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Subject: Morgan's a Comin': A free war game that is not that bad... rss

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Jack Guritza
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South Euclid
Ohio
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While at Origins a few months back I was able to stop by the Against the Odds booth. I have several of their games and I have always enjoyed that they explore battles that are not typically the setting for war games.

While at the booth enjoying the wide array of games I was handed a few postcards. These were not normal post cards they were Pocket Battle Game #4. It was titled Morgan’s A’Comin’! and reenacts the Morgan Raids during the Civil War in Ohio. Having lived in Ohio since 3rd grade it was a topic I was familiar with and had interest in. I racked my brain to try and think if any other game had been produced about the Morgan Raids and nothing came to mind.

I took the extra postcards when I got home and mailed them to friends. I selected the friends that I have war gamed with and who I have also had discussions about the Morgan Raids with in the past. This left my copy for me to play.

The card is a normal postcard size with the counters needed to play printed around the top and side boarder. It took less than 5 minutes to cut the counters out and I was ready to start playing.

The rules are short and concise. I liked the fact that the major actions like ATTACK and RAID were bolded and red text to allow the eye to quickly scan the rules for what you needed. There is no over complicated rules and most war games can pick the game up in a few minutes.

The game starts with the three rebel units on the western boarder of Ohio. They need to move across Ohio raiding towns and gaining victory points. The rebels also get points by being able to leave Ohio over the river. The magic number for the rebels is 12 VP. The rebels only have 3 units. It is imperative that the rebel player move away from the Union units to not get eliminated and not be trapped by the Union units. The rebels do not get any more units.

The game consists of 6 turns. A standard deck of cards is used to activate units and a Joker is mixed into the deck to trigger the end of the turn. Red cards for rebels and black cards for Union troops. All the cards are randomly shuffled therefore the turn can end quickly or a lot of action can happen in a turn.

On black face card draws for initiative the Union player can rally units (flipping to full strength side) or take a blind draw for additional units and roll a dice to see what city the reinforcements are in. This can be crushing for the Rebels because the Union starts with one unit in Cincinnati and Governor Todd and one infantry in Columbus that is it. When face cards pop up on the initiative card draw the Union can start bringing in reinforcements and the Rebels are quickly out numbered.

Each side plays differently. The Rebels need to move fast to not get cornered and take some chances to raid for some victory points. If the Rebels can get Columbus the state capital in a raid it is big points. The Rebels need to attack and move. They can not stand toe to toe and fight the Union troops with more possible coming onto the board soon.

The Union player can use a slow methodical approach to corner the Rebels and eliminated them. The key is to get more troops on the board and start herding the Rebels.

To make the game easier to play I took the map and enlarged it with my color copier at work. This allowed for the chits to easily fit on the board and the board didn’t feel too crowded.

Overall the game is not bad for a free game about a topic no one has covered. I have played half a dozen times. The Rebels have yet to win and the most victory points I saw for the Rebels was 6. That is half of what they need to win. With the Rebels and the Union sides playing so differently they are some replay possibility. The card deck really makes the game re-playable. The cards can be your friend or your worst enemy. I like war games and I like free war games even more. If you have never heard of Against the Odds I would check out their web site.
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Bill J
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Thanks for posting this! Would you (or anybody) know if the rules are available online?
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Wendell
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Nice review. I have it, came free with a GMT game (A Most Dangerous Time, I think). I plan to play it. Not many war games where I can raid Dayton!
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Michael Barlow
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BillJ1967 wrote:
Thanks for posting this! Would you (or anybody) know if the rules are available online?
I've got an extra one I can mail you, no charge.
Just helping out a fellow wargamer.

Geekmail me your address and I'll stick it in an envelope for a safe trip south.
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Richard Mayhew
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ATO should perhaps just sell these pocket battle games. I am interested in their postcard sized games but a subscription to ATO mag is a bit too much wargaming for my needs.
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Scott Petersen
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Their current policy of giving one away with each order got me to bite. They are throwing in the newest pocket game as a bonus too if you enter the Jubilee code as mentioned on their home page.

I ordered one of the issues that came with one of the pocket games--so that worked out to three pocket games for the price of one magazine--not so bad.
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Dennis Gadgaard
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Thanks for the review.
I recieved this with my copy of All Things Zombie: The Boardgame.
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Marco Arnaudo
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today I was at the Conner Prairie Museum, where there is a lot of stuff about Morgan's Raid... darn, I wish there were more games about this topic. I have Morgan's a Coming though, and planning to play it soon!

thanks for the review!!
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