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Block wargame yet different enough from the Colombia block wargames to make it interesting. There is only one health level of each block so you don't rotate them at all. Combat is entirely different, where you play "suits" of cards to assist a specific unit. It's similar to Maria, except that instead of the suit matching a location on the map, it matches a unit type. But, there is a different hand management aspect, as you are forced to discard half your hand at the beginning of each turn. This game is probably not great for hard-core grognards, as it's pretty abstract. I like the chess-like feel to it. It's open, but not too much so that you are paralyzed with options.
I like the asymmetric sides and the bluffing aspect. I can see where gameplay might become a bit scripted based on the map. There aren't many alternative paths to victory for each side in the end, and they end up fighting over the same points. But that is how things played out historically, and the variable reinforcements and combat means it has the potential to go in ahistorical directions. I want to play it again with the other side, for sure.
After one play, I'm cautiously optimistic. It seems to cram a fair amount of wargame decision-making into a tight ~90 minute package. That said, I'm not terribly enamored of the movement restrictions and the way your hand can dictate what you can and can't do. You really don't ever have much flexibility in terms of how you can marshal your forces.
This will require more sessions to completely reveal its subtleties, but I will cite a few gripes. First, it SEEMS that the game may have limited playability over time. The random draws which supplement each location's forces mitigates this somewhat, as do the cards, but I'm willing to overlook this as the number of times this will see the table should keep each play more than fresh. Second, the blocks don't stack very well. This is kind of a problem with the requisite checking for castles, control of supply locations, etc. Minor niggle, yes... but still. The card-driven battle mechanic and shedding of half of your leftover cards from turn to turn is novel.
Seems like a clumsier Friedrich, albeit shorter and with less players required. Not a bad game, though I'd be curious about replayability. Those blocks are easily the most annoying components I've played with; has anyone ever played a game without them falling over?
Asymmetrical, card-driven, block war game with opportunities to get your opponents troops to flip sides. Very much looking forward to playing this more. PROS -Art is lovely and components feel high quality. -Card mechanics are simple and smooth. -Despite having asymmetrical positions and win conditions, the sides feel balanced. -There's a bit of a push-your-advantage element that, when paired with the Loyalty Challenge cards, creates some seriously palpable tension. CONS -Specialty card art is a sword and specialty block art is either a gun or cavalry. PLAYERS BEWARE -A few little rules that can make or break strategy really need to be hammered home. Although not difficult to understand, both players really need to read the rule book before starting. -Movement might be the trickiest part of the game and players need to understand this going in. -Can be very frustrating watching your forces being destroyed because you don't have the faction cards you need.
Elegance and intelligence wrapped into a thematic design. Sekigahara is an accessible, replayable, engaging, delightful experience. The card play is a distant cousin of Friedrich and Maria, though in some ways more constraining (you need the cards for everything) and in others looser (a personal deck means card tracking is easier, and the deck will turn over once or twice during the game). The game's biggest shortfall is a series of poor UX decisions. The blocks don't really stack as high as the game wants you to stack them., there's a lot of toppling over going on. The stacks of blocks also block off visual access to the roads, cities, castles, resource locations, etc., meaning you have to move the blocks around (more toppling). unless you the board down cold. The latter is easily solvable by printing out a Castle/resource location tracker (though why they didn't include a set of black and yellow chits to track these along the Impact Track is beyond me). The former issue is less obvious. Short, squat blocks would go a long way to prevent toppling, but then they require more physical space. It doesn't prevent the gameplay itself from being good, but it's physically fiddly in a way most games aren't.