- Cang Ling YeeUnited StatesPax Vobiscum
This review post is an adaptation of my original solo playthrough post in the SGOYT geeklist. As such, this offers another perspective from the soloist.
I watched Children of glory- Szabadsag Szerelem when it first came out on a limited release (in English subtitle of course haha) The way struggles in sports arena is paralleled to struggles between nations and the desire to pursue freedom at great cost left a deep impression on me. It was painful to see a nation hoping desperately for salvation that would never come and left questions such as have they given their life for nothing and what did they die for. My interest in this time period was captured and was happy to see this little known history is going to come to a board game.
Naturally, I joined the project and am happy I did so. The artwork and design is good and transports the player back to to 1956 Budapest.
Every solo session began with dread as you are the only active character on the board against the militias, snipers and tanks with the Zhukov AI make 4 moves before you even get a chance to do something. Immediately, you are thrown into a fight for survival against a mighty oppressive regime, knowing that fatal injuries and a lost of morale will lose you the game immediately.
The game turns are marked with calendar progression, in which Zhukov will continue to rain hell on you, militia closing in to you and the pesky snipers slowly picking apart your ragtag band (most of the time you can't fight back against the snipers). There is no lone ranger running up and down the board but instead you must go around activating other fighters on the board if you want to survive. Sometimes they are that meat shield to preserve your life a little longer when there's multiple snipers in your location. You will also have to keep a close watch on events and ability that will raise/drop morale/support. A 0 morale means instant defeat and a high Soviet support will guarantee Zhukov raining hell with more tanks and snipers on your parade.
Every turn will throw events at you that you must resolve. At the end of turn 7, if there are 5 unresolved events, you will lose the game with some event granting immediate defeat and some counted as two. Running around "firefighting", defusing events might make this game seem like Pandemic or Fire Rescue with another theme tacked on but this wasn't the case at all. The game is rather card driven, and the available "NPC" fighters will change up your strategy a lot.
Zhukov as an AI is excellent, it presents enough challenge, keeps the player on his toes all the time with the quadruple whammy every turn and the instructions are clear. As every session march slowly towards the end, you will find yourself hoping Zhukov doesn't do too much damage so you can recuperate.
Overall, you will literally feel that you are a ragtag band, struggling to just survive while also preventing everything from falling apart against a regime that seemed invincible. You can also attempt to fight the military toe to toe and then try eliminating them, this is probably suicidal but an interesting way to win. Even though it is more likely to lose than to win, the game will bring you on a rewarding journey as you trudge through the dark days of 23 October 1956.
The discarding of main events, replacement of minor events, shuffling of Zhukov deck and active fighters will means that no two games are exactly similar. That's why I find myself keep coming back to it, trying different strategies, using variant starting events.
The story of 1956 will stay with me for a quite a while and I am glad that I have found a board game that can immerse me in this historical setting.
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- Martyn SmithEngland
Lincolnshire"We don't see things as they are, but as we are." The Talmud
- This is an evocative review of this wonderful game - nicely written...
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- John Carey(Vegalink)United States
- Sounds like this does a great job capturing a part of what that must feel like, intellectually at least. Good job and thanks for the review!
- [+] Dice rolls