Sunday, November 17, 2019

[Review] Maquis Solo Board Game By Side Room Games

In your small French village during WWII, the Nazi occupiers walk the streets, policing the population and fighting the Resistance. But you will not stand for this oppression. You bravely fight for your country; hidden in the shadows, you strike; you are a member of the Maquis.
Maquis is a solo adventure board game by Side Room Games, makers of another fantastic solo game, Black Sonata. In Maquis, you have two weeks to complete two random missions from the Mission deck. You place your Resistance markers on the board representing your village, attempting to gather up supplies and weapons to complete your objectives. However, as you do so, the civilian police walk the streets, looking for dissidents. Sure, you can kill them, but then they are replaced by heavily-armed soldiers, increasing the challenge of the missions.

During setup, you place the morale marker next to the board. With each day, the morale of the town drops, and the military presence grows stronger, so you must complete your missions before it becomes impossible to do so. You then draw two mission cards and lay them at the top of the board, effectively adding two new "spaces" to the board. Each mission has different objectives, ranging for the simplistic "Officer's Mansion" (tag graffiti around the board to increase morale) to the difficult "Assassination" (kill all of the civilian police force). You place your pieces on the board with your objectives in mind. Need food? Stop by the Grocer's. Need a weapon? Take some money to the Fence and buy one. Need something in a hurry? Call in an airdrop at one of the Radio Towers, then race to the Field to pick it up. After each round, you must be able to move via a cleared path back to the Safe House. If your marker cannot do so, they are arrested and out of the game. (Fortunately, you can recruit more Resistance soldiers at the Cafe.)

Another interesting tactic is to use money to open new Safe Houses on the board, so if you are cut off, you can take refuge there. You can also use money to set up other resources on the board such as a Counterfeiter (print more money), Propagandist (increases morale), or Informant (provides intel). In fact, some missions require you to set up an additional resource as the mission cannot be completed with them (a Chemist's Lab is the only place you can get explosives, for example).
In the game shown here, my missions were "Officer's Mansion" (graffiti in three locations on the board, then tag the officer's mansion last) and "Aid the Spy" (bring weapons, money, and food to the hidden British operative). I tackled the graffiti first (shown by the yellow markers), but three of my operatives were arrested in the process. Fortunately I had recruited the cafe patrons to the cause and still had two to assist the spy. Sadly, while delivering the weapons, both recruits were out on the streets and were cut off from escaping back to the Safe House by two patrols that set up at the Grocers and Pont Leveque, ending the game.
This solo game is fantastically designed and incredibly replayable due to the 14 different missions you can undertake. The decisions you make each round directly affect future moves and actions, so the game never feels random or directionless. Thus far, I've played six games, but I haven't won yet, though I've come close. But that's life behind the lines as a member of the Maquis! Viva La Resistance!

1 comment:

  1. Just got my copy! I ran six scenarios last night, I managed a 50/50 rating, with some nail biters (and getting totally stomped once).

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