Tom Haesendonckx
Belgium
Antwerp - Schoten
Antwerpen
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Berserk: War of the Realms fanMicrobadge: Napoleonics enthusiastMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: Copper Board Game CollectorMicrobadge: Copper Session Reporter
Hi all,

...and welcome to my third review.

In my review I will try to shed some light on different areas that I find important for any game I might be tempted to buy. In this way I hope to inform people who are tempted to buy this game, but feel unsure if it's a game for them.

Victory: Blocks of War (V;BoW) is a light WWII wargame that uses blocks with stickers to represent units. The pieces move over hex-maps that are large enough to allow stacks of blocks to be placed, forming armies in diffent terrain hexes.

1) Presentation and game components

The wooden blocks and full color pictures that you stick up to them work fine for this type of game. It would have helped if the infantry would also have had a picture instead of a symbol though.

Board Game: Victory: World War II


The maps are functional but not beatifull. It's a pity that the map boards are not mounted. On the up side, this allows for large maps that aren't too expensive to buy and easy to stash away.

Board Game: Victory: World War II


2) Rules

The rulebook on itself is not really a piece of art but it reads quickly and gets you playing in record time without too much rulebook-refering.
It is a lighter type of wargame though with a WWII theme that is handled loosely. The map isn't a real world map and the units only roughly refer to WWII type units. Do not look to find differences between a Tiger tank and Sherman tank in this game.
Luckily, that's also not the aim for this type of wargame.

The rules do allow for a good mix of different unit types as well on land, in the air as on the high sees. arrrh

Different types of ships and aircraft make for a more 'realistic feel' as opposed to just having infantry, armor, air or ship units.

Due to the lack of purpose for the military operations in V:BoW when playing a general 'kill all' game, the availability of scenarios is essential. Most scenarios come with some special rules and victory conditions.

I will not go down into a summary of the rules as this would take me to far from the aim of this review.

3) Playability

Victory; Blocks of War is a light wargame with a WWII based theme. In that...it succeeds! It almost feels as an introductory level game that is perfect for non-grognards and allows for a smooth evolutions towards the medium level games like the Eastfront/Medfront/...-range from Columbia.

A normal 2-player game can easily be played in a single evening and there's only a very short setup time.

The game comes with enough scenario's to keep things interesting and more are downloadable. I do have to say that playing a scenario that is different from 'Kill the other guy' is an absolute must for this game. If not, the game comes down to building the 'perfect stack of units' which doesn't keep your interest for long enough.

The adaptable hex-maps make for a good variation of possible terrain combo's that also allows for a really big map to be map to play a four player campaign for example (which would take more than 1 evening to finish).

On the downside, solitary playability is very low.


4. Strategy & luck

V:BoW is based on a good mix of luck and strategy. The actual combat, when one or more armies meet each other, is very much depending on some good or bad dice rolling. However: the trick is to use the right combination of troops with the right combination of air/see-support to maximise your chances.

Using fast armored divisions can feel like a real blitzkrieg, exploiting any holes in the enemy line. However, they will need followup support to reach the front quickly because your tanks and par&atroopers will not hold long against a vicious combined forces counterattack.

The fact that you can't see the strenght and identity of your opponent's units makes for a nice twist that allows for some bluffing.

It's always a tense moment when you initiate battle and find out what foreces your opponent has.

The battles (once initiated) are not very tactical (as opposed to the strategical decisions on which troops to put where...). An important decision is always whether or not to withdraw...and when to do it.

The good news is that the battles are fast and bloody! As this is an introductory level wargame, this is more a plus than a minus as beginning players will often loose interest/concentration when there is too much detail for them to absorb at once.

5. Personal opinion

I'd recommend Victory: the Blocks of War to anyone as an introductory wargame as it's light, fast and furious...ideal for playing with friends that aren't dedicated wargamers.

I always play a scenario, however. Playing a 'kill each other'-standard game doesn't do it for me.

This is one game in which not having too much background, doesn't really disturb me. It puts the emphasis on the game's mechanics which is not a bad way to introduce new wargamers.

It teaches the effects of combined arms attacks, airsuperiotity, naval-superiority and terrain in a perfect way to newcomers to the genre. I must say though that the game holds enough of realism to be enjoyed by the more experienced level players who will usually win against a less skilled opponent, proving that the game is won by startegy and tactics, not lucky dice rolling.


Is it worth your money?

If you are looking for a starter set to introduce you into the blocks-genre or wargames in WWII in general, this is a perfect buy. The game has a high replay value and will probably see a lot of table-time.

If, however, you prefer playing highly detailed campaigns with tactical battles...you might want to look around some more.

Another thing to keep in mind: 2 player games can be played in 1 evening but larger games, involving more players can tend to be a little longer.




I hope to have given some potential buyers an insight into the game, without going over the rules (which can be downloaded and have been discussed elsewhere).

Hope it helps...

Tom

Other review in the series:

1) Hell of Stalingrad: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/457634

2) Wizard Kings: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/458455

PS: English, obviously, isn't my native language...so excuse any mistakes or lack of style. And the starts..;they are out of a maximum of 5
29 
 Thumb up
2.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M@tthijs
Netherlands
Venlo
flag msg tools
Budo and boardgames...
badge
...weapons and wargames
Avatar
Microbadge: The winter of VGGMicrobadge: The spring of VGGMicrobadge: The summer of VGGMicrobadge: The autumn of VGGMicrobadge: Wargamer since the 80s
Hi,
thanks for the review. Although mentioning 5 times that it's a light, introductory wargame is a bit much for me.


My only 2 caveats with this game (in my limited experience) are:
- the tendency to stalemate and rather turn into a WW-I than a WW-II game
- the generic maps are too 'easy': every hex is within a few steps of a road, village or town. Compare that to other (block)games about the Eastfront, where the map itself places you for a challenge in terms of logistics and supply.

Personally, I would like to make a variant using EastFront II's HeadQuarter system. But with so many unplayed, ready wargames on my shelves, chances are slim I will.

Final note on the producer: Columbia Games is still my top compagny in terms of customer service. I told them I bought a used Victory in a garage sale and missed some pieces and they send me replacements, free of charge.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Haesendonckx
Belgium
Antwerp - Schoten
Antwerpen
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Berserk: War of the Realms fanMicrobadge: Napoleonics enthusiastMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: Copper Board Game CollectorMicrobadge: Copper Session Reporter
Wow...I had heard a lot of good things about them...but helping you out like that...is really nice of them.

Hope they keep on bringing the better games. I just bought their richard III game at Essen this year.arrrh

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
j b Goodwin

Lynchburg
Virginia
msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: ChristianMicrobadge: Star Realms fanMicrobadge: Conquest of Paradise fanMicrobadge: Rook fanMicrobadge: Wooden Ships & Iron Men fan
After years of playing this on my game table, I just played this on VASSAL, and it is an amazing game for that venue.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls