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Mrs Thatcher's War: The Falklands, 1982» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Fun to play, tough to win rss

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David Francis
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Having just completed my first play of the engaging game I thought I'd offer a few observations. I come to this as a relatively new gamer with a leaning to solitaire games but without a broad knowledge of the hobby.

The first point to note is that there's a lot of game in this thin box! There are two maps, 88 counters, a 16 page rulebook, several results tables and an interlocking set of sea, air and land battles. All of this is underlain by detailed historical research by Ben Maddison, whose passion for this campaign repeatedly shows through.

The rules can be a little complex at times, for example in dice rolling. This can involve 1, 2 or 3 dice with or without modifiers and takes a while to become intuitive. Strict order of play is vital as this has obviously been cleverly designed to throw frequent spanners in the works. As von Moltke famously said "No plan survives contact with the enemy" or, in Mike Tyson's version: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth".

This illustrates one of the game's strengths - the constantly evolving situation, driven by player actions, lucky/unlucky dice rolls and "random" news headlines that can have both positive and negative effects. In this fashion the "fog of war" and the unexpected enemy responses brilliantly reflect the real thing.

My one caveat to the above relates to the news headlines. There are 12 sets of headlines, with one set being executed each turn by adding the turn number to a die roll. Each set contains 4 to 7 events but because many events appear in multiple sets there are just 22 discrete events. This means a lot of repetition. One does get a little tired of drawing event 13/17 "Sidewinder" repeatedly after all Harriers have left Ascension. You can also lose a significant fraction of your planes with multiple occurrences of 13/12 "Collision" which only occurred once in 1982. It also means it takes a long time to wrap up each turn. I would have preferred say 3-4 events for each die roll.

The game design highlights one of the key factors facing the Task Force - the limited time they had to achieve their goal before the weather closed in and made further operations impossible. Once you land at San Carlos you are in a state of constant tension, especially if your ground forces get delayed at all. I couldn't land until turn 9 due to the weather being "too good" in turns 7 and 8, and this put me under huge pressure, exacerbated by the loss of ALL my helicopters. To be fair, I did have some good luck - taking out all six enemy Exocets with a one-in-thirty-six chance die roll outcome for an SAS raid (a 1 followed by a 6).

I don't try too hard to "game the game" but obviously each play through will teach you things. Next time I'll try hard to destroy both enemy ships before landing my ground forces (to give my troops greater mobility) and work harder to maintain air superiority in Sector E (to keep the Stanley garrison bottled up). Of course, like all good military/strategy games, you can't do everything at once, and prioritising these actions will likely mean the enemy air forces will remain stronger than they otherwise would - just like the real thing!

Overall, thank you Ben Maddison for a very satisfying game. Hoping to win through to Stanley on another play!
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Robert Madison
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Glad you're enjoying the game, and better luck on the next campaign. On to Stanley!

R. Ben Madison
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Mark W
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Fun to play, tough to win is a great title!

I love this game and am part way through a game right now (turn 8). I do agree that the headline events can get repetitive but I think overall it’s very well balanced.

Just checking that when you do the ‘harrier collision’ event you only lose the plane permanently if you then roll a 6 (think it’s a 6), otherwise it just goes to the repair pool. I think this is meant to reflect any kind of damage eg hard landing / contact with a piece of ground equipment / electrical glitches etc not just mid air collisions. So I think it’s ok that this event seems to come up quite often personally.

My game so far...started with 4 Exocets against me and still have 4. Got all harriers available. Sunk both Argentine navy ships, and ‘killed’ 7 enemy planes plus both sets of Pucaras (SAS). Landed at San Carlos and have 2 helicopters, units have advanced 1 space east. Argentine army units have moved 2 spaces west from Port Stanley. Think it’s gonna be tense (which makes it a great game)!
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Blake Lindsey
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Thank you for the brief review; I've been looking for a good, reasonably detailed game of the Falklands War for some time, and the discussion here convinced me this is the one.

 
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Paul Bradshaw
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blindsey wrote:
Thank you for the brief review; I've been looking for a good, reasonably detailed game of the Falklands War for some time, and the discussion here convinced me this is the one.

You will not be disappointed!
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David Francis
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Thanks for the likes! I’m new to BGG but love the friendly and helpful community feel. Great to see game designers contributing to the threads on their games too.

Can’t figure out how to do “quotes” on my iPad, but in reply to Mark W, unfortunately I rolled 6 each time I drew the collision event. ☹️
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Mark W
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Suzuki650 wrote:
Thanks for the likes! I’m new to BGG but love the friendly and helpful community feel. Great to see game designers contributing to the threads on their games too.

Can’t figure out how to do “quotes” on my iPad, but in reply to Mark W, unfortunately I rolled 6 each time I drew the collision event. ☹️
I guess that balances out your rolls against those Exocets!!! (At the bottom of each post you’ll find links for quotes btw, it’s worth experimenting as you can always use preview and cancel if necessary).
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Mark W
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Hirsty9Owls wrote:
blindsey wrote:
Thank you for the brief review; I've been looking for a good, reasonably detailed game of the Falklands War for some time, and the discussion here convinced me this is the one.

You will not be disappointed!
Agreed!
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Alexander Meltinus
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NeedlesandPins wrote:
Hirsty9Owls wrote:
blindsey wrote:
Thank you for the brief review; I've been looking for a good, reasonably detailed game of the Falklands War for some time, and the discussion here convinced me this is the one.

You will not be disappointed!
Agreed!
Indeed, there is no better game about this conflict in my opinion. So much packed into such a small footprint game, it's incredible. I mean where else do you have to juggle strategic naval task forces, aerial combat, ground forces, the press and the pope in a single game? All of Ben's games are outstanding experiences but this one I like the most.
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Meltinus wrote:
NeedlesandPins wrote:
Hirsty9Owls wrote:
blindsey wrote:
Thank you for the brief review; I've been looking for a good, reasonably detailed game of the Falklands War for some time, and the discussion here convinced me this is the one.

You will not be disappointed!
Agreed!
Indeed, there is no better game about this conflict in my opinion. So much packed into such a small footprint game, it's incredible. I mean where else do you have to juggle strategic naval task forces, aerial combat, ground forces, the press and the pope in a single game? All of Ben's games are outstanding experiences but this one I like the most.
Yeah! It is a very good game indeed!
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