Wanted to gather any F:AT thoughts on this. I just got my preorder this week and set up the tutorial. Seriously forget reading through the rules straight through, start with the playbook tutorial.
Anyway, haven't played much yet but my first instinct going through the rules is that I'm liking it better than Navajo Wars. Some of it is down to the situation---the Comanche were just straight up more warlike and so the game more closely resembles a more traditional wargame. You have bases that have leaders of different quality which activate bands of warriors to go fuck shit up. Anyway, I'm looking forward to trying it, it's making more sense to me than Navajo Wars.
Solitaire games aren't really my thing, but I picked it up based on the subject, and I'm really glad that I did. It's a little procedural, but not painfully so. Ultimately, this is still a game and not a puzzle with plenty of decisions to make and opportunities to mismanage resources.
I'm completely terrible at this btw, but it was pretty fun. Also, I heeded your advice on just jumping into the tutorial. I read through the rules afterward, which made learning it quite manageable. Did you prefer this to Navajo Wars?
This game is so good! It has typical GMT wargame problems and is brutally procedural. You need to devote 2-3 fumbling, frustrating games to it... but if you can it's really quite good.
The biggest thing about it is that a) it's more of an assertive game than Navajo Wars. I think that makes the game better. The Comanche have some wargame like behavior, though it's handled with pretty non-wargame system. It makes it easier to understand what you're supposed to do.
The other thing, and the reason to play the game, is the interaction between the AI system and player behavior. It's tied together intimately and it's great design. I'm going to write something up for the front page.
re: the game I played in the board games played thread. I played quite prudently today, was set up for an easy victory in the intro era and rolling into the next era... and then it all fell apart. Comancheria has the best push your luck system I've ever played. Push your luck games rarely "get" me, I don't have much of a gambler's personality if I'm playing for real and not shits and giggles. But playing this game, fuck. The core raiding mechanic is a chit draw push your luck and it's so, so easy to just do one more raid when you draw 3 chits that make your enemy act. "I just need a success in the next one to get a ravaged counter and then play passage of time and get rid of the settlement." Before you know it you've tried 3 raids, one after another, and you've stacked a titanic 10+ action point enemy offensive against you for that one success chit pull. It's brilliant---and you have no one to blame but your hotheaded personality.
This game I tried a different tack strategically. Usually I go horsemanship/warfare/raiding and go hot on raiding. But this time I decided to start horsemanship (for the IMHO necessary +1 in a fight) but then go lords of the plains, which is evasion and harrassment to slow down armies. Totally different game. Stay under radar, only raid when you have to or you can finish a settlement near the end of the turn, and make sure you don't feed action points to the enemy. It was not obvious to me when I first started playing how powerful the tech cards are. But there are multiple ways to play this game and once you get to tech level 2 or 3 your strategy is completely shaped by those choices.
I love that your goal is to get rid of settlements. I wonder what Ian Bogost would say about the procedural rhetoric of this game.
My great-great grandfather, the notorious Lot Smith, was killed in a gunfight by a Navajo man. The story I grew up with was that he had been shot in the back after a dispute about grazing sheep. Years later a native american guy showed up at the Lot Smith family reunion and carefully explained that Lot Smith had pulled a gun on this guy's family and was shooting towards them to scare them off, so the Navajo man who was grazing his sheep (and had been told he could by the previous owner) fired back. His story makes the most sense.
I think that the choice to make this game a solo game is a really good one, thematically. It also prevents any attempt to take the focus off the Comanche by having some sort of elaborate system of American, Spanish or Mexican politics, perhaps controlled by the player and instead laser focuses you on the chosen perspective.