I have continued to paint up my AWI forces; received an order from Old Glory but I have become distracted by baseball and a game I ordered 2 years ago- Mr President.
Now most readers of this blog are from the US. In my experience having lived in europe for 8 years, most miniature gamers in europe haven't played board games like Squad Leader or Wooden Ships and Iron Men. They jump from Airifix toy soldiers straight to miniatures. Many US gamers either cut their teeth on board games or play both. I cut my teeth on board games and will still occasionally play them; normally if they are strategic in nature. I have Fire in the Lake from GMT and it is great. They advertised a solitaire game where you are the president of the united states. It looked very immersive so I pre ordered it 2 years ago and it arrived last week. Since many miniature games won't have heard of it I thought I would give a narrative review of the first quarter of my second year as president.
The game from GMT. Very immersive and very long!
Since this is my second year we start with the state of the union. I focus on the successes we had last year and talk about how we will need teamwork to deal with the Taliban [ I plan to invade soon] and gun violence dividing our country. [ had an event card late last year that caused a domestic crisis on this issue. One great thing about this game is that it is apolitical. You "solve" issues but it doesn't tell you how you solve them so it doesn't drive an agenda.] Well I nail the speech and my realtionship with congress goes up by 1, my popularity in the polls up by 3 [6%] and I get to introduce a new bill in congress because they are dying for my leadership.
I introduce education reform because it is one of my priorities. Please note on this picture that I have key supporters in congress [white] and key opponents [black]. This also is great for the immersion and working with these folks is part of the job.
Next is an economy check. The economy is doing well. This gives us several more action points to use and allows us to spread some money around. I use the money to send aid packages to Israel and Saudi. The middle east is a mess and it is good to have close friends there.
Now we see how our strategic military initiatives are doing. With a robust economy we have been working on two. Ivan Mercer [SecDef] briefs me that we are keeping ahead of the Russians and Chinese [ our two main opponents] in both cyber and space; very good!
Next I set the priorities for my cabinet to be working on for the year.
This represents all the other secretaries and the executive branch not explicitly in the game. I need to keep our nation safe so homeland security will be job #1. #2 will be making the executive branch more effective. This helps with action points and some die rolls. #3 is the press. The media can sink you so we want people working our social media. #4-6 are less important to me and they are domestic issues, congress and the economy. Domestic issues we can deal with if needed, our relationship with congress is already great as is the economy.
Next each cabinet member and myself get to do an action.
My energetic chief of staff works the hill because we need bipartisen support for our legislation and she also whips our staff into shape. [ She gets a bonus action!]
My Secretary of state Bo works on decreasing tension between NATO and Russia successfully while overseeing our efforts to bolster trust in the west for Poland and Hungary. [Bo also gets a bonus action and Russian hit eastern europe with cyber attacks last year that has shaken their confidence in withstanding Russia.]
SecDef Ivan works on our invasion plan for Afganistan by moving forces into the region as do I.
Our VP works on lowering the domestic crisis on gun violence.
Now either Russia or China acts for the whole year. This time it is Russia. China will act later. I have to say the bots are brilliant in this game.
First Russia catches up in cyber warfare. We do not want to fall behind these guys! Next they eat our lunch spying. First they steal Israeli war plans and pass them on to Iran. [ These guys are fighting and now Israel is pissed as us. So much for our bribe, I mean gift earlier.] Then somehow they steal our missile defense plans. Is anyone helping me in our government? Then they spread false stories through facebook and get everyone in congress riled up at everyone else so bipartisanship and my relationship with congress both go down by 1. In eastern europe they undo Bo's hard work by again attacking Poland and Hungary through facebook and economically. Finally, to be petty, they block the renewal of sanctions against North Korea. Wow, that all hurt!
In response I get to do three actions. Doesn't seem like much.
First we launch a successful raid on a level 2 terrorist group in the middle east that actually destroys them. I have all my intel assets their which helps.
Next Bo sends his team back to eastern europe but this time they fail to make any headway with our eastern european friends.
Finally, our relationship with Russia can't be any worse. We arrange a summit and Bo goes and improves relations.
Next we get to draw several event cards...
This isn't good. Why won't people listen to their president! I need to get bills passed and I am in good standing with my party. I will take the hit with my party and call for us to come together and pass my legislation! The public is behind my me, I gain a new ally.
Ouch. Energy independence was not on my radar. Guess it will be for next year. Fortunately our economy is strong.
Now some allies act and one rouge state. There are 4 groups and they each act during the year. This time first up is the UK, Japan and North Korea.
The UK shares our concern about eastern Europe and they help stabilize the area. Good show old chap!
Japan helps locate a terrorist group in the Philippines and appeals to the UN for humanitarian aid for the Middle East. Their appeal fails.
North Korea makes noise.
Now I get to see how well my cabinet is doing on my priorities that we talked about above. They are having success imrpoving homeland secruity and cabinet efficiency as well as helping the VP with gun violence. Not too much traction with the press.
I get 3 more actions before we do the legislative session. I have the VP and COS work the hill improving bipartasanship so we can pass bills while I take to the airwaves to press for passage of my landmark bill about freedom and equality.
As congress gets down to business this is where we stand...
On easy mode your party controls congress which helps deciding which bills get brought up for vote. You can see I have more friends than opponents and they are more skilled. Finally there is enough bipartisan cooperation that we can vote on 2 bills. I ran on health care reform and it easily passes congress with the help of a new friend, Javier Cruz from CA. I also pick up a new and dangerous opponent Chole Johnson from South Carolina. The first stage of my sweeping freedom bill also passes. I get to introduce 2 bills which I do. You bet one of them is energy independence! A great session of congress!
Unfortunatly there is no time to rest on our laurels. More cards must be drawn!
First one is actually good. There are no terrorist groups in Europe but this should help later.
The second card is not good news. China increases her influence in the region. Bo will have to do some work once we get this war out of the way.
Rats and now there is a level 3 terror group there. Going to need to spend some time and money down here or it is going to get out of hand.
But now it is time to get rid of this rouge state called the taliban led Afganistan...
In this game it appears best to go in with overwhelming force and get victory quickly.
My forces are aligned plus 2 carrier groups off shore. We do not achieve surprise but the time has come to free Afganistan from tyranny!
A cyber attack disrupts their C+C and it is like desert storm all over again. [ I rolled very well. there is a 30% chance of a guerilla war but we avoid that.] The public and the world applaud. We will suffer some negative effects at the end of the year.
And that my friends is one quarter of a turn [year] of Mr President.
Very Immersive Game
Excellent AI opponents
Less than Good Points
Need a very large space to play
This game takes a loong time. The box states 8-12 hours. I don't see myself ever getting it down to less than 16.
For the solo gamer with time and space I think this is a great game even though there are no miniatures required!