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Blue vs. Gray: GMT Card Game

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  • Blue vs. Gray: GMT Card Game

    Found the Blue vs. Gray card game in the Vicksburg tourist shops. GMT sells the whole she-bang for 30 bucks but they self them in North and South packets for 10 bucks each. Money saved!

    Seemed like more people bought South packs though...

    Anyway Blue vs. Gray is a standalong card game depicting the Civil War. Player's muster historical divisions and commanders and do battle for various city objectives. There are also "Enigma cards" depicting game changing historical events like the Emancipation Proclamation and advent of ironclads.

    Gameplay is at the operational level. Players pick commanders and then assign subordinate commanders and/or divisions/corps to the command. Battle is resolved by a single die roll.

    The game has it's ups and downs. Historically, the game is amazing. Each card gives historical data on the commanders and units, making the game a fine educational experience.

    However gameplay is a tad disappointing. The rules are jumbled and confusing, although GMT produced a cleaned up version online. The gameplay as far as battles go is exceedingly simplistic and Risk-ish.

    Roll a 1D6. On 1-2 you lose. Period. On 3-4 you may win or lose depending on your armies and leadership. On 5-6 you win. There are die modifiers. Attacking a fortified town gives you -1. Also the die roll is modified by one if one side outnumbers their opponent in strength points by 10 or more. (Which is 2 top of the line union corps or 5 average confederate divisions, meaning odds are your commanders couldn't summon enough men to get that bonus unless the town is defended by the old and infirm.) Basically each chance of victory is about 50/50 which tends to result in stalemates as we found out fighting the 6th Battle of Bull Run. It is entirely possible for Grant's whole stinking army to get stopped dead cold in it's tracks by nothing but JEB's cavalry detachment. Or to have a loss at Bull Run result in the rebs storming north and grabbing D.C. IN THE VERY FIRST TURN.

    There is strategy in the victory conditions, as the Union must knock out specific industrial centers, food supplies, and river commerce. And the administration of the game is entertaining, you can sack commanders you don't like assuming they don't do something to get fired on their own, which can happen.

    History buffs will like the game but the administration is too complex to be beer and pretzles while the battle gameplay is too simplistic for serious wargamers.

    By the numbers:

    Educational Value:*****
    Gameplay (Strategic): ** 1/2
    Gameplay (Tactical): *

    Bottom line: the combat is the major disappointment. However this is at face value. If you do as I did and draw up some house rules to make the battles more realistic and less random the entertainment factor jumps a considerable margin.

    Gameplay (Modified): ***

    I scrubbed the dice rules, they were just too random.
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  • #2
    Cool! Thanks for sharing that.
    RPG Wisdom: There is nothing more exhilarating than having an opponent roll to hit without result.

    Warhammer 40K Wisdom: Heresy grows from buggy servers.

    Try to learn the difference between prudence and paranoia.


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