The Great Game
Rival Empires in Central Asia 1837-1886
game design byJohn Gorkowski
The Great Game recreates the 19th Century Anglo-Russian struggle for supremacy in Central Asia. In the actual contest, Tsarist Russia resented British expeditions into the Steppe Khanates while Victorian Britain feared that Russian entreaties to Persia and Afghanistan would jeopardize India's security. So the two imperial powers wove a complex tale of diplomatic intrigue, colonial conquest and proxy wars that spanned 50 years. The Great Game is a card driven game (CDG), where players alternate moving officers (historical personalities) and troops across a point-to-point map of Central Asia in decade turns. Imperial powers strive to enlist vassal states such as Afghanistan and Bokhara into their camp through diplomacy or combat so an engaging game of move-counter move unfolds across the chessboard of Central Asia.
Finally, a game about Central Asia's imperial entanglements!
Posted by Kevan on Jul 1st 2018
I can't tell you how long I have waited for a game that simulates the struggle between England and Russia in Central Asia during the 19th century. Basically the Cold War Mark 1, it is a setting rife with intrigue, derring-do, conflict, and perfect for wargaming -- and that game is finally here. And it is mostly a success.
The rules may take a few reads, but the system plays reasonably well. You really do get the sense of a back-and-forth struggle. Will you add to your empire through diplomatic means or conquest? Will you foil your opponent's ambassador? Will you ferment rebellion within their vassal states? Who will be the first to actually tame Afghanistan? And who will be the first to cross the mountain passes into High Asia? The Great Game simulates all this, and the turns can be tense and exciting as things heat up, and officers are sent home after a decade-long tour...and who knows if their replacements will be as proficient?
The only real downside to the gameplay is that it's sometimes repetitive as you draw the same cards again and again. I wish there were more events to occur, with greater variety (such as tribal leader encounters, fort attacks, discovering new kingdom/states, installing puppet rulers) . And while the map looks great overall, I would've liked some artwork to depict the various forts and cities throughout the area. It would've really added to the theme. But other than that, this is a "great game" that almost anyone can enjoy. If you are interested in this era, you have to get this. You won't regret it.
A Most Original Game
Posted by Roger Kaplan on Feb 5th 2018
John Gorkowski’s outstanding simulation of the Anglo-Russian struggle for dominance in central Asia truly lives up to its name.
While the great power contest spanned six decades, players need only two-three hours to complete the Great Game. The rules are straight-forward and easily learned, and the event cards that help drive the game are equally clear. The map leaves nothing to interpretation and, along with the other game components, lives up to Legion War Game’s exceptionally high quality.
Each decade starts with players receiving seven cards. These cards have a number and contain either an event or a diplomatic countermove, and opponents play one card on each of the five rounds that constitute a decade. Players may also receive leaders who can influence combat and/or diplomacy at the start of each decade.
A player can ignore the card’s associated event to receive reinforcements equal to its number at the cost of taking no other action that round. Conversely, the player can put the event into effect, some of which benefit the player while others damage the opponent, sometimes with devastating results. Then the player can march units based on the card’s number.
Several cards may be played to counter diplomatic efforts such as an enemy mission to make one of the Asian kingdoms into a vassal state or attempts to reveal what cards you are holding. Players conducting diplomacy and espionage as well as counter-espionage and -diplomacy must use an officer of which there are few. Failure results in the loss of the officer involved.
Replayability is 100% due to the vagaries of a deck that gets reshuffled each decade. And while each game brings one greater strategic and tactical insights, Clausewitz gets the last laugh because chance ensures the next game will be much different than the last.
The Great Game is a great game!
Posted by Paul Farrell on Feb 1st 2018
Great way to simulate this conflict, great map, great playing pieces, well laid out rules and a quick flow to the game. This is how card driven games should be.
Posted by Unknown on Jan 14th 2018
This is the first Legion Wargame I purchase. I was impressed with the quality of the components. The rules are are short and simple and the game appears to flow easily. The game can be completed in a single session, which is a plus.
Balanced Game System
Posted by Unknown on Jan 14th 2018
A clean, elegant game system that hits the sweet spot between playability and historical realism. I also like the large counters and spacious area map.