King Philip’s War
I will be breaking down my review into some different categories and then summarizing my perspective into a conclusion. My first impression was very good. I liked the look of the pieces and the board. The rulebook had some nice historical summaries and a very nice bibliography showing the passion of the designer for the era.
When I think about theme, I ask the question, "Does this game make me feel like I am there?" The game forces you to loot and burn villages of women and children in order to win. This goes a long way towards capturing the feeling of the bitterness of the war in the wilderness. Indeed guerilla warfare into the modern era has focused on the idea of depriving the enemy of a support base. Razing villages is just one way to accomplish this.
The game also gives the feel of the divided colonies not really enthusiastic about working together as well as the reluctance of English settlers to give up the European battle paradigm of the day.
Winter attrition was just another nice touch. The more villages you burn to the ground the worse the attrition.
PRICE to QUALITY
There is a big battle die that come with the game. I think the material used in the manufacture of this was on the lower end. The standard dice are fine. The counters feel a bit cheap and I had to use some extra effort to get them out of the runner.
The map is beautiful as well as the player aid cards that come with it.
At $44, this game seems a bit expensive for what you get. You get a couple of counter sheets, paper map, rule book, reference cards, and some dice.
The rules are readable but not easily referenced once you finish your read. There are a few rules I had to go searching for that took some time. I prefer rule books that have plenty of cross referencing (e.g. see section 4.5). This rule book was pretty sparse on those.
There are a few things that the rules didn’t cover well as printed, but overall you can get the feel of where the designer was going and make the correct interpretations. There are several little typos here and there that hinder but not block you from getting the feel of the game.
The biggest rules gap has to do with tribal surrenders. There has been plenty of discussion on that on both BoardGameGeek and ConSimWorld to help fill in this gap in the rules. Even so this occurs very seldom and shouldn’t affect your typical games.
I really like the mechanics. The movement is your basic move and attack formula. Combat is unusual. Each side rolls a die and you compare the results based on your strength to determine how much damage you do. There is a random event die that goes with this that could influence the combat. Basically the large stand up fights turn into stalemates while maneuverability is rewarded in this game. There are several hard decisions to make at each turn in the game.
The diplomatic mechanic is particularly interesting. When the Indians raze English settlements the neutral Indians are more inclined to pitch in. As the English win victories and raze Indian villages, those same neutral Indians lose their enthusiasm. This is a difficult balancing act.
I really like this game. The rules glitches and gaps are for the most part easy fixes in common situations and require some extra help from the designers on some of the less common situations. I think the mechanic perfectly captures the feel of the era and lends itself well to encouraging players to adopt the strategies of the era. Well done.
I rated this game 8 out of 10.
Permission is granted to repost this to other forums.
Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
I am playing it now. I get to play in short spurts most of the time. I like how quickly the turns go. I have enjoyed playing it.