Quartermaster General

Quartermaster General. Griggling Games, 2014. $50. Designed by Ian Brody. Card driven world-wide World War II game. 216 cards, 55 wooden pieces (Armies and Navies), 7 markers, 1 board, 1 rules booklet. 2-6 players. Ages 12+. 90-120 minutes.

The very quick and easy setup includes handing out card decks for each of six nationalities (Germany, Italy, Japan, United States, United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union), placing one army on each nation’s home space, and placing both sides’ (Allies and Axis) Victory Point markers on the track. All six nations must be played and they are divided based on the number of players. Each nation has a unique deck of cards tailored for that nation’s historical wartime abilities. The game board divides the world into a relatively small number of land and sea spaces. Each space will only ever contain one side’s units and each nation only has one unit per space.

With a hand of seven cards, this intriguing game revolves around the difficult decision of which single card to play on your turn. Supply spaces control where you can build new units and units out of supply will be removed at the end of each turn. Each nation starts with its home supply space and builds outward from there, with some notable exceptions due to particular cards. The key to winning is holding supply spaces which provide victory points every turn. Cards come in three main types: immediate effects, response cards (which are played face down and kept until a triggering event occurs), and status cards (which are played face up and have ongoing effects). The sequence: playing one card, checking supply lines, adding victory points (to your side’s marker, the Allies or Axis win or lose as a group), discarding cards (or not), and then drawing to fill your hand, repeats for only a seemingly short 20 turns.

Every card is powerful but you can only play one per turn! The cards present each nation’s historical options but the player must choose which to use and timing is everything. Is it time to use submarines to attack a nation’s economy? Or is building a new army more critical? Or attacking a neighboring navy to clear a sea space? The decisions, tense and difficult, make this an outstanding game.

But if you are looking for a board game with masses of units and dice rolling combat or historical unit counters, this is not that game. The units are abstract symbols of controlling land and sea spaces. Combat is resolved solely by playing a battle card which automatically removes the enemy force, unless some other response card in play can save it.

Quartermaster General is a strategic level World War II game that’s quick and easy to play for a wide number of players and yet every single turn is fraught with historical, perilous decisions that can win or lose the war. Highly recommended.

This review was written based on a privately purchased copy. No previous relationship with the game publisher nor compensation was involved.

c2015 by Richard A. Edwards

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