Moe's Game Table: WBC Recap - Part One
Last week I made the trek from Dallas, Texas to the World Boardgaming Championships in the appropriately named town of Champion, Pennsylvania. While there, I had the chance to check out several upcoming games and learn of updates to existing ones. I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and game with some fellow content creators and will be sharing their stuff in this piece as well, with their permission.
First off we live-streamed round of play from Blood and Fury, one of the two initial releases in the World at War 85 series coming from Lock ‘N Load Publishing. Series lead designer Keith Tracton gives a brief overview of how a turn in the game works.
Nate from The Gimpy Gamer did an excellent interview with Keith Tracton, providing better insight into what to expect in the upcoming World at War games.
I was able to sit with Mark Herman, alongside Grant and Alexander from The Player’s Aid, to play a prototype of Versailles 1919, the upcoming title from GMT Games now on P500. Mark is co-designing the title with Geoff Engelstein and Mark feels the game is around 90% complete. There’s still some massaging needed for the strategy cards, which are a big driver in the final scoring as my poor Italians found out when we got decidedly trounced. However, I was able to console myself by licking some tasty chocolate gelato while sadly licking my wounds in the corner. There’s always a silver lining.
Despite losing, I thoroughly enjoyed the game and found it to be a tense affair. The game puts players at the negotiating table during the drawing of the Treaty of Versailles, representing the United States, France, England and Italy. Player’s spend political influence, the currency in the game, to win issues and score points. Winning a current issue allows that player to choose the next issue brought to the table and at the same time alters the happiness levels of all of the countries involved. Issues can be settled by anyone, so you may want to settle another player’s issue to further your own agenda, or to win favor with an opponent if your group brings some table negotiations to the game.
Action cards can cause unrest to flare across regions of the world, putting those resolved issues once again up for grabs. This time things are settled through the use of military force and political influence, so issues are never fully put to bed once won at the table. Players must remain flexible and strong enough if they want to retain those points. At the same time, you must be mindful of your national goals and those of your opponents. This is where manipulation of and winning the issues, either at the table or through resolving unrest, becomes a key strategy.
There’s a lot going on here and I look forward to exploring it further in my next play. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of Mark’s other political games Churchill or Pericles, this is one that you won’t want to miss. Versailles 1919 is currently on P500.
For more information from Mark Herman himself, check out this excellent interview with Alexander from The Player’s Aid.
Next up, I shared a very brief look at Trial of Strength Second Edition from Lock ‘N Load Publishing. This is an update to the 1985 game by David O’Connor that will have a reorganized rule book, updated components, order of battle, and a sweet looking new large map. The current plan is to have this released later this year, around the holidays.
On Saturday I was able to spend some time with Ryan Heilman and Dave Shaw to check out their upcoming title Brave Little Belgium. I’d been interested in this one from the start because of the subject matter of the German invasion of Belgium. Making it even better was the exciting news that it was picked up for publication by Hollandspiele, who have a penchant for releasing unique titles.
What I found most compelling with BLB is the true David vs Goliath feel it brings to the table, while still providing a plausible course for Belgium to win the game. At first glance you’d expect the Belgians to be little more than a tiny speed bump against the onslaught of the German war machine, but the point-to-point movement and variable setup allow for a smart, defensively-minded player a solid chance to frustrate the German advance and make it a much more even contest than you’d expect. Definitely keep an eye out for this one which is due out in early 2019.
Stay tuned for part two of my recap coming later this week.
Note: A special thanks go out to Nate from The Gimpy Gamer, and Grant and Alexander from The Player’s Aid for allowing me to share some of their coverage of the convention alongside mine. Be sure to check out the rest of their excellent content by subscribing to both of their channels!