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  General Erich Hoepner A Military Biography by W. Chales de Beaulieu Translated by Linden Lyons  This book is part of the 'Die Wehrmach...

General Erich Hoepner: A Military Biography by W. Chales de Beaulieu translated by Linden Lyons General Erich Hoepner: A Military Biography by W. Chales de Beaulieu translated by Linden Lyons

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

September 2022

General Erich Hoepner: A Military Biography by W. Chales de Beaulieu translated by Linden Lyons

 General Erich Hoepner

A Military Biography


W. Chales de Beaulieu

Translated by Linden Lyons

 This book is part of the 'Die Wehrmacht Im Kampf' series. These were written after World War II by German Officers about the Second World War II. These were used by the Allied armies to study the war through the eyes of the German command.

 As this is strictly a military biography, Hoepner's life is not really touched upon in the book. The author does devote a few pages at the end and the short Introduction touches upon it. Hoepner was involved in the June 20th, 1944, plot against Hitler. For his part in it, which is still debated, he was tortured and sentenced to death. However, we must not fall into the trap that many people do of assuming that the German generals were altruistic in their thinking. Some, if not most, had no problem with Germany attacking other countries. They just felt that Hitler was making a mess of it and wanted to fight the war their way. As long as Hitler was winning, they looked the other way to many other things. Hoepner himself had no problem with Germany attacking the Soviet Union etc.

 The book is separated into five chapters. These are:

The Campaign in Poland 1939

The Campaign in France 1940

The Advance to Leningrad 1941

The Assault on Moscow 1941

 General Hoepner was the commander of XVI Panzer Corps in the Polish Campaign. he also commanded it during the French Campaign. He was commander of Panzer Group 4 during Operation Barbarossa.

 The book was written by Hoepner's First General Staff Officer during the Polish Campaign, who then became his Chief of Staff during the French and Russian Campaigns. So, he had complete knowledge of General Hoepner's actions and thoughts during his service in World War II. 

 This book is unique in that you will usually find only a few lines written about the Polish Campaign. Those will invariably mention that the campaign went off like clockwork. This book shows how the vaunted German Heer was still very much learning from its mistakes in 1939. 

 When writing about the Japanese Military in World War II it is often stated that they suffered from 'victory disease', meaning that everything was going their way far too easily. I think we can see that the German High Command also suffered from this by the time of the invasion of Russia. The author shows how fearful at times the High Command was in 1939 and 1940 about the slightest hitch in any plan. Then he goes on to show us how they completely disregarded the facts and opinions of the German generals and the easily seen reality of the situation in 1941. The starts and stops that the German High Command forced the different commanders to deal with are revealed in the book. It also goes into what actually should have been done in each situation. 

 This is an excellent military biography of one of the chief Panzer commanders of the early part of World War II. The author shows us the thoughts and writings of Hoepner during these campaigns. It is a window into the inner workings of the Panzer forces early in the war.


Book: General Erich Hoepner: A Military Biography

Auther: W. Chales de Beaulieu

Publisher: Casemate Publishers


  Death of an Army Ypres 1914 by Revolution Games  "The Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders was the most notorious and dreaded place in a...

Death of an Army Ypres 1914 by Revolution Games Death of an Army Ypres 1914 by Revolution Games

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

September 2022

Death of an Army Ypres 1914 by Revolution Games

 Death of an Army Ypres 1914


Revolution Games

 "The Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders was the most notorious and dreaded place in all of the First World War, probably of any war in history. Typical was this British infantryman's reaction on being told that his battalion was to go there: "I mentioned Ypres and he cursed the place. Rumors of what waited ahead of us had disturbed everyone." This was said between men who had just gone through the ordeal of the Battle of the Somme, where more than 50,000 British soldiers became casualties on the first day.

 From the autumn of 1914 to the autumn of 1918 Flanders was, in effect, a gigantic corpse factory. Hundreds of thousands died there for ground where gains were measured in mere yards. It was where, in 1914, the British professional army was virtually annihilated, though it had stopped the German drive to capture control of the English Channel." (Winston Groom in 'A storm in Flanders')

 The Battle of Ypres in 1914 has many times been described as the 'Death of the British prewar Army. The actual name of this game should be 'Death of Armies'. This is because the German Army was also bled white here. The Germans have their own mythology about the First Battle of Ypres. This is called the 'Kindermord', roughly the 'Massacre of the Innocents'. On November 10, 1914, the Germans attacked the town of Langemarck (hex 0813 on the map). The story that was told was that eighteen-year-old German soldiers clasped arms and sang the German National Anthem while they marched to their death. While the actual history has found this to not be correct, the battles for Ypres did turn the area into an abattoir for the German reservist troops. As an aside, the British troops called it 'Wipers'. This is a game I have been waiting to have in my hot little hands for a long time.


 This is what comes with the game:

22" x 34" Map

Exclusive Rulebook

Series Rulebook

2.5 5/8" Countersheets

3 Player Aids

1 Scenario Setup Sheet

Box or Ziploc Bag

1 Six-Sided Die (Boxed Version)

 This is a blurb from Revolution Games about the game:

"The Battle of the Marne signaled the failure of the Schlieffen Plan and of German hopes to win a quick, decisive victory. In turn, this triggered the Race for the Sea as opposing armies attempted to outflank each other. Then, in a final bid to gain the upper hand, both Allied and German Armies clashed in the First Battle of Ypres. On these fields, the British Expeditionary Force, the professional army of Britain, and the strongest on the Continent, was bled dry.

Death of an Army, Ypres 1914 is a brigade/regiment level simulation of the First Battle of Ypres. Players assume the roles of the commanders of the German and Allied troops as they desperately fight for this valuable position in the line."

 The map shows us exactly why this small patch of territory was fought over for four years. These small ridges, 200' or so in height, are the only high ground to be found in Flanders. With their control of them, the Germans were able to see everything going on in the Ypres salient. Not only that, but their guns were able to target the area, thus turning the salient into a deathtrap for the French and British troops that were stationed there.

German Counters

 The Map is nicely done even though it is mostly made up of clear spaces. There are some important features, such as the canal and the ridge that is almost in the center of the map. The area was also sparse as far as woodlands. The towns and woods that are there are mostly named and will be remembered by people who are familiar with the later battles such as Polygon wood. The map also has the turn record track on it. It is made of the normal glossy paper that we have come to know over the last few decades. The scale of the Map is 1,350 yards per hex. The counters are large and are easy to read. They use the NATO symbols. The counters might look a little busy to some. However, I didn't mind them at all at 5/8" size. Two of the Players Aids are exactly the same. These have The Combat Results Tables on one side and the Terrain Effects on the other. The third Player Aid is one-sided and has a Markers Reference sheet on it. The Scenario Setup sheet is double-sided and has the information for the game's three scenarios on them. The Great War Battles Series Rulebook is twelve pages long and is in black and white with large type. Last but not least, the Exclusive Rulebook is only four pages long. The components some might complain, are Plain Jane, but they are infinitely better than what we used to play with. They also help to keep the game's cost down. You may not get all the bells and whistles with them, but all of Revolution Games productions I have played do come with a lot of gaming, which is really what we are after anyway.

Allied Counters

 As mentioned, there are three scenarios. These are:

Battle of Langemarck  - October 20th until October 24th

Fabeck's Attack - October 29th until November 4th

First Battle of Ypres (Campaign Game) - October 20th until November 12th

 The game plays out in daily turns so the Campaign Game is 24 turns long.

 This is the Sequence of Play:

First Player Turn

The first player is the phasing player and conducts the following events in sequence.

Coordinated Combat Phase: the first player may conduct 
coordinated combat with his units against opposing units (see 6.0).

Movement Phase: the first player may move his units (see 7.0).

Hasty Combat Phase: the first player may conduct hasty combat with his units against opposing units (see 11.0).

Surrender Phase: the first player checks whether any of his 
isolated units surrender (see 12.4).

Second Player Turn

The second player becomes the phasing player and conducts 
the same sequence of events as described for the first player.

Markers and a few more German counters

 So, what is the verdict? Just like any other Revolution Games effort I have played, this game is a winner. Not only if you are interested in the game for its history, but also if you are looking for a great gaming experience. This is early in World War I so air power and even air reconnaissance is in its infancy. You do not have to worry about tanks or poison gas either. This is a straight of battle of king of the hill. One thing a player has to keep in mind is that casualties will mount up and usually mount up quickly. This is the maneuver battle that all of the generals were hoping for after the trench system was built. Artillery is king of the battlefield, as it remains for the rest of the war. You can attack without artillery, or not enough of it, but be prepared to pay the cost. All of the Victory Conditions in all of the scenarios are based on the capture or defense of the high ground. It is a simple concept, and they are right there for you to see. Your problem is getting control of them. It is a rough and tumble affair that simulates the horrific blood loss of the year 1914. One thing really good games have is an ebb and flow to each side. The reinforcements that come in for each side at different times help greatly with the 'what happened, I was winning last turn', feeling that you get in this game.

 This is a blurb from the Designer Notes:

"For Ypres 1914, I wanted to create a simple, fluid game that moves quickly -- sort of a Napoleon at Waterloo for the First World War. Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way - simple, perhaps, fluid, not quite. There aren’t many innovative rules per se but one significant departure from most games is the reversal of the movement and combat phases. The decision to begin with a combat phase was intended to capture the general flow of the battle of the Great War. Most attacks were planned overnight and started at dawn of the next day. Generally, troops were positioned accordingly, often in plain sight of the enemy. After the initial attack, communications would falter, and the original plans would disintegrate. It then fell on the initiative on individual commanders leading smaller units to carry it on, with limited artillery support. The former reflects the co-ordinated combat and the latter the hasty combat procedure."

 I cannot wait for more games in the series.

 Thank you, Revolution Games, for allowing me to take this game for a spin. I will admit I was expecting a lot from the game. The books about the Ypres battles are some of my favorite reads. I was immensely happy that the game played out historically, and all of the outcomes were entirely plausible. While you are at their site, please take a gander at the rest of their games it is definitely worth it.


Revolution Games:


NAGASHINO 1575 & SHIZUGATAKA  1583 from  SERIOUS HISTORICAL GAMES Samurai battles - those words say it all - and, like so many, my inter...


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

September 2022





Samurai battles - those words say it all - and, like so many, my interest stemmed from that one evocative word in childhood - SAMURAI.

This was fed by films such as Kurosawa's early Seven Samurai and his much later Ran, though the latter is really transforming Shakespeare's play, King Lear, with no real historical relationship to the key period of feuding Japanese warlords.
In between these two films lay James Clavell's novel, Shogun, which - in fictionalised form and ahistorical names for the characters - opens in 1600 in the closing years of the Sengoku Jidai period, shortly before the battle of Sekigahara.

In game terms, I'd had a nodding acquaintance with various samurai influenced games at roughly 10 year intervals.  This started with Milton Bradley's Shogun of 1986 and was followed 10 years later by the much heavier GMT game, Samurai, a volume in their Great Battles of History series.  Wind on another 10 years [ok 11 years] to 2007 and out came their 12th volume in the GBH series, Ran!  So far a fairly intermittent acquaintance.

But from 2007 to 2022, the period and its name, the Sengoku Jidai, has grown in gaming parlance and familiarity.  Starting with Hexasim's, Kawanakajima [2009], it was followed by the excellent variation on the block game format, GMT's Sekigahara [2011] and then back to Hexasim's Tenkatoitsu in [2016].  Dotted throughout have been a variety of Euro games such as Queen Games' Shogun and CMON's Rising Sun,  as well as, of course, an entry in the Command & Colours pantheon - what else but Samurai, containing three scenarios drawn from the battle of Nagashino! [I have the earlier Zvesda edtion Samurai Battles with its magnificent figures and dual set of rules, one set being the C&C ones.]

Nearly all of these, both serious board wargames and lighter approaches, have passed through or are still included in my collection.  So, it was an absolute must-have when I first heard that a newly founded company, Serious Historical Games, was launching as its first game, Nagashino 1575 & Shizugatake 1583. 

I had even more reason to pursue this game when I found out that the company's founder and designer was Philipp Hardy.  Here was a name I was already very familiar with as a designer of many games for the Vae Victis magazine, an excellent French production that I have had over 90 subscription issues of.  Above all, I also have both boxed games designed by Philipp Hardy, Par Le Feu, Le Fer and Le Foi and Fate of Reiters.  These two sets cover ten battles of the French Wars of Religion, a period exactly corresponding to the later part of the Sengoku Jidai period in Japan.  Here was a pedigree I just had to follow up.

To outline briefly the historical setting, the period spans 150 years from 1467-1615, but most wargames draw on just the major events from 1560-1600 as does this game,  Nagashino 1575 & Shizugatake 1583.  It was a time of warring "Warrior States" and three names stand out of among the many leaders who feature in these two battles.  

Central to the story is the Oda clan and in the earlier of these two battles, Nagashino 1575, Daimyo Oda Nobunaga is the dominant power, though the Army Commander is his greatest subordinate general, Taisho Hideyoshi.  Also featuring in this battle is Daimyo Ieyasu, a clan leader once fighting for the opponents of Nobunaga, but by this battle he had wisely allied himself with Nobunaga. Opposing them is the Takeda clan, led by Daimyo Katsuyori, who were the historical losers.  Though warfare continues throughout the period, Oda Nobunaga is viewed in history as the first "Great Unifier" of Japan.

Moving on eight years later to Shizugatake 1583 and the situation has changed.  In the previous year, Oda Nobunaga had been ambushed and forced to commit ritual suicide, seppuku, though other accounts I have read describe him as being assassinated and at least one that he was poisoned!  His ablest general, Hideyoshi, seen as Army Commander in the first game in this package, took power, though like Nobunaga before him never becoming supreme ruler.  Though Daimyo Ieyasu briefly opposed Hideyosi in 1582, by the next year and the battle of Shizugatake, Ieyasu was once again supporting him in this equally successful battle.
Though his period of power is marked by ongoing struggles and disastrous campaigns against Korea, Hideyoshi is regarded as the second "Great Unifier".  And the third "Great Unifier"?  Well that eventually with be Ieyasu himself after the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, who does at last establish himself as Shogun! 

So, how does this design present this fascinating topic.  There's no doubt that it's a very attractive package, from very first sight of the dramatic box art of charging cavalry.  This is repeated on the cover of the single booklet which presents the rules and the two scenarios in both French and English.  
There are two sheets of counters and these are very well produced. They're a solid 18mm x 18mm, easy to read, easy to handle and highly evocative of the range of units. 

What I really like is that each of the two types of samurai unit has both an infantry counter and a cavalry counter and a simple mounting/dismounting rule.  The equally clear markers cover elements including isolation, two levels of disorganisation, army formation, division activation, charge, tactical bonuses and a counter to show your lead unit in attack or defence. 
Here, for example, are six of your seven army formation markers, ranging from very defensive to very aggressive.

These main elements are supported by a single double-sided play aid in English - a version in French is mentioned but was not in my copy. The double-sided map sized [23 1/2inch x 16 1/2 inch], I think, speaks for itself.   Stylistically and functionally, they're excellent.

Later close-ups will reveal the artistic detail, but even at a distance, the maps provide a stylish and sympathetic background to play.  As with his previous games on the French religious wars, the designer's choice has been to work with areas or, to use the terminology of the rules, zones.  For displaying and actually moving units, as well as the question of ZOCs and line of sight too, this choice works very successfully. The simplicity and clarity of the applicable rules is equally important to how well these all work together.  Visually the counters stand out vividly and the stacking rules mean that there is never overcrowding, especially as opposing units can never be in the same zone together.  This departs from most area movement games featuring melee or close combat, but works perfectly here.

Here you can see the set-up for Nagashino with the small number of units stacked, but a closer look at a small portion of the map [from my first play-through] shows how units with disorganisation markers and an activation marker can all be accommodated. 

 In total each set of rules whether in French or English
comes to five and a half pages, with a further one and half pages of examples.  The first battle's Scenario details take up a single page and the second occupies exactly two pages. Finally, the centre pages of the rules contain striking images of each battle with the crucial historical stages mapped out.  Again, I love the concern given to presentation, as the left hand page [not shown here] has the information in French and this right hand page in English.
As I commented on BGG, in my first impressions of the game, there are a few very minor errors and the succinctness of the rules occasionally led to some uncertainties of interpretation.  However, Philippe Hardy has been immediate in his response with answers and clarifications both to my personal emails and questions in general  on BGG. This level of support is very much appreciated and has helped me to get the game straight on to the table and launched into the earlier of the two battles.
From that experience I'd like to take you through the basic steps of a turn with some comments on them.  There are only three Phases to a Turn and both the first and last are very quick and easy to perform so the action of the game gets central focus.
[A] Initiative Phase
Each Army has an overall Formation that can range from Extremely Defensive through Flexible to Extremely Aggressive and can be changed by a simple die roll against the Army Commander's Quality Level [QL].  Each Formation gives a player five tactical markers from which a random selection is made at the beginning of each turn, again using the Army Commander's QL.  The more Aggressive the more positive the markers, the more Defensive the more negative the markers.  This is such a neat idea.  It means that the Aggressive stances add benefits totally or mainly to attacking, while the Defensive stances correspondingly furnish benefits totally or mainly to defending.  Logical, but a neat way of  imposing its own constraints. 
Check whether divisional leaders are within range of the Army Commander and place isolated marker if not.
Determine which player has the Initiative and activates first
Check for possible arrival of reinforcements.
[B] Alternating Divisional Activation Phase
A chosen division is automatically activated if its leader is in command or has to role against the leader's QL if isolated [i.e. out of command].
Active units in command range of the division leader may be moved and charges are declared.
The inactive player may fire against any adjacent activated units.
Melee follows and is optional, unless a charge has been declared which makes a melee mandatory.
The inactive player may make a counter-charge where it is possible.
[C] Reorganisation Phase
Remove or attempt to remove disorganised markers.
Remove tactical and activation markers.
Check for victory at the end of the last game turn.

A range of the games markers
There are quite a few innovative rules in this game, but all are remarkably easy to learn and remember without frequent reference to the rule book.  This is a major reason why I like this system so much,  as too is the fact that they interact on a simple level to cover a whole series of features seen in similar games.
Take the zone identification number.  It will begin with the number 0/1/2 which takes you from the lowest height level on the map to the highest.  The next two numbers like all area movement games is purely for identification purposes; then the final number is a Roman numeral either I/II/III.
This latter number covers a lot of ground: first of all telling you how difficult the terrain is.  No surprises that the higher the number the more difficult.  Next the number is the base cost of movement  for entry and finally it determines whether a unit in it projects a ZOC.  A unit projects a ZOC only if it is located in a higher number  . So, a unit in III projects a ZOC into II or I, a unit in II projects a ZOC into I and, of course a unit in I never projects a ZOC.  It also affects charges as you can only charge into a zone I.  Finally the colour of the box the zone identification number is in tells you whether the zone blocks line of sight.

This close up of the zone containing Shizugatake Castle highlights  the attention to artistic detail, so harmonious with the Japanese background, as well as illustrating the practical zone designation.  It also reveals other typical factors that come into play such as the border between zones that affects movement cost and charges too.

Take care when looking at terrain, as exemplified by this tract of forest just below the castle.  Most terrain II is forest in these battles, but differing prefixed numbers show that the height of the terrain varies and the borders to a single zone of forest often vary too.  One side may be shown by a dotted line as a trail or path crosses it, while another may have a single or double line to show increasing difficulty and so increased cost and finally one side of the zone may have a broad line showing that it is impassable.  All visually very nice and all very easy to remember!
Combat too has several innovative and artful touches.  Only a single unit may attack from a zone or be attacked in a zone whether by fire or melee and each player chooses their unit.  Normally in melee there is only one round of attack, though there are conditions when a unit may fight a second round.  Results only affect the chosen attacker and defender, though one of the modifiers in a melee does reflect a limited combination of different types of units present in either the attacker or the defender's zone.  
The process of a combat couldn't be easier: take the differential between the strength of the two units involved and then add all the applicable positive and negative modifiers.  The resulting number is finally added to a 2D6 die roll and applied to the appropriate Fire or Melee Table.  A key point to remember is that all modifiers are simply added together, they are not applied separately to the strengths of the units. Two states of disorganisation, step losses or quality checks are the possible results.  The only surprise for me was the lack of any rout result.  As well as my satisfaction with the overall simplicity of approach, I was very pleased with how rapidly most modifiers became second nature after only a few combats had been worked out.  One tip I'd suggest is that you make a simple numerical  scale on which to move a marker up and down as you apply modifiers. 
To augment the overall ease of understanding, the page and a half of examples works very effectively taking you through all the steps of a typical turn in order.  As you can see it is well detailed and displayed in full colour and, a point I always like, draws directly on a real play from the first battle featured in the game.
This leads me to the final thoughts on the two battles themselves.  Neither is massive in size and the first battle is especially good to start with; it can be completed in an afternoon or evening's play and both sides are very balanced in numbers.  Both battles feature unit losses counting for VPs and, as the prime target for victory, the capture of a castle.  Despite this similarity, they play out very differently.  In Shizugatake, the initial Oda forces are small and geographically split.  One group has to move to link with the other defending the castle, while fending off a much larger opposing force, until reinforcements start arriving.  The opposing Shibata forces have to try to overwhelm both small groups as swiftly as possible while capturing the castle and then holding it against those Oda reinforcements.  This is a swirling battle.
Set-up for the battle of Shizugatake

In Nagashino, the roles are reversed.  The Oda clan troops are defending the castle which will almost certainly fall, but they have their main strong force that has to fight its way across virtually the length of the map from south to north against a powerful, cavalry-strong enemy and also a secondary force of reinforcement moving upward from the bottom map edge.  Their opponents, the Takeda , historically were the aggressive army hurling their cavalry at the oncoming Oda. All I can say is that if you follow their lead, you'll probably suffer the same crushing defeat! 

Above shows the beginning of the conquest of Nagashino castle. As yet the relieving forces entering from the bottom edge of the map have failed to roll their release number.  So the castle will almost certainly be in enemy hands by the time they arrive. The final appeal of both battles is that both sides get good opportunities to attack and defend.  
This is a very successful opening game in all respects for Serious Historical Games and I'd strongly recommend that you get your hands on a copy.  The next two projected games promise to maintain the momentum to the full.  In particular, the intention to take the system begun here to the climactic battle of Sekigahara will be an eventual release that I'll eagerly await.  



  The Battle of Novi August 1799 An Untimely Death by Acies Edizioni   Alexander Suvorov is considered one of the greatest Russian Generals....

The Battle of Novi August 1799 by Acies Edizioni The Battle of Novi August 1799 by Acies Edizioni

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

September 2022

The Battle of Novi August 1799 by Acies Edizioni

 The Battle of Novi August 1799

An Untimely Death


Acies Edizioni

 Alexander Suvorov is considered one of the greatest Russian Generals. He never had a chance to fight Napoleon, which might have been blessing for his legacy. Suvorov did, however, always win in battle against any of the other French Generals. All that Napoleon had gained in Northern Italy was lost to the Austro-Russians under Suvorov (Napoleon was in Egypt and the Middle East at the time). After Novi, Suvorov was ordered to Switzerland to help out the Austrians once again. Because of their defeat, he was trapped in the Alps by future French Marshal Andre Massena. He was able to extricate himself with minimal losses and for that was made the fourth Generalissimo of Russia. He died of disease shortly after. Barthélemy Catherine Joubert was originally part of Napoleon's earlier Italian Campaigns. He had been marked for greatness by Napoleon, and had he lived would probably have been made a Marshal. Unfortunately for him, he was one of the first French casualties of the Battle of Novi. Acies Edizioni has made games about two of Suvorov's battles, including this one.  They have also made other great games about obscure battles and campaigns in Italy. 


 This is what comes in the box:

One game-map

2 sheets of counters and markers

3 Player Aid Cards

Rule booklet

Historical commentary

The scale is 1 hour per turn, about 500 m. per hex,
Each strength point (SP) stands for 50-150 men for infantry
and cavalry (basing on their efficiency rating), and 3-5 guns.
Designer: Enrico Acerbi
Complexity: 3/5
Solitaire suitability: 4/5

 This is from Acies Edizioni about the game:

 "The war of the Second Coalition on the Italian front was becoming a nightmare for the French Republic. Defeat after defeat (Cassano d’Adda, Trebbia) the exhausted French army was pushed away from the northern Italy by the vigorous offensive of the Austro-Russian army led by Suvorov. For this reason, the Directorate decided to call another general, Barthelemy Joubert, at the head of the army. The Directorate ordered General Joubert to immediately attack Suvorov and to make every effort to free Tortona. On the morning of August 15th, the noise of the first shots of the battle of Novi begun to fill the air. Joubert rode to a little hill to better assess the situation. Few moments after his arrival, a bullet hit him in the chest, killing the young general almost instantly. An untimely death."


 I am always impressed by Acies Edizioni components for their games. The box is light compared to some and there are not many parts inside. However, what you do get is well worth your money. The Rule Booklet is made of almost hard stock, and it is in full color. It is only twenty-one pages long but has everything in the rules that you would expect from a Napoleonic game. The eighteen-page Historical Commentary is worth at least half of the game's price, if not more. There are three full-sized Player Aid Cards included and they are all double-sided. The first one has the setup for Scenario I on one side and the setup for Scenario II on the other. The second has the setup for Scenario III (the whole Battle of Novi), with the French setup on one side and the Coalition on the other. The last one has the Combat Results Table etc. and, on the flip-side has the Terrain Effects Chart. The counters are nice looking with small portraits on them. They are a little 'busy' compared to some others. The only thing about the components that you could complain about is the thinness of the counters. The Map is a thing of beauty. All of the terrain is easy to pick out and to know what each hex has for terrain. Kudos as usual for the Map. All-in-all, the components are up to Acies Edizioni standards. 

Game in progress

 This is the Sequence of Play (I wanted you to see the entire Sequence):

 "3.1. Game Turn
Each Game Turn is divided in 3 phases.
Each Phase is divided into various segments
according to the Command activation rules.
Each Phase must be resolved in the exact order
given below.
Any action taken out of sequence is a violation of
the rules.
A - Command Phase
This phase is divided in 3 segments:
A1- Orders
The Army/Wing Commanders may assign/
change Orders to Formation’s Leaders
(Generals). The command range of the Leaders
must be checked and “Out of Command”
markers must be placed on those units beyond
that range.
Each player places the Formation Chits, reverse
side up and one per box, on the Priority Track.
They then assign orders by selecting an Order
marker to place under each Formation Chit
keeping it hidden. The numeric sequence on
the Track dictates the sequence (alternating
between players) of each Formation’s future
In this segment “Independent Columns” can
be created. To do so, place the corresponding
Column or Brigade Chit on the Priority Track.
Their Leader should already be on the map.
A2- Weather
Specific rules manage the Weather during the
battle turns.
Note: In Novi this segment is not relevant, since
the weather was hot and clear throughout.
A3- Initiative
Each player rolls ld6 to check initiative (see
6.0). The initiative player will start the Action
phase (B) first.
A4- Initiative Commands
An independent (see A1 above) or Out of
Command General can try to change his Orders
performing an Initiative Check.
Roll 1d6 and if the DR is equal to or lower than
the General’s Initiative Value, that Order can
be changed.
B - Actions Phase
A player activates his first available Formation
(see A1).
Each Formation performs all of its Action
phase segments, before progressing to the next
Formation to be activated.
This Actions Phase will continue until all the
Formations have completed their actions.
Note: the 1st Player (Initiative Player) begins
with the Chit in Box 1 and activates the
corresponding Leader (and his Formation).
When this activation completes, the 2nd Player
activates his Chit in Box 1... the activation
sequence passes from one player to the other
until all Leaders has been activated.
The Action Phase is divided into 6 Segments.
B1- Reorganization and Rally
Players can attempt to reorganize their
Disordered or Routed units if their Formation’s
Order allows for it.
B2- Replacements and Reinforcements
The active player returns to the map, those
combat units belonging to the activated
Formation previously eliminated (see 12.0 and
Reinforcements belonging to the active
Formation can enter the map in March Column
at this time, in the hexes specified by the
scenario’s rules.
B3- Movement
Activated units move according to their
Formation’s Orders. Artillery that moves must
be flipped onto its “Moved” side; it cannot
perform Bombardment when it is in this state.
Once the movement of all activated “In
Command” units is complete, individual “Out
of Command” units of the active Formation can
attempt to change their generic Defend Order.
B4- Bombardment
Artillery units of the active Formation, not on
their “Moved” side, can execute bombardments.
Use the Bombardment Table.
B5- Combat
Combat is resolved in a series of segments as
outlined below:
B5.1- Attack declarations
The player declares his attacks and place the
markers, “Attack” or “Attack?” according to
their Formation’s Orders.
B5.2- Retreat before combat
Some defending units (e.g., Light Cavalry)
may retreat before combat.
B5.3- Defensive Bombardment
The defensive player may perform a defensive
bombardment with any artillery units, if not in a
“Moved” state, present in those hexes declared
under attack.
B5.4- Assault
All Efficiency checks are performed and the
attacks are resolved on the CRT.
B6- End of Phase
The activated Leader counter on the map is
turned facedown, displaying the reverse with
the letter “A”, and a new Actions Phase begins;
the opposing Player now activates his first/next
available Formation in the Priority Track.
C - End of turn phase
When ALL Formations (both sides) have been
activated the Game Turn marker is advanced on
the Turn Record Track. All Leaders on their “A”
side and all artillery with on their “Moved” side
are flipped face up.
Then the new turn begins with Phase A."

 Hopefully this will show you exactly how much thought has gone into the rules. It should also show you how it was designed from the ground up to be a Napoleonic game, compared to some Napoleonic rules that seem more at home in World War II.

 Command and Control of your forces are the key to this game. There are no pigeons or wireless sets for you to convey your orders. These are some of the parts of a Napoleonic battle that Acies Edizioni has put into the rules:

Elan Attack - For French Generals with a value of 3 or higher.

Advance and Skirmish

March and Build

General's Initiative Check

Artillery in Melee

Cavalry Harassing

Cavalry Retreat Before Combat

Emergency Squares

 This list just scratches the surface.

 Once again Acies Edizioni, and the designer Enrico Acerbi, have given us a great Napoleonic battle to fight, even if it is almost unknown and it doesn't even have Napoleon present. Thank you Acies Edizioni for allowing me to take another of your Napoleonic period games for a spin. I enjoyed the game very much. Right now, you can get a great deal on some games bundled together. Please check them out.


The Battle of Novi August 1799:

Acies Edizioni:


  EUROPE IN THE SPOTLIGHT Just a brief glimpse of three new games that I'll be focusing on over the next few weeks and as the title indi...


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

September 2022



Just a brief glimpse of three new games that I'll be focusing on over the next few weeks and as the title indicates all from European companies.

The first is also the very first game from an equally new French company, Serious Historical Games, though its founder and designer is certainly a familiar name, the well regarded designer, Philipp Hardy.

This will be Nagashino 1573 & Shizugatake 1583 exploring two battles of the Japanese Shingoku Jidai period.

Following on from that will be the latest from the Polish company, Strategemata, many of whose games |I've covered.  This one is a new departure being a multi-player strategic game, in the style of Here I Stand, but with several two and three player scenarios. Its title is simply Time of Wars and covers conflicts in eastern Europe from 1590-1660.

My third review will bring us back to more recent wars, namely WWII and will cover the latest two expansions, V-Sabotage Miniatures and V-Sabotage Ghost from Triton Noir.  The original core game, originally entitled V-Commandos, and its expansions have been featured in earlier reviews.

The miniatures, I can promise you, is a an excitingly hefty package.



  Dawn of Battle by Worthington Publishing  Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away; no that isn't it. The world was young once; nope...

Dawn of Battle by Worthington Publishing Dawn of Battle by Worthington Publishing

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

September 2022

Dawn of Battle by Worthington Publishing

 Dawn of Battle


Worthington Publishing

 Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away; no that isn't it. The world was young once; nope not it either. Let us try this: many years ago, when my body did not creak and moan with movement, there was a magical land called SPI (okay it was just a building that made games, but you get my drift). Simulations Publications Inc. in 1975 published a set of games called PRESTAGS (Pre-Seventeenth Century Tactical Game System). It offered the grognard a chance to simulate battles from the Egyptian New Kingdom until the late Middle Ages. It was amazing. For the price of one game, you could fight tons of historical or fictional battles from a few hundred or more years. The game system was an immediate success. The same idea was published by 3W (World Wide Wargames) in Strategy & Tactics issue 127 in 1990. This version was designed by the giants Jim Dunnigan and Albert A. Nolfi. Once again, the game was a big success. Since then, the formula has been tried by several different publishers with mixed results. I have been looking for a revamped version for many years. Then out of the blue I found out that Worthington Publishing was going to produce their own take on the idea of warfare through the ages. This design is a totally redone version of Victory Point Games 'Ancient Battles Deluxe' by Mike Nagel. Worthington Publishing was nice enough to send me a copy to review. I was as happy as the dog getting a biscuit on Quick Draw McGraw; it is a visual:

 Ancient Military History is by far my first love. So, any game that can simulate it is going to catch my eye. However, the game also allows you to fight battles right into the beginning of the Gunpowder Age. Let us see what comes in the box:

Hard Mounted 22” x 34” game board 

Three to five sheets of die-cut counters 

Two Player Aid Cards

80 marker cubes in two colors (red and yellow)

Two decks of 72 cards each 

Plastic bases for the stand-up leaders

Rules Book

Scenario Book

Counter Tray

 The components are well done and appear to be able to take years of gaming. The first thing you will notice about the game board is the dearth of any terrain except open. Most battles fought during this large amount of time were fought on open plains, so it is entirely understandable. The hexes are very large at over 1.5"s. If you wanted to you could play with minis. The Turn Record Track, Army Panic Track, and the obligatory Elephant Effect Table (Pachyderms can be tricky assets) etc. The counters are large, and it is very easy to read their information. They also have a picture on them denoting what troops they are. Leaders actually have plastic bases to stand in. There are eighty red and yellow marker cubes. These are all uniform in shape and size, so no weird pieces hanging off their sides. There are two packs of game cards with seventy-two cards in each. One deck is blue in color and the other is red. The two Player Aid cards are exactly the same with one for each player. They are full-sized and in color. The Rules Book is twenty-pages long. Only sixteen and a half are used for the actual rules. The last three and a half pages are dedicated to creating your own scenarios from history. The Scenario Book is forty-one pages long and comes with twenty scenarios. Each listing visually shows what units you need and comes with a good- sized map picture of where to place them. The game comes with a handy counter tray. So, the components are not stylish by any means, but are well done and completely utilitarian,

 This is a list of the battles:

 The designer has picked a few battles that you do not see many, if any, simulations of.

Various Cards

 This is the Sequence of Play:

1. Remove Leaders

2. Receive Action Points

3. Determine Initiative

4. Place Leaders

5. Melee Combat

7. Turn End

 The game rules are simple but do give you all the bells and whistles of combat during the chosen age. The game is meant to be played by two players but can be easily played solitaire (as can almost any game). Leaders and morale are the two most important ideas in the rules, as it should be in the ages portrayed in the game. The counters are generic because they have to be. No one would want a game that had a separate set of immersive counters for a game that has twenty scenarios and they come from almost 3000 years of warfare. So, the game is not as immersive as some other games are. You will just have to use your imagination. The game is based on the cards and Action Points that the player picks or chooses to use. The cards add a ton of 'friction' to the game. You can really get lost in the counters of troops for so many centuries. There are also 'Camp' counters that represent your troops' quarters before the battle. To lose one's camp was a terrible sin. Many an army just disintegrated with the loss of their camp. This is just one more historical piece of ancient and medieval battles that is in the game.

This is a blurb about the cards:

"The game’s primary engine is comprised of an action deck used to determine command, the randomly determined outcomes of actions, and melee combat. Additionally, action cards provide special effects that players can use to enhance their units’ abilities as well as the narrative of the gaming experience. The action deck provides a unique means of resolving a battle in an experience that will never be duplicated."

 So, you can see that even though each battle can be setup the same, it does not mean they will play out the same.

 These are some of the generals you get to portray:

Antiochus the Great


William Wallace



Phillip II of Macedon


Brian Boru


Edward I

 The only real problem with the game is the sheer number of counters that come with it. It does come with a counter tray, but it is too small to deal with the tons of different troop types. The box is large, but because of the mounted map there just does not seem to be enough room. So, setting up the different scenarios is a bit of a pain. I think I will ditch the counter tray and go with zip-lock bags.

 Sample Scenario setup pages:

 Thank you, Worthington Publishing, for letting me review this excellent game.  As I mentioned in my last Worthington Publishing review, I had not really been able to tear myself away from this game to do a proper review on it. I would sit down in front of it and just forget about the review and setup another battle. Worthington Publishing is working on some additions to this game. This will add more battles and probably some terrain to simulate more tactical problems/choices for us armchair generals. The map has even been designed to be able to add another to one side to make for even larger encounters.

 This is a list of battles that Mike Nagel has all set for working with the original map:

BCE 717 - Che - Yen vs. Cheng
BCE 547 - Thymbra - Lydia vs. Persia
BCE 331 - Gaugamela - Macedonia vs. Persia
BCE 326 - Hydaspes - Macedonia vs. India
BCE 321 - Hellespontine Phrygia - Successors vs. Successors
BCE 301 - Ipsus - Antigonids vs. Seleucids
BCE 295 - Sentinum - Rome vs. Samnites
BCE 280 - Heraclea - Epirus vs. Rome
BCE 218 - Trebia - Rome vs. Carthage
BCE 217 - Raphia - Seleucids vs. Egypt
BCE 216 - Cannae - Carthage vs. Rome
BCE 206 - Illipa - Rome vs. Carthage
BCE 202 - Zama - Carthage vs. Rome
BCE 53 - Carrhae - Parthia vs. Rome
CE 1081 - Dyrrhachium - Normans vs. Byzantines
CE 1176 - Legnano - Holy Roman Empire vs. Lombards
CE 1177 - Montgisard - Crusaders vs. Ayyubid Sultanate
CE 1214 - Bouvines - France vs. Holy Roman Empire
CE 1244 - La Forbie - Khwarezmians vs. Crusaders
CE 1421 - Kutna Hora (Day 1) - Holy Roman Empire vs. Taborites
CE 1421 - Kutna Hora (Day 2) - Holy Roman Empire vs. Taborites

 These are what he has planned for Volume 2 with terrain tiles:

BCE 1457 - Megiddo - Egyptians vs. Canaanites
BCE 490 - Marathon - Greeks vs. Persians
BCE 479 - Platea - Allied Greeks vs. Persians
BCE 333 - Issus - Macedonians vs. Persians
BCE 217 - Lake Trasimeno - Carthaginians vs. Romans
BCE 197 - 2nd Cynoscephalae - Antigonids vs. Romans
BCE 168 - Pydna - Antigonids vs. Romans
BCE 57 - Sabis River - Barbarians vs. Romans
BCE 48 - Pharsalus - Populares vs. Optímates
CE 16 - Idistaviso - Germans vs. Romans
CE 315 - Cibalae - Byzantium vs. Rome
CE 451 - Catalaunian Plain - Rome vs. Huns
CE 955 - Lechfeld - Magyars vs. Holy Roman Empire
CE 1066 - Hastings - Normans vs. English
CE 1104 - Harran - Seljuk Turks vs. Crusaders
CE 1221 - Indus - Kwarazimids vs. Mongols
CE 1223 - Kalka River - Mongols vs Russians
CE 1346 - Crecy - France vs England
CE 1356 - Poitiers - France vs England
CE 1385 - Aljubarrota - Portugal vs. Castile