Last weekend I finally found a bit of time to play a game of Rivet Wars. After what seemed like an age of badgering I persuaded my other half that she wanted to have a game and she reluctantly agreed. This sounds really bad, but if I say that she prefers playing co-op style games rather than more traditional “play to win” type of game, that should make more sense.
Because neither of us really had a clue about what was happening, we (rather sensibly) picked scenario 1 out of the rulebook. This is designed very much as an introduction to the game and restricts you to 3 different unit’s. So we got all of the bits out we needed and set up the board. One thing that I’d not realised until then is how well punched the card components (bunkers, objectives etc). I normally have a complete anal moment and cut round the punch line so they come out without little snags everywhere – these popped out cleanly and easily without a mark.
The first attempt was a bit of a disaster if I’m honest. Two turns in I realised that we were doing the movement and combat phases the wrong way round so we decided to abandon that (have a drink) and start over. The next game however was much better, with a win to the Allies (played by my other half). A third game was played the next day (Monday) where we swapped sides and was another win to the Allies. We both think that in the starting scenario (where you have no action cards, secret orders or more advanced units) the Allies do have a bit of an edge. The units are much more straightforward to get to grips with and have less special attacks and rules.
Rivet Wars, is a really nice little game to play. Really easy to learn, but quite difficult to master. You can flip from being on the offensive one turn to the defensive on the next. Learning to read what opposing units are on the board (and what they can do) and ensuring you have enough infantry are really the key to the whole game.
So far the only rule that we really got confused over was how you gain victory points from objectives. The rules talk about capturing and controlling and to be honest it’s just confusing the way it’s written. Once you get your head round it however it’s very straightforward (like most of the rules):
- You only gain victory points during the wrap up phase of your turn.
- Each objective only gives one victory point per turn.
- To gain that victory point you must either have a unit in the objective or a flag (you “control” the objective).
- To plant a flag you must *start* your turn with a unit within the objective – after which they can wander off during the turn.
- You remove an enemy flag (“capture”) during the wrap up phase. Just have one of your units in an objective during the wrap up phase.
There are a surprising number of scenarios within the basic boxed set and people are already writing quite a few home grown ones which have slight variations and ways to spice up the game. Considering there are only eight units in the box (two of which are plugs, and two are heros) there’s a surprising amount of variety to be had. Wave 2 is due to be despatched in the next six weeks (if things go to plan) and as much as I’m looking forward to it, I’m also a bit apprehensive. The game in it’s current configuration is really straightforward and easy to pick up. Adding in a host of flying units and new unit mechanics such as dogs could turn it into a much more complicated game – however the ruleset is simple for a reason, and should take new units without breaking too much.