Votes for Women, is a bit different, why you ask? I can't recall any other game that comes with a discourse of well it's good and/or will be good because of the theme. Or another discourse that suggets playing as one side is an inherently bad thing and you should feel bad for playing as them. The game also simplistically uses men as the opposition and women as the suffargists, although there is historical references that outline that there were also women who opposed the movement, from a gameplay perspective its men. The game comes with bags of historic resources from the period, however, its a potentially dangerous line to walk from a gameplay perspective.
Votes for women is a political game published by Fort Circle Games, that feels like it borrows from other games like Twilight Struggle, The King is Dead and Dual Powers: Revolution 1917. But could it also be compared to a war game in a vain of say 878 viking? In that theres almost a creeking board presence as the tides for votes shift across the map, with the opposition presence sweeping from east to west in all of my games. While I found myself looking to build footholds and counter or reduce the emerging threats.
Votes for Women retails at around £64.99, I found it hard to say for certain as it's listed at different prices (RRP) across several sites.
Votes for women as a solo and cooperative game is driven by a oppo bot, which largely does a good job, although there are sometimes when I question whether logically a player would pick that state over another when placing cubes, but then its the fate of the dice.
Votes for women isn't constrained by a complex rule set, its enabled by a smooth easy to teach set of rules that has you playing a card on your turn and using that card as either the event, campaigning, organising or lobbying. All with slight nuances, that either see you rallying for support in a local area, organising members to gain organisational buttons, or lobbying congress to advance the amendment. The card play reminds me somewhat of 1754, or to some extent twilight struggle in that the decks are set into early, middle and late, so with more plays, you'll know what cards are still to come but also that meta game develops especially if you play head to head. And although there isn't a steep a learning curve as say twilight struggle, those with prior plays under their belt are likely to be at an advantage.
There is however, some confusion in game terms, with the game being played over 6 turns, which consists of 6 rounds. It feels messy and probably should be played over 6 rounds and in round you'll take 6 turns e.g play 6 cards. Although this is woven into the rules, theres always a bit of me that has a slight laspe of confusion when I have to redigest that pharsing.
And it's those latter turns (rounds) where as a cooperative or solo puzzle, I found the game unstitching itself from the theme its tried to woven itself to. As the game progresses you'll likely progress congress to pass the 19th amendment, which causes a sort of mid game/late game vote count, locking out states that have at least 4 cubes of one side.
And the oppo bot uses some basic rules for where it'll place new support, and if none of those criteria are met a dice roll is used to then determine where support will be placed. But that becomes unstuck as the game progresses and states become locked, meaning you're rerolling dice again and again and again, and this feels like it should have been cleaner or more intutive. In a game thats driven so strongly by theme, its the latter game that unfortunately let this game down. I also don't think the game comes with enough cubes, it says they aren't limited and you can use alternatives, in two of my three games the oppo bot ran out of cubes. Now you might argue that, hey Aaron that's a you problem play better! But I felt like I was combatting a never ending tide that I'd make headway on clearing in one region only for a mass of mew support to appear elsewhere meaning I was then redirecting efforts to ensure support was minimised.
As you know I rate games on a
- Buy or play
- Wait for sale or play if you like game XYZ
A mid review pivot as we look back to the original paragraph and the discourse this game has generated, would suggest that if you want to know more about this movement then this game is probably a buy or play. There's so much history here, and the extra news paper articles from the time that just add to this historical background. However, from a gamer perspective? Honestly, its kinda average from a gameplay perspective and doesn't really do anything new and there's a few niggles that for me hold it back. I didn't come away thinking oh this will go into my collection, it was more of a "I'd probably play that again". And for a £65 game, there isn't enough here to warrant that purchase.
So for me its a play if you enjoy these head to head political style games such as Twilight Struggle or even games like 878 vikings, it gave me a very similar feel, it might scratch that itch and if you get it to the table regularly as a head to head, I suspect that meta game will evolve. Although I believe the recommended way to play, according to the community is against the oppo bot, and I personally wouldn't for the reasons outlined.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Votes for Women to review, I wasn't paid for my time or for this review (consisting of 3 solo plays and approximately 2 hours writing and editing).