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Subject: A capsule overview of the game, with component manifest rss

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THE MAVERICK
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Nicaragua!
Revolution in Central America
3W
(1988, $10.00; $40 for 8 issue subscription)
Designed by John D. Burtt and Capt. Joseph Miranda


Players: 2
Period: Modern
Scale: Strategic
-- Turn: 3 months
-- Map: area
-- Unit: company and battalion

Magazine Game: Strategy & Tactics 120

Components: 20 page rules folder bound into magazine, 300 die-cut counters on two counter sheets, 22x34" unmounted mapsheet.

Counter manifest: 118 green Government, 104 red Rebel, 20 blue U.S., 13 red Soviet, 11 tan Latin American, 23 gray markers, 11 green terrorism.



3W says: "[A] simulation of the guerilla warfare that has been a way of life in Central America for years. Although the game is set in Nicaragua and portrays the Somoza vs. Sandinista vs. Contra conflicts, it does not attempt to simulate those events in minute detail . . . Nicaragua! shows how modern revolutionary warfare works. The game involves both military and political struggles and includes such decisive factors as intelligence operations and propaganda. In the game, one player assumes the role of the Government, the other player is the Rebel. Each uses his political forces to gain popular and foreign support, raise forces, and demoralize the enemy. Each uses his military forces to hunt down and neutralize or eliminate his opponent . . . Players must be able to manipulate both military and political forces in order to win."

The reviewers say: "While military elements are included, the focus of the game is on the political struggles; there's much more time spent manipulating social forces than maneuvering tanks and planes . . . In spite of its unusual focus, it's easy to learn and quick to play. It's fun, engaging, and innovative . . . It's also a terrific solitatire game, good news for lonely souls." Rick Swann in Wargamer Volume 2 #8.



"The design features suggest that [the designers] were interested in a strategic overview of the low intensity conflict, and to this end their efforts were well directed." James H. McQuaid in Fire & Movement #64.

"There are relatively few games I can think of that involve players in more than pushing simulated military units around, then fighting battles with them. Nicaragua is one of the exceptions . . . The simulation directly links military and political spheres in a simple yet clear fashion; it forces you to stop and think about commitments to social classes and political programs and definitely punishes you when you choose the wrong one for the situation, or fail to make good use of the advantages of the one you've chosen . . . [ I]f you want involvement in the complexities of leading (or stopping) a revolutionary movement, then Nicaragua is your ticket." Cliff Eyler in Wargamer Volume 2 #8.



Comments: Owners of Nicaragua! will definitely want to track down Wargamer Volume 2 Number 8. The magazine includes a detailed review and analysis of the game, a separate campaign analysis article, three campaign scenarios, optional rules, and designer's notes.

Collector's Notes: Although prices on early S&T's can go into the stratosphere, issues from the 3W era are generally reasonably priced (and thus good buys for the better games, like this one). Boone's Internet Wargames Catalog (4th edition) lists low/high/average auction prices for Nicaragua! at $3/$13/$6. In the 3rd edition Boone, auction prices were $2/$15/$5 and sale listings were $5/$15/$9.

Approximate number of other board wargames by these designers: Miranda = 40 plus [and much higher now]; Burtt = none that I could find!

This article was originally published in issue 19 of Simulacrum, July 2003.

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