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The Time of Troubles 1605-1612» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A beginning of a review rss

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Paul Hodson
Belgium
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I bought this game at the Great Patriotic War museum in Moscow a week or so ago and had the pleasure of playing it during a train journey that passed through several of the cities featured (including Vladimir and Nizhny Novgorod), on the way to Ekaterinburg. I played solo and could only complete one year (1605) - but since I enjoyed it, and since there are no other reviews posted, I thought I would say a few words about the game.

It is a point to point game with five players representing different parties in a civil war: the Moscow, Polish, Noble, Rebel and Shuiskii parties. There is an elaborate political system with potential heirs to the throne (three False Dmitris, as well as other characters who can be made pretenders - reminiscent of Kingmaker but with added realism) and a simple but asymmetrical military system. (Unit types differ in cost and in ability in fire and melee; most leaders can only recruit some of the types.) A nice touch is that leaders choose to recruit or move. If they recruit, they dice to see how many recruitment points they receive, which influences the types of units they can recruit. The game is not driven by cards (not a CDG), but the hands of cards held by each player are quite present in support both systems. Territory, as well as giving VPs, facilitates recruitment; "legitimacy", as well as giving access to VPs, facilitates the gaining of territory. On a first play-through it seemed a pity that the gaining of territory rarely (except in the case of Moscow and the monastery of Sergiev Posad).

The game is generously provided with cards and counters. The quality is near, but not quite as high as, equivalents such as GMT; but at the price I paid (750 roubles = less than 20 euros) it is amazing value.

I found it a riproaring game with lots of cards to circumvent other parties' strategies and a pleasing fluidity. For example, you have to build up territory, but when the Rebels were wiped out in the south the game had them start again in the north - this seems to make sense in a civil war for command of a state. I have not yet found any obvious weaknesses, although clearly it is early days.

I have some questions about the English rules and card texts. I will post these separately.
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