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Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan» Forums » General

Subject: Comparisons to Maria rss

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Warren Smith
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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And what become of her new straw hat that should have come to me?
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A quick search in these forums will reveal a few other references to Maria and/or Friedrich. I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to elaborate a bit on Sekigahara's similarities/differences and pros/cons, particularly with reference to Maria.

Thank you in advance.
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Fabian Mainzer
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1) They all have a point-to-point mounted map

2) They all use stickered wooden pieces

3) They all use cards

4) They are all innovative yet comparably light and fun games


That's about it from my point of view.
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Carsten Bohne
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5) They all use hidden unit strength.

Braunschweig wrote:
4) They are all innovative yet comparably light and fun games


...but that's probably the most important point.
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Steve E.
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The combat between all three felt very similar to me.

You'll need to have enough units, but also cards to make them useful in all three games.
 
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R Larsen
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It seems most people consider the games fairly similar, however, even though they do have the above mentioned things in common, I see them (Sekigahara vs Maria) as completely different games, and I dont have any feeling of sameness playing the two.

As mentioned already, where they are similar, is in having cards, wooden pieces, hidden information and in using point-to-point movement.

But besides these things, that are mainly physical or component related, their gameplay, at least to me, are entirely different. Below I will try to mention, in no specific order, things in which they clearly differ.

First of all, Sekigahara is strictly a 2-player game, whereas Maria really is only good as a 3-player game (ok, honestly, I have never played the advanced game with 2 players, but it has certainly been designed with 3 players in mind).

Card play mechanisms
Whereas Maria employs almost normal playing cards (as used for Bridge or Poker), including a Joker/Reserve card, Sekigahara uses game-specific cards that are associated to units on the board.

In Maria, the cards are associated to a grid that covers the board, and delineates where cards can be used in battle. This means that there is a lot of positioning and maneuvering in Maria, in which you try to bring your enemy to battle at locations where the cards favor you, and avoid battle where they dont. The cards in Maria are also used to buy troops, which is not unlike Sekigahara and to do politics (see below).
In Sekigaraha, as mentioned, the cards as associated to the units, and not the board, and determined not where, but which units can be brought to battle. Practically this means, also because of the smaller board, that there is less movement than in Maria, and more waiting for having the right cards, to start a battle. It feels like Sekigahara has a bit more bluffing in this respect. The cards in Sekigahara are also used for movements and purchasing specific units, and in Sekigahara, it can feel like you are more limited in your card options, making the decisions very tricky.

Maria includes politics in which the players can try to influence what is going on and outside the board, such as the Russian and Italian theaters, elections, alliances, etc). In my opinion, this political mechanism is great, as it adds flavor and non-military means to affect what is going on, and that in a very, very simple way. Furthermore, it adds historical flavor to the game.
There are no similar political aspects in Sekigahara, except perhaps in the way that you can, in a battle, try to make enemy units join your side.

I have already touched upon this, but battles even though similar, are really fairly different in the two games. In Maria, adjacent enemy generals attack each other and after comparing the otherwise secret general-strengths, the player alternate in playing cards that add strength to their side. While this could hardly be simpler, there is the very neat trick, that you can decide when you want to pull out of the battle. That means that you can to some extend accept a given loss and stop the battle. The gamble is, when to push for the win and when to accept a battle. This really works extremely well.
In Sekigahara, the battle can be similar nailbiters and you do not only not know exactly what the enemy is hiding in the blocks, you also dont know where he can bring them all to battle. You might not even be able to bring all your own blocks to battle, as the opponent can try to make your units fight for his side, in the midst of battle, which also provides a lot of tension and fun. In Sekigahara you need cards that match your block designations, or they will be largely useless in battle.

Supply also works different in the two games. In Sekigahara there are castles and supply cities, the control of which to a limited extend determines how many new blocks and cards your receive each turn. In Maria there are more tactical supply rules in which, as soon as you are outside of your own country, you need to bring along Supply Trains, indicated by little cubes on the board. These need to be close to their respective generals to give supply, but also need to be kept out of the enemys reach and out of retreat paths. This effect adds to the very interesting maneuverability of Maria, and can cause some "head aches" (in the good way).

There are of course other little differences, and despite the similarities, I think these play as completely different games. Sekigahara is a lighter and faster game, with some luck in the card draw but also with a lot of options.
Maria is a deeper and longer game in which maneuvering and choosing your battles is key, but where you can also go into politics and agreements with the other players, as it is a three player game.
Both games are great and among my best games, which a lot of bluffing and tough decisions. For a 2-player, quicker game, go for Sekigahara. For a longer, more complex game, go for Maria.

Enjoy!
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Greece
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Finally! It took 4(!) comparison replies for a difference to be mentioned... I was beginning to think they are the same game with a different name...

Kudos for an actual comparison, Larsen!
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C Sandifer
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For what it's worth, it never would have occurred to me to think of Maria and Sekigahara as similar games. They're both excellent and both worth owning, but - to me - that's pretty much where the similarity ends.
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James
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They are both remarkably attractive.
Not just by wargame standards either.
 
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