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The play's the thing ...
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Point Lonsdale
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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I will state up front that I am a big fan of Eric Lee Smiths designs so it will come as no surprise when I say that I really enjoyed this one as well. Across 5 Aprils was released by Victory Games in 1992 and allows players to recreate five battles from the American Civil War. These battles are 1st Bull Run, Pea Ridge, Shiloh, Gettysburg and Bentonville.

Across 5 Aprils uses a chit-pull mechanism which means that players are never really sure which units are going to be moving next. Added to this is the combat phase chit which allows the selected side to fight and the uncertainty goes up another notch, now you don’t know when your units will fight. You can expect to find yourself drawing your combat phase marker before your troops are in position or when some of your troops are in position and your grand plans will come crashing down, or move into combat and watch your opponent retreat before the combat chit is drawn. It’s enough to make you go grey.

Another factor which can contribute to you turning grey while playing this game is that units must attack enemy units in their ZOC, no standing around eyeballing the enemy. This can lead to some interesting situations where your opponent moves up ready for combat but your combat phase chit gets pulled first but you don’t want to attack. You can voluntarily retreat one hex or bombard with artillery, but there will be times when you are forced to attack when you don’t want to. This adds another layer of battlefield chaos, but also emphasises the importance of a good defensive line supported by artillery, though this isn’t always possible.

The battles range from large, like Gettysburg, to small, like 1st Bull Run. But even Gettysburg can be played in one sitting, though I found it hard to get into the second day based on the first day victory conditions. Another factor which helps Across 5 Aprils play in one sitting is that it moves at a steady pace. There are never a truck load of counters on the map and the command chits mean you are only moving a small number of them at any one time. This doesn’t mean there isn’t any tension though, believe me there is. Most of the battles involve one side having to capture objective hexes and as the turns tick down it can get quite close, especially when the combat phase chit comes at the wrong time and you’re unable to launch the game winning attack! (Not that I’m bitter or anything whistle)

Across 5 Aprils is a great way to spend a few hours. The rules are easily picked up and set-up is a breeze. All that’s left is to put the chits in the cup and start playing. Definitely a keeper, and a game I’m glad to have in my collection.
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Aaron
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Excellent review of this game. Makes me want to bust out my copy.
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Joe Wagle
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Can you compare it with GMT's Glory series? Looks like a similar scale. I have played neither but have been considering Glory.
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The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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jwagle wrote:
Can you compare it with GMT's Glory series? Looks like a similar scale. I have played neither but have been considering Glory.


I've played Glory but it was a while ago and I'm a little vague on the details, but it was easy to pick up and the chit pull system made it easy to solo, Glory I mean.

Similar bit Glory has a little more chrome.

I enjoyed playing it and would recommend both to you.
 
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