Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

Shifting Sands» Forums » Strategy

Subject: First Game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Patrick Bauer
United States
Reading
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Waste Water too
badge
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've bought this game when it came out but simply could not find an opponent and the time to learn and play it. So I finally decided that this isn't a collectable and forced myself to play it solitaire.

First off -- I know, I know, card driven game solitaire? But it can work, I just play each hand as a what would I do if I didn't know what was in the other hand. Most cards it doesn't matter. Some cards, say E-boats are obviously better played early in the hand. And of course the "see the other hand cards" are the trickiest -- I could play them and then maximize that side's plays or I could just decide to always play them as OPs card. For what it's worth, I say Shifting Sands is a very good solitaire game.

Anyway I write this because after one false start when I bought the game and this full solitaire game had something in common -- the Axis stormed across Egypt. It seems I've taught myself quite the lesson: that is I am too aggressive with the British at the start. It seems that the superior British play should be heavy on the reinforcements, replacements and events and only a few strategic counter attacks.

This solitaire game ended in Spring 42 with all of Egypt and the Near East Axis controlled. I would say as a novice that Britain did get two bad hands in a row at the end (or at least hands I didn't/couldn't maximize) and one audacious attack and 6-1 die roll at Suez broke open a wide open Near East. Plus a stunning first turn goof of thinking the turn tracks hand size square was an actual turn square (so the first year had an extra round of hands).

So not a flawless game, but I was wondering if I am correct on a more passive, reactionary British early game is the best way for the Brits to go?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Rinella
United States
New York
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hell yea it's not a collectable!

It's difficult to evaluate your strategy based on what you've said. Remember that cards with a "square" around their value (rather than a circle) double as operations points. The Allies have a big advantage in that their reinforcements all (as far as I recall) double as OPS.

Also, the Italians have little offensive ability on their own. They suffer a -1 drm to all attacks/defense (unless Balbo is played). They have little armor (armor grants a column shift if attacking or defending against non-armor). Few combat cards.

In our tournament games the Axis are lucky to capture Mersa Matruh - Cairo almost never happens. The Axis can win an auto-victory, however, if they get the right combination of cards (Italian Fleet, Iraqi Revolt, Balkan Campaign, others). But the Allies just come at you in waves. All those reinforcemnt cards. All those extra units in reserve. Decent combat cards. The Allies are no pushover!

Michael Rinella
Designer, Shifting Sands
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Bauer
United States
Reading
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Waste Water too
badge
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Michael Rinella wrote:
Hell yea it's not a collectable! ;)

It's difficult to evaluate your strategy based on what you've said. Remember that cards with a "square" around their value (rather than a circle) double as operations points. The Allies have a big advantage in that their reinforcements all (as far as I recall) double as OPS.

Also, the Italians have little offensive ability on their own. They suffer a -1 drm to all attacks/defense (unless Balbo is played). They have little armor (armor grants a column shift if attacking or defending against non-armor). Few combat cards.

In our tournament games the Axis are lucky to capture Mersa Matruh - Cairo almost never happens. The Axis can win an auto-victory, however, if they get the right combination of cards (Italian Fleet, Iraqi Revolt, Balkan Campaign, others). But the Allies just come at you in waves. All those reinforcemnt cards. All those extra units in reserve. Decent combat cards. The Allies are no pushover!

Michael Rinella
Designer, Shifting Sands


Oh I forgot to mention: Balbo was the very first card played, Rommel appeared as soon as possible and Monty was too late. And yes the Axis did get all three you mentioned so perhaps my view of the British is jaded by some incredible bad luck. I knew Balbo first was lucky but perhaps I should review all the cards and see if the combos were just really pro-Axis.

{EDIT}Plus as I said there was the extra hand in the first year -- I'm sure you didn't playtest that little goof

BTW I really like the game and wish I had played it sooner ... must ... force ..friends... to ..try.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon
Canada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
What I like best about this game is that it is a delicate balancing act, especially for the Allies.

How much pressure do I apply in East Africa versus taking care of North Africa? How much set up do I do in the Near East before things start to roll there in earnest? Decisions decisions...

I find playing the Allies to be quite difficult and there is a very real threat to your position in North Africa if you are not careful. I think you are more or less correct in thinking that the early turns can be spent building. But only to a point. I think that the time pressures in East Africa means that early attention must be made there in the form of at least building up your units and taking out some of the Italian BGs. Also, in North Africa I would definitely attempt to defend (or retake if lost) Halfaya. I would only push harder in North Africa in the early turns should the Ethiopian Campaign not make an early appearance. Once it arrives, then it is East Africa East Africa East Africa all the way baby! Or at least as much as possible.

Then again....I got my butt kicked the last time I played the Allies, so what do I know? LOL!

Enjoy the game. It is one of my favourites.

EDIT: Extra props for the SU avatar.... thumbsup
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Owens
United States
Chattanooga
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Capt_S wrote:
What I like best about this game is that it is a delicate balancing act, especially for the Allies.

How much pressure do I apply in East Africa versus taking care of North Africa? How much set up do I do in the Near East before things start to roll there in earnest? Decisions decisions...


This times 1000.

Oh, and to the OP, I just have three words: VASSAL, VASSAL, VASSAL.

http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Shifting_Sands



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Rinella
United States
New York
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There is also a cyberboard kit if you don't use VASSAL ... and there's been on-going on-line tournaments.
 
 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.