Nice design. Although I enjoy Twilight Struggle, I think 1960 solves a number of small issues I have with it.
1) Bad hands (CP-wise) are mitigated by Rest Cubes and Campaign Bag. 2) Bad hands (event-wise) are mitigated by Momentum. 3) More things to juggle (media, endorsements, issues, debates). 4) Scoring only happens at the end.
It's a simple system made complex by 91 unique events. Each card has 4 functions: event (for one or both players), campaign points (campaign, advertise, position), issue icon for debates, and state for election day. Each full game turn, you have either 6 or 7 cards. You need to decide which cards to play during the turn, and which you want to save for the debate/election day. For the debate, you generally want high-valued cards with your own icon and a symbol for the issue(s) you want to win. For election day, you want cards with states that have a chance of swinging your way with 3 support checks. In both these cases, you don't know exactly what you might need at the beginning of the turn (and less so in earlier turns), and you may even change your mind as the events play out.
I have changed my mind on this. After playing it a bit, I now understand why TS works the way it does, and I enjoy it more.
After playing a number of tactical wargames, there are 4 things that stand out as being required for me:
- Morale. At the tactical level, units simply do not constantly eliminate each other. They take cover, they run, they refuse to fight. You can order them to charge the heavy machine gun, but you can't force them to commit suicide.
- Defensive Fire. Over the course of a full turn, every unit gets to take its move/fire actions AND fire at enemy units, during and after movement. Many games make defensive fire more costly than any other action, and basically require the unit to give up everything for the possibility of a future shot.
- Choice. If I want a unit to fire because it's obvious/necessary, but it cannot because I don't have a Fire Attack card, then I am not playing a wargame. A deck of all possible wargame concepts DOES NOT simulate the chaos of war. If you want to simulate command problems, broken radios, or a general lack of information being available to every unit, then build that specifically into the game.
- Playable. Many people fear or criticize ASL because it has a reputation for being really complicated and full of chrome. That may be true, but I can teach and play an infantry scenario (granted, SK) to a wargame newbie in an evening. That says a lot about the system. You only need to know the rules for the parts of the system you are playing, and you can add new stuff as you go.
Like Ra, players bid for things that have different values for each of them. On top of that, you have 3 resources to manage (farmers, pyramids, cards) that affect your game position. Looks great and plays great.
Interesting physical issues: the huge box is almost empty, yet the board doesn't really fit into it. The game is really nice light fare. Card/action drafting, card-driven movement, low score wins. A little heavy on rules for such a light game, but pretty easy to teach.
Fantastic 2-player version of Carcassonne. I find the interaction is less direct than with the original or H&G. The wall tiles make the game a bit more random. The fact that you only need to match up road edges (as in The City) gives more choices for tile placement.
The best of the Carcassonne family. So much going on. Tile placement, wall placement, and guard placement. All are somewhat opposing forces, making you have to keep your eyes on everything the whole time.
Very interesting and pretty abstract area influence game. The king moves around the circle of territories under player control. Each place he visits gets resolved. The winner places a tower and merges the territory with any neighboring territories with their towers. Very tense, but a bit chaotic at the end.
8 nasty critters battle it out until only 3 are left. Players place bets on them. Earlier bets are worth more, but are riskier since your favorite critters can be killed off. The player with the highest visible bet values of a given critter can use its special powers. Very good depth for such a simple game.
A thoroughly elegant design that incorporates many of the complicated tactical wargame concepts into a nice clean system. Each unit counter shows costs for movement and attack, firepower, range, front/flank defensive ratings, and a few other special things on certain units. This information, along with a small terrain effects chart, is all you need to make your decisions. There's no CRT, no other tables, no special rules for cross-unit combat. Players take turns taking actions/reactions until both pass. This handles the issues of simultaneity and defensive fire much better than other light wargames, and much cleaner than other heavy wargames.
Rating could go up or down depending on how stagnant play becomes. Does the initial setup and randomness of the cards allow for a nice variety, or does the game become repetetive? [04/06] Starting to feel like tug-of-war. Down a half point.
I don't care as much about retaining the original theme as I do about retaining the game itself. If it ends up being FFG-ized (500 indistinguishable plastic figures and tokens, decks of command cards, simple rules disguised as complex rules), then I'm not interested.
This game is retarded. There's no other word that describes it as well. Every part of this design is a joke: movement, tile draws, card draws, combat, encounters. I can't think of any age that I would have enjoyed this game at all.
Not bad as a light version of Arkham, but yet another FFG failure of graphic design. They not only don't have a clue, they also don't have a clue that they don't have a clue. The card stock and cutting sucks. There are 10x more components than there needs to be.
Although I have enjoyed SFB in the past, Federation Commander pretty much fixes every issue I had with it, without creating more problems. In fact, the game is deeper and more fun because of the additional impulse tactics and speedier play.
Excellent design. A nice filler with elements of Carcassonne and Through the Desert. The tile placement rules keep the region from being too "stringy". It's amazing how frequent it occurs that a tile is unplayable, and must be set aside into the face up pile.
A lot of game for such a small package. This game is unique in that it has a two-tier "election" system. The bottom tier is area influence, and the winners of those 7 areas get to vote for the results of the top tier. There's a lot of potential for screwage and leader bashing, but is really a blast if you don't mind thinking.
Excellent quality 3d building game with an action point allowance system. My only beef with the game is the underdeveloped party mechanic. You can hold a party on any resort on which you have a marker. There should be forces at work making you want to choose one over another.
Kind of an area influence game. You want the majority of bridges to an island in order to place a stone of your own upon it. However, bridges connect 2 islands, so they count for majority in 2 places. If an opponent "captures" an island, you lose all your bridges to that island. This can have a ripple effect. Nice little 2 player abstract.
Not your usual train game: 5 types of resources (4 of which are auctioned), all track counts as loss, passenger and cargo trains are only "rented", track may (in reality, must) be sold to bigger companies, large networks of your own track not important.
Leave it to Martin Wallace to turn area majority inside out. Players are NOT the 3 factions of the French Revolution; they can control all of them in various regions. Players seek to have the most control of the faction that ends up winning each election. Players can also win (even if behind in the VP race) through Revolution or Counter-Revolution.
Players are trying to maximize their party's political control in Germany. Elections are held in 7 regions. Each region resolves itself over 4 turns and is offset from the previous region by 1 turn. Regions are scored partly based on each party's popularity there. Popularity is a dynamic graph similar to a stock chart. Players attempt to cash in their "meetings" when the graph is high so as to score as many votes as possible. This is complicated by the fact that players can change their party's stand on the issues each turn, and by the fact that the stance of a region on the issues is only revealed one new issue per turn.
So you need to find a balance between your party's issues and the 7 constantly (but slowly) changing regional issue sets. If you max out the current region which is about the hold the election, then you may have almost no sway at all in the next one. But maybe it's worth it. Winning an election gives you a big boost on the national charts, and let's you sway opinions...
After a few more 2-player games, this one has come way down in my ratings. The game has some interesting mechanics, but doesn't work well in practice. I'm not sure if there is any simple fix. Probably works a little better with 3+ players.
Tile laying, but the tiles are wooden blocks. Feels like playing chicken. You must grab the palaces when they get big enough. If you grab too soon, you get few points. If you wait too long, someone else grabs them. The additional mechanics of the villagers and walls gives some extra tension to the game.
One player is the Detective, and the other player is Jack the Ripper. There are 8 characters on the board. One of them is Jack, but his identity is unknown to the Detective. Both players have partial control over all the characters. To win, the Detective must accuse Jack within 8 turns. In order to do this, he must correctly deduce Jack's identity, then get another character to Jack's location. Jack wins if he escapes the city, if he remains unaccused after 8 turns, or if the Detective falsely accuses the wrong character. Jack may only escape if he was not witnessed on the previous turn. Through control of the characters available, their positions, the careful movement of street lamps, manhole covers, and roadblocks, the players play a cat-and-mouse game of risk, bluffing, and wit.
The system is odd, but plays out in a very satisfying way. There's an amazing amount of play with only 3 basic unit types. Players are not throwing huge piles of units against huge piles of units (eg Risk). They are using position and maneuver to force their opponent to retreat and/or stretch their defenses too thin.
Great game. Typical Alea physical quality, which is to say okay. The cardboard coins, VP counters, and messages are really too thin. The main boards are much thicker but also too thin. The purple cubes are too close to the black cubes. The "red" message counters are barely orange.
A truly awful game. Overwhelmingly simple, ambiguous, and analog. The number of cannons you have is equal to your masts, but your masts do not affect your speed. Huh!?!? I can see 10-year-olds drooling over the neato-cool detailed plastic models, but there is no game here. At all.
Decent semi-multi-player-solitaire. Not the #1 game by far in my book. Each player has their own buildings, plantations, colonists, and crops. They only share ships and the trading post. Too much chaos for me with more than 3 players.
Do not dismiss this as a simple bidding game. It is very unique. If you win the bid, you win the previous bidding marker, and your bidding marker gets added to the items for the next auction. You are trying to collect various items that score in all sorts of ways (sets, most of, most different, etc). There is also an unknown amount of time to get what you want. If you are too greedy, you might get burned.
Rating based 1 play. Sort of a 1-dimensional version of E&T, except that the river winds back on itself in some places making some spaces adjacent that wouldn't normally be. Some luck of the draw, but being able to use any card to reinforce a knight in play (as long as it's not adjacent to an opponent's knight) makes this game work nicely.
This game stands on its own while giving some feel of Puerto Rico. Setup is minimal (shuffle a deck of cards), so it's much easier to bring out if you feel lazy. A little heavy on luck, but light enough that it doesn't matter so much.
Best design I've ever seen. You are trying to get points spatially, by set collection, by collecting bonuses, and by possession of the +2 card. A little bit of press-your-luck, a little bit of bluffing, and some hand management. You don't refill your hand by drawing cards blindly from a deck; you get to draw 2 cards (usually) from a set of face-up cards...but only at the point where you decide to stop competing for the round. Withdraw early and you get your choice. Withdraw late and you get what's left. Awesome awesome game, and about as medium in weight as Euros go.
This is not the simple "chase each other around the board" game that you may think. Every decision is painful. If you play in one area, you know you are giving up something elsewhere. While the game is pretty, the colors detract from functionality, and the quality (FFG) is subpar.
The only randomness is the draw of the tile(s) when you set sail; this might be a little too random for some; you can get a lucky break and have half the board for yourself. Otherwise, very chess-like in its play. Trying to calculate a complicated series of chain reactions is difficult.
Own it but have only played online. As the game progresses, the AP gets a little daunting. I tend to want to calculate out the current score in order to decide what to do. My rating may drop a little over time. Definitely use the "all cards in hand" variant if you don't like the luck element.
A very simple operational-level game. The Axis player must make a controlled retreat while waiting for reinforcements and better command ability. The Soviets must use shear weight of numbers to overwhelm the superior German units, and try to punch a hole through the sparse defensive lines.
I've lowered my rating a bit since my initial review. The game now feels like less than a game kit. The rules are in constant flux, and none of them feel quite right. If I wanted a game with no scenarios and no rules, I could have made one up myself.