Sunday, April 27, 2008

Games with the Neighbor

My neighbor Aaron and I have been trying to get together for games for quite some time, and this afternoon we finally connected.

I got out my new copy of A House Divided, and we set about recreating the American Civil War.

This game was first published in 1981, and it's still in print in the 3rd edition. This longevity speaks well for the game, and it didn't disappoint. Part of the reason for the long-standing popularity of the game is the various optional rules. In the basic game you've got an outstanding gateway wargame. Some good history, lots of theme, while keeping things very manageable. Adding in all the rules give a lot of chrome, more tactical depth, more strategic depth, and even better flavor; of course this comes at the expense of more complexity.

Aaron and I decided to play the 1862 scenario. The first year of the war both sides have to spend a lot of time building up their armies. By the 3rd year of the war the North is beginning to develop a large military edge, making the South play a strictly defensive game. In 1862 the military differential is real, but contained. The South has to play a strategic defense, which will include offensive thrusts. Both sides have attacking capability.

I took the North, and Aaron took the South. After going over the basic rules, we dove in. I had some good success West of the Appalachians, and I started racking up a big lead. The Confederacy made some gains in Tennessee, and the front stabilized, but I had a strong presence in Georgia and Louisiana.

Realizing his only chance for a victory lay around Washington, Aaron began focusing his moves in this area. He slipped around DC to Baltimore, and then we both said, Hmm, if the South takes NYC, Philly, and Scranton, that's a 20 pt swing...

That, together with a deep cavalry raid to pillage Chicago secured the decisive Southern victory.

On a strictly historical basis, this is a little silly. We both agreed, however, that if the south actually had achieved this then the history books would have been written a bit differently.

Next time we play, I plan to add a few of the advanced and optional rules. In particular, the supply rules would have dramatically limited both my invasion of Georgia and his invasion of New York. This would add an important element both from a game-play stand-point and a historical stand-point.

I am very pleased with this initial playing of AHD. It fits nicely into my sweet-spot: simple yet flavorful wargames w/ relatively short playing times.

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At 7:41 PM, April 27, 2008, Blogger Brian said...

Sounds nice. I had the Age of Napoleon game, but couldn't really wrap my head around the rules (simple as they were).

I'm ready to play a few of my wargameish stuff. I need to get another play of Hannibal in quickly, as well as some Combat Commander (Med or just new scenarios).

And Here I Stand again, too.

At 7:47 PM, April 27, 2008, Blogger Rob said...

Ahhh... wargames...

Sounds like fun. Will look into it.

At 7:49 PM, April 27, 2008, Blogger Rob said...

Brian, sign me up! I've been craving wargames for a while. There's actually going to be a 3 day weekend gaming thingie here at the end of May, and I've vowed to play just wargames (ok, mostly at least).

At 10:45 PM, April 27, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

Europe Engulfed...

At 8:07 AM, April 28, 2008, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

I own the Phalanx AHD. It's gorgeous, but without the supply rules, "silly" is the best way to describe it.

At 10:23 AM, April 28, 2008, Blogger Rob said...

Yes Ben, I'm REALLY looking forward to that.

At 6:36 PM, April 28, 2008, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I expect the supply rules to add a lot of depth to the game, but I think the silliness in our game came mostly from the "last turn" syndrome.

Re: EE

The above session took about 2.5 hrs, including learning the rules and feeding and changing Henry.

EE looks like a great game, but the play time is just not feasible for me right now.


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