I saw this on a new games at Essen list here on the BGG; though nothing was mentioned about it, I immediately had to have it nonetheless. I love Darts and I love wargames, so this seemed a natural addition to the game room.
What is Dart Wars?
Dart Wars is simply a gloabal level wargame for 2-5 players. Movement of troops is governed by the throw of darts and where they hit the board. Combat takes place on a target on the board. The game ends when a player takes over his opponent's home territory (or in the case of a multiplayer game, the winner is the last man standing).
-1 Magnetic map of the world, which is hung on the wall. This map is divided into various land territories and sea zones.
-75 Troop magnets, 15 in each of 5 different colors.
-6 magnetic plastic darts: 3 red, 3 yellow.
-5 flag stickers, 1 in each of 5 colors. These are placed on a troop magnet to denote each player's home territory.
- 1 1-page (front and back) rules sheet.
Set Up: At the beginning each player determines a home region by throwing a dart. If this dart lands in a land territory that is not an island, that will be his home base for the entire game (stick the troop magnet of your chosen color with the flag in that zone or place this in the off board "copy" (see below)). Each player places 3 troop magnets in his home region.
Game Turn- Throw Darts: At the beginning of a player's turn, he throws 3 darts at the board.
Game Turn- Movement: Each thrown dart allows the movement of 1 of his troop magnets. A troop magnet can move ONLY if a dart lands in an adjacent region (land or sea, it doesn't matter). If your troop magnet is the first ever to enter a land territory (not sea zone), you get to place a new troop magnet in that newly entered region. [note there are little "copies" of each country around the map. At the beginning of the game, place 1 troop magnet of any color on each one. When a territory is entered for the first time, remove this magnet as a reminder that this country has now been enetered]. Note a troop magnet may move twice or more if the darts are appropriately lined up, but a troop magnet must end its move completely if it enters a new territory. Also, new troop magnets placed in this fashion don't get to move this turn.
Combat: This occurs if a troop magnet moves into an enemy region (land or sea). Note that a troop magnet MUST move into an adjacent enemy region if such a dart is thrown (1 exception below). Combat is very simple: both the attacker and defender throw 1 dart each at the target. Whoever is closest to the bull's eye wins. The loser troop magnet is replaced by a troop magnet of the winning player. The attacker determines who throws first. If neither dart land on the target, then they are thrown again until someone lands on the target. Note combat ends after 1 round; therefore it is possible that different colored troop magnets may co-exist in the same territory. Combat will recur if a dart is thrown into such a territory or if another troop magnet moves into the territory in question.
Game End: When a player enters another player's home territory and eliminates all his troop magnets there, that player is eliminated. Note that a player may not have more than 4 of his troop magnets in his home region at any given time. Also note that a player does not have to move his last troop magnet from his home region if a dart lands in an adjacent enemy-occupied territory (as mentioned above, this would normally force a troop magnet to move so it can fight).
1. When playing more then 2 players, the first player eliminated is not actually put out of the game. Rather, he becomes a forced ally to his conqueror (slave to his master). This player continues to play but does so in his master's best interest. Combat never occurs between master and slave; they always coexist in peace.
2. Darts Landing off the map: these are out of play for that turn. If a dart hits the map and does not stick (i.e. it hits a troop magnet), then it is thrown again. A player can request that troop magnets be moved temporarily while aiming for certain locations.
3. Shallow Sea: Lighter blue sea areas allow for direct land-to-land movement across these shallows without having to go to embark to sea first.
Theme: 9.5 Darts and War. Very simple yet combines 2 wonderful worlds of gameplay.
Mechanics: 9 Again, the darts are a lot of fun. Movement and combat are pretty logical. Some advanced rules with different units would certainly be an idea but at the same time, this would take away from the simplicity. I do have 1 recommended house rule nonetheless (see below).
Rules Sheet: 8 Simple and straightforward
Verisimilitude: 1 Utterly unrealistic, but who cares? This is not meant to be a historical re-enactment
Asthetics/Components: 8 The board is very nice though it can get a little frayed at the edges. The darts are plastic, yet throw very well. They also stick to the board very well (better than my other :normal" magnetic darts). The troop magnets are good, though the flags can be a little tough to see. Some of the "copy" countries around the map are a little tough to puzzle out at first, though this is really not a big deal. Ths box is a long square tube; however, this will spend hardly any time in the box. It will definitely stay on the wall.
Overall Fun Factor 9.5
True, this is not a typical board game due to the dart mechanics, nonetheless there is tactical strategy about how to approach your enemy while defending your region. Drafting new troop magnets by entering new countries is also an important factor. There really is nothing bad to say about the game. It's certainly a lot more fun than regular darts. The quality of the pieces is satisfactory. This would make a nice edition to any game room. Alas the availability is limited; I had to aqcuire mine by directly contacting Pascal Reymond, the designer at his website at squale games, who was very very nice and accommodating (Thanks Pascal!!). I will say while the game itself is reasonably priced, international shipping from France to the US was a little pricey.....To me, it was well worth it. Before I forget, this is a house rule that I like:
In a region containing troop magnets of different colors, the magnets are "pinned" in that country and cannot leave this contested region IF they are outnumbered or tied to any other player's troop magnets in that region (example: blue has 2 troop magnets and green has 3 troop magnets in a territory; green can move 1 out potentially, blue cannot move any out, since he is outnumbered (pinned)).
The purpose of this rule is to better help fortify regions being assaulted, especially around a player's home region. Enjoy!!!