second chance games

Search This Website of delight

  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!

July 2021

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

 Bayonets & Tomahawks

The French and Indian War


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


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. 


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!

July 2021

Monte Cassino: A German View by Rudolf Bohmer

 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.


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!

July 2021

The World Undone: 1914 Galicia by Conflict Simulations

 1914 Galicia

The World Undone


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


 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.


The World Undone: 1914 Galicia:

THE WORLD UNDONE: 1914 GALICIA — Conflict Simulations Limited (

Conflict Simulations:

Conflict Simulations Limited (



  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!

July 2021

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


A Sea Turned Red By Blood

Sunday, October 7th, 1571


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 


Leader Losses




Shallow Water


 Mast Down

 Fires Aboard



 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.


Lepanto: A Sea Turned Red By Blood:

Lepanto 1571 | Acies (

Acies Edizioni:

Acies edizioni (

My review of Durchbruch:

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