Board Churchill – Review of a dense policy strategy for the discerning

Churchill: The Big Three’s fight for peace

1-3 players | 1-5 hours from 14 years Czech

There are games that are played purely out of a desire to win. There are games that are played for their strategic qualities. There are games that are played for theme, atmosphere and experience. There are games that are played for the opportunity to take on the role. Next to them is the Churchill board, which is all in all. An incredibly powerful experience, sophisticated strategy and roleplaying against the background of faithfully crafted history, which can surprisingly entertain.

Churchill is not like most board games that are published in the Czech Republic. It belongs to the more marginal genre of token games, although in this case it is more of a political game than a war game. Churchill is a game for demanding players who are no longer afraid of anything.

Yet it is not one of the most difficult. The rules are 18 pages in all, and a tutorial scenario playing only the last three of the ten conferences that form the core of the whole experience can help you get into the game. In the role of a representative of one of the three powers, you will sit at a round table, discuss with others and try to achieve a common goal – to end the German rampage and with it the Second World War.

Churchill is intended primarily for three players, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, who cooperate in terms of theme and try to end the world conflict once and for all. Nevertheless, it is not a purely cooperative game. Even if you want to end the war together, everyone wants to secure the best position in the planned post-war world until the beginning of the Cold War.

So you only have to work together to the extent that you benefit from working together. As a result, Churchill is playing points, but these are just a reflection of how you will develop your network of secret services around the world, how you will manage to work with troops on battle fronts, how much you will hear at conferences or whether you will be able to deal with nuclear weapons. .

You are trying to achieve all this through the mentioned conferences. There are ten of them in a full-fledged game that will take you all evening (five or more hours), and each represents one large game round consisting of many partial moves.

First of all, there is a round table discussion where various topics are discussed. The players literally take them to the middle of the table and then tug on them. Your staff is represented by a personal deck of cards (if you played the famous Watergate, then it’s a practically identical principle).

You simply draw a historical figure card with a certain value, by which you move the given topic across the table towards you and at the same time perform the effect of the card. Subsequently, the other players at the table have the opportunity to discuss the topic with you, ie to draw the card as a counter-proposal, and instead drag the topic to their side by the difference in values.

This is how the conference lasts until all the players have played all their cards, after which they get all the topics on their side of the table and are executed. Thus, the power that has acquired the theme of the development of the atomic bomb will move closer to its completion. A power that has received a production token will borrow its resources from another power to support some of its fronts in Europe or the Pacific.

Churchill: The Big Three's fight for peace

Although Churchill’s game is purely mechanical, the cards are played on numbers and effects, so everything is perfectly linked to the historical theme. Behind the cards you can actually see historical figures, behind the wooden blocks there are troops making their way to Germany and Japan.

Behind the tug-of-war, you can actually see discussing topics where diplomacy among the players comes into play (well, I’ll leave you my production token, which actually helps you to the resources so you can support landing in Normandy, but you leave me this topic again, which will help me overseas).

The character traits of the individual powers add juice to the discussions, where, for example, the Soviets are better at discussing the proposals of others, the Americans have priority in the case of indecisive discussions, and the British are masters at what topics will be at all.

In the introduction, I revealed that the game Churchill can amuse, despite the difficult topic. This is, for example, due to the fact that if Churchill himself (and therefore not one of his staff on the card) intervenes in the discussion, he may get upset and get out of the next conference. In the case of America, a president’s resignation could result in his death, with one of his followers taking his place.

Stalin’s game is particularly humorous (apart from the tragic nature of the matter), whose committee does not tolerate incompetence and its members shoot in their own ranks, thus permanently depriving players of cards from the deck and with them about the possibility of discussing topics.

All this, heart attacks, Roosevelt’s death and executions in the Soviet ranks, are solved by a roll of the dice, which you will not affect in any way. And while it may seem controversial in a strategy game, it brings a great sense of insecurity, tension, surprise to the game and helps to create the unique atmosphere that prevails in the game.

Yes, you can play Churchill dryly, calculatingly, think a few moves ahead and go hard on your own. But a lot more fun arises when you play your roles, you cooperate, but here and there you stab in the back. When you play not only the game but also the monarchs.

This is the only way to ensure a really great atmosphere, where you will really feel like sitting at a round table and dealing with unimaginably difficult situations, where decisions are made about the further development of all of humanity. And you will enjoy it even if the topic doesn’t tell you that much.

Churchill: The Big Three's fight for peace

I am proof of that. History is generally not one of my hobbies. I live in the present and look forward to the future. But here, the historical conflict is so engaging and unique in terms of gameplay that I became very interested in the first game.

This is also because knowledge of history is good for you during the game. The rules won’t tell you, but if you have no idea when certain significant events took place during World War II, you will make indelible mistakes. For example, if you allow the Soviets to open the Pacific Front too soon, which will greatly facilitate the American invasion of Japan, and thus make it easier for Roosvelt players to win the game. With knowledge of history, it will not happen to you, otherwise it will happen to you once and next time, of course, you will pay attention to it.

Churchill is much more complex than trying to paint it in a digestible way. It contains countless small nuances, especially in the field of battlefields, where you scatter your intelligence networks, expand your influence across countries, flirt with the movement of troops on various fronts, compete for command of the battlefield providing much-needed resources to allocate offensive power to your fronts, global themes regulating the rules of the game for everyone and so on.

By that I mean that this is really a hardcore matter for very experienced boarders, who have no problem going through the list of ten bullets that govern the local artificial intelligence of the German and Japanese forces.

Churchill: The Big Three's fight for peace

At the same time, it is a very long game that only makes sense in its full form of ten conferences, because otherwise you will lose the beginning of the game and the script will artificially set what actually happened to your game. But if you choose the full game as your first game, expect that one evening will not be enough for you.

Churchill is exceptional not only for its theme, atmosphere, strategic possibilities and complexity, but also for its very clever scoring style, which perfectly reflects the need to cooperate, but also the desire to win alone.

This reflects the difference in points between players. Assuming that Japan surrendered to Germany after the Allied invasion, the ideal end of the game, the player with the most points can only win if the difference between him and the player with the least points does not exceed twenty.

So you have to try not to run for too many points, because otherwise you will cause a so-called broken coalition, when the other two players join you after the war, add up their victory points and if they have more than you, the better one will win. It’s a great uncertainty that forces you to either put everything into trouble for both of your opponents, or tame and win by just a hair.

Churchill: The Big Three's fight for peace

But the eventuality still hangs in the air, when by the end of the tenth conference you will not be able to cause the surrender of Japan and Germany. In this case, the player with the most points simply wins with the hook that the current leader first loses five points, the second player loses three and the last player gets five.

In short, scoring Churchill can be chaotic and complicated, but it also gives the game adequate cooperation, short-term alliances, and an absurd fear of being the first to keep running away from your opponents with little or no, but nothing between team.

The Churchill board is a famous strategic experience, which at least on the Czech market is unlike anything at all. The game has a huge depth and perfectly combines clever game mechanics with precisely processed historical facts. The ignorant of the topic can learn a little, but the experts will benefit from their knowledge during the game.

If you are looking for a challenge, a really big, long, sophisticated and thematically dense game and you are close to history, you should definitely consider Churchill as another candidate expanding your now certainly large collection of games.


Source: Games by games.tiscali.cz.

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