Actually this IS Sparta

Quartermaster General is a little bit different. It’s a card driven conquest game that ditches the classic model of moving dudes around a map and replaces it with a simpler one where you build a chain of units across the map to claim territories. The sizzle here is if any unit cannot trace an uninterrupted path back to a friendly city at the end of your turn you lose them. Cut a snake in two and the head dies. So does she tail but you get the idea.

The game is simplicity itself. You have a hand of seven cards and when it’s your turn you play an action card. An action card might muster a unit (naval or land). Attack someone next to one of your dudes. Trigger some event. Prepare a card to be used later or put in place a long lasting benefit to you.

But wait I’m jumping the gun (not that there’s any guns) the game in question is the third iteration of the series. Death or Glory is set in the ancient world around the Mediterranean and sees the Athenians and the Delian League (the Demos) going toe to toe with the Oligarchs of Sparta and Corinth. It’s the Peloponnesian War baby and players have a vague idea whom people are. Well the Spartans at any rate. It’s not as obvious as WW2 how teams will operate but it won’t take long to figure them out.

The map although not exactly smaller than the ww2 one is more focused. The Spartan and Athenian’s capitals are the equivalent of London and Berlin and a lot of action revolves around these two not so far from each other cities.

I may have been economic with the truth when I said you only play one card per turn. You can also play a facedown prepare card that can be revealed in a future turn. You have to discard a card to do this and the rub is you have a limited amount of non recycling cards in your deck. There’s fifteen turns to get through and some players have smaller decks than others. It’s all too easy to overstretch and run out of cards after which you can do NOTHING except lose a point per turn for your team you no card eejit.

There’s a variety of one shot cards that force opponents to discard cards and ones that grant you a muster of troops on some distant spot. Knowing the deck would help but interestingly everyone can see the distribution of cards for each player on a helpful player card. Studying it you can see the Spartans have very few muster ship cards but a stack of land attacks and so on.

A new feature and one that suits the setting is bribing the locals to supply your troops. During your turn you can burn one of your precious cards from your draw deck to buy a coin which can be used at any time to keep a unit in supply should they be out of reach of friendly vittles.

One of the things I really like about this series is despite being team v team it’s not 1v1 with team bolted on like so many other games. You really feel you are your own nation despite being part of a team.

Games are fun. Once the turn is figured it’s quite quick. The map and cards are fine, not inspired an the jelly baby like units are sufficient. It feels a little cheap but not Terraforming Mars cheap.

Although the game is pretty simple there’s a bit of learning to be had in the cards themselves and how each nation plays out. If you haven’t played quartermaster general WW2 and only have 4 players this is well worth a look. Likewise if you’ve played too much WW2 and need a fresh start. I’m curious now as to how the WW1 version plays. Time to investigate.



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