Thursday, March 23, 2017

Afghanistan '11 Gameplay Review

I'm playing Afghanistan '11, a turn-based strategy game by Every Single Soldier and Slitherine.

The game features a series of campaign missions based on real-life events and a skirmish mode on randomized maps. The objective is to win the hearts and minds of the local population by destroying hostile units (militia and the Taliban), clearing IEDs, visiting villages, connecting towns to the road network, and providing UN aid. Units can be purchased using political points, including basic infantry, special forces (which can train units and scout rough terrain), MRAPs to transport infantry, the Buffalo to build stuff (roads, waterworks, FOBs), the Husky to detect IEDs, supply trucks to transport goods, and a variety of helicopters for fast but expensive movement. Each unit has a specific amount of action points available each turn, which are used to move and perform orders. Ending a turn outside of a friendly base of FOB spends food or fuel; units without these precious items are immobilized and destroyed. Entering a village with an infantry unit may gain intel on the position of enemy units, while recon drones, airstrikes, and emergency supplies may be deployed. FOBs can be constructed in strategic locations in order to extend supply lines and serve as a launching point for future offensives. Combat is straightforward with easy-to-decipher winning percentages displayed before the fight begins. Elections can provide useful bonuses if the “right” candidate wins. Afghanistan '11 is unique because of the asymmetrical nature of the gameplay, and the different ways of approaching each scenario give some strategic variety and replay value.