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A Line in the Sand: The Battle of Iraq» Forums » General

Subject: Why is this rated so low? rss

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Flying Arrow
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Why is this game rated so low? The personal comments do not really give a reason, other than unclear rules, which seems easily remedied.
 
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Andrew Prizzi
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I had the game and sold it a few months back. The basic game of the Gulf War is really very basic. Where the game would shine is in the multiplayer game. In the multiplayer game you need 6 players:

USA
Moderate Arabs
Extreme Arabs
Israel
Iraq
Iran

Each player has several possible objectives and secretly selects one. There are two tracks (War Fever and Jihad) that are impacted by various events/player actions and limit what the US and Arab countries can do. There are diplomatic pouches used to send messages between players. These messages can be intercepted, and your secret objective can be found out by others as well. Oh yeah, you can also build and employ nukes. With the right group of people I can see this being a very fun game.

So why did I sell it?

The map has some issues. It doesn't look very realistic but that didn't bother me. What did bothe me was it's almost impossible to fit units into some spaces that will be used the most. Specifically, Israel has a ton of units, but the spaces in the country are tiny (yes I know Israel is a tiny country, but in this case I'd rather have more gameplay friendly map).

The units stand up to provide fog of war. That's great, but it doesn't really work in a 6 player game. Are you supposed to angle your units just so only you can see them??? Like I said, not going to work. The only solution I could come up with is to lie them down, but that adds to the fiddliness a great deal as people will need to flip their pieces up and down all the time to know who's where and to use them.

One other components gripe, I don't think the game comes with enough Iranian forces. Compared to Iraq, Iran has basically nothing.

Like I said, the game would really shine with the right group of 6 people. For many, it's pretty hard to get 6 people together for this type of game. I'd sum it up by saying Line in the Sand has the same problem as Diplomacy- getting the exact number of people together to play, plus LiS has a much more complex rule set than Dip that everyone would need to learn, plus it isn't as nearly pbem friendly.

Finally, this game was part of TSR's wargame line which also included Red Storm Rising (an ok game), Hunt for Red October (I've never played) and Europe Aflame (one of the worst games I've ever seen). My impression is these games haven't been recieved very well by the wargamer community in general so that my have some impact on the ratings.

I would reccomend the game as something that might work very well in a high school or college classroom- with teams of students running each county and the teacher moderating the game. I've never played the columbia game Mid-east peace, but from reading about it, it may offer a similar experience put with cleaner rules at the expense of reduced realism and a lot less military chrome.

Hope that helps.
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Flying Arrow
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The secret objectives and the diplomacy envelopes seem like very interesting game mechanics, which is why I would have expected the rating to be higher.
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Brad Richards
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FlyingArrow wrote:
The secret objectives and the diplomacy envelopes seem like very interesting game mechanics, which is why I would have expected the rating to be higher.


This is exactly why I have such fond memories of this game. The secret agendas, bluffing and such really made it a lot of fun. Though, I have to also agree with the criticisms of the map. I wish it would get a reprint to fix these issues (not going to happen) or would like to find a similar game if anyone can recommend such.
 
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