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Jens Hoppe
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What are you, like 80?
It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
Wow, I just saw Chris Farrell's comment/rating on this game. It really amazed me, being so far from my own rating, since I usually find Farrell's ratings and comments a very good indication of whether I will like a game myself (keep up the good reviews Chris!).

Not so in this case. I have played GBoH games a lot of times over the years (mainly staying with Alexander, SPQR and the corresponding modules), but finally found the game too fiddly and lengthy to spend my time on.

SGBoH salvaged the series for me, solving almost all my gripes. I find the new design very easy (or is that "far less fiddly") to play, and the absence of similar-yet-different rules, which plagued the various games in the series, makes SGBoH a lot more accessible. The playing time is truly much shorter than the original game, so doing a couple of full-size scenarios in an evening is not a problem.

Not all the scenarios in SGBoH are well balanced, but neither were the scenarios necessarily balanced using the original rules. A shame really - I would have preferred that some thought had gone into unique, balanced victory conditions for each scenario - but scenario balance is not something the designers think of as an issue... Anyway, once you're a bit familiar with a scenario, you can bid for control of the opposing sides.

Contrary to Chris, I find the legion scenarios (the SPQR-era ones, with which I have most experience) to be much better balanced in SGBoH than they were in the original game. In old-fashioned SPQR the Romans were hideously overpowered (once you learned to let the tribunes and prefects do their one-two punch tactics), but SGBoH has made the Romans more human.

I'll have to say that not all scenarios seem to work equally well with SGBoH, but the larger, linear set-piece battles (many if not most of the scenarios) generally work fine. To me they seem to simulate ancient battles as well as anything.

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