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Subject: O Deadly Swarm rss

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Dave Lartigue
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Recently I expanded my gaming horizons to include wargames, something I had not really dealt with before. I've enjoyed playing Twilight Struggle, Crusader Rex, Here I Stand, and Nexus Ops, and felt it was time to take the next bold step: buying a wargame. After doing a lot of research, I finally decided on this game:



O Deadly Swarm is a wargame for two players, set in the future. One player is an animatronic version of General Robert E. Lee. The other player is Smallpox. Here's a picture of the map during play (so far I have only played it solitaire to learn the rules.)



As you can see from the counter sheet, Robert E. Lee is vastly outnumbered:



(There is one Lee counter, 348 smallpox counters, and one blank one to replace a counter you might have lost.)

Robert E. Lee is vastly outnumbered, but he has three things going for him. First, he has military training. Second, he is a robot. Third, this strain of smallpox can be hit with rocks and killed.

On a given turn, the player playing Robert E. Lee has a hand of cards he can play:



which give him certain abilities for that turn, or which can instead be used for action points. Action points allow Lee to move, fight, and attempt to look for rocks to hit the smallpox with. When he wants to find a rock, he rolls on this table:



Each player has two ways to win. For Robert E. Lee, surviving until turn 12 gives that player a victory (it is assumed that the airstrike he calls for at the beginning of the game arrives at the end of turn 12.) In addition, there is a barber shop on the map, seen here:



If he can get into the barber shop, he can shut off the computer that is creating the smallpox and therefore win. (Supposedly this is the hardest way in the game to win, and some people have even suggested a few house rules to make this more of a feasible strategy.)

The smallpox player also has two routes to victory. The obvious one is killing Robert E. Lee. This isn't easy, because of Lee's titanium skeleton. The Lee player has a beautiful color sheet on which to mark damage sustained:



In addition, the smallpox player can spend his actions to work on the lighthouse that the smallpox are building. If all ten stages of lighthouse construction are completed, the smallpox player wins.



The standard game lasts about four to six hours, but the rulebook contains two scenarios for shorter games, and a set of campaign rules for longer, more detailed games (I haven't read this part yet, so I'm not sure what that involves.)



Although there were a lot of comments on BoardGameGeek talking about how spouse-friendly O Deadly Swarm is, Becky has seemed uninterested so far, so I'll have to get Matt or James or Al to play against me. I'm not sure whether I want to play Robert E. Lee or the Smallpox first, but I'm looking forward to my first game either way!

(reprinted from here: http://www.daveexmachina.com/wordpress/?p=1779 )
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Mark Casiglio
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This is my favorite of all the smallpox games.
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Thee Insidius Doktor Glaze & His Sidekick Donut Boy with the Amazing Monkeytime Dancers Ooh!
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Great review! I've been meaning to pick this up since it was announced, and your review really helped make up my mind. Thanks!
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Aventura
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I had the suspicion that this was the perfect "Waro", but your review pretty much confirms it..
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Robin
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It took me a moment to realize that Chaddyboy wasn't talking to himself.
 
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Nairb Attobas
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We need more games which feature disease as a player controlled entity. Glad to see GMT stepped up to the plate.
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Chris Tannhauser
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ya gotta bunny/duck it in your head
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I've heard rumors that Kris Burm is working on a set of potentials so you can play this with Monkey Auto Racing. That would totally rock!
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Leo Zappa
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I assume the geographic setting for this battle is Lawrence, KS, right?
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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I love playing smallpox, because I hate robots.
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A timeless classic.
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Rob
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This game is clearly broken, because it ignores one of the classic blunders:

Never go in against an animatronic General Lee when death is on the line.
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Chaddyboy
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Bloooooop.
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Yes! This game picks up right where Battle for Lawrence, KS left off! Can't wait to give this one a try.

Any chance they might make some glow in the dark figs for the smallpox?
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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This is one of the funnier things I've read on this website
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pronoblem baalberith
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Is it just me or do my balls itch?
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I am so glad you picked this up... as you know I am a sucker for biological themed games... never mind bio + wargame! I certainly would have had this on order if you did not. I cannot wait to give this a try.
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Destiny's got her hand way, way up in their puppets! It's an unpleasant tingling! The deepest of wriggles!
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But my greatest power is this: When Destiny speaks, she speaks to me. She says hi, by the way.
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Oh! And I've been killing the bees!
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Smallpox is the new Ebola!
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Dave Lartigue
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desertfox2004 wrote:
I assume the geographic setting for this battle is Lawrence, KS, right?


Actually, the rules say the map is based on a portion of Mainland China.
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pronoblem baalberith
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Holy crap... I played this with Parnell last night and it was a BLAST. I played Smallpox and won by building the lighthouse in turn 11.

A couple of suggestions for 2nd edition if this has a second print run:

This game needs MINE DOGS!

 


Also, shouldn't the counters say "Smallpox" rather than "Small Pox"? All over the rules it is "Smallpox"... strange that the counters would be printed this way.
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Dave Lartigue
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On the GMT website they say the counters will be changed in the 2nd edition.

Also, regarding mine dogs: those are copyrighted, I'm afraid (as are grenade bats.) I think the future expansions will have to instead employ these:

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pronoblem baalberith
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Legomancer wrote:
instead employ these


Well... certainly fits better with the theme than mine dogs, and as I always say, wargames need more mollusk.

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Morgan Dontanville
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Legomancer wrote:
On the GMT website they say the counters will be changed in the 2nd edition.

Also, regarding mine dogs: those are copyrighted, I'm afraid (as are grenade bats.) I think the future expansions will have to instead employ these:



I thought that the TNT Octopus was scrapped due to the ovewhelming result of these counters on the LSC (Lighthouse Status Chart). Last I heard they were downgraded to the M-80 Urchin.
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Chaddyboy
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Any chance the 2nd edition might include explosive diahrrea?
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Rob Hamilton
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I'd urge you to persist with convincing Becky to try the game.

My wife was put off as well by the superficial civil war theme. When she finally tried it, however, she had a blast.

She's kind of a clean-freak so I made sure that she played Lee. It didn't take much for her to start making 'boff on the head' and vacuum noises... this is one game that's heavy on theme so it really helps to get into the spirit of things.

Needless to say she whupped my arse, so personally I haven't found it to be unbalanced in favour of the smallpox at all.

(edit: spelling mistake)
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Justin Redd
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GMT was at GameStorm here in Portland this past weekend. They were demoing the new Electronic Talking edition of O Deadly Swarm. It has a little plastic electronic do-hickey the Lee player used to attack the smallpox. You place it over a Small Pox counter and it says a famous quote from Robert E. Lee to indicate the result of the attack.

"The South will rise again!"
"Remember the Alamo!"
"I am a fish."
"I'll blame this disaster on Pickett."
"Avast, ye scurvy dogs!"
and "Mary, that's a delicious piece of cherry pie."
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Rob "COINFLIP" Seulowitz
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When will the Cyberboard gamebox for this be finished?
I can't wait!
(The ACTS module is nearly done.)
 
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Kane Klenko
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When I was a kid I had a cat named "Robert E. Lee". Sadly, he died of smallpox. Coincidence?
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