Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Guelphs and Ghibellines» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Rules and components review (mostly for GBoH and MoI players) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Oliver Ullmann
Germany
Alteglofsheim
flag msg tools
mbmb
I've finished my first game of Guelphs & Ghibellines (G&G) yesterday. While I can't really talk about the quality of the scenarios and play balance yet, I thought I'd share my impressions about the rules of components of this fine little game. This review will mostly be aimed at seasoned wargamers, so please excuse my usage of wargame lingo and constant refernces to other games. If you are a newbie to tactical wargames this game might be for you even if this review is just gibberish.

Basics:
G&G lets you play 3 battles that were fought in 13th century Italy between the two factions of the Guelphs and the Ghibbelines. It is a tactical hex-and-counter wargame in the vein of Men of Iron and Great Battles of History. Complexity-wise G&G is at the same level as Simple Great Battles of History, a small step above Men of Iron and well below regular GBoH.
You can read up on the history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghibelline

Components:
- a sturdy box the size of a typical GMT box. You can look at the artwork here on BGG. I like the art quite a bit.
- two paper map sheets portraying the 3 battlefields. If you are a wargamer, you should be used to those. There are small bits of flavor-inducing art on the maps, but basically they are just clean, workable maps. Not much to say here.
- Three smallish counter sheets. You can think of those as half a sheet of GMT counters. Troops are 5/8", leaders, status markers etc. are 1/2". So you can stack various markers on top of a combat unit and still glimpse a bit of the covered unit. The counter art overall is pretty nice, the troop counters have different illustrations for otherwise identical troops, sometimes even with varied heraldry on the shields.
I am not so happy with the quality of the material and the print job of the counters, however. For some reason the backside of the counters is on the front and vice versa. One sheet was very off-center on one side. The corners of the counters are very fuzzy after punching, you will definitely want to clip them.
- the rulebook. 24 pages printed black and white on glossy paper. There are a few illustrations, but no fancy graphics here. The layout is clean and well organized. I'd have liked an index, but the table of contents is also very helpful when looking for a particular rule. Half of the rulebook is actually the scenarios and the appendix. At first glance, this looks just like a GMT rulebook: The layout, font and just about everything else follow the pattern that GMT established.
- a setup sheet for the scenarios.
- a full-color reference sheet, back-printed.
- a sheet to track victory points and other stuff, also full-color.
Those sheets are nice and functional. Not much else to say.
- two small six-sided dice. These are definitely not spectacular, but I wouldn't have been willing to spend money on fancy dice either.

Bottom line on the components: Except for the small problems with the counters, this might very well be a GMT release. I am very pleased with the components.

Rules and game play:
The rules of G&G include basic concepts from Men Of Iron and Simple Great Battles Of History with a fair dose of original stuff thrown in.
The most prominent feature of G&G is that every leader has a Command Capacity (CC). The CC gets used up over time when the leader try to interrupt each other or try to go again. When a leader is wounded, he loses CC. When he is killed, his successor inherits only half of his current CC. At some point the leader will have to skip a turn to recover CC or he cannot efficiently command his units any more. Therefore it is an important decision when to use up your CC .

What impressed me the most is that the rules are virtually bullet-proof. I was unable to find a situation not covered by the rules. I've studied the rules of MoI and various GBoH titles and nowhere I've come across such a level of sheer completeness. Usually situations like multiple attackers/defenders with different attack angles and terrain modifiers give me a huge headache. Not so in G&G.
Even complex sequences like this:
cavalry charges archers
-> archers need to check if they get disrupted because of cavalry charge
-> archers get reaction fire against cavalry
-> cavalry gets disrupted by reaction fire
-> cavalry charge gets weakened to regular melee attack because of cavalry disruption
are clearly and unambiguously covered by the rules.
IMHO, only Simple GBoH can compete with G&G in this respect. Congratulations to the designer, developer and (also very important!) the translator.

Conclusion: As I said above, I can't comment on the quality of the scenarios just yet. However, the basic rules work like a charm. With this in mind I can easily overlook the small problems with the counters. Every GBoH or MoI aficionado should definitely have a look at this title.

EDIT: added rulebook page count
EDIT: I've just read on consimworld that only the preorder batch of counters had the "wrong side up"-problem and that there will be replacement counters. Thumbs up!
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicola Ciabatti
Italy
Firenze
Tuscany
flag msg tools
badge
Clipped avatar
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scramble wrote:
I've just read on consimworld that only the preorder batch of counters had the "wrong side up"-problem and that there will be replacement counters. Thumbs up!
I'm one of the guys who preordered the game, and I've just received the replacement counters (3 small sheets), without ever asking for them: I confirm, thumbs up!

Nick
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good review. Yes, I also think the replacement counters are great customer services to all who purchased the games on preorders. This excellent correction removes my impression that the Italians are less rules abiding, so-so attitude etc. When they are serious, they always can. Besides, I found increasingly in BGG that there are a lot of Italian wargamers and they are really serious about the gameplays of the wargames!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Of course I am a SPQR player. That's one of the reason why I like G&G as it seems like a familiar exercise to me, with less burden on the markers stacking than SPQR. The rulebook is also well written and one major reason why I like a particular game. Plus, the box inside also smells good with wood fragrent, something that I sorely missed for the all-American games with Chinese made components....
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls