The Grizzled is a co-operative card game for 2-4 players. A lot of board/card games have based their setting in war. Where most games theme themselves around the fighting itself, The Grizzled is about the morale of a group of friends that have signed up to fight the good fight during the Great War. I always find it a bit difficult to play war games that are based during times of our close relatives, but The Grizzled presents itself in a tasteful way. At every step it respects it’s themes.
I think the first thing that will attract you to The Grizzled is the art. It’s absolutely beautiful by the fantastic Tignous and If there’s some thing that sticks with you, it’s his art. I’d find it impossible to think someone could walk past the cards laid out and not be drawn in by the art work. It’s the first thing that struck me that’s for sure!
The games itself, to me, is a mix of strategy and push your luck. Your aim is to reveal the dove of peace, but if at any point the war monument is revealed or a soldier has 4 “Hard Knock” cards laid out in front of him, you lose. Each player starts with a soldier and some support tokens (these represent some kind of relief, that being a hot coffee or a friendly chat).
Trial cards consist of ether threats or hard knocks. Threats represent pure danger while traversing no man’s land and hard knocks represent psychological conditions you and your friends may develop. At the start of each round, a certain number of trial cards are placed onto the peace card and the rest are placed on the monument card.
During the game the mission leader choses how many trial cards will be dealt to each person (each player gets the same amount). Then one by one each player takes an action that can range from playing a card or making an inspiring speech to your best friends.
While the game is co-operative, your hand of cards are secret from each other. You could also end up with hard knocks like mute, which means you can not communicate with other players in any way!
When you play a threat into no man’s land you are trying to avoid matching 3 threats, the avarage card having 2, the worse card having 6! You also have to deal with traps that trigger more cards being played. If at any point, 3 threats match, the mission has failed.
After a while your only option is to withdraw from the mission. Cards are dealt from the monument pile, onto the peace card depending on how many cards the plays have left in their hand. The better the mission goes, the more chance, potentially, of succeeding with the next.
The games ends when the dove or the monument is revealed, or if a soldier has 4 Hard knocks.
My group loved playing the The Grizzled. When you laid out the cards, it was more like you were working on a piece of art. Everything from the environments on the cards too the hand written hard knocks.
While a co-operative game, The Grizzled takes just enough away from your freedom to communicate to make it a different, more intense experience. Just reading some of the hard knocks make you really reflect on what those men went through; mustard gas, bombardment, and the dreaded whistle blow that signaled another push through no man’s land.
Wether we won or lost a game, it felt like like an achievement, like you’ve tried as hard as you could. Every move you make, you think how it’s going to effect your brothers in arms. When you decide who gets your support token, it’s not always simple. Does the man with the most hard knocks get your support or the one who have 1 really bad one!
As a special mention I’d liked the “Happy Christmas” card. It really gets you if it gets drawn. That ray of hope in the worse time.
I’d full heartedly recommend The Grizzled. It’s simple superb. I’ve been compiling my “must buys” for Christmas and this will have a well deserved place on it.
You can find your local retailer for The Grizzled by using this link.
You can pick up The Grizzled from Amazon for £16.99