August is shaping up to be a pretty manic month with work, but last weekend I spent an evening playing games. But not wargames... We played Tiny Epic Quest from Gamelyn Games, and The Cousins' War from Surprised Stare Games.
I had played Tiny Epic Kingdoms a couple of times previously and rather enjoyed it. Tiny Epic Quest was also enjoyable, but perhaps not so much. The abstract nature of the game system works really nicely when played at a kingdom level, but I found some aspects of the system didn't work quite so well at the level of individual adventurers. Regardless, a fun game and with some great wee components.
Earlier in the evening, we played three games of The Cousins' War. TCW was only released in June this year, and I hadn't heard a thing about it (not being much of a board game player) until Thomas Brandstetter (AKA Frank Shandy) posted about it HERE. I have since also discovered a video review on Board Game Geek which is worth a look. I don't have a lot to add to their reviews really...
In short, this is a great little pocket-sized game. Literally. It fits in your pocket. Quite easily. Games last around 30 minutes, give or take, with a maximum of five turns. For a tiny game, there is a great deal of depth. England and Wales are divided into a northern, central and southern region, and players compete for influence in each.
Your influence is measured in a finite number of blocks. These can be seen to represent supporters. They can exist off the board in the supply (manpower which can be tapped), on the board in the regions (garrisons), in reserve (the uncommitted field army, or committed to specific battles. As we discovered, the longer the game takes the more important it is the carefully manage your influence.
Each turn sees the opposing sides play a number of event cards which all can be used to achieve certain strategic or tactical feats, or as generic 'command points' to help you shift your influence around the table. They also all have a secondary function which can only be used in specified turns.
In our three games, the Yorkists won in turn two in the first game, and turn three of the second game, but those dastardly Lancastrians won in turn 5 of the third game. It will certainly come out again!