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Subject: Waterloo 20: Does what it was made to do rss

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mochara c
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W20 succeeds at what (I think) it sets out to do; low cost, low complexity, low density are built in, and I believe the designer was going for some replayability and just enough tactical nuance to keep things interesting. Success on all counts.

Components: Generally good. Map, rules & play aids are all excellent. The counter illustrations are quite striking but disappointingly flat, lacking the vivid colour of the map and even of screen shots I have seen of the same counters.

The rules are well organized and mostly pretty basic stuff. It's the material beyond the basic that makes this game worth taking note of - random events add a little unpredictability, and the morale track keeps players focused on their goals at all times.

The morale track and morale chart are really the heart of the game. It's a simple and effective means of measuring success; eliminate or chase away a foe and your morale increases. Capture an objective hex - up goes the morale. Of course, your opponent has their own thing going on as well, trying to maintain their own morale level while decreasing yours. Lost morale can be recovered during night turns or during "lulls" in which no combat or hard marches occur. Pretty simple stuff, but it keeps things interesting and competitive.

There are 12 random event cards with a total of 16 different events (some cards have separate events for each side, some do not and there are a few "no effect" non-events). Events can affect morale, give bonuses for combat or movement or effectively cancel a turn ("Threatening Weather").

Game play is quick and intuitive. There's a fair amount of chrome for a small game, but nothing that's too challenging to remember and none of these features feel tacked on - everything works smoothly.

I wrote elsewhere on BGG that the low counter density can lead to an early exit if a player is stung with an EXchange result in a high-odds attack. Sure, don't rely on high-odds attacks, right? Well, the CRT is fairly bloodless and sometimes you just HAVE to root an enemy unit out of a town, so ganging up must sometimes occur. Another member pointed out that since games are quick what's the harm in packing it in and setting it up again? Good point (thanks Jeff Curtis). After our first run-through we were tearing through a game in 30 minutes or less.

So, there's nothing truly ground breaking here, but it's an appealing, attractive and enjoyable little game. This will, at least for now, be my "game on the go" due to it's small size and short game length - perfect for lunch hours and overnight trips.
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Andreas E. Gebhardt
Germany
Birkenwerder
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moly19 wrote:

So, there's nothing truly ground breaking here, but it's an appealing, attractive and enjoyable little game. This will, at least for now, be my "game on the go" due to it's small size and short game length - perfect for lunch hours and overnight trips.

Mo,

thanks for your review:
It's all said in it about this fine series. Yes it is, indeed...


Andy (521tiger)
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John Crouch
United States
Portland
Oregon
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moly19 wrote:

So, there's nothing truly ground breaking here, but it's an appealing, attractive and enjoyable little game. This will, at least for now, be my "game on the go" due to it's small size and short game length - perfect for lunch hours and overnight trips.


I don't know if any hex-based wargame could ever be "ground breaking", but I found the Zone of Control rules pretty different to me, and I like them.
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