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Culloden 1746 Battlefield Guide Third Edition by Stuart Reid   Bonnie Prince Charlie, or 'The Young ...

Culloden 1746 Battlefield Guide Third Edition by Stuart Reid Culloden 1746 Battlefield Guide Third Edition by Stuart Reid

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

August 2019

Culloden 1746 Battlefield Guide Third Edition by Stuart Reid




Culloden 1746

Battlefield Guide Third Edition

by

Stuart Reid










 Bonnie Prince Charlie, or 'The Young Pretender' if you like, and the last battle in Scotland to try and put the Stuarts back on the throne. Charlie's legend is based solely on roughly one year of his life. The culmination of which would be the Battle of Culloden, and his flight to the Isle of Skye. These are the end of the last time the Highlands, or at least some of them, rose for the Stuarts. It is also the last battle to take place in Great Britain


 Culloden cannot be looked at and dissected without the history of the year of 1745. One can make the argument that once the bulk of the Duke of Cumberland troops (and his bulk) had landed in Great Britain the gig was up for Charlie and his shoestring revolt. Therefore, Culloden was somewhat of a foregone conclusion. However, the attempt of Charlie to retake the throne for his father has passed down into myth. 

 This book is short at only 150 or so pages. However, it is one of the if not the best one on the battle itself. The book is filled with pictures. These are of the area as it is today along with many illustrations from the time. It is also full of maps. If there is one thing I want to change about military history books is the absolute need for maps, and plenty of them. With this book my personal crusade for maps is unnecessary. 

 The author spends the first twenty-six pages on the campaign leading up to the battle. After that the book takes on every aspect of the battle, and does it extremely well. The author walks a tightrope between all of the myths that have been built up on both sides of the battle. Charlie's almost successful campaign is the stuff of legends. However, his bad decisions , especially in appointments, has also to be looked at. The book does a great job of showing the reader the real history. It goes into the fact that the MacDonald's did charge, unlike some earlier books that follow the earlier accounts. As a bonus it is also a battlefield guide for those lucky enough to be able to travel to the area.

 My suggestion is buy this book, and put on the song 'The Isle of Skye' and have a great time reading a great book (that also has a lot of maps). I have read and reviewed a few of the authors other books. Do yourself a favor and take a look. 

Robert

Book: Culloden 1746 Battlefield Guide Third Edition
Author: Stuart Reid
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishers

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Hell in the Trenches Austro-Hungarian Stormtroopers and Italian Arditi in the Great War by Paolo Morisi    Arm...

Hell in the Trenches by Paolo Morisi Hell in the Trenches by Paolo Morisi

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

August 2019

Hell in the Trenches by Paolo Morisi




Hell in the Trenches

Austro-Hungarian Stormtroopers and Italian Arditi in the Great War

by

Paolo Morisi











  Armies at many times do not get to choose the conditions and topography of where they fight. This was as true in WWI as in other wars. From the mud of Flanders, to the heat of the Near East, armies contended against each other. One of the oddest and roughest places to be fought over were the Alps between Italy and Austria-Hungary. It is absolutely amazing when the terrain is looked at that whole armies waged war on these rocky crags.

 This book is about the Italian Arditi and Austria-Hungarian Stormtroopers that fought over the above terrain. The book tells the story of both of these elite forces from inception to the end of the war. In doing so, the author also shows the reader all of the campaigns and battles that took place on this front. However, this is not all. Mr. Morisi also goes into all of the technical marvels that took place for both armies to fight a WWI trench campaign at these dizzying heights. The book is jam packed with pictures of the Arditi and Stormtroopers. It also has pictures that show how these armies actually fought at these altitudes.


 Both the Arditi and Stormtroopers were not copies of the German Stormtroopers. Both of these forces were thought up by intelligent officers on both sides of the wire at roughly the same time, while both sides were trying to break the stalemate of their trench battles.

 The author should be heartily congratulated on a book that is not only extremely well written, but is also about a very little known part of the Great War. The bravery and audacity of the Italian and Austria-Hungarian troops shows in every picture and almost every page. Mankind's ability to overcome nature is shown in the book to be absolutely astounding. The fact that both sides had to, at most times, use explosives and sheer manpower to cut their trenches into the very rock of these heights is mind boggling. 

 Robert

Book: Hell in the Trenches
Author: Paolo Morisi
Publisher: Helion & Company
Distributor: Casemate Publishers

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Leningrad '41 by VentoNuovo Games  The city enraged Hitler and he wanted the cradle of Bols...

Leningrad '41 by VentoNuovo Games Leningrad '41 by VentoNuovo Games

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

August 2019

Leningrad '41 by VentoNuovo Games




Leningrad '41

by

VentoNuovo Games














 The city enraged Hitler and he wanted the cradle of Bolshevism utterly destroyed. However, once his troops got there, he was so afraid of the house to house fighting in a city that he decided to surround it. So, Leningrad was forced to suffer a siege of almost three years. What went wrong, and could you have done better than von Leeb in 1941? This game was produced to answer that very question.



Map


 This is a block wargame, just like all of VentoNuovo's games. The map is a beautiful piece of work (as are all of their maps). The map is divided into areas, and is large at 62cm x 84cm. This is the second game of this series on campaigns from the Eastern Front. Moscow 41 and Stalingrad Inferno on the Volga are the other two, soon to be followed by Kiev 41. The blocks are 15mm x 15mm, so they are smaller than most used in block games. Some areas on the map are small, so even with the smaller blocks there is congestion to deal with. The stickers are, again, small pieces of art that really should be larger to show them off. The whole game production exudes quality. The game comes with four full sized and thick full color players' aids. There is a five page historical analysis which is excellent all by itself. Here is a list of what you get with the game:

Heavy Cardboard Map 62cm x 84 cm
110 Wooden Block Units
124 PVC Stickers
100 Other Wooden pieces for initiative, Bombers, Defensive     Positions etc.
2 Lightly Laminated Player's Guides
3 Short Scenarios, and the Campaign Game




Stickers



 This is the sequence of play:

Logistic Phase (2nd,3rd,4th,5th,and 6th Turns)
Impulse Phase (Combat, HQ Activation etc.)
Final Phase




Soviet Navy Counter



  The game itself is a challenge for both players. It plays almost exactly like Moscow '41 (a favorite of mine) except for the addition of the new terrain. The German player can, if he is good enough, take Leningrad. The Soviet player seems weak, but he can forestall his opponent's attacks, and slow him up to take the win. The game is very finely balanced between playability and history. All of the scenarios start after the Germans have already captured Riga. There are tactical HQs for both Zhukov for the Soviets, and Mannerheim for the Finns. Both can be game changers if used correctly.
Random reinforcement makes the game a very good solitaire game. Once you get closer to Leningrad, the terrain is heavily forested with some swamp. This means that the German player has to slow down regardless of the opposition. The German player can make good time through Estonia etc., but then has to slog through these areas along with tougher Soviet opposition. The German player also has to decide what he is to do with the Finns. Historically the Finnish troops only moved to take back what territory they lost in The Winter War in 1939, so they were really not much help to the Germans. The rules allow the Finnish troops to attack first in any battle (a nice touch). As the German player, you also have to decide whether to spend any resources to try and take Murmansk. So, the game comes with the chance to blitzkrieg, but also attack and defend in swamps. The varied terrain taxes both sides to play their best. As with the rest of Vento Nuovo Games this game is also very suitable for solitaire play. I will caution the German player that Leningrad looks a lot closer on the map then it will turn out to be.




Playtesting shots



 VentoNuovo has been able to take the simplicity of block games, and add in rules, while easy to understand, that represent the historical campaigns to a tee. So a player gets the best of both worlds. The game is easy to setup, learn, and play, but still be deep enough for us grognards. The formula is a guaranteed success, and it shows by all of their games' ratings by players. Thank you VentoNuovo for the chance to review Leningrad 41. Here are links to the game and company, and some links to other reviews I have done on their games. I cannot wait to do a review on Kiev 41.


Accessories you can buy


Vento Nuovo Games:
www.ventonuovo.net/

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Treasure Island from Matagot is loosely based on one of my favourite stories from my childhood.  The game allows for 2 to 5 players to t...

Treasure Island Treasure Island

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

August 2019

Treasure Island


Treasure Island from Matagot is loosely based on one of my favourite stories from my childhood.  The game allows for 2 to 5 players to take on the role of a pirate hunting for Long John Silver’s treasure or Long John himself, giving out black spots and misdirecting the player pirates as much as possible.  It is a one-against-many game in the same vein as Whitechapel or Fury of Dracula but plays in a fraction of the time primarily due to the hidden treasure being in a fixed location; meaning the hunting pirates are able to quickly narrow down the possible areas each turn.

Gameplay

The game is played in a series of days in which the Long John player will manage the board upkeep and frequent daily events after which one of the hunting pirates will take one or two actions, normally consisting of moving and/or searching.  These actions are drawn on the map of the island which makes up the game board.  After a pirate has searched, the Long John player may give the searching player a hint token (!) or move the game into the next day.  
In full swing, Long John is about to escape...
It is bizarrely in Long John’s interest to give hint token to the hunting pirates as this will allow the play of some of their more helpful cards i.e. those that give less information to the other players.  Although the Long John player does have a miniature for their character it will only come into play near the end of the game and will mostly be locked in prison for most of the game.  The game for the Long John player is really one of Game Master and may not be as much fun for some players.

Only one player can win the game, which will be when the active pirate successfully searches for the treasure or the Long John player succeeds in getting to the treasure before any of the other pirates.  The focus of the players subtly changes depending on the phase of the game and is a nice mix of competition and cooperation.  Players are actively encouraged to lie about the hints that Long John has revealed to them, they’re pirates after all, but their actions on the board afterwards will probably betray them.
The hints quickly reduce the search areas
Long John also has a limited opportunity to lie to the players.  Whenever a hint card is played, Long John has to play an information token.  The information token will either indicate that the hint is genuine or a bluff which could mean the hint is false…but not always.  This is where the majority of the game is for the Long John Player – deciding which hints and information tokens to use.  However, they will only have access to two bluff tokens throughout the course of the game so must use them carefully.

Over the course of the game, Long John will give all players 7 hints, 2 of which will have bluff tokens.  However, the players can only see the information token if they use a once-per-game special action to reveal to themselves a single information token.  They are free to discuss it with the other players, they’re just not allowed to reveal it to anyone else.  This permits and encourages a bit of good-old-fashioned skulduggery between the players and will hopefully even things out, just a little bit, for the Long John player who in all likelihood will not often win this game.
Uh Oh, Long John loses again.
Instead of taking a normal action, (move and/or search) the players can also do a limited number of special and unique actions.  These are crossed off as they are used but they do enable private information to be collected by each pirate.  This information may never be shown to the other pirates but the players are free to lie about it.  This felt a bit redundant as a rule as any discussion by the active player was often assumed to be a lie.  In my game groups, we most often resorted to not revealing any private information as anything offered was considered a lie and only served to confuse the picture.  The only time this was not true was when a pirate looked at the information tokens – that often started some healthy debate around the table.  

A pirate’s private information is stored on a mini-map and mini is definitely the right name for it.  Visually impaired players, by any degree, beware.

Components

This game follows the modern trend of absolutely gorgeous components.  The protractors are a unique game accessory that often got passers-by commenting.  The game comes with a variety of Perspex markers to indicate distance and compass directions which all look great.
Thematic bling
The art throughout the game is sumptuous and this is shown on the player screens and on the board (I’m a sucker for any type of map).  You also get a little treasure chest in which Long John will pass the searching pirate a clue or treasure token.  After a while, we stopped using the treasure chest and just passed tokens in a closed fist as it was less faff but we definitely felt that a little bit of the fun was lost doing that.  
Beautiful
The box insert is almost a bog-standard cardboard trench but in this, you get a liftable flap.  I don’t know what they intend you to store in there but I find it very useful and wonder why more publishers don’t have nearly as simple, but far more functional box inserts like this.
Loving that flap!

Criticisms

A lot of the components use a thin (but glossy) card stock.  I presume there are challenges (and expense) with getting the glossy finish onto a thicker card stock but I would prefer the card to be thicker. However, I haven’t noticed any fraying or damage as yet after half a dozen plays or so.  I do have some concerns over replayability after a higher number of plays but at the moment I’m still enjoying it and I know everyone that’s tried has had a good time with it, especially the hunting pirates.
Endgame private pirate scribbles
I’m not sure this game is balanced fairly for Long John Silver.  It seems that it is quite hard for that player, albeit they’re usually more experienced, to win.  I think the next time this hits the table I will try different starting locations for the pirates, i.e. maybe all starting on the same beach or 3d print some slightly smaller templates to use in the game.  However, never winning as Long John Silver didn’t necessarily bother me and this is a fairly unique and fun game to both newcomers and experienced gamers.
The rulebook is fine, despite what some naysayers say

Conclusion

I love the theme of this game and although there is very little plot from its namesake (black spots aside) the pirate theme and buried treasure game all shine through the components and simple ruleset.  Set-up is fairly quick and if the pirates are lucky, i.e. find the treasure, a game can be finished well inside the 45’ minutes on the box.  If the game goes into the endgame and Long John is trying to dig up his treasure then those games will, obviously, go a bit longer but no more than an hour (ish). 
Long John loses again...
I would describe this as a long filler, it can be a bit of a brain burner for the Long John player, who may try to balance the hints given to each player and the additional hints revealed throughout the game but you shouldn’t really be playing this if you’re attempting to work out every permutation.  It was designed to be played quickly and for fun and it succeeds at both.  It’s not exactly in my wheelhouse, I would prefer something a bit heavier, but I know that it will hit the table regularly at one of my game groups and I will be happy to take part in it and try out my best pirate voice.

I would like to thank Asmodee for sending this review copy and if you’re interested in purchasing this game I would recommend supporting your local game stores or game cafes, you can use this link http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk/ to find your nearest in the UK or support them using their online web stores if you can't make it in person. 

Publisher: Matagot
BGG Page: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/242639/treasure-island
Players: 2-5
Designers: Marc Paquien and Vincent Dutrait (Art)
Playing time: < 1 hour.

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