Friday, November 25, 2016

Board Gaming for the rest of 2016

Here's my table set up for the games I'll be playing for the rest of this year.

First up is a game from 1995 by the now defunct wargame company "Moments in History." The game is A Famous Victory, covering the battles of Blenheim and Ramillies. Set up here is Blenheim, using a quasi-historical setup. I'm really enjoying this game! Units are infantry battalions, cavalry regiments, and artillery batteries. Turns are 30 minutes, hexes are 375 yards. From what I've played so far, it very much captures the feel of Malburian tactical combat in a very playable system. I've ordered the sequel, Fields of Glory, that covers Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

I also plan to return to the GMT brigade-scale system of Prussia's Glory and play the Battle of Kolin. Kolin was a defeat for Frederick the Great that caused him to have to abandon the siege of Prague. This system doesn't have quite the depth of A Famous Victory or the next game I'm going to discuss, but it is fun to play and does a decent job of reflecting the linear tactics of the period at the scale represented.

Finally, I'm, going to buckle down and teach myself the Battles from the Age of Reason system using Fontenoy. More accurately I'll be working through the BAR Primer and playing some of the Melle scenarios before I tackle the larger battle. This system is really the system for 18th century warfare, and I want to learn it. In addition to Fontenoy I have  Lobositz, and intend to grab Prague as soon as I can. It's a daunting system, though. I'm hoping to have the time and energy over the holidays to really get into it.

I'm sure you noticed a theme: I'm deep diving into 18th Century warfare right now, and have been since this summer. Not only am I playing a lot of games from the period, I'm doing a lot of reading about it. While not as well known as the Napoleonic era, I'm finding it very interesting. It's fascinating to read about battles fought in places with names familiar to any Napoleonic scholar 100 years or so before Napoleon's rise to power. Armies had only just thrown away their pikes and started using flintlocks at the beginning of the period, and most cavalry still used the caracole. Generals had to experiment to discover the best means of employing troops armed with new weapons, in more flexible formations than they'd used before. The horrors of the Thirty Years War were still very much in mind, and that changed the way armies waged war, too. All-in-all a fascinating period well worth the study.