Jason Moore
Germany
March
Baden-Württemberg
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These first impressions also appear in the solitaire guild geeklist for July, but as it began to feel more review-like, I thought I'd set up a stall here for other gamers. Note: I haven't played the adversarial game yet.

Part two of the duology of games dealing with the Hungarian uprising and military retaliation of 1956, the first being the frankly excellent Days of Ire: Budapest 1956 (which is a curious hybrid somewhere between Pandemic and Twilight Struggle - and consistently in my top-twenty solo games). And, whilst these designs share DNA and a historical moment, they do feel very different.

As with Ire, Fire also allows for full co-op/solo play against an AI, as well as utilising different decks of cards to allow for a head-to-head challenge. The artwork and iconography retain parity, but this new title looks and feels significantly different.

For me, this game felt less immediate when learning it; likely because it's got one foot in the block wargame genre, and I've never played something of this style. The original is much more of Pandemic feeling, as delightfully seeded with history and drama as it is.

You start the game with a hand of twelve cards, and can play up to three for their ops points. You are using the symbols to afford actions on the board, as the guerillas (blocks which would be turned away from a human opponent, only laid down and exposed when played) are connected to the cards by the same symbology - with each key action only usable by a fighter with a paired symbol (although some actions, such as movement of your fighters, do not require a specific symbol).

Your turn alternates with the Marshall Konev AI deck. On its turn you roll the dice to activate or flip one of the five cards for that round. You then perform everything possible on the card. Discard it, then realign the action indicators ready for the next roll. There are three tank divisions on the board and the military is attempting a swift resolution to this second week of the uprising, by installing garrisons Throughout the key districts.

I'm using the separate miniatures expansion here, as they're usable with both games. Also, it came with a two deck expansion; a pack of leader cards played for skills, and a campaign/scenario deck that allows you to link the two games together. The miniatures are nice but not essential, as I've always loved the look of the first game anyway - but I wasn't able to turn down the chance to add gameplay materials. Also, as a special bonus, in the bottom of the box I found two new chits for Ire: a journalist and a spy, with their own rules for impacting the first game.

It took me far longer to get comfortable with the rules of this game, although they're certainly not complex. This just felt so different to what I'd played before. By the end of my first turn, I felt comfortable with what was going on - although my planning left a lot to be desired.

The ultimate goal of the game is to aid the retreat of civilians, from each district, getting them off the board and on the way to the Austrian border to safety. The AI attempts to make arrests, and kill the insurgents - something it is able to do with gusto.

Because this isn't a fair fight. The insurgents are up against tanks, soldiers and armour. Whilst it is comparatively easy, in gameplay terms, to paralyse a garrison, or halt a tank, everything is renewed in the next round. It's a war of attrition that depends on your ability to hold out long enough to make an impact on the world stage. Ultimately, you're wiped out or you surrender. But there is a philosophical victory to be had for good play.

And whilst I think I'll gravitate to the immediacy of Days of Ire more frequently than Night's of Fire, until I'm a bit more familiar with its systems, I have to say that man Turczi, this time partnered with Brian Train, has done it again. Great game.








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Dave Daffin
United Kingdom
Ledbury
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Nice one, Jason.

Looking forward to getting my copy....
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Gordon J
United States
Eagan
Minnesota
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Well done. This one is waiting for me when I get home. Can't wait to dig into it.
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Jason Moore
Germany
March
Baden-Württemberg
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patton55 wrote:
Well done. This one is waiting for me when I get home. Can't wait to dig into it.

I can see you enjoying this, Gordy. In fact, since packing it up, I'm itching to pull it straight out again.
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Gordon J
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repairmanjack wrote:
patton55 wrote:
Well done. This one is waiting for me when I get home. Can't wait to dig into it.

I can see you enjoying this, Gordy. In fact, since packing it up, I'm itching to pull it straight out again.

Days of Ire was fun and it's a shame I haven't gotten it out more. NoF has one of my favorite designers, Brian Train.
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Chris
United States
East Peoria
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Posting just to give respect on the thread title – well done!
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Ryucoo
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Wokingham
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This game, much like its predecessor, just oozes visual appeal for me. The artwork in both is fantastic and superbly married to its theme. Days of Ire for me fatally collapsed when it came to marrying theme to mechanics, however. It just didn’t make sense that the Soviet player would be placing Hungarian events and actions on the board - why would they they instigate the “siege of the radio” or the “destruction of Stalins statue”? Those are Hungarian activities - it would have made far more sense to have the Russian player seeding Russian actions; this jarring mechanic of your opponent going “now you must get to this area and riot” destroyed coherency and realism for me. Pandemic makes sense; the game as the virus spawns a virus in a location for you to extinguish. Days of Ire felt like the virus was in fact spawning cures for you to discover - sadly this lack of logic spoiled what might have been a solid game.

However, the design of DoI was otherwise interesting and fresh and my disappointment was really a reflection of how much I otherwise liked how the game looked and worked. Nights of Fire retains the visual appeal, even improves on it, while also sounding like the mechanics and roles are far more logically and thematically relatable to the factions - the incoherence is gone and while it might be a little less innovative in terms of the two-different-games-in-one design of DoI, The Russians are doing Russian things and the Hungarians are doing Hungarian things. I look forward to perhaps being able to enjoy the designers vision and creativity with the provocative artwork that is at the heart of this duology, without what to me was a crippling thematic disconnection.
 
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