- Jimmy ShaftoeHong Kong
Kulikovo is a two player game featured in Against the Odds magazine #18. It depicts the battle in 1380 between the Golden Horde clan of Mongols and the nascent Russian state.
AtO #18 gives a lot of information about the particpants, events leading to the battle,a break down of the battle itself and the consequences .
The game rules are clearly laid out, not too difficult to digest and come in at only 9 pages excluding charts . There is also a very small amount of errata.
Each army has an overall leader piece plus several section leaders. Leaders control a group of units . On their turn a player activates a leader of their choice plus the units that leader commands. Movement is completed followed by combat which can be either ranged,shock or charge. The player can then attempt to activate another leader and its units by die roll and so on until he fails a die roll check. Then the other player repeats the procedure.
The armies start with their front units pretty much eyeball to eyeball so its action from the word go. Combat units are broken down in to several groups . Combat is resolved via a die roll plus a number of other factors such as terrain advantage, unit type advantage against different unit types-Heavy Cavalry should make a mess of missile units in shock combat for example. There are quite a few different things to consider when working out combat results but it is a process that is repeated so about half way through the first game it will become less of a chore.
The map offers plenty of room for maneuver and one side that looks to have the result sown up can quite easily find itself over extended and in a difficult situation when their opponent executes a counter attack. The winner of the battle is decided when either player forces their opponent over a certain number of Flight Points which are accrued by the losses to units via combat.The rules , while being straight forward , include fun chrome such as a False Dimitri for the Russian overall leader , a Russian ambush unit whose whereabouts is only known to the Russian player until a Mongol unit stumbles upon it and combat between two heroes to start the the game .
The components of the game are first class. The counters are attractive and easy to read. The map is of a high standard although it is a little difficult to distinguish changes in terrain height . Not a problem if you look closely but it will certainly be a little confusing on a first play.
The games plays fairly quickly and can be finished in an afternoon if both players are familiar with the rules. There is plenty of fun dice rolling and the unpredictability that it entails but strategic play will win the day. Some players don`t like the open ended turn procedure . Me ,I think it adds to the game and even if you can`t find an opponent who is a fan of the system its OK because Kulikovo plays fine solo All in all I find it a great experience. I`ve played this game 3 times face to face and twice solo and each time it was fun.
I must confess that this was the first `proper` hex and counter game I played and consequently I have a soft spot for it . That said , I reckon the rules are perfect for someone wanting to move in the hex and counter direction in the war game hobby. They are clear and not overly complex. Furthermore similar systems by the same designer have also been used in MEN OF IRON and SIMPLE GREAT BATTLES of HISTORY . Not that these games are necessarily the best games out there , that is a matter of taste , but, after mastering these three related systems I found other games less daunting. Highly recommended.
- [+] Dice rolls