Had Mark over last Sunday for some 2-player wargaming. It was his turn to pick, but he gave me a choice: Guerra a Muerte, Men of Iron or War Galley; the latter being the only one he’s gotten to the table before. Being more of a strategic gamer than tactical, and always up for a game on a bit of history I don’t know much about, I selected Guerra a Muerte, which is on the breakup of Spain’s empire in the New World.

We went for the intro scenario, which is just 5 turns of the full game, and didn’t even make it that far. It’s understandable with our first time out with a game, though I had hoped we’d get slightly further than we did. At any rate, I had a pretty solid grip on the situation at the end of turn 3 as the Patriots, and Spain would have had a hard time making a substantial comeback.

There were the usual first-time questions, and unfortunately, it lived up to my usual idea that magazine games tend to have poorer-written rules than normal. One goof up we did probably helped me fairly noticeably. The Patriot player is really four different groups, and we didn’t do the split up of funds correctly (I didn’t realize some of what the rules were trying to tell me for a bit), which helped fund the El Plata patriots.

The schedule of reinforcement threw us at first too, as while they’re marked with turn numbers the rules don’t talk about the meaning of the designation.

Mark took some detailed notes, and hopefully he’ll write them up soon. But the initial fighting was in the south, as El Plata starts with about the only Patriot regular troops. At the same time, the only leaders are in Mexico, and even though the imposingly large stacks are all Militia (only worth one each), I managed to take Vera Cruz from a small garrison. (I do generally like how combat and sieges work.)

On the second turn, El Plata had enough resources to reform the part of the army that the Royalists smashed the previous turn (if we’d done the resource split correctly… I think they’d have still had enough, but it would have emptied the bank for next turn), and the Mexican forces got a bunch of regulars in. I managed to force the Royalists in the south back into Montevideo and consolidated my hold on Mexico in the north. The Peruvians were doing well on the coast, but had lost the interior of the Andes.

The third turn saw Spanish forces start arriving, along with Grand Colombian regulars and Bolivar. The Colombians had already purchased artillery to help defend Cartagena, and now with plentiful local superiority, Bolivar moved to assault Maracaibo.

And that’s about where we had to call it. The final count was about 22 provinces controlled by the Patriots (needed 12…). Obviously, we need to consider just what the Royalists need to do better. I certainly hope we do get to try it again before we forget everything about the game, but there’s a lot of games on the shelf eager to get a turn.

I offered Mark three choices for next time (as it’s my ‘pick’): Fire in the Sky, Stonewall’s Last Battle (I really want to try out the GCACW system since Battle Above the Clouds is on preorder), or Carthage. It looks like it’ll be Carthage.