North & South Clash in Virginia 1862 – More Aggressive Attitudes

More Aggressive Attitudes
Designer: John Theissen
Publisher: Hollandspiele
Art: Patrick Tremoureux
Year Published: 2017

Premise:
Major General John Pope took command of the new Army of Virginia, and he wanted to bring a more aggressive posture to the Federal command. When Stonewall Jackson’s Confederate wing moved north around the Union flank, Pope seized the opportunity to attack and attempt to destroy Jackson’s force. Robert E. Lee, in overall command of the southern army in the area, had no intention of sitting passively. He aggressively sent Longstreet’s wing to unite with Jackson, hoping to disrupt the US forces and commit to battle on favorable terms, even though the northerners had superior numbers. A number of battles were fought during this campaign, including the major battle of Second Bull Run.(1)

PRODUCTION QUALITY:
The overall production quality of the game components is very nice.
d10-1 The map, while small, if well designed and aptly sized for the scale of the game.
d10-2 The counters are really thick which eliminates the need to use tweezers to move counters around. They come with what I imagine is a sealant sprayed on them; this is a nice touch.
d10-3 The player aid cards are well done, but mine were miss-cut slightly; making the long edges not quite straight. It would have been nice had the movement table been included on the map instead of a display card. While it does not affect play in any way, it would have been better and more intuitive had it been on the map.
d10-5 The rulebook is nicely laid out and easy to read. It was nice to see the rulebook fit nicely into the box. Glad to see the box size upgraded to ensure everything fits nicely as it should. Nice touch guys!

GAMEPLAY:
The game was interesting and I’m not sure I mean that in the best light possible. The game itself was moderately enjoyable, but it seemed to be more of an exercise in futility for both players. The game focuses on a strategic scale and units being moved are armies. For the life of us, we could never bring enough force to bear at any one time to be able to take advantage of the betters odds on the CRT. It was truly a game of attrition and in that sense, it was kind of like a game of chess. The more I think about it, the more I am coming to grips with this game being a lot like chess. Every time I would move, my opponent would counter move and vice versa. Battles were moderately frequent but generally at pretty crappy odds. All in the hopes of getting lucky and breaking a stalled front.

The special events chits were an interesting mechanic that did add some diversity to the ebb and flow of the perpetual stalemated situation. From a design perspective, I found them enjoyable to employ. Keep in mind they are a dwindling resource that cannot be squandered but rather employed at the precise moment to get the most out of it.

PARTING SHOTS:
This was definitely not a game for me. I have read some other reviews and there are a number of people who really like this game; which excites me to know that maybe I am just an outlier on the enjoyable scale.  The game did not scratch that itch I was hoping it would. The game components with each new Hollandspiele game I receive is better than the last. For print on demand games, they are nicely produced, graphically appealing and just well done. To me, this particular campaign would have been more fun to explore if it was an operational scale and not a strategic scale. Please, don’t get me wrong, just because this game left me flat, you may love the game and the gameplay experience. There are enough other reviews out there to support that there is a good game here!

If I actually used a rating system, this would score somewhere in the middle of that scale. It’s not a bad or broken game from playthrough, but rather it just didn’t do anything for me personally.

~ Modoc

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(1) More Aggressive Attitudes web page

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