Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Partizan» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review of Partizan rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Martí Cabré

Terrassa
Catalonia, Spain
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Partizan is a game edited by Decision Games and published through the magazine World at War, commited to World War II discussion and wargaming. In the past I had bought lots of wargame magazines but recently I have refrained from that after realizing that usually the games were not enough playtested resulting sometimes in games too tough for one side and sometimes simply unplayable due to bad rules or bad designs.

This time I ordered the magazine because the game is a design by Javier Romero, a Catalan designer I happen to know. I have some of Romero's games and have previously played two of them: Guerra a Muerte and The Spanish Civil War. I didn't like the former and I liked very much the latter, so with Partizan could happen anything.


*** THE CONCEPT

Partizan is a game for 2 players that represents the struggle between the Communist Partisans and the Axis forces in Yugoslavia during World War II, between September 1941 and December 1944. It is played during ten turns representing each one four months of real time. Units represent historical brigades and divisions that operated or could have operated in that theater of war. Victory in the game is determined by victory points accumulated by the Partisan player.


*** THE HARDWARE

Partizan is distributed with the magazine World at War #16 in a plastic sleeve. In my map the folding had stuck in some places and when I unfolded it some of the ink when out, but under the plexiglass that did not matter. There is one sheet of counters with a lot of colors. I like that.

The counters are excellent, with NATO-style information, attack-defense-movement values and historical identification of each unit. Most axis units have two steps and Partisan units have one step and the other one is used to conceal the true identity of each counter. There are a lot of nationalities, each with its own distinct color: communist partisans, some UK and USA units, Germans, Italians, Croatians, Ustashi Croatians, Bulgarians and Hungarians. There is even a counter representing Tito itself! Cool. cool

The map is really nice and represents Yugoslavia in 1941, when the Third Reich had annexed the Czech and Slovenian territory, created a puppet state in most of Croatia and split the rest of Yugoslavia between Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria. There are a lot of tables with useful information that keeps the player from looking things up in the rules and the terrain information is really clear. The only negative point is the color of the province borders, which is difficult to distinguish, specially for players of a certain age.

The rules are inserted in the magazine. They are clear and concise. They also have nearly no gaps and are written straight to the point. I liked that.


*** THE SOFTWARE

The game turn has standard phases. First the Partisan and then the Axis do unit replacement and reinforcements, movement, combat and supply check. Also, both players must deploy each turn random Partisan objectives after the Partisan player has deployed its reinforcements.

The objectives are something particular of this game. They represent a wide array of possible terrorist attacks (motor pools, fuel dumps, train stations, truck convoys... even rescuing an allied pilot!) and they are deployed anew in the map each turn following some tables. You just roll a couple of dice and the table sets a different hex for each objective. This is the main VP pool for the Partisan player, as each destroyed objective rewards the Partisan player with minimum 1D6 VP, and sometimes +1, +2 or +3. Both destroyed and undestroyed objectives are removed from the map each turn and redeployed again.

The other ways the Partisan player can get VP is by occupying towns and cities, denying train LOC from five different mines to Greater Germany and avoiding getting their troops killed. At the end of the game the number of Partisan VP determines the victory level achieved.

Play flow is really smooth, but (with only one short play), it seemed that for the Axis forces it is really difficult to stop the Partisans from destroying LOTS of objectives each turn. The Partisans can rebuild 1D6 of units each turn and so the Axis player must destroy a lot of Partisan units each turn to keep them in low numbers, but they must also protect a lot of VP spaces, most of which appear randomly each turn in hexes far away from the ones in the previous turn, making the Axis forces go up and down the country or just getting tired and protecting the cities and railways and forgetting about the countryside. If you have played Vietnam wargames you'll know what I mean.

There are different movement costs for foot troops, motorized troops and cavalry/mountain troops. The latter are really useful in the central part of Yugoslavia, between Bosnia and Montenegro, as they can quickly move through the mountains. The German units (not the rest of Axis units) can use railroad movement without cost and combined with foot movement. There is also naval movement from port to port. There are no ZOCs.

Combat uses a CRT and is straightforward. There are two different CRT tables and before each combat the attacker must roll for initiative to check who chooses the CRT table. One is better for the Axis, the other is better for the Partisans. When defending, the Partisans even have the option to withdraw before combat, making Axis operations useless. There are some simple CRT modifiers, easy to remember: using German troops, using motorized troops, using bombers, etc. Results are in the form of combat step losses.

Supply is different for both players. The Partisans simply roll in a table with different columns for each season of the year and they get the number of steps they must lose. It represents normal attrition and also combats with the Cetniks, the Serbian royalists which are not represented with counters and are handled abstractly. The Axis player, on the other hand, must trace an unlimited LOC through any terrain to an Axis supply source (three in Slovenia and one in Bulgaria), which is quite easy (you must totally surround them).

Romero usually offers some optional rules with "what-ifs". In this case, there is the possibility of UK and USA forces landing in the Croatian shores after Italian surrender. Also, there are some rules that make Tito's prestige to the West go up and down and that can have some impact in the Partisan resources.


*** THE EXPERIENCE

Partizan is an average game, with a nice presentation but with simple rules that allow experienced players to tweek what should be historical behaviours to actions that result gamey. Just deploying it and making some moves quickly transport you to the historical struggle, which is very important in a historical wargame (and I think that Romero did a good job here), but after doing some turns each side can optimize his or her actions in order to fulfill VP acquisition or VP prevention, according to each side. I have only played it once, but I think that this keeps from getting a total satisfaction of game play, as it prevents you from getting immersed into the game. More effort from the game developers and playtesters could have improved the overall experience.

I think that Partizan is a good game coming from a magazine (I have had some lousy experiences with magazine wargames), but lacks the developing effort that many boxed wargames have. For example, Romero's The Spanish Civil War is far much better in this sense. Don't play this game to have a fulfilling gaming experience, but if you just want to kill an afternoon with a light wargame it is ok. Last but not least, if you are interested in a simple yet historical representation of World War II in Yugoslavia, Partizan will surely fulfill your needs.
21 
 Thumb up
1.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Stampley
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
Thank you for the review. I just punched and clipped the counters today and hope to get it on the table this week. I was surprised by the random VP objectives. With different target hexes every turn and the Partizan units operating with hidden strengths, every game and even every turn will be wildly different.That will help replayablity but hurt solitaire play.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam H
Canada
Québec
flag msg tools
Every weirdo in the world is on my wavelength
badge
We carry a new world here, in our hearts.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
Thanks for the review. I was considering this game but the hidden info for the partizan player is what is making me hesitate. The game description says that solitaire play is "doable". Is it? what do you think?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martí Cabré

Terrassa
Catalonia, Spain
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
sxmpxr wrote:
Thanks for the review. I was considering this game but the hidden info for the partizan player is what is making me hesitate. The game description says that solitaire play is "doable". Is it? what do you think?


Well, after playing the game we've talked with the designer Javier Romero about playing solitaire (you can contact him at ConsimWorld). The rules as they are are only for two players, but as the Partizan player mainly scores SP bombing targets which are chosen at random each turn, it should not be difficult to set some rules to play solitaire as the Axis.

For example, you could rule an order of priorities for the Partizan guerrillas each turn: max VP target, closer target, rail junction, lone Axis unit, etc. Then follow this order each turn and try to leave Partizan units in good defensive positions. Then take the Axis and try to stop them.

Yes, I see it feasible.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martí Cabré

Terrassa
Catalonia, Spain
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
Of course, you will have to change some other rules: for example, to keep the element of surprise, Partizan units should only be flipped (to reveal strength) when attacked by Axis units, never when they destroy a resource target. Otherwise you'd have too much information.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam H
Canada
Québec
flag msg tools
Every weirdo in the world is on my wavelength
badge
We carry a new world here, in our hearts.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
Thanks a lot for the quick reply!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martí Cabré

Terrassa
Catalonia, Spain
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
You're welcome. Nice avatar, I must say.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomàs Reixach Coll

Girona
Girona
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
Gràcies per la ressenya! thumbsup

Aquest joc, amb una temàtica tant llaminera, estava a la meva llista de possibles compres. Ara, potser, el descartaré...

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martí Cabré

Terrassa
Catalonia, Spain
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
Tempestari wrote:
Gràcies per la ressenya! thumbsup

Aquest joc, amb una temàtica tant llaminera, estava a la meva llista de possibles compres. Ara, potser, el descartaré...



Un pèl massa senzill, potser. L'Spanish Civil War és molt millor.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Sizemore
United States
Crown Point
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review of the game
Halfway through a game right now. Feels like a round of whack-a-mole. Interesting, but I can't yet discern if there is an effective strategy for either side.

On the positive side, the game mechanics contain enough randomness that ensure a high degree of replay ability.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.