Andrew Tullsen
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Intro
A light wargame simulation of the Cod Wars in the 1970s. Just like the title of the game.

Ease of Printing
There's a 2 fold board and a countersheet. Not a whole lot of printing to do.
The rules are a simple txt file, nothing much there.



How to Play
This is an asymmetric wargame, where each player controls two ships. Iceland is trying to stop the English boats from fishing in the waters.

Each player gets two moves to move their ships. The English ships have to fish once every turn turns at least. If they end their turn in an un-fished hex, then they put "fished out" markers on it. This is how they score points.

The Icelandic ships have to confront, which takes both moves and is done from an adjacent hex. Then each player draws a card from their deck. They have a once per game option to discard it for another card. Otherwise, highest card wins, and the other player gets a point on the "world opinion" track. The British ship gets taken off the board.


The second round begins usually after both British ships are gone. The second round starts with both ships back in the corners, but with all the fished out tokens still in play. There is also a random event with either Iceland or the British losing a move for the first turn.

The British needs 12 points of fished out tokens on the board plus or minus the world opinion points.


HOW does it Play?
Kind of boring actually. I like asymmetric games, as they force you to play different for the different sides.
What I imagine the exciting confrontation card play was supposed to be was a bit boring, as you just draw a card and resolve, and it's only a point difference - you can't really control what you get. Both sides are just trying to get low numbers, so it's really just up to the draw. The games were over fast (which is a plus in my book), but the game play just wasn't very exciting.
Once a confrontation actually happens, the British ship is gone, no matter what cards get played. Not sure how it should be different, but you can't do anything to "save" it, even if you "win" the confrontation.



Worth the ink?
Well. first you want to find out which version you want to print. I found that there were at least a couple of versions out there.
In one version you need 12 points to win, in another version you need more than 12 points.

Also, the whole confrontation thing was a little unclear. The rules said that the winner moves the world opinion "towards them". But then the example said that it was the other way around, with the winner of the confrontation moving it towards the other person. The funny thing is that it doesn't even matter which way it is, as long as you play the same way. one way, you are trying to get high numbers, the other, you are trying to get low numbers.


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Luke Morris
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Just being picky but it's the Icelandic people not the Irish right?
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Andrew Tullsen
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HamsterOfFury wrote:
Just being picky but it's the Icelandic people not the Irish right?


blush Hey, it's late, don't give me too much grief. For some reason "Iceland" translated to "Irish" in my brain. Fixed now.
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Pete Belli
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Thanks for taking a few minutes to play Cod Wars and thank you for the review! Nice pictures.

Quote:
There's a 2 fold board and a countersheet. Not a whole lot of printing to do. The rules are a simple txt file, nothing much there.


Since Cod Wars was originally designed to be played with Axis & Allies stuff a player who owns that game can skip part of the printing and scissor work.

Quote:
Also, the whole confrontation thing was a little unclear.


Yes, that is a little vague. My fault.

Here is a tidbit from the rules:


For example, if the Icelandic player draws a Warning!! card but the British player draws a Shot Across The Bow card then the British player has performed the more dangerous action. The British player would be required to move the Diplomatic Tension Level one square in the Icelandic player's direction.


The player who commits the more warlike act pushes world opinion in favor of the other player, moving the marker in the less aggressive player's direction.

Quote:
The Icelandic ships have to confront, which takes both moves and is done from an adjacent hex. Then each player draws a card from their deck. They have a once per game option to discard it for another card...


These confrontation rules were lifted directly from my space exploration game and reflect the isolation of high level commanders from the captains of the ships serving under these leaders.

Each player represents a supreme commander like a fleet admiral or the national defense authority. These officers issue orders from headquarters but they can't control the actions of individual ship captains on the high seas. The careers of these admirals live or die with the impulsive and/or brilliant decisions of junior officers. I gave each player emergency control over one ship commander ("Priority message from StarFleet, Captain Kirk!") to prevent a dangerous escalation.


It isn't the most exciting game in the hobby... but print out that map and those cards and grab a few tokens from A&A! You can play a 10 minute wargame in which only the codfish die and there are no widows or orphans.
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Daniel Rocchi
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pete belli wrote:
It isn't the most exciting game in the hobby... but print out that map and those cards and grab a few tokens from A&A! You can play a 10 minute wargame in which only the codfish die and there are no widows or orphans.


Cod widows?? Cod orphans??






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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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Highly original. What made you think of it for a game?
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Pete Belli
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Ashiefan wrote:
Highly original.


Thank you.

Quote:
What made you think of it for a game?


I was a kid when the conflict happened but I remember the news coverage.

Another wargame Geek made a funny comment about the Cod Wars here on BGG and I decided to create this little tidbit. I enjoyed the challenge of designing a wargame without death and mass destruction.

I'm delighted to see this review on BGG!

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Jason Martin
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pete belli wrote:
Ashiefan wrote:
Highly original.


Thank you.

Quote:
What made you think of it for a game?


I was a kid when the conflict happened but I remember the news coverage.

Another wargame Geek made a funny comment about the Cod Wars here on BGG and I decided to create this little tidbit. I enjoyed the challenge of designing a wargame without death and mass destruction.

I'm delighted to see this review on BGG!



Pete strikes again! Loving your prolifically!!
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Wendell
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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pete belli wrote:

Another wargame Geek made a funny comment about the Cod Wars here on BGG and I decided to create this little tidbit.


I meant to write "Cold War" about something and it came out "Cod War" instead!
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Junior Chuang
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Played this game with a friend with a good 50 some repetitions. Unfortunately, the game seemed to be one where British player have a winning strategy, when the 'random' factors are taken out.

We played this first with the cards, and found that British can win fairly consistently. We took out the cards to analyze the game based purely on strategy and no luck. As it turns out, the British have a winning strategy that Icelandic side cannot counter. I won't post the full detail of that because it will spoil the fun for others, unless people insist. The card element of the game really further tips the game in British favour. As long as the British player plays optimally, Iceland cannot win.

All in all, a very nice concept and a cool design. But some of the rules may need to be revamped and slightly revised so that the game is more 'fair'. Obviously we could be missing something major but as it stands, we cannot find a Icelandic counter strategy.
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Pete Belli
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Thank you for the analysis.


Quote:
Played this game with a friend with a good 50 some repetitions.


Wow! That probably matches my play count!

Quote:
Unfortunately, the game seemed to be one where British player have a winning strategy, when the 'random' factors are taken out.We played this first with the cards, and found that British can win fairly consistently. We took out the cards to analyze the game based purely on strategy and no luck. As it turns out, the British have a winning strategy that Icelandic side cannot counter.


You might be correct, but the cards really must be included. The special "command system" I used in Cod Wars makes the cards an essential element of the game.

Quote:
I won't post the full detail of that because it will spoil the fun for others, unless people insist.


That is a thoughtful gesture. Thank you. Your experience with the game undoubtedly places you in the front rank of players who have really tested the limits of the design. I don't think my P&P games are ready for that kind of deep analysis, so your kindness might allow a less enthusiastic Geek to explore Cod Wars at his or her own pace.

Great contribution!
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Junior Chuang
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Thank you so much for making this game though! We enjoyed every game we played and every brain cringing moment trying to figure out a better strategy. It may have been an overkill doing an in depth analysis but it goes to show the value of the game in my opinion. The board design and the game mechanics are simple and yet brilliant. Our only regret is not able to find a balance point between the two sides, after running simulations on my work computer (call me geek or whatnot, but I really wanted to prove my friend wrong ).

It makes sense when you consider that, for a chess-like game with a non-regular board, it is to be expected that one player should have a winning strategy. Checkers for one have been solved and in checkers if both player play optimally, there exists a winning strategy. The game is only varied because a players make mistakes. Cod war with its simpler designs may be less likely to have players make mistakes, and therefore granting a higher percentage of winning for the British player.

Most games rely on some sort of randomness to balance the outcome (die rolls, card shuffling, etc) and Cod Wars benefits from this so that one side is not always dominating the other. Icelandic player can win if certain combination of cards comes up, but the British player has its own strategy with cards to minimize the probability for Icelandic player win (Again, apologizing for the vague language usage here, don't want to give anything away). I think the simplest recommendation that we came up with without changing the core of the game is to change the colour of the cards that determines the event.

***spoiler alert***

This is because that since neither player wants a bad confrontation card that shifts world opinion too heavily on the other players side, both would have incentive to toss the most violent card available (red) when it comes up. This causes the red card to come up in the event much more often and further impedes the already handicapped Icelandic player.

***end of spoiler***

So our solution would be to simply switch the event for red and orange. It actually does wonders to balancing out the sides.

This is just our humble suggestion stemming from the idea that when the cards are not involved, British can always win. If that is the case then having cards balancing the outcome slightly in Iceland's favour would make the game more fair to play. Once again we thank you for providing us with tremendous game. My friend used this game as a basis for his project in his game theory class : )
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Russ Williams
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Tangent into combinatorial game theory...
JuniorC wrote:
It makes sense when you consider that, for a chess-like game with a non-regular board, it is to be expected that one player should have a winning strategy.

If a game permits ties/draws as a possibility, then I wouldn't expect one player to necessarily have a winning strategy, and it certainly doesn't inherently depend on the board being regular or irregular. It simply depends on specific details of the particular game. Assuming optimal play, there are games with regular boards that have guaranteed wins for one player, games with regular boards that are guaranteed draws, games with irregular boards that have guaranteed wins for one player, and games with irregular boards that are guaranteed draws.

If a game doesn't permit ties and is guaranteed to terminate, then indeed some player has a guaranteed win assuming optimal play, regardless of the specifics of the board shape.

Quote:
Checkers for one have been solved and in checkers if both player play optimally, there exists a winning strategy.

AFAIK Checkers was shown to be a draw assuming optimal play.
E.g. see:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/checkers-solved
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/317/5844/1518.abstract
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Pete Belli
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Interesting comments!

Quote:
This causes the red card to come up in the event much more often...


True... and the volcano did errupt during the conflict.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Yes, this does slow the Icelandic player down in many sessions. The number of cards used in the first round varies (as you mentioned) so the volcano has a decent chance of causing trouble. That doesn't always wreck the game for the player controlling Iceland, but it hurts.
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