Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Korellia'44 review

I got this game for my birthday/Christmas present from the in-laws.  We played it two times over Christmas and a third time over new years.  In terms of game play each game seems to run about 30-40 min a turn with a full game on average lasting 14 turns.

"On Average" is easily calculated thanks to the type of game that this is.  You see unlike every other war game I've played with Wulfa's dad this one has a variable number of turns.  To the right bottom you see a small box with numbers and a marker.  This represents Stalin's patience.  Each game turn the Russian player rolls 1d6 and on a 3 or lower Stalin loses one point of patience.  At zero patience the game is over and you count victory points(The red hexes).

Without that randomness this game is a walk for the Russian player... you just meander forwards slowly and your troops out number and overwhelm the Finnish(who the entire game will have meager resources and be running around sniping at the Russians).

But with the patience system the intensity is kicked up.  You know you have to move your troops quickly, you know that each delay, each failed battle is you losing the war significantly....each successful boss roll is a reprieve, each failure devastating.

There are four ways to get more boss points(you start at 3).  Two consist of getting rid of troops, and two consist of capturing the first two finish defensive lines.

Since you start at 3 points then by about turn 6 if you haven't captured the first line it is game over.  If you did capture it then by turn 8 if you haven't captured the 2nd line the game is over.

And those two lines together only count up to 10 points... of the 20 you need.

The one game we completed, I was playing Russian and on turn ~18(we weren't counting) I had 94% of the map and just barely had 21 points.  And it wasn't a guaranteed victory...I still had two boss points but he still had reinforcements and might have taken some of the VP's back.

Absolutely love this game and recommend it to anyone at all who plays war games.

As a note it can easily be played as a 3 player game if you split the Russian army into two players who are playing as a team vs the Finns.  The game mechanics which limit interaction between the armies make this a simple adjustment.


Cap'n John said...

I've enjoyed the concept of war games like these. Unfortunately the overwhelming number of playing pieces makes them appear far more complicated to play than what they probably are.

Several years ago Saylah talked about the WoW Board Game on her blog, and that it took so long to set up and play that as much as she and her family really enjoyed WoW the MMO, they just didn't like the WoW Board Game. Wanting a copy of the WoW board game myself I made her an offer, she accepted, and a week or so after Paypalling her the money a HUGE parcel arrived in the post for me.

And Saylah was right. There were a lot of pieces and it took a long time to set up and play, especially if you're learning to play. It also takes up a lot of space. The very first game took my son and I 3 days to play (during which we had no dining room table ;) Despite that first experience we still like dragging it out and playing the occasional game, and now that we know what we're doing the games play a lot faster. (We just played this weekend, and one game took approx. 5 hours.)

But with multiple quests in play there's a lot of models on the board and our character sheets look complicated and there's cards scattered all over the place and there's a box lid full of plastic Mob models just itching to get out onto the board and I'm sure to the casual observer it looks just as ZOMG! O_O as your war game does.

Dammerung said...

Exactly. Once you start playing the games move pretty quickly and you get a rhythm going.

But that initial game is usually a bit much for the first time player.

Michael Chadwick said...

Is this game related to Memoir '44 at all?

Dammerung said...

They both have battles but.otherwise no.