BobTheGuy UKnow
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Reading the comments and reviews, it seemed like some folks bought it expecting some chromed-up, super-detailed game and have reduced their rating because that is not what it is. I do not normally rate anything, but I felt like I needed to jump in there with some balance.

Just looking at the boardgamegeek information section, you have a 2-player, three-hour game, covering an 11-year war across France, the Low Countries, Spain, the German states, and Italy. That does not take into account looking at the description (i.e. each unit is 10,000 men) and the pictures. You kind of need to go into that with the expectation that you are looking at something different than a grognard-fest.

So for those of you not looking for a 30-pound box, here is my quick review for you...

Appearance
This is a good-looking game with nice artwork and a very pretty map.

Rules
This is an elegant, well-written set of rules. Once you have played through the rules, you can almost live off the player cards.

Even though the game is simple to learn and follow once you are up and running, it does not cost you anything in the gameplay. With all of the strategic options available, you will not miss deciding the fate of an individual division in a battle.

Also, although this is a card-driven game, the cards do not dominate the play and will not win the game for you. They do provide a clean way to manage initiative and a lot of the political events that occur. They mix things up nicely.

Historical Play
Though not a WoSS historian, I have the layman's awareness of the importance of sieges, the logistical challenges, and the riskiness of field battles during the period.

The game captures those elements. There is a lot of focus around the sieges and fieldworks that dominated the war and it gives Marlborough his due in being especially good at manuevering through all of that. However, if you stick Marlborough out there at the wrong time, he might just get his head lopped off in an open-field battle. There is a chance for a big loss or a big win or a win with a lot of casualties - all of which occurred during that war. It captures the logistical challenges through some simple rules and mechanics, so you are not bogged-down in accounting.

Finally, it does a good job of reflecting some of the back-and-forth you saw during the war. At one point, it looks like you can't lose and then at the next point it may look like you can't win.

I do not think I have played enough times to comment thoroughly on whether the game leans more toward the Bourbons; other than to say that due to their central lines, I would expect them to have had some advantages and that most players should be able to provide them a more coherent strategy and leadership than they had historically. At the same time, I have had some success as the "anti-Bourbons" and the victory point levels seem to bring things back into balance.

Summary
This is an elegant and highly-playable game that offers you the opportunity to pursue the strategic options available to the warring sides, while giving you the flavor of the historical period.
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Kris Van Beurden
Belgium
Leuven
Vlaams-Brabant
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Microbadge: GrognardMicrobadge: Compass Games fanMicrobadge: Napoleonic WargamerMicrobadge: Parent of Two Girls and One BoyMicrobadge: Wargamer
Great review for a great game!
 
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Mauro Bertolino
Italy
Cuneo
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Microbadge: Seven Years WargamerMicrobadge: No Peace Without Spain! fanMicrobadge: MountaineerMicrobadge: The Battle of Fontenoy, 11 May, 1745Microbadge: Wargamer - WW2
Tegarend wrote:
Great review for a great game!
I totally agree!
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Loved this game - one of my favourites of 2011. The review captures exactly what I liked about it. Well done!
 
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