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Author Topic: WAR ROOM: Yer gonna need a bigger table.  (Read 7993 times)


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Reply #15 on: November 26, 2019, 12:05:55 PM
Sounds like life in general.

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Silent Disapproval Robot

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Reply #16 on: November 26, 2019, 12:19:46 PM
Guy on the War Room FB page seems really into it.  I agree with him on a lot of points but I'm more of a curmudgeon and far less effusive.

Review and results of our first (14 turn) marathon:

I’m not usually one to be overly exuberant about war games, but thus far I think War Room is an incredibly engaging game! We just finished a 14 turn marathon. I haven’t felt this way about a game since around 1976 with SPI’s “Terrible Swift Sword” Gettysburg simulation. I know, apples to oranges…..tactical to global, but still. (quick bonafides: I have been playing war games since 10 years old, Avalon Hill’s “Gettysburg’ back in 1960. I helped design the 2nd edition of the above mentioned “Terrible Swift Sword” and used to spend college breaks playtesting at SPI and mailing out their games. I have shelves of wargames that I will likely never get around to playing).

So back to War Room. I have been completely sucked in. I hear complaints about this not being realistic or that not making sense and I get that…….but it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme and scope of this game. Each player is given a wide range of tools to spread their power with and it is in the implementation of those tools by YOU that makes the game so engaging. It’s like you’re staring at a ‘Swiss army knife” trying to decide which ‘blade’ to use to carve up your enemy. Production mix? Turn Order? Diplomacy? Targeting? Tactical Deployment? Trade? Stress? Pinning? Theatre choice? Convoys/Transports?…….and it’s how you prioritize all of that that pulls you into the swirl of feeling like someone making all those macro-decisions that then play out before you and the stress is palpable, but totally enjoyable. And there is enough ’slack’ built into the system that even if you make a blunder, for the most part you can still muddle your way out of it and stay alive. Plus there are so many choices laid before you that you have the ability to surprise your opponent in many different ways. Think your enemy is about to unleash huge stacks of air power on your front? Then do a sneak strategic bombing of his major cities behind his lines since he left them uncovered . Simultaneous movement? Endless possibilities to collide or miss each other completely as someone attempts an end run like suddenly little ol’ Gibraltar is captured and the Italians lock the Allies out of Italy’s now new ‘lake’ because you didn’t take that possibility into consideration because you had so many other great opportunities (or crises) you had to prioritize and you only have twelve orders. ( I think that was a massive ‘run on sentence’ ) You’re a kid in a candy store on a limited budget……or maybe ‘Whack-a-Mole” is a more appropriate analogy. Great fun!

The flow of the game is excellent. A satisfying mix of planning, movement, battles, morale, production and so much to keep track of that you wish you had ‘staff', but you don’t get any. The game is kind of like a variation of that old saying: “War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.” In War Room’s case, it’s: “War Room is long periods of terror punctuated by moments of sheer panic!” That’s how fluid the ebb and flow has been in our first samplings of the game.

The recap of our first game: On about three different earlier turns we thought the game was over………wrong!

1. America and Japan obliterate each others’ fleets in a big battle, but that favors Japan as they have plenty of time to romp in the Pacific before the USA can build new fleets.

2. Meanwhile China ran amok in SE Asia while Japan was too busy sending production east

3. Italy/Germany chased the Allies out of the Med but that was somewhat alleviated after the Allied navies took care of the Axis Baltic and the Atlantic subs to gain naval superiority. Italy almost plucked Gibraltar but was pinned at the last minute by the returning Allied Atlantic fleet and Brits arrived from India Egypt was reclaimed.

4. The normal slugfest occurred on the East Front with Germany slowly grinding away and getting as far as capturing Bryansk and Leningrad and the Caucasus before running out of steam.

5. The UK meanwhile took Norway and Finland and were able to stage troops and planes there to bolster Russia until reinforcements could arrive from the US.

6. The US was just your basic ‘sugar daddy’ creating whatever was needed to send overseas, but their productive prowess was neutered because of having to rebuild their fleets ………only to stumble into a second huge naval battle with Japan(with their brand spanking new ships) and through a series of missteps the Yanks were sent to the bottom of the sea once again and sent scampering back to California to build their THIRD fleet.

7. Japan finally sent some love to Indochina and invaded Australia, but China just kept zigging while Japan zagged in a comical, literal, “Chinese Fire Drill” and once the UK re-took North Africa, they were able to start sending smoke up those five India smokestacks and build some troops there to begin helping out the Chinese (who by this time, by some miracle held 3-4 Indo China cards from Japan. The Japanese invasion of Australian had to be called off, but with the US neutered at sea, Japan was able to take New Zealand and a few other outlying island groups, continuing to spread east.

8. By now, Germany’s assault on Russia had run out of steam and some key strategic bombing of Berlin, Ukraine and other Axis territories stopped Germany’s rail system and obliterated many 'units in production’ which turned off the ever so crucial ‘chain of reinforcements’ necessary to sustain a meaningful offensive…..and just in time, because Russia was down to their last troops (maybe seven?) with Moscow dangerously teetering. But massive Allied air power along with some US/UK troops landing in North Russia, not only turned the tide but in a rapid counter attack, Ukraine and many other German territories fell and sent Germany into max stress with Italy having more troops on the board than Germany by turn #8. Amazingly, however, Italy had built two new battleships and have thrown the Allies out of the Med again, but even they can feel the approaching hoofbeats that will be coming in 2-3 turns.

9. But the Axis is not giving up because Japan is a juggernaut at this point with no threat (yet) from the States and will likely take care of China, India and eastern Russia before the Allies can mop up Europe. Plus it’s a long climb back for the US to claw their way back across the Pacific.

10. Final Turns 9 to 14: Russia with US/UK air support grinds south to take Berlin, France and eventually Italy. Italy manages to take Gibraltar to keep the Allies out of the Med which slows things down a bit, and therefore hard to get reinforcements to the Allied North Africa possessions. Two rogue Italian battleships go down on the last turn after causing much damage to the small Brit fleets in the Atlantic (the US fleets are MIA as all are needed in the Pacific).

11. By this time, Japan has taken care of China but the Brits are wearing them down in Indo China…… with UK airpower and Chinese fodder. Japan has broken the Russian non-agression pact and is four territories into Russia, but their is a tidal wave of Russian troops coming back from Italy (slowly…... all rail is destroyed by now) and Moscow new production. Japan has taken New Zealand and many eastern islands in the Pacific and is about to launch a large invasion of Alaska with a fleet of about 10 ships, until the (once again) rebuilt American fleet pins them before their troops can disembark and the Americans win a rousing sea battle. We call it a day after that one. It was a wonderful back and forth.

I’m sure as all of us play more games, that awful ‘set piece’ phase may arrive with standard ‘opening moves’ and the like………but right now I like to think that there is so damn much to this game that there will be a myriad of approaches to winning a game to keep it fresh and fun. I certainly hope so. I think there are still a ton of options, strategies and tactics that each game will allow to unfold such that you really DO feel like you are in the title of the game…..the War Room. It’s easy to nit pick on different ahistorical rules/outcomes, but I think you would be missing the larger point that the game provides an excellent ‘feel’ for the grand strategic options available and that, in the end, is what this game is all about, right? The game has taken 20 years off my life……..and I mean that it made me YOUNGER, not older, despite the gray hairs certain turns will give you..Enjoy!


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Reply #17 on: November 26, 2019, 12:28:26 PM
Sounds awesome but I'm going to have to wait for a 80% off sale.  :D

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Silent Disapproval Robot

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Reply #18 on: December 08, 2019, 03:27:12 AM
We had a 5-player game tonight.  It was supposed to be 6 but one guy had to cancel because he couldn't get a sitter.

It was an interesting experience.  It went a lot slower than I expected based on our last attempt.  This was mainly due to the fact that the guy who elected to play Germany also got stuck playing Italy when our other friend cancelled.  He's not much of a wargamer and he was suffering some serious AP during the planning phases which bogged things down quite a bit.  We played for about 6 hours (but about an hour and a half of that was taken up with setup, rules explanations, and tear down).  We finished 5 turns and things were still in a perilous state for nearly all involved.  I was playing as Russia and had managed to take back Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus but my manpoiwer was seriously depleted and Germany was producing a tonne of units (my damned British and US allies were doing nothing to help in Europe.  Not even strategic bombing).  Japan was fighting hard in China and gaining ground but the Chinese kept managing to hold on turn after turn and pin down a lot of Japanese forces and eat up a lot of their resources.  Things in the Pacific were at a stalemate.  US, UK and Japanese navies were all massive but no-one was willing to commit to battle in fear of taking huge losses.  Italy and the UK pummelled the crap out of one another in North Africa.   The Italians managed to take Egypt and the canal but were then pushed out again after the Brits pulled units out of Iran and India.  For some reason, the Germans didn't back their Italian allies and instead started attacking neutral countries like Turkey, Spain, Switzerland, and Sweden.  They suffered a lot of unnecessary casualties for very little gain and suffered so much war weariness that they were dealing with strikes which prevented the use of ports and rails in German territories.

Fun game but it takes a long time to play.

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Reply #19 on: January 19, 2020, 04:56:25 PM
Good overview/review.

We're scheduled to play again in two weeks.  Looking forward to it.


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Reply #20 on: October 21, 2022, 10:12:07 AM


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Reply #21 on: October 23, 2022, 11:44:00 AM
I played my first game of War Room last week (3-person Pacific scenario, since our 4th player came down with the plague the day before).

BL: I really, really enjoyed it.

I prefer heavier, more serious wargames, but this scratched the itch for a playable head-to-head epic game. I really liked the hidden orders, the limited number of orders, and bidding for player order that make this a game against other people. You need to out-think them, not just try to out-produce or out-roll them.

The Allies won the Pacific scenario when the Japanese player's massive invasion fleet was stopped and destroyed before it could invade Alaska or Hawaii. At that point the Japanese player had no path to victory and conceded.

Surprisingly, the US player has limited resources (simulating Germany First) and limited orders to try to get its forces into the theater. I really struggled with producing enough combat power, especially when I started bidding oil on turn order to keep the initiative against the large Japanese fleet. The US fleet was eventually destroyed, but I had enough carriers and cruisers being built to stop the Japanese player.