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Israeli Independence: The First Arab-Israeli War, 1948-1949» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Mixed Feelings rss

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Tim Deagan
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I purchased both Israeli Independence and its expansion from Victory Point Games. I'm becoming a big fan of the Victory Point games. Their design aesthetic and concepts are very intriguing.

I'm always on the lookout for solitaire games and this seemed to be a nice new opportunity. I certainly wasn't looking for anything like Ambush!, but I was surprised to find something more on a par with Catan Dice Game or Reiner Knizia's Decathlon, albeit with more chrome.

The game itself consists of choosing which ones of a set of approaching armies (each on tracks counting down from 5 to 1, if any of them gets to 0, aka Jerusalem, you lose,) you use a dice roll or rolls against. Which army or armies approach in a turn is card driven as is how many dice rolls (1d6 each) you get against them. The cards and optional rules add various dice mods. One of the optional rules adds up to three additional rolls to apportion throughout the game. The expansion adds additional cards and some optional rules.

The game is nicely designed to allow the player to tune the game to the amount of difficulty. You can (literally) stack the deck to achieve a historical-like game or select cards based on their rated difficulty.

None of the rules does much to change the essential experience of flip a card, roll a couple dice, push back armies.

It's not a bad game at all. It's just (as is clearly stated throughout other reviews and designer comments) heavily luck driven. There is very little you can do in the way of strategy.

As a historical teaching tool, I think the game really shines. Each card refers to a specific event in the historical record and includes text describing it. The game would be, IMHO, an extremely compelling way to introduce someone to the events of that period. The accompanying material in the game pack exceeds my expectations, matching the level of many highly produced war games.

I'd love to play this game on my phone during moments of inactivity. I wish there was a Cyberboard version for my phone (which doesn't exist at this time for any game.) I'd play it all the time. But I'll have to see how often I pick it off the shelf to play. I will say that the production value and level of attention to detail make me feel that this is a bargain as a purchase. (Go ahead and spring for the expansion pack when you buy it.)
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Joshua Gottesman
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I think this is a fair review. I like the game a lot, especially because it only takes 5-10 minutes to play and is a challenge to win. I also like having the strategic decisions of which armies to push back (do I go after the Lebanese because they or easy or the Jordanians, even though the chances of winning there are less? Do I make sure the Iraqis don't advance because sooner or later I know they will withdraw from the war or do I focus on a closer army?).

In addition, how many games are there that don't eventually get boiled down to move some counters, roll some dice, move some more counters, roll some more dice? Some don't even have the "flip a card" aspect. Its just that there are only 5 units here an the game moves so quickly that the effect is perhaps magnified. And this isn't a hard-core military simulation. If it was, I don't think it could be played in five minutes.
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Steve Carey
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I heartily recommend Soviet Dawn, the new follow-up design - more decisions, more chrome, even more fun.

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Darin Leviloff
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Pete,

Fascinating. I've swear I've never seen that game before. I have been told Ted Raicer's First World War has a similar linear system too and I've never seen or played that. Now, the similarity to Omega Game's East Front Solitaire is there and that's not a complete coincidence- love that game- and it certainly was one element of inspiration.
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