Attack! Deluxe by Eagle-Gryphon Games
War, 4X, and civilization style games are big hits at my house with Scythe and Mare Nostrum topping our current play list. Axis and Allies is another favorite but the time commitment usually keeps it on the shelf and away from the table. Loving the World War II area I decided to buy Attack! when my boys were young so we would have an easy World War II game to play until they were old enough to play Axis and Allies. Well, at 20 and 16 they are definitely old enough for Axis and Allies, but we still find ourselves not having the time to break it out. So, when I discovered Attack! had an expansion that added depth and naval miniatures to the base game I was excited. I loved the base game but the lack of cool little naval miniatures and sweet custom attack dice which accompany them was a bit of a downer. In fact, the naval ships being represented as cards is the biggest reason we didn’t break out Attack! more often. Hey, I was a sailor in the United States Navy, I have a soft spot for miniature ships. With naval ships, governments, and action cards added to the base game we were ready to conquer the world again Attack! style!
Upon opening Attack! Deluxe I was ecstatic to see they added a nice plastic insert to neatly organize all the miniatures, dice, and cards. Speaking of dice, the first component I pulled out was the green custom naval dice. We can finally fight naval battles in the same manner as land battles which consist of chucking a ton of custom dice. There is something I love about rolling the custom dice for battle. I actually prefer the Attack! custom dice method compared to the Axis and Allies method of a six-sided die with each unit having a defend and attack rating. A balanced force comprised of all the units is needed in Attack! as opposed to Axis and Allies where you can stock up on only infantry to defend your capital city.
Ok, enough about my obsession with dice…let’s look at the additions of governments. There are now four different government types; fascism, communism, democracy, and monarchy. Each type starts with a different bonus technology card. Along with a starting bonus, the government type will dictate the cost of taking over a neutral territory. During setup all the neutral territories (territories not occupied by a player) will have a government marker placed face down. These markers are drawn at random and are kept secret until revealed through a successful Negotiate action or a successful battle as a result of a Move or Blitz action. When a player uses the Negotiate action he secretly looks at the government marker. If the government is the same type as the players he can claim the marker and place an infantry unit on the territory. Markers are used for scoring at the end of the game. If the marker is a compatible government (there are two compatible governments for each government type) then the player must pay four productions to claim it. If the government type is an opposing government (one opposing government for each type) then the player must pay eight production points to claim the territory.
Some of you are probably wondering about the actions I mentioned when talking about the government types. Actions are another new mechanic added to Attack! and they add a lot of strategy without adding complexity. Each year (rounds simulate years) you get four actions, one each for spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Of the eight actions; Move, Blitz, Negotiate, Navigate, Build, Research, Transport, and Burn, only one can be used each year, so each season you must select a different action. To gain an action in the winter you must either select Burn and pay five oil certificates or give up one oil field, then you can select an action that was not selected in a previous season during the year.
The last difference between the base game and the Deluxe version I’ll mention is the inclusion of Action cards. Action cards grant bonuses for each action. Each card has two bonus statements with the bottom bonus being granted to the government type specified on the card. For instance, the Tank Production Action card allows players to gain one extra tank during their Build action but players with the Monarch government gain two tanks during their build action. A player gets an Action card for each successful Negotiate action as well as when a player uses the Research action on Population. The maximum amount of Action cards you are allowed in your hand at one time is five but you are allowed to discard any Action card when acquiring a new card.
Now that I have highlighted some differences between the base version and the Deluxe version it is it time to start playing! Setup is simple. The first player chooses a government board and the associated technology bonus card, then takes three corresponding government markers, followed by the second player, third player etc. We are fans of the blind draw when choosing our governments. Once governments are selected the players are ready to place their forces. The first player places his capital city followed by the second player and so on. Then, in the same format as placing the capital city, the players place their land forces followed by their sea forces. Woohoo again for the naval miniatures! They are finally on the board! Any region without a player’s miniature on it is considered a neutral region and receives a face down government marker.
You can play for 6, 9, or 12 years. I found that 6 years is a little too quick and doesn’t allow time for much research, or a lot of military actions between players. 9 years is a decent game and plays in approximately one and a half hours with a good amount of player to player combat action. If you have time though, approximately two to two and a half hours, then 12 years is the way to go! We usually play the 9-year war because time tends to be a factor, but a 9-year war is plenty of time to get a good World War II war game fix.
The game then proceeds with each player taking one of the actions each season. After 4 seasons the year tracker (the included blue dice) is advanced one year. Usually, you will have only three actions per year so performing actions in the winter can be quite costly but can be vital to winning. The strategy of Attack! is less about building a massive army and more about gaining the most end point scoring conditions. Let’s take a look at each action:
Move allows the player to move at least one land unit from each region he controls to an adjacent region.
Blitz is a concentrated attack on one region. A player may move tanks and planes from three spaces away (with some restrictions) to attack a single region.
Navigate is basically the Move of the sea units. Each sea unit can move to an adjacent sea territory. That’s right—this is when we finally get to move those sweet new ship miniatures!
Negotiate allows a player to peacefully claim an adjacent neutral territory. Be careful, an unsuccessful Negotiate action is a waste of a valuable action for the year. Make sure you have the funds for a worst case scenario.
Build is how new units get placed on the board. Players count their current collection of government markers and get one production point for each, plus one oil certificate for each oil field. The player can then spend their money on new units or hold on to it.
Research is how a player’s nation becomes more efficient. Players can research: Rail Transport to move troops farther per turn, Oil Tech to acquire more oil fields, Factories to place new units farther away from the capital, Minerals to build more advanced units per turn, or Population to gain extra money each Build action without taking over a new region and to guarantee extra victory points at the end of the game.
Transport allows the player to eventually move land units greater distances than the Move action but research in Rail Transport is a must for this action to be effective.
Burn can only be used in the winter season. The player pays five oil certificates or discards one oil field to perform an action that has not yet been performed in this year.
The game ends after the set number of years is completed or one of the players’ capitals is captured. Players score points for each region and sea zone they control, each tech level they have researched, and each population card they have acquired.
I love that Attack! Deluxe sets up just as fast as the base game. In less than 20 minutes the box can be opened, setup completed, and the game started. The box is heavy duty and will survive many more battles than the original box. My original base game box is destroyed. The insert included keeps all the components organized making setup and teardown a breeze. The gameplay features implemented on Attack! Deluxe are fantastic. The Action selection gives Attack! Deluxe depth and makes it more strategic than the base game without adding complexity or compromising the easy to learn and quick to play mantra. If you are a heavy war gamer or looking for a war simulation game then Attack! Deluxe is probably not for you. However, if you are looking for a lighter or quicker playing war game then this is a good fit. This is a perfect gateway war game, as well as a war game that can be played by younger boardgamers with ease. I can honestly say, as a fan of much heavier war games, I love what Attack! Deluxe brings to the table. My boys and I love that we get the strategic world domination feel in less than two hours!
Tony’s Pros and Cons
Pros: Quick to setup and easy to learn. Naval Miniatures and Dice! Action selection and governments add a nice layer of depth. Nice, heavy duty box with a great plastic insert. Fun World War II area war game. A full war game feel in less than 2 hours.
Cons: Rulebook wasn’t clear on what to do with the Action cards once played or Coastal Attacks. The price seems a little high considering you still need the base game.
Tony’s Epic Scale: 3 (The amount of miniatures when combined with base game raises score from 2.)
*Epic Scale is on a scale of 1 to 5 and is a combination of number of components and ruleset)*
Value: 7 (Kind of pricey considering you still need the base game. Great new components.)
Art:7 (Nothing fancy but fits the WW II theme.)
Setup/Teardown: 8 (Awesome new insert helps setup tremendously!)
Re-playability: 8 (New game board and addition of governments ensures lots of re-playability.)
Fun Factor: 8 (The feel of a massive war game without complexity and time commitments.)
Pictures of my old box. Attack! Deluxe box is much thicker and the insert is awesome!
A software developer by day and avid game player by night.KickStarter has recently rekindled my love of board games. Now I am looking to help the little guys of KS get their games noticed and funded as well as demonstrate how easy or difficult a game is played its first time through.