Saturday, January 03, 2009

ACW Solitaire - Review

I got this game from and it promised to be the entire American Civil War in less than an hour, solitaire!

The file downloaded as a single compressed zip file that contained two PDF files.

The first PDF contains the Rules and the Counters, The other PDF simply contains the MAP.

The rules are 10 pages long, well written and not overly complex. That said, you will no doubt get something wrong but like me, but probably get it all right second time around.

The counters that appear in the first PDF are simple outline type images on a solid colour background, either gray or blue. These represent ships, gunboats, indians, forts and infantry units. A few also represent the Generals. You can make all these up as single or double sided. The rules suggest that you might have to print a second set of these counters out, and I did in fact have to do this.

The second PDF file contains the map. This can be printed out on a single A4 sheet but I would rec' that you upscale it a little when printing. It shows as you might expect the United States, it's a point to point map with the various important cities linked by lines of communication. Each city is represented by a box in which you will be placing chits.

The map also contains a random placement chart, turn track, and the combat results table.

Overall I was quite happy with the components.

The play goes as follows each turn. Union Build phase, Union Move/Combat. Confederate build phase. Confederate Move/Combat. Finally, indian phase.

The union gets to build 5 things each turn. Movement overland is up to two locations, or 1 location into enemy territory, and can only be lead by General counters Movement by sea can go any distance.

Whenever the opposing forces come into contact a combat takes place. This is done with the roll of a single die with the odds and various other factors giving modifiers. the results of combat vary as you might expect from the attacker being defeated through to the opposite.

The Confederates get to build a limited number of things based on various rules. For instance loss of certain features on the map reduce their number of points. There are detailed rules controling how and where these reinforcements get placed.

Moving the gray forces also follows some specific rules.

The indian phase is for a few indian counters who basically wonder aimlessly through out the game.

The two sides have separate winning conditions, with the Confederates having a number of instant win conditions, which works very well, it keeps you on the defensive as you cant ever tell when and where the Gray forces will move.

With the Union forces getting more reinforcements each turn they will win provided the Confederates dont score one of their winning conditions. As you are playing the union forces the quality of your win will vary based on the number of turns it takes you to win, If you win within 11 turns, thats a Major Victory, 18 turns or more gets you a Poor Victory.

In summary : I found this to be good solitaire game that does what it says on the tin, I made it with cardboard counters and thin card (printable) board but I can easily see this doing well with upgraded components. A more detailed map and wooden blocks for generals would be a very nice first step and I might well get round to doing that.

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