Monday, July 09, 2007

Tide of Dice

Short break at work, so a short post about last week's games.

It was technically Brian's pick at my place - he couldn't think of anything he particularly wanted, so he said he'd decide once we got there.

We played Liar's Dice (a.k.a Bluff, Perudo, Bullsh*t, etc.) again - it's a quick filler. My parents were around until 8 PM, so we played something they could get into easily.

Afterwards, I left it up to Brian and he selected Tide of Iron, a recent wargame purchase I had made which was sitting off to the side on the kitchen table (only because I hadn't found time to stuff it into the downstairs closet, not because I was trying to push it on anyone.

Tide of Iron is a introductory/novice level wargame aimed at people who are interested in WWII tactical combat but don't want the complexity of Combat Commander: Europe, Advanced Squad Leader or the Advanced Tobruk System. That said, it's about two steps up in terms of complexity from Memoir '44.

It has a long set up time, necessitated by its interesting but somewhat flawed modular squad composition system and geomorphic terrain system. Components are excellent and rules are great. It's a very good low-medium (3-4 out of 10) complexity wargame, good for transitioning players between games like Memoir '44 and more grognardy offerings.

The tag-team of Bharmer and Ouch kept me hard pressed through the game and finally broke through with one turn remaining. I did handicap myself somewhat by giving myself fewer starting Strategy cards than is called for in the scenario, but it didn't make all that much of a difference, and they played well.

No time for a more detailed review save to say that Tide of Iron will be waiting for the day my eldest son turns 10 or 11 or so. I think he'll enjoy it quite a bit.


  1. dan daly8:27 AM

    Could you elaborate on what way(s) the modular squads are "flawed" in your opinion? I'm looking at Tide of Iron as a possible purchase. Thanks for the info.

    Oh yea, I just found your blog by looking for Tide of Iron info. It looks very cool. Nice work.

  2. Hi Dan,

    The squad stands require a combination of force and delicacy to get the individual unit miniatures into the holes. In some cases the small pegs used to insert the pieces seem too large, and it's difficult to get them in, and once in, hard to extract. In other cases, the pegs seem too small, and the figures flop out of the bases as you're moving them around on the board. I think the general consensus is that the pegs are slightly too large, and the use of a small rotary tool or drill (like a Dremel) can do wonders. That said, one should expect a manufactured game to not require modification like this.

    It's not too bad - I'd say they stay in the holes 80-90% of the time, but the rest of the time, it can be annoying. There are several posts on Board Game Geek Tide of Iron forums on the subject.

    It boils down to two things:

    You have to be careful not to press too hard when inserting the figures. If you don't press hard enough, though, they fall out.

    You have to be careful not to pull too hard when removing. If you pull too hard, you might damage the minis.

    This mechanical aspect of squad modularity in the game is quite apart from the historical "gamey-ness" of allowing players to customize squad composition. I could go either way on the topic, but somehow it doesn't seem right to customize squads. One could argue that one ends up doing the same thing in games like Squad Leader and Combat Commander: Europe, but it still seems wrong somehow.

    Otherwise a fine cross-over/transition board game from simple intro games like Memoir '44 to more complicated games.

  3. dan daly1:53 PM

    Yes, I've heard about the varying degrees of difficulty people have with getting the mini's in and out of the bases. I wasn't sure if that's what you were talking about. Thanks for elaborating. I'm about 99% sure ToI is going into my next game order. It sure looks fun.

    By the way- have you tried any of the "home remedies" for fixing the bases (drilling, etc) yourself? If so how did it go?

  4. No, I haven't tried drilling any bases. I don't anticipate doing so unless I put this game into regular play rotation - if I played this once a week, it might be worth it. As it is, I'll probably only play it once or twice a year until my kids are old enough to play (eight to ten years from now).

    Hopefully we haven't steered you wrong and you'll enjoy it.