Once again on the hunt for some good printable Freeware games, I came across this one. Intreagued by its hippy beating/police harrassing dynamic, I decided I couldn't not give it a try. Here's my impressions:
I'll start off by saying that if you plan to play this, do yourself a favor and grab the fan made counters on the Geek. The official counters are not only ass-ugly (most are so low resolution it's really impossible to tell what's being represented), but you're required to color them in yourself, which strikes me as a pretty absurd request. The board isn't anything to write home about (the spaces are overlayed over a metro map of Seattle), but it serves its purposes. Personally, though, I did find it a pain to print out, as most programs resize large images, and I could find no indication of how large the board is supposed to be originally.
Historical reinactment buffs and social dissenters alike are going to be pleased here. The game reinacts the 1999 Seattle WTO riots, with one player as the police and one as everyone else. Victory is determined by the "Exposure Index", which reflects the effect the media's portrayal of each side is having on the public. The police start out with 30 points, and have a difficult time gaining more. The protesters start out with 0, but don't lose points easily. This is where it gets interesting: The protesters and the police have very different goals. The protesters can fight off the police, but the police are stronger, and since they can't be permanently removed, this becomes counterproductive as the game wears on. What they really need to do is swarm the city and 'be seen' in as many places as possible to sop up Exposure points for doing that. Conversely, the police have to try to contain protesters. While this is difficult at the outset, once they get to break out the riot gear, combat becomes a breeze for them. The two different goals make for a sense of chaos appropriate to the setting. The only problem here is simply that it is a historical reinactment; the police are screwed from the outset. While it is possible for them to win, the game is naturally biased against them.
I myself didn't find much, though I'm not big on historical reenactments. While it is still fun as a wargame, I found the historical accuracy simply limited the strategic possibilities in the long run.
All in all, I did enjoy this game from my playings of it. The fact that publicy wins the day I found very cool (along with the rest of the loving attention to historical detail), and I enjoyed that there was still a wargame to be had in here. While it might not stand the test of time play-wise, it is free, so there's little to lose in trying it.