Joel Toppen and Mike Bertucelli asked me to play through the tutorial for Comanchería to assist in proof reading. For me it was a rare treat to learn to play this much-awaited game with adult supervision and possibly get a few games in before it gets printed!
The game covers 4 historical periods from 1700 to 1875. You make the decisions of the Comanche people trying to survive and thrive in the face of numerous threats and opportunities.
The map is exceptional and the counters are evocative of the period, but the real star is the game system. I am not familiar with Navajo Wars (but I just added an order for the reprint on P500!), so I’m not the person to reconcile the two games. I will say that the depth of the Comanchería solo system is extraordinary. You have to continually reinvest in your assets as the Great Plains exact a toll. Civil Chief (Paraibo) and War Chief (Mahimiana) play the key role in each Rancheria and need to be cultivated. You move across the plains to gather food, fight other tribes, and expand your reach. Expect pressure from other tribes and the Colonial powers: Spain, Mexico, Texas, and/or the USA, depending on the historical period being played.
Culture cards provide a tech tree that allows for capability/strategy enhancement. Development cards also provide opportunities as well as challenges. War Cards drive the actions of aggressive parties on the map – with more events to ruin your home on the range.
The Enemy Instruction Display is the engine that drives the enemy. It’s an interesting system utilizing reversible chits that change without notice. These instructions are stacked and restacked creatively throughout the game, yielding more variations in game play than even the most prolific gamer could foresee.
I am the victor at the end of my tutorial walk through! I control one region and have a second Rancheria in another.
Head to head with the Spanish at the end of the scenario, so the Spanish never had to feel the burn from my fire sticks!
My Victory Check Objective – and I crushed it – or the tutorial crushed it….
Sorry for the brief walk through but I felt compelled after the guys were kind enough to give me an early look. Now I am going back to Vassal to start a new scenario – maybe the Red River War will be next! And remember the lesson from Liberty or Death – P500 this bad boy because it may be the best shot you get before the reprint!