Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bosworth -- Intense fun

There's a lot of satisfaction to be found in playing a game that rewards long-term plans, clever combinations and deep strategy.

But sometimes you can have a lot of fun with a game that's none of those things -- like Bosworth.

Billed as the game "you already know how to play," Bosworth essentially throws chess armies onto a quarter-sized chess board for a close range knife fight of a game. each player starts with four pawns, which have slightly expanded movement over their true chess namesakes, and has another dozen pieces (the rest of a standard chess army) in reserve to be entered into play in the player's camp, a special four-square area on each board edge. These camps are playable spaces during the first part of the game, but when a player no longer has pieces available to enter in the camp the empty camp spaces become impassible.

I have the original, 1998 card-version, which uses John Kovalic illustrations, but the game can be played with standard chess pieces and there are variant themes shown on Boardgame Geek as well.

In the card-based version I have the player doesn't have complete control over which cards are available. Instead the player has a "hand" of four cards to enter on the camp as spaces become available and draws from the reserve pile to refill the hand to four each turn.

This week we got to play a four-player game for the first time, which is definitely the best way to play. While the game can be played 2-player or 3-player, the 4-player configuration is best. The 2-player game is a little too chess-like and in the 3-player version the middle player starts with a rather disadvantaged position, but with four players the game really comes into its own. Long-range planning is tough with three other people moving in-between every move opportunity you have.

So instead you have to play very opportunistically. It's a fast-moving game, so we used it to cap off a day of wargaming. It ended up being close, but Mike P. came out on top in game with yours truly, Dave and the Little General Who Will Soon Be 10.

1 comment:

  1. Never heard of this game before, but Im going to give it a go. Sounds great. Thanks for the heads up.