Month: March 2011

The Art of “Card Driven Game” Design – Why Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage is the best CDG ever published

By Fred W. Manzo, Gary Andrews and Harvey Mossman

The cards in a CDG wargame are typically used to move armies, generate random events and produce some Fog-of-War. Now, while the Card Driven Game concept is generally considered to be one of the most important advances in boardgaming over the last 30 years, not all of the designs using this system are equally successful. The proposition of this article is that Card Driven Games create tense, well fought contests only when they follow 6 basic principles.

hannibal_rv1_fig1

They stress:

  • Elegance: Obviously, asking for elegant games is not the same as asking for simplistic games. Elegance is having a minimum number of simple rules produce a maximum number of intriguing options. One way Card Driven Games achieve this is by placing some of their rules on cards as alternatives so that they interact in various ways with the rest of the system depending on when and how their card is played.This approach has many advantages. First, it enhances the dramatic quality of a game as players become aware of unfolding stratagems only when the game proceeds. Second, if a particular card isn’t dealt, players do not have to spend time considering any special rule it contains. And third, it increases a game’s level of tension, as highly involved mechanisms either halt play while people argue about their finer points or everyone must memorize all their intricacies. THIS IS NOT FUN.Unfortunately, some do not see the CDG concept as a method of streamlining games but as a chance to increase their complexity through the extra resources such designs require. That is, while a non-CDG game might have, say, a total of 20 pages of rules on 20 pages of paper, we now are getting wargames cluttered with 23 pages of rules simply spread over 20 pages of paper, a few player’s aid sheets and 55 cards. In some ways, it’s an improvement but it doesn’t use a game’s assets to their fullest potential. Eloquence counts for something.
  • Depth: The primary job of event cards in a CDG is to create simultaneous dilemmas. For your opponent and for yourself. If one player has a particular card he might use it to gain X but if he utilizes it another way he might gain Y. Now, does he have that card? And if he does, how will he use it? And how badly will it affect you? And what can you do to counter it? Playing a CDG should be about making tough decisions regarding difficult problems and managing the consequences. Simply put, superior games contain high levels of uncertainty.Undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to do this is to have an event that is no more than a one-time exception to a standard rule. That is, to a good game designer every rule suggests a random event that cancels its effect. For example: in Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage most armies move 4 spaces but with the right card some move 6 (Forced March) and some move 2 (Bad Weather). This increases the Fog-of-War element in a game without noticeably increasing its rules overhead.Another way to create tense situations is to use a battle resolution system that gives some level of hope and fear to both players. In HRC this is done by using a separate card system that is famous for giving defenders some slim chance no matter what the odds.
  • Choice: If games are judged on how well they produce unexpected problems, then those that allow players the widest possible range of actions should succeed.There are at least 5 ways CDG can increase the number of choices available to players: 1) they can have a large event deck, 2) they can increase the number of ways each card may be used, 3) they can ensure each event is easily triggered, 4) they can differentiate cards, which produces more unique situations and 5) they can allow events to be linked into powerful combinations.

    A. Simply increasing the size of a random event deck in a CDG may seem the best way to increase a player’s options but things are not that straight-forward. First, extra cards are expensive to print and second, the more cards there are, the less likely it is that any particular card will appear in a game. For example: in Washington’s War, it is entirely possible for the Patriots to fight the American Revolution to a successful conclusion without ever having declared independence, as the “Declaration of Independence” event may not have appeared.

    B. A second way to increase the number of choices a player’s hand produces is to allow cards to be used in multiple ways, perhaps even having multiple events on each card. For example, The War of the Ring is famous for this very approach. However, some other games, such as The Hammer of the Scots and Athens and Sparta, go their own way by having, say, only 6 random events out of an event deck of 55 cards, with the other 49 cards being solely used to move troops. Admittedly, “single use” cards speed play, but they also limit a game’s re-play value as all you see time after time are the same events, merely in a different order: in your first game there is a storm and a while later an earthquake and in the endgame a plague, and in the next game the earthquake occurs first, then later the storm and finally the plague. There are no combinations. There are no “hooks.” If it’s not on the cards, it’s just not going to happen. While there are certain advantages to having single use cards and sporadic random events, there are also certain advantages to building a piano with only 12 keys. It’s just that, all other things being equal, games with a high percentage of “multiple options” cards provide players with richer opportunities.

    C. Another method CDG use to expand player’s choices is to see that every card can be easily triggered. Yet there are designers who, instead, prefer to narrow a player’s choice by limiting their ability to activate events. They defend this practice by insisting that “there were historical incidents that were awfully unlikely but they did happen. And as our game was limited to 55 cards, we had to make these events harder than normal to trigger, such as by having players also roll a 1 on a ten-sided die or by demanding the use of a precursor event.” But that’s the whole point. These designs typically have only so many cards, so why waste 2 of them on things you know won’t occur once in a dozen games? And even if the incident did take place in history why make it so hard to use in your game that it won’t show up anyway? But just as important, weren’t there other interesting events with a higher historical probability that were left out of your system due to space limitations? Why exclude them in order to waste time talking about things you know won’t occur?

    On the other side of this coin is the prerequisite problem this approach generates: the first card you need to play in these games usually is useless in itself but if you waste time activating it, it may allow you to generate another event on another card that you may, or may not get, a couple of hours from now. Boooring!

    So even if the use of a prerequisite card is thought necessary it should at least be given enough power to accomplish something on its own.

    D. Designers would also be wise to differentiate the effects of each card. For example, some designs have cards describing various battlefield events that all produce the same results. Why? It’s like playing poker with a deck that contains 16 aces.

    Of course, the easiest way to differentiate events in a wargame is to increase their historicity.

  • Historicity: should help a game evoke an era’s ambiance while allowing players to produce the widest possible range of strategies.So it’s no coincidence those games that limit their historicity also limit their player’s choices. Washington’s War, for example, neither mentions Hessian mercenaries nor covers political damage beyond the placement or removal of PC markers. Except for moving the French Alliance marker there are no particular political, morale or propaganda dimensions to military actions or failures. There is a card that mentions the Waxhaws Massacre, but Banastre – the Butcher – Tarleton’s actions simply produces the removal of one American CU or the generation of a + 2DRM in battle just like numerous other cards. And the publication of “Common Sense” results only in the placing of 3 PC markers. While this approach speeds play, it does so at the expense of depth.
  • Power: the best designed Card Driven Games should produce random events powerful enough to affect play. Because, if your actions aren’t going to threaten your opponent, why bother doing them? For some reason, over-reliance on historical accuracy perhaps or sheer pedantry, low wattage events infest more CDG designs then we can name. This again misuses a great gaming resource.But the secret to Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage (HRC) success is not these 5 rules, which it does follow, but a 6th:
  • Cascading: Exceptional Card Driven Games allow players to join events into ever more powerful combinations in order to advance specific strategies. In other words, their effects snowball. Let’s take a look at this most important principle in detail.

Cascading

Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage implements “Cascading” so seamlessly that the rules don’t even mention how players could enhance their position by linking events; it just flows from the system itself.

Consider the following example: You are playing HRC as the Roman Republic and have Longus as proconsul, with Flaminius and P. Scipio as Consuls. Lucky you! Your card events are Minor Campaign (which allows a full-strength army to move by sea), Messenger Intercepted (which gives you a card from your opponent’s hand), Diplomacy (which brings one city to your side), Senate Dismisses Proconsul (which allows you to pick a new proconsul), and the Numidian Ally event (which starts a revolt in Eastern Numidia).

What can you do?

hannibal_rv1_fig2_large (1)

Well, there are a number of interesting possibilities here. Simply reading the cards will give you some ideas, which is fine. But how likely are they to work? If you revolt Eastern Numidia first, the Carthage player may move Hanno to one of your new PC (political control) markers and your revolt fails. Then again, you could launch a campaign to invade Africa right off, but Carthage has 6 local allies plus Hanno plus the Carthage garrison while you have no safe haven if you lose the battle. Naturally you can plan on not losing but “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” You could use your diplomats to take control of an African port before you invade, but the Carthaginian player might respond by moving Hanno there, as his special ability is removing PC markers in the last space he enters. So once he stops at your port you are back to having no political influence in Africa.

Basically, Rome’s problem is that though some of its events might seem intrinsically more powerful than others, after they are played, it’s the Carthaginian’s turn and he can “unplay” them. For instance, when Rome revolts a typical province, Carthage normally responds by filling the political vacuum thus created with PC markers. And all that the Old Republic has accomplished is to have both sides use one of their cards to no discernable effect. But, on the other hand, if Carthage had no possibility of responding, critics would rightly call the game unbalanced. While problems of this kind often appear in “Igo – yugo” game systems, how well they are handled goes a long way in determining how long a game will remain popular.

In HRC, for instance, while both players are free to play events as they wish throughout a turn, whoever wins the secondary struggle to create an end-of-turn advantage could also produce a super-event.

To begin with, players maneuver to play the last card in a turn. That is, if they let their adversary go first, they go last. So if they give up the near term advantage of going first, they create a long term advantage of having a card in their corner that can be played without a response. Of course, this isn’t always possible. But it occurs. Second, unless it’s absolutely necessary good players do not use interrupt cards, as they affect their end-of-turn situation. Third, they don’t always respond to an opponent’s interrupt card with one of their own as that will cancel a “last card” in their favor. Fourth, they activate the Phillip V of Macedon event when it benefits them, as it forces Rome to lose a card the first time it’s played and Carthage to lose a card the second time it is played. And, fifth, whenever possible, they initiate the Messenger Intercepted event, which gives them 2 more end-of-turn cards.

So, what’s possible?

Well, if we planned our move from the beginning, we could have used the Senate Dismisses Proconsul card early to get Nero on board. Then if we were fortunate enough to produce, say, a 3 card end-of-turn advantage, we might use it to revolt Eastern Numidia by playing the Numidian Ally card, use our Diplomacy card to convert the port of Saldae to our side, which puts our new Roman African province in supply and with a third activation we could move Nero’s army to the African port of Icosium, in Western Numidia, and have him drop off a CU before using his special ability to move 3 more spaces inland to defend Eastern Numidia. With a fourth card, if we were lucky enough to have generated one, we could convert Icosium, which we just garrisoned. As this puts Western Numidia out of supply, Carthage loses a second province at the end of the turn. It takes luck, yes. And it’s risky, yes. But it’s do-able.

hannibal_rv1_fig3_large

Of course, we could play in a more conservative style and invade Spain (Hispania) instead, either in the far west province of Baetica or in the eastern province of Idubeda. And, obviously, there are many other card combinations that work fine during a turn but can potentially generate an end-of-turn avalanche if we saved them for such an occasion. For example, if we had the Epidemic card, Elephant Fright and Ally Deserts cards, it might pay to attack Hannibal himself. If we had Celtiberia Revolts, Spanish Allies Desert and a Campaign card it may suggest a move into Spain either during a turn or all at once at its end.

hannibal_rv1_fig4_large

The point is not which of these plans is best, the point is they are all possible and they all produce secondary problems for players to struggle over. And it’s exactly this depth-of-play that makes Hannibal Rome vs. Carthage the finest Card Driven Game ever published.

Cold War: Strategy – Event Card Advantages

Trying to Capitalize on Built-In Event Deck Biases in “Cold War”

Cold War Board Game


Overview

Victory Games’ Cold War board game has a lot of moving parts and allows a considerable amount of latitude in development of strategies. It’s one of those “if it’s not prohibited by the rules, then it’s allowed” kind of games. It provides card play, diplomacy between the players, and rewards for Vegas-type players who have a knack for card-counting. It’s a light game, in the sense that the rules are not complicated and can be learned in about 15 minutes, but it has enough depth to appeal to veteran war gamers. It has everything except dice. And I dont’ miss the dice at all.

This strategy article will focus on the “card-counting” aspect of the game and will demonstrate how knowledge of the Event Cards can give you an edge in this very competitive game.


Statistics

The basis of any successful card tracking system requires some statistics first. You must know what is available in the deck before you can manipulate that knowledge to your advantage. With that in mind, I present the following statistics below and provide some suggestions as to how this knowledge can be best put to use.

Most Event Cards have three sections of information on them:

  • Action Card – This top section tells us who will be able to draw new Action Cards.
  • Instant Income, No Income, Vital Region SP Increase – This middle section will either list Regions that provide “Instant Income” this turn, Regions that provide “No Income” this turn, or a Region that has it’s SP value permanently Increased from 4 to 6.
  • Power Vacuum – This bottom section lists a Region and one or more turn numbers. If the current turn matches any of those turn numbers, then a “Power Vacuum” occurs in the listed Region.

There are a total of 50 Event Cards, and we will be discussing 46 of them in this article (13 “Instant Income”, 13 “No Income” and 20 “Vital Region SP Increase”). The other four Event Cards are the Game Ends Cards, which we will not be discussing in this article.


Action Card

Some Event Cards contain only one Home Country name under “Action Card” and some contain two Home Country names. In total, each Home Country will appear 7 times solo, and 9 times in conjunction with other Home Countries. Each Home Country will be awarded an Action Card draw exactly 16 times.

The only advantages are those you create during the Action Phases when you can expel opposing Diplomats from your Home Country, and assassinate their Agents, thus limiting their ability to draw Action Cards. But there are no advantages inherent in the Event Cards.

Advantaged Player: None


Vital Region SP Increase

Cold War board game

When a Region appears under “Vital Region SP Increase” on one of the Game Turns specified, and currently contains a Vital Region marker, it is upgraded from its “4” side to its “6” side, making it worth 6 SPs to the associated Home Country player each turn. Each Card that contains a “Vital Region SP Increase” will list one Region and two Game Turns. If the current Game Turn matches one of the Turns on the card, the increase will take place. The following table lists every possible Vital Region along with the turns on which it could potentially be increased.

Vital Region Turn Turn
Afghanistan 5 6
Argentina 3 8
Australia 4 6
Congo 4 7
East Africa 3 5
Egypt 2 6
Horn of Africa 2 7
India 1 5
Indonesia 4 9
Israel 3 6
Japan 4 7
Korea 4 6
Scandanavia 7 8
Southeast Asia 2 5
Southwest Asia 4 7
Taiwan 6 7
Turkey 4 5
West Africa 5 6
West Indies 3 6
Yugoslavia 6 8
There is no Region appearing more than once, so there’s no advantage for any player there. On any given turn, no one card is more likely to be chosen than any other card. So, we can’t find an edge there either.

However, this table does tells us that Game Turn 6 is the most likely Turn for a Vital Region SP Increase to occur. And, of the 9 Regions that may experience a Vital Region SP Increase on turn 6, four of them are North American vital regions (two are Chinese, two are Western European, and only one is a Soviet vital region).

So the North American player can possibly gain some advantage by being prepared with properly placed Factories or, better yet, Economic Control markers in his vital regions.

Vital Region SP Increases only occur on Turns 1 through 9, so after turn 9 you no longer need to consider them.

Advantaged Player: North America

Instant Income

Cold War Board Game

Event Cards that show “Instant Income” in the middle section will list two Regions that deliver immediate income exactly as in the Joint Economic Growth Turn. Every Region, except the Middle East appears at least once for Instant Income.

There are two Regions that appear twice: East Africa and Turkey.

East Africa is a potential Vital Region for the Soviet Union and Turkey is a potential Vital Region for Western Europe, so acquiring Economic Control in these Regions can be quite lucrative for those players, if they happen to be selected as Vital Regions (and even more so if selected for Vital Region SP Increase).

If neither Turkey nor East Africa are selected as Vital Regions, then the double Instant Income advantage passes to whichever player has a Factory or Economic Control there, although they will not benefit nearly as much as if it was a Vital Region.

Advantaged Player(s): Soviet Union, Western Europe


No Income

Cold War Board Game

Event Cards that show “No Income” in the middle section will list two Regions that have income suspended for the current Game Turn. Every Region, except the Middle East, East Africa and Turkey appears at least once for No Income.

When looked at in conjunction with the “Instant Income” analysis, above, East Africa and Turkey become very interesting Regions indeed!

As stated above, East Africa and Turkey are potential Vital Regions for the Soviet Union and Western Europe, respectively. Should they be selected as Vital Regions, the Soviet or European players must insure that Economic Control is established as quickly as possible in those Regions. They have double the chance of producing “Instant Income” and no chance at all of suffering “No Income”!

Looked at from the other players’ point of view, a legitimate strategy for them would be to make sure that East Africa and Turkey are NOT selected as Vital Regions (recall that, at the start of the game, each of the players get to select the other players’ Vital Regions).

Advantaged Player(s): Soviet Union, Western Europe

Power Vacuum

Cold War Board Game

Depending on circumstances in the affected Region, the Power Vacuum can be a cost effective means of assuming Political Control of the Region. Every Event Card draw (with the exception of the four Game Turn Ends cards) brings with it the possibility of a Power Vacuum occurring. Power Vacuums can occur throughout the game, from Game Turns 2 to 12 so it’s an “all game long” concern. The table below lists every Region along with the number of Event Cards which show a Power Vacuum for that Region, and the range of Game Turns for which the Power Vacuum could be in effect.

For example, an Afghanistan Power Vacuum appears on 2 of the 46 Event Cards, and covers Turns 2 – 4 and 7 – 12 (i.e. in this case, one card shows “Turn 2, 3, 4” and the other card shows “Turn 7 or later”)

Region # of Cards Effective Turns
Middle East 6 2 – 12
Korea 4 2, 4 – 12
Afghanistan 2 2 – 4, 7 – 12
East Africa 2 2, 4, 6, 7 – 12
India 2 2, 4, 7 – 12
Taiwan 2 3 – 5, 8 – 12
West Indies 2 4, 5, 7 – 12
Brazil 2 3, 5, 8 – 12
Israel 2 4, 7, 8 – 12
Central America 2 4, 7, 9 – 12
Congo 2 5, 6, 9 – 12
Scandanavia 2 4, 5, 9 – 12
South Africa 2 3, 4, 7, 8
Yugoslavia 2 3 – 5, 7
Southeast Asia 1 6 – 12
Turkey 1 6 – 12
Andean Nations 1 2, 4, 6
Argentina 1 4 – 6
Australia 1 3, 5, 7
Egypt 1 3 – 5
Horn of Africa 1 3, 5, 8
Indonesia 1 5 – 7
Japan 1 2, 5, 8
Southwest Asia 1 3, 6, 8
West Africa 1 4 – 6
Philippines 1 5, 6
Venezuela 0

I don’t think anyone will be surprised to find that Cold War considers the Middle East Region most susceptible to Power Vacuums…by a wide margin.

But it is surprising to find that Venezuela is so stable, there’s no opportunity for Power Vacuums! I’m guessing that this was a production oversight. I mean, even Japan is susceptible to Power Vacuums on turns 3, 5 and 8. But it’s not on the Event Cards so we play as if Venezuela is Power Vacuum-Proof.

The next most likely Region for Power Vacuums is Korea, which could potentially be designated as a Vital Region for the North American players. Knowing that it is so susceptible to Power Vacuums, the other players can insure that Korea is designated a “Vital Region” at the start of the game, and then keep Korea packed with as many of their control markers as possible in anticipation of the likely Power Vacuum.

After Korea, the next three most likely Regions for Power Vacuums (Afghanistan, East Africa, and India), are all potential Vital Regions for the Soviet Union. Sounds like a disadvantage for the Soviet Union.

China’s first concern for a likely Power Vacuum in one of it’s possible Vital Regions is Taiwan, which appears 6th on the list, and Western Europe does not have to worry until Scandanavia, which is 12th on the list.

I would have to say that the Soviet Union is the most DIS-advantaged player for Power Vacuums, but Western Europe is probably the most advantaged.

Advantaged Player(s): Western Europe, China


Summary

Being aware of all the statistics presented in this article, and keeping track (to the best of your ability) of Event Cards which have already been played or, more importantly, have not yet been played, can give a Cold War board game player a real advantage. Based on the (very loose) analysis of the “Advantaged Players” listed in each category above, I will go on the record to predicting that the Western European player has a slim advantage overall. Although if the North American player can capitalize fully on the “Vital Region SP Increase” advantage, or the Soviet can score big with the “Instant Income/No Income” combo advantage, the game could drift in their favor. All things considered, I see the China player as having the roughest time. These are my predictions and I’m sticking to them until such time as someone’s else’s statistics prove me wrong.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the Event Card Deck may be subject to reshuffling at various points throughout the game… which kind of makes the card-counting a bit more difficult, but not impossible :-). On the other hand, the reshuffling can actually amplify some of the advantages (imagine “Instant Income” for East Africa appearing four times instead of only two?)

Card-counting and nebulous player advantages aside, Cold War is a really fun game to play, and most gamers that I’ve played it with have enjoyed it as well. It’s definitely worth a trip to eBay to find a copy for yourself.

Cold War: Errata

Unofficial Errata for “Cold War” by Victory Games


Rules Booklet

Vital Region SP Increase
Correction: Page 3 – Right-hand column – “(page 6, Joint Economic Growth Turn)” should read “(page 5, Joint Economic Growth Turn)”.


Summary Sheet

Destabilization – “Number in Deck: 4” should say “Number in Deck: 6”.

Mole – “Number in Deck: 12 (4 affecting each player)” should say “Number in Deck: 12 (3 affecting each player)”.

Master Spy – “Opposed By: Mole” should say “Opposed By: N/A (Cannot be opposed)“.
Note: There’s an errata list on Grognard.com that says it’s from the “Victory Insider” and claims that a Mole Card should be able to defeat a Master Spy, refuting the last paragraph at the bottom of page 1 of the Summary Sheet. I don’t think that’s correct. The Master Spy costs 10 SP to play, thus making it the single most expensive item in the entire game (“a superlative intelligence effort”). There’s no way that should be made null and void by a measly “Mole”.


Event Cards

Vital Region SP Increases – The cards specifying Vital Region SP Increase for Venezuela and Central America should be changed to Korea and West Africa, respectively. (Venezuela and Central are not on the list of potential Vital Regions)


Other

Q: Can you establish Alliance, gain Economic Control, then degrade the Alliance and still retain Economic Control?

A: Yes. An Alliance is a prerequisite for establishing Economic Control, but there is no requirement that you must maintain the Alliance. Note that the same applies to Military Presence units except that if there is no “supporting” marker (Faction, Alliance, Political Control, or Military Control) in the Region, you must pay a maintenance cost of 5 SP each turn it is “unsupported”.

Cold War: House Rules

House Rules for Victory Games Cold War

  • Degrading Political Alliance – The rules are unclear about this, so the question arose as to whether or not you may, after establishing an Alliance and gaining Economic Control, then degrade the Alliance and still retain Economic Control. This is an important issue since the number of political markers (Faction, Alliance and Political Control) are limited by design. Using this technique would free up an Alliance marker for use elsewhere while still maintaining Economic Control. Our house rule allows this, because the game rules state that you must have an Alliance (or better) to establish Economic Control, but it does not say anywhere that you must maintain that Alliance in order to keep the Economic Control intact.
  • Continue reading “Cold War: House Rules”

A New Variant for GMT’s “Battle Line” Card Game

Battle Line – Ancient Battles

By Christopher Salander

Originally published on http://www.grognard.com – Republished here with permission of Chris Salander

Battle Line Card Game - Title Graphic


Overview

I was attracted to the Battle Line card game from GMT Games by the attractive box art and pictures of ancient warriors from the Greek-Persian-Macedonian era illustrated on the cards. However, I was very disappointed to discover that the game mechanics rely almost exclusively on the color and number of the cards and essentially ignore the history that I thought they represented.
Continue reading “A New Variant for GMT’s “Battle Line” Card Game”

Vietnam: 1965-1975 Record Sheets (Player Aids)

Player Aids for Victory Games “Vietnam: 1965-1975” Board Game


NLF, US and ARVN Record Sheets

These record sheets provide a more organized bookkeeping space than the one that originally shipped with the game. They’re not perfect, but they are considerably better at helping you track the sometimes complex bookkeeping tasks. These sheets do not hold as much information as the old sheets (the old sheets can hold 3 years worth of U.S. and ARVN records, whereas the new sheets can only fit a single year’s data, and have separate sheets for U.S. and ARVN), but they are much better organized and will save a lot of time and aggravation.


U.S. Record Sheet

Get the U.S. Record Sheet in PDF format.

  • More Detail – Has a place for everything and everything in its place. Has detailed slots for tracking modifications during the Politics Phase (i.e. Coups, Inherent Airmobile Losses, Every 3rd Capital Captured, etc.) rather than just a single slot for “Politics Phase” modifications.
  • Item Costs – The U.S. Commitment point cost for all items is built right into the chart, so no more going back and forth between the Unit Cost Chart and the Record Sheet.

SVN (ARVN) Record Sheet

Get the SVN Record Sheet in PDF format.

  • Detailed Morale Adjustment Modifiers – Itemizes morale adjustments, such as “Bombing of the North” and “Current Population Controlled” rather than just a single slot for “Politics Phase” modifications.
  • Draft Level and Supply Pool Tracking – Much better tracking of the Draft Level and Supply Pool, allowing you to more easily see when your Draft Level is approaching the “Controlled Population” level.
  • Supply/Personnel Costs – Provides slots for both Supply and Personnel costs for new ARVN unit purchases. The old sheet simply had a single slot for “Supply Used” and a separate slot for “SVN Population Used”, which made it very difficult to validate the two totals. The new layout provides a much better audit trail for validation purposes.

NLF Record Sheet

Get the NLF Record Sheet in PDF format.

  • Detailed Trail Supply/Sea Supply Tracking – Totally itemizes the commitment, loss, allocation and expenditure of both Trail and Sea Supply.
  • Viet Cong Recruitment Management – Probably the biggest benefit of any of the new Record sheets, is the ability to itemize the Supply and Personnel recruitment expenditures in an organized fashion. The VC Recruitment process is probably the most complicated bookkeeping task in the game and this new sheet helps streamline the process.
  • Supply/Personnel Costs – Provides slots for both Supply and Personnel costs for new ARVN unit purchases. The old sheet simply had a single slot for “Supply Used” and a separate slot for “SVN Population Used”, which made it very difficult to validate the two totals. The new layout provides a much better audit trail for validation purposes.

The Tide at Sunrise: Naval Rules (Review)

Review of the Optional Naval Rules in “The Tide at Sunrise”

The Tide at Sunrise Naval Rules

The Tide at Sunrise, a recent board game release from Multiman Publishing covering the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, has quite a following among war gamers, myself included. In the standard rules, the entire Naval aspect of the war is totally abstracted out to a set of “Naval Combat Tables”. Japan has one Fleet and Russia has two Fleets: Port Arthur and Vladivostok. Using the Naval Combat Tables, the best case scenario for Japan would be total destruction of both Russian Fleets accompanied by an award of 7 Victory Points. The worst case scenario for Japan would be repeated loss of up to 50% of available Transport Points each turn, follow by a loss of 5 Victory Points if the Russian Port Arthur Fleet ultimately escapes to Vladivostok.
Continue reading “The Tide at Sunrise: Naval Rules (Review)”