I was very excited by these releases but I believe fate has intervened on my behalf.
So, I wanted both games, or scenarios, and ended up with only Border War which may be for the best.
The games I believe are so similar and abstract that owning one of them may be enough.
Some problems exist with choices made in the graphic design. The cards are small and much of the print is difficult to read on counters and cards alike. The charts are poorly organized on the map for a solitaire game (small print and charts at the TOP of the map?-and this is a vertical map).
The material is very abstract. I would have preferred a more definite mission concept rather than you are out to retrieve 'Real Objectives' and that is what the concept is called though out the game. A vague description for the meaning of the term is given in the scenario sheet (which is confusing because that page represents the rules for BW:AR) and it seems this system was designed to be very generic so it could be re-skinned with another theme with very little effort.
I have yet to figure out how many dice you need (none are included and after looking over the rules it seems that you need a handful of 6 sided dice but I haven't found it listed in the rules how many you actually need-I may have missed it but I have looked multiple times).
I have worked on the issues I have with the game by creating my own cards, scanning and increasing the size of the counters, scanning the top section of the map and moving it to the bottom and am about to create a counter manifest and a number code that I will add to my enlarged counters to make recognition of individual units of a like nature easier to identify.
I know this is a mini-game but I would have hoped for a little more event focused outing and less generic and bland play method.
I think the game is worth owning as-is if you have good eyesight and are just looking for a quick play game for those occasions to play something short or maybe introducing a new player to the game by playing along with them.
If you don't mind creating some of your own material then this game might prove to be a more worthy purchase. I am used to having to tweak things in a game but this one has almost pushed my limits on how much work has been needed.
I think I'm going to create another deck that has definitive missions like 'rescue a hostage' or 'take out enemy base'.
So, out of the Zpak I would give it a 4/10, with some work on the players behalf a 5/10 and slightly higher if you have the time and desire to flesh out the generic features with more details for missions.
I would also like to mention that the component quality is very good. I sleeve my cards but they seem fairly durable as is and the map is uncluttered and contrasts well with the counters (if only the color contrast for text on the counters was as good it would be great).
It's hard to complain about a $13 game so please understand that for the money and the willingness to do a bit of work if necessary it is fun. But I think I will stop at one.
Being honest I was checking this game and its sister game 'Congo Merc 1964', due to I love solitaire games.
However the comments I have read (including yours) definitively made me think twice and will not get into these games; not by $$$ factor (at $13.00 what else could be cheaper?), but it seems to me that a game like BW:AR is not the right subject as to design it around specific objectives needed to accomplish a mission...Even I think Congo Merc could be more suitable in this category than BW:AR.
But if you have an interest about Angolan War, I'll suggest 'Cold War Battles Angola 87' from Decision Games too...
This edition comes with a second game (Budapest '56); I have played Angola '87 twice and it is a nice game more focused in the strategic arena of the conflict, fair on rules and very entertaining.
Yes, there are several items on the wish list...I'm just trying to find room to set up Labyrinth and Andean Abyss at the moment
And please understand, I think the Border War title is worth purchasing. I hope I can add a little bit to it. I have downloaded the information on the Ops described and just some time to translate the events into cards or even scenario sheets (like the one that I've seen for Congo Merc).
Using the game as a toolbox and adding to it can be a worthwhile effort. I think maybe JM might have been a bit rushed on the schedule (they did a large amount of work on the mini-games series) and the design is solid. The point to point really opens up the possibilities.
But yes, I have a major interest currently in this type of game. Angola, Algeria, COIN, asymmetrical designs...basically anything post-WWII, Cold War, hypotheticals, civil wars...so many goodies to track down