I feel like every time I play a COIN game, my brain has to destroy old memories to make room. I think Falling Sky cost me second grade. Eh, no big.
This one feels way different than any other COIN I’ve played. The big difference is that there’s no shared frenemy victory condition. In Liberty or Death for example, both the British and the Indians benefit from Support in the colonies. Falling Sky is a free for all! The synergies and interdependencies between the factions are very subtle.
The other difference, which is neat, is that there are three Gaul factions and then Rome all by its lonesome. All the Gauls use the same commands, and are differentiated by special abilities and victory conditions.
Edit: another big difference is the presence of an automated fifth faction, the Germanic tribes, which the Belgics can kind of use to their advantage (not really) but mostly exist to wreck everyone’s shit each winter. There was an event card that required we pencil out how they actually worked (something along the lines of “muster in the middle of Belgia and then romp!”) and I confess this was thirty minutes of not-fun.
So we played the short version of the medium scenario, which is kind of the default setup. I played the Belgic tribes, which are poised to win right out of the gate if Rome doesn’t hoof it north and put a boot in their ass. The Arverni want to straight murder legionnaires but they’re not set up to do that right away. The Aedui are allegedly just kind of Roman boosters and traders, but the sequence of event cards meant that they were terrifying at swapping other Gauls for their Gauls. But while Aedui was hitting Arverni, Rome was turtling and my Belgics ran away with it by the first Winter.
I don’t count learning games as victories and I can already see the next time we play that setup, the Belgics are getting a boot in their ass.
I had a really hard time connecting with the game, I think, because I don’t really know the history that well. The leader names are hard to pronounce, the locations look familiar (western Europe) but it’s hard to figure out where things are by their Latin names, and the game feels mostly political, not fighty. It’s gonna take a couple more plays to hash it out I think.
I’ve seen a couple people talk up Falling Sky as the new best introduction to COIN. I’m not so sure! Might be true if you love ancient warfare. And it is objectively true that the map is much smaller and the rules are simpler (specifically, there’s no support/oppose element and no LOC rules). But lordy…I thought it was the most difficult of all the games so far to suss out how you actually win.