I cant speak for you, but my mind races to creative ways to capture what I see hear, read and experience in current affairs and then try to translate those events into a board wargame….ALL the time. I never have got past the Ideation stage.
Not so Brian Train. Brian has created more games than I’ve had my mother-in-laws dried arse casserole…a lot more. Many dozens even.
Quick outline of the game play concepts are necessary in order to grasp what happens and why. This is my 30 second take on the game.
Pull a card [act if necessary], Chap with the most PR (Political Will or Public Relations value] chooses whether it is a strategy turn or a combat turn. Ukraine gathers some PR points from allies.
If it is a strategy turn you choose (secretly) chits denoting your desired level of effort in 1 of three categories (Balls deep/meh and who cares)
….ok. Max/Medium /Modest. After each side pops face down chits on the track the initiative player chooses a category to go first with: Military/Information or Diplomacy. The level you choose determines how many dice you roll for ‘action points’.
Each of the aforementioned categories is resolved for Initiative player then 2nd player. Each category has a specific purpose to either push up your PR or drag down the enemy PR (INFO), Push/ pull countries to one level of support or another (DIPLO) and get stuff on the board to fight with (MIL). If you choose a combat turn. People die at various levels of intensity, with unintended consequences the norm.
Nearly everything you do has some impact elsewhere you may not like. Cards blow nice plans up. Dice mess with intentions for the turn and your sides ability to react and counter act can be a challenge also. There is a small aspect to this conflict representation that does seem to enable or allow the enemy to ‘follow its path’ regardless of your actions, but you cant let the enemy just run the course of events they choose.
You lose by having prestige points dropping to zero (0), otherwise over the 9 turns we will tally VPs for area control + net PR points.
Simple concept. Simple reasonably well written rules [clarity suffers in the main due to some novel concepts for me] and a bitch to play as you begin to peel the fricken onion.
These components are well just fricken breathing taking in their subtle beauty. For nits post play I would say some sections need a little more room to handle the large counters awaiting entry, but otherwise it’s a looker.
Below you can see the Prestige points advantage the Russkies have 32 vs 16!
Aligns with Russians and that friends is not good for the UKR.
FUC% EU card:
Russians roll double 1 [bad thing] +4 PR to Ukraine
This ends the turn.
Seriously… This may be a short game!SVOBODA -1d6 PR
Ukraine rolls 6,6, SUMSKA Russian
RUS card- ISIS crisis RUS hold onto for later use. Russians gain 3 PR via Information Strategy -5 UKR -3 Russ
DIPLO RUS move by Poland -2
UKR rolls for POL and RO moving both 1 to the right.
RUS subtract 9 PR (2d6 =5 )
MIL segment: 4 pts for Russians which they use to place Spec Forces in Alessa, Belarus and 2 Tanks Mobilize, now playing the ISIS crisis.
UKR UE sanctions -4 PR to Russ now 16 PR.
MIL place 2 in Russ ready, and SpecForces in Donet. Dnipr. 1X ireggular in Odessa. Ukraine fail to neutralize x2
DIP 4 pts Russian!
UKR Dip 11! Attempt to influence USA and France 7 /6. US moves to Intervene France to Support.
INFO Russ -3 Ukr -4 Ukraine +5 for end turn bonus’s.
Pts: UKR 11, Russ 8.
DIP UKR 11 again. GB 7 moves up 1. Russ drops US back to Support.
INFO both buy PR.
MIL Russ place 1 irregular.
We can see the plummeting Prestige of the UKR, RUS double down to press it closer to ZERO.
Diplomatic rolls and US support cause a massive swing of fortune. What will this mean going forward?
DIP UKR 2 pts! but move Pol while Russ move GR and Fr to Neutral. Negating the value!
INFO – no effects of note.
Mil max effort – 8: 2 Para and 1 irregular +2 Infantry to Donets and Dniper
Russians realize spending PR too early will bite them, so they must jump to war phase or combat turn.
Speaking of resolve, look at ‘dem dice… The UKR fight tough.
Kyiv falls..or one would think. Fighting irregulars proves to be challenging. Kiev stands for another turn!
The first combat turn
Russ=9 Ukr =9
Donetska symbolic attack…Russ get 4 hits Ukr 3. PR Russ drops to 5 UKR up to 20. An amazing swing on the PR pts table! WOW!
Russian para neutralize irregulars in Kyiv using Asymmetrical warfare [combat can be conduct at a variety of intensity levels]. Odessa -1 PR each as both sides are involved in Kinetic combat effort. But PR drops to ZERO for Russians!!
A quick scan of the board sees that Soviets miss played their efforts and would earn few VP’s to mitigate the run away PR train of the UKR. The challenge for the Russ player…ohh. Yeah by the way I know I say Soviet…. I know the “Soviet Union” went a way…. But to me Russia and Soviet Union are the same thing. Deal with it. So the challenge for the Russkies is to manage that PR level as the UKR will suck that point level down. Getting into a fighting war might be best sooner rather than later, but as always there is a cost to doing that in PR pts. A very interesting and challenging game system.