The Last Vikings (Strategemata) features two battles from the Great Northern War – Kliszόw and Fraustadt. Apart from those rules necessary to give each battle its flavour, the same system applies to both.
Six Empires is a 2-6 player game of military and diplomatic strategy set in Europe, North Africa, and the New World in the year 1714. Each player controls of one of six empires, each with its unique flavor and play style. In addition to the playable empires, there are 17 independent nations, and any empire which is not controlled by a player remains in the game as a non-player empire.
Some readers may recall an article I wrote for this site around fifteen months ago featuring another game by the same company, Festung Breslau. That design covered the 1945 siege of the German city, in which Polish forces under Red Army command played a far from insignificant role. My review was very largely positive, given the character of a relatively simple system in relation to the nature of a bitter street fight that lasted throughout the last months of the war in Europe.
Now, the same designer, Adam Niechwiej, has approached a very different subject, one that presents Polish forces fighting alongside the Western Allies in the struggle to close the Falaise Pocket. This is, arguably, one of the most controversial episodes from the 1944 campaign – many believe that no German forces should never have been allowed to leach out the pocket and thus live to fight another day.
Stalingrad-inferno on the Volga is a solitaire blocking depicting the that culminated in an historic defeat for the German army due to the tenacity of the Russian defenders. While predominantly a solitaire game, it can be played with two players and in this video we give you a replay of the game.
CSL’s new treatment of the battle certainly does have a philosophy, and it is a philosophy that is worth becoming acquainted with if you have any sort of interest in the battle. Part of that philosophy has to do with the designer’s (Ray Weiss) intention to create a series of games (called 2140) whereby players can enjoy the sort of unfussy simulation models that belonged to the vintage era of SPI as well as GDW’s Series 120 titles.
Usually when one thinks of Napoleonic battles, what comes to mind is a combined arms battle that involves climactic cavalry charges, artillery bombardments, large formations of infantry marching into position for the assault, and a battle of maneuver. There is none of that in Toulon. This is siege warfare. Battle is methodical and development slow. There are no hugely bloody clashes. Playing this game is an exercise in planning and patience. Grab a cup of Earl Grey, hot (thank you, Captain Picard, for that enduring memory), and enjoy the experience for victory is the reward of careful resource management and thoughtful development of position. But, time is not eternal. Each player, especially the French, will be up against the clock and limited resources as they strive to defeat the Allied forces.