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17 Jul 2008

War on Terror in 'Top Ten Historical Board Games of 2007'

Gallery snapshot. View gallery of War on Terror in 'Top Ten Historical Board Games of 2007'

The prestigious Historical Jury of the Origins Awards in the USA have placed our humble game in the top ten "2007 Historical Board Games" for the 34th Annual Origins Awards.

It sounds pretty impressive and we're dead chuffed to get so far, especially as we were up against some big, well-established names. Sadly we didn't make the final short list of 6, so we're between 7 and 10. We also have to admit that we don't know how many entrants there were. Maybe just 7. In which case, we effectively came last. So we're not cracking open that champagne bottle yet (that's being saved for the day the real war on terror ends... by which time it will probably be nothing more than syrupy vinegar).

As a bonus, we were given a glowing review by Frank Chadwick, co-founder of Game Designers' Workshop and a legendary and prolific historical game designer. Here's the review in its entirety.

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I had a chance to play The War on Terror boardgame with friends over the weekend and it is an enormously entertaining game. Very dark, but also very funny.

High Points

Excellent rules layout, easy to read and understand, about five minutes of explanation gets you playing. The core mechanics are quite simple but the cards provide lots of variety in terms of game activity, and most of the rules are actually on the cards themselves. This is nothing earth-shattering -- lots of games do this -- but it is very well executed here.

An enormously entertaining game. Very dark, but also very funny. Good component quality. Lots of cartoons on the map, rules and, especially, the game cards, which establish the tone of the game very firmly. Plastic pieces are functional and professionally produced. And there are a couple of wonderful extras, which add to the fun and the sense of completeness, specifically the Axis of Evil spinner (a plastic spinner built into the playing board) and "The Balaklava of Evil," which is a genuine knit black balaclava (whole-head mask) with "EVIL" in big red letters on the forehead. If the Axis of Evil spinner points to your color, you become the current Evil Empire and are required (by the rules) to wear the Balaklava of Evil until that honor passes to someone else.

A lot of multi-player games end up with a sense of cascading advantage for one player. War on Terror does not, which I really appreciated. I never felt as if someone was so far ahead that they couldn't be overtaken. Also, players are never completely out of the game. Everyone starts with an Empire, but as empires are bankrupted or their territories taken over, the players become the terrorist player. There is only one terrorist faction, but all eliminated players jointly play it, and it is possible to win as the terrorists. My initial impression was that it was difficult to win as the terrorist faction and that play options for them were limited, but that was due largely to us playing some rules wrong. It's actually tough to win as a straight faction against the terrorists, which is an interesting wrinkle -- the "consolation bracket" has teeth.

Finally, and probably running through all of the above, the game has a great sense of dark humor.

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War on Terror: The Boardgame, Review by Frank Chadwick Origins Awards Historical Jury www.originsgames.com/aagad.

 

Posted by TerrorBull Games on 17 July 2008 - 0 comments

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