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Junta: Viva el Presidente!» Forums » Reviews

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Clem Fandango
New Zealand
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Stephen, it's Clem Fandango. Can you hear me?
YES I can hear you Clem Fandango!
I have been very keen to get hold of this since I heard it existed so via a generous friend and Funagain I have! The game was played last night and this covers my review and reactions.

I had high hopes for this game. Junta (Classic) remains my favourite game but time and needing 7 players makes it hard to get going sometimes. I first played in 1987. Loved the game. Still do.

It is 20+ years since classic Junta, there are only 5 ruling families now.

The main issue was we had no German speakers with us, but we did have the English rules and I spent some time (an hour or two) translating cards using my High School German and Google. (I've tried to upload my translations to the files here). This meant for a lot of stop starting. I expect the cards will be translated and the rules may get some amendments.

While we played this there was a game of Dominant Species going next to us (which went nearly 3 hours after we finished).

The game is attractive, the componentry good apart from the little trucks / screens, when I assembled them I broke 2 flaps and had to resort to tape. Art work is brilliant.

English rules are 7 out of 10. We had a lot of questions. The first 2 rounds of game 1 were confused. This was made worse as I was president and drew no money in my cards in the first round.


First player to 5 victory points (6 in advanced game).
Victory points - everyone starts with 1 from their compound,
There are buildings (1 each) and cards (2 cards both worth a point, and a thrid card which is worth a building). We couldn't be sure but it appears that since you complete the round when someone reaches 5, money may be a tiebreaker.

A President is chosen by dice roll. they get the 'sunglasses' (good quality 400 spf dark wraparounds). We all were wearing specs (geeks!) so the president tended to wear them across their head, not over their eyes. Larger ones that fitted over glasses might have been nice.
Nice mechanic though.

Each player gets a small board covering their compound. Each players compound assigns them a number 1-5. Each player gets one die of their colour which is their militia.
Another nice mechanic here.

Players get a couple of cards (money, actions, mischief, victory points). The President gets one for each player in the game plus 1, players get two cards on their first round and one each round thereafter.

The president then selects a card or cards (as promises) and places them on the other players' compounds face down. Players look, but don't take.
Players then determine what their militia is doing by using the little trucks as a shield and turning the die(dice) to a number. Your militias can attack (turn die to number of player you attack), defend you (your number), defend the president (6).
Great mechanic

Spy cards may be played (to look at everyone's slection) and then dice are revealed and attacks resolved. president (who can't attack anyone) first then to the left and clockwise. The President gets 1 defence for each militia s/he has in defence whereas attackers and other players defending the president get the roll of their dice.
Your compound gives you +1 defence. Purchased Buildings give you +1 def. (cards can negate these).

If anyone attacks the president and loses they don't get their promise card.
If someone attacks the president and wins no-one gets their promise cards.
The president can be attacked by multiple players and if the President is assassinated the one who hits with the most points becomes president ( we didn't have any ties so we assumed it goes clockwise or by dice throw if that does occur). The winner(s) of any combat get to randomly take one of the losers cards.

Once the combat is resolved you can buy things: 4 mpesos for a building (victory point) 2 mpesos for another militia (a die) 1 mpesos for another card. in game 2 I had 4 militia killed by 2 cards recycling round. (I wished there were more cards in the deck!)

Then everyone scales down to 4 cards and then you begin again.

How did it go?
The rounds are quick once you get your head around the cards which are money and variations on combat or victory points. For us in 2 games attacks happned every turn. Presidents came and went. Some of us were unfairly picked on.

There were 4 players in the first game and 5 in the second. I'll try 3 at some point but I'm not sure it will work very well.

As a huge Junta fan the game was a big worry for me. LOVE Junta. Hate bad clunky complicated crap. I came with BIG expectations.

Halfway through the first game someone who had been very confused said; 'this is quite good'. This was followed a turn later after someone had been butchered with 'this is very good' and then someone 'this is a great game'.
Once the first game was resolved there was a demand for a second game.

It feels different than the Junta Classic. It does have some moments of incredible sameness for the original. The use of hidden cards to buy support was very familiar. there are no portfolio allocations. Combat is simple, and quick.

A conclusion
It is Junta. It's a different expression of the original, but it's Junta.
SO: 8.5/10. I'll revaluate later, it may go to 9, it may drop to 8.5. My biggest concern is it may not lend itself to the ongoing alliances and play that produces some of the classic Junta moments (eg the long loyal minister of internal security announcing out of the blue they are assassinating the president with 5 assassin cards). But then in an era of instant everything it may still produce them.

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James Torr
United States
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Buy less, play more.
Thanks for posting this! Great to get the perspective of a fan of the original.
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SamNzed wrote:

The game is attractive, the componentry good apart from the little trucks / screens, when I assembled them I broke 2 flaps and had to resort to tape.

Hehe, thanks for that, because I was under the impression that I was incapable of assembling these trucks. I won, but it was a tough fight!

Very nice review, thank you also for that of course
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