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2GM TACTICS from Draco Ideas   First of all what's with the title 2GM TACTICS ?  Well, if you saw WWII TACTICS , you wouldn't...





from Draco Ideas

First of all what's with the title 2GM TACTICS?  Well, if you saw WWII TACTICS, you wouldn't be asking the question and that's exactly what the title of this game means.  Instead of our English adherence to the good old-fashioned Roman numerals II, Spanish uses 2 and Guerra Mundial [World War or technically War World].  If this were French, it would be La Deuxieme Guerre Mondiale.  However, that leads me to my main problem, namely that this is in some ways an anticipatory review, as 2GM TACTICS is currently only available in its original 2015 Spanish edition.  So, my comments will be based on the latter's physical components and the current English translation of only the basic rules.

Though the company have said that the latter will be improved for the final published edition, I've got to say that language-wise there is very little to fault either grammatically or idiomatically.  In fact, I've read plenty of professional rule books, where English is the native language  that are far less accurate in spelling and punctuation!  Oh, those dreaded apostrophes! [And I'm not just talking about the fact that Brits and Americans don't always see eye to eye on spelling the same word.]

When I received the package from the delivery service, my initial reaction was what a heavy weight for such a comparatively small parcel.

If you've watched the Kickstarter video, you should have a very good idea of the essential contents:  approx. 220 cards, of which 18 are terrain cards, while all the rest are split between two decks, one for the German side and one for the American.  What gave the game box its heft though were the 16 oblong, double-sided map tiles.  This is a feature that I really like, as virtually all previous card-based attempts to simulate part of WWII, such as The Last Crusade or Nuts! have simply relied on cards for everything - units, equipment and terrain.  Instead Draco Ideas have included a modular board that is assembled into a 4 x 3 grid oftiles that creates a playing area that is slightly larger than 27 x 18 inches.  so, a final map board is created that is larger than the standard 22 x 17 inches of a typical folio game and capable of considerable variation in its permutations of terrain.  This is an excellent design feature, especially for the basic game which the company have chosen to call Battle Royal and this basic game will have to be the main focus of my review, as this is the only section of the rule book as yet translated into English.

But, before I explore those basics in more depth,  I want to bring to your attention the rest of the extremely attractive, substantial and well produced rule book, albeit in Spanish.  though of small format, it is from front to back cover a substantial 60 pages.. All the rules for playing the game come in just the first 20 of these pages.  So, what remains in the other 40 pages?  How I wish my education had taken place in more recent years, when Spanish is as often offered as a foreign language option as French in our schools!  Why? Because those pages contain all the scenarios. [Grinding of teeth and suppressed sighs.]  First of all comes a set of eleven individual stereotypical ones such as Blitzkreig, Supplies, The Village and The Rescue to tantalise and whet my appetite, followed by two historically based ones, Arracourt and Monte Cassino.  Then - and these are what make me wish my life away until 2017, when the full English edition of this game will appear [thank goodness that the Kickstarter has already reached double the necessary amount or I might be out in the streets rounding you up to sign up]  -   there are a series of Campaigns, beginning with the Normandy landings through to The Battle of The Bulge.  In all, four Campaigns: Operation Overlord, Operation Cobra, Operation Market-garden and The Ardennes, with each campaign containing from five to seven scenarios.  Here is just the first Campaign.

To use the famous quote "I'll be back", hopefully to provide a more extensive review next year of this aspect of the English edition.

So, what does the basic game give you?  Essentially, a point-based system similar to several other card versions of warfare in WWII and in the basic game your sole objective is always to reach your opponent's HQ and destroy it.  As already mentioned, I like the fact of a modular board created from tiles .  To my surprise the boards are connected by figure of 8 shaped pieces to stop them moving about.  Here are just four of the sixteen tiles with their connecting pieces

Once assembled, they look like this.

Don't worry, if you are wondering whether the outer edge of the final layout has unsightly holes.  There are pieces provided to fill them.  Just don't be like me and in my haste to get started, didn't realise their purpose and threw some of them away.  Fortunately, there are an excess number of the connecting pieces which when cut in half exactly do the job.  Anyway, I've only got to wait till next year and I'll have a completely new English set!!

Personally, I would have preferred the tiles to have been simply straight-edged.  But, as I always go for laying plexi-glass over modular terrain to prevent shifting, that's largely an aesthetical point.  My other minor concern is how well the cardboard connectors will stand up to the wear and tear from assembling the map.  Apart from the few games I've played, I've also tested them out by simply assembling the tiles repeatedly.  The indications are that they do stand up well to the job.

However, for many gamers a more significant decision point will be the choice of graphics for the many cards that are the essence of the game, as Draco Ideas has gone solidly for a comic book look in its inspiration.  If you've watched the Kickstarter promotional video you will know what I'm talking about.  If not, the cover of the illustration of the game box at the start of my review and the samples included below should help you get a good idea.

As you can see the infantry cards are graphically the closest to cartoon style.  Though there is a small amount of necessary text [just visible on the Bomber card], as you can see they are largely icon driven for game play and these are succinctly and clearly explained in the rules.

My personal taste is for the use of historical pictures, as used in The Last Crusade [1995] or Panzer General : Assault [2010].  On the other hand the latter game proved a huge disappointment when I bought it, because of its bland and simplistic play and it cost me nearly three times the price of 2GM Tactics.  So, just as I heavily invested in Heroes of Normandie despite its graphic style not being my personal favourite, so 2GM Tactics offers more than a superficial look at the cards provides.

To return to the rule book, I've already commented on the accuracy of the current draft, but what I'm even happier about is the clarity of the rules.  They are well organised and well sequenced taking you through the essentials of the game in logical order and above all make sense at a first reading.

Though a few more illustrations would have been nice, as the text is quite dense to fit so much in, there is a good balance of examples for each important point and so far I've not picked up an example that seems to contradict the rules.  Now that is something that happens all too often in far more expensive products.  If the extensive scenario section, referred to earlier, that makes up two thirds of the rule book is as tight as this, I shall be very satisfied next year when I get my hands on the completed English edition.  [By the way, if the rule book is not yet set in stone, one small language point I would love to change is Shooting; please, please, please, could we have Combat or at least Firing instead?]

To give you some idea of what seems original for a game at this level, I'd like to list just a few instances that I particularly like:-

Supply: instead of the normal rule governing what a unit can or cannot do when it is in supply or out of supply, here the distance your troops have advanced towards the enemy HQ and the continuity of the supply line determines how many extra Action Points you get to operate with that turn.  A neat touch! 

Suppression: not the result of a die roll, but the fact that more than one unit has targeted the same unit.

Covered Movement: just the fact that, in an essentially easy and fast playing game, such things as infantry gaining cover from moving with vehicles gets included.

Additional Equipment: the combination of both cards and counters to represent additional equipment along with a distinction between equipment that is deactivated or not deactivated when used. 

Specific cards for historical Generals: including good ole George Patton and Erwin Rommel - another reason for me to long for the translation of the Campaign material!

Terrain: integral terrain on the map tiles plus additional cards such as trenches, bridges, bunkers and landing craft [for the existing Operation Overlord Campaign and The Sword Campaign that is one of the unlocked Stretch Goals], buildings.

These to me are some of the bells and whistles on a very solid set of rules that take this game beyond previous games of this scale.

All in all, this is a well designed package that in the Spanish version got things right and so, perhaps not surprisingly, has almost doubled its Kickstarter funding, with 20 days to go.  Expansion packs that bring in the British, Italians and Russians are already underway and form part of the varying  pledge levels on Kickstarter.

Even if you just buy the simple English edition, you're getting not just a basic generic fast playing tactical card game of WWII with lots of flavour and colour, but a surprisingly varied set of rules for its small footprint and the potential for a much more extended experience through the wealth of Campaigns.

Hasta La Vista!

[Pardon the cheesy ending, but I really do hope to see you later, when I return next year with a review to take in all that my typical English lack of foreign language ability has not been able to cover.]

Kickstarter Link click HERE



  1. Kickstarter link:

    1. Whoops..just added in a couple of places:) Thanks for the reminder!