I Survived Quartermaster General

WHAT A QUARTERMASTER GENERAL DOES NOT DO: look at explosions.

Behold him, standing there, bewildered and exhausted, wild eyes casting about. He whispers something, though you cannot hear until you lean in close. Closer, he beckons. Then, from between cracked lips: I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

What could it mean? Possibly that this poor dude had to spend a weekend playing Quartermaster General.

WHAT A QUARTERMASTER GENERAL DOES: plots global domination.

“Looks like Risk,” says the doofus.

The Pros/Cons List

Even though I don’t spend many words on the other folks I play games with, Space-Biff! wouldn’t have a single opinionated paragraph to its name without them. Not only do they play the games, from the fascinating to the very worst, but they also give me their constant and valuable input, and my reviews are often an amalgamation of their perspectives and my own. If I absolutely hated a game but the others loved it, I reevaluate. If I’m alone in my love of something, I try to see through their critical lens. Between the dozen of us, or however many there are that week, I like to think we get a decent range of feelings on each game.

After playing Quartermaster General a few times, we went through the same routine that concludes every new game. I pulled out an index card and my handy purple pen (befitting my royalty), and asked what they thought. There were six of us, one for each of Quartermaster General’s six WW2 nations because we’d discovered the weekend prior that this is one game that doesn’t really work with fewer than a full complement. In response, three said the game was “okay,” and the others said they were completely unimpressed.

We go through this a lot. “Okay” is a non-answer, so I recast the question with a more informative bent: Would you play it again?

No, they all said. Nah. Never.

Which isn’t to say we didn’t find a handful of pros to put on our list. “It’s fast,” someone said. True enough! Our longest play of Quartermaster General had probably taken around 70 minutes. “It’s simple.” Yes indeedy! All you do on your turn is play a card, resolve it, check to make sure your people are in supply, and score points. It’s incredibly simple, even if scoring on every single turn means that it’s actually really dang hard to keep accurate score, just because you’ll forget to do it now and then. But yes: simple. “It’s a team game, that was nice,” said our friend who loves team games, probably because he’s terrified of being alone for the rest of his life.

The list became more strained after that. “It reflects WW2,” someone noted. “The Axis gets an early start and then the Allies catch up because of the US’s huge economy.” Someone else pointed out that it has a slightly interesting hand management thing going on.

Alright, yes. Let’s talk about that.

WHAT AN ITALIAN QUARTERMASTER GENERAL DOES NOT DO: break out of the Balkans.

Good game, Italy.

Hand Management Is a Lot Like Army Management, So I’m Told By Reliable Sources

As I said above, a turn in Quartermaster General mostly consists of playing a single card. There are eight types, and none of them are particularly tricky to figure out. Again, it’s a simple game.

The first couple let you build armies or navies, placing them adjacent to a place you already control. You also have to consider supply, but this is also pretty straightforward, usually meaning that you have to trace a line back to one of the map’s many supply territories that you already control. If your supply gets cut, you have a turn to replace the army or navy that was removed, lest all your troops “out of supply” be taken off the map. This means your land and sea battle cards, both of which immediately remove an adjacent enemy army or navy, can cause some real damage if played at the right moment. If you’re paranoid about that, most nations can make use of response cards, which you deploy face-down on your turn to be revealed later, usually to block attacks.

There are a few other cards to consider. Event cards can have any of a number of effects, status cards stick around for persistent bonuses, and economic warfare revolves around draining your opponents’ decks, since once they run out, you’re stuck with whatever you have left in your hand.

In theory, you’re closely managing a combination of these cards, picking the most opportune time to play each and sometimes discarding extras to draw a wider range of stuff into your hand, though of course this will drain your deck.

Unfortunately, this is where the game’s biggest problems come to the forefront, as some cards are conditional (letting you battle in a specific pair of territories, for instance, which requires you have armies ready to fight near there) but others are not (like the USSR card that just kicks Japan out of China, possibly costing them even more troops if it severs their supply — with no cost in discarded cards, nearby armies, nothing). Which is to say, some cards are always useful or very powerful while others are about as much use as a K-ration in a swanky restaurant.

WHAT A QUARTERMASTER GENERAL DOES: builds all armies and navies and orders them and enthrones kings in Yugoslavia too apparently.

Each type of card.

“Not All Cards Are Created Equal,” said Hitler

The variable strength of your cards can often determine the entire course of the game. For example, in two of our matches, Italy was blocked early on when the UK managed to set up a fleet in the Mediterranean before Italy had drawn a build navy card or a useful event, meaning Italy spent two entire games stuck in its corner of the world with very little to do other than piddle around and discard cards until it got exactly the right combination that would let them get rid of the British fleet, hope the British wouldn’t instantly rebuild it this time, and then finally break out with their own fleet. Could they have done anything on land? Sure, though they lacked the armies or the right cards to do much other than offer the most marginal support as Germany battled the USSR.

Or there’s the time that the US player drew all his status cards, meant to represent the slow gearing up of the US economy, at the end of the game. Or when the USSR smashed Germany because Germany didn’t draw any land battle cards. Or when the Japanese ran out of cards because they desperately needed to combat the encroaching US navy and simply didn’t have the right cards at hand. Or when the Axis lost the entire game thanks to a cheap-shot event card that removed an army on the other side of the world and therefore cost them their supply lines.

Where most hand management games at least give you some degree of control over the proceedings, Quartermaster General gleefully undoes the most carefully laid plans with the most whimsical whims of your draw deck.

WHAT AN AMERICAN QUARTERMASTER GENERAL DOES: hello Australian ladies how're you doin'.

Those American bums just conquered Australia.

Look, I can see this being an okay game, though it feels too severely whittled down in its current state to be much more than a curiosity. You must have six people to play or it stinks, and you must have a good idea of what can appear out of all six of the nation decks or it stinks, and you must have the patience to play a few matches to learn those things before you can focus on preempting the game’s stupidest one-shot cards and strategies. Or it stinks.

Even then, once you get over that tedious learning-hump, you’ve still got this bare-bones game underneath, with such severely limited options that you’ll probably be bored of the game by the time you’ve really learned its nuances. Like the other members of my group, I just can’t conceive of playing it enough to reach that point.

One last thing. Worrying about some supply lines doesn’t make you a quartermaster general, so if you want to play a game about logistics, might I recommend the sublime 1944: Race to the Rhine instead?

Posted on September 29, 2014, in Board Game and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Woo! A negative review! Embrace the dark side!

  2. Aw, I liked it. Granted, that’s probably because I never win at your place due to my fear of winning (and abject gaming incompetence). Maybe the rarity of the experience made it fun. I can see why it’s not that great a game.

  3. I think the bare-bones comment was more accurate than the simple comment. In some cases I think the imbalance came from there not being enough complexity to come up with a non-swingy counter strategy. Event cards seemed overpowered, and response cards were severely underpowered, and there wasn’t enough decision room to play around that. You are right. It was barely okay, if it even lived up to that.

  4. Some legitimate criticisms, but me thinks ye protest too much. Did you all read/understand the rules?? If Italy had an army back home at its supply base, then it could easily have played one of its naval battle cards at any point to destroy the British fleet. Also, The Innocent’s criticism about the back and forth of armies killing each captures exactly what was happening in the African and Russian campaigns. Finally, given all the status and response cards Germany and Japan get that can easily thwart would-be attackers I don’t really see the situations you described happening unless the players don’t understand the game mechanics or forget to shuffle the decks between games. I’ve played the game by myself twice and found it just as enjoyable solitary as with the 6 player games, and am a huge board gamer and fan of WW II.

    • Well, okay. A few things-

      1. We always shuffle our decks and read the rules. You know what they say about assumptions.

      2. Italy can only attack that fleet if it has a card to do so. Regardless of how you shuffle the cards, this game’s absurd reliance on luck will inevitably screw someone over. Sounds to me like your first two games were lucky in that there was some semblance of balance.

    • As someone who’s been subjected to this game on two separate occasions, I’m in complete agreement with Dan. It’s crap. And no amount of nerd-cred penis-measuring or asking whether anyone who disagrees with you has read the rules will change that. Neither will playing it solo, which I cannot fathom being “just as enjoyable” unless you’re the sort who loves playing both sides in chess, at which point I can assure you, you’re the odd duck out in this situation.

      Sorry to be brusque, but given your condescending non-argument, I’ll forgive myself.

    • Hi Anonymous, thanks for weighing in. It’s certainly possible that I was too harsh with Quartermaster General, though I really don’t think so. Here’s my take:

      First of all, yes, we played the rules correctly. There aren’t that many.

      Leaving event cards aside (because they don’t help in this case), the Italy deck has two Sea Battle and three Build Navy cards. The UK has five Sea Battle and five Build Navy cards. While the UK was an overseas empire and might have more use of naval cards, its immediate need is decreased significantly by the fact that it starts on its home island and nowhere else. Not only does this disparity in naval cards mean the UK is more likely to draw those cards early, it also means they’re more likely to win any back-and-forth struggle in the Mediterranean. If they win there, Italy is bottled up.

      It might be true to its WW2 source material to make Italy kind of wimpy compared to the big kids on the playground, just as it might be realistic to simulate a bunch of back-and-forth battles in the most dull way imaginable, but neither of those things necessarily make for a fun gameplay experience. There’s more tension in a back-and-forth game of Risk than is found in any of Quartermaster General’s battles, and there are games out there better than either.

      Lastly, I can assure you, we played all card types and shuffled our decks (frankly, that was something of an ungenerous assumption on your part). In multiple cases, it was impossible to lay long-term plans, which rendered the hand management stuff completely useless thanks to events that caused sweeping changes without any investment other than a played card. Naturally, this degree of randomness is going to be a matter of taste, and some members of my group liked it more than others — but, as I said, even the ones who liked it weren’t interested in playing it again, because even though we’re also WW2 fans, there are just so many other, better games out there.

  5. Hi Innocent,

    Sorry, it was not my intention to be ungenerous. I’m no expert, having only played the game only a few times but I just didn’t understand how you could describe Italy’s position as being so hopeless with a BR fleet in the Med: As per your description, “Italy was blocked early on when the UK managed to set up a fleet in the Mediterranean before Italy had drawn a build navy card or a useful event, meaning Italy spent two entire games stuck in its corner of the world with very little to do other than piddle around and discard cards until it got exactly the right combination that would let them get rid of the British fleet, hope the British wouldn’t instantly rebuild it this time, and then finally break out with their own fleet.”

    OK, England does have more naval builds (5), something my group likes because it models history and is fun. England also doesn’t start out controlling even its own North Sea. So it take two naval cards for England to even affect the Med bottleneck. That leaves them with only 3 more fleet builds. And this is “assuming” the Germans don’t eliminate these cards with their multiple economic warfare cards.

    But once deployed, Germany and Italy have 4 naval battle cards that can sink that fleet–since Germany can also sink the fleet from W Europe. Better yet, if Germany sinks the BR North Sea fleet instead, the Brits Med fleet is out of supply and eliminated. This means England needs to use 2 of its last 3 precious naval builds to put it back there. But this would mean foregoing BR’s other strategic naval goals, like using its naval builds to defend Australia, or combat Japan’s moves in SE Asia, or rebuilding the fleet guarding England the Germans always sink in my games. So to give your readers the impression that an unlucky draw dooms Italy to oblivion is simply not true and makes this critic wonder how well you’ve analyzed the game system.

    There is certainly a good deal of luck in the game and I suppose if that bothers you or you prefer exercising complete control over your armies/games or do not want any random events interfering with your well-laid master strategy then this game is not for you. Having studied the war, like many of you, I find there was a good deal of mistakes and lucky breaks for both sides over the course of the conflict and so I’m ok with games that factor in at least some of that luck/foolishness.

    Yes there’s other games out there, I have an entire library filled with WW II boardgames–most of which are very Risk-like and involve armies battling back and forth for hours, but very few of them attempt to do something as unique as QM, and few if any, that 6 people–including non-gamers–can play in 90-120 minutes.

    The game has its share of weaknesses, but for a first installment, I found it a breath of fresh air for the right group of players. And I’m hoping it will be improved upon, perhaps like Twilight Struggle, with an early and late set of cards.

    That’s great if your group tried it and doesn’t care for it, but this unique game deserved a more critical, balanced review. One only has to point to your last paragraphs:

    “Look, I can see this being an okay game, though it feels too severely whittled down in its current state to be much more than a curiosity. You must have six people to play or it stinks, and you must have a good idea of what can appear out of all six of the nation decks or it stinks, and you must have the patience to play a few matches to learn those things before you can focus on preempting the game’s stupidest one-shot cards and strategies. Or it stinks.

    Even then, once you get over that tedious learning-hump, you’ve still got this bare-bones game underneath, with such severely limited options that you’ll probably be bored of the game by the time you’ve really learned its nuances. Like the other members of my group, I just can’t conceive of playing it enough to reach that point. One last thing. Worrying about some supply lines doesn’t make you a quartermaster general . . .”

    Frankly, based on your review, I think your games might have played better had you paid more attention to those supply lines. . . With that said I look forward to reading your future reviews and apologize if I offended anyone in your gaming group. I wish you all well and hope you find greater enjoyment in your future games.

    • Meh, I was going to write a big long thing, but then I realized that you just aren’t going to quit, no matter how many times you’ll have to make forced appeals to “realism” in an unrealistic game or spin endless what-if scenarios just to deny the fact that the teams are unbalanced.

      So I’ll just say this: you’re making a ton of assumptions, both about the game and about the people here. In reality, Dan is one of the more honest people writing about board games because he tells it how he sees it rather than just being a marketing writer, which is the role that over 90% of board game writers occupy. When you ask for a “critical, balanced” review, what you’re really asking for is a review that conforms to your experiences with Quartermaster General (which are very limited by your own admission). And that’s the same as asking for Dan to write falsehoods, not more clearly.

      Also, considering your statement that you’re not trying to be offensive, ending on another accusation that people played the game wrong is sort of self-defeating, you know?

    • You are right in a way. Our games could have gone a lot better with more experience and strategy (and deck knowledge), but that takes time to develop with six people. If we aren’t having fun playing it, whats the point in reaching that mastery? If its only fun with that mastery until then we’d suffer because of subpar, luck filled swingy games. And with six people we’d all reach that mastery at separate times. Inevitably the player with the least skill would end up miserable if we didn’t balance for player skill. For a large group game that is less than ideal.

    • Hi Anonymous, thanks for your well-considered points. And to everyone else, let’s try to keep it civil, eh? The guy just has a different take on things — and here’s mine:

      1. I’m not saying Italy’s position is hopeless. I’m saying it’s weaker, and often less interesting. I’ve played multiple games where Italy was hobbled very early on. Yes, we were playing by the right rules, and yes, we were paying attention to our supply lines.

      2. I gave examples other than the Italy one, all of which dealt with the way the cards can completely determine the course of a nation’s success.

      3. When I talk about luck, I value many of the same things you mention above. However, luck is a fine line: too little and the game veers towards the deterministic (which I don’t like), too much and there’s no room for coherent long-term planning (which I also don’t like). I’m of the mind that Quartermaster General falls into that latter category, to detrimental effect.

      4. “…to give your readers the impression that an unlucky draw dooms Italy to oblivion is simply not true and makes this critic wonder how well you’ve analyzed the game system.” Fair enough. Since I think it’s pretty self-evident that unlucky draws can doom any nation to defeat and frustration, I might wonder if you’re experiencing post-purchase rationalization. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you just really like the game. =)

      5. I feel my review was rather critical and balanced, and from the sound of things, plenty of people have had similar feelings. But hey, you can’t win them all. I don’t expect every review to appeal to every person.

      6. While some of the people on here are members of my gaming group, certainly not all are. Just to be clear.

      7. Thanks for putting so much thought into your responses! I really do appreciate you taking the time to engage in this discussion with us.

  6. My friends and I were subjected to this game last night, and I wholeheartedly agree with this review concerning QM’s deficiencies. The most damning line is here: “Where most hand management games at least give you some degree of control over the proceedings, Quartermaster General gleefully undoes the most carefully laid plans with the most whimsical whims of your draw deck.”

    Another glaring deficiency in the game is the way it proscribes strategies rather than encourages strategies. For example, Italy (my country last night) has a status card that encourages it to take the Balkans for +1 v.p. or else the card is useless. Also, Italy has an event card that allows it to place free armies in the Ukraine and/or Russia and another event card that allows it to place free armies in the Middle East and Africa. The Italian player must try to take advantage of these card or else risks filling his or her hand with cards that won’t ever help. This is not an emergent strategy in the game, but one that is proscribed by the very specific cards found in the Italian deck. I could have ignored those cards and instead made a beeline for the U.K., but that isn’t what my deck is telling me to do. Even Italy’s status that allows it to discard 3 cards to take discarded land battles isn’t helpful if I decide not to listen to my deck because of the size of the deck. Italy will run out of cards faster than everyone else if it makes use of this card more than twice (Italy starts with 30, setup requires you to discard 3, so Italy has 27 cards to begin the game–using that power 2x will put Italy at 21 cards, which may or may be enough given whatever is drawn later).

    And that leads to my next complaint with the game: the different sized decks. Why does the game begin with players drawing 10 and discarding 3? What is the value in that especially when some players don’t have as many cards as others? Using different sized decks may be cute to highlight an historical nuance in the disparate strengths of the countries involved, but this is a game, and the deck size is going to dictate the discard risks that I take. As the Italian player, I rarely saw discarding as a viable option because I wasn’t sure if I would have enough cards until the end whereas no one else at the table had that problem. This is bad especially since it wasn’t as if Italy had incredible discard powers, which made the risk worth taking.

    Finally, if I had to describe this game in one word it would be ‘imbalanced’. The imbalance seemed to favor the Allies based on the types of cards I saw played (US had a bunch of cards that let the UK jump turn order, the Soviets had a card that let them remain in supply no matter what, and the UK had too many cards that let is boot armies from certain locations). I am not bothered by losing a game, but I am bothered by a game that sets me up to lose–it feels like a waste of my time. I’m sure there are specific card combinations that would have allowed the Axis players to steam roll the Allies, but the Allies had plenty of open ended counters that the Axis did not. The game seemed design to play out the war as it happened in history, which is not why I play a WW2 game.

    Your review is well done.

  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one to not like this game. It was the most unfun, and fustrating game I have ever played. I agree with the assesment made in this review.

    I will go one better, worst game I have ever played.

  8. I played the game once, last night, as the UK with 6 other players. Personally, I enjoyed it – the way the game unfolded was fairly true to history, but it felt like an organic development of the game rather than something being forced by the mechanics.

    It probably helped that, despite the Axis having a 20+ point lead for much of the game, and being ahead until the final turn, where the US’s 9 points gave the Allies a 3-point victory.

    I can see the only-one-card-per-turn thing being a problem for people – even at the end, I was still having to remind myself that I’d have to wait another turn before a status that replaced my card play would actually do anything – and I’m not sure how well I managed the optional discarding to find more immediately useful cards – unlike Germany which ran out of useful cards before the end of the game, I was still active right through, though I did run my deck dry before the end.

    It’s perfectly possible that there are flaws that will become apparent with further play, but it’s definitely one I’d be willing to play again to find out.

  9. Little surprised by the pile-on here – I think you’ve probably just misunderstood what the game is trying to do. You seem worried about card imbalances and sequencing issues, but that’s the whole point of the game, and the core design element around which this whole genre of games is built (it is distantly but clearly related to Knizia’s brilliant Blue Moon). Some cards are general, some are situational, the situational cards are strong in their specific situations, but not generally useful. You have to decide whether to dig through your precious deck to try to get at the key cards you don’t have or to fish for combos, versus using the cards you do have as efficiently as possible and playing for time. You have to balance your own needs against the needs of the team, and whether to risk an accumulating point deficit and try to come back later, or take some risks to catch up. These are abstract choices, but certainly not totally ahistorical.

    If you appreciate it for what it is, and not what you want it to be, this is a very nice, elegant, and interestingly historical design. If it took 2 hours to play it would probably be tedious, but at the 60-90 minutes it actually takes it’s got a lot to recommend it.

    • Agree. This is one of our groups favorite games. All opinions of course but here goes mine. Note that we play games such as the recent Chruchill, Triumph and Tragedy and Race to the Rhine.

      1. The discard 3 of 10 at the start of the game is one of the most interesting decisions we have seen in a long time in gaming. Seriously this is how we feel. It allows you to pick a direction, make a big sacrifice. It can payoff or be the deathblow. I was Japan last game, discarded all my seabattles at the start to invade the Middle East and battle ukraine for a bunch of turns, but UK rolled in from Austrailia to blow me up. For example. Meanwhile Italy had army and navies everywhere and scored 13 points on 1 turn.

      2. Luck of the card draw makes it interesting. And play 1 card on your turn to battle or build is incredibly refreshing. It makes any games that resolve combat by dice roles just seem overdone….

      3. Not that you need it, but for more strategy play with the varient rule that is always in effect.”Discard 4 to use any basic battle/build from your deck.”

      4. The deck size represents your country’s economy. Think about how cool and thematic and elegant and no need for resource allocation or production rates or factories or any of that nonsense. Its just smart.

      5. The game is not railroaded. In your example, if Italy goes against its deck and goes to knockout UK and is successful they can deny UK for the rest of the game to score points! This can be worth more than the status cards Italy is ignoring

      6. No two games we have played are the same. Period.

      7. My group has fun and we love it. We talk to each other we collaborate while the other team hears us collaborating. It by light years beats games that are “deeply strategic” because you can interact with others, and share the stories, and the epic responses and supply line destructions and the card that turned the war.

      All opinions of course.

  10. Yeah the discard cards to play a basic is a MUST, if you don’t use this, then the game is very lucky.

    Discarding cards to churn through your deck is a really important luck mitigation strategy too, many weak German players don’t understand you must get to you strong status cards asap, even if it means to discard good stuff. There are four of these, and one let’s you search for any so should have a good chance of finding. The game falls really flat when Germany doesn’t get off the block for the Axis which is a flaw since this is likely for the first game.

    I agree if you don’t enjoy the game you shouldn’t have to play again, but with regard to luck itself, this is one where three newbs will never realistically beat three experienced players.

  11. I can honestly say that I don’t agree with the OP on any points. This review was well written, but just so completely off the mark that I am astonished. The only thing he got right, I hope, is the opinions of the players, but anything related to the game, it’s mechanics, conclusions, etc is completely foreign to me. Several other posters have made most of the obvious mistakes clear, but still.

    In my opinion this is a brilliant game, on so many levels. It’s a completely new take on the war and no I don’t mean supply since it’s only a small part of the actual gameplay. But all the rest. The card play with consolidating moves like the build card’s or the battle cards’ interactions with the status cards and the the whole take on your deck being your total war economy. And the theme of reinforcing a front rather than building specific units. I almost wished the army and nayv tokens were just influence markers to get away from the standard “unit moves, unit shoots”-frame of mind. And when you have had your head in a vice with an empty hand to play with and everything you do cost VP, you really do see those economic warfare cards in a new light.

    I play this one on one and we sure as hell use the discard 4 for a basic build/battle card. And we only use the 30+ Point victory condition since it is a standard rule after the expansions and allies can’t win by just knocking off two capital cities. Without those rules I might see some of the points the OP is making – I’ll give him that. The games we have played have all been radically different but with a great feel of a realistic what-if scenario about the whole WWII, very close balance wise, challenging to say the least when you try to estimate the worth of different moves, the risk of counter moves and the chance of the opponent having just the right card, etc. (This do assume some knowledge of the cards of course).

    And the basic idea of build or battle is also very brilliant. It gives times for responses and makes the game fast moving and gives a slight Diplomacy feel to it. You can’t do much just one on one, you need support from an ally to divide your opponents attention. The simplicity of this basic mechanic also let you focus on the big picture and you can lock a front or a player down for a few rounds or fake that you can and force discards to keep up against bluffs. The possibilities are endless.

    The VP cards are just a suggested avenue to victory. The roads you don’t like or don’t have other support cards for, will be discarded and feed your other strategies for that particular game. The starting conditions will always be different and the same strategy will not work game after game. And the initial discard is great since you will almost always go through your whole deck if the game goes to turn 20, so those initial card discards really sets the frame for the whole game and the opponent can’t know what you did discard so he might still fear those non-existing cards.If he had know you discarded two Naval Battles he would never have kept a build navy, just in case or he would have discarded much more cards if he had known you were two economic victory cards short from the start.

    And the end of the war, when you run out of cards and really have to make the tough choices, sac cards to keep going and take the VP loss and make that last heroic effort or just take it laying down and hope your existing VP will carry you through. Sublime. It’s total war with all major countries on it’s knees and every move is torture in a good way. Our last game ended with all axis powers depleted on cards, the German still had a couple in his hand, the whole European theater was almost empty of units. Italy kept in supply from Australia and Japan defended Western Europe and the Mediterranean to keep Italy’s VP coming in.

    The last card played were an US economic warfare against Italy that would have sealed the deal, but Italy stopped it with it’s last resource – a respons card played very early and forgotten and the game ended in a draw. And yes I know there are rules for a draw when the points are equal, but we were happy with that result after an Epic game.

    This game has so much to offer and to me it seems like the OP played it, without some of the most important rules (not wrong just without the extra rules that are now standard parts of the game) with a group of players that ended up disliking that particular game experience and confused it with what the game can offer with some added group thinking.

    My advice is, give it a go again, take the time to get over that learning hump (it’s not as big as you think – especially with two player games with three times the cards seen) and you might find that your first impressions was seriously misrepresenting the game. And yes I even enjoyed my first playthrough, solo, to learn the rules of the game, so it’s not torture to get over that initial learning hump. Just let the theme carry you through for the first handfull of games and wait for the strategy challenge to come into play with more experienced players.

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