MAI 68

Reviewed by Stuart Dagger

In May 1968 the students of Paris took to the streets to protest at the autocratic way in which their universities were run, and for about a fortnight they succeeded in rocking the Government. This game is about `Les Evenements'.

Two sides, the police and the students, do battle for the Latin Quarter of Paris. The aim of the students is to get as many of their fellows on to the streets as possible and to create a situation too big for the police to handle; the aim of the police is to stop them and to restore order. The game lasts eight turns, each representing two hours - from two o'clock one afternoon to four the following morning. The student player moves his pieces round, erecting barricades and visiting the schools and college buildings to gain recruits. The police go after them, taking down the barricades and making arrests. The students win if they have twenty barricades up at any one time; the police win if they don't achieve this by the end of turn eight.

The tactics available to both sides are many and increase as the struggle escalates, and the whole thing adds up to a game which is well thought out, wittily put together, close, exciting and fun. Nice touches include the rule which states that students who have not been activated by eight o'clock go home to their dinners in the suburbs, the effect on student movement of the Metro closing at midnight, the contemporary political graffiti on the backs of the paving stones and tactical cards such as `Hello, papa', whereby a student leader rings up his father in the Interior Ministry and gets some police units withdrawn.

The game equipment is attractive, but I ought to warn you about the board. This consists of a tray into which fits a jigsaw puzzle representing the buildings and streets of the Latin Quarter. The puzzle can be stored in the box in its made-up form, but it doesn't come made up. So for the first game you have to put it together, and with 150 non-interlocking pieces, most of them grey pavement, this will take you over an hour.

Mai 68 is for 2-4 players, has a playing time of about two hours and is available from Just Games at a price close enough to thirty quid to give Mike Clifford palpitations. For the benefit of Essex readers, fearful of what might happen were their cousins from Chingford to catch them with a game which is clearly politically suspect, I am working on a variant in which both sides get to play the police.

Stuart Dagger

On to the review of Asterix - The Card Game or back to the review of Long Distance Double.

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