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Subject: My first (and last?) game of 'España 1936' rss

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John McLintock
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This review is cross-posted from my blog- "Roll dice and kick ass!" (RD/KA!), which can also be found at RD/KA!@BGG.
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A long time coming

Regular readers will be well aware that I'm not a negative reviewer as a rule. It's too easy to find negativity on the web, and the first editorial decision I made way back in 2005 was that I wasn't going to contribute to it here at RD/KA!. Also, when I review anything, I've paid for it and therefore have a good reason to want to like it. Every so often though, something comes along which disappoints me sufficiently to prompt a distinct lack of enthusiasm to which I cannot but give vent. Antonio Catalán's game of the Spanish Civil War- España 1936, is a case in point.

Dust off and dust-up
España 1936 is a game I bought on sight when I saw it in Static Games, an FLGS: the subject of the Spanish Civil War interested me and the box ad-copy showed nice-looking components. It then joined my collection of dust-gatherers, where it stayed for a good three years. Only recently, with Liam's newfound enthusiasm for strategic boardgames, did I begin to think that I might finally get a chance to bring España 1936 to the table. My thinking was this game would serve as a useful bridge between Labyrinth and Twilight Struggle on the one hand, and games like Unhappy King Charles! on the other.

And so, on Wednesday night Liam and I sat down to have a go. Five hours later, I'd won the game, but España 1936 had lost the vote of confidence.

Components: a source of satisfaction
The mapboard
Colourful & functional, but hardly inspired

Let me be clear right from the start: España 1936 isn't a broken game, nor even a particularly bad game, it's just a disappointing game. None of this disappointment came from the components as such, which lived up to expectations. The mapboard is nice. Sure, comparing España 1936's board to those from Labyrinth and Twilight Struggle doesn't flatter the former, but it's still an example of clean and functional graphic design offering nothing to complain about, visually at least. It's also fully mounted, which is always appreciated.

The cards
History, events & combat modifiers

The four decks of cards: two each for the Republicans and the Nationalists- 1936-37 and 1938-39, are very nice too. The artwork is slightly cartoony in style, but this is a consistent design aesthetic throughout España 1936 and it contributes to the game's strong visual appeal, which is better than average compared to your typical wargame. Each card has three elements- the historical background, the event, and the combat modifiers; and these are all clearly depicted. The graphics for the combat modifiers are particularly good because they distinguish neatly between the two kinds of modifier: bonus/penalty dice; and bonus/penalty DRMs.

Well laid out with some neat touches

The counters
The counters too are nice. They're one of the game's best features in fact. Their vivid colours and images are more than just attractive, they're also useful in play, making it easy to recognise each side, and each side's different units. And there is quite a variety of troop units on each side. The Republicans have the Regular and Basque armies, the Anarchist and Communist militias, and the famous International Brigades; the Nationalists, their own Regulars, Carlist and Falangist Militias, Legionnaires, the Army of Africa and Italian troops. Each side also has its generals, tanks, aircraft and ships (for the optional naval game, which Liam and I didn't play, so there will be no comments on it here).

Sizes & shapes: smart graphic design makes checking stacks easier

What I like most though is the use of different sizes and shapes for different units. There are three shapes: hexagonal- the generals; square- ships; and round- troops, tanks and aircraft, which come in three sizes:
- The smallest are the strength 1 and 2 troops.
- In the middle are the strength 3 and 5 troops.
- The largest are the tanks and aircraft.

This isn't the first time I've seen this: my original Gibsons Games edition of History of the World does something similar, but it's a definite plus for España 1936 that it uses the same approach, whose effect is to make it easy to scan the board for your opponent's concentrations of strength.

Gameplay: familiar features competently executed
The system in general
A handy player aid

In a mere 8 pages of rules featuring large print and several well-illustrated examples, España 1936 features all the mechanics you'd expect of a point-to-point movement wargame:
- Controlling/contesting boxes: only one side's troops/both sides' troops in a box. Winning the game is based on controlling objective cities (the yellow boxes): there are several instant victory conditions, the most important of which is probably controlling 7 objective cities. If there is no instant win, the Republican wins if they have combat units in three objective cities at the end of turn 10.
- Movement, with the limitations imposed by moving into or out of controlled or contested boxes. Only troops and tanks actually move (aircraft and generals are freely placed); movement is essentially unlimited although units must stop moving if they enter/leave an enemy controlled/contested box.
- Stacking limits: 4 troops units/box (generals, tanks and aircraft don't count towards stacking limits).
- Supply, with the attendant effects on movement and combat: a box is in supply if there is an adjacent friendly controlled/contested box; troops out of supply can neither move nor attack.
- Combat, naturally enough.

There is also an events phase, and a replacements phase on every odd-numbered turn. These mechanics are all straightforward and the rules explain their workings clearly enough. The player aids also help players to keep track of the phases each turn: another plus.

Combat in particular
The rules for battles are the longest single section of the rules of España 1936. They use the tactical battleboard approach, in which each individual battle is broken down into one or more rounds. You can only attack if you've got a general with your troops, so you have to plan your battles carefully when it's time to place your generals- which is done after both players' movement is completed. Sometimes you'll want your generals to lead an attack; other times you'll want to commit a good general to help defend a vital objective city. This element of strategic planning meshes nicely with the additional tactical planning to make for battles which can be both interesting and tense.

Setting up a battle

This picture shows how a battle is set up. The attacker must always use their general in the first round; this is optional for the defender. In any event, no unit may attack or support more than once, although the same defending unit may be attacked more than once. Here, the Republican player has decided to throw everything he's got at the Nationalist's weaker unit- the Army of Africa, hoping that 4 dice with three good positive DRMs will be enough to eliminate it in one round- you resolve attacks by rolling 1d6/combat strength, scoring hits on '5's or '6's. The Nationalist decides to use their general and their Me-109, which'll have a good chance of winning a dogfight against the obsolescent B-XIX; the resulting 4d6 with a +1 DRM should ensure that the Republican's International Brigade won't come out of the battle unscathed.

Resolving the first round of battle

With the Army of Africa unit eliminated and the International Brigade unit reduced to a 1 strength Regular army unit, the Republican player now faces an interesting dilemma: the Legionnaire's +1 combat DRM and the tanks make it a tough target to take on but if it can be eliminated, the Nationalist will also lose his two tank units. In this situation, both players would probably be looking at their cards to see if they had any combat bonuses/penalties which might tilt the balance one way or another.

(NB. There is a small mistake in the above picture: the Me-109 has a combat strength of 2, and would roll 2d6 in the air combat. Ah well.)

The battle system has some crucial implications:
- If you want to win a battle in one round you need both an equal or greater number of units and significantly more combat strength and/or support bonuses.
- Even then, battles between relatively equal forces- large or small, will commonly end up as indecisive.
This makes sense to me and it means that the combat system, as a whole, is a strong feature of España 1936.


Caveats: the disappointments
Minor: the rulebook
The rulebook for España 1936 is written in the so-called 'conversational style'. As such it suffers from the typical problems of rulebooks of that ilk: illogical organisation, no cross-referencing, and frustrating page-flicking as you search for rules you're sure you've read, somewhere. This last problem is compounded by the lack of either a list of contents or an index. OK, the rulebook is short and the rules are simple, but what is there to lose by making life easier on players? Some examples of poor organisation:
- The rules for friendly and contested boxes (which are crucial to movement, supply, and winning) appear under 'Components'; ie. before the rules of play as such.
- The supply rules appear directly under the 'Sequence of Play'; just like the rules for friendly and contested boxes, these would benefit from appearing in a list of definitions of key terms at the top of the rules of play.

I'll admit that these are minor criticisms, but they highlight the inherent limits of the style of rulebook chosen by Antonio Catalán, a style I simply don't like because problems of this ilk inevitably crop up in my experience.

Middling: the mapboard and the battles
The mapboard aptly serves its purposes in the game. It's a bit bland though. By this I mean that there is absolutely no terrain differentation at all. It can reasonbly be argued that terrain effects on movement has no place in a game with 4-month turns. But it is hard to deny that Spain itself sort of fades into the background in a game in which ports are the only distinguishing feature of otherwise geographically identical locations.

And the battles? As interesting as they are, the larger battles can also be relatively time-consuming. It's open to question whether the added fun factor the battles bring can really compensate for the game's other shortcomings.

Major: the 'meh' factor? It's all in the cards
The cards in España 1936 do exactly what they're supposed to: deliver reinforcements, generate a few other events, and offer opportunties to manipulate your chances in battles. And that's the problem. The Spanish Civil War was above all a war about the fate of a revolution. That is to say: it was all about politics. Unfortunately politics feature nowhere in the game. Sure, there are events which do more than just bring on new units; some of them even interfere with your opponent's plans. Nonetheless, the function of the cards in España 1936 in no way corresponds to their use in CDGs like Labyrinth or Twilight Struggle. The result is that the events are essentially colourless, and hand management and cardplay generates none of the tension which makes the CDGs so gripping.

Another issue arising from España 1936's use of the cards is that they're not used to create a quick, alternating-phase turn structure. There are some phases which alternate; eg. placing generals or activating them to attack (or not). The movement phase though is a classic IGO-UGO. This adds a degree of downtime which isn't seen in CDGs. I guess this would decrease with more play experience, but it strikes me as another example of where Catalán's design vision turns round and bites him on the ass.

Overview

Antonio Catalán succeeded in making España 1936 what he wanted it to be: a simple wargame of the Spanish Civil War which isn't shallow, neither in strategy nor tactics. Unfortunately he chose to leave out the politics and so failed to make use of one of the biggest design innovations of the last 20 years, the CDG. The result is a game set in Spain in the years 1936-39 in which Spain, its revolution, and the important international dimensions to the Civil War all feel strangely absent. In short, Catalán kind of missed the boat. As I said above, España 1936 is neither bad nor broken, it's just missing that special something, which it might've enjoyed had it been released ten or twenty years ago. If you're looking for short wargame on the subject, this game could easily fit your bill. If you're looking for a Spanish Civil War CDG, I guess you'll have to wait for Crusade and Revolution: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 to make its way through MMP's preorder system.
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Antonio Catalán
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My answer in the blog
---------------------------------------------------------------
First, thank you Mr. McLintock done a good review of my game.
I appreciate that you like the graphics, the mounted board, the design of counters, symbols of modifiers in combat, counters and diferents forms, the combat system and a few things that left me more....

And in general, I'll take this two sentence:
"This element of strategic planning additional meshes nicely With The tactical planning for battles to make Which Can Be Both interesting and tense"

"Antonio Catalán succeeded in making España 1936 what he wanted it to be: a simple wargame of the Spanish Civil War which isn't shallow, neither in strategy nor tactics."

In my defense , I have to say that España 1936 never intended to be "the final game of the SCW"It is designed for a "non wargamer with little experience in games", and a birth market like Spanish is a game "window". I am a player who started with Blitzkrieg, Third Reich, Civilization and has over 30 years reading about the SCW. I have not forgotten about politics in the game, simply have not used the "romantic vision" that has the Anglo-Saxon public of the SCW . Once past the first months of war, revolution disappeared into a very "real civil war" of surviving, in which political events are explained, and I think the game interact in a manner sufficient for a simple game like España 1936.politics had a major influence in the years before the war, but once it's started and I think effects are reflected in the game with the cards of nationalits 7, 13, 15, 45 or N6, as some examples....

I agree with your last sentence:
If you're looking for a Spanish Civil War CDG, I guess you'll have to wait for Crusade and Revolution: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 to make its way through MMP's preorder system...I think it will play a good level of PoG for instance (using the same system)... but I ask one thing, which again give a chance to play ESPAÑA 1936 with the rules of naval and look behind the game, perhaps to find "other strategies", I'm sure,are not in a first game and can only find a player experiement as I think you are.

Thanks again for yuor review, I still think that España 1936, broadly achieved its objectives and continues to be a good game very entertaining trying to explain a little history to everyone.

Thanks also.... Mr. Williamson, Mr Marllet and Wndell y Tim

Antonio Catalán
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John McLintock
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Following Mr Catalán's example: my reply from the blog.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for coming along to comment on my review of España 1936 Mr. Catalán. I think you understand that I wasn't trying to say that your game is a bad game, but that I was trying to explain why it didn't work for Liam and I. Ironically, if I'd first played España 1936 even just a few months ago, I'd probably have given it a more favourable review. Why? Because then I wouldn't've been comparing it to CDGs.

There is a double irony here. I'm usually unimpressed by reviews which criticise a game because it's not what the reviewer wanted it to be instead of discussing what the designer intended it to be. And now here I am writing a view of exactly that kind. But there you go: that was what I wanted to write about. I also wanted to be fair to España 1936. I guess I've learned some lessons from my first attempt at this kind of review, not least of which is that I should put more emphasis on the contrast between a game's success in its own terms on the one hand, and personal likes and dislikes, on the other.

For example:
acatalan wrote:
In my defense , I have to say that España 1936 never intended to be "the final game of the SCW" It is designed for a "non wargamer with little experience in games"
I was well aware of this and the idea of talking about España 1936 as a 'Euro-wargame' did cross my mind. Unfortunately that got lost in my haste to finish the article. whistle
Quote:
I still think that España 1936, broadly achieved its objectives and continues to be a good game very entertaining trying to explain a little history to everyone.
You are well justified in thinking this Mr. Catalán and have no reason to think otherwise just because Liam and I were looking for something in España 1936 which you never intended the game to deliver.
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J.L. Robert
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Thank you for the article. It's always good to see what other people think and expect from a game. Especially one as generally well-received as this one.

But I'd like to echo the appreciation seeing the civility in the response from Antonio and the subsequent rebuttal. It would have been very easy for either party to respond with hubris and indignation. That both chose to be better than that was quite refreshing.

I've commented in the past at how impressed I am with Antonio's design. But it's good to see what could be perceived as weaknesses in the game from a different perspective. It will assist me when sharing the game with others in the future.
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Antonio Catalán
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España 1936 is a very elaborate game, very historic and with "hard work in the kitchen". At the time of starting a design of a game, taken a series of decisions and variables that s always does for someone imperfect.
Enjoy playing .. and not just this game ...

Thank you all for your comments

Antonio Catalán

PS: Education should not be at odds with the controversial Mr. Robert
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Jim F
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This is a good review but I have to say it makes me want to buy it rather than putting me off. I do understand what John says about the card element but think the popularity of cdgs has led to their inclusion in a number of games where they dont add much to the play. CoH springs to mind though others may disagree.
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John McLintock
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Ashiefan wrote:
This is a good review but I have to say it makes me want to buy it rather than putting me off. I do understand what John says about the card element but think the popularity of cdgs has led to their inclusion in a number of games where they dont add much to the play. CoH springs to mind though others may disagree.
If my review has made you want to buy the game Jim, then I take that as a sign of a successful piece of writing. In the comments to the blogpost at RD/KA!@BGG I wrote, "All that said, the lack of the political dimension- which flows directly from Antonio Catalán's design vision, is a bit of a deal-breaker for me. If my review has any particular merit, I think it resides in making this lack clear to others for whom this dimension would be equally important." It turns out that I've managed to show España 1936 in its true light while also explaining why it didn't work for Liam and I. That looks like a win-win to me. cool

I can't agree with you about the cards in CoH. I find them indispensable. Much as I like the AP/CAP system, my experience of playing CoH with the cards leaves me thinking that the game would be somehow flat without the added layers of tactics and uncertainty they add.
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Lance McMillan
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Very nice review! You clearly convey to the reader that it's a pretty good design while simultaneously pointing out the flaws that detracted from the experience for you personally. Like Ashiefan above, I'm now more inclined to want to play this game than I was before, rather than being put off by your review, which I think highlights how well you did in your write-up. Thanks.
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Mike Anderson
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This was a fair and well thought out review. I have both the English and Spanish versions of this game and I have enjoyed it for what it is - a relatively quick, easy to play game on the military aspects of the Spanish Civil War. This game puts one in command of the military forces and not the various political factions that tore Spain apart in the 1930s. I would venture that at this level it would be rather difficult to integrate the political and military conflicts. Politics and the behind the scenes maneuvering does get some peripheral treatment with some of the cards, but it is not a major aspect of the game. The reviewer is spot-on in making this point.

What this game does is offer a way to introduce gamers who are relatively unfamiliar with this sad and terrible civil war to its basic military aspects. it's also a fun game with some chrome and nifty rules for those who have more knowledge of the conflict. The different military factions and their qualities are represented as is the beginning of blitzkrieg warfare. The graphics on the pieces and the cards are an excellent touch and add to the play. I didn't find the rules as difficult to digest as the reviewer did but I read them in both languages and Antonio, I believe, wrote them originally in Spanish. I do believe that for an introduction of the Spanish Civil War, the historical text accompanying the rules could have been longer and more detailed to help the novice to the subject better understand the game elements, but that may have been a cost constraint. I like the game and will play continue it en los dos idiomas. Like the reviewer, I also look forward to the publication of Crusade and Revolution. Use the naval rules to add some spice. Me gusta mucho su juego, Antonio.
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Michael Sosa
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I has been tempted to pick up this game but had correctly guessed that it wasn't heavy enough for me. I wanted to add that GMT recently published a game on this topic. But yes there is a place for light wargmes, Columbia Games have been successful.
 
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John McLintock
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Koa Kahiko wrote:
I didn't find the rules as difficult to digest as the reviewer did but I read them in both languages and Antonio, I believe, wrote them originally in Spanish.
Thanks for your kind words Mike. I would just like to clarify one point: I didn't find the rules "difficult to digest" as such; they are too simple and clearly written for that. I'm just not a fan of the 'conversational' style of rules-writing, and noted a couple of examples where this style gave rise to illogical organisation which created minor hiccups during a first game.

There can be no doubt that the rules were in Spanish originally, and since writing the review I have realised that translators might have to take their due share of responsibility for how the rules turned out. Still, they presumably worked with the organisation given them by Antonio.
 
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Nate Merchant
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Isn't this interesting? In the last few days, I disagreed with this review, even though I hadn't played it yet. After actually playing last night, I very much agree with John's assessment.

Compared to the awesome counter and card art, the map is bland (though totally functional), the rules are difficult to parse (especially for experienced wargamers, which is counter-intuitive), and the combat, which should be the hightlight of every turn, is over-involved and lackluster. As John stated, the battles are far too long for what you actually get out of them. Since units are basically combinations of DRMs with other assorted DRMs thrown in, I wonder why players could not simply total ALL the die rolls and drms together at once and roll off. That would save a lot of time, and for me time was very much an issue with this game, which seems like it should be a fluid, 3-hour tops wargame and instead slowed to a crawl for first time players.

That said, if I could just play the movement, support units and generals placement portion of the game, I would be very, very happy. The tension in that section of the game was delicious and excruciating.

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Mike Anderson
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Writing concise, well-organized rules for a game is certainly not an easy task. There are quite a few potentially good games that have failed to live up to their potential simply because the designer and developer couldn't make the leap - couldn't put down on paper what was up there between their ears. This is, in my opinion, a good game for what it does. Have you tried "Arriba Espana" in any of its three versions? That game's designers incorporated quite a bit of the political element into it. Getting "recognized" by major powers and thus obtaining arms, economic support and direct military intervention are, if I remember correctly, major goals in the game. Decision Games published the latest version not too long ago. Fiery Dragon and MDG did the earlier incarnations.
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Nate Merchant
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Koa Kahiko wrote:
Writing concise, well-organized rules for a game is certainly not an easy task. There are quite a few potentially good games that have failed to live up to their potential simply because the designer and developer couldn't make the leap - couldn't put down on paper what was up there between their ears.

There are two issues for me with this admittedly valiant design: are the rules as clear as they needed to be? No. And are all the rules stricly necessary? Do the naval rules and complicated land battles help or hinder? I would say hinder, since the genius part of the design is the Movement phase. If the game had actually been as you described ("a relatively quick, easy to play game"), I would have had no problem with it. But it wasn't, and I agree it should have been quick and easy.

Koa Kahiko wrote:
This is, in my opinion, a good game for what it does.

I haven't tried any other SCW games, but Espana '36 is amissed opportunity. In my view, it just needed another turn of the wrench, and it needed to get out of its own way, and do what it does best.
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John McLintock
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Natus wrote:
Isn't this interesting? In the last few days, I disagreed with this review, even though I hadn't played it yet. After actually playing last night, I very much agree with John's assessment.

Well that's a turn up for the books and no mistake Nate.
Quote:
Compared to the awesome counter and card art, the map is bland (though totally functional), the rules are difficult to parse (especially for experienced wargamers, which is counter-intuitive), and the combat, which should be the hightlight of every turn, is over-involved and lackluster. As John stated, the battles are far too long for what you actually get out of them. Since units are basically combinations of DRMs with other assorted DRMs thrown in, I wonder why players could not simply total ALL the die rolls and drms together at once and roll off. That would save a lot of time, and for me time was very much an issue with this game, which seems like it should be a fluid, 3-hour tops wargame and instead slowed to a crawl for first time players.
That would save a lot of time, but you'd have to redesign the rest of the game to make it work. The battles system is built around the idea that you can decide not to fight on if you think you're going to lose your last unit(s) because a previous round of battle has gone against you. It strikes me that much of the rest of the game feeds into that decision point.
Quote:
That said, if I could just play the movement, support units and generals placement portion of the game, I would be very, very happy. The tension in that section of the game was delicious and excruciating.
Delegate?
 
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John McLintock
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Koa Kahiko wrote:
Writing concise, well-organized rules for a game is certainly not an easy task. There are quite a few potentially good games that have failed to live up to their potential simply because the designer and developer couldn't make the leap - couldn't put down on paper what was up there between their ears. This is, in my opinion, a good game for what it does. Have you tried "Arriba Espana" in any of its three versions? That game's designers incorporated quite a bit of the political element into it. Getting "recognized" by major powers and thus obtaining arms, economic support and direct military intervention are, if I remember correctly, major goals in the game. Decision Games published the latest version not too long ago. Fiery Dragon and MDG did the earlier incarnations.
Very true Mike, very true. I've tried this myself a couple of times, so I don't underestimate the difficulty. Even the simplest procedure which is very easy to demonstrate practically can be hellishly difficult to explain in words. The lesson I learned from that experience was that pictures are worth more than any amount of words.

That said, I think that designers and developers should learn that 'conversational' rulebooks are just not very good once a game goes above a certain complexity, which includes many 'Ameritrash' games (eg. a lot of FFG's stable) as well as pretty much all wargames. Deeply sub-claused casepoint rules might not be necessary, but that basic structure will surely always be clearer, even if they might be initially less easy to read.
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Antonio Catalán
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Mr.Merchant,I am sorry to contradict the theme of combat and reduce "to a bunch of dice,". This war is between the system of the IWW and IIWW, DIVISION / brigades attacked in a certain style of the IWW to break a front and try to eliminate the enemy.

The vast majority of the battles ended with "push" and the forward or reverse positions was caused by wear of troops, rather than the battle itself. These rules of combat they are made to reflect reality, not "to shoot dice and lose time".

I agree with Mr McLintock, would have to redesign the game
Perhaps not understand the strategic depth and cleaning rules. If you like the movement and the overall system, known to have been "distilled" from more complex rules to get a purely strategic conflict.I have designed, redesigned and wrote many rules and worked with many games, and certainly the drafting of a rules is the hardest of all, and please everyone also.

The Spanish Civil War of GMT is a classic "hex and counter" and "Crusade and Revolution" will be a Card Driven Game, all are good and should be supplemented to achieve a strategic vision of the conflict.but I think they do not reflect in a "specific and vital" the political issue because it had a limited military significance, I say that the Anglo-Saxon view of the SCW suggests that it was a "struggle of ideas between Europe on the ground in Spain" and I have to remind them that less than 5% of the people who fought in the SCW was "European".

As for the intervention stranger, both the Republic and General Franco were mere "puppets" of European interests and the influence on them was "minimal," Europe decided, what he wanted, when he wanted, and without Spanish intervention by any side.Something unexpected for the "poor Spaniards"

Antonio Catalán
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Nate Merchant
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JMcL63 wrote:
That would save a lot of time, but you'd have to redesign the rest of the game to make it work. The battles system is built around the idea that you can decide not to fight on if you think you're going to lose your last unit(s) because a previous round of battle has gone against you. It strikes me that much of the rest of the game feeds into that decision point.

I'd be most appreciative if you could explain this further, because this doesn't sound like any battle we fought. Obviously we had issues with the rules, so maybe we missed a few things.
 
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Jim C
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Nate,

We missed this important caveat in the rules.

Quote:
7. End of combat
...
Nevertheless, the attacking player may choose now a different unit to start another
attack in the same box. A defending unit, on the other hand, can be attacked several
times by different units during the same turn....

The operative phrase here is "may" choose to start another attack in the same box.


Natus wrote:
JMcL63 wrote:
That would save a lot of time, but you'd have to redesign the rest of the game to make it work. The battles system is built around the idea that you can decide not to fight on if you think you're going to lose your last unit(s) because a previous round of battle has gone against you. It strikes me that much of the rest of the game feeds into that decision point.

I'd be most appreciative if you could explain this further, because this doesn't sound like any battle we fought. Obviously we had issues with the rules, so maybe we missed a few things.
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Nate Merchant
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zonk67 wrote:
Nate,

We missed this important caveat in the rules.

Quote:
7. End of combat
...
Nevertheless, the attacking player may choose now a different unit to start another
attack in the same box. A defending unit, on the other hand, can be attacked several
times by different units during the same turn....

The operative phrase here is "may" choose to start another attack in the same box.


Natus wrote:
JMcL63 wrote:
That would save a lot of time, but you'd have to redesign the rest of the game to make it work. The battles system is built around the idea that you can decide not to fight on if you think you're going to lose your last unit(s) because a previous round of battle has gone against you. It strikes me that much of the rest of the game feeds into that decision point.

I'd be most appreciative if you could explain this further, because this doesn't sound like any battle we fought. Obviously we had issues with the rules, so maybe we missed a few things.

Thanks, Jim, but I need that parsed for me, since I thought that's what we were doing. Do defending units never "retire" to the Used Unit box?

Thanks!
 
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Natus wrote:
Thanks, Jim, but I need that parsed for me, since I thought that's what we were doing. Do defending units never "retire" to the Used Unit box?

Thanks!
Not like attacking units, no. The attacker can choose to attack a different unit, but that would just put the defending unit back in a 'Combat Units' box. And the attacker could always choose to go back to attack a unit again after attacking a different unit in the interim.
 
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Jim C
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The way I understand it (and anyone correct me if I'm wrong), is that defending troops that have survived an attack can subsequently be used to attack in that same box, so long as there is an unflipped general to lead them. Generals are never flipped as a result of using their support as a defender.

From the FAQ, some info on how generals are used:

Quote:
A: Generals serve 2 purposes:
1. To initiate an Attack (once per turn, unless permitted by an event card)
2. To act as a support unit for one round of attack (whether attacking or defending)

- An attacking General must support the first battle in the attack, then, it is flipped and placed in the "used" box. It won't be used again for any purpose in this combat.
- An active (un-flipped) defending General may support one round of combat of his choice in a battle. After using the defending General in a round for support, it is placed in the "used" box un-flipped (active side up). This allows it to attack later in the turn.
- An inactive (flipped) defending General may support one round of combat of his choice in that battle. After using the defending General in a round for support, it is placed in the "used" box (still flipped).

Generals like Franco (in the example above) has no support value (no die-roll modifier) and have the primary purpose of allowing an attack to be initiated. Generals with a negative die modifier must support the first combat when attacking, but probably should never be used to support any combat round when defending.

So basically, a general can use his support DRM as both attacker and defender in the same turn. Other supporting units (planes, tanks, naval) can only support as attacker or defender, not both.
 
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Nate Merchant
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JMcL63 wrote:
Natus wrote:
Thanks, Jim, but I need that parsed for me, since I thought that's what we were doing. Do defending units never "retire" to the Used Unit box?

Thanks!
Not like attacking units, no. The attacker can choose to attack a different unit, but that would just put the defending unit back in a 'Combat Units' box. And the attacker could always choose to go back to attack a unit again after attacking a different unit in the interim.

I'm a veteran of Berg, Raicer, Simonitch, Dagliesh, Taylor, Jensen, and Herman, but these combat rules leave me baffled. Is this because the FAQ is the key to combat resolution? We played without it.

Jim, maybe you can walk me through with JR's Spanish copy when next we meet.

zonk67 wrote:
The way I understand it (and anyone correct me if I'm wrong), is that defending troops that have survived an attack can subsequently be used to attack in that same box, so long as there is an unflipped general to lead them. Generals are never flipped as a result of using their support as a defender.

OK, now that makes sense. However, your third bullet point confuses me. But what confuses me even more is why counter-attacking is barely mentioned in the Wallac-ian rules. I'll readily admit when I've missed or misunderstood something, or flat-out been an idiot. But this combat system was trying to be misunderstood!



 
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Jim C
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Natus wrote:

Jim, maybe you can walk me through with JR's Spanish copy when next we meet.

zonk67 wrote:
The way I understand it (and anyone correct me if I'm wrong), is that defending troops that have survived an attack can subsequently be used to attack in that same box, so long as there is an unflipped general to lead them. Generals are never flipped as a result of using their support as a defender.

OK, now that makes sense. However, your third bullet point confuses me. But what confuses me even more is why counter-attacking is barely mentioned in the Wallac-ian rules. I'll readily admit when I've missed or misunderstood something, or flat-out been an idiot. But this combat system was trying to be misunderstood!

I'll try to walk you through it on Tuesday. I wish I had figured this out before we played!
 
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zonk67 wrote:
The way I understand it (and anyone correct me if I'm wrong), is that defending troops that have survived an attack can subsequently be used to attack in that same box, so long as there is an unflipped general to lead them. Generals are never flipped as a result of using their support as a defender.
Generals can support the defence 'for free' once per turn. If they add their bonus to the defence twice, then they are activated and can neither support the defence again not lead an attack that turn.
 
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