Redvers’ Reverse A BoardgamingLife Review

By Paul Comben

Designer:  Godfrey Bailey, Geoff Noble

Publisher: Legion Wargames

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Is there fun in total failure?

Some military ventures are simply wrong from the start.  Everything about them is inauspicious and ill starred, with calamity and disaster simply awaiting their cue to show themselves to full effect.

Colenso, the subject of Legion Wargames Redvers’ Reverse, is about as good an example of this as you can get.  A British army of over sixteen thousand men was meant to be lifting the siege of Ladysmith in the last days of 1899.  In their way were several thousand Boers with German rifles, a small number of German-supplied and German manufactured artillery pieces, a winding river the British had not positively identified the fordable regions of, and a fair amount of high ground overlooking the British low ground. Continue reading “Redvers’ Reverse A BoardgamingLife Review”

ONUS TheBoardgamingLife Review

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By Michael Stultz

Publisher: Draco Ideas

Designers: Luis Alvaro Hernandez, Alvar Sanz

By the time the Romans established control of the entirety of peninsular Italy, the legions had faced and defeated the queen of the battlefield, the Macedonian phalanx, showing that they were equal to anything the ancient world could muster against them. The gaze of the Romans now cast south across the straights of Messina to Sicily. This would bring them inevitably into conflict with Carthage, the greatest naval power of the day, and the masters of everything from the African coast as far as the straights of Gibraltar, southeast Spain and Sardinia and western Sicily.

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Ships of the Line: Trafalgar Part 2

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

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

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Trafalgar has a range of advanced and optional rules designed to add a higher level of detail to the process of an engagement in the Age of Sail.  Not quite all of these are relevant to restaging the famous battle of October 21st 1805.  In that context, to give the obvious example, the rules for shore batteries belong to other designer scenarios, or to what players may create for themselves.

What I want to do here, rather than progressing through the pages of the game’s rulebook saying “you can now add this or should be using that,” I will look at additional procedures where there is a significant change to proceedings compared to the relatively simple “move and fight” nature of the basic rules.

Continue reading “Ships of the Line: Trafalgar Part 2”

The Guns of Gettysburg – A Boardgaming Life Review

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By Michael Stultz

Designer: Bowens Simmons

Publisher: Mercury Games

Confederate forces invaded the United States of America in the summer of 1863 during the waning days of June. Just two months prior at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Lee’s army had defeated the Army of the Potomac, one of several defeats inflicted on the Union. Lee reasoned that now was the time for a bold strike that might win the war for the South, or at least, procure necessary victuals and potentially gain the recognition and support of one or both of France and England. The Confederate rank and file were confident and self-assured as they struck north in the waning days of June 1863. It was the high-tide for General Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. The aim was simple: requisition supplies and disrupt Union invasion plans. Lee’s army desperately needed this in the face of an increasingly critical scarcity of food and basic material; and strategically, taking the war onto Northern soil would put the Confederates on the offensive outside their own territory. So, march they did. In the first three days of July, a momentous battle was fought where no one had planned to engage, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In those three days, two armies and two nations collided in violent combat. And in those three days, one nation died, another triumphed.

That’s the history. And if you want to replay history using scripted movements and positions, playing across a hexagonal grid, you will not likely enjoy Guns of Gettysburg, designed by Bowen Simmons and published by Mercury Games. But if you are looking for a unique design that takes you into the action of those three days, this is a candidate well deserving of your time.

Continue reading “The Guns of Gettysburg – A Boardgaming Life Review”

Ships of the Line:Trafalgar 1805

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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End of Empire: 1744-1782

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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.

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Bridges Close and Far: Arnhem 44

by Russ Lockwood,   Designer: Dirk Vergauwen,    Publisher:  MDVC Games

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This Dutch wargame on the 1944 Arnhem campaign has a big 20×55-inch board, plastic troops, and a couple interesting mechanics. Four of us gathered to play this game: me (British/Polish airborne near Arnhem), Marc (British 30 Corp), Dan (US 82nd and 101st Airborne and supporting ground troops behind 30 Corp), and Rory (Germans).

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Waterloo 1815: Napoleon’s Last Battle-A Boardgaming Life Review

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Paul Comben takes a look at the inaugural design of a new company, Trafalgars Editions. and their simulation of the Battle of Waterloo which combines elements of miniatures with traditional historical board war game mechanics.

by Paul Comben

Designer: Jose Antonio Luengo

Publisher: Trafalgar Editions

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Moscow ‘41 – A Boardgaming Life Review

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By Paul Comben

Designer: Emanuele Santandrea

 Publisher: VentoNuovo Games

There are a number of ways to describe the nature of the German Blitzkrieg, but for the purposes of this introduction to Vento Nuovo’s latest release, it is probably best described as the military equivalent of a flat-track bully.  German Blitzkrieg was fast – but, by that very fact, as well as the rushed reconstruction of the German armed forces operating in the early war period, it certainly did not like having to go too far, or last for too long.  Put it in a longer struggle, or take it away from its ideal ground, and the bully would begin to weaken.   Take it entirely beyond its comfort zone, and it was likely to die on its feet.

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Blitz! Clever Design on a WW II Global Scale

By Russ Lockwood

Designer: Dave LeLacheur

Publisher: Compass Games

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To create a global WWII wargame like Blitz! A World in Conflict (Compass Games, $84, released November 2015) means you have to think big — really big. That requires some compromises in terms of physical components and mechanics.

Space proved one concern. If you want to battle across the world on a 3-foot by 2-foot map, you’re not going to model every scrap of terrain or every unit that took part.  Risk has a variety of global versions, although not a WWII version that I’m aware of.  The most popular WWII wargame of a global type, Axis and Allies, simplified all units into one-hit wonders (OK, battleships are two-hit wonders). Forget the nuances we came to expect from reading about WWII — the game was materialschlact and luck at its finest. It took a long afternoon to play.  The successor A&A versions, where you butt the Europe version up against the Pacific version, added a little more nuance, but not much. It also took 12 to 14 hours to fight the entire war.

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