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 Chancellorsville 1863 by Worthington Publishing  Chancellorsville is often considered Lee's masterpiece battle. He was outnumbered 2 to...

Chancellorsville 1863 by Worthington Publishing Chancellorsville 1863 by Worthington Publishing

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

Worthington Publishing




 Chancellorsville 1863


by


Worthington Publishing






 Chancellorsville is often considered Lee's masterpiece battle. He was outnumbered 2 to 1 by The Army of The Potomac, led by Joseph Hooker. Hooker also was one of the few generals to put one over on Lee. Hooker's plan for the campaign was was a very good one, and more surprisingly it worked without a hitch. Then something happened to Hooker, not to the Army he led, only to him. He had managed to flank Lee's Army, and had 3/4's of The Army of The Potomac across the Rappahannock River ready to crush The Army of Northern Virginia between a rock and a hard place. Hooker had his Army positioned in the area that would later become famous as 'The Wilderness'. Lee's only chance to survive was to stop Hooker from leaving the area and entering the more cultivated land where the Army of The Potomac's numerical superiority would overwhelm him. For some strange reason that Hooker himself never really understood, he just stopped where he was and awaited Lee's riposte. One of Hooker's explanations was that 'he just lost faith in Joe Hooker'. Lee really only had 2/3's of The Army of Northern Virginia with him. Longstreet was out west with the other 1/3. However, Lee lost no time in trying to find a way to attack Hooker. Lee's boldness knew no bounds. Lee sent Thomas Jackson (Yes, Stonewall to most) around the open left flank of Hooker's Army. This left almost nothing in front of Hooker, had he decided to actually move forward. Whether it was Jackson's or Lee's plan we will probably never know. However, Lee was the commanding general so the blame or kudos rightly belong to him. Chancellorsville is a battle of so many what ifs. Had Hooker decided to move, had Jackson not been wounded by his own men, etc. The end of the story is that the Union suffered a defeat and the Army of The Potomac was pushed back across the river. We do know that Lee was not happy about all of his victories. He knew that he had to destroy the Army of The Potomac and not just send it packing to try once again in a few months. Porter Alexander always believed that the South's only chance of victory was during the Seven Days Battles, and that after that they had really no chance. So, let us see what is in the box:


Large mounted game board

Union formation activation cards

Confederate formation activation cards

Union bot activation cards (for solitaire play)

Confederate bot activation cards (for solitaire play)

Tactic cards

Confederate and Union reinforcement cards

2 x player screens for hidden movement (with player aid)

Cohesion cubes

Momentum cubes

Redoubt markers

5 x Dice

2 x Rules 




 The game has the same designer as Worthington Publishing's Freeman Farm. There are many similarities between the two, and many differences. I will have a link to that game's review below. This is what Worthington has to say about the game:


"Designed by Maurice Suckling.  Chancellorville 1863 uses many of the concepts from Freeman's Farm 1777.  What stays basically the same:


1.  Combat

2.  How formations are activated and the receiving of momentum cubes by the play of formation cards

3.  The use of leaders like Gates, Arnold, and Burgoyne --- now Lee, Jackson, and Hooker

4.  The use of tactics cards

What's Unique:

1.  Hidden movement -- the game uses minimaps that allow for some hidden movement and variable setup of some formations.

2.  More movement -- formations frequently move on the board and combat occurs when two formations of opposing sides end in the same location.

3.  Reinforcement by transfer of cohesion points between formations

4.  A card driven solitaire engine

5.  Formation cards allow for multiple formations to activate with major and minor activations.  Major allow two moves while minor allow one move.

6.  Prepared positions --- spend your activations to build redoubts.

Gamers who own Freeman's Farm and are familiar with it's concepts will be up and playing in 15 minutes.  And with quick setup and game play, gamers will be able to play multiple games in an evening."




 The Map has nice period detail in places, but its look is not something we are used to seeing (unless, you already have played Freeman's Farm). There are no hexes. The movement of the wooden pieces on it is decided by the player's actions, and by arrows that show where the piece can legally be moved. It is sort of reminiscent of point-to-point maps, but still different from them. All of the record keeping for the different forces involved are right on the map. The wooden blocks are well done and uniform in their shapes with no pieces of wood hanging off them etc. Each deck of cards is done differently, and there are six different decks. The cards are not flimsy at all. The Rulebooks (one for each player) are in large print and full color. They are twenty pages long. The rules for the game are only fifteen pages long. This is followed by some examples of play, and then a Historical Summary, and Designer Notes. There are also two screens for hidden movement in a two player game. The screens have some Player Aids on the player side and a some nice period pictures on their other side. The game as a whole is meant to be more functional than artistic. However, this does not deter the game from being eye pleasing. As a whole, it is a wonderfully produced game. It fits well into the rest of Worthington Games stable of games.




 The game is one of very few that actually has a bot designed to play both sides. Playing solo has never been a problem for me with almost any game, but to have it all in place for playing either side is a very nice touch. It also speaks to the designer's skill in designing the bots. 

 The battle does not lend itself to be developed into a game. The disparity of forces between the North and South is roughly 2:1. So, there has to be some way of adding the tentative nature of Joseph Hooker once his plan worked and he ended up on Lee's flank. Otherwise, each game would just be to see how long Lee could hold out against the onslaught. In almost every game I have played where there is such a difference in size between both sides, victory is almost always how long can you last compared to history. It is hard to imagine, but you have to remember Lee won this battle, and tried hard to annihilate as many Union troops as possible and not just push them back. Although how he would deal with a group of captured soldiers almost half the size of his army is anyone's guess.


 


 

  This is the Sequence of Play:


"Each player’s turn has the same phases:

1. Play Activation card from one of the three in your

hand and gain Momentum cubes for the card played.

2. Determine whether you are playing the major, minor,

or one of the free actions of transfer reinforcements

or build redoubt.

3. Pay Activation cost by reducing cohesion for the

activated formation.

4. If, as a result of movement, combat occurs, perform

combat.

5. After all actions have been performed, optionally

purchase one Tactics card, and refresh the tableau

with a new card.

6. Draw a new Activation card."


These are the game's Objective Locations:


"There are 3 objective locations on the game board:

Fredericksburg (location 13), Salem Church (location

22), and Chancellorsville Junction (location 18). They are

assumed to be Confederate controlled unless there is a

Union control marker in them. A Union formation does

not have to remain on the objective for the objective to

remain Union controlled. Once controlled, at the end of a

Union turn, a Union formation may move away from the

objective. However, if a Confederate formation occupies

a formation at the end of a Confederate turn, the Union

control marker is removed and control reverts back to the

Confederates."




 These are the Victory Conditions:


"The Union player must capture 2 out of the 3 objectives

on the board by the end of the game. An objective is

captured if a Union formation was the last to occupy it,

the formation does not have to remain in the location

(mark with a blue cube to show Union control).

If the Union player breaks 3 or more Confederate

formations they immediately win the game.

The Confederate player wins if the Union player does not win.

The Confederate player also wins the game immediately

if they break 3 or more Union formations."


 The final verdict is that the designer was able to take what should be a one-sided battle (in two-player, or even against a bot), and make it enjoyable to play. Not only that, he was able to design it so that every game you play is different. The cards and other actions make sure that no two games are alike. This means that players cannot come up with unbeatable strategies that always work, and force you to just put the game back on your shelf as a part of your collection. Even for grognards these are 'games' that are meant to be played and not gather dust. The ease of the game's setup means that two-players can get up and and playing within minutes. The games are also meant for relatively fast play, so that each player can have a crack at either side a few times on game night.

 Thank you Worthington Publishing for letting me review this fine game. below I will have some other reviews of Worthington Publishing games I have also reviewed. 


Robert 

Worthington Publishing:

Worthington (worthingtonpublishing.com)

Chancellorsville 1863:

Chancellorsville 1863 — Worthington (worthingtonpublishing.com)

Antietam:

Antietam September 17, 1862 by Worthington Publishing - A Wargamers Needful Things

Grant's Gamble:

Grant's Gamble a game by Worthington Games - A Wargamers Needful Things



 Napoleon Returns 1815 by Worthington Publishing  The Waterloo Campaign, Gettysburg, and the Bulge are the trifecta of wargaming. If we grog...

Napoleon Returns 1815 by Worthington Publishing Napoleon Returns 1815 by Worthington Publishing

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

Worthington Publishing





 Napoleon Returns 1815


by


Worthington Publishing






 The Waterloo Campaign, Gettysburg, and the Bulge are the trifecta of wargaming. If we grognards only had games on these three campaigns/battles, we would have enough to fill our shelves and play for a very long time. Of the three campaigns, in my mind Waterloo is the one that is the most of a toss-up. There are so many 'what-ifs' to the campaign. Napoleon who always, up to then, was conscious of time ( Napoleon's quote "I may lose a battle but I will never lose a minute), was an incredibly large part of making war successfully. He seemed to completely forget it in the Waterloo Campaign. He and his army were definitely affected by the 'slows' during the campaign. You can ascribe this to ill health, or any number of other things. At Ligny, the French had a chance to crush Blucher. After Ligny, the next day the French Army sauntered after the Prussian Army instead of herding it like cattle. The rainstorm the night before Waterloo, and Grouchy not 'marching to the guns' are more examples of 'what-ifs'. Enough of the history. Let's see what Worthington Publishing has put in the box:


Mounted Map 

18 French, British, and Prussian Corps Cubes

25 Small Yellow Wooden Markers

1 Six-Sided Die

2 Full Color Player Aid Sheets

2 Full Color RuleBooks

68 Battle Cards

5 French Objective Cards




 The map is meant to look like an old parchment map. It succeeds at this very well. It is a mounted map, and looks and feels to be able to live through as many games as you want to play on it. Movement on it is from point-to-point. Infantry Corps normally move one point, and Cavalry normally move two. The Corps wooden cubes that I received were uniform in size, except for the French Cavalry block, which was slightly larger. Friendly gamers playing the game would have no problem with this. If you are playing with someone who uses this to deduce where that block is, get yourself another gaming partner. They would also mark their cards. The Player Aid sheets are of strong stock, and slightly laminated. One side shows the setup for the pieces on the map. The other side gives the Sequence of Play etc. The back of the Combat Cards show a weary dejected Napoleon who is obviously suffering from piles. The front of the cards show a small painting from the different parts of the campaign. The Rulebook is eight pages long. It is made of paper with a bit of lamination on it, like a well done magazine. It is in full color and has examples of play included. All in all, the components are first rate.  




  The game is based on each corps' Cohesion Points. These can be deducted for Combat Losses, Extra Movement by Infantry (Forced March), and Retreat. So Cohesion in this game represents morale, combat losses, and fatigue of each of the Corps. Combat in the game is totally reliant on the Combat Cards. Each corps is worth 'X' amount of combat cards. Here is what it says in the Rulebook about Army Commanders and Corps:


"Below the army commander is a list of the corps in the

army. Each corps is listed by the corps name and its

leader name. Shown for each corps is the number of

combat cards that corps adds to combat if present, which

may be reduced based on its current cohesion point

number. Each corps has a tactical rating that determines

its ability to reinforce combat at an adjacent location and

its ability to counterattack during combat if no army

commander is present and if its Tactical Rating is used."



"Each corps has a set amount of cohesion points showing

how many cohesion reductions that corps can take in

movement, combat, and retreat before it is eliminated

from game play. Track cohesion by placing one of the

yellow cubes at the highest cohesion level for that corps

to begin the game. When a corps takes cohesion point

reductions, move the yellow cube the appropriate

number of spaces down the corps cohesion point track.

If a corps reaches cohesion point below 1, it is eliminated

and remove the corps unit from the game board. Shown

at the approximate halfway point on the cohesion track

for each corps is a mark that shows when the corps

reaches this level, any combat that it participates in, will

draw that reduced number of combat cards."




 Is the game a detailed simulation of Napoleonic warfare? Of course not. It is a game, very delightful and easy to play, but hard to master game. Does it give the player tons of choices on an operational level? You bet. You can play a few full games of it on gaming night. The components are simple, yet well done. The game mechanics can be described the same way. Thank you, Worthington Publishing for allowing me to review this game. My normal hex and counter obsession would have never let me really look at the game. 


Robert

Worthington Publishing:

Worthington (worthingtonpublishing.com)

Napoleon Returns 1815:

Napoleon Returns 1815 — Worthington (worthingtonpublishing.com)

Victoria Cross II Deluxe Edition by Worthington Publishing  Many of us grognards are of an age where 'Zulu&#...

Victoria Cross II Deluxe Edition by Worthington Publishing Victoria Cross II Deluxe Edition by Worthington Publishing

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

Worthington Publishing




Victoria Cross II Deluxe Edition

by

Worthington Publishing






 Many of us grognards are of an age where 'Zulu' was one of the first war movies we saw, if not the first. It portrays the desperate fight at Rorke's Drift in 1879. A Zulu (in reality AmaZulu, the people of heaven) Impi, or division did not arrive in time to take part in the Battle of Isandlwana. Ignoring their king Cetshwayo's orders, they crossed the Blood River looking for a fight. The Impi decided to attack the British garrison at Rorke's Drift. The Zulu people under their king Shaka had conquered a large swathe of territory in Southern Africa in the early 19th century. The line of kings continued with Shaka's half-brothers Dingane and the Mpande. Cetshwayo was the son of Mpande who had won the throne in a Civil War of the Zulus. The Zulu Nation and its Army had been honed to a fine degree by Shaka in his rise to fame. The army was divided into Impis, or divisions. The favorite tactic of the Zulus was the "Horns of the Buffalo". The head of the buffalo, or the main body, would hold the enemy in place, while the horns enveloped them on each flank. Simple, but extremely effective facing enemies without guns. The Zulus under Shaka had developed in close fighting tactics using their short stabbing spear, the "Iklwa", and large cowhide shields. The Zulu Nation, under Cetshwayo, had been attacked by the British and invaded by them under trumped up reasons, in reality a land grab. The British in their hubris believed that their soldiers' rifles and bayonets were more than a match for the Zulu Impis. A part of the British invasion force (roughly 1300 men) had been left at Isandlwana to keep contact with British Natal. A Zulu Army of roughly 20,000 men was surprised by British scouts. The Zulus were not going to attack that day, but the British scouts forced them into action. The British force was destroyed by the Zulus, but not until it had caused the Zulus thousands of casualties. The Zulus themselves were impressed by the British, and describe the British prowess by saying "like lions they fought". So, there is the history of the game's events; onto the game itself. Here is what you get in the oversized box:




 This box contains two games in one package. You get to refight Isandlwana and also Rorke's Drift. Worthington Publishing describes the quality of the game's components as "Top Quality", and I couldn't agree more. The counters are extremely large and seem to be produced with the eyesight of us older grognards taken into account. In addition, the counters are almost like little paintings of the soldiers. One thing about the counters, be careful and do not try to move the cardboard sprues too much. The counters pop free so easily that you will end up with them strewn across the floor. The maps for both games are done up in period style, and are pretty much devoid of anything but parchment color. This is not a bad thing at all, and I think it actually gives the player more immersion into the game. The different areas of the maps are well defined and the description of the areas are in large print. It is almost like Worthington Publishing had designed the game to be played in a grognard's old folks home. I really love the style of the maps. They are divided into areas and not hexes, for both movement and combat. As we have seen, there are two Player Aids done in color and like the other components large in print and easy to read. There is also a Turn Record and Victory Point Sheet that has one battle on each side. The Rulebook is sixteen pages long and among those are four pages of play examples. The actual rules for both games take up only eleven pages. The rules are concise and easy to understand. This is another kudo for Worthington Publishing. The fact that they were able to develop rules for both highly dissimilar games (one a large scale battle and the other almost down to single soldiers) in one short rulebook is pretty amazing. In the rules an item in a red box is just for Rorke's Drift, and one in a brown box is only for Isandlwana. This saves a lot of wasted space and ink by having the rules written together instead of duplicating most of them.





 All of the Worthington Publishing Games seem to work on the KISS (keep it simple stupid) formula. They usually have very few rules and are easy to learn and start playing. However, they are not beer and pretzel games. All of their games that I have played, including this one, are deep and leave the player plenty of choices to make. I have used the analogy before, but it is still good, chess has very few rules, but do not tell me it is a simple game. This goes for the Worthington Publishing games also. The game rules include a few optional starting rules for Isandlwana. In a great move for players, both games can easily be played solitaire by playing both sides, but they have also included a full 'bot' allowing the game to control the Zulus in both battles. I have played a few computer games on Isandlwana, but never a boardgame about it. I am what I would call a historical boardgamer, meaning that either the game gives plausible historical outcomes, or back on the shelf it goes. Having a deep interest in Zulu history and both battles, I can unequivocally state that both games pass my litmus test for games. The one caveat I would add is that it is hard for the British player to win in the Isandlwana game if he starts with the historical unit setup. The British had no idea until the last moment that a large force of Zulus was anywhere near. It takes a good cardboard general to pull out a victory. If the players use the 'free form' British setup of the units it does make it an entirely different game. With the free form setup it takes into account that British regulations were to laager (circular defense learned from the Boers) their camps. This makes the British nut much harder to crack for the Zulus. Even though Rorke's drift is 4,000 against 125, I find that the game is a toss up.  


You can see where I put one of the counters in upside down


 As mentioned, the game is played out in area movement. The line of sight rules are pretty easy to follow. To ensure there is no confusion, the line of sight to each zone on the board is written in the zone. Not only that, but it also shows you the range to each zone that has line of sight. Leader rules for both sides give added immersion to the game, especially in the Rorke's Drift game. One of the interesting rules covers 'Zulu Random Fire'. Some of the Zulus were equipped with firearms. This is the sequence of play:

"Each game is 16 turns. Isandlwana are all day turns. Rorke’s
Drift is divided equally between 8 day turns and 8 night turns.
Within each turn the players use the following sequence of play:
A. RORKE’S DRIFT - BRITISH REPLACEMENTS - The British
player adds replacements.
B. British Move - The British player may move any and all
units following the movement rules.
C. ZULU MOVE - The Zulu player receives replacements and
then may move any and all units following the movement
rules.
D. BRITISH FIRE COMBAT - The British player conducts fire
combat following all fire combat rules. All losses caused
by fire combat are taken immediately.
E. ZULU RANDOM FIRE - The Zulu player conducts his
random fire combat. All losses caused by fire combat are
taken immediately.

F. MELEE COMBAT PHASE - Both players conduct simul-
taneous melee following the rules for melee combat.

Losses caused by melee combat are not taken until after
both players have completed their melee attacks.
G. BRITISH BAYONET CHARGE - The British player declares
and completes bayonet charge with British leaders plus 4
SP following the rules for bayonet charge.
H. RORKE’S DRIFT - HOSPITAL PHASE - The Zulu player

checks to see if a fire starts or spreads in the hospital ac-
cording to the fire spread rules.

I. CHECK VICTORY – Check if victory conditions met.
J. END TURN - If victory conditions not met, end turn and

move game turn marker 1 space, go back to step A."




 One of the odd things about both battles are that both have had excellent movies made about them: the aforementioned 'Zulu' about Rorke's Drift, and Zulu Dawn about Isandlwana. You don't get too many games that have movies about them, let alone two in one box! Thank you Worthington Publishing for letting me review another winner from you. There were some comments made about the grammar usage in the rulebook. I understand some people may have a problem with it. My editor (read spouse) is a stickler for it, and refuses to allow certain papers into our household because of it. Do not worry, I did not allow her to read it. On the other hand, I may or may not notice, but it doesn't disturb me in the least. I had no trouble at all reading the rulebook. 




Worthington Publishers website:

Victoria Cross II Deluxe Edition website:

Antietam September 17, 1862 by Worthington Publishing  Antietam was the costliest day of fighting during ...

Antietam Septmber 17, 1862 by Worthington Publishing Antietam Septmber 17, 1862 by Worthington Publishing

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

Worthington Publishing



Antietam

September 17, 1862

by

Worthington Publishing







 Antietam was the costliest day of fighting during the entire American Civil War. The cover shows a picture of Burnside's Bridge. This is just one of many places in this small battlefield that were etched upon the soldiers' minds. The East and West Woods, and that terrible Millers Cornfield; I have walked this battlefield, and was simply amazed at the smallness of it. How so much death and destruction was wrought in this little area is hard to fathom. By the way, the Sunken Road is not what many people think it is. I always assumed that it was a sunken lane, and that the area in front of it was flat and offered the Confederates a sweeping field of fire. In reality the lane is sunken, but it is actuality much lower than where the Union attacks came from. The Irish and others attacked over a small hill right above the Sunken Lane. You would think that the Confederates would have occupied the crest of the hill. However, they were already the closest Confederate unit to the Union batteries on the other side of Antietam Creek. The heavy Union artillery would have wreaked havoc on them. From the crest to the Sunken Lane is probably only a few hundred feet, if that. The battle there was at the same close quarters as the Cornfield. The battlefield is very well kept up and if you get a chance, go and check it out. Now on to the game. This is one of Worthington Publishing's first games in their 'Civil War Brigade Battle Series'.





 The game comes with:

22 X 33 hard mounted game board
4 counter sheets
8 page Series rules
8 page Playbook
2 ten sided dice
1 6 sided morale die
1 box



 Instead of me rewriting it, here is information about the game from Worthington Publishing:

"The game is igo-ugo, brigade level with each strength point representing 100 men. Map scale is 250 yds per hex. An 8 page rule book will have you playing within an hour as many concepts will be familiar to war gamers. Ranged artillery fire, morale, melee, cavalry charges, and more will have you battling until the last turn to see if you can achieve victory. Step loss counters in 1 point increments."






 The map is big and beautiful with very large hexes. The terrain of each hex is easily identifiable. The counters are large, easy to read, and color coded for their division. They are also marked as far as what corps they belong to, come pre-rounded, and fall out of the cardboard sprue like they have been greased. The numbers on the strength point counters are large enough for me to see without my spectacles (bifocals). The overall appearance and manufacture of the game pieces is pretty darn good. 

 You get two rulebooks, one for the game and one for the series. They are both only eight pages long. The designers went for a game that will have you playing in under an hour. I think they have succeeded admirably in reaching that goal. The game comes with four scenarios. These are:

The Morning Attack
Bloody Lane -  (Sunken Lane)
Burnside Bridge - (Or how to waste the day)
The Battle of Antietam: The Full Battle




 The game comes with the usual rules for nineteenth century warfare. Cavalry can be either Mounted/Dismounted. Artillery are either Limbered/or Unlimbered, and can only move when Limbered. You do get a bonus for moving in column on road or clear hexes, as long as you are four hexes away from an enemy unit. The Player does not have to remember to put his units into and out of column. The rules assume that the general in charge would be able to take care of this detail. Unfortunately in history this was sometimes not the case. Leader units are extremely valuable. If a Leader is stacked with a unit that has to make a morale check, a -1 is added to the die roll. During the Command Phase if an infantry or cavalry unit is within four hexes they are in command. Leaders can be eliminated and then the counter is placed on its obverse side (replacement). A unit has to be within three hexes of a replacement leader to be in command. In the Rally Phase a unit has to be within Command Range of their Leader to attempt to Rally. Battle in the game is as bloody as it was in reality. You will be using a lot, if not all, of the strength point markers. The game rules allow the battle to swing back and forth just like it did in reality. The rules do a good job of giving you historical and plausible outcomes in your different playthroughs.

This is the sequence of play:

First Player Command Phase
First Player Organization Phase
First Player Offensive Artillery Phase
First Player Movement Phase
First player Combat Phase
   Second Player Defensive Fire 
   First Player Offensive Fire
First Player Rally Phase
Second Player has the same exact phases
The Turn Marker is advanced one turn


 The Victory Conditions are pretty straightforward. Each side scores one point for every casualty point the other side has accumulated. This is a list of the Victory Point hexes:

Dunker Church - Confederate Control 10VP - Union Control 25VP
Any Sunken Road Hex - Confederate Control of all of Them 10VP - Union Control of any of Them 25VP
Potomac Ford - Confederate Control 25VP - Union Control 50VP


 Antietam is a battle that only a general like McClellan could lose. Lee would not have forced this battle if he had not been the Union general. In actuality, the battle is only for the Union to lose or win. McClellan's timidity is shown in the rules by only allowing the Union player to activate only two corps each turn. This is the only way that the battle can be recreated, and show McClellan's timidity, and also not allow the Union to just crush Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. If the Union player does not use his two corps a turn better than McClellan, he will probably lose. If the Confederate Player does not use all of his units as fire brigades he will probably lose. The Confederate player must play like the 'Little Dutch Boy' and use all of his fingers and toes to dam up the dike. The game was designed by Mike and Grant Wylie. Grant 's suggestions for the Union are that you get Sumner's Corps and Porter's Corps across the middle bridge before doing anything on the Confederate left with Hooker's Corps. He also states that you have to get Mansfield's Corps in position with Hooker's Corps before attacking there. Grant's suggestions to the Confederate Player is to "Be like Lee". Meaning run about the board and deal with one disaster after another. The game is an excellent medium complexity game on the Battle of Antietam. It has just the right amount of rules and glitz to make it eminently playable and fun. Thank you Worthington Publishing for allowing me to review another great game of theirs. I cannot wait to see some more battles in their 'Civil War Brigade Battle Series', especially The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, or The Seven Days Battles.

Antietam website:
https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/collection/antietam-1862
Robert








Freeman's Farm 1777 by Worthington Publishing      This is a game about the battle that sealed the fate of Br...

Freeman's Farm 1777 by Worthington Publishing Freeman's Farm 1777 by Worthington Publishing

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

Worthington Publishing




Freeman's Farm 1777

by

Worthington Publishing






 
  This is a game about the battle that sealed the fate of Britain in the American Revolution. After this battle, Burgoyne's surrender was pretty much a done deal. There would be more fighting for sure, but this battle was his last gasp to break through to Albany. The plan to attack from Canada was not a bad one, it would just need much more resources than was allotted to it. For some unknown reason, the people who should have known that dragging an army across this wilderness was next to impossible were unable to sway 'Gentleman Johnny'. The fact that Burgoyne not only made it this far and had taken Fort Ticonderoga is only a tribute to the British and German soldiers' ability to deal with adversity. Unfortunately for Burgoyne, his slow progress allowed the Patriots to build a large army, indeed larger than his own. This battle is also the high point in Benedict Arnold's career as a Patriot (though there seems to be a large rift between historians on Arnold's actual whereabouts during the battle). If not for his insubordination to 'Granny' Gates, the battle could have been lost. So we are placed in the unenviable situation of either winning the Revolution, or breaking through a larger Patriot army, and cutting New England off from the other states. So let us see what the designer and Worthington Publishing has given us to recreate this titanic battle. This is part of the description of the game:


"An innovative card driven board game on the Battle of Freeman's Farm.  1 - 2 players.  Playable in 1 hour.
Freeman's Farm: 1777 is the first game in our new Battle Formations game series. These games are a new game system  centered around battle formations and have been designed for solitaire and two players .  In solitaire mode players can play as either the American or the British against the solitaire player game engine.   
Players decide which formations to activate and how far to push it once it begins attacking. Push it just enough and they can win the day.  Push it too much and failing a morale test will break it." 



 This is what comes with the game:


  • Large Mounted Game Board
  • American and British Formation Cards 
  • American and British Activation Cards
  • Tactic Cards
  • Rules
  • Player Aid Cards
  • Game Markers
  • American Blue Wooden Formation Markers
  • British Red Wooden Formation Markers
  • Hessian Green Wooden Formation Markers
  • 8 Dice




 The components are all very well done, and very easy to read. As you can see, the map looks almost like a period piece or one from a book about the battle. The first thing that should catch your eye is the absence of hexes or areas for movement. The Battle Formation Games have set places where you or your opponent can move his forces. These are all places of the battlefield where action did actually take place. The rulebook is only twelve pages long and the rules themselves take up less than nine of them. The last pages are a Historical Summary and Designer Notes. There are two Player Aid Cards; one side is for a two-player game, and the other is for playing solitaire. It is nice to see so many publishers and designers adding solo play to their games. The Formation Cards are large and simple to understand. The units for each player are just wooden rectangles and cubes, but they fit very well with the look and feel of the game. The Activation and Tactics Cards are simple looking, but are extremely easy to read for even the most myopic of us grognards.  The components easily pass muster. Now onto game play.



This is the sequence of play:

 Each Player's Turn has the Same Phases:

1. Play Activation Card
   1.A Option  - Countermand Activation with General
2. Pay Activation Cost
3. Optional: Play Tactics Cards
4. If Combat is Selected as a Command, Roll Combat Dice
   4.A Optional: Maintain Momentum
5. Apply Results
6. Optional: Purchase Tactics Cards
7. Draw Activation Card

 
The British Player takes the first turn in a round.
Then the American Player takes their turn in a round.
The British Player then begins the second turn.
 Play continues until all Activation cards have been played, ending the game.






 In the Designer Notes, the designer states that what he felt most missing in games was the struggle of generals with keeping command and control of their own forces. He then goes on to state the pedigree of the game, and how he developed a few concepts from many different games to design it. The other two large concepts in the game are morale and momentum. Every time you activate a formation, you must lower its morale by one, or remove a formation marker (wooden rectangle representing your troops). You can use a General Card to countermand the activation, and some Tactics Cards have effects that forego the penalty to morale. Once a formation gets to a morale of five or lower, it incurs a morale test. This is done by rolling a six sided die and comparing it to the morale of the formation. A higher number than the formations morale means that a formation is 'broken'.  Momentum Cubes for each formation are gained by playing the Activation Cards for that formation. Each card has a number of momentum cubes that the player receives (from one to three). One nice touch is that if the player receives the same amount of Momentum Cubes on three Activation Cards in a row, he receives an extra two Momentum Cubes. Momentum Cubes can be used for rerolls, or to purchase Tactic Cards. Skirmishers, which were a large part of the battle, can be used by both sides.  You can download and check out the rules yourself via a link I will post at the end of the review.







 
  The rules seem simple at a glance, but are very nuanced. The designer has succeeded in creating a game where the flow of battle is as changing as a see-saw. I believe he has captured the sword of Damocles that is hanging over every general's head. Do you push your formations one more time and try for victory, only to have the formation collapse in front of your eyes? You will not win the game by 'playing it safe'. That will only allow your opponent to pick and choose exactly what he wants to do. Playing as the British, this is it; you really have this one chance to breakthrough the Americans. Historically, the American Player just needs to pull out a tie to win strategically. The games actual victory conditions show this. The game lasts up to fifteen rounds (fifteen activations by each side). If the British Player has not won by then, it is an American victory. The game ends automatically if either side breaks or destroys  three or more enemy formations. As I have mentioned before, we are now in the 'real Golden Age' of wargaming (gaming in general, but Euro games, eww!). The earlier golden age had more games sold, but nowhere near the innovation that designers are showing us now.   The added touch of an actual fully functioning solitaire mode is a godsend. It is possible to actually play almost every game solo, but it is a very good thing that more companies are adding actual solo forms of play. Thank you very much Worthington Publishing for letting me review this very innovative and great game. It does help that this is one of my favorite battles, and the one that I have spent the most time wandering around the actual ground it was fought on.







 I found this treat going through discussions about the game. If you like what you have read so far, you will really like this. It seems that Worthington Publishing is going to Kickstarter a game about Chancellorsville. It will have most of the same rules, but will also have some new neat twists, such as hidden movement. Here is the link to the preview page:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1040417273/2785622?ref=bggforums&token=b117acc9
 Freeman's Farm 1777 link:

Rules:

Robert











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