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RUM & BONES : SECOND TIDE There are PIRATES and then there are PIRATES .  And those in RUM & BONES : SECOND TIDE   are...


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

July 2017



There are PIRATES and then there are PIRATES And those in RUM & BONES : SECOND TIDE  are distinctly of the latter persuasion.  We are in the full-on Ameritrash world of pirates which takes us way beyond Johnny Depp and Pirates of The Carribean.  I know the very word "Ameritrash" may have sent some of you running for cover almost before you'd read it, but I certainly don't use it in the pejorative way that certain gamers unfortunately do.   For me, Ameritrash signifies strongly themed games of action and conflict in glorious strong colour presented with components of high physical quality and often quantity too.  RUM & BONES : SECOND TIDE ticks all those boxes and then some.  

At its heart we are taken to what is one of the major climactic scenes of piratical derring-do - the boarding action.  The playing area consists of three separate boards  that depict in top-down view the contesting vessels.  In this case, the centre board is one faction's major ship, a gallant, while on either side are the opposing faction's two smaller ships, windcutters.

The Gallant

The two Windcutters

These substantial mounted boards are wonderfully atmospheric in design and colour, especially the Gallant which exudes a strong impression of alien depths and tentacled realms.  That's not too surprising as this ship belongs to the faction of the Deep Lords of Atlantis, while the opposing Windcutters serve the faction of Maria de La Muerte, a more human set of rogues, but no less deadly as the title Muerte spells it out only too clearly.   It's also clear from the illustrations of other ship layouts in the rule book that at least two other factions are already planned.

All the ships have a number of sturdy cardstock tiles that depict the objective tiles to be potentially captured, deployment point markers and gangplank tiles that are the main routes that each player vies to secure in order to attack and board his/her opponent's ship. 

Here the ships are set up with gangplanks, objective tiles
and deployment point markers

 The many other cardboard components include a substantial range, including familiar tokens such as Damage, Condition, Activation and Coins and what self-respecting Pirate game would be complete without a set of Dead Man's Tokens!  Slightly oddly named for a game set at sea are the ten Hero Dashboards, two Crew Dashboards and the two Sea Creature Dashboards.  I'm not sure where this terminology first sprang from, but it is a growing usage that seems to be replacing more familiar terms for the card that contains a figures stats and other necessary information.

As you might expect they contain a dashing full colour image of the character, rendered in a strongly cartoon style, the number of hit points necessary to remove them temporarily from the board [note, I didn't say kill them] and three slots for the different skill cards that they may acquire.   

Personally, I find some of these a bit cheesey, like the one of the Captain of the Deep Lords, and the picture of his Swashbuckler Hero  definitely raises memories of one of Captain Barbosa's crew.

Your Crews are about as motley as you can imagine, consisting of the many cannon-fodder rank and file bravos and a couple of slightly more significant bosuns.  What I like about CMON Limited, the company making this game, is that they haven't just trotted out umpteen copies of a generic pirate.  Both sides have totally different models which consist of 24 figures in four different poses. 

Here you can see the whole Deep Lords faction on parade - oh no not more figures to paint.  [I really must get back to some historical wargames that just have cardboard!!  Ah, that wish will soon be granted.]

At the top of the tree, each player has five individual heroes from whom they can select or randomly choose three for a game.  With these you will defend your own ship/s and seek to board your enemy's as you seek to capture Objective tiles and dispose of your opponent's heroes.  Adding more flavour is the possibility of summoning a Sea Monster to your aid or worst of all awakening the dreaded Kraken. 

A pity there are no models for these two monsters of the deep, but that's a minor wish for an added extra [and even as I was penning this, my wish was granted.  Heading the line-up of maaaaaany expansion packs is .... Sea Monsters!]

A closer look at the other Faction's Heroes displayed above does reveal a certain rough hewn blockiness to the quality of the plastic.  All the figures tend to have a lack of refined detail in their execution, but a good paint job will soon set that right.  However, if you compare these to those they produced for Blood Rage, you'll see the difference in quality. Still, even as they stand in their original simplicity, once you set up the whole game, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the sheer chutzpah of the ensemble effect.  And here it is!

You need a substantial amount of table space to take in all that this game holds and, however I arrange the contents back in the box, I still can't fit everything back in!   Unless you're willing to jettison the excellent moulded plastic trays for the models and their cardboard boxes, there's going to be a bag of markers left out in the cold.

In terms of theme, visual appearance and clarity of rules, RUM & BONES : SECOND TIDE is a great success.  All the artwork is powerful, in strong colours from the excellent depiction of the ships already mentioned to the individual deck of cards each player uses. 

Just a sample of the individual decks.

The rules are of low to moderate depth and very clearly laid out and explained.  In essence, each round you take turns either activating a single Hero or your whole crew or passing, until both sides have passed.  So, three Heroes and your whole crew at one go means 4 actions per player each Round.  Sounds dead simple, in fact too simple.  Thankfully it's not. 

There is a neat interaction between your Crew and Heroes.  The former are a mindless bunch who operate on programmed paths from which you cannot divert as they march inexorably towards one of the assigned enemy Deployment Points.  However, as they do so, anything in their path that can be attacked whether enemy Objective tile or enemy Hero must be attacked.  If they reach their assigned enemy Deployment Point, an orgy of looting and pillaging takes place, as they make one last attack before being removed from the board.

The mindless Crews about to set out on their march
to destroy or be destroyed.

As the ship boards are divided into square zones and moves are orthogonal from zone to zone, calculations are very straightforward both for movement and the one time you fire at range which is part of Crew Activation.  I'd love to be able to fire broadsides, but a game would probably be over in ten minutes or less! So, I'll just have to make do with the single firing of my Deck Gun and my Hero Gunner.

An opportunity to see the Captain of the opposing faction

The five Heroes are your most flexible characters as they make take up to three Actions, while each has a variety of Skills that can be built up and brought in to play and upgraded.  Each Hero's type [Captain, Brute, Swashbuckler, Gunner and Quartermaster] directs the type of Skills they are likely to possess.  They all also have one important ability that your Crew don't.  They can move from ship to ship by swinging on ropes from the rigging - for me an absolutely essential part  of a tactical pirate game.  Even better, you can decide how far you want to swing up to six zones - then roll a single D6.  Roll equal to or less than the number of zones you've moved and you succeed.  If you're feeling really lucky or absolutely desperate, then swing 6 zones and pray that you roll a 6!  Fail and its Overboard for you, me hearty.

With his physique, it's not surprising he's a Brute Hero!

As hinted at earlier, however, it's not curtains even if you lose your last life point in combat.  Perhaps, falling in the sea may not be fatal, but just what does losing all your health points mean?  Obviously, not dying!  The term used is KO'd - familiarly knocked out.  Still, this is a very normal mechanism in many fantasy games, such as dungeon-crawlers, where it's usually essential in order to keep individual players in the game, but [just a personal thought] when you have three Heroes in play, is it quite so necessary?  I shall certainly explore the variant idea of starting play with only three Heroes, who die as they are KO'd, but then allowing you to bring the other two on board.

The rule book itself offers a number of alternatives for different numbers of players above two, as well as what they call Clash Royale.  This is  a variation intended for multiple players, where no Crew figures are used and each player controls only two Heroes.  Players agree on a set number of lives for each Hero and it is literally last man standing wins! 

However, in the main game as intended, ultimately, your aim is to KO Heroes and capture Objectives in pursuit of being the first to reach 8 VPs.  Slight suspension of disbelief needed here for the game's subject matter. 

The outer columns chart those Victory Points
The inner columns chart Kraken Wakes points

"Cap'n, are we fighting for booze, a good brawl, gold bullion or pieces of eight?"
"Nah, Mate, eight victory points!"

Perhaps, they might at least have been called Notoriety Points!!

All in all, the game is a highly enjoyable romp, full of strong action and cartoonish fun.  With its narrow focus in terms of situation and fairly easy level of rules, it's great for a light and light-hearted interlude between longer more complex games and should certainly attract younger gamers to the hobby as well.  I have some concerns about how it would fare from too frequent play, as despite the prospect of different Factions [and there are lots of them, as well as Mercenaries - yes, I'll definitely have some of those!] bringing new Heroes and their Skills to the table, the essential gameplay will not vary much.  Definitely a good choice to let your hair down with at the end of a long day's gaming or while waiting for the heavy stuff to commence.

[mutters, stifled groans, sighs ... OK, you can say it  ...

Aaar, Jim, lad!

But lock him away now and throw away the key.]

Rum & Bones: Second Tide

RRP – £92.99

Online Retailer –

Store Locator : findyourgamestore



Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel   Let's begin this review with a list of the book'...

Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel

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

July 2017

Great Generals of The Ancient World by Richard A. Gabriel


 Let's begin this review with a list of the book's chapters. These are:

What Makes Great Generals Great
Thutmose III Of Egypt
Sargon II The Great Of Assyria
Phillip II Of Macedon
Scipio Africanus
Hannibal Barca
Julius Caesar
Marcus Agrippa
Why Not Alexander?

 I agree completely with five of the nine choices, but you aren't reading this for my choices. Mr. Gabriel starts out with an easy choice for ancient Egypt. Instead of Ramses the what, we have Thutmose The Great. Ramses II's long life allowed him to build or put his name on almost every part of Egypt. However, his claim to 'greatness' falls short, especially in the military field. Mr. Gabriel shows that Thutmose III and Phillip II are the only two on the list that were true innovators in the military field in their time. If not for Thutmose III, the splendor of the New Kingdom would not have reached the heights it did. 

 It is hard to judge the two religious leaders Moses and Muhammad, because we mostly only have religious or religiously bent writings about them, although the author makes a fine argument for them to be on his list.

 Assyrian kings are usually not thought of as ancient conquerors or generals. They are usually portrayed as ancient psychopaths that happened to wear a crown. Why they are always singled out I don't know. There was enough terror and horror in ancient warfare to spread the wealth. Mr. Gabriel makes a great case for Sargon II to  not only be a great ancient general, but also deserving of the title of 'great'.

 Phillip II we have touched upon. He took a backwards impoverished small nation and made it ready to conquer almost the entire known world. Before Phillip II, the Macedonians spent more time killing each other. Very few of the Macedonian kings died in their beds from old age.

 Scipio needs no introduction, as Hart's biography of him is titled 'Greater Than Napoleon'.

 Hannibal is in a class by himself. Not only did he have more engagements than most of the others, he was leading a mercenary army for the most part. His romping through Italy for a decade and a half is the stuff of legends.
 Caesar, the first one, not one of the name thieves; if his own lengthy paean of praise for himself is only half true he belongs on the list.
 Agrippa, whilst Octavian wept and shook while nursing a queasy stomach, conquered an empire for him. Agrippa must have been a rare man indeed. One little push here or there and the world would be awash with the name Marcus of Agrippa, instead of Caesar.
 In the last chapter, the author makes a good argument for not including dear old Alex. This will probably stun more people than not. Didn't Hannibal famously list Alexander as #1? Actually, Plutarch has the list slightly different in the two places he writes about it.
 Now that we have come to the end, I will list the generals that did not make the list, but I believe should have:
For the Romans: Marius, Sulla, or Belisarius instead of Agrippa
Khalid Khan
 Mr. Gabriel does plead a great case for his inclusions and omissions.  Do yourself a favor and pick this book up and argue over it as I have.


Publisher: Pen And Sword
Distributor: Casemate publishers



I did a review of Carrier Deck last month when it released, but the game has had a solid patch applied since then, which fixed pretty ...

Carrier Deck 1.1.2 Gameplay Carrier Deck 1.1.2 Gameplay

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

July 2017

Carrier Deck 1.1.2 Gameplay

I did a review of Carrier Deck last month when it released, but the game has had a solid patch applied since then, which fixed pretty much all of the issues I had with it. I wanted to do a video of the game in action, so you can see how it plays after being smoothed out a bit.


- Joe Beard


Tigers In Combat III by Wolfgang Schneider   'Tiger'; a word that would stop the hearts of Russian and alli...

Tigers In Combat III by Wolfgang Schneider Tigers In Combat III by Wolfgang Schneider

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

July 2017

Tigers In Combat III by Wolfgang Schneider


Wolfgang Schneider 

 'Tiger'; a word that would stop the hearts of Russian and allied tankers in World War II. A moving fortress of death able to take out almost all other tanks at 1000 meters or more.

 The first two volumes in the series were of Tiger unit histories. This volume is the meat and potatoes. It is 500+ pages, and includes 1200 B&W photos along with eight pages of ones in color.  Do you want to know how to check and clean a Tiger's spark plugs? Just turn to page 231. The chapters of the book are as follows:

The Establishment And Structure Of The Tiger Units
Operating The Tiger

 A heavy tank company consisted of three 'Panzerzuge' (panzer platoon) each with four Tigers and a 'Gruppe Fuhrer' (group leader). The three panzer platoons were led by a leutnant (lieutenant) or an oberleutnant (First Lieutenant). The Gruppe Fuhrer had a complement of two tigers and a medium sized off road vehicle. It was later increased to two light off road vehicles. The second tiger functioned as a replacement tank for the 'Kompanie Fuhrer' (company commander) who was usually a 'Hauptman' (captain). All of the information above is found in the seventh paragraph of the first page of chapter one.

 On May 26th 1941 Hitler instructed Porsche and Henschel to complete six heavy armored vehicles by the summer of 1942. The gun was originally to have been a 7.5cm , but was changed to the infamous 8.8cm.

 On page 125 the author details the 'training course content'. There are pictures on page 128 of Tiger turrets on concrete boxes for the training of gunners and loaders.

 Anything from changing the oil, to replacing a piece of track or track pin can be found here. This is a Chilton repair and maintenance manual for the Tiger, and so much more.

 We always think of Tigers, and German tanks in general, as being much more crew friendly than Soviet ones. Imagine my surprise to find out that the heating system for the crew compartment was removed from some models in June 1944, due to engine fire risk.

 We haven't even touched on the 'deployment' or 'tactics' chapters. Between pages 383 and 385 are some very interesting facts about the Tiger attacks during the early part of Operation Citadel. It seems that the Tigers were unnecessarily  exposed to Russian minefields that were known to other nearby German troops. 

 The last part of the chapter 'tactics' is on Tiger propaganda. There is a ton of original German propaganda followed by some surprising Allied ones. 

 On page fifty-three there is a picture of a feast for Kurt Knispel. Who is sometimes credited with being the greatest tank ace of World war II. He is easily recognizable by his Wolfman Jack head and facial hair.

 The pictures in the book, let alone all of the diagrams, are worth its price. With this book and a handy restored Tiger, I could drive, maintain, and scare the hell out of the neighbors with it. On every page you will learn a new fact or tidbit of Tiger history. My hat is off to Mr. Schneider and Helion&Company for this book.

Here are some other photos from the book:


Publisher: Helion&Company
Distributor: Casemate publishers


Flick 'em Up! review Flick ‘em Up! by Pretzel Games is a ‘bullet’-flicking dexterity game in which your posse of outlaws or law...

Flick 'em Up! review Flick 'em Up! review

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

July 2017

Flick 'em Up! review

Flick 'em Up! review

Flick ‘em Up! by Pretzel Games is a ‘bullet’-flicking dexterity game in which your posse of outlaws or lawmen has to out-gun the other team. It comes in a wooden box, of standard game-box-dimensions size (thank goodness) with a sliding lid to open. This is my first game to come in a wooden box and after the initial novelty wore off, I now wish the rest of my collection were in wooden boxes. They’re much easier to open and close, they’re stronger, you cant dent the corners, it cant be ripped, etc. The only disadvantage I can think of is the extra weight, which will affect shipping and production costs. However, there’s a lot more interesting wood to talk about inside the box…

The box in all its glory
Pretzel games has used thick and sturdy wood for the main game elements; the figures, scenery objects and bullets. The game also comes with 5 sheets of heavy duty 2 mm card stock that contain the rest of the game's components; buildings, tokens, and two team boxes which will need to be assembled before your first game.  Let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy punching a new game? This game was a joy to punch out as there were no rips or tears whilst punching out the cardboard. The 'gamers delight' increased even further as after the team boxes are assembled, they fit back into recesses in the main box and serve as an insert to hold game components without any extra plastic bags required.

Wood, glorious wood, hot lead and cacti! (just a selection from the game)
The rules are very well written and the base game, which consists of 2 opposing teams of 5 characters that carry 1 pistol and have 3 health can be taught to new players in less than 5 minutes. The first scenario uses just the base rules and each additional scenario (there are 10 provided) add additional items or figures with their own specific rules. None of these extra rules are complex and they fit the theme of the game well; for example, Scenario 6 adds a rifle token which the sheriff starts with. When the sheriff shoots the rifle a cardboard template is used that directs the bullet down a cardboard channel, supposedly increasing the accuracy of a player's shot. In my experience, usually on the receiving end, the rifle is very effective for those longer range shots.

I consider one of the best rules to be the loss of a movement action if your movement disc bumps into anything before it stops; in that case you lose that action and reset the pieces to where they were before you flicked. The opposite is true when you decide it's time to flick some bullets, if they knock over or move a cactus, or any other object it stays where it is. Bullets permanently change the environment, move attempts do not. The only time a movement disc can touch the environment is when entering a building, which is also the only way to engage in a cowboy duel - more of that later.

I endorse the designers recommendation, that new players should play the scenarios in order, otherwise the rules overhead for jumping in to Scenario 8, for example, would be excessive for what should be, and is, a very simple game. When you've played out the 10 included scenarios you'll be ready for new rules and new scenarios. Unless you're introducing new people to the game or playing with younger children I can't see wanting to play a given scenario more than twice with the same group i.e. playing on each side once. The game designers actively encourage you to make your own scenarios and this game is a great Western sandbox to explore with your children; there's nothing to stop you incorporating other toys and self-made expansions into the base set.

Sharp shootin' sheriff taking care of business
There are two official expansions, each with a further 5 full scenarios and 3 practice fields, which are used to introduce the expansion rules and get a bit of 'flick-time' before playing one of the full scenarios. 365 Games were kind enough to send both the Stallion Canyon and Red Rock Tomahawk expansions, each having a RRP of £32.99. Both expansions introduce half-a-dozen rules across the various scenarios to fully immerse players with cowboy-themed options that include horses - wild and tame, lassos, high shots - played with a ramp, native Americans, tomahawk weapons, bow weapons, flaming arrows and Gatling guns. Also included across the expansions are new environments: mountain, forest and canyon. Given the build-it-yourself scenarios ethos and access to the the two expansions, players' options feel limitless when designing and playing DIY scenarios.
Even more flicking goodness
The expansions unfortunately come in quite flimsy fold-flat boxes that will not survive for long. I tried fitting both expansions into the base box - I wasn't successful, primarily as the Red Rock Tomahawk expansion comes with a native American team box and a mountain environment which is a 3d box-like structure. Even more egregious, to the overly pedantic board game collector, is once assembled the expansions components do not fit back into the boxes they came in. Instead they provide a drawstring bag to store the components in. This is really only nit-picking as the core audience for this game, families and casual gamers, will probably not have the same level of board game collection needs that are so prevalent in this hobby. If anyone has managed to organise the two expansions in with the base game please let me know how in the comments below.

The game setup can be a bit of a chore. It's still quick when compared to many other games but you will be placing tokens and setting the environment up for up to 10 minutes prior to getting down to serious flicking. The more of this I've played, the more relaxed I was for how precise the setup should be for the scenario. The scenario book contains a picture of where each component should be placed but the reality is you're playing this for fun, relax a little (I'm talking to myself here) and just set it up as quick as you can. There is no room for 'rules-lawyering' in this game.

The game designers, Jean-Yves Monpertuis and GaĆ«tan Beaujannot, state that this is a 2-10 players game and I have tried nearly all player counts. It is a fantastic game and plays equally well from 2 players right up to 6 players but I have some reservations about playing with more than 6 as the time between turns for individuals would start to feel too long. Given ideal playing conditions, i.e. a large table with lots of walk room all the way round and 10 players who didn’t need any advice then I could see higher player counts working well. In all my plays, however, we were battling chairs and sometimes literally falling over each other to get the proper angle for that crucial shot.

On a player's turn they have two actions which can be one or two of: move, shoot and dropping/picking up a token. The player then chooses which of their team’s characters to move, as long as it hasn’t moved already in this turn – shown by flipping a red/blue hat token that sits atop each lawmen/outlaw meeple. There is no player attachment to a particular figure which I think prevents those inclined to be sore-losers to become such when the rifle picks them out from across the town - a boon for party games. When set up this game looks great and attracts gamers and non-gamers alike. I found people would come over intrigued and it was very easy for additional people to drop in and out. It is definitely a light-hearted and fun game and as such, missing a turn or letting someone ‘flick’ in your stead just adds to the fun.


The lawmen are surrounded by horse-riding natives and also being shot with flaming arrows from the mountain. It's not looking good.
Aside from not fitting back into their expansion box, I also found the bow and arrows from the Red Rock Tomahawk expansion to be very fiddly. In my copy the bow (see above picture) would rarely stay in the meeple and flicking the arrow induced arthritic contortions to do so without sending the figure or scenery on the same trajectory as the arrow. That may have been down to my good ol' sausage fingers or distinct lack of flexibility as my Son, (8 yrs old) had no problems whatsoever in raining pointy death down on my poor posse. When I was punching out the expansion material I almost threw out the horizontal piece along with the totem pole holder. Buyer beware, watch out for indistinct grey cardboard cutouts that seem to serve no purpose, they're probably part of the game ...

Dexterity games tend to induce lots of laughter and groans in equal measure, some of the loudest moments in this game are heard in the archetypal cowboy duels; included from Scenario 2. Thick western drawls and actions mimicking a high-noon stand-off were almost compulsory, adding further to the friendly and fun atmosphere this game creates. When figures from opposing teams enter the same building they will have a duel and the victor gets to flick the loser out of the building. Being able to flick the opposing teams cowboy really captured the theme of throwing them out of the swing doors of the saloon and was inordinately fun. In a normal move you replace your cowboy with a movement disc and flick the disc, replacing the disc with your cowboy wherever it stops.

The Good The Bad and The Ugly...note the dual-wielding lawman - two shots for one action
Although I consider myself a wannabe-grognard I will admit that I loved playing this game. It has an extra layer of rules complexity, beyond something as simple as Pitch Car or Crokinole that satisfies my appetite for rules. It is also much more fun than those games, I think because the theme comes through strongly in the pieces and in the rules, which creates your own Wyatt Earp story every time you play. I prefer competitive games and being able to shoot another player or the risk that you will be shot whilst attempting to poison the water barrel or lasso a wild stallion*, makes the game for me. I will continue to play Flick ‘em Up! as my go to party-round-a-table type of game and will happily introduce it to as many as can be persuaded of my non-gaming friends. Most of my gaming partners are already converted.

The game is available in either wood or plastic from different publishers, the Pretzel games edition (the wooden version) has an RRP of £64.99. Z-Man games publish a weighted-plastic version, reportedly it is good but I haven't seen it and can't compare it to the wooden set which is just dripping with high production value. If you want to pick up this game and support your Friendly Local Gaming Store in the UK then use this handy-dandy store locator to find your nearest retailer.

[EDIT: Since the summer school holidays have started my son has requested, not only to play this game every day but also to include the expansions as well. The Indians with their flaming arrows (in more than one sense) are his favourite posse.]

If you have any comments please leave them below.

*stallions only available as part of the Stallion Canyon expansion.



      GGWITW coming to Steam 3rd August !!   We are pleased to announce that one of the most acclaimed wargames on the Western ...

GGWITW coming to Steam!! GGWITW coming to Steam!!

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

July 2017

GGWITW coming to Steam!!

We are pleased to announce that one of the most acclaimed wargames on the Western Front of World War II, Gary Grigsby's War in the West, is going to be released on Steam on August the 3rd!

Starting with the Summer 1943 invasions of Sicily and Italy and proceeding through the invasion of France and the drive into Germany, War in the West brings you all the Allied campaigns in Western Europe and the capability to re-fight the Western Front according to your plan.

On August the 3rd you will also be able to purchase the expansion "Operation Torch", that introduces 10 new challenging scenarios, including both historical and what-if operations like the "Battle for Tunisia", the "Operation Dragoon" and the "Breach of the Gothic Line".


I.A.F. Israeli Air Force Leader by Dan Verssen Games   DVG ( Dan Verssen Games) has been offering a large amount of sol...

I.A.F. Israeli Air Force Leader by Dan Verssen Games I.A.F. Israeli Air Force Leader by Dan Verssen Games

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

July 2017

I.A.F. Israeli Air Force Leader by Dan Verssen Games

I.A.F. Israeli Air Force Leader


Dan Verssen Games 

 DVG ( Dan Verssen Games) has been offering a large amount of solitaire wargames to us for a few years now. These are:

Field commander Alexander
Field Commander Napoleon
Field Commander Rommel
Fleet commander Nimitz
Gato leader
U-Boat Leader
Tiger Leader

 Then there is a bunch of airwar solitaire games:

Hornet Leader
Phantom leader
Thunderbolt Apache Leader
B-17 Flying Fortress Leader 

 Mike reviewed their 'Tiger Leader' for us, and I had the pleasure of reviewing 'Phantom Leader' and 'B-17 Flying Fortress Leader'.

 If I had to use only one word to describe I.A.F. it would be 'scope'. The sheer amount of aircraft and campaigns is truly exceptional for a wargame. The campaigns are:

1948 War Of Independence
1956 The Suez Crisis
1967 The Six Day War
1973 Yom Kippur War
1981 Operation Babylon
1982 Lebanon I
1991 Desert Storm
2006 Lebanon II 
2022 Armageddon

 The plane selection is even greater. They are:

Czech built AVIA S-199 ( BF 109G frames new engine)

These continue  all the way to the F-35 Lightning II. The weapons you can carry fill up 2 1/2 pages, from the simplest iron bombs to the newest guided ones.

 The campaigns range from as short as three days to the longest of twelve days. DVG's airwar games seem to have a common skeleton that they all possess. The designer then builds upon it to give each of the the simulations its own historical feel. The main point of the games are to put you in the shoes of an Air force commander. You will not only deal with logistics, but also with pilot stress, etc. Your job is not only to destroy this mission's target, but to have planes and pilots for the next.

 Just like 'B-17 Leader' the target display, counters, and cards are of the highest quality.  The counters drop out like butter with no bits of cardboard attached. For those of you who cannot play any other way, they even come clipped. The game pieces alone are worth the price. The fact that you get a world class solitaire game along with them is simply outstanding.

 For those of you who have not picked one up yet, the game play is pretty much the same in each game.  You pick the campaign you want to play. Then, following the campaign rules, you pick your pilots and planes. You are given 'X" amount of each of the following pilots:


 Each campaign has a different amount of SOs (special options) points that a player can use to purchase special weapons, aircraft, or priority options. Event Cards, escalation cards, and Pilot loss penalties cause you to lose your 'SO' points. This is important, because if you fall below zero 'SO' points, you automatically lose the game. You then have your pick of 'target cards' to attack. Some of these also have special rules that apply only to them. Then the real fun starts. You have to destroy the target or call off the mission due to losses etc. You have to keep track of your pilots with a written log. As I said in the 'B-17 Leader' review the process is not an onus.

 I would recommend I.A.F. to anyone interested in these historic scenarios, or anyone in need of a great solitaire wargame. "Phantom leader, "B-17 Leader', and I.A.F etc. all fit the bill. In a very nice touch, all of the Kickstarter buyers are on the outside of the box.

This is a pic of my latest campaign during The Six Day war. I became enamored of the Vautour even after I found out it is French for vulture. It actually used a Norden bombsight, and could only be used in clear weather and daylight.