Antonio Catalán's game of the Spanish Civil War- España 1936, is a case in point.
Dust off and dust-up
|Waiting in the wings|
And so, on Wednesday night Liam and I sat down to have a go. Five hours later, I'd won the game, but España 1936 had lost the vote of confidence.
Components: a source of satisfaction
|Colourful & functional,|
but hardly inspired
|History, events &|
|Well laid out with|
some neat touches
|Sizes & shapes: smart|
graphic design makes
checking stacks easier
- The smallest are the strength 1 and 2 troops.
- In the middle are the strength 3 and 5 troops.
- The largest are the tanks and aircraft.
Gameplay: familiar features competently executed
The system in general
|A handy player aid|
|FAI (Iberian Anarchist|
- Controlling/contesting boxes: only one side's troops/both sides' troops in a box. Winning the game is based on controlling objective cities (the yellow boxes): there are several instant victory conditions, the most important of which is probably controlling 7 objective cities. If there is no instant win, the Republican wins if they have combat units in three objective cities at the end of turn 10.
- Movement, with the limitations imposed by moving into or out of controlled or contested boxes. Only troops and tanks actually move (aircraft and generals are freely placed); movement is essentially unlimited although units must stop moving if they enter/leave an enemy controlled/contested box.
- Stacking limits: 4 troops units/box (generals, tanks and aircraft don't count towards stacking limits).
- Supply, with the attendant effects on movement and combat: a box is in supply if there is an adjacent friendly controlled/contested box; troops out of supply can neither move nor attack.
- Combat, naturally enough.
Combat in particular
|George Orwell in Spain|
(the tallest man in shot)
|Setting up a battle|
|Resolving the first|
round of battle
(NB. There is a small mistake in the above picture: the Me-109 has a combat strength of 2, and would roll 2d6 in the air combat. Ah well.)
- If you want to win a battle in one round you need both an equal or greater number of units and significantly more combat strength and/or support bonuses.
- Even then, battles between relatively equal forces- large or small, will commonly end up as indecisive.
Caveats: the disappointments
Minor: the rulebook
|"¡A las Barricadas!"?|
- The rules for friendly and contested boxes (which are crucial to movement, supply, and winning) appear under 'Components'; ie. before the rules of play as such.
- The supply rules appear directly under the 'Sequence of Play'; just like the rules for friendly and contested boxes, these would benefit from appearing in a list of definitions of key terms at the top of the rules of play.
Middling: the mapboard and the battles
And the battles? As interesting as they are, the larger battles can also be relatively time-consuming. It's open to question whether the added fun factor the battles bring can really compensate for the game's other shortcomings.
Major: the 'meh' factor? It's all in the cards
|Anarchist women soldiers|
|They shall not pass!|