Blue vs. Gray Card Game

edited September 2015 in Board Game Reviews
Mark Franke and I recently got together to play a game of Blue vs Gray, a card game that simulates the American Civil War on a strategic level. This game used the "Enigma" system, in which cards, in addition to driving all the action, serves as the game map and as units. There is a small sheet of tiny little marker for a few game purposes included and a pair of 6 sided dice. There are about 75 cards for each side. They are nicely decorated with period photographs and unit insignia as well as historical background for each card.

Mark took the CSA and I the Union. With the burden of attack on me, attack I did. Poorly. And repeatedly. About a third of the way through the game, I realized that I was not making any progress. So I tried a slightly different tack (attacking in the East and West concurrently) and I started to have some success in bleeding the CSA down. But it was clear I was not going to win the game before the 1864 election card came out. so with the prospect of an early victory pretty well out the window, I considered the victory conditions of going the full war. Not very promising either. So we decided to discuss the game and Mark wondered why I didn't attack Richmond directly and simultaneously go after points along the Mississippi river. I could offer no better explanation than "I am a bad Lincoln".

The BvG game is a brilliant design. It is a card game, with the limitations that you have with limits on draws per turn and the effect/trump the effect that certain cards have. It is also a fairly deep strategy game forcing players to think strategically as in the historical conflict. I wish there were more games using this system. Richard Berg's Medieval uses a bit of this system although it is pretty much a different system and as much as I like that one, it is not up to the level that BvG is.

This is a perfect choice for a deep historical gaming experience when time and space are limited. A lot of history and interesting game mechanics are designed into the game.
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