second chance games

Search This Website of delight

  A Greater Victory South Mountain September 14, 1862 by  Revolution Games  The time is 1862 in the month of September. Robert E. Lee has ta...

A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games

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


A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games

 A Greater Victory

South Mountain September 14, 1862


Revolution Games

 The time is 1862 in the month of September. Robert E. Lee has taken his Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac to invade the North. His army leaves behind a good number of men who feel that saving their states from invasion is okay, but are not too happy to invade the Union. From Lee's point of view the campaign is going well. His troops have surrounded Harpers Ferry and are about to bag the entire Union detachment there. The Army of the Potomac is once again being led by Little Mac and Lee believes he knows how slow and deliberate his foe will be. What Lee doesn't know is that one of his orders for the invasion showing where every one of his units will be has been found by Union soldiers wrapped neatly with three cigars. Little Mac sees this as the Godsend it is and declares that he will destroy Lee with this information. The gleam in Little Mac's eyes last only about a day. He is energetic enough to send soldiers to cut Lee's army in half at the gaps around South Mountain going into the Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile the Confederates have learned that the gaps are not being held by any of their troops. So, now we have a footrace between the two enemies to see who gets there first. That is the battle that Revolution Games has given us to refight. 

 This is a game from the Hermann Luttmann Blind Sword Rules System. This is just one of the systems that Mr. Luttmann has created to replicate warfare in the mid-eighteenth century. He seems to have as many systems in use right now as some men have ex-wives. 

 This is what comes with the game:

352 5/8" Counters

22 x 34 inch Map

Exclusive Rulebook

Series Rulebook

2 Event Description Cards

2 Combat Results Table Cards

1 General Records Track

2 Player Reference Cards

2 Brigade Activations Cards

 This is what the designer has to say:

"A Greater Victory (South Mountain,1862) features two small, quick playing scenarios (Fox’s Gap and then the actions around Frosttown), along with a long scenario covering the full day’s engagement. Each scenario has its own Fog-of-War table to more accurately reflect that particular phase of the battle.

The Order-of Battle has not relied upon customary “paper strength”, but a more accurate number of effectives for each regiment and brigade, so expect some surprises here.

Taking advantage of the proven Blind Swords system, AGV has been injected with abundant history while still offering players a plethora of choices as to where and how to deploy their troop formations. Being heavily outnumbered, the Confederates must conduct a skillful defense while the Union will have to effectively coordinate their powerful brigades over brutal terrain. With the climactic battle of Antietam just three days distant, casualties at South Mountain are also an important consideration.

I want to point out that I’ve also focused the design to be an excellent solitaire study, made possible by the historically desperate position that DH Hill found himself - from forgotten rear guard to frontline army savior.

The single map (by Edmund Hudson) and counters (by Charlie Kibler) are truly excellent, and I also wanted to publicly thank Roger Miller from Revolution for his outstanding support of this project since its inception. It’s been a lot of fun to work on, and there’s much more to come!"

Steve Carey - Designer

Beautiful Map

  At 5/8" the counters are nice and big. Infantry/Cavalry units are color coded with a stripe on top to show what brigade they belong to. Artillery units have the commanders' names at the top. They also have their state pictured in the middle of the counter. So, they are nice and big, easy to read, and you will have no trouble picking them up to move. The map is very nicely done. It has good sized hexes to fit the counters. Elevation is done better than most maps and also has a trick up its sleeve. The heights are listed with a small roundel with a number inside going from one to eleven (one being the lowest ground), and the different levels are color coded. These are an excellent way to describe elevation in wargaming maps. The Exclusive Rulebook is sixteen pages in length. It is also in full color. Half of it is taken up by the rules and examples of play. The other half gives the setup for the three scenarios. The end of the Exclusive Rulebook is the various victory conditions and some player notes. Then there is an index, and on the back cover are the Fog of War Tables. The series Rulebook is also sixteen pages in length. However, it is in black and white and has no examples of play. The type on both Rulebooks is large enough to easily read without squinting. All of the Player Aids are made of hard stock and are in full color. The Event Cards are double-sided with the Union and Confederate events on one side and the Unique events on the other. There are two identical ones that are single-sided and have some of the tables and Sequence of Play on them. The next two are also identical and have the CRT, Cohesion Test, and Terrain key on them. Lastly there is another single-sided one that has the Turn Record Track, Victory Point Track, and Broken Track (for broken units) on it. There are also two smaller Brigade Activation Display for both Union and Confederate. Between the beauty of the map and the well-done Rulebooks and Players Aids there is a lot of great things in this small package.

 This is from Revolution Games:

"A Greater Victory is a game covering the key encounter at South Mountain on September 14th, 1862. It has been designed to be an historical yet readily playable regimental-scaled simulation of the twin conflict at Fox’s and Turner’s Gap. With two smaller, quick-play scenarios plus a comprehensive scenario covering the full day of action, the design offers flexible and tense situations for both players (also excellent for solitaire play). The Order-of-Battle has been researched to account for items like Confederate stragglers, offering a fresh perspective on the battle.

This is the seventh release in Revolution Games’ popular Blinds Swords series which features a chit-pull system covering the most interesting and important engagements of the ACW. New features debuting here include Brigade Activation cards so that each side can more easily gauge the status of their formations, along with a customized Fog-of-War table assigned to each scenario for an enhanced historical narrative. The series rules have also been adjusted at certain junctions to better reflect the extreme harshness of the terrain that soldiers on both sides had to contend with."

 Revolution Games describes the Blind Swords System thusly: " It emphasizes the three FOW's of military conflict: Fog-of-War, Friction-of-War, and Fortunes-of-War."

 If you have had the pleasure of playing one of the Blind Swords games, you know that this description is right on the money. These game rules have created an almost perfect balance of fun gameplay and adherence to history. It gives you the what ifs without adding dragons or anything else from D&D. Almost anything that is plausible could happen on any given turn. This in turn keeps the player always on his toes. Remember that grandiose plan you made last turn to win the game? Well, forget about it now. Playing the Confederates, you are always looking over your shoulder for those damned reinforcements. As the Union player you will be hampered by the usual 'slows' that affected the Army of the Potomac at that time. Both sides will have to deal with the very rough terrain on the battlefield. One of the biggest changes in the Exclusive Rules is the cost of terrain in movement points. To reflect the nature of the terrain a unit attacking up or down in a steep slope gets penalized when doing Close Combat (this is not in the Series Rules).

 This is the Sequence of Play:

  a. Both players choose event chits and setup draw 
  a. Union Artillery Step (move or fire)
  b. Confederate Artillery Step (move or fire)
  c. Both sides alternate “a” and “b” above until done
  d. Artillery Rally/Rebuild Step
  a. Held Event Chit Step (play any held events)
  b. Draw Chit Step
  • If Event chit, owning player keeps it or plays it, 
  draw new chit
  • If Wild chit, resolve immediately, draw new chit
  • If CIC chit, owning player selects brigade and 
  proceeds to Phase 4 or holds the chit
  • If Division Activation chit, proceed to Phase 4
  • If Brigade Activation chit proceed to Phase 4
  a. Orders Step
  b. Fire Combat Step
  c. Movement Step
  d. Close Combat Step
  e. Rally Step
  f. If any chits remain in the cup, return to Phase 3. 
  g. If no chits remain in the cup, go to Phase 5
  a. Final Held Event Chit Step
  b. Victory Point Awards Step
  c. Flip over all “Activated” brigade markers to their
  “Available” side.
  d. Broken Track Adjustment step
  e. Each player gathers all their Event chits together, 
  none are saved for following turns, and then 
  advance the Game Turn marker

 The Blind Swords System is meant to give the player the full enjoyment of playing a well-done tactical 19th century wargame. This is without giving the players a really deep micromanagement type of game. The system (as well as this game) hits the sweet spot between fun and realism for the player. The games that Revolution Games have published for the system are all excellent for dipping your toes into the system.  

 The center of the Blind Swords system is the chit pull mechanic. This alone will make sure the Fog of War enters into both sides play. As mentioned, there is also a chance to pick one of these chits: Event chit, Wild chit, Fortunes of War chit, Fog of War chit, and the CIC (commander in chief) chit. The designer, Steve Carey, had to make some adjustments of the rules because of the actual terrain of the battlefield. Because of this, the Union was not able to bring its superior numbers to bear and crush the Confederates. The battlefield is essentially split into two parts, North and South. The Union player has to remember that his 'Rally' chit is no longer used after 12:30pm.

 The game comes with three scenarios. These are:

1. Carnival of Death

2. Every Man was a Hero

3. The Battle for South Mountain

 The Victory Conditions for all three are mostly based on hex control. Each side also gets victory points for enemy units' destruction. There is also a chance for the Union player to win an automatic victory in the third scenario. I must say that the hex victory conditions in the third (whole battle) scenario are a little more complicated than just which side was the last to occupy the hex in question. 

  As the Rules state, this was D.H. Hill's finest hour. He mostly gets short shrift in many histories. His work here and at Antietam were first class soldiering. Unfortunately, he was known as an irascible man. He was put to the side because of his personality trait of always saying when the emperor had no clothes on. Considering that Lee kept Jubal Early (his "bad old man") D.H. Hill must have really known how to ruffle feathers.

  I am an unashamed fanboy of Hermann Luttmann's games and his gaming systems. So, when I found out that I would be able to review another Blind Swords System games I was very happy. When I got to play the game, I was even happier. Thank you, Revolution Games for letting me review this well-done game. A Greater Victory is on sale right now at Revolution Games. The sale price is $65 for the boxed version and $55 for the Ziploc version. That is $20 and $15 off the regular price.


Revolution Games:


  Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations "Paris vaut bien une messe!" Henri de Navarre (Henry IV of Fran...

Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations

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


Wars of Religion France 1562 - 1598 by Fellowship of Simulations

 Wars of Religion

France 1562 - 1598


Fellowship of Simulations

"Paris vaut bien une messe!" Henri de Navarre (Henry IV of France)

Huguenot : "A French Protestant of the 16th–17th centuries. Largely Calvinist, the Huguenots suffered severe persecution at the hands of the Catholic majority, and many thousands emigrated from France."

"The young lion will overcome the older one,

  On the field of combat in a single battle;

  He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage,

  Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death." Nostradamus

 The death of Henri II of France brought to prominence his wife Catherine de Medicis. She was an astute woman who tried to ride the whirlwind of French politics. Henri II's death (supposedly prophesied by Nostradamus, see above), made her the regent for her brood of sickly sons. This period in France was dominated by the machinations of three groups: 

The League - Staunch Catholics

The Huguenots - Protestants



 The history of the period is about as confusing as the Fronde period during Louis XIV's childhood. During both times the players shifted alliance back and forth between the different sides. Catherine's sons, Henri III, and Charles IX were rulers whose kingship was as frail as their constitutions. Henri de Bourbon Navarre became king Henri IV after Henri III designated him king from his deathbed from an assassination (Henri IV was Louis XIV's grandfather and he was also assassinated). Henri IV changed his religion and became a Catholic to become king (hence his quote above "Paris is well worth a Mass"). So let us see what Fellowship of Simulations has done to make this into a coherent game

 This is how Fellowship of Simulations describes the game:

"Wars of Religion, is a card driven game on the XVI century War of Religion in France.

The game can be played by two to three players ( three’s the best ). It simulates the clashes of the Religion Wars between the massacre of Wassy in 1562 and the signing of the Edit of Nantes in 1598. Eight successive wars were fought between the last Valois kings ( Charles IX and Henri III ) and the Huguenots, supporters of the new reformed religion and the Ligueurs, who held an uncompromising Catholicism backed by Spain.

Each of the three players will take control of the destinies of a faction and try to win at the end of the six rounds of the game. Not only will it have to impose itself militarily, but it will also have to win the mind through active propaganda.

a French Protestant of the 16th–17th centuries. Largely Calvinist, the Huguenots suffered severe persecution at the hands of the Catholic majority, and many thousands emigrated from France."

This is the Catherine card in the game

 This is what comes with the game:

One Mounted Map Board

One Counter Sheet

Three Player Aid Cards



74 Character Card Deck

46 Event Card Deck

88 Black, Blue, and Red Colored Cubes

Three Die

Back of the box

The map is smaller than most at 16 1/2" x 23 1/2". However, it is mounted and is done to look like a 16th century map. So, that does add to the game's immersion. It is made up by areas instead of hexes. The counters are 1/2" in size. This is too bad because the artwork on them is phenomenal. The writing on them could also stand to be larger. They use a script that is meant to match the map, but it leads it to be slightly less easy to read. The three Player Aids are pretty much identical except the amount of 'Turncoat Leaders' is larger on the Royalist Card. These are made of hardstock and are easy enough to read. The typing on them also matches the time period. The Rulebook is nineteen pages long with the rules themselves being seventeen pages. This is in full color and reminds me of a magazine. The writing in it is very large. It does not have examples of play in it but does have some of the components and artwork. The Playbook is of the same material and in full color also. The first fourteen pages describe the Campaign Game 'The Wars of Religion' and a short scenario 'Te Deum for a Massacre'. There is then a section of Historical Notes followed by a small biography of the different historic characters used in the game deck. Then there is a section on all the different Event Cards. The Character Deck has a picture in the middle of the card of the personage it represents. It also tells which of the wars the character is in; more on this later. The Event Cards have a smaller picture from the time to decorate the cards. There is also a full explanation of the cards' uses in the game. Taking in the ensemble, Fellowship of Simulations has done an excellent job of using art to add to the immersion of the game. The small writing on the counters is the only thing that some players might have trouble with. 

 As mentioned, this game covers the six wars that occurred between 1562-1598. The French were busy little beavers trying to kill their enemies during this time. Maybe my disparaging of the young kings is over the top because of what a snake pit they were thrown into. This is a game of war and diplomacy with both being as important as the other. Especially when you add in the game of musical chairs thrown in by all of the characters involved in the skullduggery. 

 The game can actually be played by one, two, or three players. The game is good playing solitaire or with two people. However, it really shines when you have three players. Then it becomes a much more interesting game of 'And Then There Were None'. Bitter rivals can become the closest of friends given the right inducement. Each side has a good number of possible turncoats that probably have a plethora of coats in their closets. 

 This is the very abbreviated Sequence of Play:

Every game is comprised of six turns, each divided into
five phases.

1. Initial phase
2. Event Phase
3. Court Phase
4. War Phase
5. End Phase

 This is the War Phase of Play:

During the War Phase, each faction tries to capture
enemy cities while protecting its own. The War Phase
continues until all factions decline to take further
rounds, at which point the war for the current turn ends
and the winner of the war is determined.
War phase sequence:
a) Draw War cards
b) Armies deployment
c) Army leaders placement
d) War rounds
e) Determine War Winner

 The Playbook goes through an extended game turn with three people playing. Some might call this a deck building game. In this game it is more nuanced than that. Sometimes it is better to take a less efficient leader. One of the ways to end the war is by treaty. So, it is usually a good idea to take a writer into your deck. This is one of those games that is like an onion. It is very hard to describe play because it has layer upon layer of strategy to win the game. If you are interested in a deep game that has more than just war at its center, this game is for you.

 These are the games victory conditions:

A faction may achieve automatic victory at the end of
any game turn if it meets the following conditions:
- Royalist: the number of League cities is less than
six and the number of Huguenot cities is less than
- League: the League faction controls twice as
many cities as the Huguenots.
- Huguenot: the Huguenot faction controls more
cities than Royalist and League combined and
control Paris.
If no faction has achieved automatic victory by the end
of the final turn, then count the total victory points as
City control: the faction controlling the largest number
of cities earns (7) seven points, the faction with
the second-largest number earns (5) five points and the
faction with the least earns (3) three points.
Political conviction: the faction that has created the
most treaties earns (4) four points, the faction with the
second-largest number earns (2) two points and the
faction with the least earns (1) one point.
The faction with the most victory points wins the game.
In case of a tie, the winner is by order of priority:
the Royalist faction, then the faction allied with the

 As you can see, creating the most treaties gives you four points so that number is nothing to sneeze at. The card play and events allows anything to happen at pretty much any time. You might have a perfect plan built in your hand only to see it swept away in the next moment. The only thing the game does not give you is actual daggers to stick in your opponent's back.

 Thank you, Fellowship of Simulations, for allowing me to review this game. I am very impressed that you were able to design a game about the convoluted events in France at this time. I can see where it would definitely help a player to have knowledge of these times. However, the game can be taught to someone who knows nothing of the history behind it. Below is a link to my review of their Verdun game.


Fellowship of Simulations:

Wars of Religion France 1562-1598:

Verdun 1916, Steel Inferno my review:



  Fatherland: The Long Road Expansion by Flying Pig Games  For some unknown reason whenever I look at the title of this expansion, I am alwa...

Fatherland: The Long Road Expansion by Flying Pig Games Fatherland: The Long Road Expansion by Flying Pig Games

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


Fatherland: The Long Road Expansion by Flying Pig Games

 Fatherland: The Long Road Expansion


Flying Pig Games

 For some unknown reason whenever I look at the title of this expansion, I am always reminded of the Nazis singing Die Wacht am Rhein in the movie Casablanca. Which, of course, is then followed by the Marseilles being sung by the rest of the patrons in the bar.

 I cannot do a rundown of the history behind the game because luckily it did not happen and hopefully never will. You will however get to test the different NATO and Warsaw Pact armaments from 1985. The biggest addition to the NATO forces in the game are:

10 - Leopard II tanks

10 - Leopard I tanks

10 - Marder (not the World War II variety) The 1985 Marder was equivalent to a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. It possesses a 20mm automatic cannon and also carries Milan anti-tank missiles.

1 - Tornado multirole aircraft

2 - PAH-1 helicopters

10 - Panzergrenadiers

You also get three of the last units of Jagdpanzers to be designed after World War II: the Jagdpanzer Kanone 90mm, plus several other vehicles.

 These are the only rule changes when playing this expansion:

As a member of Nato, West German forces use the American/NATO Action Cards.

Armed Mobs do not count against stacking restrictions.

Armed Mobs will never attack West German units.

The West German player may control Armed Mobs that are generated in a hex containing a West German Combatant.

The West German player may control Armed Mobs after a West German Combatant moves into their hex.

Armed Mobs controlled by the West Germans assume the morale of the best West German unit in the hex.

 So, in this expansion Flying Pig Games have gone for the straight military World War III simulation as far as units. There is no Yog-Sothoth unit, or any other nightmare added to the mix. This does not mean that they do not show up in some of the six new scenarios that this expansion brings to the table (literally).

 Fatherland comes with a new mounted map. It also contains a full counter sheet of those beautiful one-inch counters that came with the main game, The Long Road. So, now you can see how the Bundeswehr would have matched up against both Soviets and Vampires etc.

 This is a great add on for an excellent game. This is a piece from the rules of The Long Road:

"So that is the twist, a wargame with paranormal elements. Make no mistake, I’ve strived to make this an accessible, yet accurate wargame. Included is everything from advanced sights, multi -spectral smoke, artillery-delivered minefields, to electronic counter measuresanti-tank guided missiles, attack helicopters and the man-portable, air defense systems required to bring them down. You’ll command the weapons of the time; Abrams tanks, T-80 tanks, M60A3, T-64B, and Sheridan tanks. Bradleys, M-113s, BMPs, infantry, spetsnaz, and more."

 Now we can add to the mix a lot of West German troops and armaments. What is there not to like? Plus, we will get the grognards arguing about which one is better, the Leopard II or the M1 Abrams. The game system used is Mark H. Walker's Platoon Commander Deluxe. Which if you have not played in some version, I think you should check it out.

 Thank you, Flying Pig Games, for allowing me to review this expansion.


Flying Pig Games:

Flying Pig Games

Fatherland: The Long Road Expansion:

The Long Road | Flying Pig Games

My Review of The Long Road:

Mark H. Walker's The Long Road: World War III ... With a Paranormal Twist by Flying Pig Games - A Wargamers Needful Things


  Waterloo:  Napoleon's Last Army Featuring the Art of Keith Rocco Research and Text by Paul L. Dawson Published by Lombardy Studios  Cu...

Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Army Featuring the Art of Keith Rocco Research and Text by Paul L. Dawson Published by Lombardy Studios Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Army   Featuring the Art of Keith Rocco   Research and Text by Paul L. Dawson   Published by Lombardy Studios

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


Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Army Featuring the Art of Keith Rocco Research and Text by Paul L. Dawson Published by Lombardy Studios

 Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Army

Featuring the Art of Keith Rocco

Research and Text by Paul L. Dawson

Published by

Lombardy Studios

 Cuirassiers, Hussars, and Dragoons oh my! That is not even mentioning the Chasseurs and Lancers. Of course, we also have to add in all of the different types of infantry and artillery. 

Naturally, the pictures in the book do not have the watermark. It is just so they are not passed about the internet. This picture is  Artillerie a Pied de La Garde

 This is a big coffee table sized book. However, unlike most books that size that are long on pictures and not very deep, this book is extremely informative while also being canyon depth. When you hold the book in your hand it has real heft to it. Then after you look at the picture on the cover you realize you might just have a treasure in your hand. Once you open it there is no more doubt. This is the definitive book on the dress and equipment of all the units of the L'Armée du Nord that Napoleon commanded in the 1815 campaign.

93e Regiment de Ligne Tambours

 This is what Lombardy Studios has to say about the book:

"64 original paintings portraying many of the French Army units at Waterloo
Over a decade of research and artistic rendering by Keith Rocco went into producing the paintings in this book
150+ photographs of historical artifacts from the holdings of three museums and seven private collections
Foreword by David Markham, President, International Napoleonic Society"

7e Dragons 1815 Chef dEscadron Marligne

 "176 oversize-format 9 3/8” by 13 1/2” large pages
128 pages featuring 64 Keith Rocco soldier paintings – 32 Imperial Guard and 32 Line units
Full color throughout
Fine high-grade, art quality paper
Facing pages feature descriptive text relating to the subject of the painting along with captioned photos of rare artifacts depicted within the artwork
An added plus: 28 more pages dedicated solely to beautifully photographed and captioned artifact photos
Illustrated Uniform Glossary in French and English
Index of units and officers that are portrayed in the book’s paintings
4 large horizontal battle paintings on 2-page chapter title spreads, including:
Plancenoit – Guard Infantry & Artillery chapter. A NEVER-BEFORE-PUBLISHED PAINTING OF THE IMPERIAL GUARD FIGHTING IN THE CEMETERY! The artist created this painting especially for this book.
Empress Dragoons – Guard Cavalry chapter.
The Great Gate of Hougoumont – Line Infantry & Artillery chapter.
Quatre Bras – Line Cavalry chapter."

Shako Plate and Cockade of a Grenadier in the 27th Line Infantry

 This is an absolutely amazing magnum opus for both Mr. Rocco and Mr. Dawson. Speaking of Mr. Dawson (historian, researcher, and author), he has put over two decades worth of time into this book. So, if you are keeping score this book has over thirty years of research put into it. Very few books can boast that claim.

Coat of the 25th Line Infantry Regiment Voltigeur Company

 Every page is a blaze of color and information. This book is a miniatures wargamer's treasure trove. Actually, I take that back. This is a treasure for anyone who has the slightest interest in the last French Army that Napoleon commanded. 

 This little tidbit of history is on page twelve:

"At Waterloo, the 3rd and 4th Regiments of the Foot Grenadiers attacked the Allied line in a final, futile attempt by Napoleon to break the British before the Prussians could tip the balance against the French"

 In 1815, the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Foot Grenadiers were the 'Old Guard'. The 3rd and 4th Regiments were the 'Middle Guard'.

Line Lancers Helmet

 The pictures that I have included are only a tiny amount of what you will find in its pages. To be honest, I am usually not impressed by books that have this many paintings and pictures. My tastes turn more to the books that are heavy on type and maps. So, even I was surprised how much this book enraptured me. Of course, for each Rocco illustration there is also a full page of information about the formation shown.

 I must admit that I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Cuirassiers. I have watched all cavalry charges on film innumerable times. However, if the charge includes those armored fellows, I am rapt to the screen. Oh, the 'Big Boots' or 'Gods' of the Imperial Guard are incredibly impressive but give me a Cuirassier charge any day. The pictures that Mr. Rocco has done of my favorite horsemen have left me in awe of his ability.

I had to add this picture of Mr. Dawson in the uniform of 'The Gods'

 I would definitely say run, walk, or crawl (or use your mouse) and head toward Lombardy Studios to pick up your own copy. You will not be sorry. Thank you, Mr. Lombardy, for allowing me to review this garden of Napoleonic delights. Now, please excuse me. I have to watch some War and Peace.


Lombardy Studios:

Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Army Featuring the Art of Keith Rocco and Research and Text by Paul L. Dawson:

P.S. for you board wargamers the work is proceeding well on Mr. Lombardy's new Stalingrad game.


 VON MANSTEIN'S TRIUMPH FROM NAC WARGAMES Initially, I was drawn to Von Manstein's Triumph purely by the bold dynamic box art.  It ...


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






Initially, I was drawn to Von Manstein's Triumph purely by the bold dynamic box art.  It may be good advice not to judge a book by its cover, but I'm more than glad that this striking picture caught my attention and made me explore further! 
The game is published by NAC Wargames, itself a branch of the Spanish Publisher, Ediciones MasQueOca.  Up to now, the latter company's focus has been on providing Spanish and Portuguese language versions of well-known designs. The company's avowed intent now is to focus on historical wargames that relate to the history of Spain.  
Though Von Manstein's Triumph may geographically and in terms of nationality lie outside this intent, I can only express my delight that this superb design from Francisco Ronco has been one of their choices.  It's also warm thanks to NAC and Ediciones MasQueOca for providing this copy for me to review.
First of all, its components live up to the extremely high standards of the company's past publications and secondly, the design brings a series of new twists both to the field of block units, area movement and card-driven games.
Though Manstein features in the title of a fair number of wargames, including at least two that cover the siege of Sevastopol, all those that I am aware of utilise the standard hex and counter system that is the basis of much wargaming design.
Starting with the components, every item ticks the box for excellence.  The map is a deluxe mounted version sporting a Spanish text version on one side and an English version on the other.

This direct, overhead view picks out clearly the sombre relief, the trench defences, clearly marked VP flags, ferry points and heavy soviet shore batteries, along with all necessary charts and a simple combat display for transferring your units to.  Your forces are wooden blocks of first-rate smoothness.  I mention this because of the tendency of several more recently purchased block games I possess to have slightly ribbed or striated surfaces - not as good for sticking power. 
An additional point in this attention to quality is the inside of the sturdy box, which instead of the usual plain white cardboard is printed with similar details to those on the Playbook.

A touch of box quality
 As usual there is the familiar set of adhesive labels to apply, though as the photo shows this is a relatively low block count - so not an onerous task.  The units are based on divisions that possess from 2 to 4 individual blocks identified by colour-coding and a number of  independent units identified by white colouring.  It is this colour coding which brings my single criticism of the presentation.  First, the typical black dots that indicate the strength of a unit are very small and hard to make out against the generally dark background of the labels. but the major problem lies in distinguishing the colour-coding of the divisions when playing under artificial lighting.
Having initially played in normal daylight, they were perfectly identifiable and attractive, but later play on a wintery evening revealed the problem of clearly differentiating units, especially as divisions begin to intermingle.
On the other hand, praise goes out for the sheet of counter stickers containing two identical sets.  Although I've never had a problem with ones peeling off other games, this is always a nice sign of a company's careful attention to potential player needs.
Next up is a single sheet of cardboard markers, ranging from the obvious turn marker to a colourful range of assets, including bunkers, anti-tank guns, armour and pioneers, as well as minefields, area control markers for the German player, and trench destroyed markers.

They all punch out perfectly with the much appreciated, rounded corners that are becoming a more familiar item from many companies.

At the heart of game play are the two decks of cards, one for each nationality.  I find the backs of the cards particularly appealing, with their strong feel of wartime propaganda posters.  

Included with them are similar-sized cards giving each player's card manifest, terrain effects, counter and marker effects, a very useful short-hand list of modifiers to the number of dice thrown in combat and finally the Sequence of Play.  All these and the larger Play Aids, one for each player that summarise the usage of all the different cards in the Player Decks, are helpfully printed in Spanish on one side and English on the other. 
Play Aid detailing usage of cards in the Player Decks
All in all, an admirable package, completed by what's becoming almost the norm in board wargames, a separate rulebook and playbook.  Both are very glossy products with an abundance of illustrations.  The Playbook starts with 5 pages of photographs that show the Set-Up map section by map section; a very useful asset indeed.  Next is a page and a half of Design Notes and slightly more than a page of Player Notes, followed by six pages of Historical Commentary.  All this is rounded off by a five-page example that takes you through the first turn of the game - once more a feature that is always welcome, however easy to understand the rules are.

These two photos show the consistently high level of illustration used throughout.

The Rulebook is supported to the same degree with pictorial examples and, basically, the Sequence of Play is ultra-simple.  Apart from a preliminary German Bombardment on Turn 1, each Turn follows two identical Phases; the German Action Phase and the Soviet Action Phase.  Each Player's Deck of cards contains four different types: Assault, Reaction, Order and Combat Support.  Though essentially simple, play is by no means simplistic and what might, at first, seem an igo-ugo system has a degree of back and forth play that means that both players are totally involved and engaged.
Another distinctive feature that helps the game to shine is the asymetrical design of the decks.  Both players have a core element of Assault cards, but even here there are distinct differences, as the German player has far more of these that are dual action allowing them to interrupt the Soviet Action Phase.  In the same way both the Order and Combat Support cards include a mix of near identical cards and those specific only to one player. By these means the decks create the appropriate emphasis between the attacking besieger and the defensive besieged. [Here I would love to see the system adapted for ancient or medieval siege warfare.]  A final point to make about the cards is that both players draw to full hand size at the end of each Player Phase rather than at the end of a complete Turn.  This adds greatly to keeping both players constantly absorbed in the game play
Player Aid summarising the effects of all the different cards
As the cards are the very heart of the system, I can think of few games that go to such lengths to make sure that you both understand them and then can use them with the minimal amount of effort and rule checking.   First of all, they are introduced in detail, step-by-step early in the rule book and then a three-page section at the end of the rulebook summarises each one.  As shown above, each player has a player aid that sums up the use of both his cards and his opponents, as well as most of the counters used in the game.

One of three pages summarising each card's usage

Oddly there are one or two German counters not included on the large player aid, though they are all clearly explained in the rule book and covered by the three small playing-card sized aids that cover Terrain effects, Counters and Markers and Combat dice.  Finally, each card in your Action Deck pictorially shows how to use it.  Consequently, after a few games, you'll find yourself playing smoothly with each card's use easily fixed in your head.  

Front cover of the Playbook

So, how does the game play out.  Being the besieger, the drive and onus of the action is naturally on the German player.  They have certain advantages, the most obvious being hand-size which is 8 cards as against the Soviet player's 6 cards.  They also have more cards that can inflict hits as opposed to the Soviet ability to place bunkers and minefields and, though both sides start in defensible trench areas, predominantly it's going to be the German player who's leaving their own protection behind to advance into the Soviet trenches.   As mentioned earlier, the German player also has more double-use cards that allow an immediate reaction during the Soviet player Phase.
Generally, the German player will be seeking to soften up areas with air strikes and heavy or superheavy artillery in order to weaken Soviet blocks and destroy the fixed coastal batteries printed on the map.  The Soviet player for their part has field artillery and the power of those coastal batteries, as well as the ability to place bunkers and minefields.  Other abilities from card play cover ATs, Stugs, fighter cover and fighter escorts and mortars, while the map itself includes those powerful coastal batteries that are so important for the German player to destroy, ferry crossing points an anti-tank ditch and a plethora of trench lines.
It is, like any siege, a difficult grind forward for the attacker, but the variety of action and play and counter-play of cards, all so simply, but effectively introduced whether as Actions, Orders or Combat Support, makes the experience a continually dynamic and tension filled one.   Whichever side you play, you'll find yourself fully engaged and immersed the whole of the game.


  JMBricklayer RC Tiger Tank 61501   Oddly enough, I do not have a Tiger I or a King Tiger in my block made kit menagerie. So, I jumped at t...

JMBricklayer RC Tiger Tank 61501 JMBricklayer RC Tiger Tank 61501

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


JMBricklayer RC Tiger Tank 61501


RC Tiger Tank 61501

  Oddly enough, I do not have a Tiger I or a King Tiger in my block made kit menagerie. So, I jumped at the chance to build this kit from JMBricklayer. The RC tanks that I usually see advertised have always seemed to me to be long on the RC part and rather short on the looks end. Oh, for a child that doesn't really care if it looks like a Tiger I or not they are fine. However, when these kits are being built by us old folks it is a different story. What we want is a Tiger I that looks like one and was not developed from a sketch of Picasso's. You will be pleased to know that this kit is a well-done representation of a real Tiger I (Panzerkampfwagen VI to you sticklers). 

  Building the kit was pretty straight forward. Just so you understand, with all of the kits from different companies that I have built, there have been problems with assembly. The main problem is me. I get too nonchalant about looking as closely to the instructions as I should. I get into a groove and just start building. That is, until 3-10 pages later I find that I messed up and need to disassemble everything I have done for the last five minutes. 

 With this kit I only had two slipups and one of them was minor. The only thing that scared me when I opened up the package was when I saw that the tracks came unassembled. I had visions that the tracks were going to be a complete nightmare to build with my non-adroit fingers. I was extremely happy to find out that putting the tracks together was one of the easiest parts of the build. I remember what a living hell it was putting tracks together for a glued plastic model. I swear I would end up with one or two tracks glued to my forehead. 

 This is what JMBricklayer has to say about its kit:

Exquisite Building Block Kit】: This tiger tank is composed of 800 high-quality building blocks, which can be used with confidence. The entire model measures 9.60in(L) x 5.11in(W) x 4.33in(H), plus, all accessories are packaged in individual bags in the order of assembly, with colorful assembly instructions to help you easily distinguish and complete assembly. You can do it with your family, and it will be fun.
【Creative Design】: The military tank is rich in structure, unique and creative in design, and is a fantastic toy model. It can go forward and backward, left and right, and can drive in all directions. And it is equipped with a rotating turret, and a built-in gyroscope, and can simulate the sound of the engine, which truly restores the tank experience. Overall, this is a very refined and flexible military building block vehicle.
【Easy to Operate】: The military tank building block toy has a motor and a lithium battery, which can be driven flexibly. It supports a mobile phone APP or 2.4GHZ remote control (without battery) Bluetooth control, the signal is stable, and remote operation can be realized, you don’t need to worry about operation problems. You can enjoy assembly with your family and friends and unlock its various functions together when you’re done.

This is a picture of the box

The contents before I opened up the bags

 I am well aware that you should separate all of the different pieces into piles of like pieces before you even start building. This would be just like doing a puzzle. However, I prefer the 'Where is Waldo?' type of building. It adds time and sometimes leads to a little annoyance, but it works like the game of 'Concentration' during the build.

 This kit was pretty enjoyable to put together. It took about three hours in total. However, I was not just sitting there doing the construction straight through. I spread the build over two days and was doing other things in the meantime. As I had mentioned, the tracks were quite easy to put together. The instructions were a little hard for me at the beginning of the build. They are all diagrams as usual. What JMBricklayer does is use a red line around where the new pieces are supposed to go. Do not build it like me and just assume you know where pieces are supposed to go. Look for those red lines and you will not make any mistakes like I did. 

 The kit also comes with markings for the tank. I always had trouble with those when building plastic models. I could never get them where they needed to be put on. I had no problem at all with these markers from the Tiger kit. These are different than the others that I have worked with. With these you put them on and then rub them for a bit. Then you actually peel back the clear plastic leaving the marker. 

 While I have never been a fan of RC vehicles and have not owned any until now, I was impressed with the sound and movement of the Tiger I. Thank you JMBricklayer for allowing me to review this fine product of yours. The next review for them will be of their 3-in1 Remarkable Ancient Machine.

 Here is some discounts and sale information:

1. for USA customer, shop on Amazon store:
Discount: 30% off
Code: VIPJMB30
Time: Nov 24- Nov 28
Free shipping

2. For worldwide free shipping (including to USA as well), shop on online store:
Discount: 30% OFF
code: no need
Time: Nov 24- Nov 28
Free shipping

3. All sets on online store that if they are not in discount, here is a coupon for them
Discount: 15% off 
Coupon code: VIPawargamer15%
Time: Now - Dec 31



RC Tiger Tank 61501: