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Subject: Solitaire war gaming just got better rss

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Ian Wakeham
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There seems to have been a resurgence in solitaire war gaming of late with some excellent releases over the past year or two, including a redesign of the ever popular RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940, D-Day at Omaha Beach, Field Commander: Rommel, Field Commander: Alexander, Fields of Fire, the B-17: Queen of the Skies inspired B-29 Superfortress and interesting selections from Victory Point Games: Israeli Independence, Zulus on the Ramparts!, Soviet Dawn and Nemo's War. The arrival of another solitaire wargame from a first time designer and produced by a new independent publisher would be expected to struggle amongst such esteemed company.

Background



Where There Is Discord (WTID) is a solitaire-only treatment of the Falklands War of 1982. It focuses mainly on the air and naval aspects of the conflict and although there is a ground combat element this is a minor, closing chapter in the gameplay.

The game is Dan Hodges’ first published design. As I understand it, the game was printed and manufactured in the UK and Dan has funded most (if not all) of the production of the game. All profits from its sale will be donated to two veterans’ charities: the Royal British Legion and the Argentine Veteranos de Guerra. Dan has even taken a loss shipping preorders, particularly outside Europe, where many arrived on the same day as they were delivered to UK addresses. One was even delivered on Labor Day in the US!

This review is based on one full play of the game and a number of plays of certain elements of the game.

Components



The game comes in a large weighty box - 16*½ in (42.5cm) by 11 in (28.5cm) by 3*½ in (9cm) - with a wonderfully moody cover photo of a Harrier taking off in the morning mist. Opening the box you’ll find two large fully mounted map boards, three counter sheets, two large player aids (printed on both sides), one pack of cards (although this includes two different types of cards), one rulebook, a smaller booklet and 20 dice. The whole package oozes quality.

Board



The board is big, solidly mounted (1mm thick) and comes in two pieces; each is 28*1/4 in (72cm) high by 20*1/2 in (52cm) wide. Side by side this gives you an overall width of 41 in (104cm). Mark Mahaffey’s graphic design is wonderful and during play the board doesn’t feel cluttered at all. The abstracted elements of the game are nicely and economically presented in the form of various boxes, displays and tracks.

The turn track is multi-functional. As well as tracking the date, it is used to indicate the Argentine supply level and numbers of Exocets held. Ensigns indicate the turns that reinforcements arrive; I found it easier to stack the reinforcements on the turn track itself. The track also holds any aircraft or vessels which may have been temporarily removed from gameplay, as a result of an event.

There are spaces indicating the five Argentine airbases, a Ready For War Box and Puerto Belgrano (port) box; the latter two may hold elements of the Argentine Task Group or Argentine submarines at one point or another.

The most abstracted elements on the board are the Naval Patrol Boxes which represent the area of ocean between the Argentine coast and the Task Force. There are three boxes: Coastal, Search and Exclusion. The descriptions are pretty self-evident: Coastal represents the coastal waters around Argentina, Exclusion is the exclusion zone around the Task Force and the Search box is the area of ocean between the two. British and Argentine submarines and the elements of the Argentine Task Group will occupy these boxes at one point or another, attempting to detect and attack each other.

The Task Force itself is abstracted in the form of the Task Force Display. This has a central zone which should hold the important British vessels; the Carriers, support ships, landing vessels and troop ships. This is protected by boxes forming eight points of the compass around the central zone which can hold any of the warships which will perform picket duty. A further box - the defence zone - provides the last line of defence for the central zone should any of the outer boxes be breached.

Two other displays on the board provide a close-up view of two elements of the Task Force: the Carriers and Troop Ships.

The Sea Harriers display holds the Harrier squadrons operating from Hermes and Invincible. Harriers can be taken from this display and placed anywhere on the Task Force Display or San Carlos (with certain restrictions) to protect the Task Force or, later in the game, the ground units. Flown and Arming boxes for each vessel provide a simple mechanic to ensure that once used, the Harriers must wait a turn before being available to be selected again.

The Troop Ship Display shows each of the troop ships with spaces to hold ten British ground units. (Note the unexplained numbers above each vessel on this display - these are the dates that each vessel arrives with the Task Force.) During the landings phase, units will be removed from this display and placed on the San Carlos display.

The San Carlos Display is a basic abstraction of San Carlos Water with ten landing zones, ten naval zones and space for the Harriers to patrol. Warships, troop ships, landing craft and British and Argentine units will be placed on this display and the ground units will take part in combat. Should the game last until the end of turn 28 it will be the number of landing zones that the British control which will determine the level of the victory.

All forms of combat take place on the Combat Display which is a useful area to hold the attacking and defending aircraft and/or vessels, together with additional markers which may be required during combat.

Finally, the political element of the conflict is represented by the War Opinion Display which tracks International and Domestic Opinion. These can be affected by events and by the loss of naval vessels. Falling International Opinion will cause the player to lose the support of certain countries which in turn will affect other factors. For example, loss of Chilean support will lose the benefit of their surveillance for providing early warning of Argentine air raids. Should Domestic Opinion fall to zero, it’s game over.

Cards



There are 60 cards in total, each 4 in (10cm) by 2*1/2in (6cm). They’re of very good quality and shouldn’t need sleeving as there is only one shuffle required at the start of the game. These cards form two decks, the Situation Report (SitRep) Card Deck and Event Card Deck.

There are 17 SitRep cards numbered 1 to 16, with the seventeenth card known as the Operation Sutton card. The information on these cards is used to determine the likelihood of Argentine air attacks (Air Alert Assessment), the airbase such attacks will be launched from (Airbase Intel Analysis) and the maximum number of air raids that may be carried out in a day Air Effort Assessment). The cards are turned over sequentially starting with number 1 and finishing with the Operation Sutton card. This is the mechanic by which the player moves the Task Force closer to the Falklands and ultimately when the landings (Operation Sutton) takes place.

The player may turn over one SitRep card each turn but does not have to. So as the Task Force gets closer to the Falklands the attacks will intensify. If you need a breather, just stick with the current SitRep card for a turn or two as you’ll know that the nature of the air attacks won’t change. However, don’t delay the Task Force too much as from 21 May the Argentine ground units will start to be deployed on San Carlos. If you still haven’t turned over your Operation Sutton card by then you’ll be at a severe disadvantage when you eventually start to deploy the British troops.

Event cards are the narrative meat to this game; one event card is drawn each turn. They provide the international and domestic background to the gameplay. All add some interesting flavour (historical or fictional) to the game. There are 43 cards; 38 standard event cards and 5 San Carlos cards. The standard event cards include a short quote and a number. The number is cross-referenced in the Intelligence Briefing Booklet and the event carried out if possible. The choice of resolution of the event is an either/or one. Often the event will have an impact on Domestic or International Opinion - often negative, sometimes positive. Sometimes the event will require the withdrawal of British vessels or aircraft for a day or two. Sometimes a ceasefire can be called which means that the advancing Task Force grinds to a halt. Operation Sutton event cards operate slightly differently in that they will affect the landings and ground combat in some way. There is the possibility to use warships to give a positive effect to these events, but at the risk of your vessels being sunk (as I know from experience).

Event cards are no longer drawn once Operation Sutton starts so you won’t encounter all events in one sitting. Also, as the wording for many events in the booklet is quite detailed then it will take a lot of plays before the choice becomes second nature. Even then you won’t be selecting the same outcome for an event each time as other variables in the game will often be driving your decision. In most cases the choice is between a bad thing happening and a very bad thing happening.

Counters and Markers

The counters are of very good quality, as good as many Eurogames. They are over an inch square (close to 3cm) and just a bit less than 1mm thick. The corners are rounded, so no need for clipping. There are counters to represent British and Argentine aircraft, naval vessels and ground units. Markers are used to track various values or used during combat. The design is excellent, with lots of blue to reflect the naval and air theme. Markers are outlined in brown to make them stand out. One small criticism is that there is no indication of which of the British vessels are reinforcements or on which date they should arrive so there is a bit of extra setup required before the game.

One brilliant design touch is to include information on the reverse of some of the counters and markers: surface vessels, submarines and aircraft include all of the information from the combat table. This makes downtime consulting tables so much less and the immersion in the game so much greater.

The weather markers also include icons on the reverse which indicate how the weather affects the scramble modifier, detection status of the Task Group and the Harrier recovery value. There is therefore no need to consult the weather table which is included in the rulebook - it’s all on the weather markers.

Player Aids

There are two durable A4-sized cardstock player aids which include a number of useful tables: a Combat Chart (although, as mentioned, all of this information is included on the reverse of the relevant counters), Additional Tables (also included in the rulebook), Sequence of Play (very important) and Naval Attack Resolution Chart (determines what happens after an unsuccessful naval attack).

Rulebook

The rulebook is very impressive; 60 pages long and made of thick, glossy paper. It includes the rules, campaign assessment, sequence of play, very detailed sample turns, historical notes on each of the ground units, a deployment table (listing all of the reinforcements) and the additional tables which are included on the player aid cards. One standout for me is the campaign assessment. Dan must have had great fun writing this as it has detailed scenarios and what-ifs based on the number of landing zones held at the end of the game. Should you manage to take all 10 zones: "In Britain, 28 May becomes "Mrs Thatcher Day" and Port Stanley is renamed "Port Thatcher""!

The rules are well written, if occasionally verbose, but they do include numerous examples, historical background and design notes. Dan has a good writing style and is particularly good at his fictional scenarios. My only criticism would be that the rules might have benefitted from following the order of the Sequence of Play. But as the game is not overly complex then you shouldn’t get lost with the Sequence of Play in hand. A few errata have been spotted and a number of clarifications made but nowhere near the number usually issued by the main wargame companies.

Although none of the examples of play are illustrated they are detailed enough to not require illustrations. The only illustrations (and explanations) lacking are for all the included counters and markers. Certainly the information on the reverse of the counters isn’t explained (just mentioned in passing) so it’s up to the player to determine what it all means.

Intelligence Briefing Booklet



The Intelligence Briefing Booklet is of the same quality as the rulebook but this time 56 pages long and A5 size. As discussed above this includes all the events as well as background data about the British and Argentine vessels and aircraft as well as a bibliography. All interesting stuff.

Dice

When first seeing the bag of dice you suddenly start to panic. There are twenty dice: four each of d4, d6, d8, d10 and d12. You worry that the game will turn into a tedious dicefest, but nothing could be further from reality. Dan has managed to steer the game away from numerous tables and modifiers present in many solitaire wargames and has modelled probabilities by using different sided dice. To make a roll successful, in most cases the player simply needs to roll a 1. So clearly, you’ll have a greater probability of rolling a 1 on 1d4 than rolling 1 on 1d10 or 1d12.

After a few turns the use of the dice becomes second nature, and, as mentioned earlier, prevents loss of immersion in the game. Yes, you will be making numerous rolls but not needing to stop and modify the result means that you’re soon onto the next step of the phase. To a certain extent I was forgetting that a lot of the results were dice driven and was simply immersed in the story telling. For example, you could imagine, by not rolling a 1 on a particular dice, an Exocet falling short of its target and the crew of the warship breathing a sigh of relief.

A small amount of confusion has arisen over one of the dice notations used in the rules - D12 (note the capital letter). This notation requires the rolling of two six-sided dice and adding the values. It’s used to determine the weather and to determine which Task Force zone (this can include San Carlos) is to be targeted by Argentine air raids. It was created to distinguish it from 2d6 where the individual rolls are taken. But as there are a number of d12 rolls (i.e. using the twelve-sided dice) confusion has arisen. As long as you’re aware of you don’t need to question it.

Gameplay

The game takes place over a maximum of 28 turns from 1 May to 28 May. As mentioned above, if your performance is particularly bad and domestic opinion hits rock bottom, it will end sooner. This happened to me in the final throws of the last turn. From 21 May onwards the player can launch Operation Sutton when he starts the landings at San Carlos.

The sequence of play includes numerous phases but for explanation purposes it’s easiest to combine these into five main phases: a preparatory phase, naval combat phase, air combat phase, ground combat phase (after 21 May) and a tidy-up phase. These take place each turn.

Preparatory Phase

You determine the weather for the day, which, as mentioned earlier when referring to the counters, has an effect on a number of other factors. An alternative to rolling for the weather has been suggested which is to simply draw the weather markers from an opaque container. One event card is then drawn and resolved if possible; the player may choose to delay resolution until a later turn. Any unresolved events from previous turns can then be resolved. So, for example, if you weren’t in a fit state to launch that raid on South Georgia last turn (or a few turns earlier) you can choose to launch it now. Resolution may involve changing Domestic or International Opinion.

Next comes the driving force behind the Task Force and the air raids - the SitRep card. If you choose to turn one over it replaces the previous SitRep card and the values on the new card will apply until the turn that the player chooses to turn over the next one. To be honest, other than three turns where I was unable to turn over the next SitRep card due to a ceasefire in place, I turned one over every turn. Of course it may be that if you are in really bad shape then leaving the current card in place is the best policy but I’ve yet to see if there’s any further strategic depth to delaying the movement of the Task Force. We’re only talking a matter of three or four days that you’d want to delay, otherwise you’ll end up starting Operation Sutton later than 21 May when the Argentines start to land at San Carlos.

Finally comes the deployment of the Task Force and various other assets This is the most important phase strategically as you’ll want to place or reposition your surface vessels and submarines (and any reinforcements arriving that turn) to have maximum effect. As mentioned above, Carriers, troop ships, support and landing vessels must be placed in the central Task Force zone. It’s then best to have warships performing picket duty in all of the outer zones if possible. After the landings start you will want to start positioning vessels in San Carlos to land and protect the troops. Note that Argentine aircraft will be targeting one of the zones based on a D12 roll.

You can then consolidate your defence by placing Harriers in some of these zones on combat air patrol (CAP). Amongst some of the restrictions are that there may only be a maximum of two Harriers in a zone and they can only be placed in a zone where surface vessels are present. You’re guaranteed that if you leave a gap in your defences the next Argentine Targeting roll will probably exploit that gap and head straight for the Task Force.

Additionally you can use Harriers for supply interdiction purposes (after SitRep card 4 has been drawn). This is simply an abstraction of using Harriers to target Argentine supplies. Success at this will reduce the Argentine supply level. The importance of this is that once the supply level is reduced to zero, any Argentine ground units involved in combat will be fighting at reduced strength. I paid little regard to supply interdiction and when I did was often unsuccessful and so suffered during the Ground Combat Phase.

British submarines will be placed or moved around any of the three Naval Patrol Boxes. The reason for this will be discussed in the Naval Phase below.

The final deployment during this phase is the SAS marker. This is placed alongside one of the Argentine airbases. If air raids are launched from this base then the presence of the SAS will provide a benefit during the early warning step of the Air Combat phase.

After the initial deployment of the Task Force, subsequent turns tend to be a matter of housekeeping, whereby gaps are plugged and reinforcements are slotted into the defensive screen. Decisions as to how many Harriers should be used, if at all, do prove tough.

Come the San Carlos landings, the placing of vessels on the San Carlos display becomes a logistical nightmare as you try to maximise the position for your ground troops whilst still providing adequate defence in San Carlos Water and back on the Task Force display.

Naval Combat Phase

The Naval Phase represents the attempts of the British submarines to prevent the Argentine submarines and Task Group reaching the Task Force. Dice rolls determine whether the Argentines put to sea and, if they are in-port or at sea, in which Patrol Box they will be placed. The nature of the rolls is such that the Argentine Carrier Group is less likely to make an appearance and that available Argentine vessels will more likely appear in the Coastal box. So during the prior British submarine deployment it’s best to anticipate where the Argentines are likely to appear.

If any of the patrol boxes contain Argentine and British vessels, then they attempt to detect and attack each other. The Combat Display is used to hold the counters from the contested box. The Combat Table (and the reverse of the counters) indicates the type of dice to be used for detection and attack (a roll of 1 indicating a success). Attacks may need a further rules of engagement roll. If any vessels survive an attack the Naval Attack Resolution Chart is consulted to determine where the Argentine counters are placed: essentially do they adopt a conservative strategy and disappear or do they act aggressively and remain on the board.

If any Argentine vessels remain in the Naval Patrol Boxes they will have an opportunity to attack the Task Force. Again detection and attack rolls will be made to determine the outcome.

The sinking of certain British and Argentine vessels will have a political and operational impact and will affect International and/or Domestic Opinion. Lose too many ships and you’ll lose the game.

Air Combat Phase

The first step of the air phase is the Scramble roll to determine whether the Argentines will scramble an air raid or cancel further raids for the day. If scrambled, further rolls are made to determine the airbase the raids will come from, the target of the raids (this could be any of the Task Force zones or San Carlos itself, after Operation Sutton has started), the number of aircraft in the raid (maximum of four) and how much early warning the player will have, allowing him, possibly, to scramble his Harriers to the exact zone and head off the threat. It is possible, depending on die rolls and International Opinion that the player will be unable to scramble Harriers at all.

There can be more than one air raid in a turn, determined by the SitRep card and the Scramble roll. In the early stages there can only be one raid each turn, whereas the Operation Sutton SitRep card allows for a maximum of 5 raids in a turn.

Once a zone is targeted, there follow several different types of combat. If there are Harriers in the zone (on CAP or just scrambled) then air-to-air combat takes place. Any surviving Argentine aircraft are then targeted by warships in the zone (and Rapier missiles in San Carlos) and finally the Argentine aircraft have a chance to attack the surface vessels. All combat is dice driven with the Combat Table indicating the dice to be used during each encounter.

There are two interesting mechanics incorporated into this phase. The first is the Target Lock Roll used during air-to-air and surface-to-air combat. This is an abstraction of trying to fix the weapon systems of the attacking aircraft or vessel onto the target. Each aircraft has a dice value which is used for the Target Lock Roll. This value dice is rolled for each aircraft being targeted. The result of the roll is noted on the Combat display. The same value dice is rolled again; once for each attacking aircraft (twice if the Harriers are using Sidewinders). If any attacking roll matches those rolled for the target aircraft, the aircraft are considered destroyed or aborted.

For example, let's say there are four Mirages in a raid. Mirages have a target lock value of 10 which indicates a roll of 1d10 for each Mirage in the raid. I roll 3, 7, 7 and 9. Next I roll 1d10 for each of my Harriers. If any result in 3 or 9 the corresponding Mirage is placed back at its airbase. A roll of 7 would force both Mirages that had this number back to their airbase.

The other mechanic of note is the four-stage attack process during the surface-to-air phase which represents the approaching Argentine aircraft. A radar lock roll and a target lock roll are repeated at 30 miles, 20 miles, 10 miles and 1 mile out. If the radar lock is unsuccessful then proceed to the next distance. The British warships have one of four different missile systems on board which are effective at two or three of the distances mentioned above. The tension can be unbearable as either the vessels fail to get a radar lock or the target lock roll fails. This is even more so with the Super Etendards, one of which will release an Exocet (if available) at 30 miles. There is no target lock roll, just an increased chance of the Exocet doing untold damage as it gets closer. If it reaches 1 mile without a radar lock then a roll of 1-5 on 1d6 will sink the warship.

Ground Combat Phase

Once the Operation Sutton SitRep card has been turned over then the landings may begin. Each turn after the Air Combat Phase two Argentine units are placed on the San Carlos display. Troop ships on the San Carlos Display can then move the units they hold from the Troop Ship display to San Carlos.

Ground Combat will occur in those Landing Zones that contain both British and Argentine units. The combat element is basic but fun. A number of markers are placed alongside the British or Argentine counters on the Combat Display. For example, Elite units receive a marker, British units that have a warship adjacent to them receive a marker, and the Argentines receive a marker if there are no Harriers over San Carlos. A full strength unit has four steps; these additional markers basically represent additional steps for each unit. The type of die to be rolled is indicated on the unit counter. Roll one for the British and one for the Argentine unit; high roll wins, draws are awarded to the unit that occupied the zone at the beginning of the turn. The loser loses a step; remove any markers first and then rotate the unit counter 90 degrees for each further step lost . Once the unit counter has been fully rotated it is removed from the game.

Tidy Up Phase

Finally any Harriers on the board are returned to their carriers and a number of other markers are removed.

Conclusion

Dan’s philosophy in the production of this game was to hark back to the qualities of the old Avalon Hill games with mounted boards and good quality components. This he has managed to achieve and surpass, particularly through choosing Mark Mahaffey for the graphic design. In both production quality and support Dan (ably assisted by Mark) has put many (if not most) wargame publishers to shame. Before the release of the game he posted here and at Consimworld numerous articles with After Action Reports and tutorials on the main game mechanics. A rules PDF was also released early during the production.

That the quality of the components has been achieved at the price of £35 is amazing. Wargamers in Europe are so used to paying a premium for games produced in the US (with poorer components) that the question must be asked how other publishers can’t achieve the same quality.

Dan Hodges has stated that RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940 is his favourite game of all time. Some of the elements of RAF can be seen in WTID, but Dan has managed to simplify these without sacrificing playability or narrative. Having bought and played RAF just before this game, I must say that I much prefer WTID.

The problem with some solitaire wargames is that they attempt to approach realism by bogging the game down with too many tables, numerous modifiers and nonsensical exceptions. I would argue that a level of realism can also be achieved through a good narrative. This is where WTID excels. The events particularly provide a great political background to the gameplay and give difficult and meaningful decisions for the player to make.

Admittedly, the game is not complex - I’d put it in the light to light-medium weight range - but it benefits greatly from this. You could probably introduce Eurogamers to the game without much trouble. It could be argued that some of the procedures have been too abstracted by the use of dice, but this just helps in the immersion of the game. Most steps become second-nature and with the combat values included on the back of counters and markers the player can concentrate on their decision making without having to consult separate combat tables.

The interlinking of the various elements of the game add to the tension; there aren’t enough Harriers to carry out all duties, supply interdiction has to be done to assist in the landings and International and Domestic opinion have to be carefully managed throughout. Although the victory conditions relate to what is achieved during the ground combat phase, you still need to perform well throughout the whole game.

The number of events (and their either/or nature) add to the replayability of the game together with the obvious desire to have just another game to try and take all ten landing zones.

WTID is, I think, the best solitaire wargame that has been released for a very long time. It is easy to pick up, intelligent, full of difficult decisions, fun and very, very tense. The production quality and overall philosophy of the company have ensured that the gauntlet has been thrown down to all other wargame companies.



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Mark Mahaffey
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Wow, Ian, thanks for your thorough and thoughtful review!
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Paul Lister
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Ace review - can't wait for my copy to turn up
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Dave Earp
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Ian,

A Great Review!

I love the game, just keep wanting to play one more turn! Really Excellent.

Cheers Dave
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Miguel Antón
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Thanks for the review!
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Matt R
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Argh!!!!!!!!!

You just successfully removed the last lingering remnants of doubt I had that were preventing me from getting this.

So. I know that I can order it from the States but I'd rather Dan not be out anything. Part of my mental state in spending money on this is that "its for charity!"

Is it true that if I buy it from Noble Knight that Dan will not have any money to donate? Since I've going to get this, I'd like to make sure that no one is "losing" anything and I want to make sure the charities are getting their donations.
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Mark Mahaffey
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They do, the only person "losing" money in the American deal is the British shipping company.
 
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Matt R
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West2 wrote:
They do, the only person "losing" money in the American deal is the British shipping company.


Well - who cares about them?

I'll place the order with nobleknight.com then. This way I get it faster too. Thanks!

EDIT: Just placed my order. Now I guess I'll read my print out of the rules (again) so I'll be ready! Hopefully I'll get the game in time for next weekend. Thanks again for the review!
 
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Gordon Watson
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ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
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Good review - looking forward to my copy arriving, hopefully Monday or Tuesday.

Shame it couldn't have stuck with the original name 'I counted them all out'. I've nothing against Francis of Assisi but, I can't read the phrase 'Where there is discord' without hearing the awful tones of the 'Brass b$£&h of Grantham' - a somewhat divisive politician in the UK - you either love or hate her, Count me in the latter camp.

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Barry Kendall
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As the happy U.S. Labor Day recipient, I'll second this fine review 100%. There is really nothing more to add besides: "Buy this--and play it!"

Didn't know RAF is Dan's favorite game, but now I want know his second favorite so I'll have some idea what his next masterpiece might be like--after he rests from this herculean endeavor.
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It's just a ride...
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batdog wrote:
"In Britain, 28 May becomes "Mrs Thatcher Day" and Port Stanley is renamed "Port Thatcher""!


That would be reason enough for me to only try for a partial victory!

Sounds like a great game though.
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Steve Carey
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Simply a superb overview, Ian - very informative and a distinct pleasure to read!

 
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Andy Daglish
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Quote:
That the quality of the components has been achieved at the price of £35 is amazing. Wargamers in Europe are so used to paying a premium for games produced in the US (with poorer components) that the question must be asked how other publishers can’t achieve the same quality.


It is answered by comparing unit cost with a profitable product published by a successful business, and bearing in mind this is a charitable venture. I'd guess GMT do one of their standard games for about $12, say $15 for CCA. If you want to pay L2 prices -- £80/$130? -- then you can have this level of quality, so long as you can find at least 1499 friends.

Carriage cost is then a consequence of a large and heavy product, but £14 for Germany, £24 for Austria and £30 for Switzerland might tend to generate a few bulk orders from the gameshop owner in Lindau. Presumably they get one game for the price of two in Israel, Pakistan or South Africa due to the likelihood of postman, buyer or indeed game being shot or blown to bits before the wrap is removed.
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James Fung
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Great review! I also agree that narrative and immersion are important in a solitaire game, and mechanics that pop you out of that frame of mind are a poor choice in solitaire games.

I do have one question: since the SitRep cards are played in order, how's the replayability? Will the game become predictable or repetitive? Understandably, the events and any randomly generated result will be different, but if you know something big may happen on, say, card 13, then you won't be as surprised.
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Dan Hodges
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The Sit. Rep. cards simply increase the chance of an air attack; the big 'Events' are generated randomly by the Event Cards themselves.

I'll have to wait for others to give some feedback on replay value, but the system has quite a few variables, and choices, so I'm pretty confident it'll stand up on that score.

The AARs people have been posting also indicate quite a lot of variety.
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Ian Wakeham
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Chester
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You can best view the SitRep cards as part of the narrative structure in that as you get closer and closer to the Islands the likelihood of raids will intensify and the types of aircraft available, and the number of possible raids, will increase.

So yes, the three different sets of numbers on each SitRep card will be the predictable factor,but as each is further associated with a die roll (and one by an additional modifier) you can't anticipate what will actually happen - other than, early on, what aircraft will constitute the air raid. For example, one player reported having no air raids in the first 13 turns. I had an air raid in my first two turns.

Replayability is based on a number of factors:

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Deployment - reasonably free choice as to where and when to place the British assets
Event cards - the either/or nature (and the choice of delaying certain events) should keep gameplay fresh
SitRep cards - for variety, alter when you decide not to take a new card; early, middle or late in the game
Challenges - try to take as many landing zones as possible (or as many in as short a time as possible - turn over the Operation Sutton card on 24 May)

On this basis I don't think the game should become repetitive or predictable.
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Wei Jen Seah
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Excellent review! I had not heard of this game before reading this review, but now that I have...

I...must...have...it...zombie
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Paul Bradshaw
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A superb review that should wet the appetite of any potential owner.

I have only had a couple of three hour blasts at this, sort of mini tutorials to get a handle on the mechanics and gameplay, which in turn means that I have only managed to get to about turn 8 (do not yet have the safe space to leave this set up away from the prying hands of children). Within these mini sessions some turns have been relatively calm and over quickly, whilst in others all hell broke loose. This really does add to tense decision making because you are always having to think about what may lie around the corner.

There are so many different strands to engage the player within this game: the actual asset management of the fleet and Harrier cover; dealing with international and domestic issues and their consequences; decision making as to whether you stick or twist on the Sit Reps which in turn impacts on other facets of gameplay and then the varied nature of combat within the game itself (including desperate attempts to track and lock on in-bound exocets). A couple of runs at this and you really start to get the hang of things and the pace of the turns accelerate. The only aspects of the game that I am yet to encounter are the landings and land based conflict.

Like others have noted, the Falklands War was a backdrop to my early teen years and I clearly remember the conversations that took place at school relating to the likes of HMS Sheffield, the Belgrano and so on. The whole narrative and visual aspect to this game really draws you in and sets the scene superbly. Dan and Mark should rightly be congratulated on a Herculian effort that I do think will stand the test of time in relation to playability. It is also fitting to note that there are very few games that deal with this particular conflict and further congrats to both on producing one of such quality.

The only minor quibble that I have are those mentioned by the original poster relating to the rule book - mine is already starting to show the strains of too much backwards and forwards thumbing. Other than that this is damn near perfect!
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Fezvez
France
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As the user before me said, this review made me buy the game!

It's my first post in BGG forums, I guess I hardly ever felt so much eagerness to get my hands on a game cool
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James Mackenzie
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Well I'm not surprised - it was your missiles that did the damage...
 
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