Calvin Daniels
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Oh how I wanted to like this game.

Yetisburg: Titanic Battles in History Vol. I was a game which sent all the right signals when I first came across it. It was a card game loosely based on the American Civil War, and that is something I've always held an interest in.

The game also pastes a neat fantasy theme over the Civil War aspect, adding the idea that both sides in the conflict have Yetis in the army, not to mention mastodons as artillery units. Corny, sure, but it sounds like a lot of fun too.

So the game arrives, and the art on the cards is fantastic. Clean designs, with a style that is very much caricature in nature.

Then a few flaws start to emerge.

There is a set of markers to punch out. Generally no big deal, but these are some kind of pressed paper, and if not very careful punching them out, they would start to expand and come apart. If they ever got a tad bit of moisture they'd probably puff up like popcorn, and even repeated play could cause these to fray a lot.

So then you have the cards and pieces, and find they no longer fit into the box. That is a major annoyance for several reasons. One the box is great in that it has two snarling Yetis on it, one in grey and the other in a blue uniform. To toss the box is a shame.

Boxes also store far better than a game stuck in a sandwich baggie.

A better design here would have been a huge plus. It doesn't affect game play, but it does nothing to endear one to the game either.

Next is game play. Designers Joshua J. Frost and Mike Selinker have kept this 2008 release from Titanic Games pretty simple. In fact, the game may be a tad too simple for its own good.

Players essentially line up their forces (a selection of their cards), and do battle across an imaginary battle line.

Now I have read enough books on the Civil War, and watched enough documentaries, to recognize the battle field was a terribly random place. Muskets were not the most reliable of weapons, and the battlefield was often a place of chaos. Yetisburg captures that in the sense of a lot of randomness. For example, it's the luck of the draw which direction among the three forward shooting arcs a soldier actually fires.

It's also random who among your forces actually attacks on a given turn too.

The problem is while the mechanics reflect the vagaries of a Civil War battle, there isn't a real sense of drama to it. So suddenly randomness becomes simply randomness.

Players have very limited control over game play, with limited opportunities to make decisions which ultimately impact the game.

Granted, there is humour in a Yeti rushing through its own line, bashing friendly soldiers as it goes. There is humour in a mastodon blowing up and wiping out friendly soldiers with 'chunks of flying meat.

However, it's an element of humour which fades with a few plays. A joke loses its punch once you've heard it a few times.

If you get a chance to play this one, do indulge. It's good to experience a few times. Just hope someone else has bought it, otherwise you are left having to find a place to store a game in a bag, since you will play it rarely.

This review appeared in Yorkton This Week July 1, 2009.
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Totally agree. This is a phenomenal and hilarious theme that got saddled to a pretty pointless game.
 
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Mike Holyoak
United States
Idaho Falls
Idaho
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Thanks for your review.
I've been ravenously searching FLGS looking for it based on theme.
Now I've read your review, I'll proceed with a little more caution.
 
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Ryan Hackel
United States
Falls Church
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Talisinbear wrote:
It's also random who among your forces actually attacks on a given turn too.

That's not true. The type of unit that all make attacks this turn is determined by your selection of card from hand.
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Mark Chaplin
United Kingdom
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Ice-choked tower, Mondavia, Nanglangka.
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I was thinking about giving this a try, but I believe you've sealed its fate for me now.

Great idea let down by average gameplay. What a ruddy shame!




 
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Irfon-Kim Ahmad
Canada
Toronto
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I agree about most of this review. The only part I'm not really seeing is the complaint about the box. We had no problems whatsoever putting the cards and chits back into the box after gameplay. Is there something I'm missing there? I mean, I can't see a way that chits could take more room after being punched out than they used to take beforehand.

Anyway, whatever the case is, we've played a few games of this and put it all back away in the box when we were done every time.

(Aside from that, I agree that it really is far too random. There is a certain element of strategy involved in balancing drawing more cards vs. depleting your decks too soon, but it's not an element that allows much for innovation or much latitude for thinking up new approaches. Other than that element, the game is pretty much Snakes n' Ladders.
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Oliver Paul
Iceland
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I agree. I really wanted to like this game. The theme is totally awesome, a quick and easy 2player civil war game with yetis sounds awesome.

Yet after 1 play I have absolutely no urge to play again. I don't think I pulled a single 'attack straight forward' chit the entire game. My shots always went diagonally, and basically never hit anything. I think this game would be better with fewer diagonal chits, like, a lot fewer. But then it would lose it's 'randomness', that must have been a selling point for the designers.
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Mark Chaplin
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I very much doubt if Vol. 2 (Dismember the Alamo) will now be published.



 
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Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
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murksofus wrote:
I don't think I pulled a single 'attack straight forward' chit the entire game. My shots always went diagonally, and basically never hit anything. I think this game would be better with fewer diagonal chits, like, a lot fewer.


You should have been aiming diagonally, silly. laugh

There's probably a rescuable game in here, with enough house rules and new bits.
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Michael Melbourne
United States
Shoreline
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I look at this game as a totally random game to begin with. I think that's what makes it funny, and fun to play. If you are looking for a more serious and realistic Civil War Card Game, maybe you could try Dixie: Bull Run, Gettysburg, or Shiloh.

If you are expecting something this game isn't, then of course you are not going to enjoy it.
 
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