Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Quartermaster General: Alternate Histories» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Two Solitaire Plays rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: Pyuredeadbrilliant [+] [View All]
Jon Snow
United States
New York City
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
QUARTERMASTER GENERAL: ALTERNATE HISTORIES
FIRST SOLITAIRE IMPRESSIONS
By Chas


“Ver-ry interesting!”
--Arte Johnson's WWII German Soldier, Rowan and Martin's Laugh In

Recently I went over the rules for QMG, Air Marshal, and my new Alternate Histories. The revised player aid Turn Sequence I prepared is in the File section. After a planned game day with live opponents fell through, I ended up solitairing the game, which turned out to be more fun than I had expected. I like to solo almost every new game I get anyhow. In this case, I found myself double thinking a bit to the point of saying “sure, that would be great for your side team, but you don't know that your opponent has that card or your partner this card—so forget it; you wouldn't realized this was the time to play it for maximum advantage! But all you have to do is pretend you're directing a movie, rather than trying to win to the max.

One argument early on has been that the new Second Expansion gives the Allies too much of an advantage, what with now having France and China, etc. Since the Allies pulled ahead early in my first solitaire game, I was concerned that this might be the case. But the Axis ended up almost wiping the Allies off the map, and by Turn 13 had the 30 point advantage they needed to claim victory, 162-129! One turning point was when the Japanese, who had taken China, Szechuan (now the Chinese Homeland and also worth VPs) and even India, gave the US a major setback. Building a fleet in the Central Pacific, they used the SNLF Paratrooper card to take out the US armies in both Hawaii and Iwo Jima, after being hit by a US Economic Warfare Heavy Bombers card. The US had a second one, but never got to use it.

Compared to the core game or the core with Air Marshal, Alternate Histories (AH plus AM) is a much tighter game. It was the version where you throw in all of the cards (except for the 8 substituted cards which come out and are replaced with new versions of cards with the same name) but have to discard at least one card each turn or lose a Victory Point (VP). Gone are those turns where you had nothing to do because you didn't have that one card you needed, since it is now cheaper to Reallocate Resources. The nations all feel much more powerful, and you are constantly deciding for one card over another based on timing and current circumstances at the end of each turn. Of course, getting rid of a whole group of cards at game start still feels like trying to pull out your own tooth. But now discarding becomes a normal part of game play, not just a unique and occasional occurrence. The new game puts more pressure on players to make good decisions each turn!

This is probably the version the designer, who I have playtested Air Marshal with personally, originally envisioned. He mentioned soon after the core game came out online that he had tried to fit in France and China as separate powers, but at the time couldn't solve how to do that. Now, he's added many early war events (Chinese and French participation, etc.) as well as some alternate historical 'what-ifs' (Germany's projected Operation Sealion, a successful UK supported Polish rising against the Germans, etc.).

You now only play three cards instead of four to Reallocate Resources at the start of your turn. As you will usually play one card each turn and discard one, the tempo of the deck passing through has increased, as you'll be drawing two per turn instead of one. In the first game, there were only two turns when the Axis didn't discard (Japan), and one for the Allies (UK).

Solitaire Game Two played in an almost opposite way. By Turn 4 the Allies led 43-28, and the French had even battled Germany! Few Status or Response cards were played, except by Japan, who was not able to use their Responses. The US shut them down early, confining them to their home island! With both the UK and Russian hardly on the board, Russian used “Scorched Earth” on Ukraine and “Government Evacuates to Kubyshev” on Moscow, so that the Axis could get points for neither, making the triumphant German advance worthless. Meanwhile the US was getting 8 points per turn, half of them from the Chinese (both China and Szechuan). The game ended quickly on Turn 7; 82-51.

Preliminary Conclusions: As others have said, while in the Core Game the Axis surges ahead at first and the Allies must catch up, as occurred historically, in this game the Allies usually surge first. In that strategic sense the game is less historical. But its still quite intricate to win; and requires more experienced players. Although its a different play parameter, so far I am enjoying it. Of course, how the cards are drawn should continue to provided many more variations in different games played. The first two games do show that either side can win.

Due to the new discard requirement, you have to abandon many more possibilities during the game. This can be hard to take, until you get used to it. And teamwork through cooperation with your side allies can still pay important dividends.

More play, especially with live opponents, should prove 'Ver-ry interesting.'

(Edit: See also separate thread 'Third Solitaire Game').


4 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
flag msg tools
VENI, VIDI, VISA - my good wife conquering a Shopping Mall.
badge
Like a good red wine, I improve with age... and being laid.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chas59 wrote:
...Szechuan (now the Chinese Homeland and also worth VPs)

Hi Chas,

I think if you check the recent FAQ, you'll find that the VPs for Szechuan are only available to China.

Your review is excellent.

Regards,


Jim

Est. 1949

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon Snow
United States
New York City
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jim,

Hey, you're right! I didn't claim the above as a 'review' as such, since I've only played it twice and that solitaire, more like preliminary observations, but thanks.

The last page of the rule book makes a good player aide, but my Modified Set Up and Turn Order Guide adds a few things (see Files). Also on the copies of the rules I add card totals for each nation to the rules book columns, which makes it easier to make sure you've got all the cards when setting up, and is also good to know. I have totals now for all three game versions in my own notes, so I'll be able to count the cards in the decks if I switch back and forth if needed.

Those checking in here can also see my Strategy post on Discard Strategies In QMG: Alternate Histories.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karsten Engelmann
United States
Springfield
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
oneilljgf wrote:
chas59 wrote:
...Szechuan (now the Chinese Homeland and also worth VPs)

Hi Chas,

I think if you check the recent FAQ, you'll find that the VPs for Szechuan are only available to China.

Your review is excellent.

Regards,


Jim

Est. 1949



This is true for several, such a Kanada for the Brits and Africa for the French. So, whislt the Axis can deny points to the allies, they often cannot getvpoints for those supply centers.
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.