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Gandhi - a Punchboard Review

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26 Jan 2022 08:05 #330133 by adamr
Before I get into the guts of this review, I...

My first foray into the world of proper wargames is with the game with the longest title in my collection. Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India 1917-1947, to give it it’s full name, is an asymmetric game from the undisputed masters of the modern wargame, GMT Games. It’s also the ninth game in a series from them called COIN. The name comes from the COunter-INsurgency style of action they represent.

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26 Jan 2022 10:07 #330134 by Jackwraith
Yes! This is a brilliant game and one of GMT's best of the last several years, which is setting the bar quite high. Even as a GMT veteran, I agree that the entry process is fairly daunting and I spent a couple read-throughs wondering how I was going to convince others in my groups to sit down and absorb it (I mean, there's a couple usual suspects, but there are many others who would recoil at the complexity inherent to it.) But, like you say, it's totally worth it. I've only been able to play twice (haven't tried the solo version) and so haven't felt comfortable writing a review of it, but now I don't need to. Nice work.
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26 Jan 2022 12:05 #330144 by jpat
Replied by jpat on topic Gandhi - a Punchboard Review
I was interested when this came out, and still am. The Arjuna AI system looks (and sounds, by all reports) to be a significant usability improvement over the solo flowcharts in the COIN games prior. I've felt with other COINs that once I set it up, my enthusiasm for playing solo peters out pretty quickly in the proceduralism and un-handiness of the flowcharts.

I think the OP is right about the complexity of this one with respect to other COINs as well. It's definitely on the higher complexity end, though familiarity with the COIN system generally helps a great deal. It seems up there with Pendragon--another COIN, this time set in ancient Britain--and with similar richness of possibilities but the concomitant rules overhead to go with all that chrome.
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28 Jan 2022 07:02 #330200 by adamr
Replied by adamr on topic Gandhi - a Punchboard Review
The Arjuna doesn't really completely do away with the flowcharts, but it does seem to simplify them. You still need a separate chart for choosing priority, and may have to skip through cards to find one that will play, but it doesn't feel too cumbersome.

My yardstick for how good a solo bot opponent is, is how long it takes to perform their turns. If it takes longer than it does to take my own, then it's a huge turn-off. This is why I love Clans of Caledonia, but hate running the automa.

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of time taken making the Arjuna moves, but it's forgiven for me, by virtue of the fact that a) there are three opponents I'm controlling, and b) my own turns can take bloody ages :)
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30 Jan 2022 18:30 #330280 by Andi Lennon
Welcome to the GMT club! I've not tried Gandhi yet (it still sits on my shelf in an act of passive resistance) but Cuba Libre, which shares the core COIN system is one of my favourites. If you're just getting started with Wargames you should also check out Compass Games, Worthington Games, Academy Games, Phalanx, DVG, and newcomers Catastrophe Games. There's a lot of great titles out there that are broader and more accessible than the pure hex and counter math-fests of antiquity. Thanks for the review- you've reminded me I need to harness my willpower and get Gandhi played ASAP.
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30 Jan 2022 18:37 #330282 by adamr
Replied by adamr on topic Gandhi - a Punchboard Review
It's worth the effort, just go through the tutorial example in the playbook and you'll be fine. I've got something from DVG on the way at some point, and I'll keep an eye out for the others, thanks:)
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