Andean Abyss Board game.

Over the past few weeks I’ve managed to have three games of Andean Abyss, which I mentioned a few posts back.

Initial impressions were of a complicated game to that wasn’t subsequently borne out. Brian and I went through the very well written and comprehensive tutorial and we found a card driven game that is actually very easy to play. Like the best games its challenge is working out which strategy to employ in a session. It is easy to form a plan but different card driven events can offer a different path, and that’s before you try to counter the machinations of the other players. The game can be played with between 1 and 4 players, one player is always the Colombian government, the other player fores are the FARC (and other left wing guerrillas such as the ELM), the AUC (right wing paramilitaries) and the Drug Cartels (even though they are many in the country they are all lumped together for ease of play). Game play resolves around gaining forces and conducting operations against the other players, building bases, controlling areas and resources as well as general scheming; this is countered by the variable turn order sequence and any events that might be played from each turns card.. That is one thing I like about the game- there are no rules for diplomacy, players make make and break deals as they see fit.

The board as it is initially set up.

The board as it is initially set up.

Each side has its own set of victory conditions meaning it is possible that one or more sides might win at the same time, accordingly the Government player has the hardest job trying to thwart 3 other players simultaneously; they are manily playing for themselves….

Mid way through a game: discs are bases, cubes are police or army, cylinders are guerrillas.

Mid way through a game: discs are bases, cubes are police or army, cylinders are guerrillas.

In our three games the first went to a quick victory to the FARC, the second was to the AUC, and the third was a joint victory to the Government and the Cartels (some sort of deal with one playing off the other not to attack at a crucial juncture).

The board is divided up into areas and cities each of which can only hold 2 bases. There are also vital pipeline that run through the country, control of which is very important for the government.

The board is divided up into areas and cities each of which can only hold 2 bases. There are also vital pipeline that run through the country, control of which is very important for the government.

The game is amply supported with designer’s notes, strategy tips and an explanation of each event card in the game, plenty to give you enough info to play the game. I did however find an bibliography that got me scurrying off to Amazon for some more reading material. I can definitely recommend M. A. Murillo’s ‘Colombia and the United States: War Unrest and Destabilization’.

The game is the first in a planned series of COIN games, with Cuba and Afghanistan being lined up as pre orders already. Given the quality of this game I’ll be picking the others up in due course.

Cheers,

Pete.

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(Board) Gaming Latin America.

Recently, and quite accidentally, I’ve found myself drawn to the recent, i.e. post WW2, conflicts in Latin America. It came about from a innocuous comment on a yahoo group about the gaming potential in 1/600th of the 1995 Alto Cenepa War.Which was a border dispute between Peru and Ecuador, it was air to air combat between Mirages and Sukhois… who wouldn’t be intrigued?

This interest led to the purchase of these two books:

Latin American Fighters, I and M Guevara:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Latin-American-Fighters-History-Fighter/dp/0982553900/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353035321&sr=8-1

and

Latin American Mirages, S Rivas and JC Cicalesi:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Latin-American-Mirages-Mirage-Service/dp/0982553943/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353035338&sr=8-1

both are good, though considerably more expensive now then when I picked them up. They give a fine overview and just the kind of information I needed for my air war plans. At this point the air war side of things was put on hold as the rules I’d be using need playtesting and I was going to do that with the Vietnam era models I’d already got. However as these aren’t even painted let alone glued together the whole idea has taken a backseat.

When I was at Triples in Sheffield earlier this year helping out Bill at the UFM stand I got into a conversation with one of the exhibitors who was putting on a 10mm Latin American game (Honduras versus El Salvador if memory serves me correctly). He recommended this book which I’ve now got round to reading:

Latin America’s Wars: Vol 2: The Age of the Professional Soldier, RL Scheina.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Latin-Americas-Wars-Professional-Soldier/dp/1574884522/ref=sr_1_25?ie=UTF8&qid=1353034178&sr=8-25

It’s a very good read, although it is relatively brief. Given the amount of ground it covers both geographically and historically this is to be expected. As it jumps about from country to country you get a whistle stop tour round the countries’ conflict as thematically grouped, though all the different names and acronyms gets slightly confusing so you need to take your time to get it straight in your head.

In the past few years I’ve been playing a lot more board games than before (Brian’s influence no doubt, which is a good thing I hasten to add….). I looked around and found a still sealed copy of Central America dating from the 1980s (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2080/central-america) and it looks like a great game. Loads of counters, decent map and a lot of different scenarios to work through. Looks fairly heavy going but no worse than any other game of a similar vintage. I’ll report back more once I’ve read through it and actually had a game.

Following internet recommendations I found out about the game Andean Abyss (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/91080/andean-abyss); what especially drew me to it was that it can accomodate 1-4 players making it idea for one our Monday night games nights regardless of how many people turn up. It arrived through the post from IG UK (http://www.iguk.co.uk/) the other day. Very impressed with how it is put together, great rules booklets and components as yet I’ve still not read through it… again….

So where does this leave things? Once things have quietened down on the home front I’ll read through the 2 sets of rules, and a re read of the old osprey (http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/Central-American-Wars-1959%E2%80%9389_9780850459456). Then it will be time to get some games in. No doubt the air war side of things will come with time and I’ll resist the temptation to start skirmishing the Latin American conflicts in 20mm too… that said there is tons of potential there… raids… guerrila actions… coups….

Cheers,

Pete.