Sunday, July 01, 2007

Warm Acre

Gavin Tyler and Wolfrik Galland have developed a board game that uses 25/28mm miniatures to simulate the infiltration of a German bunker stronghold by up to three Allied agents. The game is designed for up to four players, takes about an hour to play and has endless replay possibilities. The basic game comes with everything needed to play: beautifully illustrated Allied and German soldiers and player aids printed on solid card stock, dice, plastic supports for the soldiers and doors, nine thick panels representing the 10 rooms and a count-down timer (and more than I can write here!) Everything is very professionally produced and beautifully illustrated/colored – the room panels give the impression of a dark, dank bunker/stronghold complex.
Tired of shoot-em-up games where you must kill everything in your path? If so, this is the game for you – you can choose to be one of three Allied agents (British, American or Soviet) who must infiltrate a bunker stronghold and collect as much information as possible in one hour (hence the “Hour of Glory”!). The Allied object of the game is to slip past sentries to enter the rooms and collect the intelligence card found there. Special combinations score specific points similar to the army cards in Risk. The Allies can move in two modes: raiders (green base) or assaulter (red base). The raiders move more slowly, are tougher to spot and take less time off the clock. Their primary weapons are stealth/silence and a knife. Assaulters move more quickly and can fire weapons but are much easier to spot and, worst of all, can cause minutes to fly off the clock! The German player must thwart the Allied efforts – he has a selection of immobile sentries guarding strategic spots in the stronghold. These soldiers try to spot the intruders to produce “Alert” markers (as do the messy corpses of poorly dispatched sentries!) that the Commander attempts to collect – these “Alert” markers are then placed onto a board. These will accumulate and when an assaulter is located in the stronghold, the Commander can call “ALARRRM!” to activate guards equal to the number of the Alert markers already collected. Far from being passive, these killers move directly towards any assaulter in the stronghold!
The game is simple yet elegant – do you rush to try to open the lock or take your time, knowing that even if you pass part of the skill’s test time can tick off the clock? When do you move from raider to assaulter? Do you, as commander, try to quickly force the Allies’ hand by calling an Alarm as soon as you can or do you patiently pick up Alert markers to allow a massive response later on in the game? Everyone ignores the clock at his peril – it drops almost unnoticed until about the 20 minute mark when it seems to fly to the zero mark!
While the game comes ready to go as is, it really comes to life with the miniatures (28mm to the eyes) specifically produced for the game. These represent the owners’ first attempt at sculpting and the detail is good; it continues to get even better with each new release (a second set of sentries in overcoats, Fallschirmjager and Red Berets for the expansion game as well as cool figures like German Mountain troops and US Rangers.) There are even stone-like base covers that enhance the look of the final figures. The miniatures really make the game – truly adventurous people can construct their own bunker like the owners did!
Got questions about the game, rules or mechanics? Want to see other items soon to come out? The game is very well supported with an online Forum – questions are generally answered completely within 24 hours. There is even a free magazine (Killing Time II is already out – check it out!) and free player aids that you can download (and laminate for multiple game uses – hint, hint!)
I have run the game several times with each game being a “closely run” thing that was decided within a turn or two of the bunker’s entrance/exit. Everyone who played had a blast and enjoyed himself. This is a really fun game – with so many options, the replay ability is high with no two games ever going the same way! New releases, figures and scenarios are planned and the owners eagerly seek input from their readers.


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