Continuing the lock down theme, I wanted to post about one of my own recent board game co-designs. You can now play Europe Divided online via two popular platforms: Tabletop Simulator and Tabletopia.
I’m terrible at self-promoting. But Europe Divided is a game I’m very proud of. The bulk of the work was done by co-designer David Thompson, who through his job lived through much of this history first hand. I came on board to help euro-fy what became a genuine euro/war game hybrid. What we ended up with was a two-player card-driven area control game with strong resource management elements. But that plays out in a one-hour time frame. But it is also rich in recent post Cold War history, with the two sides feeling noticeably different to play.
What is Europe Divided?
On the one side, Russia feels simpler to play. You start with a smaller set of cards you can cycle through quickly, making you more agile. Your objectives tend to be laser-sighted, earning small amounts of points but being easier to achieve throughout the game. Early and learning plays often go the way of Russia. It feels as if you can play more tactically than your opponent as your plans are more easily defined.
The EU/NATO player has to manage their deck better. It has the benefit of several rich, powerful nations. But these are offset by those who contribute much less. Especially in the second half of the game, its objectives tend to be more wide ranging and harder to achieve. After all, you’re trying to manage the requirements of two cumbersome organisations. But to back these more strategic elements, the NATO/EU player has better funding. Played skilfully, Western Europe momentum can be hard to stop.
Taking one side each, you battle for control of key eastern European regions from the end of the cold war right up to the present day. But this is a battle of influence, not of combat. Military strength is represented, but no dice are rolled. This has seen many draw comparisons with Twilight Struggle. But Europe Divided is a lighter, faster experience. And it has similar feelings of strategic depth and ominous recent history. You can find out more about the game here, where I talk about the design process.
Play Europe Divided online
Tabletopia (above) is a free online portal for playing board games within your internet browser. You can play ‘hot seat’ or ‘online’, so can play with a housemate or a friend anywhere in the world. There’s a link to the rules on the web page. But this site is unscripted. You’ll be virtually flipping cards and rolling dice by clicking them, so need to know what you’re doing. But its a smooth experience and does give that extra ‘real’ feel, compared to the likes of Board Game Arena. Check out Europe Divided on Tabletopia. As an added bonus, Witless Wizards is also available.
Tabletop Simulator (below) works in a similar way to Tabletopia. You need to know the rules to the game and you manipulate all the in-game pieces yourself. Tabletop Simulator has been around since 2015. And has become a favourite site for play-testing, especially during lock down. You download it as you would a computer game. But once you have it, there’s loads of downloadable content for top games – much of it free. Tabletop Simulator is available from Steam for £15. Check out Tabletop Simulator here. Or you can download Europe Divided here if you already have TS.
But the best way to play Europe Divided is face to face. Both David and I really appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the game.