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Algeria: The War of Independence 1954-1962» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A really clever design of guerilla warfare rss

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Takashi Ishida
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Game Title : Argeria
Publisher : Fiery Dragon

Game Designer : Brian Train
Game Thema : Argerian independence war 1954-1962

Game Components
1 game map, 3 counter sheet, rulebook, charts and tables, 2 dice

“Argeria” is not a popular topic at least in Japan.
The reason why I picked this game was that this game is designed by Brian Train. I like his design “Battle for China” published on Command Magazine Japan.

I’d like to start to describe the first impression. The first thing I noticed is the game box is really compact. The map is smaller than I expected and still covers the whole Argeria. But, it is not familiar type of map. It is a kind of point to point map. And each point has a set of boxes. These boxes are Patrol box, Mission box, Mission complete box and Underground box. This is a first important difference from usual wargame and actually the most important point of this unusual game.

The game describes the guerilla warfare. Due to its unusual nature, this game uses very unique missions’ game system. There’s no regular movement rule, no regular combat rule. Instead, you must understand how variety of missions work to implement your tactics.
I think we must start to understand how to get the victory in this game.
Basically, the victory is determined by political support level. Each player has his PSL. And if one side’s PSL is reduced to zero, then the game would end as the other side’s victory.
Based on this scheme, you must understand how to get your PSL and how to reduce enemy’s PSL.
In case of FLN, he can get PSL by doing Propaganda missions. And once his PSL goes over 100, the excess could not be stored instead be deducted from French player’s PSL.
On the other hand, French player can directly attack FLN’s PSL by Pacification missions. Though, this mission can directly reduce enemy’s PSL, this mission costs French player’s PSL simultaneously.

For Propaganda mission, FLN player can do this mission only once in each area in one turn. And he must have units to do this in that area. So, the important thing is how to get reinforcement units and deploy them into many areas as soon as possible.
The reinforcement of FLN must be mobilized by spending APs. APs can be got from FLN controlled areas and his current PSL. So, gaining the control of areas are important, and again for this purpose, he must mobilize reinforcements and deploy them into areas.
I think now you can understand this process is somewhat self-reproducing. Once he has many areas controlled, this would give him more reinforcement and accelerate his missions.
This mechanics demand that French player must stop this sequence early enough to become this process uncontrollable for French player.
Fortunately, the size of FLN organization is small at start.
So, French player has enough chance to react this FLN’s self-multi-prizing sequence.

Due to the scheme above, now you can understand another important tactics. Eliminating FLN units are very effective to stop or at least to slow down their self-multi-prizing. As described before, in this game you cannot attack enemy by regular attacking procedure such as moving adjacent and then declare the attack. Instead, you must do the same thing by very different mechanics. The most effective direct attack is done by Flush missions. Flush missions can be conducted by French static units in that area. So, first you must deploy French static units in the area where FLN units are. This is somewhat tricky. As you can estimate from its name, static units cannot move in regular way. You must mobilize it and deploy it in the target area during reinforcement procedure. This fact gives FLN player a big advantage, that he can easily predict French player’s attack. But, fortunately their counter attack ability is strictly limited. Basically they can attack French units only by strike mission which can be conducted only in urban areas. In addition, strike missions damage FLN’s PSL as you can imagine that terror attack in urban area is usually not supported by people.
So, both sides are strictly limited in their ability to resolve this warfare. And very different type of warfare you will see in this game. I believe this is really a clever design of guerilla warfare.
Though this is not a easy game due to its uniqueness, I strongly recommend this game for wargamers who would like to know the nature of guerilla warfare. I strongly believes that guerilla warfare become more common and important in recent days. So, this game might be a very attractive choice for many wargamers recently.
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しんぶん赤旗
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You have done a very good job of selling the game. I am interested in insurgency and guerrilla warfare so I will have to try and source a copy.

Cheers!
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Brian Train
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Thank you for the kind review Takashi, and for your interest Bolter.
Copies are not easy to get hold of anymore, there were only a few hundred produced.

There are some for sale or trade here on BGG, but there is also a digital print and play version for $9.00 here:

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=5...

Brian Train

Also, this game was the third iteration of a family of games using this system or variations on it. First was Tupamaro, then Shining Path: The Struggle for Peru, another one on the Greek Civil War is coming out this year, and I have done two others on the Cyprus Emergency of 1955-59 and on Kandahar Province in Afghanistan (but no publishers yet).
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Takashi Ishida
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Hi Brian

Thank you for your response.
I've never heard Tupamaro.
The topic looks rather unpopular than Argeria in Japan.

Takashi
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Brian Train
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Thanks Takashi.

Not many people played Tupamaro, because the topic is almost unknown everywhere except in Latin America, but it was the basis for a lot of games I designed later on better-known topics. Among other things, the game map was not a picture of actual terrain, it was like a diagram of social sectors and their attitudes at the moment. This was because the whole guerrilla war took place in a city of 1.5 million people, and the usual time and space problems found in wargames did not matter.

Brian
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Takashi Ishida
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I think I play latin-american wargames more than my friends.
Such as triple alliance war on S&T, chaco war on Command, Paraguay on PnP, guerra a muerte on ATO.
But, still I don't know anything about Tupamaro.

By the way, in Tokyo we had Incan showcase last month. It was very impressive and interesting for me.
Do you have any idea about the game covering the battles among city states of latin America before Incan empire ?
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Brian Train
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I'm not sure about any Incan wargames.

There are some Aztec wargames, such as The One World.

Try this geeklist: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/13701

Brian
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David Dockter
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I need to play this game; it has been sitting on my must play pile too damm long.
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Brian Train
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Better get to it, Dr.!
To update what I wrote above in 2012, I intend to self-publish the Greek Civil War, Cyprus and Kandahar iterations of the game system this year.

The Greek Civil War game that just came out in Modern War magazine was done by me, but redesigned using a different system at DG's behest (and then changed yet again in some drastic ways after I submitted it, without my knowledge and, now that I've seen it, my approval). shake
No one is interested enough in the Cyprus Emergency (1955-59) to publish it, but there are a few people out there who would want a DTP version.
And the Kandahar iteration of the system was to have appeared in Modern war magazine but DG bounced it back to me in 2013.

Brian
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Takashi Ishida
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Hello, Brian.

I really like American Megafauna, Mexica, Coyote and Maya. They are on my bookshelves for a long time.

Also, I'm really interested in Aztec(1995). But, it is not available, now.
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Brian Train
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Takashi,

I generally don't design games on topics from before 1918.
However, as far as Latin American topics go, Shining Path: The Struggle for Peru was re-released by One Small Step games last year.
I have also worked out a mini-game on the Chilean coup of September 11, 1973 against Allende.
One Small Step will also be bringing out a revised version of Algeria: The War of Independence 1954-1962 later this year: I changed quite a few things and I think people will be even more pleased with this version.

Brian
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Andrew S.
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Thank you for this review. I was looking at this one and now I am on the hunt to find a copy.
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Brian Train
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You can get your revised version (which I recommend) from One Small Step Games at:

http://ossgamescart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPa...

The site notes that they are sold out of stock right now due to their moving offices, but they should be in stock again in a couple of weeks.

I hope you find a copy soon!

Brian
 
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