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"Dos de Mayo" from Gen X and Gryphon Games

By Aaron Skinner
Published: March 10, 2011
Dos de Mayo Gryphon GenX FRED

Product: On May 2, 1808, the people of Madrid rose up against occupying French troops. The short-lived rebellion was brutally put down by the occupation powers and hundreds of the citizens captured were executed the next day, but the uprising triggered the struggle for Spanish independence.

Gen X’s Dos de Mayo simulates the fateful events of that day-long rebellion.

Components include a small gameboard with a map of 1808 Madrid, 41 red, blue, and white wooden cubes, 22 event cards, two player aid cards with a turn sequence and maps, a turn track card, and a pad of order sheets.

The quality of the parts is first rate with the sturdy board and cards cleanly printed.

The instructions are a little daunting at first, consisting of dense text with lots of permutations described and explained. There is also a three-page historical explanation of the event the game represents and an example of play that helps clarify some of the more confusing rules.

Gameplay: Dos de Mayo is a two person came in which each player commands either French army forces or groups of Spanish civilians.

It takes just a few minutes to set up the game. Most of the Spaniards — red cubes each representing 300-500 civilians — start on the board. The majority of French troops — blue cubes each meant to represent 1,000 soldiers — start outside of the city. You don’t have to remember where the cubes begin the game because the starting positions are printed on the board. A few cubes of each color start out of play and can be recruited by event cards.

Each player has a deck of event cards from which they may draw at the beginning of each turn. Some events must be used immediately. Others can be held to play at an opportune moment.

Although the game is turned based, player turns occur simultaneously. Each player plots moves in secret on the provided Order sheets during Phase 2 of each turn. Then, during the third (or movement) phase, both reveal their orders simultaneously and move their forces. Some event cards or disposition of forces can prevent moves.

Each game is ten turns long and lasts 15-30 minutes.

Victory conditions differ for the French and Spanish commanders. French forces must occupy four specific areas on the map and have removed all Spanish cubes. For the Spanish, the name of the game is survival, but they can force an early victory by removing four or more French cubes from the board.

Marketing: Although the historical event represented by the game may not be well known to everyone, Dos de Mayo is at heart a simple, fun strategy game in the vein of chess or checkers. Games are won and loss by being able to keep forces mobile.

The game is small enough to be set up on the counter and quick enough that employees can play a few turns with customers who might otherwise overlook the box because the title doesn’t mean anything to them. Buyers on the fence because of the of the dense instructions might be persuaded by a demo.

Try putting a description of the events near the game and play up the fact that players can relive and rewrite a crucial turning point in European history.


Product: Dos de Mayo

Maker: Gen X Games/Gryphon Games

Stock No.: 101203N

MSRP: $29.99

Availability: FRED Distribution

Fun strategy game

Quick game play

Quality components

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