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Tito» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Not A Bad Game If You Can Get Past the Map rss

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Charles Stampley
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I have always been a little surprised by the bad press Tito has received. I don't know if it was the very first area movement game, but it was one of the first when it was published in 1980. This then-new concept in conjunction with an infamous map that looks more like an organization chart pretty much killed the game from the start for many people. It also covered unconventional warfare, something very difficult to capture well in a wargame. But if you are able to get past the unusual map, this game does a pretty good job of simulating the Partisan conflict in Yugoslavia, arguably the most successful of the resistance movements the Germans faced in WWII. And you can get it on Ebay for dirt cheap.

The map is divided into 12 occupation zones. Each zone has one mountain and one hideout space for each faction. Important villages, industrial sites, and towns are marked by objective displays split in half--one for Axis units and one for Yugoslav units. The Yugoslav player scores victory points for occupying these displays. He can also attempt to recruit new units there as well, but he can also be attacked by Axis units while in an objective display. Yugoslav units can hold up in the mountain and hide-out spaces, but recruiting is more difficult and larger guerilla units cannot be built in the hide-out spaces.

The Yugoslav player controls two types of units: Chetniks, primarily Serbs loyal to their exiled king, and the communist-inspired partisans led by Tito. These units cannot cooperate in the same attack and can even attack each other if the Chetniks are Axis that turn. Toward the end of the game the Yugoslav player can also gain Russian reinforcements, but he takes a VP penalty for doing so. The Axis player controls German, Italian, Bulgarian, and Croat and Serb puppet forces. The Axis units greatly outnumber the guerillas, but each one of the Axis is restricted to their occupation zone-for example the Italians can't enter Serbia while Croat units cannot leave Croatia or Bosnia. Each turn each stack of Chetnik units must check to see if they are pro-Axis, pro-Yugoslav,or neutral. Later in the game the Italians begin to withdraw and there is a chance some of them may defect to the Partisans. The Bulgarians also change sides late in the game.

The chrome rules do a good job of making the game distinct and attempt to capture the flavor of this unusual civil war within an occupation that later becomes a more conventional,linear fight. Allied progress outside the game is tracked and effects Italian withdrawal and German reinforcements. The Axis player can identify and locate Tito and attempt to assassinate him with the 501st SS parachute Bn(which comes into play when he is located. Each of the 12 occupation zones must be garrisoned by a minimun number of Axis divisions. If not there is a chance that an uprising takes place which adds more recruits to the Yugoslav side. Weather effects guerilla recruiting in mountains and market towns, but otherwise has a minimal effect. The Axis player has a limited number of anti-guerilla operations available that he can use to attack guerillas in their hide-out spaces at more advantageous odds.

To win the Yugoslav player must amass 601 points. He does this primarily through occupying objective displays, but he can lose points if Tito is killed or withdrawn, if at a point in the game all Chetniks or partisans are eliminated, or for taking optional Soviet reinforcements.

Tito is one of those games that is not for everyone. It is very chaotic and random. It is also tough for the Axis to win unless he can kill Tito early and slow the resistance movement before it grows out of hand. But if you are interested in WWII Yugoslavia or unconventional warfare this is a must have game that is not as bad as its reputation.



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Charles Stampley
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I couldn't agree more. Terrain was key here, but reducing a mountain range to a colored triangle doesn't do it justice. I think the game mechanics are sound, the graphics leave much to be desired.
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Lance McMillan
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I own and have actually played 'Tito' several times. It used an innovative system to try and capture the peculiarities of an unusual war, and did so fairly successfully I thought. I agree the graphics were unconventional, but not to the extent where they detracted from the game overall (in fact, their uniqueness was one of the reasons I was drawn to the game in the first place) -- I can, however, understand why they might put off more conventional wargamers. Too bad for them, they're missing out on a pretty good game.
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Troy Adlington
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Agreed it's actually pretty good
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Jonathan Ferro
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Since I'm a more mechanics-oriented gamer than immersion-oriented, I find the map to be slightly drab but perfectly functional. What drives me batty is the bizarre presentation order of the rules and the nonsensical (to me) turn-based restrictions on who can move where. I'm on my third attempt to get through the rulebook so that I can actually play, and I think I might make it this time. (And I play ASL!)
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Brian Bankler
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OK, I've never actually played, owned, or stood near the game, but damned if I'm going to pass up a good story. I was watching an auction at a game convention in Pittsburgh (Tri-river con, perhaps?) and the auctioneer (whose name I forget, but I believe did the Origins auctions) was moving along brisk and efficiently.

At one moment, he looked over the games to be sold, then quickly put one in a paper bag.

"What am I bid for the contents of this bag?"

"I promise you that the bag contains a game."

"I'm not moving on until this is sold."
"Twenty five cents"
(instantly) "Sold!" Pulls out a copy of Tito, singing "I sold a copy of Tito! I sold a copy of Tito!"
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Mark Humphries
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It's screwball antics like that one that give Tito its undeserved rap.
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Ray Smith
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I too have endured many antics on the supposed horribleness of Tito, and really want to give it a go, due to its uniqueness. I have nothing against the graphics, but have read that it is extremely easy for the Tito player to reach his victory level (500 or 600 points?). Could this victory level be adjusted to, let's say, 700 points to make it more of a contest?
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Sean McNeely
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I just got this on ebay for 99 cents so after I get it I'll try to write up a review.
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Enrico Viglino
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I actually rather LIKE the map.
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Aaron
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Agreed, the map is actually pretty good (it doesnt lack color nor is it confusing) and perfectly fits the nature of abstract guerilla warfare present in the game.
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Enrico Viglino
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Came out the year before A House Divided, and in the same year
as Empires of the Middle Ages. Between these two games, you have
the seminal thinking behind P2P systems. This game highlights a
lot of what was best about the final days at SPI, IMO.
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Andy Tate
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Despite its unusual nature, I quite liked the map and the game. I played it several times and admittedly the Axis forces lost decisively on both occasions. Lost many years ago, this is one to replace in my archive of old wargames.
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Marja Erwin
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I think, with an unconventional situation, and an unconventional system, this would have benefitted from smaller introductory scenarios.

The ridiculous movement restrictions come from the historical occupation zones.
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Darrell Pavitt
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Quote:
I don't know if it was the very first area movement game, but it was one of the first when it was published in 1980


Fall of Rome came out seven years earlier.

I think the map most reminds me of Nicaragua, another game with abstract terrain and guerrilla warfare.
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Enrico Viglino
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And Risk in what, '59?

It's geographic representation is somewhat unique - points
within an area. But, it's very close to a true P2P representation,
which followed shortly thereafter.
 
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Bill Eldard
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calandale wrote:
And Risk in what, '59?

It's geographic representation is somewhat unique - points
within an area. But, it's very close to a true P2P representation,
which followed shortly thereafter.

I have to admit that when I got the game through my S&T subscription, I was taken back by the mapsheet, not because of the graphics, but because of the concept. But looking back now, having played subsequent games using the points-within-areas concept, I think the designer made the right choice for the model of warfare he captured.

I like mapsheets that make the game information clear and easy to find, and this mapsheet does that.

Dien Bien Phu and Tet Offensive use the same concept, which is not unusual since the strategic situations are similar.


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Chuck Cothran
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Ick! gulp
 
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Juan Valdez
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Eldard wrote:
I like mapsheets that make the game information clear and easy to find, and this mapsheet does that.

Dien Bien Phu and Tet Offensive use the same concept, which is not unusual since the strategic situations are similar.




I don't really have any problem with either of these maps, nor with the Tito map. It's the game play which matters. Speaking of which...

Tet is pretty good.

Dien Bien Phu is potentially a pretty neat little game. My usual opponent and I have played it once. I don't think we got the rules just right. From recollection, it seems to play like a cross between Tonkin and Pacific Fury. You get the frustrating operational constraints of Tonkin with the fast play and feinting from Pacific Fury. In our game, I bluffed, he called and won. We need to play it again. I think there might be a really game here.

Have yet to play my copy of Tito.

Don't let the maps put you off!
 
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