Sunday, July 16, 2017

Post-Origins Hangover

It always seems like it takes me awhile to get back to the blog after Origins. In the past this has been due to a bit of a "gaming hangover" where I didn't play much for a month or so after the convention. This year has been the opposite: I've been playing so much I really haven't had much time to blog!

Chief among my obsessions has been Sails of Glory by Ares Games. Persuaded during an Origins discussion of the best Age of Sail game to try by my friend Jim, I picked up the Starter set, which included four ships. My son, who along with my wife also visited Origins on Saturday, picked up an additional three ships for me for Father's Day. Ares were selling the three for the price of two, so it seemed too good a deal to pass up. On Sunday, I took my GM compensation tickets and picked up another three ships, giving me a small fleet of ten to start playing with.

Of course that meant I needed to get a play mat, because obviously my game was "broken" without one.

Once I'd quelled my collector's itch long enough to play, it turned out that this is an amazingly fun game. Even more in it's favor, Sails of Glory has snagged my wife's interest, and she's happy to play too. In fact, she's beaten me at least twice! We played enough now that we're using the advanced rules. With all of the rules in play, you really have your own engine for gaming Hornbloweresque naval battles on your dining room table. And it's playable in an hour or so! This game is causing my resistance to miniatures gaming, never strong in the first place, to completely crumble.

I'll try and do an AAR when we play our next game.

Right before I left for Origins I ordered a copy of Campaigns of Marlborough, an operational scale game covering all of the campaigns in the Low Countries and Germany during the War of Spanish Succession. This game was originally published in 1987 in Wargamer magazine, and while the counter graphics and map colors are reflective of time, I am impressed by the overall map and all of the fortresses depicted.

While I could deal with some really almost impossible to read counters, the rules are pretty much a mess. I'm not sure the game is actually playable in the current state. I managed a couple of turns, but the rules ambiguities and what looks like a really broken siege table sapped my enthusiasm. I let it sit on the table for four or five days but couldn't drag myself back to it. I really want a game depicting this war at this scale, and I like the mechanics of this game, so I will probably try it again sometime.

Finally, my local wargaming friend David and I have established a regular wargaming evening every couple of weeks. For our first game we played Pub Battles: Marengo. We chose sides randomly and David ended up with the Austrians and I had the French. The Austrians had a fair amount of trouble getting deployed initially, so we didn't really get much contact until fairly late in the game.

Nonetheless it was a fun game. Murat pulled off a cavalry charge on the French left that really tore up O'Reilly's division. The Austrians had just started to press the French when we had to call it a night. These Pub Battles games can be a real treat to play. They are definitely a different feel than your traditional hex-and-counter game. I've started studying the American Revolution and I'm feeling a need to give Brandywine another try, now that I'm getting my head around how best to play the Pub Battles system.

I have my second copy of the Marengo map framed and hung in my gaming room. It looks amazing.

In addition to the above, I've been playing a goodly amount of Tiller's Napleonics games with Jim and Chris. Jim and I have dived into the full battle of Jena, playing phased play with manual defensive fire. Chris and I have been playing scenarios from Bonaparte's Peninsular War and Campaign Marengo. I think you can begin to see why I haven't had much time to blog lately!

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