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Subject: A few acres of snow.. a wargamer perspective rss

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Tanks Alot
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I have heard a lot of hype about this game recently and contemplated purchasing it, but the deck building aspect sort of left me on the fence. After playing the game, I felt a huge crossing between a euro and a block game with cities being counted as victory points to win the game... but it is all about the journey isn't it?


The map is beautiful, well thought out and well planned. You could tell a lot of thought went into the balance of the VP's although Detroit did seem a bit far back in the French territory, with a 2 point city even deeper in french territory. The only flaw I saw but I would have to play more to consider it a flaw.

The cards allowed quite a variety of options. As I played at first, the cards seemed limited. I was sort of restricted in the areas I could perform actions but the cards were designed in such a way that as my territory got bigger and I played more into the game, my actions got deeper too.

The game allows each player to perform 2 actions per turn, and draw back up to 5 cards. Easy enough. The nice thing is there were a lot of actions that could be applied. As you perform an action, on problem that you face is as you extend your territory the card used is discarded into a discard pile, and that card doesn't come back until after the deck is shuffled and the card you need to do more actions in that space has to run through a full cycle before you can do an action there again. A very nice mechanic as it prevents a player from running away in a certain area.

As the decks got bigger, more options are available to you but they enter the game in the discard pile, so you don't get a chance to use them unless the discard deck is exhausted and re-enters the game through drawing cards. So you may be able to buy that special card you need for the whammy, but you have to wait till it enters your hand.

I ended up losing the game 44 to 38. We went fun back and forth challenge for power in the middle before I decided it was easier to go around. There is a lot of variety here and a lot of options available to you, again the trick is having a long term strategy here.

I really enjoyed the game, and it had a great historical flavor while having a euro feel that would appeal to almost all sorts of players who have difficulty enjoying wargames. The game had sieges, ambushes, raids, and such and had a good feel for how the Indians were involved in this war. The simplicity was brilliant and clean. There were times when my hand was terrible, but from many games of combat commander I knew that sometimes you have to push through a bad hand of cards and get going as quick as you can.

I did miss the intensity of some other games I play, but it was relaxed and as the game progressed it started gaining steam and I really enjoyed it.

If you are a die hard classic wargamer, you may not enjoy this game. But if you are a wargamer with euro gamer friends this is a great "in between" game where both players can get their fix and be really happy.
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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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As a pretty hardcore wargamer (check out the near euro free collection) l completely agree with you. A very accessible game with depth, options and historical flavour.
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Rob Neville
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Nice review Charles!

Now that I've played both sides, another interesting aspect of this game is the balanced, but asymmetrical decks, territories and resources available to both sides.

The French have few settlers available and extras have to be drafted (at a high price). This almost encourages you to push towards Detroit or siege Brittish holdings that would otherwise require a settler. It also means that upgrading your villages is harder to do which pushes you to expand rather than upgrade. The French also have beaver pelts a-plenty for easy money. This seems to suggest a strategy of rapid expansion in the north and the capture of key forts from which to send out Indian raids and if the Brits happen to grab one of 4-point VP cities, siege it if you can.

The British seem to have a harder time generating money but start out with a decent set of VPs. They've got easier access to settlers as their starting deck comes with ~3 of them which seems to encourage upgrading higher point-value VP cities, expansion and general harassment (rather than an all-out assault towards Quebec) of French holdings their path to victory.

Another interesting thing I haven't tried yet but have begun to think about is siege for the purpose of interdiction as opposed to trying to capture. It would require a much closer understanding of the resources available on cards but if I knew that a particular city was providing a vital, limited resource to you, I could siege that city simply to deny you that resource for a few turns (even if I ended up losing the siege).

I think there's a lot of potential depth here and many potential ways to win. I agree also that it's a euro-wargame crossover - that's exactly how I classified it in my head. It's more strategic than tactical in my mind, even though there are some tactical decisions to be made turn to turn - as you point out, the longer-term strategy is key.
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Clyde W
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The French start out with more VP than British. I think it's slightly easier for British to come by money at the start of the game...I believe 5 of their starting cards contain 2 or 3 coins on them.

I believe the Detroit thing is fairly balanaced...it looks deep in French territory (and is meant to be a French city, given that it's printed towards the French) but number of locations between it and the farthest out settlement for both sides is pretty similar. It's also a bit harder for the French to settle, given their lack of settlers. If the English can expand out quick enough though, they can get it.

But at the moment, I'm more focusing on the sieges. I've found expansion often hurts you in the long run and it's best to simply go full out, trying to crush your opponent in as many sieges and raids as possible.
 
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Tanks Alot
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By the way, anyone who is a wargamer and likes the euro crossover you may enjoy Blockade Runner as well.. plays 2 to 6 I believe. Blockade Runner

Rob, Thanks for showing me the game... I felt really channelled in the beginning which a good thing for someone first playing any game, so you dont feel overwhelmed, but like you said as the deck got bigger the choices got deeper. A very fun game.
By the way the block game I was talking about was quebec 1759 Quebec 1759



If you havent played any block games, this one has victory points for the cities, and focuses on fog of war and battles between troops. Also French Indian War


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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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clydeiii wrote:

But at the moment, I'm more focusing on the sieges. I've found expansion often hurts you in the long run and it's best to simply go full out, trying to crush your opponent in as many sieges and raids as possible.


That will be my approach whistle
 
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Robert Buccheri
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I think Wallace captures the strain and distance that this conflict created perfectly in the deck building mechanism. As you expand and grow the size of your deck/Empire the longer things take to develop. The player who can manage this aspect the best will probably win in the long run.

Money is the key to both Empires and favors the British early in the game. Using the Merchant action averages 5-6$ and allows the British to buy Military units, Siege, and repeat.

The French can expand fast and abuse the Raid action. The key is again money and keeping the Fort cards away from the British. If you can pay to discard, use your reserves wisely than you can gain a card advantage.

Fun game and excellent design by Mr. Wallace. Don’t be fooled into think this isn't a war game because it is one.

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Tanks Alot
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Hmmm money is important, but its the resources that really drove it for me. Of course it takes money to buy resources. Buying those cards which give you special abilities certainly came in handy, especially the one that let me go through my discards and pick up 2. And the draw 3 cards. SHuffling through unnecessary cards was important but often hard to do as every action wasted discarding cards was a missed opp. On thing I really enjoyed doing was finding useful ways to discard cards.. like the trader card allowing me to get coins for beavers, or possibly building a fort or some card in an area that did not need a fort allowed me to discard several cards without a penalty. The faster you go through your cards the faster you can get to the resources you just bought.. the one thing I liked is as the game got further into the game it seemed to get more frantic.. and I do love a game with controlled chaos (Twilight Struggle, Combat Commander, Warriors of God)
 
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Peter Putnam
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Nice review. I ordered the game today without playing it. Love Wallace, love 18th century wargames and Bobbytweeks, DanR and charlescab liked it so it was must have for me.
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Alan Paull
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charlescab wrote:
... especially the one that let me go through my discards and pick up 2...


That would be the Intendant - but it costs 2 money to get one card from your discard. You don't pick up 2 cards (that would be broken).

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