The Grizzled

edited December 2015 in Board Game Reviews
When Caroline and I were making our rounds through the Gencon convention hall, one of the games that caught my eye was a small card game called The Grizzled. What struck me was the artwork. The game uses stylish cartoonish art. The Grizzled is a cooperative card game. Two to five players can play. The theme is World War 1. This is not a wargame though in the traditional sense. The players represent individual soldiers in a trench in the Great War in 1915. Each player tries to survive the various turns (termed missions) and more importantly, help his fellow players to survive. As a cooperative game, the players all win or lose the game together. I recently got a copy second hand.

The game proceeds in turns. Each turn represents a mission. Each mission is led by the first player and this status rotates around the table as the game progresses. The leader determines the number of cards that each player is dealt. This number can increase as the intensity of the game increases. The goal of the game is play through the deck of cards to get to the Peace card at the bottom of the deck. So in turn each player plays a card from his hand. This will either be a condition card played to the center of the table or a personal trait card to be played on his character. The condition cards can represent things like weather or gas attacks or artillery barrages. The personal traits represent things like superstitions, fear of night or other things that can affect the player.

Basically, there can not be three of any particular threat in the center of the table. So, players have to choose carefully how they play their cards as they go around the table. If they only have cards that would potentially fail the mission, they can drop out of the round. The net effect of this is that this player's cards remain in the game and since the goal is to get through the cards, it extends the game.

I have only perused the components and the rules but I have not played the game as it really does not lend itself to solo play. It looks like it is a fairly engaging game with a strong narrative. The artwork is very nice and I learned that the artist was one of those killed in the attack on the Charley Hebdo magazine office some months ago. This game has gotten good reviews. I'm not convinced that a cooperative game is something the FWGN crew is ready for but this will certainly get played at Red Fern Place in the next few weeks.


  • This New Year's Eve, with Mom headed to bed early for her 3 AM shift at the Hospital tomorrow, Caroline and I sat down to the game table. We played the Grizzled first off. This is a cooperative game as described above. We set up a two player game and found the game play to be quite easy to get into. We played once and found it to be quite impossible to win. Then I reread the two player rules and discovered a small but vital error we made. So we set it up again and played the correct way. We ended up winning the game the second time.

    It is basically a game a deck management. There is a pile of cards to be dealt with. Only so many per round can be accommodated so there is a balance. As a group, you want to preserve each player's status while dealing with as many threat cards as possible. After each round, more threat cards are dealt into the pile depending on how well the players did the last round.

    The game was pretty fun, despite the theme of a squad of WW1 Frenchmen facing death at worst and increasing hardship at the best. Caroline enjoyed it, probably more than I did, although I did like it enough to give it another go round in the future. It would likely be a slightly different game with a group of 4 or 5.

    After The Grizzled, we played Masters Gallery, the updated and refined Modern Art. This was our first play of MG and we enjoyed it a lot. It is a nice quick game and the art work is very nice. This one is a keeper or sure. She beat me. Soundly.

    The nightcap was Carcassonne. This was Caroline's first time playing. We played the basic version (this is all I have although it came with the River mini expansion that we did not use). Caroline took to the game immediately, going for a city strategy. So the board was quickly dotted with small cities. I opted for monasteries, roads and fields. As the game progressed, I ended up catching her after her quick start, but then she made a few killer cities that I was too short on meeples to counter. She won going away. This is obviously another keeper for us.

    It was a pretty good night for gaming.

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