|Gears of War: The Board Game | Published 02 September 2011|
"I shall remain vigilant and unyielding in my pursuit of the enemies of the Coalition. I will defend and maintain the order of life as it was proclaimed by the Allfathers of the Coalition in the Octus Canon. I will forsake the life I had before so I may perform my duty as long as I am needed. Steadfast, I shall hold my place in the machine and acknowledge my place in the Coalition. I am a Gear."
–Oath of the Coalition, sworn by all Recruits
To say the least, the soldiers of the Coalition of Ordered Governments take the team dynamic seriously. Indeed, their oath to “hold [a] place in the machine and acknowledge [a] place in the Coalition” speaks to their unwavering adherence to the group mentality. After all, in the thick of combat against an unyielding foe, a COG must be able to depend on the skills and dedication of the man or woman watching his back. The results are undeniable; a team of well trained COGs moves like a single, perfect killing machine.
With the recent release of Gears of War™: The Board Game, hobby game enthusiasts across the world are quickly learning (in some cases, the hard way) the importance of planning, communication, and solidarity in battle. True to the tense action of the popular video game series, Corey Konieczka’s clever design ensures that players who venture off alone to gun down stray Drones quickly find themselves cut off and overwhelmed. How can you and your team avoid this fate?
The right COG, the right tactics
While every COG has the potential to be a valuable team player, some have special abilities that are more directly beneficial in team play than in solo. With his pre-war history as a successful Thrashball star, it’s no surprise that the best team player is Augustus Cole. Cole’s special ability lets him use guard reaction abilities () even when the rules would normally restrict it; his player can treat any card in his hand as if it had the guard reaction icon. More importantly, he may guard even if another player has already done so during that turn!
It’s important to note, therefore, that Cole should almost never be the first COG to use a guard reaction on a given turn. By playing a guard reaction, he precludes that reaction’s use by his teammates. If a different COG guards first, however, Cole still has the right to pull off his signature move. And why wouldn’t you want to maximize your team’s possible guard reactions on every turn? The best defense, after all, is a strong offense.
Yet as valuable as the guard reaction ability is, nothing beats the follow reaction ability () in terms of tight teamwork. When this remarkable tactic is well executed, the result is a team that’s in formation and ready for action at a moment’s notice. By discarding Order cards with the “follow” icon, any number of COGs can run alongside a teammate, consolidating their forces! It’s undoubtedly a strong ability, but with such powerful tactics come difficult choices.
Mutually beneficial orders
For example, let’s take a closer look at the Order cards themselves. Of the 54 included Order cards, there are 18 each of guard, dodge, and follow reaction ability icons. Now, let’s look at the Order cards that have text effects that are explicitly useful in team play – in other words, the cards that can directly benefit fellow COGs. They are: Dig in, Sit Tight, Blind Fire, Teamwork, and Cover Fire.
Looking at all five of these team-oriented cards together, one thing becomes clear: the dodge reaction icon () is nowhere to be seen.
The dodge reaction is perhaps the most “selfish” of the reaction abilities. It protects you and you alone. In short, the most self-serving reaction icon is most common on the cards with the most self-serving text effects. The opposite holds true as well, making team-centered cards an even more precious commodity.
As you combat the Locust Horde in your desperate attempt to save humanity from annihilation, you’ll have plenty of reasons to discard all-important Order cards. Your hand, after all, serves as a health meter, a selection of tactics, a pool of reaction abilities, or a currency for certain other special actions. The choice of which Order to discard is often an agonizing one. So when you’re deciding, just be sure to consider what’s best for the team.
Gears of War: The Board Game, designed by Corey Konieczka, is based on the wildly popular third-person shooter by Epic Games. One to four players take on the roles of COG soldiers cooperating to destroy the Locust horde, and must work together to complete missions against an ingeniously challenging and varied game system.
@Fryd Pickles read the text..
"You may guard even if another player has guarded this turn"
But can Cole us the guard action more than once on himself?
@ Klaus: Hast du es schon?
The game is on sale in Ottawa, Canada but I'm giving it a miss.
My Game should be delivered by next week & I can't wait to get it on the Table(although I must)
It should be in my favorite shop here in Cologne tomorrow. Looking forward to trying it out.
Looks like it'll be fun, shame the price tag is just to much for me.