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España 1936» Forums » Variants

Subject: Addressing the (perceived) lack of balance among both sides rss

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Ricardo Dubcek
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Let me start by saying that I am very interested in this particular period of my country’s history, so that I really wanted to like this game. And I do like it, it doesn’t really portray all the political complexity of the war, but it does a nice job of letting you recreate the military aspect in a fairly simple and enjoyable way, so no problem there. There’s just this very annoying lack of balance between both sides: the Nationalist army is (don’t quote me here, it’s been a while since I counted) around 50% larger than the Republican. Taking into account that the Republican army is mainly composed of rather weak anarchist and communist militias and that the Nationalists have a few elite troops (sure, some militias too, but not nearly as prevalent), it comes as no surprise that the Republic will have often lost the game by turn 5. Unless the Nationalists have made an awful mistake of course (I conquered Sevilla once and won on the 2nd turn XD), but I’m talking about similarly competent players.

And yes, I know the Republic did have a weaker army and they did lose the war, but after almost three years of fighting and not just a few months, so at the risk of some possible historical inaccuracy, I came up with three IMHO simple rules that even things out a bit and thus make the game more interesting. Here they go:

- The Republic gets at game start five extra 1-point anarchist militias (that is, 5 pieces of strength 1 each), to be allocated to any city contested or already controlled by them.

- The Republic gets the “General Lister” card as one of the initial hand of six. In this way, they can recruit General Lister and start using him by turn 2.

- The third and last rule is a bit more complex, but I find it very thematic, so please bear with me. It is that Durruti and Lister inspire like-minded troops, allowing them to fight better (Durruti would inspire anarchists, Lister would do something equivalent with communists; I’ll explain only Durruti). It works like this: for every anarchist battling under Durruti’s command, he would get a +1 to his general rating. So, if he were leading 4 anarchist pieces (regardless of their strength), he would get a +4, but as he has a -1 to start with, he would have an overall rating of +3 (thus making him the best general in the game, as I think it was Rojo who had a +2). If he were leading, say, 2 anarchists and a regular army piece he would get a +2, so overall just +1 (as he doesn’t lose the -1 he has printed on him).

In my opinion this makes the game a lot more interesting and more of a challenge for the Nationalists, who would otherwise steamroll the Republicans far more easily than history shows. The third home rule also shows the fervor that some ill-trained but highly politicized recruits showed in battle, encouraging you to have factions fighting together (anarchists with anarchists, communists with communists, as really happened). I guess you could do that for Falange and carlista militias too, but their army is already stronger anyway, so I opted not to do that.

So far this works well for me and I always play like this, but your thoughts are welcome!
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