I spent today at Consimworld playtesting Mark Simonitch‘s game design, The US Civil War, under the steady direction of the designer. It is slated to be published by GMT.
Rob Bottos and I were the Confederate forces. Jason Pipes and Kerry Anderson started off in charge of the Union. (Kerry dropped out because of a clash with the Strike Force One competition, and Dave Knoyle took over.)
We played the 1862 scenario. One player on each side took the Eastern Theater, and the other took the Western and Trans-Mississippi.
It’s a long time since I played the VG game, but the origins of Mark’s design were clear. However, it has been tweaked – improved as far as I am concerned – and was a whole lot of fun. It’s not too complex, with the difficulty being the decisions facing the players rather than the rules systems. (The play aid sheet is, indeed, one double sided sheet with the game tables.)
The map is a thing of beauty. We were using playtest counters cribbed from various sources so I cannot comment on what they might look like when the game is produced, but I do not expect Mark or GMT to let us gamers down.
Our game went down to the wire and almost the very last action, with the Confederates claiming the win. Rob gets the credit for pulling that off, as at the half way point I was sure we were going to be steamrollered into submission. He managed, by hook or by crook, to take Washington and hold on to it, despite several brutal assaults that took their toll, but not the city. Tense.
Mark does have one or two details to iron out – yes we did experience some mid game rules changes – and playtesting is ongoing. But really, it’s in a very good state (sic).
From my perspective, I like the fact this is not a card driven game. It is very playable solitaire, and based on feedback and the buzz here, it should sell very well. I’ll be buying it, for sure.