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Digital Subscriptions > The Best Games of 2019 > The Best Games of 2019 > MILITO

MILITO

Bitesize battles that don’t take an age to play

MILITO

Bitesize battles that don’t take an age to play

War was endemic in the ancient world; history is littered with the ashes of civilisations and the bones of the slain. Aiming to recreate these fierce struggles on the tabletop, Milito sells itself as a card-based, diceless wargame for two players. the game is a reskinned version of Field of Glory from designer Martin Wallace, its main new feature being six nation-specific decks in contrast to its predecessor’s generic two.

the setup is simple. Five terrain cards are drawn from a deck of nine and laid in a horizontal line between the players. Most of these cards represent plains, although there’s also three cards for a forest, a hill and rough terrain, which all have diTherent effects on gameplay. Each card in the line is a column players seek to control; capturing three wins the game.

Players choose their army by taking the appropriate deck. Each contains a number of diTherent unit types, most of which are exclusive to that force. Each army has diTherent strengths – the Republican Romans boast hard-as-nails elite infantry, for example, whilst the

Carthaginians have mighty war elephants at their disposal. Each faction is balanced against the others, although the Ancient British – who lack any heavy hitters – take a bit of mastering to play correctly.

Every deck is split between leader and unit cards, though only the latter are deployed in columns. Combat is resolved by comparing the attack and defence values of two units, which are modified with a card from the respective player’s hand or top of the deck. Modiffer cards are played facedown and then simultaneously revealed. Whilst unit cards played as modiffers have no effect, leader cards confer benefits or penalties to a unit’s stats, and occasionally have special bonuses for specific troops as well. It’s a simple way of adding uncertainty to combat, and revealing one’s card makes for a nice ‘a-ha!’ moment in a turn.

Milito’s rules are straightforward, though since victory is usually only a turn away beginners may need a few playthroughs to get the hang of things. the leader cards and the way that units can opt to withdraw convey a suitably ‘historical’ sense to the proceedings, conjuring up images of generals galloping behind the lines to issue orders and units attacking in feints. That said, Milito still feels like a straightforward card game with a historical warfare theme, rather than its self-styled description as a wargame that’s been translated into a card game. This isn’t necessarily a criticism, but it seems unlikely that anyone transitioning from a wargame to Milito is going to feel like the gameplay has been replicated to any great degree.

Overall, Milito is a popcorn game – a short, pleasant experience, but one that leaves little impression after playing it. If you’re a fan of ancient warfare games and often find yourself with half an hour to kill this may be the title for you, though it wouldn’t go down as one of history’s great tragedies if you gave it a pass.

JAMES WINSPEAR

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

► Nine terrain cards

► Achaemenid

Persian deck

► Alexandrian

Macedonian deck

► Ancient British deck

► Carthaginian deck

► Imperial Roman deck

► Republican

Roman deck

WE SAY

A bite-sized game of ancient combat, Milito is fun whilst it lasts but provides little beyond that.

TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED… BATTLE RAVENS

Another capture-three-of-five-columns title, Battle Ravens’ cardboard figure conflict succeeds where Milito fails by capturing the essence of a historical wargame and translating it into a different genre.

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About The Best Games of 2019

Must Plays and more in our Best Games of 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Over the next 196 pages discover all of the most positively reviewed games of the year. With a massive 181 games reviewed, this is the definitive “what to play next” guide of 2019! Games reviewed include: Wingspan Copenhagen Hellboy: The Board Game Res Arcana Lifeform Century: A New World Megacity: Oceania Pandemic: Fall of Rome Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Rough Nights & Hard Days Azul: Stained Glass of Sinatra Tapestry Letter Jam Hako Onna Everdell Battle Ravens Dune + Many more!

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