He got games

Random thoughts on games and gaming. (And if you don't understand the title, go here here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He_Got_Game)
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A Few Acres of Fun

Judd Vance
United States
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Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
When it comes to gaming, I consider myself 75% Wargamer, 20% Ameri-Trasher, 4% Europlayer, and 1% mixed up in everything else (sports sims, abstracts, kids games, etc).

I'm not a hard core ultra-complex gamer and I'm more Avalon Hill fan than SPI, but I'm enough wargamer to say that Twilight Struggle ain't a wargame, but not Grog enough to deny that Memoir '44 is.

So along comes A Few Acres of Snow last fall. My buddy Bart introduces it to me while we sit in the lobby while our kids are at Wednesday night church.

My first impression is a bit "meh". I was the French and it felt more like Race for the Galaxy than it did Wilderness War (the ultimate game on the French & Indian War). But it was solid enough that I was willing to give it another try, so we did. And it was pretty good. And then we played it over and over, every week.

We just got done playing again tonight. I think it was my 9th game total. I got beat again. I'm not a particularly good player at it, but my comment was that a sign of a good game is that it is one that you enjoy losing at. (The first game I attributed that phrase to was Paths of Glory, another game I never win).

I really get a kick out of that game. It's a blast watching the interaction of the cards and the management of the deck. Is it a wargame? Well, it has a theme of a war, but not a lot of direct conflict. The goal of the French & Indian War wasn't to settle land first, but to take what the the other guy has. And it has a lot of historical holes in it that are there in the name of balance (ex: The French controlled Fort. Dusquene from the beginning. As a matter of fact, their possession of this fort is what led to the war).

But if it's not a Wargame, it must be a Euro, right? But it doesn't feel like a Euro. I don't find Euros engaging. They are detached because they lack theme. They are "west coast/cool jazz" while wargames are "bebop" and Ameri-Trash is "Hard Bop" (to borrow an example from late 40s/early 50s jazz). I'll play a Euro, and they aren't bad, but after a couple of plays, they just don't do a lot for me, since it feels like solving a puzzle more than playing a game. This one doesn't give that detached feeling.

So it's kind of floating around in no man's land...

I don't think it should have received the Golden Geek for Wargame of the Year and shouldn't have been even been nominated ... any more than My Little Pony Hide & Seek. The winner of that one probably should have been No Retreat! The Russian Front. (I haven't had the pleasure of playing it, but listening to my fellow wargamers, it did get more praise than any other game I saw come out.)

But I don't care that it's not a real wargame. It's one heckuva fun game, and I can't wait to play it next week.
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