Review: Black & White – grayscale army

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Black and white. Two primary colors. Colors, without which we can not imagine anything. Even if someone sees some beautiful scenery color, dark shadow gives it true contrast. Without them, it’s just craziness of coloring books, which does not have anything in common with reality. Well, that goes for war as well. Black and white are basic building blocks in here as well.

A black and white war spectacle was prepared for us by , who created and released the game with name . It was published under the auspices of with illustrations by .

Box comes also in stylish black and white, square shape and contains a fold-out board, which players put on the table with its hexagonal positions showing their battlefield. Everyone chooses one side, and therefore gets white or black stones. Those at the very beginning are covered with stickers, and thanks to that, stones have unit type on one side and level on the other. Players also encounter terrain tokens, cards, scenarios and commands in the box. Players choose a story, build their army, deploy terrain according to the scenario, together with units and receive command cards.

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During the game, players alternate in activation of their units and they always may use as many soldiers as they have activation tokens in their possession. Units are moving (they may even march to be faster, but lose whole turn while doing so) and attack each other, which is the only moment, when soldier reveals its true identity to the adversary.

When an active player attacks, he takes two dice, rolls them and subtracts their numerical results from each other. This outcome is a combat bonus, which will increase standard assault of used unit. Attack is successful, if the value is greater, than defense of the enemy. Such a defeated entity must reduce its size by one indicator (by turning the stone). Units can attack from afar, when they see their target. In addition, there are also guns and other elements, that push the struggle further.

When leaving a position adjacent to an enemy unit, player must pass so-called separation verification with dice. Of course, game uses terrain, which differs in slowing down units, but also trenches can be built, fire and smoke set. And important bonuses are gathered from the already mentioned order cards. But special skills are also present with all common units. The game goes on and follows instructions of the script. This scenario marks target and is divided into four basic types – deathmatch, positions defense, dominance or trying to sneak behind enemy lines. Each option determines winner in different manner.

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Black & White is a very sophisticated military game for two. Total of twenty scenarios are in offer, which is excellent news for everyone. Each variation comes as a different experience, and because of this, game has a huge potential.

At the beginning, you can see the emphasis on tactics. Players can build their armies in peace behind the screen. Because they can concentrate on their tactics and will be hiding their selected units onwards as well.

Game focuses not only on good positional play, but also is partly about hidden information. Just like in every ordinary battle, even generals do not have complete information about their opponents. They must therefore from time to time take risks. And perhaps a bit surprisingly, besides the classic tactic skills, dice also co-decide creating difference and increasing attack power. What matters is, that one hit is not enough to take unit down – it will alway take away only one life point. Rotating of stones to mark their lives works very well and intuitively. It looks like ideal way to mark condition of your units.

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The actual match is a war game, but quite fluent for what it is. Total time fits with most scenarios within sixty minutes of your time. In this area, players manage to use all their troops and their abilities and its seems just about right. And such short time is not so usual in this gaming genre.

Processing is appropriate. Greatest adornment in content concerns the illustrations, while wooden blocks are a good solution and sticking during unpacking is tiresome. But what is most disappointing is badly organized rulebook, which makes the game hard to learn.

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Black & White is a feat, that certainly will attract many war-focused players. If you like military conflicts and do not mind a bit of abstraction in wooden stones, then this game is a very good choice. It contains everything you’d expect from such a battle and it manages to entertain within a reasonable time. Moreover, it offers high replay value. Black & White is a bit random, but fun.

DesignerKrzysztof Matusik
ArtistRoman Kucharski
PublisherBomba Games
Year Published
# of Players2 - 2
User Suggested # of Players Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players
(6 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages12 and up
User Suggested Ages12 and up
(1 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(4 voters)
CategoryFantasy, Wargame
MechanicArea Majority / Influence, Dice Rolling, Grid Movement, Hexagon Grid, Memory, Secret Unit Deployment, Variable Player Powers
FamilyComponents: Block Wargames, Crowdfunding: Spieleschmiede
Primary NameBlack & White

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Black & White – grayscale army
Final word
Black & White is a wargame with wooden blocks. Troops can fight in various scenarios, that always works a little differently. A successful attack is marked by turning losing stone. Game is done as quite pretty one, but also offers all the tactical options, including terrain, special orders and other important elements. Before it all, players have secretly built an army for them. But to do so, they must wade through a not very well-ordered rulebook. Black & White as game works and entertains fans of military conflicts.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
excellent replayability
army building
thrilling battle
tactical options
playing time
scenarios
portion of the information is secret
Cons
random battles
poorly organized rulebook
4
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