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Mr. Madison's War: The Incredible War of 1812» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Mr. Madison's War-Game on! rss

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Severus Snape
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Introduction:

I would like to avoid direct comparisons with Amateur to Arms until the end of the review. My initial thoughts for MMW are positive. It is a solid design and a good game. If you are comfortable with CDG's, you will slide right behind Mr. Madison's wheel and take her--him--for a comfortable spin. I really like this period of Anglo/Canadian/Canadien/American/Native American history. Should we toss in a few Spaniards to be on the safe side? And the French; don't forget the French.

Components:

There are 203 counters, 110 cards, a 23 page rulebook (not counting the last page, a playbook, two helpful, sturdy playaids, the dice--don't forget those six-siders--and a map so green you feel you might have to mow it.

Map: The point-to-point map is clear for game purposes, and attractive to the eye.

Counters: The counters have historical designations, but are otherwise rather blah in effect. The British red is on the verge of being a screaming orange. What happened here?

Rulebook: so far, so good, seems to be error free. I have had to post a few questions for clarification; most of the time I knew the answer, but once I wasn't sure. The examples in the text are appreciated, and assisted by the colourful examples of play in the playbook. It really does seem to be written with considerable care.

Playbook: I found the player's notes to be a bit underwhelming, but perhaps that is because some of the suggestions already fit a game I said I would not mention until the end. This is not to suggest that MMW is anyone's baby, unless we make Mark Herman its grandfather. The designer notes do everything but give insight into how to actually design a game; I'm still waiting for those to be written.

Playaids: one for each side, which makes 1+1=2. I found that the playaids helped to clarify some of the rules where I had doubts.

The Cards: These are broken up into three decks, with no reshuffling allowed for each year's unused cards. It fits the design--duh--but I prefer how Paths of Glory, among other CDG's, allows you to add into the deck the unused cards. I'll try it sometime with Mr. Madison and let you know the evil that springs forthwith. As in any and every CDG, the cards are the steering wheel, even if you bought the car to which it is attached. Key events are reflected through the scoring of VP's, so if you don't score them in the year appropriate to the card, there is no chance of seeing them in the future.

The events include ships sinking, storms storming, ships being captured, or escaping, DRM's for attack or defense, towns being burned, damsels placed in dire danger--Laura Secord makes an appearance--campaigns with two forces being activated (a no-no in my view), Natives going on the warpath, British regiments marching hundreds of kilometers to join the action, and much, much more.

The fact that if you do not draw the event, or your opponent draws one that only benefits you, and you do not get a second chance can be scored up to the fortunes of war. I have mixed feelings about it. The rule, as written, does not make the game worse--hello?! But I would like to hear how the playtesters felt about it? Did Gilbert try using the deck the "other" way?

One other thing to mention is how players can hold up to two cards for the next turn (but not the next year). You have to announce if you are holding a card, and then you cannot play it in that turn. Not. Ever.

Setup:

Kind of quick and kind of not-so-Nestle's quick: By this I mean that because the units come with historical designations, it takes a bit longer to place them on the map, and on their reinforcement card. As far as the historical designations, some players will be drooling all over the place, but this is not Panzer Lehr going toe-to-toe with the 101st Airborne; so, stop your drooling; you're messing up the map.

The Game as a game:

It is fun. It flows well. It is faster than other CDG's I have played. And this brings us to the Winter turn. The Winter turn is really not a turn; it's a speedbump. If you have held a winter card or two, okay, play them. Otherwise, it is a supply & attrition phase. This game forces you to tidy up those supply lines, and to be very careful about your forays into hostile territory; there are no fast-food restaurants and these people will not feed your enemy soldiers. Plan--PLAN--accordingly. The last two or three card plays before the winter turn might see a beehive of supply activity.

One thing I especially like is how your fleets can battle for control of the Lakes (not that this is absent in that which shall not be named). The system is simple and straightforward, and control of the Lakes is vital for VP's, and for starving or feeding an army, as well as transporting or invading with your troops. In Gilbert's design, the ships, by name, are already assigned turns when they can reinforce your existing fleet; but not so fast; they have to be paid for through the use of OPS cards.

Mr. Madison's scope, and the movement allowances of land units, means that the buildups will be slow--historically slow. The War of 1812 demands an "offensive--defensive" strategy, which is reflected in Gilbert's design. It does get rather annoyingly dull, however, to just have one army going eyeball to eyeball with another army because both sides are afraid that their opponent will do an end-around against whoever goes first. It is sort of like chicken in slow-motion. But this is a minor quibble, because there is normally some disaster in the making that is worthy of your attention, or that of your opponent.

Oddities and Endities:

Here are a few observations. First, only Brock and Tecumseh have the pleasure of having a bullet, or a tomahawk, with their names on it. But if they survive 1812, they won't die. Well, Tecumseh can disappear if his Shawnee forces are wiped out. Second, leaders can be captured, but there is nothing set up for an exchange program. Or did I miss something? Third, Winfield Scott does not become a player in this game until 1814, entering as a one-star general. His impact was felt in 1812, and if the British had understood how borderline genius he was, they might not have released him--he was taken prisoner early on--until after the war. Last--I could find more, but none of these takes away from the solid design--there are too few leaders, limiting your options. Yes, I know that the coverage is not the same at that game which shall not be named--yet--but how about some optional leaders in a future GMT C3i? And toss in some optional rules, to add some chrome--did I mention how chrome free this game is?--while you are at it.

How does Mr. Madison's War compare to some other CDG's?

It is light-years better than either We the People or Washington's War. It has the edge on For the People, if you like less chrome. If you want more chrome, than maybe you want FtP; but the leader rules in that design put the crack in the word crack, so let's move on. Unhappy King Charles, designed by the Darth Vader of wargames, is among my favourites, and it will take many more places to see how Dolly Madison matches up with UKC. Mr. Madison is better than Stalin's War, by gobs and gobs, and let us not mention WWII:BtB. Paths of Glory works superbly as a game, poorly as a simulation, unless one is re-enacting WWI on the planter Tedraigarb. Mr. Madison is far more secure in its historical footings, or footies, in the winter time. Which brings us to . . .

The Game as History:

The historical theme in MMW is more than just pasted on. It has a good feel for the events, two hundred years past them though we might be. But it is not a simulation, and Gilbert acknowledges as much. I do think it is a good introduction to the period, and to CDG's in general.

Okay, the moment you have--have not/have too--been waiting--or not--for:

Some differences between Mr. Madison’s War and Amateur to Arms:

It has been a few months since last I played AtA, so you might catch me in some mistakes. This list is not complete, but these things came to my gaming mind when thinking of the two designs.

1) In AtA Native Americans disperse during winter, and have to be recruited anew, beginning with the spring season. In MW, they fight all year round.

2) In AtA, the theater of operations includes everything from New Orleans, to the northern tip of Florida, up the East coast of the United States, and to the Maritime Provinces of British North America. All of the terrain in MW is covered in Amateur to Arms, though more compactly.

3) A critical difference is the use of a leader’s tactical rating in combat. In Mr. Madison’s War the rating of the highest ranking leader is used, no matter how poorly his rating might be. In Amateur to Arms, players have the choice if multiple leaders are in the same area. For example, Winfield Scott’s superior rating could be used over that of Dearborn or Wilkinson, and Isaac Brock’s could be used over that of Prevost.

4) Mr. Madison’s War uses a point-to-point map, whereas AtA uses an area map. Both maps are well done, though AtA’s area map can get crowded in some of the smaller places, while the stacks in MW can get quite high. Both maps are lovely, but artistically, AtA is superior.

5) Mr. Madison’s War uses the standard deck size of 110 cards, while AtA expands it to 150. The larger deck covers more events, personalities and opportunities.

6) Amateur to Arms has the unique concept of The Peace Table, where battles, events, and card play can force a peace, too soon or too late, upon both sides. It is a remarkable way of showing how interconnected the decisions and outcomes are for both sides. There is nothing to match it in Mr. Madison’s War.

7) In AtA, there is a time lag from the time an OPS card is played to begin build of a ship, and when that ship is completed, if at all. Along the way, other OPS cards must be played, making ship building an expensive proposition. What is more serious here is that in Mr. Madison’s War there is no one either side to attempt to change the outcome of historical ship builds. If you are behind in one lake, you will always be behind in one lake, and no investment of cards will change that fact. In Amateur to Arms, the difficulty of the British building ships on Lake Erie is reflected in the OPS Card cost, and in the limitations of the size of ship, but at least some sort of “arms” race can be attempted. Without a considerable amount of luck, the battles for Lake Erie, and possibly Lake Champlain, are predetermined.

8) In terms of components, both games are well done. The counters in AtA are the colourful sort that you expect from Clash of Arms, though they are generic. Gilbert made one of his design goals to be the use of historical designations and individual ship names; both are done in MW. If leading the 5th Kentucky to glory does not have the same thrill as seeing Panzer Lehr and the 101st Airborne go at it, hammer and tongs, well, at least you know who is what.

9) In terms of cost, Mr. Madison’s War is quite less expensive when it comes to the retail price. I find Amateur to Arms to be well worth it, but if money is a concern, stick with GMT. For a bit more, you could purchase both 1812: Invasion of Canada and Mr. Madison’s War. Ouch!

10) Amateur to Arms uses player mats, one each, for the land and naval forces of both sides (four in total). This takes up more table space, but it does allow for a less crowded board, and it ties in with the leadership and force structure rules in the design. You are supposed to keep these out of your opponent’s sight, so that he or she is not sure how strong a force is until you do battle.

11) In terms of the representation of historical leadership, AtA is far superior; but, given its width and breath of theater scope, it has to be, and there are some leaders, such as Old Hickory, who can only serve out west. I find the limited number of leaders in MW to be, well, limiting.

12) In AtA leaders of both sides are in danger of being wounded or killed by the play of an OPS card. In MW only Brock and Tecumseh face this grisly fate.

13) Both games allow for a gradually increasing economic stranglehold on the States through the use of card play. However, Amateur to Arms depends more upon the OPS level, built up over 1813-1814, while Mr. Madison’s War requires the play of specific event cards in 1814. Despite the strength of the Royal Navy on the Atlantic, an economic blockade is more a crap shoot.

14) In terms of ease of learning, MMW is easier to grasp, and plays more quickly, Amateur to Arms has more depth, more chrome, and a higher learning curve that will not be to everyone’s liking, but which reflects the design’s effort to not only be a game, but a simulation as well.

15) On page 13 of his playbook, Gilbert Collins states that “One of the first things I had to consider was the size and scope of the war. If you take into account where every battle and skirmish was fought, the theater of operations stretches from the fortress citadel of Quebec to the cane brakes of Mississippi. A game designed on that scale would not simulate very well the main theater of war—which was the Canadian front.” The emphasis is mine. In light of Amateur to Arms, Gilbert’s statement is wrong, unless one wants to weasel his or her way around jello-like descriptions such as “very well.” In AtA, the Canadian front is still the main front, but the actions and opportunities in the other theaters, through player-initiative or card play, directly impact what one can or cannot do along the Canadian border.

Conclusion:

As I have stated in my review for Amateur to Arms, it is my favourite CDG. That being said, Mr. Madison's War is a good game and one worth owning or playing. Think of AtA is a fully-loaded SUV that can pull its simulation weight up the steep hill of history (this is awful, isn't it?). Think of MMW as a sports car that you take for its fun and speed. You might end up taking MMW out of the garage more than AtA.

I am blessed to have both games. If you can afford both, and like CDG's, and the period, get both.

goo
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Mike Szarka
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Great review. A couple of comments.

I think the Tecumseh death card is in the 1813 deck, although that does not change the overall tenor of your discussion. Also Winfield Scott is supposed to be a two star leader; the counter is misprinted (compare with the example in the rulebook). I don't get your point about the shipbuilding race not being present. Although thereis an effective "maximum" you still have the choice whether or not to use resources for building ships on each lake.

I'm still learning this game and enjoying it. But you have made me all the more interested to try out my copy of AtA which has sat on the shelf for a few months. After waiting many years to have any options other than the 40 year old block game on the subject (plus the obscure SimCan game), it is clear that we 1812 aficionados have an embarrassment of riches now in gaming choices.
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The play's the thing ...
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Another great review. My wallet (and wife) will curse you for making it sound so attractive.
In all seriousness, thanks for the comparisons to AtA, which I own, as I was on the fence about Mr Madison's War, but you've convinced me that it is worth checking out.
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Severus Snape
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Quote:
I think the Tecumseh death card is in the 1813 deck, although that does not change the overall tenor of your discussion. Also Winfield Scott is supposed to be a two star leader; the counter is misprinted (compare with the example in the rulebook). I don't get your point about the shipbuilding race not being present. Although thereis an effective "maximum" you still have the choice whether or not to use resources for building ships on each lake.
Mike, thank you for the corrections concerning Scott and Tecumseh. I must have read about Scott being a two star at his game entry; I was going to gripe about that--"Hey! How come he's ranked the same as Brock in 1812?"--until I saw his entry as 1814.

Dust off your copy of AtA and look at the shipbuilding costs for the ship types and their naval bases. For example, for the British, even the smaller ships take longer and cost more to be built on Lake Erie (reflective of the difficulties of getting materials to the western part of Upper Canada). Both sides have to spend multiple OPS cards for the better ships, allowing for a chance to raid a naval base, and destroy a ship build in progress. Or, as has happened in several of my games, you get tied up on the land front and never finish your building goals, leaving your half-finished ships to rot.

For "realism," I give the edge to AtA. For streamlined play, I tip my had to Mr. Madison's War. I like how "easy" it is to fight a naval battle for Lake superiority. I also like that I don't have to chose a ship; it is chosen for me. Just pay the cost and place the boat.

Actually, looking at the differences makes me appreciate and like both games even more. Instead of detracting, the differences attract.

goo



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Rui Serrabulho
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You did a great review Severus.
Thanks for sharing and for the work involved.

I am almost buying this one...

Just one question: Do you think that Washington's War is nowadays worth to be played with the releases of AtA and MMW?
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Severus Snape
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psicoserra wrote:
You did a great review Severus.
Thanks for sharing and for the work involved.

I am almost buying this one...

Just one question: Do you think that Washington's War is nowadays worth to be played with the releases of AtA and MMW?
Rui, thanks for your kind words.

Washington's War has more fans than critics. I would encourage you to see what its supporters say and go from there. My dislike of the game is well known in some circles. I do notice that Sean/Gittes is rather lukewarm towards WW, so check out what he has to say.

I find WW an abysmal misreading of history, and I think you have to have the Stars and Stripes painted on your backside to give WW any claims to "accuracy." I also think that it is a bore and a chore as a game. I have stated that Paths--Pathos--of Glory is a poor simulation but a really fun game. I try to see the two main possibilities for a game: the game, as a game, and the game as history. WW fails on both points.

Though it is not a CDG, check out Joe Miranda's S&T game on the AWI. It looks interesting, despite Joe Youst having a somewhat off day with the map.

All that being said, I hope we can discuss the merits of Mr. Madison's War, and possibly that game that shall not be named--until it is.

goo

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bentlarsen wrote:
psicoserra wrote:
You did a great review Severus.
Thanks for sharing and for the work involved.

I am almost buying this one...

Just one question: Do you think that Washington's War is nowadays worth to be played with the releases of AtA and MMW?
Rui, thanks for your kind words.

Washington's War has more fans than critics. I would encourage you to see what its supporters say and go from there. My dislike of the game is well known in some circles. I do notice that Sean/Gittes is rather lukewarm towards WW, so check out what he has to say.

I find WW an abysmal misreading of history, and I think you have to have the Stars and Stripes painted on your backside to give WW any claims to "accuracy." I also think that it is a bore and a chore as a game. I have stated that Paths--Pathos--of Glory is a poor simulation but a really fun game. I try to see the two main possibilities for a game: the game, as a game, and the game as history. WW fails on both points.

Though it is not a CDG, check out Joe Miranda's S&T game on the AWI. It looks interesting, despite Joe Youst having a somewhat off day with the map.

All that being said, I hope we can discuss the merits of Mr. Madison's War, and possibly that game that shall not be named--until it is.

goo

Thanks for the quick reply and attention.
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psicoserra wrote:
You did a great review Severus.
Thanks for sharing and for the work involved.

I am almost buying this one...

Just one question: Do you think that Washington's War is nowadays worth to be played with the releases of AtA and MMW?
Since WW covers a completely different topic, I wouldn't judge its playing merits by comparing it to AtA and MMW. The same could be said about Wilderness War as well.
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Severus Snape
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Since WW covers a completely different topic, I wouldn't judge its playing merits by comparing it to AtA and MMW. The same could be said about Wilderness War as well.
Yes, everyone knows that the topic is different, but they are all CDG's, and therefore have a common base for comparison. I compare both WW's by how they cover their respective topics, and how they play as games. I would imagine that most, if not all, of us interested in history and in wargames take the same approach.

If you wish to defend Washington's War, start a thread over on its site. If you wish to discuss Mr. Madison's War, have at it here. I addressed Rui's question because he was kind enough to ask. If you would like to compare both WW and MMW, start a new thread where you choose and maybe I'll join in.

goo
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Gilbert Collins
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Severus, outstanding review and very fair to both games. I can't think of a single thing to criticize in your assessment. Very fair indeed.

Kevin and I had discussed the differences in our designs many times when we first met a couple of years ago. We knew that when both games came out just in time for the Bi-Centennial comparisons were inevitable.

I must confess that I have only broken out "ATA" the one time and we didn't finish the game. It is one I will definitely want to 'try again' to get that 'other viewpoint' on the war in general.

I think you comparisons of the SUV and the Sports Car very appropriate.

Again, an excellent review and I will send this on to Kevin just in case he has not seen it.



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bentlarsen wrote:
Quote:
Since WW covers a completely different topic, I wouldn't judge its playing merits by comparing it to AtA and MMW. The same could be said about Wilderness War as well.
Yes, everyone knows that the topic is different, but they are all CDG's, and therefore have a common base for comparison. I compare both WW's by how they cover their respective topics, and how they play as games. I would imagine that most, if not all, of us interested in history and in wargames take the same approach.

If you wish to defend Washington's War, start a thread over on its site. If you wish to discuss Mr. Madison's War, have at it here. I addressed Rui's question because he was kind enough to ask. If you would like to compare both WW and MMW, start a new thread where you choose and maybe I'll join in.

goo
I'm not sure where you get the impression that I'm defending WW. I've never played it or We the People for that matter, so I have no opinion one way or the other. I just responded to Rui's question. What I am suggesting is that the existence of other CDGs of completely different topics should be way down on the list of priorities to consider when discussing the merits of whether or not to play WW.

And in seeing that you answered Rui's question about WW without without respect to AtA or MMW, it looks like you took the same approach. You evaluated WW in a vacuum, which I agree is how it should be looked at.

As for the two 1812 games, I agree that there's room on the shelf for both!
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Rui Serrabulho
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zonk67 wrote:
bentlarsen wrote:
Quote:
Since WW covers a completely different topic, I wouldn't judge its playing merits by comparing it to AtA and MMW. The same could be said about Wilderness War as well.
Yes, everyone knows that the topic is different, but they are all CDG's, and therefore have a common base for comparison. I compare both WW's by how they cover their respective topics, and how they play as games. I would imagine that most, if not all, of us interested in history and in wargames take the same approach.

If you wish to defend Washington's War, start a thread over on its site. If you wish to discuss Mr. Madison's War, have at it here. I addressed Rui's question because he was kind enough to ask. If you would like to compare both WW and MMW, start a new thread where you choose and maybe I'll join in.

goo
I'm not sure where you get the impression that I'm defending WW. I've never played it or We the People for that matter, so I have no opinion one way or the other. I just responded to Rui's question. What I am suggesting is that the existence of other CDGs of completely different topics should be way down on the list of priorities to consider when discussing the merits of whether or not to play WW.

And in seeing that you answered Rui's question about WW without without respect to AtA or MMW, it looks like you took the same approach. You evaluated WW in a vacuum, which I agree is how it should be looked at.

As for the two 1812 games, I agree that there's room on the shelf for both!
To start I thank you all for give me a help in positioning in time now WW. The fact is that when new games came out about a subject I tend to move on to the new ones and disregard the oldest ones such in this case WW. I will play WW because I had a blast playing it. Great fun in it! As I understood MMW is a quick and fun game that I will like to play for time to time, I say this because PoG is witchcraft me and I have EotS and ToC to learn. Right now I am having a blast with Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975. This last plays well and the different system that allow to buy the events is interesting, among other aspects of course.
Set and done that MMW is a must for me.
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Kevin McPartland
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I will send this on to Kevin just in case he has not seen it.
Yes, I have seen it, Gilbert; thanks! Another excellent review by "Severus Snape". I am sure that he is quite up to here with War of 1812 history, after playing our two games.

By the way, the only other posted comparison of our two games is by "Jim C", on the Fun City Games blog. He has weighed in above, as well. My thanks to both reviewers, and I'd like to see more of this in the future!

Kevin
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I'm not sure where you get the impression that I'm defending WW. I've never played it or We the People for that matter, so I have no opinion one way or the other. I just responded to Rui's question. What I am suggesting is that the existence of other CDGs of completely different topics should be way down on the list of priorities to consider when discussing the merits of whether or not to play WW.
We will agree to disagree. I have played historical topics in which I have a low interest, such as the Mexican-American War, because the games were CDG's. On the other hand, I picked up Paths of Glory because I like WWI. But if I were to take the time to compare WW to POG, I would begin, and likely end, with the common foundation between them: they are CDG's.

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And in seeing that you answered Rui's question about WW without without respect to AtA or MMW, it looks like you took the same approach. You evaluated WW in a vacuum, which I agree is how it should be looked at.
If there is a "vacuum" here, it is the gap of understanding that lies between us. I do not wish to turn a discussion of Mr. Madison's War into a discussion of any other CDG, while being open to bringing AtA to the discussion table. If you read my brief comments I have written on WW, there is no evaluation in a vacuum. I suggested that Rui check out the positive comments before he considers the minority opinion.

Without going into the supporting evidence for my opinion, I think Washington's War stinks. But to spend the time and energy to write a negative review of similar length as I did for Mr. Madison's War, and one that is simply going to be flamed, is an exercise in futility. Too many fine folks out there seem to think that some games and designers are above criticism. Washington's War is among them.

Now, Jim, tell us what you think of Mr. Madison's War and why you feel that way?

goo


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Richard Boyes
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Rulebook: so far, so good, seems to be error free.

????

I got into a Rulebook...Playbook...Reference Card...Rulebook..... spiral that resulted in me putting the game away!

In no uncertain terms there is a heading "Terrain" in the Land Combat Modifiers section that lists a slough of modifiers. It turns out that only two of the modifiers are Terrain modifiers, I think.

There is a discussion of MMW on Consimworld that sounds like what should be a playtest discussion of naval rules.

If you think the rulebook is error free then you are probably playing the game incorrectly. That's OK, I'm glad you're having fun with it. But I figure a game is balanced for proper play, and play otherwise could be slanting results.

After an errata sheet and an FAQ, I'm sure I'll be enthusiastic about this product too.

Thanks for the effort you put into your review!

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Severus Snape
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If you think the rulebook is error free then you are probably playing the game incorrectly.
"It is to laugh." Thanks for adding humour to the discussion.

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That's OK, I'm glad you're having fun with it.
Almost as much fun as reading comments like this one; or, see above.

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But I figure a game is balanced for proper play, and play otherwise could be slanting results.


See above, parts one and two.

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Thanks for the effort you put into your review!
And your thumbs are . . . where? Oh, yes; you're sitting on them.

Please direct your questions about the rules to Gilbert Collins. And let's hope his sense of humour is as good as yours. Or mine.

goo
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There is a discussion of MMW on Consimworld that sounds like what should be a playtest discussion of naval rules.
Wow, is that what you got from that discussion? Several of the questions were actually quite silly and easy to answer. One of the playtesters stepped in and answered all of the questions, quoting rules sections missed by the questioner in every case. The designer then simply confirmed that those answers were correct.

By the way, I didn't see any questions from Richard Boyes in that discussion. As mentioned above, the designer is very quick to answer questions. Unless one of the playtesters answers first!

Kevin
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Gilbert Collins
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Yeah, that's a bit of a puzzler to me too. Most of the questions and their answers, concerned "clarifications" that were already in the body of the rules. There has been very little in down right "erratta". There was the General Scott thing which is correct on the OOB chart but incorrect on the counter. I don't see that as critical.

I think one thing is throwing people about the rules in general. The game appears simple and players are going in with a lot of assumptions and skipping sections because they believe them to be the same as other CDG games they have played before. I've been guilty of that learning other CDG games. Sometimes you can get away with it, sometimes you can't. MMW has some important differences from other CDG games, especially in dealing with retreat before combat and the interaction of naval movement.

We will eventually get together a Q&A document but I would rather wait a bit until we get all the data in.

I think the game is getting good support and the enthusiastic players (thanks guys) have helped a lot.

I also usually have a running commentary on a game in progress over on Consimworld.



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After reading hundreds of Consimworld posts that include too much historical one-ups-man ship interspersed with sincere questions getting responses like why would you want to do that, I'm sitting on my thumbs waiting for that errata and not getting into that discussion.

I'm sure you designers are knowledgable and nice guys and your products are good. Playing and learning wargames is a tough and challenging task. I just need clear rules that turn me loose on that challenge. I've gotten used to errata in games, but the problems I had with resolving combat in this game just happened to put me over a threshold to go play Pax Baltica instead!

I've just stated my opinions and I'm sorry I've ticked anyone off.
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Joel Tamburo
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xlegion wrote:
Yeah, that's a bit of a puzzler to me too. Most of the questions and their answers, concerned "clarifications" that were already in the body of the rules. There has been very little in down right "erratta". There was the General Scott thing which is correct on the OOB chart but incorrect on the counter. I don't see that as critical.

I think one thing is throwing people about the rules in general. The game appears simple and players are going in with a lot of assumptions and skipping sections because they believe them to be the same as other CDG games they have played before. I've been guilty of that learning other CDG games. Sometimes you can get away with it, sometimes you can't. MMW has some important differences from other CDG games, especially in dealing with retreat before combat and the interaction of naval movement.

We will eventually get together a Q&A document but I would rather wait a bit until we get all the data in.

I think the game is getting good support and the enthusiastic players (thanks guys) have helped a lot.

I also usually have a running commentary on a game in progress over on Consimworld.



It occurs to me to ask, have there actually been any rules questions not answerable by reference to the rulebook so far? I tend to agree that most of the confusion stems from people seeing "CDG" and making assumptions. For example MMW has no concept of converting spaces to your control - if you don't occupy them and they did not start loyal to you then they are enemy. That one threw more than a couple of people off a bit.
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bentlarsen wrote:
Without going into the supporting evidence for my opinion, I think Washington's War stinks. But to spend the time and energy to write a negative review of similar length as I did for Mr. Madison's War, and one that is simply going to be flamed, is an exercise in futility.
I don't want to derail this thread or anything, but I'm saddened to read this. I understand your desire in not wanting to spend the time and energy to write something that will likely be shouted down (since most negative reviews are), but I would love to read such a review. To me, a well thought out and well written negative review is more valuable than a positive one. And I say this as someone who has a somewhat favorable opinion of Washington's War.
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Joelist wrote:

It occurs to me to ask, have there actually been any rules questions not answerable by reference to the rulebook so far? I tend to agree that most of the confusion stems from people seeing "CDG" and making assumptions. For example MMW has no concept of converting spaces to your control - if you don't occupy them and they did not start loyal to you then they are enemy. That one threw more than a couple of people off a bit.
The game designer seems to be making himself generously accessible on BGG and Consimworld. So you will get answers to your questions, but in my opinion there are some combat resolution procedures questions that can't be answered by the reference to the rulebook when taken in conjunction with the combat modifiers table and Playbook. But you can probably play the game without clarification. Things have been straightened out for me in the Rules threads of BGG.

Rules problem aren't new to me and usually not game breakers. Washington's War Rule 9.4 states clearly that to the strength of a unit you add a bunch of modifiers which includes the strength of a unit, and then roll a die. Well the Playbook examples don't add the strength of a unit twice. I've played the game a lot with no major problems and have kept up on the errata.

I just happened to try out Mr. Madison's War when I didn't have internet access. So I moved on when I got stuck with combat resolution problems. I'm sure others have made their own conclusions and continued play to their own satisfaction.
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Rui Serrabulho
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This thread is "Mr. Madison's War-Game on!" and not " Mr. Madison's War-Game off!"
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stuart glanvville
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just recieved this, looking forward to breaking it out and playing it with a friend, more so now i've read this review, I've given the rule book a quick read and not noticed anything that seems amiss..
I've ummed and ahhed over AtA or wait for Mr Madison, in the end I picked Mr Madison purely on the price point, however I can see me now picking it up as well as this review has poked my interest in it again!!
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Freddy Dekker
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I prefered MMW not only because of the price, but ATA also seems to need a lot more table space.

What really decided it for me was that MMW has historical units instead of annonymous counters.

Mind you I understand that for ATA this would simply not be do-able.
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