26 June 2011

More Uncharted Seas, please!

I have heard several gamers at my FLGS say to me in recent months that Dystopian Wars is effectively the improved game system from Uncharted Seas.  But after playing a few games and reading all the thread discussions about AA & CC, I wonder if many players really equate all the additional rules and dice to roll as an actual improvement of a beautifully simple & elegant game system, because I see DW as effectively the same game but with so many extra dials, gauges, knobs, and levers.  I realize I find myself playing DW only because I can find more opponents for the game, but I wonder why I don't agree that DW is the better game system.

Today I met my regular opponent for a quick game with 400 points each.  We even had some flying units involved.  And the entire game, from set-up to counting victory points, on a 4x4 foot square board, five turns, took us 45 minutes to resolve.  It was a fast game, it was fun to play, and it felt like we were simulating a fantasy naval conflict with some sense of narrative as my elven fleet concentrated on taking out the dwarven airship only to end up on the losing side of a boarding action after closing too much with the enemy battleship.  Really, it was refreshing to play a game where we didn't need to consult the rule book or roll a dozen sets of dice to resolve all the attacks from a single squadron.  And although I like the concept behind the Break Tests, it just seems to add another step of dice to roll without providing any truly dramatic effect to the game.

Today:  I selected and moved a squadron, declared a linking fire attack, counted dice, rolled them and counted the hits, and then my opponent registered a hit or invited me to roll on the critical hit table.  After the activation I considered how I should have moved differently or chosen a different target, as I always second guess myself, but by then the turn was over and it was time to plan for my next set of moves for my fleet.  The game moved so fast that I never had the time to stand around and snap some pictures to include with a battle report.

I enjoy playing DW, but I realize now that I enjoy playing US more.  Oh, I've also heard players say that DW is better because it features combined arms between naval and ground forces.  But I don't see why my Blazing Sun walkers and tanks can't work using US rules to support a Shroud Mages invasion force (drop the AA & CC stats, and why not?).  And, in the end, a "snake eyes" result on the critical hit table is just so much more dramatic as a magazine explosion in the Uncharted Seas.