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Bloody Monday by Ventonuovo Games  Bloody Monday, not a day in some insurrection against an invading power, or ...

Bloody Monday by Ventonuovo Games Bloody Monday by Ventonuovo Games

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

block game


 Bloody Monday, not a day in some insurrection against an invading power, or a day that the Stock Market crashed. This is about the Battle of Borodino. Borodino is a city that is right on the direct route in Russia from Smolensk to Moscow. In both 1812 and 1941, titanic battles took place there to decide the fate of Russia.  

 In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia to put a seal on his conquest of Europe, and to force England to its knees through the Continental System (The Continental System was thought up by Napoleon to force all of Europe to stop trading with England). The Russians had been backpedaling since the beginning of the campaign. This strategy was put in place by the 'Fox of The North', Marshal Kutuzov. He wanted to harass Napoleon, and let the breadth of Russia and its weather destroy him. Some other generals in the Russian army did not want to give up Moscow without a fight, and forced Kutuzov to stand at Borodino. Napoleon was approached by Marshal Davout about attacking the Russians from their flank, but Napoleon would not even think about it. He was too worried that the Russians would escape him once again. So the stage was set for the bloodiest day of the Napoleonic Wars. Much like Waterloo, it was  a straight up slug fest between the combatants. Between the two armies, 250,000 men fought and suffered 70,000 casualties. 

 In this game the players take the commend of each army, and put themselves in Kutuzov's or Napoleon's shoes. The game is a block game about the battle. You are provided with stickers to place on the blocks to represent the troop units and different generals of each side. The units are as follows:

Jaegers -  Light Infantry
Light Cavalry
Heavy Cavalry
Tactical leaders
Foot Artillery
Horse Artillery

 This player aid will show the sequence of Play:

  The map is a large one at roughly 24" by 34". It is also very colorful, if a bit busy. The setup for the block units are also put right on map. It is an area map instead of hexes. This is what it looks like:

 The game rules are longer and more involved than other block games that I have played. The rules take up eighteen pages, with the last three being optional rules. The game also treats leaders differently than most games. Leaders can be destroyed in this game, and one of the ways to win is to destroy the enemy Supreme Commander. I like that the game rules include a chance for leaders to be eliminated. The game itself is only four turns long. The turns are:


 The other victory conditions are that you control all seven victory areas, or eliminate ten enemy blocks (Russian Militia, Jaegers, and Cossacks do not count toward destroyed units). 

 The units are divided into 'fast' and 'slow'. Fast units are Cavalry, Horse Artillery, Tactical Leaders, and Supreme Commanders. These all have a movement allowance of five. Slow units are infantry and Foot Artillery, and these have a movement allowance of three. As usual, the units have their current strength points at the top of the block in the 12:00 position. Losses to the unit will involve flipping the block counter-clockwise one side.

 The sequence of play is:

1.Logistics phase (not on turn one)
2.Impulse Phase
     A.Tactical Action
     B.Initiative Action
3.Final Phase

 In the Logistics Phase, both the players may call for reinforcements, restore artillery, tactical leaders and Combat Units.

 During the Impulse Phase, players take turns performing single impulse actions (a tactical Action, a Pass, or a Initiative action). The Impulse Phase ends after two consecutive Passes.

 During a Tactical action, which is the most common action undertaken during the game, the Phasing Player:

 1.activates his Tactical Leaders
 2.moves his Units
 3.resolves battles

 During the Initiative Action (which can only be done if the phasing player has and spends the initiative Disc) the Phasing Player may move his Units and resolve battles without activating any Tactical leader.

 During a Pass, the Phasing Player may move only one of his units.

 The Final Phase is just moving the Turn Track marker forward one space to the next turn.

 Besides being able to be destroyed, the Supreme Commander's Unit has a few other interesting design choices. Both Supreme Commanders can only be activated a maximum of three times, and the actual block has to be turned over so that the enemy can see where it is located if it is activated. Without activating your Supreme Commander, a player cannot call for reinforcements or restore any unit's strength. The logistical value of each Supreme Commander unit is lessened by each time it is activated. The block is flipped one side each turn it is activated. Both Supreme Commanders start with four stars, and these can be used for three turns so that they will become two stars on the third activation. This is a large part of the game because the logistic value is totaled up between the stars on the Supreme Commander, and the number of victory areas its side is in charge of. So you will have to choose wisely when you want to use your Supreme Leader activations. The initiative disc is moved between each player by its use. On turn one, it starts with the French Player. If it is used by them to call for reinforcements etc. it is then expended, and handed to the Russian player until he uses it, and so on. After two consecutive passes, one for each player, that turn ends.

 As was mentioned, this is a stand up brutal battle. The French player will have to batter and then pry the Russian player from the Raevsky Redoubt and the Fleches. This is not easy, and comes at a high price. As The Russian player, you will have to tenaciously defend and guess when to counterattack. Your job is made a little easier because of the straight forward nature of the French attack. However, you have to deal with the Grande Armee during one of its last hurrahs as a fighting force. 

 I have five boardgames and a few computer ones that deal with the Battle of Borodino. The design choices made in this game have made it a clear winner for me, and has been put on my favorites list. I can readily endorse this game to any gamer.


 They just had a KS on their game 'Stalingrad Inferno on the Volga'. It has a huge map, but is playable in only 1-2 hours. It also has what they call an AI to be able to play either side in solitaire. I am very interested in the game's mechanics. Here is the webpage if you are interested also:


Hold The Line: The American Revolution The French & Indian War Expansion Set by Worthington Publishing   It i...

Hold The Line The American Revolution and The French & Indian War Expansion Set by Worthington Publishing Hold The Line The American Revolution and The French & Indian War Expansion Set by Worthington Publishing

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

block game


 It is finally here, my boyhood dreams from fifty plus years ago have been fulfilled. We have a real wargame with plastic toy soldiers. Yes, there have been a few attempts before with this formula, but none have succeeded as well in my eyes as 'Hold The Line'.

 The maps is 21.5" by 34.5" across. It is a plain map, but the game comes with a ton of geomorphic hex tiles to represent pretty much any battle of the era. I like the artwork on the geomorphic hexes. To some they might seem plain, but to me they fit the period, and are highly functional. 

 Yes, these are plastic soldiers. So there will be some bayonets or flag standards that droop or bend the wrong way. As has been written, you can fix this by immersing them in hot water if you choose to. These were not, and are not, supposed to be fancy miniature toy soldiers. If they were, very few of us would be able to afford the game. These are the same plastic soldiers we played with fifty years ago. These soldiers work fine with the game, in my mind.  As you will see in the pictures, I did not bother fixing any drooping. 

 This is a remastered edition of the 'Hold The Line The American Revolution', so it comes with a whopping thirty-four scenarios. From the Minutemen to Yorktown, and from Quebec to South Carolina, and everywhere in between. These scenarios range from tiny to the largest battles of The American revolution. 

 The rule book is twelve pages long. Instead of cards or chit pulling, the game works off 'action points'. Each side has X amount of action points listed in the scenario notes to use each turn. At the start of each player turn, the player will roll a six sided die to see how many more points he will have to use.

1-2 Die Roll - 1 AP
3-4 Die Roll  - 2 AP
5-6 Die Roll  - 3 AP

 Every action of the player costs action points. Units move by the expenditure of one AP. As long as a leader is with a unit that is activated, the leader can move with the unit for no cost of APs. Infantry and dragoons accompanied by a leader can move one extra hex, for the cost of one AP. Fire combat costs one AP, and close combat costs two APs. 

 The game sequence is:

Player A rolls for extra action points
Player A performs his actions, movement, fire, etc.
Check for Victory
Player B rolls for extra action points
Player B performs his actions
Check for Victory
End Turn

 The line of sight rules are straight forward, and easy to understand. If something is in the way, there is no line of sight. There are rules for the Leaders to be able to rally troops, and the game also comes with some advanced/optional rules to enhance play. The player has the ability to play a campaign. These are linked scenarios, with as little as two battles, the largest being four battles. 

 One thing that has caused some players a problem is the amount of die to roll if a unit has sustained casualties. It is always three die no matter how many pieces the unit is missing. Most infantry start the game with four pieces per unit. The missing pieces represent mostly morale loss by the unit. 

 The following will be some pics of my Battle of Germantown playthrough.

 The game plays much faster than I expected. The regular infantry, which is usually most of each force, only moves one hex per turn, unless you have a leader present or are using the optional forced march rule. This, along with the low action points that each side has, made me think that it would be a few turns before the mayhem began. While the first turn was just movement on both sides' part, after that the the combat came fast and furious. The British were racking up a lot of Patriot morale losses with their die rolls, and it looked to be an easy victory for them. However, the next two turns the tables completely turned, and it was the Patriots who were rolling high numbers and causing large damage to the British units' morale. Here is the action on turn eight. The morale/unit losses are about equal right now.

The Hold The Line French & Indian War expansion set/add on comes with four sheets (two front and back) of added geomorphic hexes. The new tiles include boats and deep water hexes for playing out amphibious operations. The expansion set comes with, now wait for it, French and Indian plastic soldiers, but also includes green ranger soldiers. The French & Indian War expansion gives the player another thirteen scenarios to play. That means with both the base game and add on you get forty-seven scenarios. Most of the new scenarios are naturally during the French & Indian War, but you also get two from Pontiac's rebellion and another two from the American Revolution.

 I like the game and can easily recommend it to other gamers. The rules are easy to understand, and the game gives a good representation on the warfare of the American Revolution. The only rule I do not like is that dragoons cannot initiate close combat. I understand why the rule is in place. I just think that Banastre Tarleton would have an objection to it. With so many scenarios available, and the absolutely unlimited option to play out any scenario you can dream up, the game and its expansion set are worth every penny.

 Worthington Publishing also has Hessian and Highlander plastic soldiers for sale to add some historical flavor.


Holdfast: EastFront 1941-45 by Worthington Publishing  We have another Worthington publishing game for review. T...

Holdfast: EastFront 1941-45 by Worthington Publishing Holdfast: EastFront 1941-45 by Worthington Publishing

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

block game


 We have another Worthington publishing game for review. The new game's area is more than a few thousand miles away and ninety years later than the American Civil war. This game takes you to the steppes of Russia in the Second World War. The game board is mounted, and it encompasses Berlin to Moscow and Stalingrad and a little beyond. The map is colorful, and it is easy to see the borders for the different scenarios and rivers etc. On first look, the map looks bunched up. This is because the furthest south the map goes is Sevastopol. There will be no fighting for the Caucasus in this game. This game, like the other Worthington games I have played, is a block one. The blocks represent armies on the German and Soviet side. The supply rules are also simple but effective. You must have a path of five hexes to a city controlled by your side or the west or east edge of the map. A Russian unit in a fortress city is always in supply.

 The rules take up only four pages with an extra page for the scenario setup and rules for the 1942,1943, and 1944 scenarios. The rulebook also comes with two pages of designer notes. This game system runs on 'Resource Points'. Everything a player does or can do revolves around his or her resource points. This is a list of what costs actions take in resource points:

Replace one Infantry Strength point - 1 RP
Replace one Armor SP  - 2 RP 
Replace one Eliminated Infantry Unit at 1 SP  - 2 RP
Replace on eliminated Armor Unit at 1 SP  - 3 RP
Activate a Unit for Movement - 1 RP
Activate a Unit for Rail Movement  - 2 RP
Activate Units for Combat  - 1 RP per hex Attacked

 This is a link to the rulebook:

 This is the turn sequence:

A full game turn is the sequence below. After the Russian player
finishes, the turn marker is advanced one space. At the end of the
January 1943 turn, the 1941 game ends and a victor is determined.
Determine resource points for each player.
Roll a die to determine the weather for the turn.
German player places reinforcements and replacements.
German player checks supply for movement, and activates units
for movement and combat.
German player checks supply for unit elimination.
Russian player places reinforcements and replacements.
Russian player checks supply for movement, and activates units
for movement and combat.
Russian player checks supply for unit elimination.
These are the player aid cards:

 This game fits right in with the other two games I have reviewed for Worthington games. All of them have a short rulebook, and very easy to understand rules. The player is left to concentrate on his strategy, and not on how many counters he can stack before the pile falls. That is not to say that the game play is simple. It is just easy to know what a player can do. On the other hand, it is not easy to figure out what a player should do. The mechanics of the resource points makes a player feel like a beggar or a sot. He always needs just one or two more resource points each turn. In Chess, there are nine million possible moves after each player has moved three times. So you can see that the possibilities in this 'simple game' are mind boggling. Again, like the other games, this one has a small amount of counters and the map is really not that large. So, it is perfect for people with limited space for playing. The quick action also means that you can play through 1941-45 in one sitting. 

 From my play-throughs, the 1941 scenario, like in history or other games, is the easiest for the German player. With each succeeding year's scenario, it becomes  more difficult. The weather is well represented in the rules, which is good considering that it played such an important part. The weather, just like in real life, can hamstring both players. The gradual improvement of the Soviet Army is shown by the reinforcement of Guard units, which are roughly twice as strong as the original Soviet units in 1941. The 1941 scenario ends in January 1943, and the German player has to hold two out of these three cities: Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad. If he doesn't, the game can continue until May 1945 and the Soviet player has to hold all three of these cities: Berlin, Warsaw, and Bucharest. 

  For gamers who want to delve into the tiniest minutae of the Eastern front, please look elsewhere. For game players who are looking for a good evening of fun, I can easily recommend this game. 

 This is the setup for the 1941 scenario: