I was very fortunate that some kind soul – as my 2016 Secret Santa – sent me this item from ‘One Small Step Games‘, and designed by Brian Train. I’m already a fan of Decision Games Mini Series – like ‘Suez ’56‘ and ‘Congo Merc‘ & ‘Border War: Angola Raiders‘, but Kandahar provides just a dash more spice in the mix to really make you think.
Principally the game has you acting either as the Governor or as the Taliban commander of this Region. So there’s no gloried ride-around participation as a Western military commander with all the latest gadgetry. That stuff (ISAF) is available for support, but you as the official Governor use it with care. Likewise as the Taliban opponents you have some specific advantages, but if you go all out at destabilization, only the Criminal gangs will benefit. Indeed, the Criminal faction provides an interesting option for a third player.
So, you have a simple zone map with easy reference information included, the rulebook, separate card sheets for charts and tables, 12 objective cards and 140 card counters. Ideally you then want two players, although it’s easy to play solitaire, and as mentioned above, you could add a third player as the Criminals in the region.
You win by achieving VPs (Victory Points) that are awarded by what others – generally your superiors – want you to achieve, and not what you at ground level see and believe to be the more practical outcomes. Support is crucial, you only stand any chance of chasing the objectives if you have it, and continued support only comes about from success.
I’ll hold my hand up and say I’m quite new to the COIN series of games from GMT, so this folio game from another stable has provided me with a short sharp shock of an introduction on this sort of gaming format. And I really like it. I have a feeling I’ll spend many hours pouring over ‘Kandahar’ as I play out various initiatives from either perspective. And I’m sure I’ll learn a lot too, and not just in a gaming sense. I’ll return back to this at some point in the future with some more thoughts to share.