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A Most Dangerous Time: Japan in Chaos, 1570-1584» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Cheesy review just to be first rss

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David Bohnenberger
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Among my favorite wargames of the last few years have been those in the IGS series from MMP games. Adam Starkweather and his team have worked hard to bring us the best games from a number of excellent Japanese designers. The latest of these is A Most Dangerous Time (AMDT), depicting the war for control of Japan in the late 16th century. In this game, Oda Nobunaga and his allies must fight off numerous powerful enemies.

The game uses a point-to-point map with most spaces representing either a castle or fortified temple. Cardboard counters represent Soldiers or leaders. There is also an action card deck along with some play-aid cards and a bonus set of cards with information on the various leaders depicted in the game. I will not insert pictures here, since I don't know how, but rest assured that everything look great. The style is evocative and original.

The rulebook also looks great. I do believe that it could have been written better, and the game has generated a number of question and errata so far. However, as usual, Adam is providing virtually round-the-clock support for the game. Seriously, he has even provided his phone number so you can call him up at 3 o'clock in the morning to harass him about whatever's bugging you. With this kind of support, the game would be playable even if a rulebook hadn't been included, so I am fully satisfied.

Gameplay features not only dice and the afore-mentioned action cards, but also a chit-draw cup. Yes, luck plays a big factor in this game. I am among those who prefer games of this type. After all, with all the random factors at work, it's not my fault that I lost. And in my experience so far, it seems that the luck evens out over the course of the game. Also, I find those wild swings of fate add excitement, especially with all the yelling and throwing things when it doesn't go my way.

Gameplay is actually very straightforward. The various clans are grouped together into color-coded “alliances”, each of which has an activation chit. Some leaders, such as Nobunaga, add an extra chit for their alliance when they are in play. These chits are all thrown into a cup along with the dreaded “turn end” chit. Chits are drawn one at a time, with an alliance being activated each time one of its chits is drawn. A turn ends when the “turn end” chit comes out (even if it's the first!). When activated, an alliance is given a number of movement points equal to a die-roll, with a couple of possible modifiers. The points are then spent to move units around and fight battles. Combat uses a fairly simple “bucket o' dice” system. When the turn is over, reinforcements and replacements arrive and the chit-draw cup is filled again. Players gain action cards by conquering territory or by holding the central space at Kyo. There are rules and cards that can cause soldiers and leaders to switch sides during play, even right before a battle, and a few other special rules and action cards that spice up play. An optional rule gives Oda a marker for “Good Fortune” at the start of the game. He can pass this to his opponent during the game to set the order of the draw-cup, re-roll combat dice, or choose a different card from the action deck. However, in the scenario I have played, this marker counts as a victory point for Oda, and I have not yet encounted a situation critical enough to give it up.

There are three scenarios provided with the game, all using the same setup: a 10-turn “short game” in which Odo must hold at least 6 of the large castles/temples to win, a 30-turn “standard game” in which control of Kyo decides the winner, and an open-ended Last Man Standing game. I have a feeling that the majority of games played will be of the “short” variety. There are also rules for a 3- or 4-player game.

Although the rulebook is fairly long, this is mainly due to the redundant style Adam Starkweather and his team generally use, and the numerous integrated examples. The game is actually very easy to play. The action is fast and furious, with yells of excitement attending each draw from the cup and roll of the movement die. It's just plain fun. I give this game my whole-hearted endorsement. I am obsessed with it and want to play again right now.

One more thing: unlike SOME games I could mention (for instance, just about every other wargame in my collection), the estimated play time seems spot-on. I want to thank Adam for being honest with this, as he has for the other games in the IGS collection. The “short scenario” has genuinely taken us no more than 4 hours, even on our first couple of plays, which for me is perfect for an evening's gaming.

Go buy this game.
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Will DeMorris
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Dweeb wrote:
Go buy this game.



I did! They just haven't sent it to me yet...

Thanks for the review. Although I've already ponied up for AMDT, it's nice to hear out of the box reviews for people who have the game in hand and actually played it.

-Will
 
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Diz Hooper
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Thanks for posting the first review.
 
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Железный комиссар
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How does this compare to other games from the same designer? Would you recommend diving in with this one or starting with another one of his games?
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Michael
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Bulwyf wrote:
Dweeb wrote:
Go buy this game.



I did! They just haven't sent it to me yet...

Thanks for the review. Although I've already ponied up for AMDT, it's nice to hear out of the box reviews for people who have the game in hand and actually played it.

-Will


I'm right there with. When I called last week I was told that there were still another 90 people ahead of me. I'm hopeful I'll have it by this weekend so that I can spend some time playing with it.
 
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Michael
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JohnRayJr wrote:
How does this compare to other games from the same designer? Would you recommend diving in with this one or starting with another one of his games?


Well Warriors of God is sold out for now, so unless you can find a used copy, you don't have much of a choice. Based on this review, it doesn't sound any more complex than WofG.
 
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P. Al Williams
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This is not the same designer as Warriors of God.
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Monday Bio wrote:
This is not the same designer as Warriors of God.


Indeed, I was thinking A Victory Lost and Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945. Did I miss something?
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Tom Grant
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Not a cheesy review at all. It sounds as though you've actually played it a couple of times before venturing an opinion.
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David Bohnenberger
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Kingdaddy wrote:
It sounds as though you've actually played it a couple of times before venturing an opinion.


Yes, twice. I don't even rate games until I play them at least twice.
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David Bohnenberger
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JohnRayJr wrote:
How does this compare to other games from the same designer? Would you recommend diving in with this one or starting with another one of his games?


I never got around to playing Fire in the Sky, but I certainly enjoyed A Victory Lost. I think this is better, although AVL was a lot cleaner. Regardless, the mechanics and subjects are completely different in each of these games, so I don't think it really matters which you "dive in" with first. This one's good.

The game IS probably closer to Warriors of God in terms of luck and fun-factor. This is probably the best game I've played since WofG, although I'm not sure I can rate it quite as highly - I really love WofG.
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Adam Starkweather
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Warriors of God is a different designer.

I am not sure I would say this game is like his others I have done (which would be A Victory Lost, Storm over Stalingrad and Fire in the Sky)
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Michael
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JohnRayJr wrote:
Monday Bio wrote:
This is not the same designer as Warriors of God.


Indeed, I was thinking A Victory Lost and Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945. Did I miss something?


No you didn't. I just had a massive brain fart. Same MMP division and same Adam getting it into our hands, not same designer.
 
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David Bohnenberger
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Quote:
How does this compare to other games from the same designer?


Oops, I forgot about Storm over Stalingrad, which is another great game that's seen a lot of play around these parts. Regardless, it's not like this game at all. I don't know which game to start with. Just get them all to be safe!
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David Wiens
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Cathan wrote:

I'm right there with. When I called last week I was told that there were still another 90 people ahead of me. I'm hopeful I'll have it by this weekend so that I can spend some time playing with it.


Do you know what number preorder you were? I'm waiting for mine too, but I think I was close to the end of the line.
 
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John Foley
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I'd like to add a point about the reviewer. My friend Dave is very different from me in terms of expressing enthusiasm about things in general. While I am typically unreserved and spill good vibes everywhere, Dave usually holds back and takes a very reserved approach. It therefore counts a lot for me when Dave provides a strong positive review. It takes a HUGE amount of gaming goodness to receive a positive word from Dave - so for what it is worth, this one has to be a really great game.

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David Kahnt
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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johnfoley79 wrote:
I'd like to add a point about the reviewer. My friend Dave is very different from me in terms of expressing enthusiasm about things in general. While I am typically unreserved and spill good vibes everywhere, Dave usually holds back and takes a very reserved approach. It therefore counts a lot for me when Dave provides a strong positive review. It takes a HUGE amount of gaming goodness to receive a positive word from Dave - so for what it is worth, this one has to be a really great game.



I concur. Every game sucks for him, so if he rates one high... pay attention.

-DK
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David Bohnenberger
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I figured the general public wouldn't understand it as high praise if I'd written "It doesn't really suck that bad".
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Michael
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clockwirk wrote:
Cathan wrote:

I'm right there with. When I called last week I was told that there were still another 90 people ahead of me. I'm hopeful I'll have it by this weekend so that I can spend some time playing with it.


Do you know what number preorder you were? I'm waiting for mine too, but I think I was close to the end of the line.


I don't recall, but I did get the game in the mail yesterday.
 
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Jay Sheely
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Thanks for the review. I was waiting for some really positive comments. Guess what I'm getting for my birthday?
 
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Lee Massey
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Ordered it and recieved two days ago! It looks like a winner! I like the rulebook and it is easy to read. The map is well done too! Can't wait to try it out!
 
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