Next game in the huge package mentioned in my last post wasVijayanagara: The Deccan Empires of Medieval India, 1290-1398. Two things about this game appealed to me. First, this game represents the first entry in GMT's new Irregular Conflict Series. GMT posted an article a few years ago about this series, but essentially, these games have some similarity to COIN games, but don't quite qualify as one. They are in their own series, and may have quite some variance in how they differ from the COIN model. Overall, I am a fan of the COIN series, so this seemed like a decent enough draw for me to check out.

Second, I know nothing about this topic. That's a turn off for a number of people, but I actually find I much prefer wargames where I know nothing about the topic. How else am I going to learn, unless I branch out? Knowing that, please understand that this unboxing will be light on insight into the game's mechanics and theme. It's high on my list to get on the table, and fortunately it offers a solo mode AND I believe I can get some people to play, meaning it may see table time sooner rather than later.

The box itself looks great, continuing GMT's run of absolutely incredible box covers. The front and the back of the box:

The solitaire rating of nine is due to the robust solitaire bot system included, that I believe mirrors the functionality of the COIN system bots, so should be fun to play against. The complexity of four feels lighter than the average COIN game, and that is totally fine, not every game needs to be terribly complex. Two other things to note from the back- the player count is 1-3. That's awesome and not super common. There are tons of two player wargames. Having another offering where a third player creates the full experience is great news. Yet another reason I would have picked this up (had I paid attention ahead of time, haha). Finally, the playtime of 1-2 hours is really nice, too. Will be exciting to see if that holds true in actual experience.

Next, we have the books included in the game:

Rulebook, available here on the GMT website.

This book is specifically rules for the bots, if you are playing with fewer than three players. There are also additional components to support this later on.

A beautiful Learn to Play booklet (available on the GMT site here). I love that they are starting to include these in games- creates a very easy way to get into the game. Well done, GMT.

Finally, a Playbook is included, which may be one of the first things I end up reading, given my lack of knowledge regarding the history of the game. That pronunciation guide is a great inclusion too- wargame publishers, please consider something like that in other games!

Now we get to the player aid cards, and there are quite a lot! First up, we get three identical faction aid sheets, which are pretty standard in the COIN games, helping you see what your options are on your turn, and what to expect from your adversaries.

The Mongol Invaders are not a player faction in this game, but will be controlled by either theBahmani Kingdom Amirs or Vijayanagara Empire when they appear, and will be a constant threat throughout the game.

A handy Sequence of Play card, with a visual instruction on how to set up the deck for the game.

This is on the back of the Sequence of Play, and I was not sure what this was, so I had to check inside the rulebook. This is an optional way to resolve a tie at the end of the game, and is a variant of Bagh-chal. That's... really cool, actually. I'm sure someone out there is going to hate on this, but I love it, very thematic (the rulebook has a picture of the source for the board) and unique.

Next up we have the player aid cards for managing the non-player factions. I don't know the system at all, but again, I have heard good things about the COIN bots, so I have no reason to doubt these will be excellent.

All of the cards have a nice finish, and are on pretty good paper stock. Lovely components. On to the counters:

Pretty light in this department, but that's typical of the COIN games, too. The majority of these are to mark control of provinces by one of the three factions. Again, pretty common.

Next, a beautiful mounted map:

A better view, with more detail is on the GMT page here, and although it is listed as 'Near-Final', I do not see any difference between it and the map in the box.

The game comes with some dice:

The game also comes with a big stack of cards that are the primary engine by which the game progresses:

Quite a number of different cards in this stack, including Event cards:

Mongol Invasion cards:

These cards look to correspond to the non-player bots, showing the decision trees for them:

Finally, the rest of the cards are a bit of a mix:

There are Succession cards, a Dynasty card, and some reference cards. There are rules for events that happen with the Succession and Dynasty cards, but I'm not qualified to talk about that yet. Maybe they fill a role like the Viceroy in Gandhi?

Finally, as with COIN games, the game comes with a bunch of wooden pieces.

These pieces represent the Governors, Troops, Amirs, Structures, and Rajas used in the game. Pretty typical stuff, if you have played any of their COIN games.

And there you have it. The content of the game looks great and I'm excited to give it a shot. This one in particular I have a plan for, even- I'm currently doing a solo game of Marvel Champions on my one game table at home, but once that play is finished, I'm going to set this up, and play it solo, where I will take some notes to post here on my blog. Doing it this way for my first play will be best for me, because I can read the historical context of each card when it comes up, which helps inform me more about the period. It is a great way to play and learn.

Anyway, that's it for now, thank you for stopping by!