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on September 20, 2017
I owned the original version of this game and I can tell you it caused much dissention amongst good friends. Some long term! Try and play with strangers and save yourself grief. Game play is basically the same but the markers are now made of cardboard (instead of plastic or metal) and the board is probably half the thickness of the original. I don't understand why they went so cheap. I would have gladly paid extra for the original pieces and board. I went and scored a good deal on a basically new 1999 version of the game with the metal pieces on an auction site. Wound up returning this. If you have never played this before and you enjoy turn-based war games, or you want to recap old memories of back-stabbing past, pick this up. For all my old-school friends look for a used version you will likely hate the paper artillery, ships, and whatnots.
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on December 27, 2014
This is a fantastic game because it relies on complex strategies, like chess, where you have to consider multiple different possible moves and outcomes, but has a very pronounced human element, as well. There is a learning curve but by the third game everyone is very much up to speed, and even the first game is not too difficult, but play may proceed more slowly. What makes it interesting is the interpersonal dynamics of the negotiations between moves. Luck is mainly a result of player choices, there are no dice. The difficulty is getting enough players--you really should have at least five players or more to have the most fun with it. The game tonight involved five---France, Germany, and Turkey allied against Russia and Austria-Hungary, and although outnumbered, Russia-Austria-Hungary was holding their own and pressing Germany hard and within a couple campaigns of destroying Turkey when the game was halted. France had a giant army and Navy (having stayed largely out of the conflict!) but was in no position to defend or help either of its allies. This particular set has a great board and good maps but the pieces are punched out of cardboard. I recommend using Risk wooden blocks for the armies and the Risk beans for navies. Works much better than the cardboards. The flags made out of cardboard, however, are fine.
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on December 17, 2016
If you hate your friends, this is the game for you.
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on December 26, 2017
Great game, and this anniversary edition is well-crafted and pleasing to the eye. Only quibble is that the color scheme of the units is not suitable for low light conditions or even the slightest colorblindness. I found that we had to play with some of the close color hues distinguished by placing the units with the plain side up. I will be cutting myself a different set of unit pieces.
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on December 17, 2017
Everything is fairly well made. The cardboard pieces old up well and nothing has broken after generous usage.

If you do get a copy, I'd recommend picking up a few small plastic bags too. The box doesn't have any compartments for organizing the pieces which creates a bit of a mess when trying to find the proper pieces during gameplay. Other than that, everything works as it should.
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on August 27, 2017
To get the most out of this game you have to have enough people (and enough time). It's truly more about the diplomacy and player interactions and not the actual game mechanics. That said, the mechanics seemed pretty complex and took quite a while to understand. I feel like this game gets played more online.
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on March 12, 2016
Best board game of all time. Want to know if your friends respect you or not, in 45 minutes you can find out. Then you can think about it for the next few hours as your "friends" slowly wipe you off the map. Very intense game, not for those who take things personally.
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on January 5, 2014
If you can get 6 people to play with you, no game comes even close to competing with this. A group of 6 isn't optimal but it is doable. Anything less than that doesn't allow the game to shine. This game will get everyone to break a few friendships. No chance is involved making alliances and backstabbing a necessity. A witted mind and a sharp tongue help immensely. Having all moves happen at the same time makes back stabbing someone easier and so much more hurtful. It is well worth the price if you can find a suitable number of friends to play with you.
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on May 14, 2015
If you have 7 people and a whole day to kill, this game is great. Don't plan for anything less than 6 hours, though. (Hence 4 stars, 'cuz it's just *too* long AND if there is even one "weak link" it seriously unbalances the game)

The board shows pre-WWI Europe and the seven players take on the role of each of the seven powers. An 8th person to be gamemaster would help (as noted by other reviewers), or you need one or two players to have studied (and basically memorized) the rule book. Game play is relatively straightforward:
1) negotiate with other players to develop alliances and determine others' intentions
2) write your orders secretly
3) reveal & resolve orders
4) retreat defeated units / lose overwhelmed units (who have no retreat option) // add new units (after Fall turn) for countries that captured more cities.

The only randomness in this game is human nature- which is plenty! This game is not about the components or the theme, it's all about the player interactions. Even relatively reluctant players get pulled into it and end up having lots of fun- everything is laid out on the board, and the game really boils down to "how well can you convince your neighbor to do what you want?"

Just make sure that you're really good friends with the people you play with- and you all know not to take things personally: Deal breaking is just business.
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on November 18, 2016
Fun game but it requires a lot of strategy. You also have to be willing to do a little backstabbing;p
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