I noticed on Saturday on Brian Train’s blog [clicky] that he has released a new game “Chile ’73” [clicky] and it was available as a print and play edition from Wargames Vault for a very reasonable $8.99 (price I bought it at) [clicky] so I bought myself a copy and got printing.
Unfortunately I’ve had a viral infection in my ear that effected my balance, cognitive abilities and motor skills (much better now though) so I made a bit of a hash of assembling the components, not everything is straight or wrinke free. No worry I thought: if I like the game enough I’ll print the pages out again and have a better go at it.
I decided to run through a quick game on Monday evening with Paul [clicky] , as I know he is working on a coup/ Juntas inspired megagame at the moment, and see what we made of it. The game is based around the 1973 coup against President Allende, events which ultimately lead to Pinochet becoming President (spelt d- i- c- t- a- t- o- r in his case). Other than that I know nothing about the events that are being simulated so I can offer no opinion on how well the game works in simulating history.
Chile ’73 is a game of two halves: pre and post coup. Players, 2 or more no upper limit is specified, start by deciding which faction that they want to play and also which hidden agenda they want to follow, this matters only with 3 or more players as it determines who on the winning side claims overall victory. In the pre coup turns players get 3 actions try to amass forces on to their side by drawing randomly from a cup (your own faction is easier to recruit), moving units on the map or collecting/ using action chits. The action chits can be used to thwart opposing player actions, spy on them or saved for later.
This continues until one player (me in our playthrough) decides the time is right to launch a coup. If there was more than just the two of us players would have to declare which side to support but in a 2 player run through Paul defaulted to the loyalist position, also in a 2 player game they have a 50/ 50 chance of getting the remaining units onto their side. From now on the game is a fast playing urban combat game that continues until only on side remains in play. In our run through my coup attempt was succesful due to superior numbers but I paid a heavy price from Paul’s air attacks. The placement of units in the pre coup phase is important as it is possible to convert some civilian units to armed units if key areas are held. Likewise keeping hold of an aiport is vital if you want some air support (something I neglected to do). In the case of two or more players on the same victorious side a victory points table is consulted to see who can claim overall victory.
All of the mechanisms are simple enough but give you enough choices and create the right thematic atmosphere. There are a few negatives though, there are a few ommissions in the rule book, stacking limits for units in a city area aren’t defined clearly but it can be inferred from a rule on staelmate that it is three. A few of the counters don’t have the correct backs on the sheets provided but it isn’t too muchof a problem. Fortunately these can be rectified and updated files posted on wargames vault. I think that we didn’t get the most out of the game with only two players, with more the pre coup phase wouyld be more interesting as you would be trying to work out other players agendas through the employment of action chits, that combined with the greater uncertainty of possible allegiances would make for more tension. Likewise competing with a ‘team’ for overall victory would add an other level of play.
EDIT- Ignore my comments onthelack of stackinglimits- I was writing bollocks- my illness addled brain missed the rules even though they are clearly marked; as the rules designers has pointed out inthe comments below.
The question is will I be printing it out again. The answer is yes, my current thining is to blow the board up twice as big and the counters one and a half times the size to facilitate a multiplayer game. I’m looking forward to a game with at least 5 of us….