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Subject: Silent War rss

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Ryan Powers
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I just realized I havne't reviewed this even though I play it quite often, so here goes.

Short version:
Silent War is great!


Longer version:

Well I guess most of you wnat more details than the short version, I'll start with the components.

Counters : The coutners are excellent quality. There is one for each US sub used in the pacific, as well as some other allied and axis subs all in nice looking and very cunctional long, rectangular coutners. There are also square coutners for ships, and informational purposes. The only (potential) issue I have with the counters is I would be afraid of wear and tear on the ship and TDC coutnres that get randomly chosen in large numbers throughout the game. As they wear I think it may be hard to maintian the secrecy needed before the coutner is revealed.


Map : The map is gorgeous, and for the most part very functional. I think that some more thought could have been put into the selevtion of charts on the map vs on the reference cards, but it is a minor nitpick. The map is consits of areas which are either patrol areas, Special Mission Zones, or bases. And the important chart for each Patrol area are right on the map, and esay to use.

Reference cards : The cards are very nicely laid out. I'm not sure I've ever seen reference cards this nice looking. I also with there was a card with a deteailed sequence of play on it (one can be downloaded however). [This section edited to correct misinfomation by me, sorry!]

Rulebooks/scenario books The books are pretty good for the most part. The rules are well laid out, and well written. Some things are easy to miss the first time or two though playing, but really are clear in the rules, so I can't fault the book much for that, perhaps a layout trick would have helped, but I think it was more me than the book. The scenario book involves a bit of flipping around to keep things like the reinforcemnts from having to be replicated for each one (maybe they would be better on card?). This is a reasonable choice, but it does mean a bit of having to refer to a few different pages in the scenario book. The only real oddity to me was the location of the War event tables in the rulebook. It seems to me that these clearly belong in the scenario book instead.

Now for the gameplay side of things, starign with the rules themselves.

Rules : For a game of this scope, the rules are quite simple. Each turn begins with some bookk kepping and random event generation, then each sub is activate dindivuidually. One turn = one week. The learning curve isn't too steep, but is there, starting with a single patrol is a good way to go.

Scenarios/Campaigns / : The first rating of the split is for the campaigns privide in the box. There's nothign wrong with them, you can play teh whole war, or start/end at different points. However, they are consipcuously missing a campaing that's a (relatively) short, manageable size. You go form single patrols to some pretty monstrous campaigns if you just usde what's in the box. It's a bit of an abrupt step. However, if you download the otehr avalabe ones form the webpage you get some nice short campaings to cut your teeth on. INcluded with the game is even a 1932 hypothetical one taht seems interesting, but I haven't tried it yet.

Replayability : Repalyability is normally very important for me, especailly in a solitaire game. In this case though, I'm not sure how to rate it. I don't think that once I've played through all the big stuff I'll be particularly eager to try it again. However, the amount of playtime involved in doing it even once is pretty immense, so counting it down do to low replayability doesn't seem right either, as I primarly look for games with high replayability in order to ensure they keep my attention for a ong period of time. This game does that without necessarily being all that replayable, so I'll leave this rating out.

Fun/Interest factor : This game, for me, is a ton of fun. The subject mattere has always fascinated me ever since staying onboard the USS Silversides with scouts when youngere. Playing it, especially early in the war, you feel incredibly frustrated as even perfect setups tend to not yield good results, the poor torpedoes missing, or failing to detonate can be very frustrating. But somehow, not in a way that makes you want to quit. Rather it makes you more determined to do somethign with what you have. The War events help shake things up and keep you from getting stuck in too much of a rut, and as the war period (a measure of the progress of the entire Pacific War, which you can influence, but not wholly control) the dangers and rewards shift quite significantly. ALl in all, this ia a very fun game, which suprised me as I find most of the better solitaire games to be interesting, but not to this extent.

VASSAL: This isn't a review cateegory, but for me it's an improtant note. Due to the sheer time playing this game through would take, leaving it set up really isn't an option for me. As such teh VASSAL module is of huge value. It allows me to step in and play a bit here and there and not take up a table surface for the next few months (or more!)

Overall : I give this game a full 5 stars. Which being a solitaire game I find very suprising. But it earned each and every one of those stars. I would not hesitate to recommend this game to anyone who likes solitaire gamese, or is interested in the subject even if they don't care for solitaire games. The price tag's a bit high, but not out of line with the gameplay, easily worht every penny.
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Steve Herron
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Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
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I have played wargames since the mid 60s and I will say Silent War is one of the best games I have ever played and I have a big collection. A problem I had with the game was from the ware & tear in playing the game some of the japanese ships and TDC counter were getting worn. I wish there could be some kind of material so they don't get worn out. If you like solitaire games or naval one this is a great game. The people at Compass are very good in answering any questions you have about the game.
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Ryan Powers
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sherron wrote:
I have played wargames since the mid 60s and I will say Silent War is one of the best games I have ever played and I have a big collection. A problem I had with the game was from the ware & tear in playing the game some of the japanese ships and TDC counter were getting worn. I wish there could be some kind of material so they don't get worn out. If you like solitaire games or naval one this is a great game. The people at Compass are very good in answering any questions you have about the game.


That's the other upside to using VASSAL. Virtual counters don't get all worn out. I meant to include that im my section on usign VASSAL, but forgot.
 
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Skip Franklin
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I've not tried VASSAL but am using the CyberBoard gamebox to play my campaign game. My *.gam file is in my blog on ConsimWorld.
 
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Daniel Val
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keethrax wrote:

Short version:
Silent War is great!

Longer version:
......


I loved that!
 
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Christopher Schall
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keethrax wrote:

Reference cards I do wish the cards contained a Search and Contact Chart like on the left side of the map. THis is prim arily because I use VASSAL to play (more on this later) and having to scroll over to see it is a bit of a pain. I just keep that part of the real map visible and use it as a reference card to solve this. If I were usign the actual map, this wouldn't be a problem. I also with there was a card with a deteailed sequence of play on it (one can be downloaded however).
[


My reference card DOES contain the Search and Contact table. Not sure what is meant here.
 
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Ryan Powers
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Airborne wrote:
keethrax wrote:

Reference cards I do wish the cards contained a Search and Contact Chart like on the left side of the map. THis is prim arily because I use VASSAL to play (more on this later) and having to scroll over to see it is a bit of a pain. I just keep that part of the real map visible and use it as a reference card to solve this. If I were usign the actual map, this wouldn't be a problem. I also with there was a card with a deteailed sequence of play on it (one can be downloaded however).
[


My reference card DOES contain the Search and Contact table. Not sure what is meant here.


You are correct. After you posted, I looke around, and discoverd that that card had gone for a wander beehind my desk at the time of my review... whoops.

I remembered there was a table I wished was on the card, adn a quick look through the cards that weren't missing came up shy on that one, so I assumed that must have been teh one I kept getting annoyed by.

Review edited.
 
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