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Wars of the Roses: Lancaster vs. York» Forums » Reviews

Subject: IJADG! rss

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Anthony Goodwin
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I am a sucker for any game that changes based on the players involved. I LOVE mind games. When Revolution! was released, I bought it. I read the simple rules and suspected vast underhanded player interaction would run rampant. It did... kind of.

The game really depended on who you were playing with. There are those who make a big deal about the spy and apothecary being "broken", while others avoid them becoming a late game issue by building their resources up mid game and positioning into undeniable leads. There are those who take 4 hours to take a turn because they are running through every possible scenario, and others who play willy nilly without thinking.

Wars of the Roses is a game in the same vain, but with less hang ups. The experience is vastly dependent on whom you play with, or more accurately, How they play with you. I believe it can be a very rewarding game simply by not taking it as seriously as some people are prone to doing.

Let me start with a brief overview of Gameplay:

On the first turn, turn order is random, every other turn the player with the most points at the end of the last round goes last, the player with the least goes first and all others are arranged
in between in the same fashion.

Each turn is started by "drafting" cards representing different facets of English hierarchy. Ships, Bishops, Cities, Castles, and Nobles are for the players picking. These 8-12 cards (each turn)
are random and are chosen in turn order. They provide two important resources. Money and Control points.

Next, all player collect income from their income producing cards.

Players then, behind their respective player screens; bribe Ships, Bishops, and Nobles, Attack cities, castles, and ports, and Move nobles and ships. Their goal is to gain more control points in their target territories than anyone else. If a player accomplishes this they receive a certain amount of votes for each territory they control. Not all territories are equal. Some have more votes than others, so some interesting conflicts arise.

When all players have placed their orders, orders are resolved. Any transaction of power is made between players by handing over cards. Each territory is assessed, with all players gaining
the appropriate amount of points per territory they control (each is different for the top two control point leaders. When all points are tallied up, the house (Lancaster or York) who has the most votes gets 5 extra points.

At the end of 5 rounds the game ends and the player with the most points wins.

There is also a "catchup" mechanic in which players may gain pounds for every point they are behind the current leader up to 25. When timed right (used on a turn when more money producing cards are drafted) this can be a very useful mechanic. While I have yet found a reason to purposely lag behind it is helpful to mitigate the loss of poor early card drafts.

With all that said, you should at least TRY this game if:

You like blind bidding.
You like cat and mouse type games.
You like high production quality (the only game that rivals this in my opinion is Planet Steam.)
You like games that allow for player styles.
You like games that encourage loose team mechanics.

You should NOT play this game if:

You dislike all of the above.
You are prone to Analysis Paralysis.
You do not like creative tactics type games.

Over all I really like this game. While I recognize that I like many games others do not. The production quality alone makes this worth a try. Don't view this as a war game, don't take your moves too seriously, and accept the limited chaos and you will find the experience rewarding.
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Randolph Bookman
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I really enjoyed this game. When we had finished and all next day I kept thinking about how I played that game. That's when you know it's a great game. My 2 of my friends didn't like our 4 player game. They felt the mechanics were too random ( I see what they're saying, but I disagree).
Oh well looks like I need new friends. Great review.


Cheers,
Randolph
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The Galaxy is Just Packed!
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ToneMastaG wrote:
I believe it can be a very rewarding game simply by not taking it as seriously as some people are prone to doing.


Big thumb for this comment alone. Most games on BGG would be so much more fun if people stopped trying so hard to win.

Great review - I have this game and want to play so badly but can't get it to the table. Your review will help in that effort!
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Richard Young
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It is a very interesting game for all the reasons you state. I can see where it could be a game that some will find frustrating - especially the "no table talk" aspect. Most folks who play a lot of multi-player strategy games also believe that the table talk (negotiation, deals, threats, "helpful" comments, etc), are part of the natural course of play. That's not allowed here other than in a very general way, and it will throw some people.

However, I compliment the designers for stipulating this and you simply have to play a few times to appreciate their wisdom. Alliances (or as close as it gets to such a thing) are set at the beginning of the game, but cannot be trusted. In a multi-player game with one winner that is a given of course but at least in this game it is up front and you don't end up with the usual deceit that accompanies games like Diplomacy and most of the others.

And drop-dead gorgeous into the bargain. Good review of a great game!
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Gordon Robinson
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I am probably being thick but what does IJADG! mean?
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Anthony Goodwin
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No worries, it simply means "It's Just a Damn Game!" I am going to be doing a series of reviews for games that are "on the fence" for most people. Hopefully showing how certain games are more fun when taken less seriously.
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Anthony Goodwin
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As another note I will be typing all future reviews in Microsoft word and not notepad... so it won't look so weird.
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