Wednesday, February 3, 2010

GMT's Washington's War Shipping Soon

The oldest, and my still-favorite of the "card driven game" (CDG) genre is We the People, a long out of print strategic American Revolutionary War game from Avalon Hill. For me, it was just at the right level of complexity, with games that could be finished in about 3 hours or so. I've played some other CDG such as Wilderness War, but I found them too long and too involved.

Now, at long last, GMT is about to ship Washington's War, an update of We the People by its designer, Mark Herman. I pre-ordered it, and they just emailed me that my credit card was being charged and that the game would soon ship.

I'm going to make a confession that is going to surprise and/or annoy some people: while GMT is a very well respected game company, I tend to dislike their games because I find them over-long and over-complex. Even Commands & Colors: Ancients, one of my favorite games, wasn't a game I liked right away; I found that so many special rules had been tacked onto the Commands & Colors system that it was tough to get used to. After quite a few plays and doing some very thorough summary charts, I found I really liked the game, but it certainly wasn't love at first sight. So, in general, I tend to view GMT games with suspicion.

So, when I heard that We the People was being reworked, my first thought was "ugh, they're probably going to stick all sorts of chrome on the game so that it becomes a long ponderous thing". But, I was re-assured by the designer's remarks:

"Washington’s War is not just a re-tread of my earlier design on the same subject, but a true re-design that is keeping the basic feel while simplifying and speeding up what was already a fast paced game."

Ooo, "simplifying" and "speeding up". Two phrases that the Casual Wargamer wants to hear. I hate to use the overly-used phrase "elegant" used in Euro games, but "elegant" is what we want.

1 comment:

  1. I am excited for it as well. I used to view GMT games with the same watchful eye, but the more I get into wargames the more I start appreciating how good some of the longer games are. I am stretched for time as much as anybody, but I have found it well worth it to really delve into a game that might be 8-10 hours. Sure I might only be able to do that a couple times a year, but considering all other forms of entertainment out there $40-50 for 10-20 hours of entertainment is a pretty good return IMO.

    I think wargame companies are starting to realize though like you there are many people out there that want a wargame to only take 2-3 hours and they are trying to get games to fit that time scale. However I think it is more difficult to put a time frame on a particular piece of history, b/c really most wargames are trying to be a consim first. Eurogames aren't really trying to recreate history in the same sense to it is a bit easier to be abstract about things like time and scale without all of the history buffs getting up in arms about it.

    That said, what is your take on Hannibal? I find it easy to get done withing 3 hours.

    I am enjoying the blog btw.