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  Napoleon 1807 La Campagne de Pologne by Shakos Games  In 1806 Napoleon crushed Prussia in a campaign that looked pretty much like a 19th c...

Napoleon 1807 La Campagne de Pologne by Shakos Games Napoleon 1807 La Campagne de Pologne by Shakos Games

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





 Napoleon 1807 La Campagne de Pologne


by


Shakos Games





 In 1806 Napoleon crushed Prussia in a campaign that looked pretty much like a 19th century blitzkrieg. He had beaten an Austro-Russian Army in 1805 at Austerlitz, but just as Frederick the Great learned, the Russian Army was a lot like the Energizer Bunny. The Russians had pulled back into Poland to reorganize. This led to the Grande Armee's first taste of campaigning in eastern Europe. The French Army did not like it at all. The roads were dirt tracks, and the poor villages were nothing like what they had found in what would become the Germany we know. Instead of glory and march on, Napoleon often heard his grognards (grumblers) yell 'peace' at him as he rode by. The campaign in Poland was two phased. First, at the beginning of 1807, Marshal Ney had disturbed a hornet's nest by disturbing the Russians, when the French Army was in winter quarters. This led to the brutal, and inconclusive Battle of Eylau on February 7th and 8th. This was the first real check Napoleon had ever received on the battlefield, and had not come out with a clear cut victory. It was also one of the bloodiest. Marshal Ney observed "What a massacre! And without result". Napoleon told Marshal Soult "The Russians have done us great harm," to which Soult replied "And we them, our bullets were not made of cotton". Later that year in June, General Benningsen (commander of the Russian Army) seems to have had a momentary attack of lunacy at Friedland. He had thought to defeat Marshal Lannes, before the rest of the Grande Armee came to the rescue. Benningsen decided to cross a river and trap himself right in front of Napoleon. It would have been wiser to jump into a lion's den. The Battle of Friedland led directly to the Peace of Tilsit. So let us see what Shakos Games has given us:


1 mounted game board 90 x 60 cm

1 rulebook

1 scenarios booklet

1 quickstart booklet

3 player aids (orders of battle)

2 player screens

2 sets of 48 cards

6 additional cards for Napoléon 1806

2 sticker sheets (100)

More than 250 wooden pieces

10 combat dice

2 cloth bags




 This list is very much akin to someone saying they bought you a diamond and they hand you the Star of Africa. Opening the box, you are presented with something new in the wargaming world. This is a wargame that is the offspring of a Euro game and a normal wargame. So, it has the beauty of a Euro game, and it is also an in depth wargame. This is about the third game I have seen with this kind of pedigree, but this game by far has the best looking components. The mounted game board is a beauty to behold. From the picture of a flintlock pistol along one side, to the Victory Point Tables, it is wonderfully done. The wooden pieces are among some of the best I have ever seen. They were cut precisely, and there are no extra flanges, etc. The stickers are either pictures of the actual Marshal/General or a Cossack and a French light cavalry. These represent vedettes, and are used in the optional rules. In a change from most block games the side that faces your opponent actually has a sticker to denote which side it belongs to. So many little things like this are added to the game. There are two screens to hide your opponent and your Order of Battle Aids showing your forces strength and amount of fatigue. The French one has a golden eagle and the Russian shows a golden double-headed eagle. On the inside of both screens are various aids, done in wonderful color, to help with the play sequence and other rules. There are three double-sided Orders of Battle Player Aids. These show the setups for the Pultusk, Eylau, and Friedland battles. There is one very large Player Aid that is four pages long. The middle two pages are a fold out showing exactly how to set up the map and the various Player Aids. There are two cloth bags that also have the French and Russian eagles on them. These epitomize the care and sheer artistry of the game's components. There are two sets of cards (Russian, French) that are on par with the rest of the components as far as looks. They are also easy to read and understand. I cannot say enough about how wonderful the game looks. The Rulebook is in large print and full beautiful color. The actual rules, with examples of play, are fourteen pages long. There are 'Rules of the Grognard' that can be used to enhance the game. The last four pages explain each Playing Card in detail. The Scenario Booklet is just as sumptuous as the rest of the game's components. There are thirteen scenarios in all. These are the scenarios:


1-7 are Campaign Scenarios

1 - Pultusk Scenario Historical Placement

2 - Pultusk Scenario Free Placement

3 - In the Mud of Poland Free Placement

4 - Eylau Campaign Historical placement

5 - Eylau Campaign Open Placement

6 - Friedland Campaign Historical Placement

7 - Friedland Campaign Open Placement

8-10 are Battle scenarios

8 - The Russian Offensive Historical Placement

9 - Battle of Eylau Historical Placement

10 - Battle of Friedland Historical Placement

Scenario 11 is the Grand Campaign

11 - From Pultusk to Friedland

Scenarios 12 and 13 are for use with the 1806 game from Shakos

12 - The Russians Come to the aid of the Prussians in Saxony

13 - From Napoleon 1806 to Napoleon 1807





 This is the sequence of play:


"Operations

 Pass: If a player passes, they can no longer

perform operations, but can still play 1 card

with its name on a green background in order to

apply events to the operations of their opponent.

The opponent continues operations until they also

pass. If both players have passed, the operations

phase is over. A player who has activated all their

corps is forced to pass.

• Perform an operation: During an

operation the active player selects a stack where

each corps has to be Activated status – i.e., face

up. The player is not required to select all the corps

present in an area. Activated corps will be able to:

 move

 initiate combat

 or both by performing a moving attack

At the end of an operation, flip the activated corps

flag up on its has been Activated side, even if the

corps did not actually move. Also, activate all

other corps that have participated in a combat,

attacking or defending.

During an operation, each player may play a single

card from their hand with the name of the event on

a green background. The card is placed in the

player’s discard pile once the effect is resolved.


Recovery

During the recovery phase, players perform the

following actions in order:

1) Each corps that is still on its to be Activated side

removes all its fatigue points.

2) For each of their other corps, the player can

play 1 card from their hand, and only 1, and

remove the number of fatigue points indicated in

the recovery box located bottom right.

3) All corps that still have between 5 and 8 fatigue

points then lose 1 strength point immediately.

4) Flip all corps face up to indicate that they are to

be Activated for the next turn.

5) Advance the Turn marker and repeat the game

sequence.


Very important: at any point in the game when a

corps has no strength points or more than 8 fatigue

points, it is immediately and permanently removed

from the game.

Remember that strength points lost due to fatigue

award victory points to your opponent."





 As you can see, the game is relatively simple in its actual rules. However, do not be fooled by the dearth of the rules. This is a medium complexity wargame from the ground up. You will find no 'Beer & Pretzels' in this box. The main rules that makes this game so very good is the rules on fatigue. Some Napoleonic games allow the player to march, attack etc. with no penalties whatsoever. In this game EVERY action causes fatigue. This is as it should be, and is historically accurate. You can only ask so much of real troops before their cohesion breaks. From the beginning, the designers were predicated on making a historically accurate game that is also easy to get into, and to easily remember the rules. In this they have succeeded, probably far beyond their expectations. After one play through you should have no reason the look up anything in the rulebook. The amount of excellent Player's Aids also help in this regard. The game has been set up so that you can use either the cards or the dice included to decide combat. You can either look at three cards or roll three die. The Rulebook is written as if you are using the cards.




 The game has another interesting rule up its sleeve. This is the 'Axis of Retreat' rule. When a stack moves into an area occupied by an enemy force, the force moving into the occupied area places an Axis of Retreat symbol toward the area it just moved from. If a new enemy force is able to move through the connection that has the Axis of Retreat on it, then the force that had the Axis of Retreat loses 2 fatigue points. This is just another example of the ingenuity of the rules and the designers' ideas to make the game as historically accurate as possible.


 To achieve victory, you must:

Eliminate opponent's strength points

Control fortified towns

Protect your citadels

Besiege you opponent's citadels


The Fatigue markers are the Round Red Ones


 Bottom line? It is a game that is on another level of beauty of its components. From the moment you see the box to when you start opening it up you will be amazed. The whole ensemble is a sight to behold. Do not think that Shakos Games have shirked on the game play. This is not the case of something beautiful but shallow. The way fatigue is handled really makes the game seem historically accurate. If you march and fight willy-nilly about the board like some games allow, you will pay for it. Thank you so much, Shakos Games, for letting me review this wonderful beauty. From what I can tell their Napoleon 1806 is just as beautiful.

Robert

Shakos Games:

Shakos | Historical board games 

Napoleon 1807:

Napoléon 1807 | Shakos



  From the Realm of a Dying Sun Volume II: The IV SS-Panzerkorps in the Budapest Relief Efforts, December 1944-February 1945 by Douglas E. N...

From the Realm of a Dying Sun Volume II: The IV SS-Panzerkorps in the Budapest Relief Efforts, December 1944-February 1945 by Douglas E. Nash Sr. From the Realm of a Dying Sun Volume II: The IV SS-Panzerkorps in the Budapest Relief Efforts, December 1944-February 1945 by Douglas E. Nash Sr.

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





 From the Realm of a Dying Sun Volume II:


The IV SS-Panzerkorps in the Budapest Relief Efforts, December 1944-February 1945


by


Douglas E. Nash Sr.





 The first volume took us from the creation of the IV SS- Panzerkorps, and all that entailed, to the battles around Warsaw on the Eastern Front in WWII. This second volume takes us to Hungary and the desperate battle to relieve Budapest. The action takes place on the Eastern Front which by that time is getting uncomfortably close to Germany itself. Hitler demanded that the besieged in Budapest be relieved. Guiderian (Chief of the General Staff) wanted as many troops as possible to keep the Red Army off German soil. He described the Eastern Front as "A house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse".


 There were three relief attempts to fight through to the beleaguered in Budapest. Each operation was named Konrad. So, we have operation Konrad I,II, and III. The IV SS-Panzerkorps was in the thick of the fighting in all three operations. The backbone of IV SS- Panzerkorps were the two SS Panzer Divisions Wiking and Totenkopf. At different times during the IV SS-Panzerkorps existence, many other divisions and kampfgruppe's (battle groups) were added to its Order of Battle. 


 Long before the IV SS-Panzerkorps was created, both of the SS Panzer Divisions had been in the thick of the fighting in Russia. While one can be disgusted by their actions, one also has to reluctantly give them their just do. Both of the divisions were nearly destroyed several times over in the fighting on the Eastern Front. However, their cadres were able to install an esprit des corps in even their most reluctant, almost press ganged, soldiers. 


 The first volume was by far one of the best military history books I have ever read. This volume continues in that vein without even the slightest hiccup. In this book, like its sibling, the author seamlessly takes the reader from the highest councils of war to the individual battles for each plot of ground.

 

 There are two groups of photographs that are in the book. The first is a portrait gallery of most of the German persona listed in the book. The second is sixteen pages of photos taken of the troops during the actual operations described in the book.


 Some of the book is pretty eye-opening as far as the actual relations between the German Army and this SS-Panzerkorps. General der Panzertruppe Hermann Balck was the commander of the newly reconstituted 6th Armee. The IV SS-Panzerkorps, under Herbert Otto Gille, was subordinated to the 6th Armee for these operations. That there was no love lost between Gille and Balck is shown in several areas of the book along with Balck's actual disdain for the SS. On page 311, Gille is quoted as saying that his new deployment "smelled like a briefcase". This is in reference to the July 20th 1944 attempted assassination of Hitler. The book states that Gille believed Balck was actually trying to destroy his command in an act of treachery. This amazing piece of history is just one of the many that are found in the volume.


 This book, and the preceding volume, are exactly the kind of history that history buffs want to read. From the who, what, and when to the actual descriptions of the battles, these books are almost unparalleled. Thank you Casemate Publishers for letting me review this second volume of a planned trilogy on the IV SS-Panzerkorps. I cannot wait for volume III.

Robert


Book: From the Realm of a Dying Sun Volume II: The IV SS Panzerkorps in the Budapest Relief Efforts, December 1944-February 1945

Author: Douglas E. Nash Sr.

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

Legacy of Dragonholt is a choose your own adventure style RPG game where you and up to 5 others spend a week in the FFG-familiar fantasy wor...

Legacy of Dragonholt by Fantasy Flight Games Legacy of Dragonholt by Fantasy Flight Games

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


Legacy of Dragonholt is a choose your own adventure style RPG game where you and up to 5 others spend a week in the FFG-familiar fantasy world of Terrinoth (…think Descent or Batllelore). Full confession, I’ve only played this solo due to Covid-related restrictions (but I have completed it). It describes itself as a cooperative narrative adventure which is spot on. However, winning and losing is a nebulous affair, the rules themselves state “You might fail to find a fabled treasure or to save an innocent victim, but if you enjoy the story, that is a victory”.

Gameplay

The first thing required of you is to create your character – I became a social-outcast, disfigured chubby cat-woman who wanted nothing more than to escape her humdrum life and the unwanted gaze of children and other people so she naturally became a stealthy thief and ventured solo. So far so D&D-lite. You’re then thrust into the tutorial adventure which introduces the rules through different entries in the first of the adventures. The first adventure, although the shortest, does such an excellent job of teaching the game system that you probably don’t even need to read the 3.5 pages of rules glossary.

No spoilers here!
 

The rest of the campaign is delivered through five adventures and a central location (Dragonholt Village) which you’ll call home for the entire game. These distinct events are each presented in their own booklet with several hundred entries to determine your choices and consequences as you go through the adventure. Each booklet will comprise a complete adventure and be formed of Encounters and you’ll be asked to mark your time or progress in different tracks to determine what further options are open to you.

If you’ve ever played a choose your own adventure type game, then you’ll know exactly what to expect here but there are a few differences to my own experience of the Fighting Fantasy books (and a Ninja series I’ve forgotten the name to, a 2 player dog-fighting series which I would love to find again, and the relatively new Van Ryder gamebooks) which are worth mentioning.

Each entry is given a four-figure number which I found really easy to remember when moving from one location to another. This may sound like an inconsequential thing to say but I remember losing my place numerous times playing a Fighting Fantasy adventure book which are sequentially numbered 1 to 400 or so. The four figures start at around 1000 in each book and go up to 9000 or so. Due to that amount of number space each entry is numerically separated from its neighbours by 30 or more. I think it is this separation that allows you to thumb through the pages quickly without losing your place. In the whole campaign over 4 or 5 sessions I only had to backtrack to find my place once.

The Story Point / Oracle system
 

The second ‘worth mentioning’ difference is the Story oints. You mark your progress down different story branches by marking off a variety of checkboxes which indicate a significant story event that you’ve just witnessed. In a later encounter, not just within the same booklet, your available choices will depend on which checkboxes have been marked off, i.e. your past actions directly influence your present. I thought this was a clever system that provided an elegant way to feel like your actions made a difference. Although I’ve completed the game, I’ve only marked off 25% of the Story Points boxes. At this point, I presume it is impossible to mark them all off in a single campaign and multiple playthroughs are necessary to see the entire story.

First completed run through

Which brings me onto the most notable aspect of this game, being the story itself. The characters and locations (particularly the village) feel genuine and are immersive. The writing is engaging and is on par with most of the good fantasy novels I’ve read. Typically, I would expect a gamebook to briefly describe a situation in a couple of sentences and give me an either-or choice. In Legacy of Dragonholt, your choice will come after a paragraph (or sometimes many more) of story and character development. Your choices will also depend on what time of day it is, and what Story Points have been marked off. I presume this is the Oracle system at work and I know I’d like to see some more games using this system.

The adventures

I’ve not played this multi-player but the game allows for an activation system in which you flip your activation token when you’ve taken the lead on a decision. You cannot make a group decision again until every other player has done so. I think this sounds like a neat solution but I still maintain reservations about playing this multiplayer.

Components

The game is presented in 7 adventure booklets (including the village book). You also get a small deck of cards, a village map and a couple of other handouts related to the story. As ever with FFG games I have nothing but praise for the components and presentation.

Is this enough to warrant a board game?

Criticism

Is it a board game or is it a gamebook? The inclusion of the six activation tokens (only one per player) and a deck of cards are really all that separate this from another choose your adventure book. (I’ve been enjoying the Van Ryder gamebooks series lately which are in my opinion at the pinnacle of choose your adventure design). I don’t think those components do enough to claim that this is a board game which leaves me with the conclusion that this is a £50 book … admittedly it’s well written and enjoyable but I don’t think it merits £50 when other gamebooks are less than half the price.

I’m pretty sure this game is best-played solitaire. There’s sometimes a significant amount of reading to do and that can get quite painful in a group situation. Each of the six adventure book states a realistic-sounding time of 50-80 minutes but as a solo player, I could blast through the quicker adventures in 30 minutes or less. I know I hugely enjoyed my time with the characters and the village of Dragonholt but I didn’t have to listen to anyone else reading ‘dramatically’ or discuss why I thought the group should choose a different decision. However, because I effectively ‘speed-runned’ (new verb) the campaign I was left at the end wishing it lasted longer.

Conclusion

If your group has played Battlelore and is well versed in Descent 2d Edition and you’ve played through the base game and own lots of the expansions then I can really see this having a place on your group’s table, for a few sessions. I do recommend this to solo players looking for an immersive fantasy experience, albeit slightly short-lived, again assuming the price doesn’t put you off.

I certainly enjoyed the story and although my ending wasn’t everything I wanted it to be, I am claiming a victory. After all, it's the first time I've ever reviewed a game where I've completed it.

I’d like to thank Asmodee UK for sending this review copy. This is probably in stock online more than local FLGS but you can use this link https://www.asmodee.co.uk/contentpage/find-your-game-store to find your Friendly Local Game Store who do need all the help they can get at the moment.

Designer:  Nikki Valens

Bgg page:  https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/234669/legacy-dragonholt

Playtime:  30-80 minutes per adventure.

Players:  1 - 6 

 LATEST NEWS CTHULHU WARS: DUEL The latest in the Cthulhu saga has been announced by Petersengames.  To learn more click on here A swift, br...

LATEST NEWS : CTHULHU WARS: DUEL LATEST NEWS : CTHULHU WARS: DUEL

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

 LATEST NEWS

CTHULHU WARS: DUEL


The latest in the Cthulhu saga has been announced by Petersengames.

 To learn more click on here

A swift, brutal 2 player rendition of Cthulhu Wars is upon us!!   Be very afraid!

Look out for a future review here at A Wargamer's Needful Things.

Cockpit of Europe by Red Sash Games    The War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) is a war that not many people know about. Oh, you have...

Cockpit of Europe by Red Sash Games Cockpit of Europe by Red Sash Games

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





Cockpit of Europe


by


Red Sash Games



 



 The War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) is a war that not many people know about. Oh, you have history buffs that because of Frederick the Great know about the war in central Europe, but not many people know anything about the war in the Low Countries. The English Army did not always have things their way against the French. In another war that is even less known about, The Nine Years War (1688-1697), Marshal de Luxembourg consistently had the upper hand. It is true that during the War of the Spanish Succession, Marlborough beat the French Army whenever he faced it. Now we come to one of France's greatest Marshals Maurice de Saxe; as an aside, he could bend and snap horseshoes with his hands, just like his father Augustus the Strong of Saxony. Neither a Frenchman nor a Catholic, he became Marshal General of France's Armies during the War of the Austrian Succession. I believe his writings helped to bring about the Corps system that allowed Napoleon to rise to fame, and it is still used today. de Saxe was also able to beat the English whenever he faced them. This simulation is focused in the Low Counties in the years 1744-1748. So, for those of us who have longed for the day, we now have an operational simulation of the war that featured the Battle of Fontenoy. So, let us see what comes in this oversized box. These are the contents:


1) One 24x18 inch map representing Northwest Europe from the Channel to Metz, and from Paris to the Zuider Zee, derived from a mix of modern cartography and period maps dating from 1715 to 1750. Scale is 8.5 miles per hex (roughly 4 leagues per hex).

2)  1080 die cut counters representing contingents from France, Britain, Holland, Austria, Hesse, Bavaria, and even Russia! (The Dutch army itself contains Swiss, Saxon, Bavarian, Walloon, and Scottish mercenaries, not to mention forces from Holstein-Gotthorp and Hessen-Philipstahl).

3) Rules, charts, tables, and display cards.

4) An historical commentary.




 Opening the box is like looking into a cornucopia. You do not know where to start first. The map may seem kind of small for anyone who is used to monster games. However, if you have played any games about the campaigns of Marlborough you will notice it is exactly the same area. There is a reason it was called the Cockpit of Europe. France and her allies and enemies alike had been fighting over this area for centuries. The next thing you will notice about the map is how colorful it is, and the fact that it is covered in fortresses. Again, if you are not used to wargaming this area during this period, sieges and battles to stop sieges were a way of life for the military in the Low Countries. Movement on the map is point to point, although the rules, to follow wargame norms, call them hexes. Looking at the map, you can easily see how easy it is to fight a defensive war, and how difficult it is to prosecute an offensive one. The map might seem 'busy' to some, but the actual space between points is only 8.5 miles. Barely a good stretch of the legs (if you are into old movies). The game comes with two rule books. One is the 'Lace Wars' rulebook. Lace Wars is the series of games that Cockpit of Europe is part of. Lace Wars is based on the War of the Austrian Succession and the different games are based on the different parts of Europe during the war. The second is the actual Cockpit of Europe rulebook. They are both in black and white. The Lace Wars rulebook is forty-two pages long, and the Cockpit of Europe rulebook is twenty-three pages long.  Some people might look at them and believe they are daunting to behold (more on this later). However, they are well set up and take the player through the different concepts in an easy manner. The counters seem larger than their 5/8" size. On one side is a beautiful recreation of the unit's actual uniform jacket. The flip side is the unit's name and rating, etc. This side is in large type and easy to read. The officer counters also have all their ratings  displayed large enough to easily read them. They also have small portraits of the officers when they could find one available. I cannot say enough about the counters; they are extremely well done. It also comes with a fantastic forty-four page Historical Commentary that is better than most articles about the war. There is so much else that comes in the box. I will give you a list:


Two, two-page French and English HQ Display Charts

Turn Record Track and Peace Index & Operation Track etc.

Cockpit of Europe Counter Guide

Cockpit of Europe Terrain Effects Chart, The other side shows how to setup Battlefields

Sequence of Play

Four sheets of Tables

Allied Campaign Plans, Opposite side has the French Campaign Plans

Cockpit of Europe Unit Class Summary

Cockpit of Europe French OOB Book

Cockpit of Europe Allied OOB Book

Two sheets with Officers" Mess, Recovery Box etc.

Two sheets of 'Wings' A through J to use for battles


 In a word, it has anything you can think of that a player might need to play a deep simulation like this. All of the tables are in black and white. The Counter Guide and Terrain chart and a few other are in color.



These pics are of the Print & Play map


 So, in a nutshell this has all of the trappings of a monster game without the size. I will tell you straight off, anyone looking for a light or medium complexity game please avert your eyes. This simulation, and its brothers, were meant for the grognard. Some gamers who are used to the sweep of panzers across the steppe might think the game slow. For those of us who have wished and prayed for an operational game about the Austrian War of Succession, our prayers have been answered. There have been some games about the war, but almost all of them center on Frederick the Great's part in it. For me the battles in the Cockpit of Europe are the end all and be all. My birthday is May 11th, the same day the battle of Fontenoy was fought. Just hearing the name de Saxe gets my ears to perk up. This is a piece written in the latest Lace Wars rulebook to give an overview of the system:


"Focus of the Series

The Lace Wars series examines the wars of the 17th through 18th centuries (with an option to move into the 19th Century) at the Operational level. In the military thinking of the period, there was no written doctrine entitled ‘operational art’. It was either strategy or tactics. So, by Operational I mean you play the part of a theatre commander. Above you are the Monarch and his or her cabinet (or a republican senate), and the diplomats, and any allied rulers, and all the faceless socio-economic forces. None of which are in your control, though you may be able to manipulate them. Under you are the combat Units, the regiments, brigades, battalions, and war-bands, plus a logistics net and a motley group of generals. These also are not entirely under your control. Generals have personalities of their own, and combat Units have variable strength and cohesion. Since you are in the middle, ‘winning the war’ is not all that vital, and is usually not made the focus of the game, even when the situation is a balanced one. Most historical situations are not balanced. But, the system does provide a balance between you and your opponent, which is all that really matters. This is done by making you chase after personal Prestige. Campaign Plans (CPs) are the key to earning Prestige. They are essentially a set of ‘mandated objectives’, but you usually have a lot of leeway not only in resolving them but in picking them. This way, you can experiment with different strategies. In fact, the series is intended to give you lots of scope for experimentation. The system does not absolutely constrain you to a particular course of action, but it rewards you if you hit on the correct strategy and penalises you if you make mistakes. As you might expect with an operational-level game, the core elements in the Lace Wars series boil down to managing your Units effectively, supplying them, outmaneuvring your opponent, and winning in combat. In the period covered by the series, battles were infrequent but important, sieges were all-important, armies were usually fragile instruments, and supply was centered on the establishment of a network of depots. If you can maintain your forces in being while accomplishing some Campaign Plans, you have a good chance of winning. "





 This is a link to the Lace Wars Quick Start Guide on Red Sash's website:

LW QSG (redsashgames.com)


 How does it play? Like a simulation of an 18th century war, focused on operational warfare. The tactical module is an added attraction. The tactical battles play out much like other games that have 'Battleboards'. Movement is slow compared to most other wargames. The period relied on depots, and while sacking was not uncommon, a king did not want to add a burned out shell of a province into his realm. As I had alluded to, the movement will seem glacial to gamers that are used to 20th century games; even Napoleonic warfare has more movement to it. The simulation rewards you if you can play as an 18th century general. If you go into it with the mindset of Zhukov or Guderian, you will quickly fail. 



 The simulation has everything an 18th century general would have to contend with:

Lines of Communication

Fortifications

Formations

Siege Artillery

Auxiliaries

Leadership

 This is just a small taste of what you will have to deal with while playing. The rulebooks are filled with excellent quotes from many of the generals etc. of the time:

"The French are what they were in Caesar's time, and as he described them, brave to excess but unstable" Marshal de Saxe 

"A pack mule can go on the campaigns with Prince Eugene of Savoy, and still learn nothing of tactics". Frederick the Great




 This was one of my Grail games, and after reviewing it my mind has not changed one bit. It is a labor of love, as is the whole series, of one man's vision to bring the War of the Austrian Succession to a wargamers table. In this, Red Sash Games has hit the bullseye in the target. This is not a simulation to start on your road to becoming a grognard. This is one of those jewels of wargaming that you find after you have traveled that same road for awhile. Thank you Red Sash Games  for the chance to review this beautiful, and excellent simulation.

 The Lace Wars from Red Sash Games are on the pricier side of wargames. However, they also offer 'Print & Play' options for all of their games at incredibly low prices. I myself would suggest to save up and buy the games ready made. Then you have nothing to do but open the box and start playing, or at least start reading the rulebooks.

Red Sash Games:

Red Sash Games Home Page

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  Custoza Fields of Doom by Europa Simulazioni  Custoza and its fields were a crossroad in Italy for a long time. It was also essential to a...

Custoza Fields of Doom by Europa Simulazioni Custoza Fields of Doom by Europa Simulazioni

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





 Custoza Fields of Doom


by


Europa Simulazioni





 Custoza and its fields were a crossroad in Italy for a long time. It was also essential to attack or defend the fortress system called the 'Quadrilateral' (composed of the four fortresses Peschiera, Mantua, Legnago, and Verona). The first battle in 1848 was decisive in the First War of Independence of Italy. The third battle took place during the Third war for Independence in 1866. Both battles were fought because Austria-Hungary was trying to keep control of its possessions in Northern Italy. Like many areas in Europe, because of Custoza's geography many other armies have traversed its fields also. The year 1848 saw the Hapsburg monarchy of Austria-Hungary fight for its life against the tide of revolution flowing across Europe. The Hapsburgs were barely treading water, let alone able to deal with insurrections and invasions into the outer parts of the Empire. Finally with some semblance of calm in the inner empire Franz Joseph I, the new emperor, was able to send Field Marshal Radetzky to secure its Northern Italian provinces. Unbeknownst to many, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 also saw Austria-Hungary fighting in Italy. Custoza was the scene of another battle in this war. Why do I mention two battles? Because the game allows the players to fight both of them. So, let us see what you get with this two for one deal. These are the contents:


Two 23"x34" maps

A rules booklet (the Italian version also contains a rule booklet in Italian)

3 sheets of large (5/8") counters

Charts and tables (both in Italian and English)

Two Dice

Boxed




  This will be my third review of a Europa Simulazioni wargame. I must tell you upfront that the game impresses me as visually as the first two did. Even the artwork on their game boxes are wonderfully done. The maps that come with the game are large and have big hexes to accommodate the large 5/8"counters. The maps are extremely well done. Another thing I like about Europa Simulazioni maps are that you do not have to guess what the terrain is in each hex. They make it very easy for the player that way. There is no need for quibbling if this hex is more forest or swamp etc. The counters are very colorful without being 'busy'. You get very nice looking counters, with small black and white portraits of the different generals. The two Player Aid cards are of thick paper and are done in large print. On one side of the first one is the terrain chart. The other side has the Assault Table and the Fire Table, along with the modifiers and the Cohesion Check Modifiers Table. The other Player Aid is 'The Objective Map'. This is used in the advanced game; more on this later. The Rules Booklet is thirty-two pages long and is in black and white. The rules only take up sixteen pages, and the rest is the different scenario setups, background history, and designer notes.




  The game actually comes with these scenarios:


Three smaller ones to learn the game (two from 1866, and one from 1848).

1848 Historical

1848 Free Set-Up

1848 Late Start

1866 Historical

1866 Free Set-up

So, you get eight scenarios from two different wars in one box. Not a bad package at all.




 The game allows a player to deal with almost every problem or tactical conundrum that faced all 19th century generals. The terrain helps with that, but the various scenarios really help to put you in their shoes. The Basic Game rules only take up twelve pages. There is enough in the rules for anyone who wants to play out a 19th century battle. Where the game really shines is with the addition of the Advanced Rules. These include:


Formation Status

On March Formations

In Reserve Formations

Fatigue

Command Collapse

Line of Communication 

Reinforcements

 There are also a few Special Rules that deal with Fortresses and Night turns etc.





 This is the Objective Map below.





 This is the Basic game Sequence of Play:

"1. Initiative Determination. Each Player rolls two dice,
 adding the Command Rating of the Overall
 Commander, if in play. The player with the highest
 total is the Initiative player. Re-roll on ties.
2. Engaged Formations Action Phase.
2.1 Command Step. Check the Command Status
 of all of the units, and mark the Out of Command
 ones (4.1).
2.2 Activation Step. Starting with the Initiative
 player, both sides alternate trying to activate one
 of their Formations (5.1). A failed attempt is
 considered an attempt. Both players can choose to
 pass, and to not try to activate a Formation, but if
 players pass three times in sequence (i.e. Player 1,
 Player 2, then again Player 1), the Phase ends and
 Formations which have not been activated cannot
 activate any more on the current GT.
 NOTE: Out of Command units can still move in
 their Phase (see Step 4.)
 Once activated, the Formation’s units that are In
 Command can act, Force by Force.
 NOTE: Remember, consider a single unit as a Force.
 For each Formation to activate, conduct the following
 steps:
2.2.a) Assault and Charge declarations
 Assaults and Charges must be declared at the
 beginning of the Activation, before any action,
 using the appropriate markers (see 6.1).
2.2.b) Forces perform Actions
 Each Force belonging to the Activated Formation
 can perform one Action, potentially causing
 Reactions (see 11) by enemy Forces. A Force can
 choose one action among:
- Movement (7.0) (including any Action implying
 expenditure of Movement Points)
- Fire (8.0) (Artillery or Light Infantry), including
 movement before firing, if Light Infantry (6.4)
- Charge/Assault, including the movement to
 perform it (9.0 and 10.0)
2.2.c) End of Activation
 Eligible Forces can Recover Status Levels and/or
 Exhaustion (see 13.6).
 Remove Assault/Charge markers.
3. Non Activated Formations Phase. In Command
 units of Non Activated Formations can Recover
 Status Levels and/or from Exhaustion (see 13.6).
 They must execute Withdrawal (see 12.0) if they are
 in a ZoR.
 The Initiative Player’s units move second.
4. Out of Command Units Phase. Out of Command
 units can move now, and Recover Status Levels
 and/or from Exhaustion (see 13.6).
 They must execute Withdrawal (see 12.0) if they are
 in a ZoR. If they are not in a ZoR and move, they
 must move closer to their Commander (4.1.1).
 Initiative Player units move second.
5. End of the the Game Turn Phase.
 Remove “Low Ammo/Out of Ammo” markers.
 Advance the GT marker one box on the Turn record
 Track."




  When using the above Objective Map in the Advanced Game, only the commander and his scout unit is shown on the large map face down. Every 'On March Formation' has it's marker placed on the above Objective map. One interesting rule is that at least half of his movement allowance must be on any type of road hex. The commander also has to be at least one hex closer to his destination after movement. The designer states that both "fair play and good sense" are to be used in conjunction with the above. They must grow grognards differently in Italy. 

 So, the game comes with eight scenarios and the inclusion of the Objective Map, and the free set-up scenarios mean that the gameplay in this box is almost limitless. 

 The designer states that at first the project was boring and predictable. Their answer: "Hence the radical decision: we reset everything and started gain with a completely new system. Without using predefined schemes,  and with the basic concepts of a) non-absolute control of formations and b) continuous action/reaction, the system that you find was born". Historically, in 1866 the cavalry of both sides were not used to their fullest advantage. Both sides groped about the battlefield trying to find each other. In these essentially Napoleonic battles I am sure that most grognards will do better. The games revolve around a unit's cohesion, and its ability to withstand the enemy fires and then use shock. In my eyes Europa Simulazioni has hit the mark with this game. As long as you are a fan of 19th century warfare, you should be a fan of this game. Thank you Europa Simulazioni for allowing me to review this unknown, but very welcome addition to battles of the 19th century.


This is the link to the English Rules:

Custoza-Rules-P1-2-Eng.pdf (italianwars.net)

This is the link to Europa Simulazioni:

Europa Simulazioni - Home (italianwars.net)

This is the Link to Custoza: Fields of Doom:

Europa Simulazioni - Custoza, fields of doom (italianwars.net)


Robert

  The Last Stand The Battle for Moscow 1941-42 by Multi-Man Publishing  This game allows the players to simulate the last part of Operation ...

The Last Stand : The Battle for Moscow 1941-42 by Multi-Man Publishing The Last Stand : The Battle for Moscow 1941-42 by Multi-Man Publishing

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




 The Last Stand


The Battle for Moscow 1941-42


by


Multi-Man Publishing





 This game allows the players to simulate the last part of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, or the Russian counterattack at the end of the year into the beginning of 1942. Moscow was not seen as an important goal for Operation Barbarossa by Hitler. It was, however, always seen as an integral part of the invasion of the Soviet Union by the OKH (Oberkommando des Heeres) the German Army's High Command. Indeed, Army Group Center under field Marshal von Bock was poised to strike at the city much earlier. However, Hitler had forced Army Group Center to release Guiderian's Second Panzer Group (later upgraded to the Second Panzer Army) to aid in the vast encirclement of 600,000 + Soviet troops around Kiev. But now at the end of September, the OKH had finally dragged Hitler into the idea of an attack on Moscow. This was to be called Operation Typhoon. Three Panzer Armies (Hoth's Third, Hoepner's Fourth, and Guiderian's Second), along with the rest of Army Group Center are to be unleashed toward the city of Moscow. Multi-Man Publishing is putting you in command of either the German or Soviet Armies in this last do or die struggle of 1941. The Germans were able to see the spires of Moscow before being pushed back. Can you do better than von Bock or Zhukov?






 The game was designed by Masahiro Yamazaki, who has also designed 'Stalingrad Pocket', and 'Red Star Rising', among many others. This is what comes with the game:

One 34" x 22" map
560 ½" counters
32 page full color rulebook
2 player aids






 This is the blurb from Multi-Man Publishing about the game:

Solitaire Rating: very good to excellent
Complexity: Medium
Playing Time: 3-10 hours
Scenarios: 3
Game scale: Units are divisions, turns are ten days, and hexes are 17.2 kilometers across.

 This is a straight up old school hex-and-counter wargame that someone in 1978 would be able to sit down and play. It is not card driven, or has blocks for the units. The map is very well done, and has many of the charts and tables needed for play on it. There are no ambiguous hexes, as far as terrain, and rivers are all on their appropriate hex sides. All of the different Soviet defense positions around Moscow are on the map and easy to see. The Rulebook is twenty-seven pages long, with an abbreviated sequence of play on the back cover. The Rulebook is in full color. It is also printed in very large print. This makes it very easy on us old grognard eyes. The rules are setup very well, and are easy to follow. There are three Player's Aid cards. Two are the same and have the CRT and the weather die roll (this is optional) etc. on them. The other Player's Aid card has the setup for Scenario Two on one side (The First Scenario Setup is on the map), and the reinforcements for all three scenarios on the other. The counters are well done and not too 'busy'. You can easily read the information on them. The Soviet counters come with both historical and unknown strength sides. This allows the players to start with the historical Soviet strengths or unknown. While not a work of art, the game is up to the usual standards I have seen in my other MMP products. The cover of the game and Rules Booklet is another story. This is a picture right off a Soviet propaganda picture from the Second World War. 

 The three scenarios are:

The German Attack - This is ten turns long.
The Winter Counteroffensive - This is six turns long.
The extended Game - This is twelve turns long.






 This is an abbreviated sequence of play:

A.) German Player Turn
 1.) Supply Phase
  a.) Weather
  b.) Reinforcement/Supply Placement
  c.) Receive Air Points
  d.) Combat Unit Supply Check
  e.) Isolated Attrition Check
  f.) Supply Unit Removal (Snow Turns)
  g.) Soviet Morale Chit Pull (if applicable)
 2.) Movement Phase
  a.) Unit Movement/Overrun
  b.) Supply Unit Consumption
 3.) Combat Phase
  a.) Resolve Combat
  b.) Remove Supply Units in Expend Mode
 4.) Soviet Reaction Phase (The Soviet Player is allowed to move  and overrun with eligible Mechanized units)
 5.) Exploitation Movement (all German units may move again with one half of their movement allowance)
B.) Soviet Player Turn
 1.) Supply Phase
  a.) Reinforcement HQ and Combat Unit Placement
  b.) Receive Air Points
  c.) Combat Unit Supply Check
  d.) Isolated Attrition Check
  e.) Red Army Morale Check
 2.) Katyusha Gun Phase
  a.) Katyusha movement
  b.) Katyusha Fire
 3.) Movement Phase
 4.) German Reaction Phase (Like the Soviets in his reaction phase, but with different parameters, the German player may conduct reaction move with his eligible Mechanized units).
 5.) Combat Phase
  a.) Ski Unit placement
  b.) Resolve Attacks
 6.) Exploitation Movement (identical to the German Phase)






 You can see by the above picture that both sides receive air points, and there are special rules for the Soviet Katyusha rocket weapons (Stalin's organs). As the German player, you have to strike hard and fast to have any chance of gaining victory. The German player is not going to be able to make up lost time and space in the latter part of the game. The Soviet player has to be ready to have his lines torn open again and again by the German Player. He then must throw everything available to try and stem the German tide, and pray for winter. The game can be played with the historical weather for each turn, or optionally by deciding the weather by a die roll before each turn. This makes a big difference in the game. If the German player is lucky on his die rolls the game is much easier because some of the various modifiers for Rain, Snow, or Frozen weather conditions will not hamper him. Supply for both sides is dealt with entirely differently. A German unit is in supply if it is eight hexes from a friendly map edge. Farther than that, it depends totally on its parent unit's German Supply Unit. For example, a Fourth Panzer Army unit cannot use a Supply Unit from the Second Panzer Army. This is an easy elegant way to show how tenuous the German supply lines became during the battle. The Soviet Units have to be five hexes from a friendly map edge, or within five, (or four for mechanized), hexes of a Headquarters Unit that has an unbroken line to a friendly edge. The German player can also use the Supply Unit to help with odds shifts in two combat situations. However, once he has done that he loses the Supply Unit and must build it up again. 


The Defenses Around Moscow



 The game does a great job at giving the German player the idea that it is now or never. He must bust through the line and get going to get to Moscow before his tank's oil freezes. He also must face what seems like a zombie apocalypse of Soviet Units. Time and time again, he must break through Soviets' defensive lines. The Soviet player is also faced with deja vu. He must carefully construct defensive lines one turn to see them torn to ribbons by the German Units the next. As the Soviet player you must get ahold of the idea of sacrificing units. You must play to save the units that you can to fight again, whilst also knowing which ones to use as speed bumps against the German advance. I believe the game puts both players in their historic commanders seats. As the German you get to see how easy with clear weather and just a month earlier it could have gone. Playing as the Soviet the player can visualize just how close the Soviets came to losing this battle. When the Soviet counterattacks kick in, both players get to change their respective strategic roles. The German player has to try and hang on by the skin of his teeth while the Soviet gets to try and wipe him out. The only thing you can ask for in a wargame is that it replicates history for the players, without being ugly as hell. Judging by those criteria the game definitely passes muster. Thank you Multi-man Publishing for allowing me to review this very good game. 

Robert

Multi-man Publishing:

Last Stand: The Battle for Moscow 1941-42:

 

Cooper Island pits one to four players against each other to reclaim and settle their own peninsula in the Island of Cooper…  It is a heavy-...

Cooper Island by Frosted Games and Capstone Games Cooper Island by Frosted Games and Capstone Games

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


Cooper Island pits one to four players against each other to reclaim and settle their own peninsula in the Island of Cooper…  It is a heavy-weight Euro-smorgasbord of mechanisms: worker placement,  tile placement, engine builder and rondel with intricate interplay between how you score points and how the $*&# do you score points? (At least for your first few plays.)

Gameplay

The game plays out in punishingly-few-five turns.  Each turn consists of 3 phases, the Income Phase, the Worker Phase and the Clean-Up Phase.  Two of which are simultaneous and which give the game a surprisingly low downtime per player when you consider how much stuff you’ve got to think about on your turn.

The Harbour Master in the Second Round

There are only 8 action spaces for your workers to be placed onto, but you can also perform an almost unlimited number of five Anytime actions.  As your peninsula develops new spaces will be revealed on your player board giving additional bonuses and sometimes extra stuff for you to do.  I don’t think I’ve ever been as bewildered by a game on the first play as I have this one.  Working out how to score points was not even on my radar on my first playthroughs of this.


I came away from my first game (with a terrible score) with a numb brain and I had only just realised that my anytime actions were pivotal for any type of success in this game.  On my second play through my brain was hurting even more because I was trying to optimise my choice of actions spaces with the anytime actions that I had at my disposal.  However, I was still trying to do a little bit of everything and consequently didn’t receive too many points. 

A really close game - not my first

It wasn’t until the third play-through that I even considered trying to score points (instead of them just happening as a result of my actions) and actually have a strategy; which currently looks like - optimise to get more workers as soon as possible (by fulfilling Milestone Tokens) and then Settle and Build at the highest level possible… This could be utterly wrong, maybe exploring your peninsula or building statues is better… I still don’t really know how to do well.


The earlier you can get more workers the more benefit they will provide over the course of the game is an age-old, (well at least Agricola-old) strategy of building your engine.  However, you need to fuel that engine and your workers will need feeding, however, there isn’t the same level of jeopardy that you feel when you can’t feed you Agricola-family.  In this, you just receive an anchor token which prevents your ships moving around the peninsula.

2 Normal and 1 Special worker need feeding

So with 5 Anytime Actions, 8 worker Actions (each with their own bonus actions), 4 terrain types, 6 resource types, 18 unexplored hexes to fill, 8 sandbanks to visit, 5 ruins to explore/statues to build, 3 different types of buildings to construct and two different types of workers, 6 boats to build and a player-dependent number of Bay Water and Harbour spaces to visit; you’ll hopefully begin to understand how wide the decision tree you are faced with is at the start of the game.  However, finding good combos and synergies between your anytime actions and your workers’ actions is what makes this game tick.


The pace of this game is perfectly balanced. The first one or two rounds are much simpler, (you’ve unlocked fewer bonus actions) which helps new players to become familiar with the core actions and flow of the game and during the fourth and fifth round, your combos can be magnificent and convoluted.  Keeping track of a resource as it moves from a fourth level hex to pay for an action which gets additional bonuses and more market stock to pay for further bonus actions can almost feel like you’re doing the work, but it’s damn rewarding.

The end of a solo game - not too shabby  

The Income Phase is a simultaneous affair where you quickly take the income (shown by Terra Mystica hands) revealed on your player board.  Additional hands can be in play by building one of your Income Boats.  The standard income actions allow you to draw a double hex tile from the bag into your personal reserve and place a double hex tile onto your peninsula from your personal reserve.  The important thing to understand that any time you have actions to do (including your anytime actions) is that you choose the order of them, which adds another wrinkle to your brow when you’re trying to optimise actions.


Double hex landscape tiles and islet tiles form the core of your peninsula and they build up to an attractive looking board with nice, chunky card being placed on top of each other.  You can shim a mismatched terrain height by using one of your Anytime Cartographer actions (assuming you’ve got the necessary amount of Cartographer points).  Each time you place a landscape tile you’ll place matching resource cubes onto that tile. The height at which the resource cubes are placed determines their value.  However, once a hex is a Meadow hex, for example, it is always a Meadow hex you can’t change its hex type (unless you decide to place a settlement tile onto it). Building your landscape in this fashion (following all the tile placement rules) is like a 3d puzzle and could be a challenging game in its own right.

This looks great on the table

The Worker Phase is the core of the game and you only start with two workers to place onto the board.  Those two workers have a choice of 8 spots in the central island board to occupy.  Four of the actions will let you place additional landscape tiles into your peninsula (following the placement rules) and which gives resources.  The other four actions require you to pay resources you’ve just gained to build buildings, statues, boats, or supply some cargo which all have their own specific benefit and most importantly answer the first question of ‘how the $*&# do you score points?’.


Traditionally in worker placement games, a worker on a spot will prevent other players from taking that action.  Here, you just have to pay the player 1 resource to go on top of their worker.  This adds an unexpected boost often at opportune times.  I suppose it would be possible to determine the board state of another player to work out where they are going to place their workers, to maxims this boost to you, but my gameplay is so far from this level – I’m just gripping on to my ships pennants keeping up with my own game.  I just consider it a nice and often welcome surprise if it does happen to me.

The worker actions spaces / central island board

You can unlock special workers (the ‘square’ discs…) which provide a more powerful version of their action space.  However, to get these new workers, you’ll need to remove a normal worker but also unlocking additional victory points.  Deciding the optimum strategy of whether the new worker should be normal or special is well beyond the processing power of my brain.

The Clean-Up Phase is a blessed relief on the grey-matter, even though you have to start by feeding your workers.  It is another simultaneous affair in which you may get points and you reset your workers and market and move the round tracker.  There is a decision to be made to pay or not to reactivate an asset, however, in my experience, you only have one maybe two assets that even need reactivating and it’s nearly always worth it.  This is the easiest decision in the game.

A clear and easy to follow rulebook

This game plays in about 90 minutes to two hours.  If you all know the game 4 players can complete the game in under 2 hours which is a huge achievement for such a dense, crunchy (in a good sense) game.  Few games can provide the same level of challenge for four players in the same length of time as this does.

Components

Some of the components deserve special praise. The landscape hex tiles are deliciously thick and create a good-looking peninsula after the game.  The player colours are standard red, green, blue and black pieces and the resources are contrasting shades of brown – wood, purple – cloth, grey – stone, pink – food, and yellow – gold.  These pieces, resources, workers and buildings are all made of wood – which I prefer.

All good here

The rulebook does a tremendous job of conveying how the game plays.  Each section is colour coded to relate to the actions. This colour coding exists throughout the game i.e. on the player board so after reading the rules, you’ve got a good idea of how the game will play.  This is an amazing achievement for such a dense game.  The rules are contained in 27 pages of very well written text and copious examples littered throughout.  Although I did find one non-game affecting typo relating to page number references.


The player boards and central island board, at first glance, contain a dizzying array of icons, but as is the case with most heavy Euros, once you’re familiar with the actions themselves, the icons provide a non-textual and intuitive prompt for what is going on, and what you should be doing.  I thought the player board with its colour-coded sections, and icon design allows a returning player to pick the game flow back up very quickly.

A bit of a table-hog.  2 Player game

I was disappointed that there is no insert of any type in the box and similarly the two-piece player boards are made from quite a thin card stock.  However, these are just minor quibbles for me as I’ll end up 3d printing an insert for this and I understand that another 3 or sheets of board stock with different die cuts would have been much more expensive.

Criticisms

The only criticism I have is not really fair to level at Cooper Island, as it was designed to be a complex worker placement, is that it's a complex worker placement game.  You’re not going to have a good time introducing this to gamers more comfortable with Splendor and Ticket to Ride.  However, there is a place in the market and my collection for complex Euros like this.  If you buy this I am confident that you’ve already done your research and you’ll know exactly if this game is for you or not.

Conclusion

I really like this game, the huge amount of actions you have over five short rounds is impressive.  I appreciate the design and all its complexities coming in under 2 hours.  However, I don’t think it will see the light of day (or game night) at the moment – I don’t think I can face continually teaching it to lots of new players.  Maybe when life is a bit more settled and less crazy I’ll feel a need to train my brain after another relaxing day in the office (/s) and I’ll pull this out for some stimulation.  However, 2020 is not that year, my work has been manic of late and I just don’t feel up to Cooper Island but I look forward to the time when life is a bit more peaceful and normal and this will become a regular on my table.


P.S. The solo mode is fun and challenging (I’ve only beat the first difficulty level) but I feel less pressure when playing this solo and not teaching the game.


I’d like to thank Asmodee UK for sending this review copy. This is in stock in many stores and you can use this link https://www.asmodee.co.uk/contentpage/find-your-game-store to find your Friendly Local Game Store who need all the help they can get at the moment.

Designer:  Andreas "ode." Odendahl

Bgg page:  https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/269511/cooper-island

Play time:  90 minutes

Players:  1-4

PixelPLaybox.co.uk