Adam Parker
Australia
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Great game design makes the complex simple, replayability maximum, and abstraction credible.
badge
It’s not how well you roll that counts but how well the dice suit the game.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
On the release of Cuba Libre in 2013, I hailed it as GMT’s “COIN system at its best” (COIN being the military’s acronym for the phenomenon of Counter Insurgency).

Having played it numerously I was overcome with a sense of elegance and by its struggle of wits as four rival factions (most of whom were utter nuts) jockeyed for historical supremacy over the island of Cuba in the 1950s.

But I felt something was amiss. Its card deck of 52 (more on that soon), much smaller than other titles in the series, turned Cuba Libre into a game of luck: one of arithmetic, generically adding and subtracting a faction’s resources at whim. Yet, compared to Andean Abyss (COIN in 1990s Columbia) and A Distant Plain (COIN in 2000s Afghanistan) it by far held the most interest.


Enter Caesar

Twice now as a wargamer a simulation has stunned me with unanticipated excellence. Funnily, both were initially fobbed off by me as likely non-events. And both were set in the Ancients era.

The first became the powerhouse series by GMT Games known as Commands and Colors. The latter, and subject of this review of course, is Falling Sky, also published by GMT.

I wrote a year ago when Mark Herman’s superb Churchill hit my table that a number of personal criteria determine whether a game is one of the greats. My “pantheon” I called it. (I do actually house them in a Delphic temple made of plywood and there’s an opening in one outer wall where, if summoned, my wife pokes her head through and solemnly counsels, “Stop buying games.”)

They must be:

1. Well thought out, on a subject of interest, and conceptually clear
2. Heavily themed, historically plausible, and educational
3. Playable on a single standard 22x34 inch map or similar surface
4. Infused with replayability and that one more turn feel
5. Amenable to solo play in some way

Why mention this? Well, with Falling Sky the designer name “Ruhnke” is back in town. For Volko together now with his son Andrew—the latter of whom thought it plausible to take COIN out of the modern era and back nearly two millennia—have come up with a winner of a simulation that covers the entire gamut.

Falling Sky simply put is a smooth, playable, competitive, historical, and immersive (war)game—for the solo gamer to boot, with a mounted playing surface of just 17x22 inches.


The COIN Series in a Nutshell

I won’t burden this review with extensive specifics about COIN’s mechanics. But it’s definitely valuable pointing out to those yet to experience it, what exactly makes COIN a standout in game design.

It’s all about that card deck.

In a nutshell, COIN is a series of card-driven boardgames played with wooden blocks as maneuver units. But COIN tweaks the concept brilliantly.

The card-driven genre—created by Mark Herman (of Churchill fame mentioned above) was a first for the wargaming hobby. It offered a game engine whose progress focused on the play of cards that would bestow on each side historical “events” as strategic opportunities and “operational points” to carry those strategies out. Each player would draw a hand of cards throughout the game and maneuver their forces for a win by playing those cards for their listed strengths. Mark’s best-known endeavor in this regard studied the war in the Pacific of World War Two, while the genre all started with his game on the American Revolution.

Other designers jumped on the trend over the course of the past two decades but nothing really changed in structure until Volko Ruhnke shook things up with COIN.

Basically, COIN dispenses with card hands and operational points instead fuelling its games using a single draw deck. Each turn, a card is revealed for play, the next card due is also turned face up for forward planning.

COIN games provide four playable “factions” allowing 1-4 gamers to immerse themselves in a faction’s role (“bots” run the remainder or a solo player can simply run all to the best of her or his ability).



Along the top of each card sits a row of four symbols; each represents a faction. This ever-changing order of symbols then, sets the sequence of play for a turn.

During each turn (i.e. card play), a maximum of two factions carry out their strategies based on the given sequence of play. A faction can implement either the current card’s historical “Event” or conduct a “Command” and possibly a “Special Ability” with their forces using a menu specific to each faction’s historical personae.

Once a faction acts as such, it sits inactive the following turn. In this way, factions alternate actions and reactions, some maneuvering earlier than others which may be a blessing or a bane: this order of involvement always at the mercy of the card draw.

Periodically, action freezes when an administrative card appears. It’s at this time that victory, resources, and the ability of factions to subsist on the map are assessed. If victory isn’t achieved, the game continues, a new order of play likely resulting.


Which Barely Touches the Surface

That’s COIN in its barest form but there’s an enormous amount of nuance I haven’t even mentioned. What about the objective of each title?

COIN games function at the geopolitical level. The country of Cuba, Afghanistan, or Vietnam for example.

Factions typically represent a nation’s government, opposition, guerrilla rebels, and a fourth insurgent of sorts—each diametrically opposed to the others but with the potential to ally when pragmatically opportune.

Each faction fights for a preset historical objective being geographical control, hearts and minds, securing resources, or a twist on any or all.

Resources buy the ability to sustain an army, maneuver, gain popular credibility, enact terror, bribe, cajole, and myriad other factual activities dependant on the game’s era and history being simulated.


We Move on to Gaul 54BC

Take present day France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and areas bordering Germany and you basically find yourself in Gaul just over 2000 years ago.

This is the setting of Falling Sky.

Caesar, some years away from being hailed Rome’s dictator has obtained the Senate’s blessing for the governorship of Southern Gaul. With the goal of winning personal fame and fortune he’s recently campaigned with his Legions from Gaul’s Mediterranean shores, through its western peninsula, and across the channel to Britannia. Subjugation and appeasement of Gaul’s ever-numerous tribes, his aim.

54-52BC is where Falling Sky picks up. Caesar has been successful in bringing regional peace but the drums of discontent are rumbling; the ever-fickle Gauls are questioning their overlord’s endurance—and even that of their factional brethren.

Can Caesar prevent all-out rebellion or will the Gauls rise to his downfall changing the face of millennia to come, carving out factional fiefdoms of their own?


The Map

Falling Sky is an area movement game. Rather than traditional hexagons, its map is broken into interconnected regions, within which lie cities and towns—most with population centers, each capable of being subdued, dispersed, or controlled by any faction.



What first wowed me on opening Falling Sky’s box was this map. It’s artwork and color scheme are simply stunning, beyond the ability of any digital picture to fully convey.

As said, it’s a small offering, just 17x22 inches. Yet, that makes it perfect for immersion. The artwork pops allowing a god’s-eye sense of the Gallic strategic picture.



To compensate for lost space, each faction is given a play mat to house unused pieces. Larger COIN maps provide these spaces on their physical boards. To have done so with Falling Sky (that is, enlarge its map) would have been an error, I feel. These mats are sufficiently durable, of regulation GMT card stock and add to the intimate feel of the game.


The Factions

Now we come to the meat of the game. Who are Falling Sky’s factions? Well to start with, there’s a twist I’ll soon describe.

Rome (red pieces): This is Julius Caesar (or his successors) represented by a command cylinder, his 12 Legions, 20 Auxiliary armies, 6 potential Allies, and 6 Forts. Rome’s objective is to ensure that more than 15 subdued, dispersed or allied tribes out of 30 (possibly 31) remain on the map.

Averni (green pieces): This is an abstracted conglomeration of Gallic tribes in the South of Gaul led by the fearsome Vercingetorix (the man who historically drew Rome into a trap at Alesia in 52BC, lost the siege, surrendered to Caesar and eventually brought an end to the Gallic Wars). The Averni are represented by Vercingetorix (or his successors’) command cylinder, a massive force of 35 Warbands, 10 potential Allies, and 3 Citadels. Averni’s objective is to remove more than 6 Roman Legions from play and ensure more than 8 allied tribes and Citadels exist on the map. You can tell already, that Vercingetorix and Caesar won’t see eye to eye.

Belgae (yellow pieces): This is an abstracted conglomeration of Gallic tribes in the north of Gaul led by Ambiorix—another venerated commander. The Belgae are represented by Ambiorix (or his successors’) command cylinder, a potent 25 Warbands, 10 potential Allies, and 1 Citadel. Belgae’s objective is to control population centres and with allied tribes and Citadels, exceed 15 in total.

Aedui (blue pieces): This is an abstracted conglomeration of Gallic tribes without a defined region. They are the Machiavellians of the game, wily, pursuing lucrative trade with Rome and hence peace—but open to alliances with other Gallic factions to survive. Can they be trusted? The Aedui have no commander (they have great accountants!), 20 Warbands, just 6 potential Allies, and 2 Citadels. Aedui’s objective is to simply populate the map with more allied tribes and Citadels than any other single faction. These guys can easily win if you take your eyes off them for any prolonged period of time.

And then we have that twist:

Germania (black pieces): This is a unique 5th faction, a conglomeration of bellicose Germanic tribes situated east of the Rhenus River (today’s Rhine). The Germans have no commander, no objective, and no single player directs them fully. But with 15 ferocious Warbands and 6 potential Allies, the game brings them into action every so often where they have the might to wreak havoc with any faction’s plans. The Belgae can Enlist them as a Special Action in their quest to survive: a cultural bond exists between these two peoples making this possible.


So What is it That Makes Falling Sky Brilliant?

Falling Sky is a craftsperson’s design. Gamers call it “chrome”—the shiny bits of extra attention and realism laid over the basic frame. More than any other COIN title, Falling Sky is imbued with it.

The map

Once again, it’s an aesthetic delight and not merely due to its pleasing hues. We also find effort taken to furnish a sense of terrain: abstracted forests and copses, mountains, valleys, rivers, walled cities, towns, icons, period fonts and art if for no other reason, than to give gamers a dose of extra immersion.

But more so, it’s blessed with a sensible feature unseen in the last two COIN efforts—Fire in the Lake (the Vietnam War) and Liberty or Death (the American Revolution). Everything is oriented towards a logical single direction: the long edge of the map. Its charts, labels, and most importantly its Sequence of Play therefore, face the solo player for easy readability. There’s nothing worse for concentration, I feel, than playing solo and having to turn your head sideways for everything. It’s all in reach, everything is legible, regions are amply sized for force placement, and the whole simply sucks you in.

The Administration Phase

Earlier I hinted at a phase during a COIN game’s turn that freezes the action. In past titles this phase has been known as the Propaganda Round.

These administration phases come about by seeding the card deck pre-game with a preset number of such Cards. Drawing one requires all factions to undertake a range of housekeeping tasks—like checking for victory, earning resources, repositioning forces, and the like.

In the past, I’ve found these phases confusing if not outright chores and truly disruptive to game-flow. Not so with Falling Sky.



In synch with the Ancients period, gone are Propaganda Rounds and in their place comes Winter.

What makes this an elegant design decision, is that Winter as it did historically, signals the end to a campaigning season. Each period between Winter cards therefore is plausibly recognizable as a campaigning year. That’s cool straight off.

But Winter is anything but a chore.

First of all, the coming of Winter shakes the Germans awake! They increase in size, march across Gaul, raid unfortunate factions for their resources, go to war—and then set up house until called on again. As mentioned, no single faction controls this action so any player could fall their victim. It’s a great sideshow—indeed something I’ve never experienced before in a COIN game—and it’s fully interactive.

All factions then look to Quarter (abstractly feed, supply, and billet) their forces. As yet another diversion from past COIN games, it’s possible for all factions to hold the whole of their present territory. By the same token forces can be repositioned within bounds. Rome will usually have to pay heavily to keep their forces in the field and Caesar can decide to remove himself completely to the southern border to recruit more.

This is where past COIN games to me created a lot of frustration and head scratching. Why lose your hard-earned progress and have to fight for the same territory over again? The beauty of this twist in Falling Sky, is the possibility of force realignment opening up strategic opportunities to a kind card draw come next campaign.

All factions next, metaphorically bring in the Harvest to generate new resources for the coming year. Unlike other COIN games, Falling Sky almost always offers generous income allowing hope for financing a solid strategy in the year ahead. I’ll say more about this shortly.

The Senate then convenes and determines the number of new Legions Caesar can obtain. Based on his performance, the Senate could turn its back on him completely.

Finally, Spring dawns and with it all factions are reset with a new sequence given the next card due for play. Successors to fallen commanders come on board and the action resumes smoothly.

In other words, Falling Sky’s administration phase is one of involvement, excitement, and continued thinking. It’s an example of solid hands-on game design.

Politics

Little happened in the Roman Republic without the consent of the Senate. Falling Sky enables this political intrusion in an elegant way.



At the bottom right corner of the map sits a Senate and Legions Track. It sets support for Caesar’s war at 3 levels: Adulation, Intrigue, and Uproar. And as we’ve seen, dependant on this mood, the availability of Caesar’s new Legions for the coming year is determined.

But politics is felt elsewhere too.

In Falling Sky, all factions, including Rome, are encouraged to openly negotiate during gameplay. Agreements are enforced until complete. And then the backstabbing starts.

A number of official procedures rely on this very player interactivity. The Aedui can gain immense resources during the game through Trade. But the amount of revenue earned—and whether they can actually receive it (at times) is determined by a Supply Path to the south with the agreement of Rome.



Likewise, the ability of Rome to raise forces in the field and maintain them during Winter is dependent on a supply line. Thing is, a line that passes through a region under the control of a faction other than Rome blocks it—unless Rome can gain their agreement. Think the Averni of Vercingetorix will agree to this? Possibly, if the Aedui are getting in their face. The Aedui will likely say yes, if Rome agrees to let them Trade later. Will Rome follow through? Will the Aedui, rather, say “no” because of Rome’s growing power?

More than any other COIN Game, Falling Sky is simply a powder-keg of political mischief.

Allies and swords rather than resources

One of my biggest beefs with past COIN games is their constant focus on resources (in other words, money)—the ability to get things done.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that resources don’t matter in Falling Sky. But where this game differs is the impact that resources play in the card deck.

Cuba Libre, for example, would offer numerous cards filled with abacus-like Events as: “take 10 resources from faction X”, “earn Y resources if situation Z”. In a way, this led to the feeling that each faction had an equal number of these plus and minus opportunities set aside for them. Not to mention that amassing any meaningful level of resources was next to impossible.

Volko and Andrew give the impression that they looked at this feedback and turned Falling Sky’s card deck into one more geared to strategy, history, and fate. Few cards here refer to resources. Many refer to allies, territory, politics, and the military situation though.

As a result, if there’s any attempt to balance the factions in this deck, it goes hidden while gamers lose themselves in suspended disbelief. That’s the hallmark of a great design. Falling Sky’s cards to me are a history lesson, not an instrument of artificially.

Speaking of historical flavor

Here’s where the real genius starts. Falling Sky’s attention to historical plausibility.

Constant maneuvering, pausing for Winter, alliances, treachery, the powerful combat abilities of Legions, the added combat influence of Caesar, the aura of Vercingetorix when rallying extra forces to his cause, the massive impact of Ambiorix in battle, the hinderances of Forts and Citadels in combat, the pacification or disruption of population centers, the differences between factional goals, the impact of the Senate on Caesar’s campaign, the capacity of the Averni to tag extra troops to their already swollen numbers, the ability of the Belgae to Enlist aid from the Germans, the guile of the Averni and Aedui in bribing others’ armies to their sides, the ferociousness of the Belgae in Rampaging enemies into flight; the raiding, devastating, seizing, trading, besieging, ambushing, attacking, and counterattacking.

These are but a heavy sample of the nuances that firmly place Falling Sky into its First Century BC milieu. Everything adds to the Gallic zeitgeist and the roles in which players invest their time.

Falling Sky has not the slightest generic feel. Yes, a necessary dose of abstraction exists for sure: some will argue the Gallic factions chosen to represent the game’s conglomerations. But even the artwork for its cards and playing pieces ooze with epochal simulation.

The rules

Five titles in the COIN series led to Falling Sky. And Volko has now honed his rules to a polished sheen.

Every designer and writer has their style, and COIN has received comment in the past for its, at times, clipped communication.

Falling Sky though, takes the series to a point where gamers can, without doubt, rely on its economy of words (just 17 pages in the heavily illustrated full-color non-bot manual) being exact, specific, and clear. I haven’t yet played the bot game and honestly, probably never will. Gaming 4 factions solo suits me fine. Yet, I’ve only won against myself once!

Now, some past titles have suffered from an excess of errata (fixed in their reprints) but Falling Sky finds no such fault.

Yes, there are some points missed—but here’s the good news, there’s no rules errata in the non-bot game including its cards or charts: whatever errata does apply are minor typos. All other errors found, and that’s still few, relate purely to the bot game.

The pièce de résistance is a fantastic index supplied at the rulebook’s end. I’ve used it often and let me tell you, robust is the message it conveys.

Scenarios, replayability, and still another nice feature

Remember my criteria for greatness? Replayability was one of them: why buy a title you’ll only play once because it gives its secrets away early or has a single strategy for success?

Lend me your ears (I couldn’t resist that). Falling Sky is a game you can leave set up for weeks on end. Its replayability and strategic dilemmas are that good.

First of all you have 4 differentiated, yet clear factions to play. All are a hoot. None as mentioned feel generic; all have goal challenges to overcome and multiple roads to those ends.

Then you have those cards: I’ve never found a COIN title (or other Card Driven Game) where its deck creates such a fresh narrative each time. It’s the stronger focus on action rather than resources that provides this, I feel.

But it’s the scenarios that furnish the largest impact.



The main show starts in 54BC. It uses 70 of the game’s 72 Event cards and seeds 6 Winter cards throughout using a specific procedure. 54BC finds two factions starting close to their home regions, Rome in Britannia and the Aedui in the center. Off you go.

The mid-level scenario starts in 53BC with the action of the past year already underway and Rome seeking to reconquer much of Gaul. It uses 60 Event cards and 4 Winter cards again seeded specifically.

The shortest scenario starts in 52BC and its a mad situation. Just 45 Event cards are used and 3 Winter cards. It’s called “The Great Revolt” and there’s a reason why.

Did you note the variable number of cards in this spread and that no scenario uses the game’s full deck each session?

This design decision is central to giving COIN its power. A Distant Plain made the mistake of missing this feature for its main Afghani scenario.

Leaving even 2 cards out ensures that gamers can’t guarantee their favorite strategy’s success regardless of the changing play sequence too.

And some of these cards are mightily powerful. Game changers? I’m not so sure. But definitely able to drain the blood from an opponent’s face and bring on a possible act of desperation. In this manner, Falling Sky is endlessly replayable. A gem.

And a final finesse

Related to scenarios is a nice touch aiding setup. Whether the game’s designers or artists take a bow for this, each scenario’s instructions list a faction’s forces by region, then in color for simple location and verification.



I smiled when I first saw this. It’s so elegant and it really saves time.

And with all of the above, it creates that essential one more time feel. Once you finish a game, it’s so easy to get going again and so teasing to try out a new approach whether it’s midnight or 30 minutes before your commute.

Especially if you’ve lost to yourself, yet again.


So Don’t Fear Falling—Jump

This is all to say that in my opinion fans of the COIN series, those eager to break into its aura, and those interested in studying Caesar’s Gallic Wars from a new perspective will be delighted to hear that COIN has now possibly reached its apex.

Its beauty; functionality; approach to historical fidelity through plausible abstraction; attention to detail; and desire to furnish a competitive, unpredictable yet thought provoking simulation of two millennia past is an addition to wargaming worthy of the genre at its best.

Falling Sky could equally be labelled an historical game. But COIN this time around, purposefully focuses on an era where warfare as much as diplomacy, settled territorial disputes.

And in the pre-crossing of the Rubicon days of Caesar’s career, military prowess as much as riches defined personal greatness before an increasingly hostile Senate. Caesar required fame in Gaul to embark on what he believed his birthright: the dictatorship of Rome.

Will Gaul’s warbands oblige—or will Caesar’s name never be hailed, changing the world forever?

Happy gaming,
Adam.
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stann Bilodeau
Canada
Québec
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Thank you for this great explanation of the game.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is a V star review.

Excellent.
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gunnar Skötkonung
Sweden
Stockholm
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Awesome review - thanks for posting this. It makes me even more eager to get this game to the table!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Hobden
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
Nice review.

Thanks.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew
United States
Dallas
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review!

I was just introduced to the COIN series via Cuba Libre last month and have been playing it solo constantly. I enjoyed the system so much I bought and traded for all the other COIN games.
I am currently working through the rules for Liberty or Death and I understand your enjoyment of the smaller map. LoD has a very larger(beautiful!) map that I have to turn on its side to fit my table. Its a little annoying having to crane my neck to see where everything is.
Falling Sky just moved up to next in line after reading your review.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Bedard
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ha! "Clipped communication" You really nailed it in two words.

Fantastic review.

I want to spend a little more time exploring and growing familiar with Fire in the Lake before i tear the shrink off of this one. But the day is coming.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marius van der Merwe
United States
St. George
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent review, thanks!

The only COIN game I own is Fire in the Lake (and I have played someone else's copy of Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection once). While I really enjoy FitL, it seems too intimidating and long to my regular euro game loving opponents to get to the table much.

After reading your review of Falling Sky I ordered myself a copy. I now have new hope for getting some new players to try what sounds like a less intimidating COIN game. I know Cubra Libre has a reputation as the easiest COIN game for new players, but Falling Sky sounds like a more refined game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich Radgoski
United States
Gouldsboro
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Great Review!! Thank you

I now own 3 COIN games because I love the mechanics, the quality and the concept...but Fire in the Lake was tough to wrap my head around... and Liberty or Death didn't quite have the theme my boys wanted.. I'm hoping that Falling Skies has everything we are looking for... the Polish and Quality of the Series, the wonderful mechanics, a theme closer to our hearts... I've already had this game on the table solo twice and I can't wait to try it with other players!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michal K
Poland
Otwock
Mazowieckie
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Good review, which concentrates on key points.

I will admit, I love the period and bought game only due to this, but thanks to this decision, I now know COIN system and cannot wait for Pendragon...



In future, hope to see Alexander Successors (Eumense, Perdiccess, Ptolemy, Antipater) in the COIN system... That would be really splendid!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A P
msg tools
mbmbmb
Fantastic review, absolutely engaging read!

I recently acquired this gem of a game (as well as A Distant Plain) and am attempting to learn the systems.

In doing so, I've been using the bots and working through the flowcharts for each can be quite time consuming. It also makes it a little easy to forget some details (such as subtracting resources for commands).

You say you play all four factions yourself; do you find yourself favouring one over the others? How do you divorce yourself from potential favouritism, since you're calling all the shots yourself? Additionally, do you find that playing all four factions negatively affects the "diplomacy" around trade/supply lines?

Again, thanks for a riveting review!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Auton
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
aegisx wrote:
Fantastic review, absolutely engaging read!

In doing so, I've been using the bots and working through the flowcharts for each can be quite time consuming. It also makes it a little easy to forget some details (such as subtracting resources for commands).



I am sure you have seen this ... but just in case you have not cool

You might want to track here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1622106/beginnings-app-fs-b...
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Parker
Australia
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Great game design makes the complex simple, replayability maximum, and abstraction credible.
badge
It’s not how well you roll that counts but how well the dice suit the game.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
aegisx wrote:
Fantastic review, absolutely engaging read!


Thanks so much, AegisX!

Quote:
You say you play all four factions yourself; do you find yourself favouring one over the others?


If I am I’m terrible at it as I’ve only won once Seriously though, no. Because each faction has it’s own objectives I simply apply that logic to each. And where a faction (mine or not) gets too powerful, the others need to react lest a win result.

Quote:
How do you divorce yourself from potential favouritism, since you're calling all the shots yourself?


Really good question. As I mostly play solo and want an engrossing experience, that’s my motivation. Sometimes I find myself rooting for the “non-me” underdog. Which segues into your next question.


Quote:
Additionally, do you find that playing all four factions negatively affects the "diplomacy" around trade/supply lines?


Not at all. The diplomacy in Falling Sky is always a multi-pronged situation. If the option doesn’t look clear: say, should Aedui let Rome rally when it may give them too much control? I roll a dice, sometimes handicapping the split on the outcome’s severity to the map situation.

It works fine. I’m not after a game time as such, rather an interactive historical journey based on the victory paradigm. And in Falling sky, the cards have a big say on “the best laid plans” - and the Germans!

Start with Falling Sky. I feel it will really help you move into A Distant Plain later for a totally different experience

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew
United States
Dallas
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
autonm wrote:
I am sure you have seen this ... but just in case you have not cool

You might want to track here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1622106/beginnings-app-fs-b...


Thank you for sharing this link!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Lange
United States
Lehi
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Outstanding review. One of the better pieces of writing I've enjoyed on BGG.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Jacobson
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
Fun review. I think you might be wrong about agreements, though -- I don't have the rulebook in front of me, but I think deals are only enforced through the duration of the command. "I will give you 3 resources to move that army to Bibracte instead this turn" is enforced, such that whoever acts second (in supplying resources or moving) cannot break the agreement after the first player has taken a presumably less-optimal action.

"I will pay you three resources next turn if you move that army to Bibracte this turn" is not enforced, I think.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Gillmeister
Canada
Abbotsford
British Columbia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the awesome review.

Just out of curiosity how would you rate all the COINS you own from best to worst? I have FitL and it is great fun, but I find it works best with 4 strong players. I have played a few times with 2 new players and wasn't as good.

I am looking at buying one more COIN and thinking of this one or Cuba Libra. But, based on your comments about money I agree, that is probably my least favorite part even though I don't dislike it entirely.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Parker
Australia
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Great game design makes the complex simple, replayability maximum, and abstraction credible.
badge
It’s not how well you roll that counts but how well the dice suit the game.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
homullus wrote:
Fun review. I think you might be wrong about agreements, though -- I don't have the rulebook in front of me, but I think deals are only enforced through the duration of the command. "I will give you 3 resources to move that army to Bibracte instead this turn" is enforced, such that whoever acts second (in supplying resources or moving) cannot break the agreement after the first player has taken a presumably less-optimal action.

"I will pay you three resources next turn if you move that army to Bibracte this turn" is not enforced, I think.


Absolutely right Jim, I was alluding to the short sword you cut the cheese with during the first deal arrangement and the guy called “Mongo” you have standing behind you when you offer the chutney with a wink
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Parker
Australia
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Great game design makes the complex simple, replayability maximum, and abstraction credible.
badge
It’s not how well you roll that counts but how well the dice suit the game.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gmeista wrote:
Thanks for the awesome review.

Just out of curiosity how would you rate all the COINS you own from best to worst? I have FitL and it is great fun, but I find it works best with 4 strong players. I have played a few times with 2 new players and wasn't as good.


Thanks too Chris!

They are all pretty good of course. For me, though, the titles I feel COIN works best at are those where history has long settled matters. In those I could better grasp what victory meant.

So I’d rate them as follows:

1. Falling Sky.
2. Cuba Libre (a great game that really is nuts! and will have a post game expansion “Invierno Cubano” released next year).
3. Andean Abyss (though set in the 90s we may soon know who really won!).
4. Fire in the Lake (it’s just that everything is printed side-on for a lengthwise sitting position and there’s a ton of moving parts).
5. A Distant Plain (clever and epoch infused but missed the opportunity to use only part of the deck in the main scenario, and when last played was still “history in the making”).

Liberty or Death remains unplayed for a little while yet (and like Fire in the Lake is “side-printed”). It has a number of procedures that I feel influenced Falling Sky and I’d expect it to take 3rd place in my list.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.