Sunday, June 7, 2009

Saturday Game and Attack

On Saturday the 'diminished' gang got together to play a board game as any D&D campaign group would have been depleted at least two major players. After we gathered and discussed, two options were available to play, the latest version of Axis and Allies or Attack!. Rob felt that if we played A&A without Steve that it may spell his doom and given the fact that I hadn't played Attack! and always looking for a new game, we opted for Attack! instead. I am glad we did!

Attack! is a military centric board game set on a map of the world. Each player randomly selects the 'type' of government they will play. These are broad general groups like Communism, Democracy, Monarchy, and Fascism. You don't play 'England' or 'Germany' but the technology is set at around 1941. This is one of the things I really liked is that Attack! doesn't 'force' you into playing the same old historically setting. You get to set up your own country on the map and aren't saddled with the traditional boundaries.

Additionally, I really liked the Political Action Cards as they add a 'covert' or soft war type feel to the game with out over burdening it with extra complexity. This also came through with the 'Political Blitz' which also allows for expansion of your sphere of influence sans combat.

There are three combat systems in the game, one of my minor beefs. They include land, naval and strategic bombing. Land combat uses a special set of D6 that has 1 blank, 1 infantry, 1 tank, 1 artillery, and 2 planes on its facing. You roll one die for each model fighting (two for the tank) and if a picture shows up of a unit you are fighting with, it kills an enemy. Attacker goes first and casualties are removed immediately. Pretty easy. Naval combat uses a set of cards that allows you to draw a battle line then ships fight ship to ship across battle lines simultaneously, rolling 2D6 and the high winning. We only did one of these and it seemed odd, why bother changing the system. Why not just add a second set of dice based on the naval units? Strategic Bombing is even more abstract, using all your planes, regardless of location, and allocating them to fighter/bomber roles while the defender picks how many are going to be fighters from his available pool. For this combat you roll 1 D6 and every '6' is a hit and the defender goes first. I think a standardized combat format would have helped vice having to always go to the book for something new.

For the game we played it took us about 3 or so hours to set up and finish. We did a bit of rules on the fly reading as it hadn't been played by those at the table in sometime. I set up in China and surrounding areas and got Monarchy, Mark was a communist in Germany, Eric had Communist in South America and Africa, Kyle had democracy eastern US and North Africa, and Rob ran the Fascist in NZ, Alaska, Saudi Arabia and New Guinea. Each government type has a different victory condition. Mine was to have control of land zones outside my capitals content. I did spend some time taking over a good chunk of southern Asia (3:45 mark) and then started to head towards the Australian islands. I bottled up 1/2 of Rob's countries using some fleets that gave me some good leeway to maneuver while using assassination to slow down his actions. (Sneaky!) Kyle had a tough time with Democratic... You actually loose VP for attacking neutrals, the only power that does so, which makes it really hard to expand unless you use the political cards/blitz functions or directly attack other players and its bonus VP comes from neutrals that are also democracy. By end game we only had about 8 or 9 neutrals left on the board. Communism, like Democracy gets bonuses from neutrals that are also Communist. Fascist bonuses come from attacking a country with at least three troop types and winning.

I ended up winning, mostly because of the extra countries I took in the pacific island/Australia area. Monarchy has the easiest road to tow for extra VP in my mind. Interested to see how the long time players strategize the Democracy.

In sort:
  • Not locked in historical sets, but scenarios exist to do so if you like
  • Several build options
  • Political/Covert play
  • Land combat quick and easy
  • Huge Board
  • Clearly defined end game that doesn't include killing every thing on the board
  • Two too many combat systems that could be streamlined
  • Board only has one map. Eagle actually paid to print on the back of the huge board, why not make up your own globe for a different game play?
  • Technology to hard to get... We only had one in our game
  • Might needs some balancing with the VP conditions
Overall I give Attack! a solid 13 out of 15 specialty Attack! D6. :)


No comments: