Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The If Only List… Tide of Iron

But first, the results from this weeks poll.

Price  3 (33%)

Theme  5 (55%)

Components  6 (66%)

Art  4 (44%)

Designer  0 (0%)

Publisher  1 (11%)

Playing Time  1 (11%)

Number of Players  5 (55%)

Mechanics  3 (33%)

So, with 66% of the votes Components wins. Theme and Number of Players came a close second. What I found odd was that no one buys games based on the designer. Every review on Board Game Geek seems to cite which designer made what games and what expectations the reviewer had playing the game based on his or her experience with the designers previous attempts.

Personally I’m in the majority here. I buy a lot of my games because I like how they look. Stone Age would be a perfect example of a game purchase that was driven by just how good it looked. Theme also features heavily in my purchases. I enjoy dungeon crawler type games so that theme always gets me excited, but when buying Euro games I find that I’m less bothered about theme.

Number of players is never really an issue for me but I can see why everyone else has rated it so highly. The only game I’ve had difficulty getting to the table because of player number restrictions is Illuminati, although for the same reason I can foresee problems with Battlestar and Cosmic Encounter.

I always find the results of these poll really interesting and I’d like to thank everyone again who voted.

The If Only List…

Regular readers of this blog will know that the If Only List is a semi regular segment that talks about games I want to buy but for one reason or another I haven’t done yet. This week I plan to talk about Tide of Iron, which for me ticks all the boxes in the top end of the poll. Quality components, great art and a deep theme, but I still don't own it… lets examine why.

  1. I have actually very nearly owned Tide of Iron on several occasions by “accidentally” bidding on it on ebay. Luckily I’ve always been outbid. Why luckily? Because TOI is huge! Like Descent, Twilight Imperium, Horus Heresy and Runewars, Tide of Iron remains on the If Only List primarily because the box would take up most of my room. Add to that the 3 big box expansions and we’re talking a game that could literally take over the world.
  2. Tide of Iron is a war game. I own many miniatures war games, but they are all primarily fantasy based. I have always wanted a WWII war game ever since I used to play with toy soldiers as a child and with all the customisability of Tide of Iron, it seems like it would scratch that itch for me without being overly complex. However, TOI is a war game, I can’t even get my family to play risk, so getting anyone to sit down and play a war game with a 40 page rule book would be impossible.
  3. Two Players. TOI is a two player game, which makes finding an opponent easy (assuming that point 2 is not a factor), however like all games of this style, adding extra players to each side, each controlling portions of the army, is a very easy way to extend this game to four or more players. In fact, there can be so much going on on each side of the table that extra players can really help keep the game moving.
  4. Customisable. Tide of Iron is so flexible as a system, which is primarily the reason that I want it. I’m not really talking about the way that the squads can be interchangeable, I’m talking about the boards. The game comes with 12 boards which can be configured in any way and are (I’m pretty sure) double sided. Add to that the addition of the map overlay tokens that add additional features and this game seems like it could be a great box of tools for other games that require (or could be improved by) adaptable hexagon maps. I’m hoping that this system will be interchangeable with the new Battlelore system (Battles of Westeros) for even more customisability.
  5. As far as Wargames go, Tide of Iron is simple. Compare it’s 48 page rulebook (the first 6 of which are just pictures of components) to Warhammers 200 and something pages. However compared to a euro game with a maximum of 8 pages of rules, Tide of Iron is a complex game. So, for my wargaming friends this game would probably come naturally, but for my increasingly senile parents the game would be an uphill battle.
  6. Deep and Immersive. Theme is incredibly important to keep people interest in a game but it can also push people away. WWII in particular is a deeply significant theme for a lot people, but war as a theme can also be a huge put off, especially for the fairer-sex gamers. What I like about TOI is that the theme is always there and that the game tells a thematic story. Everything from the terrain set up and troop choices to the victory conditions and special cards available, make each game feel like a different experience from the last.
  7. It looks awesome. I always rave about FFG and their component quality and Tide of Iron is no exception. The board and tokens are, as always, superb, but even the plastics (which can be a bit hit and miss with FFG) look stunning. 
  8. The final reason and probably the most important reason that Tide of Iron remains on the If Only list is price. For a game I may get to play once or twice a year, £60 is simply too expensive. If I lived with (or, at least, not 200 miles away from) my friend who plays games like Flames of War, then buying this game would be a no brainer, but because I don't the game, sadly, remains on the If Only list.

Join me next week for another review and another opinion poll. Until then, keep on gaming and thanks to everyone who helps to make this blog worth doing.

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