel Toppen. This is my first experience as a playtester, which is very interesting! It's a nice opportunity to be at the forefront of the game before its release, to interact on its development and to participate in exchanges between the developer and the author on certain rules or situations. Volko listens very carefully to our comments and and nothing escapes him.

CONCEPTS OF THE GAME
Andean Abyss, is a board game depicting insurgent and counter-insurgent conflicts in Columbia during the 1990's and 2000s, played out by four factions: the Government, the Cartels, the Marxists (FARC) and the paramilitary forces (AUC). It is a CDG, but it is very particular, since the cards do not end up in the players' hands, but are clearly visible to all. In fact, two cards are visible; the first is the active card, so the event or certain actions may be played by some players and the second card, not active, allows to see the next event coming. So the players have to take an important decision at each round and ask themselves: Do I play the event or the action? Or, Do I wait for the next round ? Because if the player chooses to play the active card, he cannot play the next card. A really interesting concept!

PLAYING THE GAME
The game unfolds as follows: we check on the active card which faction has the priority to play. The priority changes from card to card during the game.

The player's faction who has the priority gives the player the choice to do what he wants with the card. He can:
- play the event
- play a normal action
- play a normal action and a special one
- pass

If the player does not play the event, he can choose a normal action among four possibilities and can choose to perform a special action among three possible ones as well (in some situations, only). The normal actions for the Government are different from those of the insurgents. For the three special actions possible, they are all different for each faction, which gives a different flavor of the game for each faction.
As in Dominant Species, we assist to a festival of moving cubes on the map, moving from one region to another, depending on events and actions chosen. The type of actions puts us very well into the mood of the game: to rally, attack, terrorize, extort, ambush, assassinate, cultivate, bribe, kidnap and eliminate.
A special phase will occur, at the most four times in the game, when a propaganda card is played. If at the beginning of this phase, one of the factions has completed its objectives (an important thing to note is hat the objectives of the game are different for each faction) it is declared the winner. Otherwise, a series of events occurs: the Government exercises its control by improving the support to the population of each city or county that it controls (this can help them to achieve their winning conditions), then the FARC will do the same thing, but by reducing the support (and this, by increasing the opposition). New resources will be added to each faction (the resources are needed to perform the normal actions and also, some special ones).
The Government will redeploy troops and/or increase police control along its borders.
Finally a new president could be elected, which could affect the Government or the FARC player.


Source : Tim P.(oi_you_nutter)

MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS
This game, just like Labyrinth: the War on Terror, 2001-? or even see Twilight Struggle, is considered a wargame, because it deals with political actions that escalate into armed conflict. But on the other hand, it can be seen as a typical eurogame. Because we are not talking here of a typical wargame, ie with deployements at the front, sieges, zones of control, or supply, but of some different types of actions and events that affect the presence of cubes in different parts of the map and for which the majority can change the implementation of actions and results. This being said, it can therefore appeal to many players of typical boardgames.
The game offers a great asymmetry between the different factions, a trend much in vogue these days in boardgames, but this asymmetry can give big headaches to those who try to guess what their opponents are trying to do, especially during the first games.
Andean Abyss is an excellent game, with a set of rules that is not too complex. The main challenge is to understand and evaluate the results of each faction’s actions. It is very addictive, quite heavy, the duration of the game is variable (2 to 5 hours) depending on which propaganda card game it will end. There's some downtime between the player rounds but this time allows your brain to recover.)

I predict great success for this game! You can pre-order it without any worries !

You can find a French version of this review on my blog here : http://jarjar26.tumblr.com/post/3701096871/apercu-andean-aby...
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Volko Ruhnke
United States
Virginia
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Thank you sir!
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Andre Oliveira
Brazil
Sao Paulo
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Very good review indeed.
Made me preorder.
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Volko Ruhnke
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Virginia
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Obrigado!
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Rui Serrabulho
Portugal
Lisboa
Lisboa
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You have to, at least from a distance, look as if you know what you're doing, and I can manage that.
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Volko wrote:

Obrigado!


Nós é que agradecemos.
 
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Wayne O Connor
Ireland
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Just finished a game. Yes, seemed like a good game and that yes, the biggest thing would be to evaluate the individual faction actions etc. Overall, id play it again for sure, nice variety but built on a pretty easily learnt core rule system.
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