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Subject: Warriors of God: my two cents rss

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David Travis
United States
College Park
Maryland
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Introduction

I had heard great things about this game from a friend of mine, so I let him borrow my copy of Agricola in exchange for letting me borrow his copy of Warriors. I think that I will definitely have to purchase this at some point in the near future.

Warriors of God is a light area control based war-game that centers on the Hundred Years War.

Components
On first opening the box, I was disappointed to see a paper "board" for the map, rather than a mounted one. But my disappointment quickly disappeared when I saw how beautiful the map is. The pieces are large enough to handle and easy to read. My friend had already sorted out the spare pieces and divided the leaders for the two scenarios. I like how the leaders for the Hundred Years War scenario have printed text on them in Black and the Lion in Winter are in White so that it is easy to tell the difference. I also like the conservation of pieces by having different leaders on each side of the token (or different countries for those duplicitous non-aligned leaders). Oh, my girlfriend wants me to mention the cute dice. The game comes with 10 half-sized dice that are smaller than normal dice. All in all, this is a very well put together game.

Rules/Complexity

The rules are very easy to read. I have played a few "war" games that had rules that I had to read a dozen times to understand (I'm looking at you Blackbeard). That was not the case with Warriors. The rule book is well written and even has some humor in it (for example, telling you to taunt your opponent mercilessly if your newly deployed leader manages to snatch up the troops they just deployed to a region).
You also get a player aid that summarizes the rules and gives you a list of the phases in each Turn.

Game Play
Each player rolls to determine initiative for the turn. I like how the roll for initiative also determines the number of Impulses (or actions) for each turn. The person that wins the initiative "Initiative Player (IP)" gets a number of impulses equal to 2+ the die roll of the person who lost. The non-Initiative Player (nIP) get one less impulse.
Armies are moved around the board from one area to another depending on the terrain between the territories. The "flypaper" rule is a mechanism that prevents armies from leaving an area that is in contention. If France has two armies in a region and England moves one in, France can only move one of those armies out of the region.
Battles occur when there are armies from either side in a location at the end of all the movement.
After the dust settles, players determine control of regions by checking the influence of their leader. A leader in his home region has a better chance of controlling it than a leader from a different region. A leader of higher rank has a better chance than a lower ranked leader.
Troops are raised and moved. Units can be deployed only to controlled areas, so you have to watch your supply lines if you want reinforcement.
Leaders that were taken captive in battle can be exchanged or left in prison (where they become points for the opposing side).
Due to the length of the game there is an interesting mechanism for determining the "lifespan" of leaders. In each turn a die is rolled for each leader. One the first turn after entering the game that leader will have a 1 in 6 chance of dieing, 2 in 6 after two turns, 3 in 6 after 3 and so on. Others have said that this adds too much chaos to the game but I disagree. I think that it fits the theme of the game very well and give you a reason (opportunity) to plan based on the age of you leader.
New leaders are placed by both sides with nIP getting to choose the first non-aligned leader to place. In some ways, I think the benefit of getting first pick of the non-aligned leaders, out ways the movement benefits of being IP. The leaders are all more or less balanced, but being able to pick the local leader in Wales (for example) as the French can throw a wrench in your opponents plans.
From the order of the phases where you move troops, have leaders die, then deploy new troops, it is possible that troops you have moved to a region will "defect" to the other side. All units in the game are either generic or tied to a region, but non are tied to a county. So the French can raise English Longbowmen and the English can use French Chevaliers as long as the command requirements are met. So if you move your troops into a region for a particular leader and he dies, your opponent can sweep in with a new leader and take those troop. All is fair in love and war.
Finally points are scored based on the "value" of a region and the rank of leaders killed or captured in Battle. In my first game I got lucky enough to capture the French king and hold him in prison for a few turns which really increases your score.

Conclusion
Warriors of God is a great game. It is quick to set up and quick to play. The rules are easy to understand and easy to teach. I am looking forward to playing this a lot. The two scenarios and the way that non-aligned leaders are handled will add a bit of variety to every game and help keep things interesting.
To address the question of all the dice rolling. I think that the "luck" in this game adds to the theme. The length of time covered in the Hundred Years War makes it likely that bad things will happen to these people. The leader death mechanism helps influence strategy. I find that I am more willing to take risks knowing that a leader is probably going to die soon, than I would necessarily take otherwise. If you plan your supply lines and set up a "chain of command" per se, you probably won't have any problem losing your leaders. (This of course coming from the person that had Edward III last until turn 5.) I can see why some people would be opposed to this game, but I don't think I agree that there is too much luck. Where some see luck, I see a mechanism that really adheres to the theme of the game.

I am giving this game a 9 out of 10 and think that you should check it out. I think if you like history games, you will enjoy this one.
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John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
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Good '2 cents' David!!

I feel the same about the game...I love it!!! I do wish there was a mounted map....but plexiglass works fine for now!!!
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David Travis
United States
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Thanks. Mine actually laid out pretty flat without, but I'll have to remember that as a way to handle other maps.
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Jim Marshall
United Kingdom
York
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Mine lies pretty flat too.

I think paper maps are less of an issue with games using area maps and low counter densities (e.g. Warriors of God). I use plexiglass for games with hex maps and lots of counters.
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Tom Hancock
United States
Charleston
West Virginia
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I use a sheet of plexiglass (available at any hardware store), which is great to play on even though the board laid pretty flat.

Nice review.... the luck in the game is just another thing to plan for. With proper contingency plans in place it only makes the game more interesting.
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Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
United States
Riva
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    In my opinion the luck is what makes the game jump. The phase order makes the luck such an integral part of the decision-making process that it's impossible to ignore. It's the heart and soul of the game. I'd be curious to hear recommendations for other games that scratch the same itch.

             S.

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Mike E.
United States
Lorton
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Nice review--thumbs up. I bought this game last summer on the strength of the favorable reviews it has garnered and feel it has stood the test of time, review-wise, as a safe bet for purchase.

I went through the place at work where a lot of unused office supplies are stored and located these 21 x 16 inch rubber/plastic mats that people used to use to cover portions of their desks with. They would put calenders, pictures, and things underneath them. At any rate, no one seems to want them, so I liberated about three of them and found that they do a pretty good job for putting over game maps and other playaids that come with wargames. They also can roll up, which is good.
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