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A House Divided» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A House Divided: My opinion rss

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Endre Fodstad
Norway
Oslo
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A House Divided, now into its third edition, has changed little in the rules section since its publication by GDW. This can be indicative of the elegantness of the system, or it can be indicative of laziness on the part of publishers. I believe the former is correct.

Simply put, the game is a two-player contest between a slightly weaker party with good interior lines and an advantage in command ability and battle, and a slightly stronger party that will increase its advantages as the game progresses. However, the board is designed in such a manner that the stronger party (from now on the USA), even with its bad command and battle ability, will have to take the offensive to prevent the weaker party (from now on the CSA) from achieving its victory conditions quickly. If the USA can stalemate the CSA for some time, their superior production ability and late game strengths will win the game for them. If they fail to do this, the CSA has the advantage and will likely win the war. The game cleverly has simple mechanics that ensures that cavalry troops, with their ability to bypass the enemy and cut supply lines, can not be built in enormous numbers. Thus, the cavalry, while effective strategically, will always be heavily outnumbered by the infantry, who are much more effective in battle. The game has plenty of optional rules, advanced rules, and scenarios to ensure play variation.

A House Divided is not a very accurate simulation of the US/CSA Civil War, even with all the add-on rules. It is, on the other hand, a clever little wargame where the problem of the chance element has been thought very well over in the design process, as the fortunes of war can, and do, change very quickly in the course of the game. If luck consistently favors one side, it will, on the other hand, win very quickly. The incorporation of the chance element is both the games major advantage and disadvantage. The game is not perfect, but if you can stomach two-player play times of 4+ hours, is well worth a go.

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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
Germany
Düsseldorf
NRW
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My opinion:

I was not interested at all till I did a bit of research. When I saw a new copy for 10 Euro I picked it up and was pleasantly surprised by it elegance.
Indeed not the perfect game but perfect for what it is: a few pages with rules, a few chits and yet challenging and engaging game play. Wow!
Highly recommended!
 
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Michael @mgouker
United States
Pembroke Pines
Florida
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I'm a big fan of the game, especially for teaching new players how wargames can be fun. The rules are easily absorbed and you can give the new player advantages by making the small suggested variations.

The Phalanx version is beautiful.
 
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Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
Unspecified
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People underrate this game. All games deal in simplification, or abstraction of complex processes. They emphasise some things and leave out others.

This game captures the abstract strategy of the war (you really get to understand Scott's Anaconda), and shows the power of elite troops. It plays down the Civil War leaders and the politics of the war, and handles logistics crudely.

You want it all? Try War Between the States.
 
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