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Quick Play Thru: Washington's Crossing

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Quick Looks: Napoleon's Nemsis 1813

A question often asked of a boardgames is does its mechanics represent its theme? Or is the theme just art work over a set of dice rolls and cube trading?

Whether a war game simulates its historical era would seem easier to determine. Today we have a quick look at an east front war game set in 1813 1945.


1813 Napoleon's Nemesis covers the Leipzig campaign following Italian publisher Europa Simulazioni's previous game on the ill fated 1812 Invasion of Russia. The napoleonic game of maneuver has long been the grail of wargaming for me. I looked for it in Zucker's Day's series and found a bumper cars CRT, I looked for it here and found something more akin to Red Storm.





Lets look at some numbers.

According to the Wiki (that venerable source of 'facts') there were 380,000 coalition vs 225,000 French Empire men on the field at Leipzig. According to the Nemesis rule book each infantry counter represents a division of ~8000 men and 6 unit counters is the strict stackin…

A weekend of Wargaming Part 4: 1:1200 Pre-Dreadnaught Naval, A Quick Look

I don’t know what the rule set we have used is called but it’s based around Tsushima, so im going to refer to it as that (Pete may comment with more info). In both games I’ve played the Russian Baltic Fleet, Pete the IJN combined fleet.
Tsushima is a game of two very distinct halves. In the first you move around paper markers trying to out bluff and out manoeuvre each other to cross your opponents T and get your destroyers in close. This is by far the most nail biting time I have had with miniatures.



Once your two bluff counters have been seen through and your others revealed you swap them out for metal ships (1:1200) and your fleet is on the table. The first half is the initial jockeying for position and the first pass. The second half is the following confusion and then perhaps a second or more passes. The first pass is very much a calculated icy affair of trying to secure the best fire angle for your fleet. After this the game sort of takes a life of its own as your formations brea…

A weekend of Wargaming Part 3: Plan Orange: The Pacific 1930-1935 Review

I’ve played a fair amount of Empire of the Sun over the past 5 years and now there are two magazine games based on the same system; South Pacific which is effectively a trimmed down version of the 1943 (or is it 42) scenario from the original game, and Plan Orange, a variant that takes a pacific war in the 1930s that was war gamed and considered by both sides but never took place.


I’m not going to discuss many of the games mechanics. Empire of the Sun is a very complex game and it is also rather unique. The core conceit is that you play cards from your hand to launch operations. An operation would be something like the battle of the Coral Sea, or the invasion of Guam. Based on the resources your cards give you, you would send out a fleet, your opponent may detect your move, either by die roll or card play) and counter with their own fleet. A battle or more may result perhaps followed by an amphibious landing. It’s a concise way for Mark Herman (the designer) to get you to juggle intel…

A weekend of Wargaming Part 2: Urban Operations, A Quick Look

This game was originally developed as a training tool for French infantry officers and this shows through. The game is unforgiving of mistakes and seems to revolve around teaching you the by the book methods for assaulting strong points or clearing streets.  In Grozny I had to clear out about 12 Chechen rebel squads/sniper teams. The game gave me three platoons of infantry, two Shilkas, two T80s, some snipers, combat engineers and some off map rocket artillery and hello strikes. This is enough tools to do the job, but you are expected to know how to use each tool properly. For my part, the huge defensive bonus provided by the strong points proved costly to overcome.



In practice I did not know how to use these tools, or at least not for the first half of the game, later I did sort of start to figure things out, but only after the loss of one T80, the best part of a platoon and all my spetznaz and sniper teams.  

This is a heavy game with a horrible rule book. It’s not necessarily full of…

A weekend of Wargaming Part 1: Fivecore Review

I shuffled in to 2018 with a weekend of Wargaming at my friend Pete’s. Here follows a look at four of the games we played, two miniature, two board.
Five Core Brigade Commander is essentially the RTS video game Wargame Airland Battle in table top form. Our setting is cold war gone warm central Deutschland 1980s. In this weekend’s game I had a Soviet Armoured regiment mostly composed of T72s with some infantry and specialist support, and crucially two hind attack helicopters. The game is structured around ‘bases’ a square a few cm wide holding some 6mm minis that represents a company, either armoured, mech or foot. You get perhaps 12 of these with a few platoon sized assets supporting them. Each asset, e.g. Anti-air manpads or engineers either confers a special ability to its attached company or operates as an orbital unit that is thrown out from its parent to do something useful. For instance recon units can be thrown out to spot enemy in cover.


You also get some cards you can play that…

Quick Looks: The Pacific War: From Pearl Harbour to the Philippines

Imported games have the allure of being foreign and expensive, they also often come with the glamorous trappings of bad rules translation. Pacific War is all of these things but first the good;
It’s short. I’m not being factious here, generally Pacific Theatre war games are long and complicated, which is fine but it leaves the shallow end of the dream pool rather empty. The Pacific War clocks in around 2-3 hours and feels engrossing for this life span.
You’ve got a point to point map, pretty and functional but no pageant winner, a deck of cards, and a load of counters representing ships that come in on a historical reinforcement schedule. Each year long turn you get a variable number of cards. Players take action rounds discarding a card to win the privilege of doing something and then either play an event card, or move some ships, or resupply some ships (so they can move again). Once out of cards they roll off for priority in taking more actions but if they roll doubles the year ends.