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La Guerra Di Gradisca 1615-1617 by Europa Simulazioni  I am ashamed to admit it, but this war is totally unkno...

La Guerra Di Gradisca 1615-1617 by Europa Simulazioni La Guerra Di Gradisca 1615-1617 by Europa Simulazioni

La Guerra Di Gradisca 1615-1617 by Europa Simulazioni

La Guerra Di Gradisca 1615-1617 by Europa Simulazioni

La Guerra Di Gradisca 1615-1617


Europa Simulazioni

 I am ashamed to admit it, but this war is totally unknown to me. So, to make it easier on you I will quote from the game's 'Historical Notes':

"The War of Gradisca 1615-1617" is a low complexity game on a subject little studied by professional historians and even less treated in simulation games. The causes of the conflict lie in the ancient rivalry between the Republic of Venice and the uncomfortable neighbor from the Habsburg house, Austria. There were many open questions between the two contenders: the alleged failure to support the defense of Christian Europe from the Turk, the definition of the eastern borders of the Republic, the possession of key fortresses on this border line, with Gradisca in the first place. Last but not least was the problem of the Uskoks, pirates of Catholic faith in Habsburg service, who for a long time had disturbed the merchant routes of Venice in the Adriatic Sea."

 This is what comes with the game:

  • A 23"x33" map (based on an ancient map of Friuli)
  • A rules booklet (both Italian and English)
  • 1 sheet of large (5/8") counters
  • A deck of 36 Event Cards
    (for the Advanced Game)
  • Six dice
  • Boxed

 All of the components are very well done. The map, as described, is a period one of the area. It is roughly of the same area where Italy and Austria-Hungary fought the Isonzo and Caporetto campaigns. As far as looks go, it would work well as living room accent, sans the wargaming extras. The information blocks on the map (eliminated units, etc), are in both Italian and English. The turn record track is only in Italian, but even I could figure it out in a moment. The 5/8" counters are your standard wargame counters, except for the art. The illustrations on them match the period map well and they are little works of art. The information counters are in Italian, but the rulebook explains what they are in both languages. The rulebook is in both languages, and the English part is eight pages in length. It is a low complexity game so the rulebook is easy to follow and understand. It has also been written by someone who obviously has a good command of both of the languages. It is not written like the instruction manual for a bookcase or some other piece of furniture you might have to put together. You do not have to struggle to decide what English words each sentence is missing, nor does it use syntax like Yoda.

 This is the sequence of play:

"Every turn consists of the following steps:
 a) A Command marker is randomly drawn from the opaque container (see Rule 5)
 b) Units of the selected Command are activated and /or cards are played a. At this stage, the opponent can play in turn  cards, under the conditions written on the cards themselves  The drawn Command marker is then placed on the map in the section "Played Commands" ("Comandi giocati")
 c) The sequence from step a) is repeated until all Command markers have been drawn
 d) When all Command markers have finished, check if some area has combat units in excess (Rule 9), and then move the current turn marker to the next box on the Time Line.
 e) If the Game Turn marker has gone beyond the End of Game marker, the game is finished and Victory Points are counted for both players to determine the winner. Otherwise all Command markers are placed again in the container and a new Game Turn begins from Step a).
 The game is anyway finished at the conclusion of Turn  Mar.-Apr. 1618."

  At first glance, the game seems to be one in the 'beer and pretzels' range, like Risk with incredible period pieces and maps. Take, for example, the rule that artillery can fire from one area into another. In actuality, while the game is of low complexity it is a lot deeper than what it seems.  There are also two and a half pages of Advanced rules that make it a deeper and more historical game. These add the ability to have multiple rounds during combat. Some more advanced rules include 'Army Morale', and most importantly Supply rules. Having Sappers and miners (Guastatori), Forts, and Cernide (conscripts), the game really has the ability to transport you to the early seventeenth century. The player even has the ability to counter-mine the other player's mines when he has a Guastatori unit in his fort/castle that is being attacked. You don't feel that the pieces could be tanks or whatever on just an old map. The game's whole ensemble takes the player back in time. The game is not card driven, but it does have the obligatory, at least now-a-days, cards that add to the play. The card rules are a bit different than other games. Some cards are marked 'Mandatory' and must be used at the first opportunity by the player, even if they lead to adverse effects. Other cards are marked as only being able to be used at a certain date etc.

 My wargaming is usually predicated on my reading. In this case it is not so, mainly because there really does not seem to be any books about this war in English. This is too bad because this war is really the swan song of the Lion of St. Mark. Soon after this, Venice leaves the group of power players on the world's stage. Besides the components, which I love, the game is very good. It definitely gives the player a taste of maneuver and fortress warfare of the time period. Thank you Europa Simulazioni for allowing me to review Gradisca. I have two of their Napoleonic games, The Invasion of Russia 1812, and 1813 Napoleon's Nemesis. They are both beautiful and excellent games. I am really looking forward to playing more Europa Simulazioni Games.

Link to Europa Simulazioni:

Link to Guerra Di Gradisca:
Links to the Napoleonic games: