Background image is Les Dernières Cartouches (The Last Cartridges) by Alphonse de Neuville

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Inter Ludus: Games Between Games

While I and the 1777 elves are gearing up for the Philadelphia campaign, I've been enjoying other game-type activity.

DUKWs at Veronnet (Worcestershire Regt.)
Last weekend I had the pleasure of finally sitting down to a game of ASL (two, as it turned out) with a chap Victory Comics in Falls Church, a location new to me that features a large space (including a good many gaming tables), a huge comics selection, and a nice range of boardgames. We played a scenario from a new module that's being playtested for Bounding Fire Productions, a Historical Advanced Squad Leader (HASL) treatment of Operation Neptune. No, not the D-Day landings, but the 43rd Wessex Division's opposed crossing of the Seine River in August 1944. This scenario features an infantry company attempting to cross the Seine in boats with covering fire from tanks and machine-guns. You'll have to wait for the module for details, but suffice to say this scenario will be a nail-biter with some toys to please all types.
I've been corresponding with for many years. We played at

Liberty or Death (GMT Games)
Tonight I'm hoping to inveigle one of my chums into trying out GMT Games' new American Revolution game Liberty or Death. It's an application of the highly popular COIN (counterinsurgency) game system (devised by designer Volko Ruhnke) to the political-military conflict between Britain and her American colonies. Like most COIN designs, it's a four-player game that can be played solitaire or with fewer than four players either by players controlling two aligned (but competing) factions or by the use of well designed paper-based artificial intelligence players. The third and fourth positions in this conflict are allotted to the Native American nations (as allies of the British) and to France (as an ally of the Americans), both of which have their own agendas and their own victory conditions different to those of their allies. Combine a successful basic system, designer knowledgeable in his topic and skillful at adapting the system to purpose, and gorgeous artwork, and you've got what I anticipate to be an excellent game. I've been reading progress reports on this title for some time, and I'm quite chuffed to be able to finally put it on the table.

1866 (Mediaeval Miscellanea)
And this weekend I'll have the pleasure of helping to playtest a scenario for the highly enjoyable 1866 rules from Bruce Weigle. This will be his full-bore treatment of the crucial battle of Königgrätz (aka Sadowa) from the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. I recently got hold of a copy of Avalanche Games' Battles of 1866: Frontier Battles, which includes several engagements from this war but not the conclusive engagement itself (they keep promising to release it as an add-on, but it seems that time has passed that idea by). But I've played one or two battles from this curious war before using Bruce's rules, and I'm looking forward to the mammoth encounter. The 1866 rulebook has Koniggratz among its scenarios, but done as two different engagements. This will be a huge game covering the entire battle.

Reading up on it, I'm guessing that the Austrian may have a chance to overcome their deficiencies of tactics and technology (better-ranged weapons, but slower-firing ones) as the battle kicks off with the Austrians outnumbering the Prussians. They had better take advantage of the opening, however, as the arrival of the Prussian Second Army under Crown Prince Friedrich (son in law of Britain's Queen Victoria and father of the future "Kaiser Bill", Wilhelm II) will seal the Austrian's fate, as it will complete their encirclement and push the odds strongly in the Prussians' favour. We shall see!

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