Played my first game with my nearly (in 1 week) 11-year-old son, Marek.
Background: Never really played any hex-and-chit war games (if Space Infantry doesn't count), but have played MANY battles of BattleTech in the past. Marek and I have played 1 game of Gettysburg, which we enjoyed. Prefer thematic RPG-esque games to dry VP-fests. Not a history buff (least favorite subject in school, and I loved school and studying).
So I played the Union and Marek was the Dukes of Hazard, I mean the Confederates. I came into the game knowing that it would be random and that I would no control over what orders would come up (unlike Gettysburg). I was very surprised at how much fun Martin packed into this little game. I won by barely holding onto the the star on the far left (Union's left) and the hill on the far right. Marek kept attacking and bombarding the star on the left to get me to vacate but failed in the end. I didn't draw the stupid Ford card until my next to last card. Grr!
1. Orders weren't a problem, since turns went so fast. During crunch time at the end, we agonized over every order roll, which only added to the drama. Marek wanted cards that allowed you to control the dice rolls more (or add more dice).
2. Artillery seems underpowered. Don't know about the historic-ness of this. I would have liked to give all chits +1 on their rolls (ala God's Playground) or something. I would have also liked to have had to chance to capture artillery like Martin mentioned in the history section. House rules coming!
3. The game was a little too long (2+ hours). We got moving fast, but still it seemed like we weren't getting enough 1s and using 6s for movement.
4. We had a lot of casualties (7 CWS and 6 USA), but failed all our Rout tries. I found it easy to create casualties by attacking/bombarding an area that forced retreats into my occupied zones. Maybe we got this rule wrong, I'll have to re-read.
5. The game was very dramatic and exciting. Others wanted us to do something or get our attention, but we yelled at them to LEAVE US ALONE! since it was so tense.
6. Having leaders in the right place adds a lot of flexibility and give you some control (at least when you roll 6s) over your orders. There were lots of agonizing choices at the end with sixes. Needed re-enforcements vs. card (where's that bloody Ford!), etc. I noticed I moved my leader a lot during the game to try to use him properly.
7. Rolling 8 dice for artillery was fun! (four 2s and 3s, plus artillery card!).
I love this game. It's a game I can play with Marek or Miles (7), or that they can play together or against a friend.
The nay-sayers (T.V. and Gamer's T.) either didn't play it with the right attitude, the right expectations, or the required competency (for such games). I'm guessing #s 1 and 2 mostly.
This is a great child-friendly, light war game. Accept it for what it is and you'll have a blast.
Sorry, I'm not much on taking pics while playing.
Played two more games this weekend with my 8 year old. The first one the Union came out strong and took the hill right away, only to be pushed off in the middle game. However, toward the end they tried a rout (4 killed) and rolled a 3! We finished out the the game just to see what would have happened, and the Union never took another star. In fact the Rebels were attacking the Union in the end.
Next game came right down to the end again. I was playing the Union and rolled three 1s three times and two 1s at least twice! So the deck got whittled down very fast. I used Ford (optional rule to have it in the first 1/2 of the deck) to make a 0 crossing (next to the 2/1 crossing leading to the hill) a 1 crossing. Then I flanked the hill from the right and left. Miles kept artillering the right flankers (they "retreated" to a 0 crossing and died), but I managed to take the middle star and then later the hill. However, Miles had killed four units. When I ran out of cards and later rolled a 1, Miles had one last chance. He played 2 routs and rolled a 3 on the last one! We played out the finial battle, but I held with one remaining unit in the center star.
Makes me wonder about rout. Still both games were very fun.