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  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

Dawn of Battle by Worthington Publishing

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