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  Bayonets & Tomahawks The French and Indian War by GMT Games  I believe it is time to sip some tea and watch 'The Last of the Mohic...

Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War by GMT Games Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War by GMT Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!





 Bayonets & Tomahawks


The French and Indian War


by


GMT Games





 I believe it is time to sip some tea and watch 'The Last of the Mohicans' one more time. I will give 10 points to anyone who knows Hawkeye's real given name. I believe he is called more names in the book than many rap sheets have aliases. 


 The French & Indian War was not, strangely enough, a cut and dried English and Colonist victory from the start. As a matter of fact, the French were winning pretty much right up until 1759. This is pretty amazing when you look at the population figures:


French Colonists in North America - 50,000


English Colonists in only the 13 Colonies - 1,000,000


 If it had not been for the parsimoniousness of the Colonists it would have been a walkover. Oddly enough this ultimately led to the loss of the Colonies to England. The English government finally realized that to win in North America they would have to bring large amounts of troops and supplies. To do this meant spending an enormous amount of money. After the war, England tried to make the colonies pay for some, if not most, of the war which led directly to "Taxation, Without Representation". 


 This is really a great historical time to create a boardgame out of. You have the Colonists and the English on one side. Then you have the French and most of the Indians on the other one. You have Montcalm and Wolfe, let alone their famous death scene paintings, along with Amherst, whose own penny pinching leads to Pontiac's Rebellion. The only real assets the English have are their population and the Iroquois Confederacy. So let us see what comes with the game:



22" x 34" mounted map

54 cards

135 unit counters

8 Commanders

17 Vagaries of War tokens

1 small fabric bag

6 custom dice

1 sheet of markers

1 Player Aid sheet

5 Scenario Information sheets

Rulebook and Playbook




Complexity is listed as a '3'

Solitaire Suitability is listed as a '6'

Game Scale for Units is:

300 - 1,500 Men

16 Cannon

5 Ships of The Line

Each Round is approximately 3 Weeks

Playtime is listed as 2 hours per Year




 This is one of the new breed of games that are truly wargames, but are presented as Euro games as far as their components. It is a wonderful time to be a grognard, except of course, for most of our ages. As long as we still have our wits about us and our glasses handy, we will be fine. The map is mounted, and is extremely colorful. The way the territories are presented are a bit different, and it takes a bit of time to get used to. Canada is situated on the left, and the rest of the Eastern part of North America is on the right. There are no hexes, and it is a point to point movement system. In area, it goes from Louisbourg in the North to the Cherokee Nation (roughly South Carolina) in the South. It has all of the major, and some minor, of the points of interest in the French and Indian War such as Le Detroit, Ticonderoga, Montreal, Quebec etc. French forts and towns at the start are blue in color, and the English ones are red. All of the tracks, victory, turn etc., are on the map. The Rulebook is in full color, and is twenty-one pages long. The last two pages is a large two page Unit Reference Chart. The Playbook is forty-eight pages long. The last two pages are a Counter Manifest and one page called "Easily Forgotten Rules". The latter is a nice touch needed in a few other games as well. The Counters are very large and easy to read. They also have pre-clipped edges. Their shape is either triangular for light troops, square for normal troops, and round for artillery and fleets. Leaders are square shaped, and forts are circles. There are three decks of Cards. These are Indian, French, and English. Some have instructions on top, and all come with a combination of triangles, squares, or a combination of the two. There are six Die that were made especially for the game. There is a black pouch included to hold the Die. The game comes with two four page Player Aids. The lettering is large enough to read easily and they are set up in a sensible manner for checking rules etc. It also comes with two full page Scenario Setup cards for all four scenarios, double-sided, two for the English Player and two for the French Player. There is also a fifth setup card, one-sided, that is used for the Indian Nations setup in every scenario. The game also comes with a good amount of small baggies for the counters. As usual with GMT Games, the presentation of the game is excellent.




 The Scenarios in the game are:


Vaudreuil's Petite Guerre 1755

Loudon's Gamble 1757

Amherst's Juggernaut 1758-1759

French & Indian War Full Campaign 1755-1759


There are three Scenario Variants:


Early French & Indian War 1755-1756

An Ambitious British Offensive 1758

French & Indian War with historical reinforcements 1755-1759

Also included is an Optional 1760 Campaign Year 




 Do not let this game's look deceive you. Yes, it is manufactured in the EURO style, but it is a real wargame nonetheless. It forces the player to answer the same question wargames did fifty years ago. First, what is my plan of operations, and once my plan is shredded by my opponent's 'friction', what do I do now. The game is pretty much a two in one game. If you are playing the one year scenarios you do not have time to think about the long haul. In those scenarios it really just becomes a victory point grab free-for-all between players. With the longer scenarios you are able to build up your forces and really concentrate on winning a much longer war. France has the edge early on, but England is able to build up a much larger force given time. The Indian Nations are an invaluable asset to whomever swings the most of them to their side. This is the first game I have played that really gives the Indian Nations the credit they deserve in helping or hindering each side. Without the Indian Nations that were on the French side, the war would have been much shorter historically. One thing you have to remember is that your playing field is mostly wilderness. The contested ground between both sides was not what most of us probably imagine. Twenty years later Burgoyne was still hamstrung trying to go from lake George to Albany by the wilderness. As the French Player I would strike hard and often with raids. Remember, the English Player has to come to you to win the victory points he needs. Louisbourg is exactly what it was historically, the gateway to the St. Lawrence and Quebec and Montreal. The English Player, in the long game, can afford to wait and build up his juggernaut. He cannot run all over the map trying to stop French raids etc. It would be like playing whack-a-mole. He has to decide on a strategy and stick to it.




  The Designer states " I have more fun moving armies on the map than managing logistics". Then he goes onto explain that is why he designed the cards the way he did, and how much work went to get them to work the way he wanted. He was trying to get as many historical outcomes as he could, or at least match the history at different times. He goes on to write about how much work was put into the Die also. Then he shows how his system of using the Die does actually mimic historical outcomes. Every time a Player destroys an enemy  Metropolitan Brigade (French or British Army Regulars) the Player gets a WIE (War in Europe) chit. These can count as Victory Points at the end of your chosen scenario. The way the Designer writes he seems a bit proud of himself for this game and its system. I agree with him. He should be proud of what he has given us in Bayonets & Tomahawks. As someone who has read as much as possible about the conflict, I believe the game gives the Players much of the same goals, forces, and starting off point as in history. You can use/suffer these different strategies or events in the game:


Build Roads

Raid

Build a Fort

Lose Commanders in Battle

This is only a taste of what you can do.


This is actually a shot of the game on Vassal

 Thank you very much, GMT Games for letting me take a test drive with Bayonets and Tomahawks. I am very pleased with the historical accuracy and gameplay that is built into it. 


Robert

Bayonets & Tomahawks:

GMT Games - Bayonets & Tomahawks

GMT Games:

GMT Games








  Monte Cassino A German View by Rudolf Bohmer   This is an older book that was published in German in 1956. This translation is exactly wha...

Monte Cassino: A German View by Rudolf Bohmer Monte Cassino: A German View by Rudolf Bohmer

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!




 Monte Cassino


A German View


by Rudolf Bohmer





  This is an older book that was published in German in 1956. This translation is exactly what a reader who is interested in the Italian Campaign and the Battle of Monte Cassino is looking for. Despite the name of the book, the author goes into the entire Italian Campaign from the invasion of Sicily to fighting for the heights of Monte Cassino. The author was actually a German officer during the campaign. So he has first hand knowledge of a lot of the battles for Italy. 


 He starts the book with the choices that the Allies had in 1943. Whether to attack Italy proper, Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia, or the Balkans. Churchill fought long and hard for an invasion of the Balkans, but the American brass would have none of it. The author shows how the Germans were confused by the tentativeness of the Allies, and how they helped the Germans repeatedly to fight the battle for Italy on their terms.


 Monte Cassino was one of the linchpins of the Germans' 'Gustav Line' of defense across the width of Italy. The tenacious German defense, and offensive at Salerno, allowed the Germans to build a series of defensive lines, each tougher than the last. 


 Even though he was a German officer, the author has nothing but praise for the individual Allied Units. In the Italian Campaign the Allies had a polyglot group of Units from across the globe. According the the writer, the French North African troops came very close to capturing Monte Cassino on their very first attack. Unfortunately, they had far outrun any of their supports on either flank. This meant that the battle became a hell on earth for the common soldier for the next few months. 


 The next part of the battle that he goes into is the very controversial, even at the time, Allied decision to bomb the monastery at the top of Monte Cassino. The author quotes scripture and verse about how the Germans helped the monks move everything valuable out of the monastery and turned it over to the Vatican. All this, in the middle of a battle. The truth of the Germans helping with the removal, and the fact that there were never any Germans inside the monastery until after the bombing, has been proved factual after the war. The bombing of the monastery was actually one of the few propaganda coups that the Western Allies handed the Germans during the war.


 This is for the reader who wants to know the intimate details of the Allied and German strategical choices and plans about the Italian campaign. If someone wants to read about the minute details of the tactical battle for Monte Cassino, this is also the book. The author has an uncanny way of moving from large overviews about the campaign to boots on the ground without skipping the proverbial beat. To refer this book to anyone interested in either parts of the campaign is a no-brainer. This is a very well written and detailed look at it. Thank you very much Casemate Publishers for letting me review it.


Robert

Book: Monte Cassino: A German View

Author: Rudolf Bohmer

Publisher: Pen & Sword

Distributor: Casemate Publishers

 







  1914 Galicia The World Undone by Conflict Simulations  I know it will seem strange to many people, but a large proportion of the dead and ...

The World Undone: 1914 Galicia by Conflict Simulations The World Undone: 1914 Galicia by Conflict Simulations

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!





 1914 Galicia


The World Undone


by


Conflict Simulations





 I know it will seem strange to many people, but a large proportion of the dead and wounded during World War I came during August-December of 1914. We also are more used to hearing about the Somme,  Passchendaele, or Verdun. The charnel house that was Galicia is almost never brought up. Oh, we know that Russia lost a great amount of men, but we do not really hear about the Austro-Hungarian losses. Galicia, even past 1914, was one of the worst abattoirs in the whole of World War I. The ineffective Russian and Austro-Hungarian medical services was one reason, along with the almost non-existent transport system in the area. At least in the Western Front there were railroads and a road network near the battles. In Galicia this was not the case. Plus the odds were about even that if you were a soldier there that you would die from hunger or the elements long before you would hear enemy fire. We normally think of the 'attack at all costs' mindset with the Western Front Generals. This was just as ingrained in their Eastern Front counterparts. The Carpathian Mountains, so imbued with evil to us because it was Dracula's home, should be the stuff of nightmares to a psychic trying to contact the dead. Their head should explode if they come anywhere near them. As mentioned, this is a part of World War I that is hard to find information about. For every book about Galicia and the Eastern Front, there are 100 available about the Western Front. To me, anything about Austro-Hungary during World War I is like a candle to a moth. So, I jumped at the chance to review this game.


 Let us take a look at what you get:

One Map 22" x 33"

One Countersheet with 140 Counters

Rulebook 





 The Map is about as plain Jane as you can get. Do not get me wrong, it is perfectly fine and full of all of the pertinent information that a player needs. It is just in this day and age, many gamers have become enamored of the glitz that comes with many new games. Those of us who teethed on SPI and Avalon Hill will have no problem with the map. It is much like color TV. We who were raised on black & white have no problem watching older shows or movies. You young'uns who only knew color are a lot more picky. You seem to go for the outside of the book instead of the meat inside it. One thing that is different is that there is a different CRT for both the Russians and the Austro-Hungarians. The counters are well done and the strength and movement values are very easy to see. Once again, they would fit right in a 1970's wargame, although their color and manufacturing is to a much higher standard. The Rulebook is actually only eleven pages long. Then there are two pages of Optional Rules, followed by the Designer Notes. The rulebook is a bit different than the norm we are now used to. It is almost totally in black & white, and the type is as large as the one used in large print books. If for no other reason than the above mentioned easy to read counters and Rulebook, I can guarantee this will probably be the last game you have on the table before your dirt nap. 


 This is the Sequence of Play:


Russian Player Turn

 First Movement Phase

 First Combat Phase

 Second Movement Phase

 Second Combat Phase


Austro-Hungarian Player Turn

 First Movement Phase

 First Combat Phase

 Second Movement Phase

 Second Combat Phase

Advance Game Turn Marker


 The Sequence of Play, among other parts of the game, shows the designer Ray Weiss's dedication to gameplay and ease of play. Along with more than a hint of worship for the older days of our hobby. 




 So, we now know that the game is much more like games of yesteryear. This does not mean that it should be written off. The game represents the swirling battles that took place in Galicia at that time. The Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff Conrad von Hotzendorf was perhaps more taken with the cult of the attack than any other commanding general in World War I. He also, like the French, believed that as Napoleon had said "morale is to the physical as three to one". However, now in the 20th century morale did not mean as much if you did not have the sinews and weapons of war. The Austro-Hungarian Player is tempted by the high values of the Victory hexes in the North of the map. If he can take them, he keeps those Victory Points until the end of the game, even if he is smashed back by the Russian steamroller. Speaking of which, the Russian Player should play for time and use space until his steamroller picks up speed. This it will inevitably do. If the Austro-Hungarian Player can do as well as Conrad and hold the Carpathians, he should consider himself lucky.


 These are some Special Rules of the Game:


Conrad's Offensive Gambit (These are the high value Austro-Hungarian Victory Hexes)

 2502: Lublin (15)

 3203: Kholm (15)

 4202: Kovel (20)

 2706: Lutsk (25)

 5507: Rovna (30)


Russian Fortresses - These do not exert a Zone of Control


Austro-Hungarian Coordination Modifiers - This is sort of a misnomer. Whenever Austrian Units and Hungarian Units are stacked together, there is a -1 DRM penalty for defense, and +1 DRM penalty for attacking.


 These are some of the Optional Rules:


Hidden Movement

Cavalry Not Allowed to Attack Infantry

Cavalry Retreat Before Combat

Forced March

Refugee Congestion - This is a nice historical touch.

Cutting/Repairing Rail Lines


 So, how does it play? Like a very well designed board wargame sans the glitz. If you need the glitz look elsewhere. On the other hand, if deep play and historically accurate gaming is what you are after, this game is for you. Thank you Conflict Simulations for the great game and a bit of nostalgia. The game is part of a three part series gaming the Eastern Front in the beginning of World War I. The game 'The World Undone: 1914 East Prussia' is already released. There will be a 'The World Undone: 1914 Serbia' coming up. Conflict Simulations also has some games in the works about European Warfare during the middle of the 19th century.


Robert

The World Undone: 1914 Galicia:

THE WORLD UNDONE: 1914 GALICIA — Conflict Simulations Limited (consimsltd.com)

Conflict Simulations:

Conflict Simulations Limited (consimsltd.com)


 









  Lepanto A Sea Turned Red By Blood Sunday, October 7th, 1571 by Acies Edizioni  This battle had some of the most legendary corsairs and Mus...

Lepanto A Sea Turned Red By Blood Sunday, October 7th, 1571 by Acies Edizioni Lepanto A Sea Turned Red By Blood Sunday, October 7th, 1571 by Acies Edizioni

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!





 Lepanto


A Sea Turned Red By Blood


Sunday, October 7th, 1571


by


Acies Edizioni






 This battle had some of the most legendary corsairs and Muslim and Christian leaders of the 16th century one one side or the other. It is true that the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 saw the Ottomans as losers and unable to conquer the island, although their corsairs and navies were still were the scourge of the Mediterranean. One of the Christian commanders whose fame, or infamy, has lasted even until today is Don Juan, yes that Don Juan. When you have a piece written about you by Mozart you know you have hit the big time. However, he was far from the only notable commander at the battle. These included:


On the Christian Side:


Don Juan de Austria (an illegitimate son of Charles V)

Sebastiano Venier, ( Venetian Commander later Doge of Venice)

Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma

Marcantonio Colonna, Captain General of the Church


On the Ottoman Side:


Dragut, (referred to as 'The Greatest Pirate Warrior of all Time')

M├╝ezzinzade Ali Pasha, ( The Muslim Overall commander)

Occhiali, (born an Italian farmer, he became Grand Admiral of the Ottoman Fleet)

┼×uluk Mehmed Pasha, (Commander of the Turkish right wing at Lepanto)


 A Holy League was put together under the auspices of Pope Pius V. This League was to counter the naval threat that the Ottoman Empire was to the entire Mediterranean. Don Juan was given the banner of the fleet, blessed by the Pope, on August 14th 1571. The stage was set for a decisive naval battle between the Ottoman Empire and the various Christian nations in the Holy League. It ended as a victory for the Holy League. Casualties on the Ottoman side were: 80 galleys sunk, and 117 captured. 30,000 Ottomans were casualties, with another 8,000 captured. The Christians suffered 7,500 casualties. The battle apparently captured the imagination of poets all over Europe. Even James the I of England composed a piece (when he was still just James VI of Scotland).




 This is what comes in the box:


3 Maps all at roughly 22"x 33" 

6 Player Aid Cards

Rules Booklet

Player Booklet

2 Full Countersheets

The map scale is 1:60,000 each hex is roughly 1000 meters

Turns represent one hour each

The Game is fine for two-player or solitaire

 

 I am usually not a connoisseur of box art, but for this game I will make an exception. It shows a Muslim and Christian ship locked in deadly combat. The map area is, as you can imagine, very large. Being a sea battle the maps are, except for information tracks, pretty much two shades of blue. Not that you would expect anything else. The counters are 1.5 cm, or roughly 10/16". The countersheets I received are a little problematic. I usually use a pair of scissors to cut out my counters to cut down on cardboard dregs. The way these were made you have to use scissors or an Exacto knife to get the counters apart from each other. This is not really a big deal. However, do not expect them to just pop apart from each other. Some of us care about clipped corners etc., and some of us do not. I would just be careful separating these counters. The Rules Booklet is in full color with many illustrations. The rules themselves only take up fourteen pages, with a further six pages for a nicely done Order of Battle. The Player Booklet has three pages of examples. The rest is a wonderfully done eight page history of the battle. 


 The Sequence of Play is:


Action Phase: Activation Marker or Special Chit Pull

A. Maneuver Segment

B. Battle Segment

C. Recovery Segment

End Turn Phase




 As you can see, this game uses a chit pull system for each Group of Units in the scenario. There are also Special Chits in the mix. If you pull a special chit before any Group Activation Chit, that Special Chit is removed from play for that turn. The only caveat to that rule is the Wind Direction Chit. That can be pulled at anytime to change the wind course. This was one of the first sea battles that cannons  played a big part in. In many ways the actions of the fleets at Lepanto would have been recognizable to sailors from the Punic Wars. Ramming and grappling, and then the soldiers of each ship fighting it out as if on land was the norm for the battle. The weight of metal as far as cannons is greatly on the Christian side. The unit counters represent either one large ship or a group of galleys. Each side had a left, center, and right contingent. In Front of each Christian contingent were a few huge Venetian Galleasses. These were somewhat sedentary, but were bristling with cannons of all sizes. If the player gets lucky these will cause havoc in the Ottoman ranks before the main fleets engage. 


There are rules for:


Artillery Fire Attacks

Reaction Fire 

Leaders

Leader Losses

Ramming

Grappling

Boarding

Shallow Water

Damage

 Mast Down

 Fires Aboard

Sailing/Rowing

 

 So, just about anything that could happen in a sea battle at this time.

 




 The game has these scenarios:

Battle of Lepanto Scenario: Full Battle All Three Maps

Lions At Sea: Uses Only The Northern map

Lepanto Clash: Uses Only The Center Map

Waiting for Doria: Uses only the Southern Map




 The game was setup as a two-player game, but it can be played solitaire better than most. The Chit Pull System makes this easier, but the game rules also lend themselves to solitaire. Of course, I think any game can be played solitaire, some with a little more finagling than others. The Christian side definitely has the weight of metal on its side. The Spanish Infantry on the galleys also helps. However, the Ottomans are no push-over and can hold their own. I think that the side that comes up with a better plan, and is able to actually implement it, will win. That sounds like advice from Captain Obvious, but it pretty much goes for every game ever made. The Chit Pull System, and the way the game throws the 'friction' of war at you makes for a tense game. One on one the Christian side should win, but if the Ottomans are able to sweep around the Christian right flank (their actual battle plan), it will be a long afternoon for them.


 Victory is determined by deducting the Ottoman Victory Points from the Christian Victory Points total. A negative number is an Ottoman Player victory. Total points between 0-20 means a draw, and 21 and over is a Christian Player win.


 I was surprised to find that there have been a few games on the Battle of Lepanto. Most, however, are pretty long in the tooth. Europe before and after the reign of Charles V Holy Roman Emperor is one of my favorite times of history. So, I was more than happy to see this game come in the mail. It might be a niche product, but any grognard worth his salt should get his feet wet with this game. Forget about Nelson, or angle of fire, and go back to when men had to fight on a rolling deck as they would on land. Thank you very much Acies Edizioni for allowing me to take this for a sail. Please check out their game Durchbruch on the Battle of Caporetto.


Robert

Lepanto: A Sea Turned Red By Blood:

Lepanto 1571 | Acies (edizioniacies.com)

Acies Edizioni:

Acies edizioni (edizioniacies.com)

My review of Durchbruch:

Durchbruch The Austro-German Attack at Caporetto - October 1917 by Acies Edizioni - A Wargamers Needful Things


 The Lamps Are Going Out World War One: 2nd Edition by Compass Games  Let us first take a look at this bemedaled group photo on the cover. &...

The Lamps Are Going Out: World War One 2nd Edition by Compass Games The Lamps Are Going Out: World War One 2nd Edition by Compass Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!




 The Lamps Are Going Out


World War One: 2nd Edition


by


Compass Games






 Let us first take a look at this bemedaled group photo on the cover.

"In May 1910, European royalty gathered in London for the funeral of King Edward VII. Among the mourners were nine reigning kings, who were photographed together in what very well may be the only photograph of nine reigning kings ever taken. Of the nine sovereigns pictured, four would be deposed and one assassinated.

Within five years, Britain and Belgium would be at war with Germany and Bulgaria. Only five of the nine monarchies represented in the photo still exist today.

Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia, King George I of the Hellenes and King Albert I of the Belgians.

Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom, and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.

There are several family relations in that picture. For instance, Frederik VIII of Denmark (bottom right) was the father of Haakon VII of Norway (top left), while Wilhelm II of Germany (top, 3rd from the right) was the first cousin of both George V of the United Kingdom (bottom center), and Queen Maud of Norway who was wife to Haakon VII of Norway and sister to George V of the United Kingdom – which made Haakon VII of Norway and George V of the United Kingdom brothers-in-law.

George V of the United Kingdom’s and Queen Maud of Norway’s mother was incidentally Alexandra of Denmark, sister to Frederik VIII of Denmark. This means that Frederik VIII of Denmark was also the uncle of George V of the United Kingdom.

George was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. The funeral of King Edward VII was the last time all of the great European monarchs would meet before the First World War, the same war that would end most of the monarchical lines of Europe for good. Imagine, they all knew a war was coming, all knew it was going to be between them."





 Okay, now that you have ingested that blurb that would put an Ancestry.Com page to shame, here we go. The First World War, and its terrors, was for many years placed at the foot of Germany and Kaiser Wilhelm II. The event that really sparked it off was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary during a state visit to Sarajevo. With hindsight, and historians poring over records, we now know that the assassination was fostered by certain groups in the Kingdom of Serbia. However, many diplomats thought that this incident would blow over, just as many others did in the preceding years. Back to Germany, and whether it was totally responsible or not. Historians now are torn as to just who was to blame, or was any one nation more to blame than others. The astute Otto von Bismarck had said "One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans" He did however, also say "The Balkans are not worth the life of a single Pomeranian Grenadier." British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey's quote "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time", is where the title of the game comes from. So, let us take a look and see what comes in the box:


1 22”x34” MOUNTED MAP

•    176 5/8” counters

•    100 Event Cards

•    20 Technology Cards

•    2 Player Aid sheets

•    1 Rules booklet


This is the information given about the game:


Product Information

•    Complexity: Medium

•    Solitaire suitability: High

•    Time Scale: Seasonal turns

•    Map Scale:  Variable-Sized Areas

•    Unit Scale: Field Armies

•    Players: 2-4

•    Playing Time: 4-6 hours


 As mentioned, the map is mounted (something which is happening more and more on the release of games, instead of an upgrade that you can buy separately), so kudos to Compass Games for this. It is an area map, and not a hex one. The map has areas from Scotland to the Ottoman Empire and Moscow in Russia. There is also a box on the left of the map for the fighting in Africa. While Africa was really a sideshow to the whole war, it is a nice touch to include that part of the war. The map is colorful without being gaudy, and I can read everything on it even without my glasses. There are not many maps I can do that with now. The Rulebook, Design Notes, and Player Aid Sheet are all in full color. The rules themselves are twenty-six pages long. Added to it are Designer Notes, and an Extended Example of Play. There is a separate booklet that has the 2nd Edition Designer Notes, and a description of all 100 Event Cards. There are also descriptions of the eight Optional Cards. The Cards all have a separate actual photograph from World War I on them, along with their information. I believe that anything that adds to a player's immersion in a game is a nice touch. The 5/8" counters are great for old hands and eyes. They also come pre-corner clipped for those who it matters to. Seeing as I have never clipped my counters I do not know if that is a good or bad thing to you clippers out there. Even though this is a game about World War I, which usually means high stacks of counters, the scale of the game makes that a non-issue. 




 This is the Sequence of Play:

Faction Sequence of Play

Players execute these phases in sequence for the current 

faction under their control.

A. Event Card Phase (5.0)

  1. Rebuild Event Deck (Spring Turn only)

  2. Draw Event Card

B. Movement Phase (6.0)

  1. Move Armies, Artillery and Tanks

  2. Redeploy Stosstruppen Marker (Germany only)

  3. Move U-Boats (Germany Only)

  4. Move Fleets (WA & Germany only)

C. Combat Phase (7.0)

  1. Resolve Naval Combat (WA & Germany only)

  2. Resolve Amphibious Invasions (WA only)

  3. Resolve Ground, Guerilla & Beachhead Attacks

D. Production Phase (8.0)

  1. Production Modifiers (8.2)

    a. Check Blockade Box (WA & Germany only)

    b. Resolve Events

    c. Resolve U-Boat Attacks (Western Allies only)

    d. Resolve U-Boat Attrition (Germany only)

    e. Receive Transferred Production

  2. Production Spending (8.3, by nation, least to most PP)

    a. Refit Units

    b. Raise New Units

    c. Construct Trenches

    d. Transfer Production

  3. Technological Advances (8.4) (WA & Germany only)

    a. Draw Bonus Technology Cards (by Event only)

    b. Research Technology

    c. Discard G1 Technology

E. Regroup Phase (9.0)

  1. Determine Air Superiority (WA & Germany only)

  2. Reset Heavy Artillery





 'Lamps' plays out in seasonal turns. There are rules for the following Special Combat Units:

Tanks
Triple Entente Air Superiority
Western Allies Heavy Artillery
Western Allied Trenches

 The U-Boat War is a big part of the game, and just like in history a very big plus and minus for the Central Powers. Unrestricted U-Boat Warfare can really help to tilt the USA to join the fray against the Central Powers. So the CP player must decide whether it is worth it in the long run. The collapse of Russia is just as large an event in the war as the USA joining in. This again shows how the game plays historically, without tying the players' hands. The capture of Berlin or Paris assures an Automatic Victory. Other than that Victory Points are added up by both sides at the end of the Fall 1918 turn to decide the winner.




 The game rules are easy to digest, but it is not an easy game. It puts you in control of either the Entente or the Central Powers at the highest level. You control the destiny of your entire coalition, not just one country. The game is really meant to be two player, but it also plays well solo too. There are also rules to play it as a three or four player game. This is the 2nd edition, but according to the designer it is essentially the same. The game has had some tweaking done to it, and some cleaning up and clarification of certain aspects. Some of the event cards have also been changed. According to the designer, he really wanted to work on the Technology part of the game. Apparently, in the 1st edition, it was possible to have some strange play throughs as far as Technology each side can possibly get. In this edition the designer has made it easier for either side to catch up in Technology. There were apparently some games from the 1st edition that had technology very lop-sided on one side or the other, or at least the possibility of that happening in a game. The inclusion of the 'Rasputitsa' Card in the new edition helps to make the weather in Russia a much more potent and more of a monkey wrench to be thrown into either sides plans.




 I was fully prepared to not really take a shine to the game. I am much more used to having a WWI game with huge stacks of counters that look like man made mountain ranges on a map. A game that plays from this vantage point and with not many areas on the map is not one that I would usually look for. I was very pleasantly surprised in the game and game play. It is a much deeper game than I was suspecting after opening up the box. The game gives each side's player a lot of options. Yes, it does have a meat grinder feel to it with the land war. I am not sure why some people have mentioned this. A World War I game is supposed to feel like a meat grinder. It is the nature of the beast, or at least should be.




 Thank you very much Compass Games for letting me put 'The Lamps Are Going Out' through its paces. Please take a look at their whole line of games, especially the games based on the 'No Peace Without Spain' design. I have all of them and they are excellent, and there are more on the way.

Robert


The Lamps Are Going Out:

The Lamps are Going Out: World War 1, 2nd Edition – Compass Games

Compass games:

Compass Games – New Directions In Gaming

No Peace Without Spain:

No Peace Without Spain – Compass Games

  Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press Decision Games    Writing a review about a S&T issue seems a l...

Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!





 Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905


by


Strategy & Tactics Press

Decision Games





 

 Writing a review about a S&T issue seems a little like blasphemy to me. The magazine has been around in one way or another since I was a teenager. I had already been grabbed by the wargaming bug in my younger years by the simple games from Milton Bradley etc. Then in 1970 I saw Panzerblitz in a toy store. However, it wasn't until a few years later that I went to a hobby store and found both my grail, and the bane of my future wife. There were rows and rows of games including this magazine that not only had articles on the history of war and battles, but also contained a game about one of them. I was literally a teenager who found my first Playboy magazine. The amazing thing about S&T to me has always been its breadth of coverage. One article could be about the Battle of Kadesh, and the next could be about carriers in the 21st century. S & T allowed battles that no one would ever make a boxed version of land on your doorstep or in your nearest hobby store. The magazine itself has gone through a few hands over the years, but it has always been lovingly cared for by the different people in charge of it. Yes, if you look at the first issues made in the 1970's they look dated (although, do not say that to a collector or grognard). The magazine is now very much up to 21st century standards; one might even call it cutting edge. So, let us look what comes in this edition.


 First, we will take a look at the numerous articles, and departments in this issue:

Articles:

The Battle of Mukden, 1905

The Battle of Mycale

Wavell at Bay: February - June 1941

Poland, 1830-31: The November Insurrection


Departments:

On Design - By Joseph Miranda

Work in Progress: Vicksburg: The Assault on Stockade Redan

German Saboteurs in America - By David Schroeder

Did you Know? - By Joseph Miranda

For Your Information:
 
 Wavell's Officers - By Jonathan Lupton

 The Death of Bishop Polk - By Brett Michael Mills

 Nagashino Reimagined - By Joshua R. Gilbert

 Hitler's Haltebefehl - By John Burtt

The Long Tradition


 The list shows that this issue moves in time from 479 B.C. to the 20th century. Just a bit of a time curve. Hidden in this group of excellent writing is a small, but nonetheless mind blowing article about the Battle of Nagashino. It turns out that the stockade fence that Oda Nobunaga's arquebusers were positioned behind may not have actually existed. The author has looked at all of the different historical writings about the battle and found a whopper of an anomaly. It seems that none of the early writings mention the stockade fence at all, and it does not show up until about 100 years after the battle. This would clear up this strange part of the battle we have all read about. Takeda Katsuyori was certainly not on a par with his father Takeda Shingen as a general, however most of the generals that had fought under Shingen were still alive and at the Battle of Nagashino. Contrary to popular belief, a samurai was not supposed to just give up his life for no reason. It always seemed strange to me that the Takeda cavalry would just keep piling up their dead in front of the stockade fence. One could make an argument about the French cavalry doing the same thing at Waterloo. In reality, because of Wellington's positioning of his troops, the French cavalry would not know what was there, or still there, until they climbed the crest. At the Battle of Nagashino we have read that after the first charge, and possibly all along, the stockade fence was visible to the Takeda cavalry. This is but a small example of what can be found on almost every page of every issue of S & T. It is like the Old Man on the Mountain of Wargaming magazines. The maps and OOB's that come with each article are incredibly well done and researched. 

 The Battle of Mycale article is also deceiving. Like most, if not all of S & T articles, it not only shows the history of the Greco-Persian conflict from the beginning, but also adds in some history after the battle. 

 The same goes for the Battle of Mukden article. It takes us back in time to show the reasons for the Russo-Japanese War. Then it continues to inform us about the entire conflict before even touching the Battle of Mukden itself. 





 The game inside was designed by Ty Bomba. If you call yourself a grognard and his name is not familiar, please hang your head in shame. I would even consider making it mandatory to put it on your name tag at the next convention you go to, but I digress. 

 Mukden 1905 simulates just the battle for Mukden, and not any of the earlier battles in the Russo-Japanese War. It is a two-player game, but can be easily transformed into a solitaire experience. The game map has hexes and not areas. Each hex represents three miles. The Units in the game are regiments, brigades, divisions, and one Cavalry Corps. Each game turn represents two days. The map is 22" x 34", and there is one sheet of 228 1/2" counters. The front of the counters are the normal NATO designations. The back of the counters (disrupted side) show the Rising Sun for the Japanese, and the Double Eagle for the Russian. The Zone of Control rules are pretty much the norm. Each Unit exhibits a ZOC into the next surrounding hex, and enemy Units must stop upon entering a ZOC. The rules are only fifteen pages long. Sudden Death Victory is determined by either the Russians capturing Liaoyang (hex 1922), or the Japanese capturing Mukden itself (hex 2310), or any of the railroad hexes from 2210 to 2900 before the end of Turn three. These would be above Mukden itself. 

 The Sequence of Play is:

I: Russian Cavalry Corps Replacement Phase ( skip on Turn 1)
II: Japanese Phase Sequence Declaration Phase
III: Russian Paralysis Determination Phase
IV: Alternating Actions Movement (or Combat) Phase
V: Recovery Phase
VI: Russian Paralysis Determination Phase
VII: Alternating Actions Combat (or Movement) Phase
VIII: Recovery Phase

 As you can see, the Russian Player is possibly as hamstrung as they were in real life. Historically the Japanese Army played the tune, and the Russian Army had to dance to it. In actuality, the Japanese had pretty much scraped the bottom of the barrel as far as manpower, while the Russians had been limited by the Trans-Siberian Railway, and its limited hauling power. The Russian Steamroller was massive, but in this case it could not make its weight felt so far from Europe. 





 The game is a very good one, and gives both players the advantages and disadvantages that each side had. The Japanese Player has to attack to win. He has to either gain a Sudden Death Victory, or take Mukden and inflict twenty percent more losses on the Russian Player than he loses. The Russian Player can fight a defensive battle, which they did historically, or become very lucky and get a Sudden Death Victory. This game is another winner in a long line of S & T games that are good to excellent. I still play some S & T games that are thirty years old and more. Thank you Decision Games for letting me review this great issue. Please take a look at Decision Games' four different magazines and all of their boxed games, and books. 

Robert

Strategy & Tactics #326:

Decision Games:





 COMPANY OF HEROES FROM BAD CROW GAMES To quote from the post on BGG: "Bad Crow Games is a consortium of game designers and publishers ...

COMPANY OF HEROES COMPANY OF HEROES

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

 COMPANY OF HEROES

FROM

BAD CROW GAMES



To quote from the post on BGG: "Bad Crow Games is a consortium of game designers and publishers from Utah. The staff comprises multiple entrepreneurs and game designers that have previously published their own titles.
The group has come together to design games off of their new real time strategy mechanic that allows players the experience of RTS action video games in a board game format."
As a player of computer games who actively seeks out turn-based military games that recreate on the PC the hex and counter experience I love in board wargames, I may not be the best to comment on this reverse process.
What I can say is that Company of Heroes hits all my sweet spots and it's a great round of thanks to Bad Crow Games for providing me with this review copy. This is their second game to be published and what a choice and what a publication!
The immediate visual factor bowled me over.  This is the incredible stack that emerged from one of, if not the heaviest game parcels I've ever received.  For this review I'm going to focus on the massive core box, but hope to explore later the additional Cooperative/Solo expansion that was one of the generous bonuses included from Bad Crow Games

What emerges as these boxes are unpacked is astonishing, what's even more amazing is that the contents in the core box that I'm going to show you all repack in a way that I wouldn't have believed possible.


This is nearly everything, just from the core box which is one of the deepest I've come across.  First of all, that stack of maps contains four, each 30" x 20" and double-sided.  Each pair combines to form a 30" x 40" map: Stalingrad, Monastery, Trois Ponts and Hill 331.  The first three have clear historical origins from the Siege of Stalingrad, Monte Cassino and the Battle of the Bulge, while the last comes from the COH2 PC version, though the board game map itself doesn't seem to mirror the computer version as far as I could see..

They are all stunning to look at with large 3" hexes; Stalingrad [seen below] and Trois Ponts being my personal favourites.



The Mission Booklet provides  a wide range of scenarios from small ones using half of a single map to massive 4 mappers.  My only disappointment is that most of these Huge Scenarios demand maps from two copies of the game!  [That said, I'm lucky that a close friend and fellow gamer has his own Kickstarter copy,  so somewhere down the line everything is possible - just need a huge table now!] 

Next up comes the four sets of units for the four nationalities:  British, American, German and Russian.  Each is perfectly accommodated in its own separate plastic storage box.



Above is the German box.  Notice the tray on the right that houses each soldier perfectly making both storage and game play so smooth.  Just lift out what you need as required and slot back in as a unit is destroyed!  Incredibly compact, it helps to keep the fairly large footprint of this game down to a reasonably manageable size!

Apart from appreciating this major benefit,  I was stunned by two things: the variety of vehicles offered for each nationality and the quality of their casting.  Not only do they look great, they are of a weighty heft that I have not found even in many models designed purely for figure gaming!

Equally impressive is Terrain Pack 1 which was part of the amazing package Bad Crow Games sent me.  I had expected mainly good cardboard overlays, but instead we're treated to nine two story buildings in plastic.  Each has a removable section of wall to allow placement of infantry units inside to add an element of FOW [fog of war].  If you don't want to add in that advanced rule, the unit just sits neatly on the roof.



In addition you can see an assortment of barbed wire, sandbags and tank obstacles.  The strange central items are a key factor in the resource/victory point management element of the game - more about those later.

Returning to the core box itself, you'll find the next tray contains a fascinating array of mainly specialised dice and coloured cubes, along with a set of clear transparent bases for your various vehicles and infantry units.  The plastic bags contain figure markers to add to infantry bases to show machine gun and mortar units and notice the two sand timers.  Quality and storage are again first class - though here I have virtually my only concern about the contents... please supply more of the transparent bases, particularly those for vehicles.  I know that they are not as necessary for vehicles, but they are a great addition to the game.

As COH unfortunately wasn't available other than by Kickstarter, I shall have to wait until the upcoming Kickstarter COH 1.5 where, I've been assured, the popular demand for more will be satisfied.  Thanks Bad Crow to listening to your fans.



On top of all this are two sheets of cardboard items which when punched out look like this...



... and neatly fill the remaining empty spaces in the previous tray.



Finally rounding out all this hardware are four HQ boards, one for each nationality, 12 Building Cards and 20 Commander Cards, which I'll explain in more detail when I look at the game's system and rules.

These come in three handsome booklets providing Basic Rules, Advanced Rules and Missions.  All three mirror the game's component quality being printed on thick glossy paper, with even more substantial card quality outer covers.  The rules themselves are abundantly illustrated throughout and follow the easy to understand chronology of the sequence of play.  This is a game that can please and be enjoyed and understood by 
 both newbies and grognards.

Looking beyond the deluxe quality, we come to what sets Company of Heroes as much more than what might place it as a super rival to Memoir 44 or Tide of Iron.  The game's system is built on a familiar basic format.

ROUND
Manoeuvre Phase;
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Damage Phase
Supply Phase

A very familiar outline, but each Phase introduces novel elements and successful developments.  Also, it is important to note the use of "Round" for the more familiar word "turn" [which has a different use to divide up the stages of the Manoeuvre Phase, as will be explained further in the next paragraph].

First of all, Manoeuvre springs an immediate surprise - each Player begins a Round with nine Command Points to be spent on moving in the Manoeuvre Phase.  These points are spent over those 3 turns with a maximum of 3 pts spent per turn.  You cannot hold back points to spend in a subsequent turn - so, for example, no spending 2 pts in turn 1 and then 4 pts in turn 2 and then 3 pts in turn 3.  Nor can any individual unit, with a few special exceptions, spend more than 3 pts of movement over the whole Round.
Here an M10 Wolverine has used its maximum 3 pts of movement in a Round and falls just short of being able to enter and take control of a Munitions control point.
Each player spends his/her parcel of 3 pts alternately.  I've already found this produces a new and enjoyable tactical element to moving, as players jockey for position.  Do you counter your opponent's direction of movement?  Do you pursue your own separate goal?  Can you deceive your opponent as to your main goal or are you being lured astray by your opponent?  A great sense of interaction is easily and effectively developed with minimum effort and very simple rules.  

Closely allied to these movement rules and adding a further influence on where you may decide to move are the rules for the third Phase of a Round: namely the Supply Phase.  Being used to the conventional and while nigh universal concept of supply in board wargames being trace back to a supply point or suffer some penalties either in movement and/or combat, COH's approach reflects both its computer origins and a strong dose of Eurogame influence.

Here's where those strange looking objects shown earlier come in.



They mark in 3D where various types of supply are located; the range includes Manpower, Fuel, Munitions and Victory Points.  Also, when you capture a supply hex, you place a coloured flag to indicate control.  All the mapboards have such locations' symbols printed on them and these are the default locations.  However, many of the scenarios introduce different locations and provide a cardboard marker to show the type of supply.
This feature of the game is a great illustration of Bad Crow's willingness to go the extra mile to try to cater for and satisfy individual player's preferences and can be exemplified in the photo below, taken from a close up of the Stalingrad board.



At top right you see the printed supply location of a hex that contains both Fuel and Victory Point symbols.  To the left is a location with a marker showing Munition Supply and the 3D flag pole, plus a red flag showing which Player controls it.  Finally, on the far left, you see the Manpower marker [the fist on an olive green background] and for those who might find the 3D marker not to their taste, you have the alternative of a cardboard control marker.  
This striving for different types of supply is for me a crucial and rewarding aspect of the game, as these locations and fighting for them directs and fuels the major thrust of the game.  It also influences and drives other key decisions made in the Supply Phase. Each Round you adjust the different types of Supply Income according to what you already control and what you have newly captured.  Inevitably, a Supply Point captured from the enemy increases your Income by one, but also decreases your opponent's by one.  These points are then added to your stockpile and used to buy a wide range of items.




This is where the well designed HQ Board, shown in the photo above,  plays its part.  The white cubes mark your Income in the upper part of the display and your Stockpiles in the lower section.  Default starting points for scenarios are as seen.  Again Bad Crow Games have produced the perfect model by using recessed boards and good cardstock mounted on plastic bases. 

So, fighting for Supply has been made an important and rewarding part of the game, providing not only a narrative drive, but opening up a new dimension in subsequent game play.  The wide range of choices and how the designers have factored them in are another major reason for my rating this game so highly.  This brings me to the next original element: the Building Boards.



Each nationality has three each and at the start of a Scenario, you have access only to the first Building Board.  In the photo, this is Wermacht Headquarters.  These give you all the information you need about each of your type of units that are currently available.  The default starting units for scenarios are any two infantry type units.  Reading along the top line, you start with the unit strength, its range for fire, its type of attack, any special ability and cost to buy.  The second line divides into two sections: on the left, upgrades that can be built with Experience points [this is an advanced game rule] and on the right, basic rule upgrades bought with Munition points.

New units don't just appear according to some preordained scenario schedule, but have to be bought from combinations of different types of Supply.  Showing its PC origins, the terminology used in the rules  for producing your reinforcements and where they appear which is actually printed on the Mission booklet maps is the word ... SPAWN!  [Urrh! Sorry, guys, but this just conjures up sinister eggs, face-huggers and aliens!  Please this is WWII.]
Anyway that's what the Supply Phase is all about - logging your current Supply income, adding it to your stockpiles, buying reinforcements and buying their available upgrades. There are two final vital actions that can be performed in the Supply Phase.  One is to unlock your 2nd and 3rd Building Cards which will provide a wider and stronger range of units to buy.  The other action is introduced in what can best be described as a coda to the Basic Rules.  This involves Experience Points that are gained by damaging and eliminating units and can be spent either to unlock further unit upgrades or to buy abilities from the last component in the core game: Commander Cards.  Each nationality possesses several of these, but only one can be chosen for any scenario.



It is very much these Building Cards and Commander Cards that give each nationality its individuality, flavour and variations.  Again, this is a major plus for the quality and scope of COH.  Should this not be enough for you, the core box rounds off with a slim Advanced Rules booklet that adds mainly minor refinements to rules for some some units, such as arcs of fire, retreat for infantry in addition to manoeuvre, refined pinning, slow units and turrets. The two new introductions are damage to buildings and the ability to build battlefield defences like sand bags and razor-wire.  
Having skipped from Phase 1 Manoeuvre straight to Phase 3 Supply, to complete my exploration we need to return to Phase 2 Damage.  In other words, what's normally titled Combat.  In keeping with the originality seen at every step so far, Damage has plenty of newness to offer.  No CRTs [Combat Results Tables], no conventional six sided dice, no attack nor defence strengths.  Instead both sides place their Damage dice in the Damage Phase into the hexes of those units they can and want to attack, with the appropriate Damage symbol uppermost. There are just 4 types of damage: Anti-Infantry, Armour-Piercing, High Explosive and Flame.  A display shows what a particular type of unit can attempt to defend against and what it must automatically take a hit from.  As there are only four types of unit: Infantry, Light Vehicle, Heavy Vehicle and Emplacement, this results in an ultra-simple 4x4 matrix to work with.  Placing damage dice and rolling for saves is simultaneous.  This not only replicates the real-time play of the original computer game, but also is perhaps a more realistic representation of combat. Below is a typical example of infantry combat, where both sides inflict an automatic hit.  Obviously this is an aspect of the game that will draw support from some and disapproval from others.  Personally, this balance of automatic and hits and those that might be saved is an effective and successful approach.




Consequently, the Damage Phase is remarkably swift and easy to execute.  Roll all the dice that can attempt to avoid damage and then take the hits that remain.  This Phase is very easy, very visual and very satisfying and I particularly like the fact that some of those potential upgrades I've discussed earlier include the ability to add defence shielding dice and increase damage abilities.  A great idea, illustrated below with an American infantry stand that has been given a shield upgrade.


Oh, one last item - the sand timers.  If you want to recreate a flash of the hectic play of the original realtime computer game, then these can be used to hasten play along.  Never having had lightning reflexes, this is not a factor for me and would detract from the pleasure of move and countermove that the game so satisfyingly creates.  But the choice is there, which is one of the many strengths of this design.  Though COH is primarily a game of tactical warfare, it also has the flexibility of a superb sandbox to create your own scenarios with designated supply provision, reinforcement entry, specific goals and much more.
At the moment, however, I'm still happily exploring the Mission booklet and learning the strengths and weaknesses of the different nationalities and the different forces each can field. 
Unfortunately, the one and only draw back is that this was not produced for retail sale.  On the other hand the good news is that a Kickstarter for COH 1.5 is in hand.  I shall certainly be exploring some of the expansions and getting some more of those promised additional excellent figure trays.  If you haven't yet bought into this system, I would strongly recommend it as high on any list to consider for its superb quality, accessibility, scope and innovation and sheer pleasure to play.  






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