First Minnesota Historical Wargame Society played some Splendid Little War on July 18th. We're really impressed with design. A number of us have began playing it. Also talked to our store owner about stocking the shelves with it. We play at The Source in St.Paul: fab game store, fantastic owner & staff.
Anyways, our club meets on Friday nights (anyone, welcome to stop by!). A Thunder Road game was underway (gaming starts in the afternoon) and Bill was conducting his weekly summer wargame boot camp for teenagers - very cool. More here:
After Lt Jason had won the race, we invaded the Magic side of the gameroom. We split it with Magic players on Friday nights. Due to Lt Jason and King Gordo's efforts - plus many others - our club is consistently drawing 30+ - now about the same size as the Magic group. We had run out of tables on our side of the room, so used one of theirs. We're always hoping to rope a few Magic players to the side of the force.
spaniard dealing the cards
Lt. Jason took the Spaniards, I had the Cubans. A little about the game first...
It's a smart game with pop. Playable in an hour or two. The goal is to push Spanish public support to 0 or 1 for a Cuban victory. Conversely, Spaniard is trying to hang on - and keep support high. There is a VERY GOOD National/strategic will model here - a well integrated one. Where public support rises or wanes based upon battlefield success, control of territory, etc. Additionally, there is a great economic mechanic - with the amount of action a player can initiated determined by resources - and resources being a function of land held, etc. Resources also generate the number of cards a player receives each turn. Another nice touch to this smart design.
There is also an interactive track that handles possible U.S. intervention (here comes Teddy!). Primarily pushed by cards, instead of events within the players control. No prob - as long the dynamic is here.
Each player has MANY options each game "round". These include fighting, moving, guarding fields, burning fields, search & destroy missions, recruiting, etc. About everything costs resources.
Military units are basically generic and interchangeable. There are leaders, each with special capabilities. And fleets. Like everything in the game, an excellent blend of chrome/flavor and playability. There are only a few pieces and only a few places, but, many choices. Cool game.
This is a "card driven wargame" hybrid. You can do things without cards, but they help drive the action and provide the usual blend of combat cards, events, etc. About the only quibble I've got with the game is the cards - there is a WIDE range between how powerful/beneficial they are for a player. And, it's a shared deck - so, yes, one player can get great cards and the other player bunk.
Anyways, Lt. Jason dealt the cards...
Turn 1: The Death of Marco
the death of marco
Cubans started matters and burnt a field (this costs Spaniard 1 pt of Public Support - 10 pt scale). Spaniard responded by killing the Cuban general Marco. I cried in anguish. I then tried to recruit...and recruit...and recruit...and kept failing a 50/50. Evidently, the local population was intimidated by what had happened to Marco. About the only other thing the Cuban accomplished was in ordering Gomez to Las Villas.
Turn 2: Cowering in the corner
start turn 2
Turn began with burning the fields again. Not only does burning the fields cost the Spanish public support, but it also prevents the province from generating any income (resources) for the turn. Spaniard moved to Matanzas and Las Villas. On the 5th recruitment roll, the Cuban finally was able to persuade a few countrymen to join the revolution. General Weyler initiated a battle in Las Villas, but was roundly defeated by the glorious Cubans. Combat is cool in the game - DRMS (die roll modifiers) for this and that - and extra die rolls for other items. It works.
Cuban player began a general western offensive, having played a card that provided him with 4 more precious resources. Cuban & Spaniard fought for the province of Havana. Cuban was able to get some more recruits (after muffing another die roll) and the Spaniard brought in more troops (which also reduces Spanish public support).
Turn 3: The Battle of Matanzas
start of turn 3
The turn began with the Maine exploding (US intervention rocketed higher) and Gomez first burning the fields outside of Havana and then eliminating a Spanish division. Gomez would launch two other attacks during the turn at Matanzas and eliminate another Spanish division. Things began to look very grim for the Spaniard.
At that point, we took a break. Mr.Frick from our club had come into some books he claimed via Mel Larson's (a 1st MN non member) neighbor that had sadly passed away. But the cuban revolutionary in me prefers to think Frick had knocked off a capitalist second hand store for its stash of history books - and was donating them to the people. Given what a gentleman Mr.Frick is, he only asked that we make a small donation to Store's favorite charity (Lupas). Hats off to Dan.
We finished out the turn. More bad developments for the Spaniard. It appeared his strategy was now circling the drain...
Turn 4: The Lament of Sagasta
start of turn 4
With public support down to 3, the Spaniard had his work cut out for him.
lament of sagasta
Turn began with Sagasta giving a HIGHLY critical speech of Lt. Jason in parliament. He began with, "I rise to speak to condemn the leadership of Lt Jason. He has brought continued shame on Spain. I demand his immediate resignation." You could see the blood drain from Lt. Jason's face. Public support sank to 2. Cuban then proceeded to put the fields at Matanzas again to the torch. Public support now 1. Spaniard tried to respond with an attack on a Cuban corps, but that epically failed.
Gomez then launched the final attack on the province of Havana. Although the Spaniards put up a valiant defense, Gomez prevailed. Public support sank to zero, and, with that, Spain lost the war. Sadly, Sagasta, has spoken too late to change the leadership...or the outcome.
spaniard in happier times...winning a race in Thunder Road
Fun game. Smart game. Love the integrated national will model: resources, public support, etc. Thumbs up. Can't wait to play again. And, I hope the designer gives us another game using this model. Vive la revolution!
Michael was a boot camp. We just went thru a turn of the mechanics to give him a feel for the game. We'll play again. Something I discovered in the that game - also witnessed it the game with Lt Jason - Spanish player has got to get on the offense early (plus protecting fields and what not). The Cuban can really get on a roll quickly if not distracted sufficiently by the Spaniard.
I played this twice in one evening with Jason several weeks back and we were both impressed by the decision-making present in the game. It was my first time and perhaps Jason's second encounter. Both games gave us vastly different outcomes. I would love to get this out on the table in the next week or two.