Sunday, 12 July 2009

Update and first games review: 'War on Terror'

I haven't posted for a while, mainly because I've been skimming the news (busy week because of new job) and not seen anything too interesting.

Anyway I'm going to try and instigate some interesting blog material which will be to do with the various games I've been playing. I have plans to play some D&D at some point soon so that will be going up here but today I'm going to write about 'War on terror' (WoT).

I can't review it fully as I've only played a 1v1 game and it requires a few more people for the full affect but what I have seen so far is very good, very very good in fact.

At its most basic level WoT is a souped up version of risk with elements of settlers of catan; from the risk side comes the global domination/war aspect and from the catan side comes the resource production/settlement building side. The basics are fairly simple: each go you can build or upgrade a certain number of settlements as determined by the action dice, these can only be built in countries adjoining your existing settlements. Once you've built all you want to you roll two dice and gather oil money from the countries with the corresponding number (these are hidden until you build upon that country). As well the building there are two decks of cards (empire and terrorist) and the terrorist counters. The decks allow you to attack other countries or terrorist groups as well as other actions (free builds etc). The terrorist groups can be bought by anyone and placed anywhere on the board but once they're on there they are usable by anyone, this means that your opponent can move them into your countries or anywhere else. There is one final rule which is that a random player will be made the 'evil empire' this allows you to draw cards from both empire and terrorist stacks giving you a greater range of options but also giving others a bonus for attacking you.

These three mechanics work very well together, the building is simple and quick, attacks can be resolved by rolling two dice (unlike risk's hundreds) and once someone goes out they can control the terrorists.

In terms of actual gameplay WoT is highly intuitive, fast paced and funny; a game can take quiet a while but no one gets left out because they lost early which is very nice. The balance of it makes the terrorists very powerful and a dangerous group to deploy. It will take at least a few goes to get the balance of cash right as you need to spend money to make money as well as defend or weaken oponents with terrorists keeping money in reserver is also vital as some of the terrorist cards demand that you pay a hefty ransom.

The other advantage that I have found with this game is because of how you start (only 4 teritories each for a 2 player game) you don't have to start in direct competition with someone (like risk) and that global position is not quiet as crippling as in risk (ie starting in Australia doesn't mean instant win for you).

Outside of gameplay the game is very nicely designed, colourful with lots of nice touches it is wonderful just to look through the cards and around the board for the tons of little comic touches.

Generally this is a game for a pretty much anyone it is a long game and it does require a bit of thought to play BUT that being said it is excellent fun and doesn't penalise people who go out early.

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