A Review of Trafalgar Editions’ Game of Nelson’s Epic Battle

by Paul Comben,  Designer:Crisanto Lorente Gonzalez,  Publisher: Trafalgar Editions

Part One: Components and the Basic Game

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There is always a certain challenge facing designers looking to create games relating to the things men make to fight in – be it ships, be it tanks, be it aircraft, the challenge remains the same: just how much detail should be included?

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One of the early games in my collection was the Avalon Hill game of the American Revolution, 1776.  The game was released in 1976 for the Bicentennial and was the main game on the subject matter at that time.  I have played the game many times over the years and still find both the scenarios and campaign game a fun experience.  While quite playable, one thing it lacked was leaders and named units.  British Regulars, Tory Militia, Continental Army, Rebel militia and French all had their counter mix, which was quite normal for Avalon Hill designs of that era.

by Russ Lockwood

Designer:  Florent Coupeau

Publisher: Vae Victus

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We had been wanting to play this French import wargame, Orages a L’Est, for a while, so we finally cracked it open, popped out the counters (well, used a knife to cut out the counters), and set up the Turda 1944 game. Orages a L’Est actually has two games set in 1944, Turda, featuring a joint German-Hungarian counterattack against the Soviets and the Romanians near that town in Transylvania, and Tali-Ihantala in Finland. I picked Turda because it had a flat, featureless map, and, how many times can you say 1944 joint German-Hungarian counterattack?

By Russ Lockwood and Dan Burkley

Designers: Tony Curtis and Mark Simonitch

Publisher GMT Games

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I last played this GMT game covering the battle of the Bulge with Dan back in 2013, at least according to the date stamp on my photo files. It’s been too long to this terrific game. You can probably blame Bitter Woods on that — bigger counters for squinty eyes and bigger hexes for fatter fingers…

Mind you, this is not a simple game. At its base, it is just move and then a combat CRT based on odds, but with chrome.

Nevertheless, we took to the gaming table after lunch and settled in for an enjoyable game of Ardennes ‘44. Each hex is 1.6 miles and units are battalions and regiments for the most part. Each day consists of a morning, afternoon, and night turns.

By Russ Lockwood

Designer: John Welch

Publisher: Victory Point Games

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Oliver Cromwell, who boasted a head rounder than Charlie Brown, delivered the best line at Parliamentary Comedy Club: “The act of regicide was a cruel necessity.”   Hence the title for a solitaire board game of the English Civil War pitting you, as a split Puritan personality called Parliament, against a host of Royalists in support of papists Chuckie and Chuckie the Sequel.

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By Paul Comben

Publisher: VentoNuovo Games

Designer:Emanuele Santandrea

Well, I have not got any lamps I can let go out, but I might just start a few alarm bells ringing – 1914 Germany at War, covering the opening months of conflict on the Western Front, uses much the same system as was seen in Vento Nuovo’s previous game, Waterloo 200.

Are there any bells ringing?  Perhaps a few.  Those of us whose first experience of the hobby was via the Avalon Hill “classics” will probably recall with an odd mixture of warm nostalgia and mildly cold shuddering the diverse titles which fell into that classification – diverse titles, but essentially the same game, blithely oblivious to period, technology, tactics, and just about anything else historians and gamers tend to think are rather important to getting things right.