|Long Review:||For a small outlay (especially when compared to the many board games available), you can get all the bits neccessary to play the entire game. A few add-ons are available to increase the scope and flavour of the game, but they aren't required in order to play the game.|
The game contains all the bits you need- rules, a multi-part map which allows a variety of layouts, all the markers (players and guards are represented by cardboard figures in plastic bases) and a mission timer that needs to be assembled before play. So, what do you get for your money? Well, quite a lot, considering the contents of the box.
The rules come in a neat, staple-bound, soft-back A5 booklet, printed in colour. The booklet contains sections showing the contents of the box, how to assemble the various parts, and a well-illustrated section explaining the rules and how to use the various parts of the game. The next bit that literally "jumps out at you" is the map, printed on a thick, solid, sturdy cardboard in suitably dark colours. Each room is on a seperate card, which align well when laid out to form the stronghold in question. The map is laid out in a 3*3 grid to play, with a 10th piece representing the main entrance.
Then there is the timer- something that resembles an old-fashioned chess-timer in a way... Without this, the game would be impossible to play, as every turn and every action make the clock count down- failure means it counts down faster, success lets time pass more slowly. This is basically a thin card folder that holds a pair of card wheels with numbers printed on them. The German player is also supplied with an Alert State Indicator (another heavy piece of card) on which he places markers at certain events in the game.
You also get three profile cards for the three possible Allied players, as well as three weapon cards. In addition there are six equipment cards. These 12 cards allow you to quickly and easily see what your raider is capable of and what die scores he requires in order to perform his mission.
There are also 10 intelligence cards (basically these are the "information" you need to recover from the rooms in the stronghold.
The players and guards are represented by cardboard figures- a sneaking and an active one for each Allied agent, and 17 Germans. There are 25 corpse markers which double as alert markers, as well as 25 cardboard doors. All these counters are to be mounted in slots in plastic bases. The final set of items are 10 dice.
One of my (very) few gripes with the game is that the box is not very sturdy- something that may mean some lost bits eventually.
One player will always take on the role of the stronghold commander (with a seemingly endless supply of troops), while the other player/s are Allied agents infiltrating the stronghold to gain information vital to the war effort. The game offers a number of challenges. As the German player, you must deploy your sentries and have an officer patrolling the corridors investigating reports of activity. Once the threat is identified and you have spotted one (or more) of the raiders, you can raise the alarm and let the guards attack them. Time is on your side- let them waste as much as possible... A really good comparison (which I've seen used elsewhere) is to think of the computer game Wolfenstein, but on a table.
As the raiding Allies (you have the choice of British, American or Russian agents), you have the choice of two methods of getting the information: either assault (the fast and bloody route) or raiding (sneaking in and avoiding combat except for silent killing and hiding the bodies). No matter which route (or combination of routes) is chosen, the Allies have just 60 minutes before the stronghold is locked down...
Play is in alternate rounds, with the turn sequence being fixed- the Allies always go first, and the Germans always finish the turn. The agents begin in "raiding" mode, which means they sneak around and try to avoid being spotted. They can try to sneak up on the sentries and try to kill them and try to hide the bodies. Whenever an agent attempts any task, he has two choices- take a chance or take time. The important thing to remember is that the game is about time- if the allocated hour elapses, the guards will come to kill or capture the agents. Failure results in an alert marker being placed in play.
The German player begins with only one active figure. He moves around the board attempting to spot the raiders and collecting alert markers. At the end of each round he also deducts more time from the clock... The other Germans are sentries who are posted next to doors and can't move. Each projects a "listening zone" which extends a few squares in all directions around their position. The Allies must sneak through these zones to get into the rooms of the stronghold. If the alarm is raised, a number of guards are placed in unexplored rooms- and will begin to hunt the raiders. At this point the agents are converted to raiding mode- ready to fight their way to the conclusion of the mission.
The intelligence cards are split into sets of varying points. The Allied agents need to escape from the stronghold with a set number of points per player in order to win.
For those who prefer to do so, the cardboard figures can be replaced with metal ones (WarmAcre also do nice 28mm metal figures that fit in quite well with other companies' offerings). WarmAcre has even built the whole stronghold in 3-D for Demo purposes...
I've been fairly vocal on the WarmAcre forums, but only after the show at Bovington did I get a chance to really examine the game in detail (and play it). A few anecdotes about the game are definitely required here. At Bovington, Gav was demoing the game to a young girl and her father. Neither had played before, but within minutes she had the rules down, and was already planning a strategy of "kill every sentry in the place", and asking her dad to help her in this task. She was really lucky in getting enough points to complete the mission in the first few rooms, while her dad had a run of bad luck in that he just couldn't get going. She was egging him on to kill as many sentries as possible, while heading for some herself. When Gav explained that she could win the game by getting out now, she moved to the entrance, all the while asking "if she could kill some sentries". Great fun to watch, and it shows that, no matter what age the player, they can learn the rules quickly and enjoy the game while doing it.
The other story is more personal. My wife (who is as anti-wargaming as possible, considering it is my hobby) dislikes any form of violence. She had a look at the game, and decided to give it a bash while I was setting up a solo game. Even she enjoyed it, and has exacted a promise of more games from me.
To sum up: it's a great game. Everything you need in one box, and the option to add miniatures and expand with new add-on sets mean its loads of fun. The mechanics are simple, an because there are so many different ways of approaching the mission, there are an infinite number of ways to win and lose the game. The designers have really done a great job on the game, especially considering the lack of a big-time sponsor behind them.
Scale: 28mm metal miniatures, or card cut-outs.
Contents: Box with game parts.
|Sources:||Purchased for own collection.|
|Designer:||Wolfrik Galland and Gav Tyler.|
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