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Average Rating: 4.5 in 6 reviews
Very lucky to own this board game. Absolutely love it - if I could only find someone to play it at least 36 hours in any given week I'd be much happier. :)
Simple, no chance involved, pure strategy - each side starts off with the same pieces, knowledge of terrain and piece movement / strength, and the rest is PURE strategy. [It also helps to know a little bit about your opponent.]
Would certainly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys light [easy to get into] wargames for 2 players, but you certainly can't have my copy of the game :)
I actually heard about this game on the internet years ago. I ended up calling the designer, who at the time was still waiting for the plastic pieces. When they came in, he emailed back, I sent a check and got a copy.
Quite a bit of effort, but well worth it. The game has a great deal of strategy and tactics in positioning. The simultaenous movement system means you're never assured you'll win, but if you've got a superior mix of troops you can be pretty confident you're going to prevail. Good troop mix and position means that for most possible move combinations, you've got your opponent beat.
Movement is simultaeous and combat is rock/scissors/paper based, but a bit more complex. You'll find bunching your troops causes you problems as they get in each other's way, but on the flip side having them too spread out means you can't create localized advantages where you've got rock and he only has scissors in some quadrant of the board.
Over an individual turn, you might get outguess on the rock/paper/scissors moves, but over the course of a game, the one that makes the best decisions will win. You also can't rely on just slowly steamrolling an opponent. There are fast piece and you can't simply leave an area undefended for fear a rogue piece will sneak in for a quick kill on your general (the piece you must kill to win).
This quick strike threat helps keep the game interesting even when one person has clearly taken the worst of it.
I've been playing this game for about 8 years now. I bought it at FAO Scwartz in NYC. The box alone is (almost) worth the price: beautiful! The playing pieces are also pretty well done, considering the price (I paid about $40--I don't know who sells it anymore or at what price but I just saw one on ebay that had been bid up to $76 or so).
What I most admire is that the entire set of rules is limited enough to be printed on the cardboard divider that's placed across the board during 'deployment.' None of those big fat manuals, like in most military games.
Picture Stratego, except that the identity of your enemy's pieces is not disguised (so there's no guessing involved). And you move up to ten pieces per turn--simultaneously with your opponent (you write the moves down in secret, then exchange lists).
Each space on the board has both altitude (1 of 3 levels), which affects the range of the artillery pieces (unlike Stratego, there are cannons, not bombs--and they can move!), and a terrain type (open or wooded), which determines the outcomes of various conflicts (i.e., certain pieces are stronger on a particular type of terrain).
I've hooked a few friends on the game and we have very intriguing games, lasting typically 2-3 hours. As noted, the rules are simple, so anyone can play more or less immediately--but experienced players can lay waste to the newbies.
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