A few months ago, we began corresponding with Tony Hernandez on several topics and found out that he is quite the fan of Mark Herman’s Churchill from GMT Games, as are we! In case you didn’t know, Churchill is not necessarily a wargame but deals with the prospect of following the Big 3, consisting of Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, as they follow the progress of World War II “fighting” with each other over the allocation of resources on the various fronts, production issues as well as the establishment of puppet governments in the outlying territories for later control of the area, and begin the process of dividing up post war Europe to clean up the mess that the Nazi’s made. The game uses a central conference table mechanic where issues are added to the queue for discussion as the war progresses and players take turns using their hand of cards, which represent their political aides, confidants and generals, to exert influence on the issues to bring them to their side of the table. A really great tug of war style game that can get very nasty as you tend to see allies turn on one another and gang up on the front runner as the war progresses.
The game can be played with 3 players (for best results) or can be played solo with a player controlling one of the competing ideologies while a system of Bots controls the other two sides in the debate. Tony has created a system of numbers and values for each card that assists players in controlling the Bots throughout the game and provides a way to manage their actions to their best effect. We asked him to write us a quick summary of his system and he has done a great job of this in around 1,000 words. He also shot a video and has included a link to it in his commentary. With that being said, here is a look at Tony’s Churchill Card Value System (CCVS).
The Churchill Card Value System
I hate thinking.
And I know that you, dear reader, who’s a wargamer is thinking as you read these words, “But I love thinking!” Maybe you do, but I don’t. Not too much, anyway. That is why I came up with the Churchill Card Value System.
Why the Churchill Card Value System?
I’m mostly a solo gamer. Haven’t found some fellow wargaming buddies. Yet! But right now, all my plays come in the solo variation. As all of us wargamers hover over the million different titles we want to buy like vultures, one of the games I knew I had to have was Churchill from GMT Games. The theme and history and, well, “differentness” of it was too much to pass up.
I was not disappointed. When I first learned Churchill and started playing the game solo using the Bots as my opponents, I was having a blast but then something hit me. After a few plays, the turns were becoming a blur. My turn didn’t even feel like my turn anymore. At best, I was simply putting my turn off to take a break after doing all the mental work for the two Bots.
I came to the conclusion that there had to be a better way. There wasn’t one that I could find, so I created it.
What is “It”?
Simply put, the Churchill Card Value System (CCVS) is an even more streamlined system of having the Bots make the decisions for you. This is like a Bot on top of a Bot. But the good news is, instead of more work for you to do, there is now less work. All you need are some card sleeves and the ability to print one piece of paper. That’s it.
Every nation’s stack of staff cards is assigned two values ranging from 1 to 42. Makes sense since there are 21 cards in the three decks. When you are making decisions, instead of going through a decision tree, all you do is look at a card and use the one with the highest number on it. That’s it.
“But wait, Tony. I thought you said there are two values assigned to each card!”
Right you are, my astute wargamer you. You see, I like to think of each card in Churchill as having two values, one when it’s inactive and one when it’s active. I also refer to the values as an unmodified value and a modified value, respectively. Whatever you call it, each card in Churchill carries different weight on it depending if the attribute is in play or not. In fact, I couldn’t call these positive and negative attributes when activated because five cards actually get worse when the attribute is in play! Two US cards (Hopkins and Biddle), one USSR card (Budyonny), and two UK cards (Bevin and Atlee) make the card worse when their attributes kick in.
Let’s run through the four possible scenarios of the two cards above, Hopkins and King.
As we can see by the asterisks and shaded background on the stickers, Hopkins is one of the cards that gets worse when it’s active. Actually, it has not one but two things that make this card go bad when active!
First, if played on a Strategic Material and Roosevelt’s alive, you have to roll a D6 for the value. If Truman is president then the card’s value drops to 3! But, if Roosevelt is alive and you do play it on anything else outside of Strategic Material, it’s still a solid card at 5.
On the other side we have King who’s card is like most. It’s a boon when he or she can use their attribute. If that card gets played on Pacific Theater Leadership, that 1 card jumps to a 4. Wow!
Let’s look at it in even more simple terms since I’m a simpleton.
Below you’ll see each of the cards information. The first number is the staff card value that comes printed on the card. After the staff member’s name, inside parentheses is the inactive value followed by the active value.
5 – Hopkins (31/10)
1 – King (2/29)
If both cards are inactive:
• Then Hopkins 31 is more than King’s 2, with each card being worth their printed staff values.
If Hopkins is inactive and King is active:
• Then Hopkins is still the preferred card…just. The 31 is still more than King’s 29.
If King is inactive and Hopkins is active:
• Hopkins is still the preferred card…as Hopkins is 10 compared to King’s 2.
If both cards are active:
• This is where King leaps over Hopkins in value, his 29 is worth more than Hopkins’ 10.
And the reason there are gaps in value is, again, I needed to compare each card with every other card in both its active and inactive states. Not easy, I tell you what.
Is it perfect? No. Some cards are going to be worth more at different phases of the game. But now, instead of tediously pouring over charts, you literally just look at who has the higher number. It is so dumbed down, even I can understand it!
Pick the first two issues with the highest value for each Bot. Next.
Starting from the second highest card (I still listen to Herman’s direction of holding on to the strongest card for last and, thanks to this system, you now know which one it is) you play that card and go from highest value to lowest. Done.
You can literally just stack the cards in the order you’re going to play them if you want. I wouldn’t since the situation is so fluid but you could.
Before you know it, you’ll be on the other side of the board trying to destroy the Axis Powers!
And that’s it. If you have any questions, please leave them on the Geek source file located here:
You can also watch a video where I explain the CCVS here:
It’s a great video ‘cause Alexander and Grant make a brief cameo…heh, heh, heh.
And finally, is there another wargame you think that I can implement the CCVS to? I own but haven’t played Pericles yet and I am dying for Versailles like the rest of you!
I will be attending ConsimWorld Expo 2019 so if anyone wants to play some Churchill, you know I’m down!
Let me know how this works for you and a big thank you to Grant for inviting me to share my system with the readership of The Players’ Aid!
Thanks for your great look at this very interesting system Tony. As I said in the opening, we here at TPA love Churchill and have covered it on our blog on numerous instances. Alexander wrote a nice review a few years ago and I put together a strategy guide for playing as Comrade Stalin and the powerful yet gruff (Nyet!) Russians. I also wrote five Action Points covering different elements of the action to give you a good exposure to what to expect: Action Point 1, Action Point 2, Action Point 3, Action Point 4 and Action Point 5.