There are not a glut of games covering the French & Indian War but there are some really good ones out there including A Few Acres of Snow from Treefrog Games and designed by Martin Wallace. AFAoS is a two-player, deck-building game (yes you read that correctly) about the battle for the fate of the North American continent between the French and British. The deck building sees each player having to collect troops and settler cards in order to control areas to expand into the wilderness and each of these cards will have multiple uses. The players have to choose only one aspect of the card to use when it is played. Each space captured or settled will add another card to the capturing player’s deck thereby making it easier to control the continent. The game is fun, engaging and has some really interesting strategies to it that take into account the different focus of each nation and how they went about fighting this titanic struggle.
When someone calls a game “broken,” for me that means it is “unplayable.” From your experience, it seems, A Few Acres of Snow is imminently playable, more than ten years after its publication.
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But supposedly there is a strategy that makes the British win every time if you use it called the Halifax Hammer. We love the game and don’t know the strategy nor will we try to learn it.
Right, but does the mere existence of a 100% winnable strategy make a game unplayable? Some have argued the British are overly aggressive whether you know the Halifax Hammer or not. Some have argued “Well Martin Wallace himself admits it’s broken,” then lean back as if “the designer himself: rest my case.”
In the latter case, I think people should actually seek out the place he talked about that: he isn’t throwing up his hands & calling the game broken, but he did say something much more provocative. He suggested that any 2-player game, if played hundreds & hundreds of times, eventually “breaks.” Even chess.
I’m not sure I agree or disagree, but I think there’s something to that. It was discovered because of its online version, where people *could* play hundreds & hundreds of games.
But even if it’s possible to encounter this strategy, or something like it, just in the course of playing even only a few games…Does that mean it’s “unplayable”? I mean…didn’t you play it? was it scripted, deterministic, inevitable? then is something broken, or is there just a winnable strategy?
I think the fact that some people, incl. you & Alexander, treat the Halifax Hammer like a “spoiler,” just speaks to how games are consumed: how many players out there are willing to really take time exploring a game, having their own experience with it, even if that experience turns out to be negative…..and how many just want something to be perfect & hot right outta the box?
In any case: if I know the British have some advantages in A Few Acres of Snow, well, honestly, that’s asymmetry. So I’m not sure how that’s much different from any other asymmetric wargame I’ve played…Also, having a lame advantage is SO like the British…..
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We really like A Few Acres of Snow. Had a blast playing it and really love the way the mechanics work together. I would play that game at any time with anyone. Really fun.