Bloody Mohawk

"When the Indians succeed in their silent approaches…a scene of horror, that exceeds description, ensues…. The figure of the combatants all besmeared with black and red paint, and covered with the blood of the slain, their horrid yells, and ungovernable fury, are not to be conceived by those who have never crossed the Atlantic."

And so, the end of the Battle for Fort William Henry begins the massacre at Fort William Henry.

Bloody Mohawk "The French and Indian War", Scenario Battle of Fort William Henry August 8, 1757, page 14-15

As I lost this scenario to the French and their Indian allies, I remember the above that Jonathon Carver had wrote in his book "Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768."  (London: C. Dilly; H. Payne; J. Phillips, 1781, 313) and actually thought "this, is the end..."

Title: Bloody Mohawk, "The French and Indian War"

Price: $ 39.99 for box edition or zip lock bag, $24.99 for download PnP (print and play) On sale for $28.00 zip-lock bag plus shipping.  Please notice this "On Demand Series" game no longer comes in a box.  Outside of not wanting to mount and cut out counters, I opt to buy the zip lock.

Designer: Bill Molyneaux

Graphic Designer: Jose Ramon Faura

Publisher: Lock 'N Load - Battle on Demand series

Published Date: 2018 & 2020

Subject: French and Indian War

Scale: not mention, but probably 100 yards to the hex. How did I come up with this? Easy.  Muskets have a range between 50 to 100 yards, bows about the same, and the light artillery (1 to 3) during this time has a range of about 300 yards and the same for heavy artillery (1-5) of about 500 yards.

Game Area: various battle areas in North America during the time frame.

Player Supplied Components: None needed. Even the 10 sided die (DR) is included.

click to go to LnL
Components and Physical Quality:  Very nice.  Some of the nicest I have seen. The following is included:

1 x Zip-lock Bag
12 x 8.5” x 11.0” game maps
1 x Game Manual
1 x Counter Sheet of 88 Die Cut Counters
1 x Terrain Effects Chart (Player Aid) card
1 x d10 Die

Counters: Rounded corners, .6" in size, colourful. The counters for each side has a very well done drawing of a combatant with a background of their national flag. 

Game Map: Colourful, large white outline hexes against various shades of green and brown on heavy card stock 8.5" x 11" in size.  Double sided. 

Additional Components: Terrain Effects Chart (TEC) called a Player Aid.  Listing the various terrain, the movement costs, combat modifiers, and the effect on retreating. Also includes the turn track.  This one additional add to the TEC causes the non-ability to be able to pick up the TEC to read the information.  Should have been separate.  Easy enough to make a new one, but why? Two cents of paper and ink couldn't be spared?  

A special word needs to be said about the included D10.  Mine is Marine blue with white numbers.  It is a very well made die with good points, well balance, not cheap at all.  I have $5 D10 dice that this one, that is included with the game, puts to shame. 

Complexity: EASY, Introductory.  The game is also being sold at various National Parks.

Scenarios:  12 fast playing scenarios depicting various battles. 

Setup Time:  If sorted, 5 minutes.  If not sorted, probably 10 - 15 minutes.

Playing Time: Between 15 mins to 1 - 2 hours, depending on the scenario. 

Number of Players: Designed for two players. 

Solitaire Playability (Scale 1 to 10):  Not very good, a 7, but just about any game can be played solo.

Rules: These are very simple rules, they do need some help.  

Addenda: None has ever been published.  However, I found quite a few questions asked on several different forums and gathered the questions and answers into one place.  See below. (though, I understand questions, what I can't understand is not publishing an errata sheet and having it on LnL's web site, as they do have a forum) 

Play-Balance: Good. Some scenarios handicap one side or the other, to simulate what was going on at that battle, at that particular hour.  For example, to simulate wet weather, a scenario has the attackers adding +2 to their attack DR for wet powder.

Any additional to the rules?  Sure there are. Special rules are listed in the scenarios. 

Evaluation or Summary:  The game is good, as it does what it is suppose to do, being introductory. I would have to give it a 7.  The rules could use a touch up and be explain in a few areas better. 

click to go to WD
No, I did not pay much and the game was not sent to me for free for review.  Being a subscriber to War Diary (WD) magazine, one gets a coupon for one free game from Lock N Load. All one has to do is pay postage - I used my coupon for this game and it cost me aprx $15 for shipping.  Another bonus of subscribing to WD  included in the price are several 25% off coupons for games from Lock N Load and Revolution Games.   Besides the interesting articles (even for games I will never purchase) and some of the top writers in the field, Roy and Rob of WD has worked hard to give subscribers the best bang for the buck. For this, I thank them. Also, congrats for the 2019 Origins Award!!!  

There are several problem areas that need to be known - there is very little to no rules for line of sight of artillery (since they are ranged attacks) and the counters are hard to understand. For example the combat factor is shown as "1/6".  Think of the 1/6 as 1- 6. ( why?!?  The "-" shows a range of numbers, while "/" means "and/or" Sort of silly isn't it.)

The graphic to the left shows what the counters are like with explanations.

Using the example from above "1-6", on a DR of 1, an attack always succeeds.  A DR of 2 to 6 can hit, but terrain has to be added. For example, if a defending unit is in a defensive position (a stone bldg), +3 is added to the attackers DR. If a 6 is rolled, add +3 for the bldg, the final is attack number is 9, a miss. 

An errata sheet would have taken care of these questions instead of questions being asked on several forums on several different web sites.  To me, not making a errata sheet and making it available on the publishers site is sheer laziness. 

Here is a collection of questions and answers found on several forums on different gaming sites.  (note - I take no responsibility for the way these are written, I just copied and put into a doc file. Some of them don't make a lot of sense, and you are on your own.)

1) Counters: what does the "1/" in front of the combat factor signify?

A1. The 1/6 or 1/7 etc is the ‘to hit’ number based on the units Combat Roll number. Anything within this range is the die roll needed to make a successful attack.  

A2. note - Combat value of say “1-7” that is the number you must roll to achieve a hit. an example in play test with NON war gamers having the one number of a 7 confused them was it a number above a seven or below a seven. Once we changed it to a value of “1-7” as an example, it solved that issue.  (too bad this isn't listed as such on the counter)

2) Counters: why is light spelled "lite"?

 A. It was the designer’s choice of phrase as it is from the period. "Lite" was the type of gun class.  (Really?!? I have yet to find in the period diaries I have read or any historical books that the spelling of the word "light" spelled as "lite" is used.  Well, whatever trips your trigger.
😄)

3) Are road hexes that have woods in them treated as woods for combat purposes?

A. No, the Terrain Effects Chart shows no Combat or Retreat effects. The unit that is traveling along the road does not benefit from the surrounding terrain because the roads were built in light woods terrain.

4) (The) "R" spaces at the bottom of the Monongahela map are not referenced in the rulebook.

A. These denote the direction of retreat for this scenario.

5) Is the French leader considered a unit for purposes of victory conditions in the Braddock’s Defeat scenario?

A. No, the French leader is not considered a unit for victory point conditions. Historically, he was killed at the start of the actual battle.

6) What are the camp hexes referenced in the victory conditions for the Battle of Lake George, and when it says they are considered units for losses does that mean if the British enter the hexes?

A. Per the designer: All of the hexes, for camp are at the edge where the British start.

7) Battle of Sideling Hill: no hexes are marked B, F or R for unit placement.

A. Please open a support ticket to get this taken care of for you as it sounds like you don't have the correct map.  (1st edition. It was quickly fixed. Contact LnL)

8) Battle of Fort William Henry: no hexes are marked with an underlined F.  

A. Same as above, please open a support ticket to have that taken care of for you.
(
1st edition. It was quickly fixed. Contact LnL)

9) Does reference to optional retreat rules just means the last paragraph of the retreat rules?

A. Yes. If a unit takes a hit, flip the counter and then roll the morale number. If it fails this roll,  then retreat towards to direction of retreat.

10) Do friendly units block line of sight for artillery? Seems it would be blocked (as in most other games) but rules only reference terrain as blocking line of sight.  

A. Yes any unit blocks line of sight for the big guns.

11) Terrain chart says some units, those without a green F, cannot retreat into forest hex without first passing a morale test.   

A. Rules under 5.3 states that the unit forced to retreat into a forest hex is eliminated upon failing its retreat test.

12)  I am assuming a Morale Test and Retreat Roll are same thing, is that right?    

A. You test your moral if your unit has taken a loss, if it fails, it retreats

13) Are non Green MF units prohibited from retreating into a forest hex or may they retreat if they pass a Morale Test? It seems like the TEC contemplates a two step process - Retreat Roll then a second Morale Test to enter Forest hex? Or are non Green MF simply prohibited from retreating into a forest hex?    

A. Red F units may not retreat into a forest.

14) Can you retreat to a hex adjacent to a enemy unit? I assume “no,” but not sure. Rules say you must retreat away from attacker.     

A. Retreat away from the enemy and you canny (cannot) retreat into a enemy unit.

15) How do I trace LOS?  Should I use the traditional center-to-center method? If so, what happens if my LOS runs through a hex spine, where a hex is blocking terrain and the other is not?     

A. Line of site - if there  are trees, a house, or something blocking the path you can't see it. However you can shoot down a road.

16) Do intervening units block LOS?    

A. Yes units block line of site.

17) Road terrain and forests. A hex with a road passing through a forest, how is it considered for combat?  A road or a forest?    

 A. Road in the woods is still consider woods for combat as there is cover on both sides of the road but you may shoot a cannon ball down the road.

18) In the Battle of Lake George scenario instructions it is said that the British leader and the three "camp hexes" are to be considered as units for victory purposes. The issue is that I cannot find any "camp hex"!     

A. Lake George scenario, the three clear hexes are the camp hexes.

19) What is the (French) "CDB"?

A. The CDB (Coureurs d'Bois) represents French Trappers and locals who were not part of the militia.

Finale...  on to the soapbox!!!

How to remember to go to everyone's web site to get answers is beyond me.  And saying to make up house rules, is ridiculous. Every game should be the best it can be, rules explained and if a player doesn't like it, then they can make up their own rules.  But when one does this, the game changes from what the designer was thinking/making.  

Sorry, but this laissez-faire thinking towards game rules is a cop out.  For Snakes & Ladders, sure, but not a war game.  Yes, life is short (I should know with my health problems) but when one designs a game such as this, then there needs to be semi-concrete answers and errata, especially when intentionally sold at State and National parks (good idea though) to potently people who never played a game such as this. Since the publisher has their own forum area, this should have been the only place to find answers and an errata sheet, not all over the place. 

There is only one designer/developer I know and he has the smarts to listen to his play testers when they ask "what are you trying to do with this rule in this game?". He also explains the rational behind the rule and listens to possible better ways of rewriting that rule.  Not saying most good designers and developers don't do this, I only know of one personally.

What's strange is there are some really interesting ideas in the game.  The addition of special rules for the scenarios (though not new to games, just being used in a very introductory game), the use of colour coding on the counters to show those units that can go thru woods or not, among a few others.  Very interesting. Would I buy this game if I had known all of this before hand?  For the low cost I paid for the game, yeah.  But honestly, not for full price.  If you have money to burn, then by all means go for it.   

Off the soapbox...
Well, that is it for this review. It is a good, fun game, with some of the nicest counters and maps (and rules booklet) I have seen in a long time, aimed supposedly at a novice.  But honestly, it needs a veteran gamer to show the novice the ropes due to some of the problem areas in the rules.

There is a sister game to "Bloody Mohawks" called "Savage Wilderness" with different scenarios. Same counters, rule booklet (names changed of course), same look and feel to the game maps, same problem areas, but honestly, not worth the money.  These maps and scenarios should have been added to this game. And that would make Bloody Mohawk a great game buy at $39.99, even with the problem areas.  Or even offering Savage Wilderness as an add-on like LnL's Tank Vs Tank Eastern Front (or Western Tank) does. 

My suggestion, unless you are a collector and don't play the games, is to buy one or the other and grab the one you don't buy as a download and print out the scenarios and the game maps. You will save money in the long run as they are both the same rules booklet, same counters, same TEC (player's aid), though a different dedication.

Thank you for coming to the blog and reading...  

-ab

This blog is considered to be a living blog. Changes will be made to it as needed to clarify, correct errors or update with new information.  Also, this is my opinion, right or wrong.
 
[edited 02 Jul 2021 to clarify a couple of points and correct a word]

Hitting Home

What if...
This game asks an interesting question, what if members of the Tripartite Pact (aka Axis) had attacked deep inside North America?  Where would this be? What place, if attacked, early in the war, say 1942, could have made the war last longer or possible brought the U.K. and/or the Soviets, then the US to their knees and sued for peace?

One of those places is the subject of the latest game from High Flying Dice, LLC. Called "Hitting Home - Axis Raids on the Soo Locks, 1942 & 1945", a "what if" on an Axis aerial attack on the Soo Lock system located on the St Mary's River (between Lake Superior and Lake Huron) at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The locks were well guarded as members of the 131st Infantry and 100th Coastal Artillery had begun arriving early in 1942. They were armed with anti-aircraft weapons and used 60-inch searchlights to patrol the sky. 

Shortly afterward, the 399th Barrage Balloon Battalion arrived to do their part in the defense of the locks. Their barrage balloons were anchored in place 2,000 feet above the locks by inch-thick steel cables, for protection from low level aircraft (no balloons in the game, drat.). Steel mesh nets were installed underwater above and below the locks to guard against torpedo attacks that might be used on the lock gates. 

One of the local jokes in the Sault Ste. Marie area was that the amount of AAA and barrage balloons on one's property dictated one's status in the community.  

A one time attack could possibly caused problems for a week or more, as a fallen rail bridge did on October 7, 1941.  Ships were backed up and in anchorage below and above the locks, while the bridge spans and train were cleared from the area and parts of the locks repaired.

With roughly 90% of all iron ore coming from the northern iron regions destine for the steel factories in the east, a surprise attack might disrupt enough shipping to the point of less ore for the manufacturing of munitions, armor, guns, weapons, and aircraft being available for the war effort, whether lend-lease or general use for the US forces.   

Note - this attack would need to be sustained not only by aircraft bombing, water mining, and by saboteurs at the Soo Locks, but also up and down the St Mary's River.   

Wait a sec, there -ab, there are rails and highways. America would just move everything that way.  Possible but... besides shipping on water, the next best thing for inter-continental transport in the US at this time was rail. And rail was too busy with transporting pretty much everything all-ready across the country. There were not enough engines (locomotives), rail cars, or rails to move all the iron ore required and move everything else. Air Transport was not available in the quantity needed. The road system, honestly, was a shambles across the country, nor was it high speed.  It would take too long to deliver the amount of ore needed to keep the mills going and create back-logs in every type of war goods shipping.  This river system and its locks are needed for steel.  Also, never think that the US is not bless by having all the waterways we have, like the Great Lakes, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to name a few.

Government thinkers thought a one way bombing run from Norway was possible. Other thoughts were aircraft being brought into Hudson Bay via German transport ships and used, as in the game.  

Another thought (mine), in 1942, the Japanese had several very large, very long range bomber-type float planes that could have made life hell for the continental United States. Mavis (H6K) and Emily (H8K) flying from Japan, refueling from subs, then to Attu and Kiska Islands that Japan had captured, refueling and with 10 or more of them flying in fuel, crews, equipment, and munitions for a small sea plane base on one of the many large lakes in Canada. Attu and Kiska could have been used for stockpiling men, equipment, and supplies and used for transporting to somewhere in Canada. Far fetch? Probably, but lucky for us none of this was ever implemented by the Axis high commands and this is where the game comes into play....

Title:  Hitting Home, Axis Raids on the Soo Locks 1942 & 1945
Price: $12.95
Card set Available: $9.00
Designer:  Paul Rohrbaugh
Graphics Designer:  Bruce Yearian
Publisher:  High Flying Dice Games, LLC
Published Date:  2020

The Game
Hitting Home is an introductory air game using High Flying Dice's tried and true air war gaming system. Other games HFDG based on this system have been reviewed here, such as Fighting Eagles and Honcho, among a few others. This latest version is no slouch when it comes to being easy to play and IMHO, fun. Also, the game graphics are top-notch as only Bruce Yearian can do (sorry, though other graphic designers have done a few of these games, and are good, IMHO Bruce is the one who just does it right).

Components (Rules 1.1, 1.2, 1.3)
Each "Hitting Home" game is comprised of the following:
one 8.5" x 11" "Raid" map
one 8.5" x 11" "Air Strike" map
one set of rules (4 single sheet pages!)
one set of 50 unmounted counters

Player Supplied Components
The player will need to provide one D6 and a deck of cards.

Miscellaneous
Of course, HFDG has a card set to replace the deck of cards, that is available for purchase at $9.  Mounting of the counters is available for $6, but you will need to cut them out.

Counters
50 unmounted, mostly double-sided counters consisting of:

18 1" counters  double-sided
7 US Aircraft (2 P-36; 2 P-40; 3 P-47)
3 US AAA (representing the 100th Coastal Artillery)
2 German He-114 & 2 He-115 (for 1942 Scenario)
4 IJN M6A (for 1945 scenario)

20 1/2"  markers double-sided
7 "Very Low / Low" altitude
7 "High / Very High" altitude (note - Aircraft at Medium altitude do not need a marker)
2 Victory Point markers - 1x, 10x German / Japanese
4 "One Attack Left" German / Japanese (for bombers)

12 1/2" markers single-sided
    3 "Guns Jammed"
    3 "Lucky Shot"
    1 Target
    1 Sun
    1 Air Defense Level
    1 Turn
    1 German Base / 1 Japanese Base

Note - Yes the rules say 43 counters/markers. But if I can guess, there are extra two Guns Jammed, two Lucky Shots, one extra Allied aircraft, and the other extra counters could be the Japanese Victory Point markers and Japanese Base. As the Victory Point markers for the German/Japanese and the German/Japanese base marker could have been made universal, requiring only one set.  No biggie, as more is always better. 

Setup (Rules 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 4.1, 4.2)
After figuring out which scenario (there are only two - 1942 scenario or 1945 scenario) will be played, markers (counters, whatever), are placed on the Raid map and  four Allied 1942 aircraft placed in a cup to have three blindly pulled (if playing the 1942 scenario.). If the player puts the game and counters into one of the gaming trays as sold by Against The Odds (ATO) magazine, set up will be F-A-S-T and storage of the game, sweet! 

Play then is resolved on the Raid Map to see what the final ADL is for the Allied player.

got to love this map
Raid Map (Rules 3.0, 4.1)
The "Raid" map adds a new flavor to the Eagle series of games by using an "overall" map that shows the "Attack" base of the enemy to the target area via a series of "Ingress /Egress" boxes, "Box 1" and "Box 2". These boxes serve as possible areas that might spot the enemy and alert the "Target Area". 
 
As the Axis aircraft are moved from box to box, a D6 is rolled to determine the Air Defense Level (ADL). Depending on the ADL (from 1 to 3) and recorded on the "Game Record Keeping Track" that is on the "Raid" map, when the Axis player reaches the target area, this final number will decide how many aircraft and AAA units are available at the start of the game for the Allies. Plus it dictates how many black cards will be available for card draws (action points and combat) for the Allied player.  

For example in rule 4.1, if the ADL is 1 when the actual game starts on the "Air Strike" map, the Axis player will have 2 Axis air units that start on the "Air Strike" map on any North edge. Only 1 Allied AAA unit is in play and placed. No Allied air units are available for play at start (south edge of Air Strike map). The cards are shuffle to make the game deck using all the red card for the Axis player and both Jokers. However, the Allied player only uses the black suite number cards 1 to 5 and all black face cards. One Allied air unit will arrive on turn 1 after the first Joker CD (card draw) and another Allied air unit will be available at the start of turn 2 as a reinforcement.  This is not good and shows what could happen if unprepared for an attack.  

Can this happen in the game? Well, it did for me in several games - it is tough!  Plus the 1st Joker wasn't turn over until close to the end of the 1st game turn - when I received my 1st aircraft. And the Axis player got the "Enemy Guns Jammed" random event. Yes, the Soo Locks were bombed and out of commission. Again, almost the same thing happen on the second game. By the 3rd game, I made sure that those Air Raid Wardens were sent to better duty in the middle of the Everglades with no insect repellent, leaky rubber boots, and no boat. Yes, I changed the 6 sided die as payback is a mutha.

Yes, both boxes will be rolled for. The marker for the ADL is placed on box 1 of the Game Record Track. If the Allied player is lucky for the first I/E box and rolls a "1", then the ADL marker is advance to "2" on the Game Record Track and so on for the 2nd I/E box. "3" is the max.  

isn't this map beautiful
Air Strike Map (Rules 4.0, 4.1, 4.2)
This is the actual game map for combat.  It is a very nice overhead shot of the Soo Lock area divided into 8x8 squares. It does show an extra lock that would not be available for the 1942 scenario, but is available for 1945.  This is the MacArthur Lock built in 1943 by the Army Corps of Engineers, in an impressive feat of engineering.   

The Axis will enter play on the North side and the Allied Player on the South. 

One needs to place the sun marker by rolling 1D6. Believe it or not, this is important as the sun adds or subtracts  modifiers for attack depending on where it is place.  See 4.2 for this.

Cards  (4.1, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.4.1, 5.4.2, 6.0, 7.0)
A deck of cards is used to regulate who gets to move and/or have combat and the amount of Action Points. If you read this blog very much, you know that I actually prefer and like this system for game play instead of the usual chit pulling or the Igo-Ugo play style.  Some of HFDG games use all cards in one deck or 2 separate decks. This game uses all the cards shuffled together.   

The Axis player uses all of the red card suite (Ace to Ten and all Face cards), while the Allied player uses the black card suite (Ace to Ten and all Face cards), but the amount of black cards this player receives is dependent on the ADL as mentioned above under "Raid" map (4.1). Two Jokers are added and all cards are shuffled together. Each time a card is drawn (CD), the player whose colour is drawn gets to act, whether movement and/or combat and for the amount of "Action Points" available to be able to do this.  

To figure out the amount of  "Action Points" (AP), when an Ace to 10 card is drawn, divide the card number by 1/2 and round up. For example, an "Ace" is 1 AP, while a "5" is 3 APs and a "10" is 5 APs. These APs can be used for up to three aircraft counters for movement or attacking.   

Handy Dandy Card Values
Action Point Ace to 10 Card Values Black (Allies) or Red (Axis) suits. To figure out the Action Points, (1/2 the CD rounded up) to be used for up to 3 aircraft that the player wants to move-
 Ace = 1 AP
  2 = 1 AP
  3 = 2 AP
  4 = 2 AP
  5 = 3 AP
  6 = 3 AP
  7 = 4 AP
  8 = 4 AP
  9 = 5 AP
10 = 5 AP

Face cards allow one aircraft counter three action points and either an attack against a AAA site (Red) or an AAA attack against an aircraft counter at low or medium altitude (Black).  

Note - this is the second air game of Paul's using this in the Eagle gaming system.  The first is Desert Eagles, a game that I have played but just didn't review. One of these days, I will need to correct that oversight.

Jokers are important. The first Joker CD (whether for movement or combat) allows a random event (only once per game if used) and releases an aircraft for the Allies and the reminding two aircraft for the Axis on game turn one.  

The second Joker, again for either movement or combat, either ends the game turn or the game after 4 game turns. However, if both players have not had a chance to preform an action (i.e. move/combat for aircraft or attack/fire AAA) then the card is discarded and play continues with a new CD.

An aircraft movement chart is on the page 4 showing the possible moves and AP cost for each move. Remember to start in the center square. And bombers can't preform the last line (pulling loops).

Combat (Rules 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.4.1. 5.4.2)
No, I am not going to list them. The rules are short enough.
for air combat see 5.2.
for AAA combat see 5.3.
for Bombers bombing see 5.4,
for Bomber defensive fire see 5.4.1
for Japanese Kamikaze attacks see 5.4.2.

End of Game  (Rules 3.0, 7.0, 8.0)
The game is over, either by no Axis aircraft on the Air Strike map, or at the end of the 4th game turn. Axis aircraft are the only units that can exit the North edge of the Air Strike map. 

The surviving Axis air units are returned to the Axis Base on the Raid map.  A DR is made for each unit and the base against the current ADL. If the DR is greater than the ADL, the Axis unit or Base is unaffected. If the DR is less than or equal to the ADL, the Axis unit or Base is destroyed and VP is lost. 

Victory points (8.0) are tallied for the Axis player to see who wins. 

Rules
The rules are 4 pages in length. As usual, the rules are well written with only a little bit of possible addenda needed, none of it is a game breaker, just a very casual observation and not official from HFDG.

Under 1.1, 50 game counters, not 43. Just a few extras incase you lose one.

Under 4.1, (second column) Target marker is placed in one of the four red shaded squares, not red sided squares.

Under 5.0, the player whose face card is drawn, in addition to having 3 APs for one aircraft, can also either attack (Red face) 1 AAA unit (any altitude) or attack (Black face) with one AAA unit at an Axis aircraft at low or medium altitude. Though it is mention for the Axis player, it isn't for the Allied player.

And some other happy thoughts -
Random events happen only once per game.
Pay attention to the Movement Costs chart on page 4 of the rules.
There is also a handy List of Combat Modifiers on page 4.

My Impressions
First, is it a good game? Is it fun? Is it quick? Will it break the bank? Yes, to the first three and no, to the last. It is simple, not simple minded. It is inexpensive, not cheap. And it has a lot of smart thinking (i.e. good ideals) in it.  I like it, especially with the addition of the "Raid map". This adds that something extra that is needed and makes the game interesting with varying the amount of Allied response from game to game for playing on the Strike Map.  It can get rough if the ADL is a "1" for the game, though.

Any suggestions for play
I really can't give you any ideas on how to play the game, except the following - for the Allies, hope your plane spotters can give you advance warning (an ADL of 2 or better a 3).  The more aircraft and AAA you get, the better.  Since this is the continental US, up in the middle of the Great Lakes area, "aces" are nonexistent (they are either in the Navy out in the Pacific or across the Atlantic, learning the trade).  

For the Germans, "bombardiere so schnell du kannst und hol die hölle von der karte".
loosely translated - "bomb quickly and get the hell off the map"

The Japanese are sort of the lost ducks to the party.  You have ok aircraft, but you will be facing P-47s. Just do your best.  Will you just do the normal bombing or has kamikaze fever gotten to you? Or will you say "fudge that", bomb, then land at a different lake,  take your chances as a P.O.W., and go to Hollywood after the war?

What I would change
Well, nothing earth shattering, as everything is HIGHLY functional as is. However, if I could, I would make the altitude markers counters 1" in size. They do need to be bigger to be able to read the fine print. Even with reader glasses, I have to pick them up to read. 

I would also make the Victory Point counters generic and have one as a X1 and one as X10, not double-sided. This would make record tracking for VP easier. And only one marker is needed for Axis base. But this is just me.  As mentioned before, everything works as is. 

Well, that is it for this review. It is a fun game and really for the cost, and mounting the counters, well worth it.  

-ab

This blog is considered to be a living blog. Changes will be made to it as needed to clarify, correct errors or update with new information.

More chat about Military PDFs and games...

Dec 7th 2020 is coming up, marking this the 79th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

note - click on the purple links to be taken to a particular web page.

Still no Pearl Harbor game from Legion (many reasons why), this being "Air Raid, Pearl Harbor", though their web site does say it is in production and expected in 2 months. The announcement was not dated, unfortunately. Jump on the CPO for it, as I don't believe you will be disappointed. 

With each hex equaling 250 yards, it looks to be tactical in size, but strategic in game play!!! 

UPDATED - And the only other Pearl Harbor game, not part of a larger game, that I have seen, played, and reviewed here is no longer in production. This being "Day of Infamy" by High Flying Dice Games (if you have a copy, hold on to it). Hopefully this fun little game will make a comeback.  I just found out that ATO will be publishing this game as one of their "black swans".  It will be included with the next ATO Annual 2019 - La Vendée - 1793.  It was great as a HFDG published game, so I expect the quality will remain when it is published by ATO.

In the meantime, with the battle cry of "Remember Pearl Harbor", please mark this day with a silent prayer, that all our troops will be back home soon from the sand box in the Middle East, and to not forget the people who have suffered and died thru out the history of the world from wars and epidemics.   

PDF's:
Oh boy, I have been buying the games, and not sure why. I am at the point of not being able to figure them out to play them and with the outbreak of covid-19, not really keen visiting or having game opponents come over.  And these days, not able to afford cameras or anything else to play over a network, I am locked into solo play.  It is what it is, but I am too dumb to call it quits on this blog, finally, the heart of this blog post - Pearl Harbor. Here is a pdf from one of the best sources on or about the US Navy, the Naval History and Heritage Command website.  

Desert Eagles

Air War Games:
There are two games that I can recommend, if you like short playing, easy games about air war. 

The first is the latest in what I call the "HFDG Eagle Series", Desert Eagles.  It is a fun little game, with short rules (lol, 1 page, with another page for the advance rules).  It is inexpensive, easy to play and fun. And that means it fits in with the other games in this series (yes, I have reviewed them all here, except this one - just can't get off my lazy butt to write it up).  

And the second is a game that my friend Lou Coatney has come up with  "CBI ATC: China-Burma-India Air Transport Command" located on his history web page. Yes, Lou and  I have been writing back and forth over the past few years and we both found out that our Dads were in ATC, though not at the same time (his Dad was in during WW2, my adopted Dad first flew (pilot) C-54s, C-119s, C-47s, during the Korean War to early Nam, and did a few tours in Nam as a "Husky" pilot, flying Pedro missions for air rescue.  Dad, passed away a month ago due to covid-19. I missed you, Dad.)  

This is a very interesting game. It has a lot going for it, including rock throwing yetis!  ATC pilots reported a lot of strange things while flying over the hump and planes did disappeared for no reason ever stated.  The rules are fairly easy and straight forward as is usual for a Coatney design game.  

Here is what he said - "This is a VERY playable (free to print off and play) aerial transportation solitaire game about the U.S. Army Air Force's effort to fly supplies to China to keep it in World War 2 and tie up so many Imperial Japanese Army soldiers on the Asian mainland which it did. 

A side note - Lou has designed a lot of games and made most of them available for free for personal use. He has designed, land, air and naval games. Drop him a line and tell him how much you like his designs at elcoat@hotmail.com.  Also, he has forewarned us - grab his stuff while it is still up.  One never knows when he may not be able to renew his server space!!!!!  And of course, nothing has to be mention that this is one of the nicest people you could ever write to. 

Soapbox...
Well, that is it for this time. Hopefully, all will be well with the world as we come upon holidays of December 2020 and New Year 2021 -

  • Covid-19 becomes a thing of the past; 
  • the new government that Americans have elected will make this country better and not into the nightmare of the Soviet Union; 
  • religions will realize that the prophets that they believe in are no different than other religion prophets and cease killing in their name; 
  • that the shaping and changing of history does not make a country or people better, but destroys and divides them.

 A lot to ask for, but who knows, right?!? 

Thank you for dropping by, stay safe, and Happy Holidays!
-ab

This blog is considered to be a living blog. Changes will be made to it as needed to clarify, correct errors or update with new information.

Till Darkness Goes

Till Darkness Goes cover

Title:   Till Darkness Goes 
Price:   $7.95
Designer:   Paul Rohrbaugh
Graphics Designer:   BruceYearian
Publisher:   High Flying Dice Games, LLC
Published Date:   2012

Subject:   A game on the NVA attack against the ROKMC 2nd Brigade's, 3rd Btn, 11th Company at Tra Binh Dong, 14-15 Feb 1967.

Note: This review was 90% written before I lost my sight in 2019. I just found it and decided it was more or less ready to go.  It's not perfect, but then neither am I. Enjoy....

Daihan, lai, lai!!!  "Korea, Come, Come!!!" - On a cold wet foggy dark night 14 February, 1967 at aprx 2320hrs, a small probing force of NVA tested the defenses of the perimeter of the 11th Company's position.  They were heard and illumination rounds fired to light up the area. The probing force retreated. The 11th Company went on alert. Nothing was heard again from outside the wire until aprx 0410 hrs on February 15th.  Drums, whistling, and yelling signal the start of the attack. The perimeter was breached and  hand to hand fighting commenced with the enemy. The battle was finally over at 0730 hrs with clean up and very light combat for the next several hours.  The 11th Company still held their position, while the NVA was soundly beaten.

Blue Dragons patch
In the aftermath of this battle, the 11th Company lost 15 KIA and 33 WIA. The NVA and VC count was 243 KIA from small arms. Another 60 KIA presume from small arm fire and 2 POWs.

The 11th Company not only received some of the highest medals from the Republic of Korea, but also a U.S. Presidential Unit Citation. All personnel received a very special honor, everyone (including KIA) were promoted 1 rank higher. This is only the second time in the history of the Republic of Korea military (since 1948) that this honor has been given.

Scale & Game Area:   Area movement where 1" equals 100 yards. ROK Marines are platoons with the North Vietnamese Army/Viet Cong units each being aprx companies (reduced) in size.

Player Supplied Components:   A deck of cards and one ten sided die (1D10, with 0 being 10). 

Card Set:  Of course HFDG has a card set for this game. Cost is $8 + postage.  Best to order it with your game to save on that postage!!! And why buy this? Well, eye candy! And the math is done for you for the activations and you don't have to keep remembering what face cards allow you to do such as artillery or A-4 air strikes, or flipping reduced units to full strength, etc.  Easy peasy and still keeps the price under 20 buckazoids.

Components:  Each game comes with  the following:
  • 11"x17" game map.
  • 44 un-mounted double-sided counters.
  • a player's aid card.
  • 5 pages of rules, plus a cover sheet!
  • a small set of addendum for the game. 
Note: I am going to call the Republic of Korea's Marines player as "ROK".  This is no dis-respect to my brother Marines in Korea. And the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong player as "NVA/VC". This is breaking with the nomenclature the game uses for both sides.


Game Map:  The game map represents the ROK 11th company's base camp and the surrounding country side complete with jungle, clear, fortified areas, and shrubs (see the Player's Aid Chart). There are no hexes and the game (as mentioned before) uses area movement with one inch equaling 100 yards. It is very well done. (see 3.2, 9.1, 9.1.1, and 9.1.2)

On the west side of the map is the Game Turn Track. The game has 7 game turns with each turn representing 2 hours. Game Turns 1 to 4 are night turns (night turns do affect die rolls). Turn 5 is  dawn and turns 6 and 7 are daylight, allowing the ROK to use A-4 Air Strikes in addition to artillery. (see 3.2, 4.2, 4.4, and 6.0)

On the east side of the map is the Game Record Track that can be consider the heart of the game, as both the ROK and NVA/VC use it for tracking the morale levels of each side - a.k.a Resistance Level for the ROK and the Morale Level for the NVA/VC.

The Game Record Track is also used for tracking the number of NVA/VC artillery support strikes, the ROK artillery support strikes, and for dawn/day turns, the number of A-4 Air Strikes available for each turn.  What makes this track important are the boxes shaded in blue (9 to 7), yellow (6 to 4) and red (3 to 1).  These boxes determine if any additional or lessening of activations occur and/or if an automatic victory is claimed. (see 5.0, 5.1, and 5.2)

In each area on the map are circles with numbers in it. The circles with the top half as black (with white lettering) are Mine Areas, while the other circles are the Area Identifier. On the lower half of all of these circles are numbers that are terrain defense modifiers. If that number is red, it is a modifier for both sides. If the number is blue, it is a modifier only for the ROK units (note: these blue numbers only occur in the ROK tan fortification areas and important to know).(see Player's Aid Chart and 2.1, 3.2, 3.2.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4).

Player's Aid Card:   The various terrain on the game map is listed on the Player's Aid Card (PAC), such as clear, jungle, scrub, etc. The PAC also explains the Mine and Area Identifiers. On the PAC is the Activation Track and a guide to what each type of card draw does. The PAC needs to be cut away from the counters. 


Counters/Markers:  The counter art is different from Bruce's usual NATO symbols as it uses generalize drawings of a ROK Marine and NVA regular.  The counters are nicely done and need to be mounted. Of course, if you don't want to mount the counters yourself, you can have it done for a small fee, request at the time of ordering.  You will still need to cut them out, though.  The counters are aprx 5/8" in size and represent both the Republic Of Korea Marines (ROK) and the North Vietnam Army and Viet Cong (NVA/VC) at this battle.

The ROK player has sixteen counters. Of these, seven combat counters (the 11th Company)  and nine various markers for victory points, resistance level, and other markers needed for the ROK player. 

The NVA/VC player has nineteen counters with twelve combat counters representing the 40th and 60th NVA/VC Btns including the unknown Viet Cong unit (a Btn of VC from Quang Ngai by the way). The NVA/VC player also has an additional seven various markers to be used.

There are eight wire breached markers for use with the variant wire breaching rules and one game turn marker for the sum total of 44 counters.

The combat unit markers seem to have generated a bit of history as players complained at not being able to figure out how to read them.  Here is a graphic of the counters that shows how to read the combat units. 
 
Bruce, imho, always does a fine job on the graphics of any game he touches.  This is no exception.  The map, counters, and player's aid are nicely done!!!

Game Versions / Scenarios:  There is only one scenario but several variant rules (that add just a touch of complexity, but do give the game a more historical feel).  Honestly, the game should be played with these rules as it truly brings the sapper units into their own.

Complexity (Scale of 1 to 10): "2" - The game is rated Introductory. With adding the variant rules, this complexity is, imho, a tad higher that introductory.  And more bloody as was the actual battle.

Setup Time:  Once the counters are mounted and cut out, anywhere between 5 to 8 mins. Of course if the counters are segregated into a gaming tray or small plastic bags, set up is even quicker, with only who is going to play which side and of course getting one's beverage of choice being the slow down factors.

Playing Time:  Game play time is between 1 to 2 hours. If the variant rules are used, add 30 mins to another hour.  Of course with eating pizza and drinking beer, time doesn't matter much.   

Solitaire Playability (Scale 1 to 10):  "9" - Like most of HFDG's games, this game can be played solitaire, and to be honest, this particular game series is HIGHLY suitable, even though it was not designed as such. I give it a 9 and it doesn't matter which side is played as the NVA/VC have one goal with 2 different groups, while the ROK has to survive an attack from these two groups.  Pick whichever side you want to play and go at it.

Rules:  There are five pages of rules. On the last page is a condense history of the battle and an abbreviated sequence of play. The rules are quite good, being short and sweet.

Addenda:  Yes, there is a little addenda and it is duplicated here for those who might have not have any.  As always, it is available from HFDG via email.

Till Darkness Goes 
Addenda, July , 2019

1.0 Components (clarification): The numbers on the counters are as follows:
Top left: Attack Factor (AF)
Lower left: Defense Factor (DF)
Right: Movement Factor (MF)

5.1 and 5.2 (clarification): The 1 through 3 areas on the RL and ML tracks printed on the map are colored red (the yellow boxes are 4 through 6).

Cover (correction). The year date on the cover should be 1967 (not 1966).

Bibliography (update): The link to Jae-sung Chung’s article given in the bibliography is out of date. The current, functional link is: http://www.vietvet.co.kr/us/trabinh.htm.

And that is pretty much it as far as addenda goes.

Description of Play:  Play alternates back forth using card deck draws for the total amount of activations and who gets to activate each round. Players take turns preforming a Card Draw (CD) with each player activating on their color, no matter who draws the card.

Using the "draw of cards" to decide who moves and for combat is a good way to show this type of a see-saw battle, a fire fight, as it does seem like time stands still.  No one can think or act/react in a standard war game of u-go/i-go.  The only other way of possible playing the game is on a computer and have it move, attack/defend while one is doing the same. Of course one can be in actual combat (trust me, you don't want to be there)....

Setup:  ROK player goes first and places the infantry, HQ, and the Heavy Weapons units in any of the tan fortified areas, one unit each. The ROK Divisional Artillery support marker goes into either area 26, 27, or 37 (see 2.1 for other setup info). Once placed, the ROK Divisional Artillery Support marker can not move. Plan carefully.  Artillery support missions are determined for turn 1 (see 4.3).  

Next, the NVA/VC player sets up the six units of the 60th Btn in any jungle areas 1, 2, 3, or 5 with no more than 2 units in an area.  The remaining units of the 40th Btn (six units) are held off the map until called for optional entry into the game. (see 2.2 for other setup info).

Note: For the first round of the first game turn, the NVA/VC player goes first and rolls 1D10. to see how many units that activate.    

Activation and Stacking:  If not using the HFDG card set, then a card deck is shuffled with all four suits (Ace to King) and 1 joker.  Aces are treated as "1's".   

A card is drawn by either player to activate units. Remember - A unit can activate once per Card Draw (round), many times in a turn.

Up to 2 friendly units can stack in an area. And opposing units may occupy the same area.

The NVA/VC player activates on any red card, with the ROK player activation on black cards.  If it a regular numbered card, halve the number, dropping any fraction but not less than 1, for the amount of activations that player can have for that round.

Examples: a black 5 is drawn. The ROK player has up to 2 activations or a red 9 is drawn and the NVA/VC player will have up to 4  unit activations.

Play-Balance:  This game is very finely balance between the two different forces at battle. As in real life this battle could have gone either way (actually, the NVA/VC should have won this battle, but for the training, esprit de corp, and the firepower that was able to be brought to bear on the compound, the battle was hard fought and won by the ROK Marines. Plus the fact, those ROK Marines are tough!

Special Counters:  Special mention needs to be made of three very important counters in the game - two of these are for the ROK player - the HQ unit and the Divisional Artillery Support counters (labeled as "Support Missions" on the counter). The third important counter is for the NVA/VC player and there are two available - the NVA/VC Sapper units, one for each of the NVA/VC battalions. What makes these three counters special?  Good question!!! 

The ROK HQ unit is placed in any of the tan fortification areas during setup. The HQ unit's area location is where a returned ROK unit from a black face card draw is placed. The HQ unit is also used for various adds or subtractions to the many different die rolls for both sides.  If eliminated, two things happen. The ROK player cannot return an eliminated unit back to play, but there is a possibility the HQ unit can be return to play, starting at the end of game turn 3. (see 2.1, 3.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.0)

The ROK Divisional Artillery Support counter, once placed, cannot moved. If a NVA/VC unit enters the same area as this counter and it is not stacked with another ROK unit, it is eliminated (see 4.1).  This counter is also very important to the ROK with various adds and subtractions. Once eliminated, it cannot be returned via rule 6.0. (see 2.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 7.0)

Note: I believe this counter represents Sub Unit One, 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO), and Lance Corporals Jim Porta and Dave Long, two US Marines assigned to support the 11th Company. Though both of these Marines played a good part in this battle, their names and 1st ANGLICO have disappeared from the ROKMC history on this battle. Please do note that both US Marines survived Nam. 

The NVA/VC Sapper counters are very important to the NVA/VC player as well.   Being able to breach the wire, assist in combat or aid a NVA/VC unit to negate the cost of wire crossing,  There is also a special exception rule for the use of these counters when stacked with a regular unit. (see    As a result, the variant rules 9.1 to 9.1.2 should be used (well, all the rules should be used including 9.2).  

Summary: There are a few games designed about Nam (HFDG has a lot, with more on the way), but none on any of the South Korean battles, except this one. South Korea has always been a US ally since the Korean War and generally supplies the next largest compliment of Armed Forces to any conflict that the US is involved in (bigger than all other countries, including the UK).  Besides military aid, South Korea also supplied medical and civilian aid to South Vietnam. 

Maybe I have some bias for South Korea as my spouse of 44+ years is from there. One of her brothers was in the Blue Dragons in Nam. To be honest he never talks about it and I don't ask.   

I find this game reminds me of a French Foreign Legion post being besieged by  attacking Arabs.  Will the Legion (ROK's) be able to stand off the attackers or will the walls be breached? The same here.  There are numerous possible outcomes in this game. I find the game to be nail biting, close to the possible battle, and fun.  

In my playing, I have found the following - one can't play either side haphazardly. One must think of a plan and follow it. However, one must be able to change plans if something goes wrong (bad die roll or missed card draws 2 or 3 times in a row). Always have a backup plan.

The key for the ROK player is the artillery and air power. It will kill the NVA/VC units. However, remember to protect the ROK Divisional Artillery Support counter as once eliminated, it cannot return to play.

The key for the NVA/VC player is his sapper units. Use them wisely and make sure you protect them.  Always keep them stacked with another unit. If they are eliminated, bring them back as soon as possible. And use the jungle terrain.

Honestly, thank you for stopping by! I would like to hear any comments you may have on the game, good or bad.
-ab

This blog is considered to be a living blog. Changes will be made to it as needed to clarify, correct errors or update with new information.

Pocket battle Games, so far....

selection of Rock and a Hard Place
This is a review "of sorts" on all the pocket battle games (aka pbgs) from the original publishers,  LPS, Inc and High Flying Dice Games, Ltd.

Up to now (Nov 10, 2019 April 27, 2021) LPS, Inc has put out 30 32 various pocket battle games (PBGs) under two different companies - Turning Point Simulations and Against the Odds magazine.  High Flying Dice Games, Inc has put out two under their company logo.

Now, I am not going into an in depth review or point out which is the best design or play, as what I like and believe is very good, you may not, but I am listing the PBGs that are available and what each game covers. 

Turning Point Simulations (LPS) Pocket Battle Games
#1 Rattankrieg* Assault on the Tractor Factory - WW2, Stalingrad.
#2 Nothing So Well Lost. The Siege of Rhodes 1022.
#3 Fateful Days, The Marne 1914 - Opening of WW1
#4 Operation Pedestal - WW2, convoy to Malta
#5 A Hard Pounding Fight* - Battle for La Haye Sainte - Napoleon at Waterloo

ATO Magazine (LPS) Pocket Games
#1 Stand At Mortain - WW2, The stand of the 30th Infantry Division
#2 Some Poles Apart - WW2, German invasion of Poland 1939
#3 Showtime Hanoi* - Nam, Lt Cunningham's and Lt Driscoll's victory over Colonel Toon
#4 Morgan's A' Comin- ACW, Rebel raider Morgan crosses the Ohio
#5 The Toast of the Town - Boudica takes Londinuim 61 AD
#6 Paying The Peiper - WW2, Battle of the Bulge 1944.
#7 A Dash of Peiper - WW2, Battle of the Bulge 1944
#8 The Bagged Peiper - WW2, Battle of the Bulge 1944
#9 Just A Piper Dream - WW2 Battle of the Bulge, 1944

#10 La Garde Recule!* - Napoleon 1815, The Old Guards last attack at Waterloo
#11 The Union Forever*- ACW, the entire Civil War
#12 Operation Cerberus - The Channel Dash* - WW2
#13 Marschall Vorwarts - Napoleon, Battle of Leipzig 1813
#14 A Matter of Honor - Napoleon, Battle of Leipzig 1813
#15 The Nations Assemble - Napoleon, Battle of Leipzig 1813
#16 Trapping the Ogre - Napoleon, Battle of Leipzig 1813

#17 The Siege of Alesia - Caesar's classic battle 52 BC
#18 Behold A Pale Glider - WW2, Eben Emael, 1940
#19 Not Men, But Devils - Mexico, Battle of Camarón, 1863
#20 Imua - Unification of Hawaii, 1795 - Hawaii Civil War
#21 The Utah Beach Landings* - WW2, D-Day
#22 The Omaha Beach Landings* - WW2, D-Day
#23 The Gold Beach Landings* - WW2, D-Day
#24 The Juno Beach Landings* - WW2, D-Day 
#25 The Sword Beach Landings* - WW2, D-Day


More PBGs added since 2020...
#26 Goto Hell - US and IJA tank battle on Saipan
#27 Barring the Gate - Napoleon 1815, defense of Château d'Hougoumont

High Flying Dice Games (HFDG) Pocket Games
#1 Dueling Eagles Over Malta* - WW2, British Air Defense of Malta
#2 Rock and a Hard Place* - WW2, what if German invasion of Malta

Note: Games in italics have reviews on this blog and are linked to those reviews.  Games in yellow can actually be joined together to create the entire battle. 

Big Games?
The PBGs above in yellow can be joined together and played as bigger games - for example #6, #7, #8, #9, create the Battle of Bulge; #13, #14, #15, #16, the entire battle of Leipzig; and #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, make up all five beach landings on D-Day. I have played them all, but my favorite "big" game is #21 to #25, the D-Day set. One can get advance rules to play the games combined.

Well, what are they?
In all honestly, these are not monster games with 4 or more large game map sheets covering a 4' x 6' or larger table with 1000's of counters, pages of errata, volumes of rules or the complication of said rules, and  taking months if not years to play.  Nor are they like a standard size game with an 11"x17" (or larger) game map, 80 to 100+ counters and 6 to 20 pages of rules.

These are nice, simple to play games.  Complicated enough not to be able to figure out the ultimate "win all the time" game plan strategy within a few plays if not at all.  If I had to say what the games are like, they would be akin to the old SPI Capsule Games or Meta-Gaming Micro games, though, much smaller, better graphics,  and a more variable play result - Easy to play, but hard to master.

Four inches by six inches (post card size), heavy duty poster board with 16 to 20 counters (most have 17 counters) each. Nicely printed with a game map on one side and rules on the other. I have noticed that each seem to have a clear coating, too.  Dice may be needed for some of the PBGs and some use a playing card system for movement and/or combat.

The games are not slapped together in a haphazard fashion, but truly planned out with attention to detail. I was once told by Paul Rohrbaugh that "it is harder to design these pocket games to be as true to history and fun, than it is to design a larger game.  Only 4"x6" of playing surface and 20 or less counters.  Fun is the key word here, as with any game, if it is not "fun" to play, then why play it?".  I agree.

Clear, concise rules that cover everything has to be provided. Units must equal what was at the particular battle.  For example, ATO #11, The Union Forever, covers the entire American Civil War to include blockade runners, Lee's invasion of the North, C.S.A. state militia and armies, Union Armies, and carpet baggers (i.e. Federal control of Southern states) (and this is one of my favorites). Another PBG, TPS #1 "Rattankrieg" covers the German attack at the tractor factory during the Battle of Stalingrad. Design for solo play, it is not a walk over for the Germans. As a bonus, it is designed and developed by two of the nicest and devoted to history game designers out there - Steve Cunliffe and Paul Rohrbaugh.  Again, a lot of thought and probably a lot of hair pulling went into this game.

Ok, what about the cost and how do I get them?
The games, are inexpensive, with the LPS (ATO/TPS) series being free with a purchase (this also gets you mounted die-cut counters for your PBG as well), or if you have an ATO magazine subscription, I believe you will get a few as part of your subscription. 

High Flying Dice Games offers 2 PBGs = #1 Dueling Eagles Over Malta and  #2 "Rock and a Hard Place".

Three ways to get HFDGs PBG #1 "Dueling Eagles Over Malta" -
  1. When one purchases four games from HFDGs, ask for it. 
  2. It is included in ATO magazine #45, the issue with "Red Dragon: Blue Dragon game. 
  3. It is available for $* with a card set and a set of mounted counters from HFDG.  
It is an excellent little game and worth what ever it takes to get it, especially since it is a fairly easy to play air combat gaming system, that is exciting. Both have reviews on this site.

HFDG's pbg  #2 "Rock and a Hard Place" can be purchased for $* and comes with a card set (worth it right there as I have this card set and it is nicely done).
HFDG card set for Leipzig 1813

I need to make a special note that High Flying Dice Games has a lot of card sets made up for the PBG's that uses cards. These card sets are used to replace the normal playing deck one may need in a PBG. You can click on the graphic to the right to view them.  Price is $* and shipping.  Are they worth it? I believe so and here is a sample of one.  

note - $* - means there is a cost for them, but at this time, I have no idea what it is now (prices have gone up). Best to go to High Flying Dice web site and check it out for yourself.

So how do I play them?
Once one figures out which PBG to play, cut out the counters as carefully as one can, grab a card deck if needed and/or a die, and read the rules then sit down to play. 

What I do since I have problems with the colors red/green and  needing coke bottle glasses these days for reading The days of color blindness and needing thick glasses are over for me, however, I still blow the game up to 11x17 and may make new counters. I also make a copy of rules on the back, glue/mount and cut out the new counters (click here for instructions on how to mount counters), and find all the addenda I can (below are links, but there is not much).  

For ATO
For HFDG
Note: Addenda for the Games can be downloaded from ATO or TPS for their series of games and contact High Flying Dice Games for their addenda. 

For TPS
Note: The rules for combining all of the Five for Fighting PBGs has been updated and contains now the rules for the all the variants, including the USA Paratroopers. You can download them here.

Since I know I will play the PBG a lot of times, I make sure to take care of the counters and map. These little games are well printed on very stiff poster board and can take a beating, but like anything paper, if it gets wet or mistreated, will fall apart.  

Note: Just remember, these games just like their big brothers are COPYRIGHTED by the publisher.   Not for copying to give to your friends or loved ones. And if you give your pocket game to someone else, then you need to give what you copied to the same person or destroyed it. It is only fair and right.

If you have made it this far, that's it.  As stated above, I have reviewed a bunch of these games for the blog and each game that I play, impresses me just that more. They are fun, they don't take a lot of resources in playing, they don't take up a lot of room (good, if you are a traveling person) and best of all, don't take a lot of time to play.  And perfect for introducing someone to the world of military conflict gaming.  
 
And FYI - since I removed my updated counters and house rules, etc for these small games, due to namby pamby jack wagons posting their XXX crap on my google drive,  and will post to BGG under the games I made them for. 

thanks for reading,
-ab

This blog is considered to be a living blog. Changes will be made to it as needed to clarify, correct errors or update with new information.

Edited Nov 12, 2019 to add price for Dueling Eagles PBG and card set. 
Edited April 30, 2020 to add that the Five for Fighting (D-Day) will be offered again
Edited April 5, 2021 to change price for certain games.
Edited April 27, 2021 to add 2 new PBGs.

La Garde recule!

Armies clash at the Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler II

Yes, another small pocket game, Against the Odds' Pocket Battle Game #10 "La Garde recule! Attack at Waterloo" the retreat of the Imperial Guard, the final French attack at Waterloo, 18 June 1815.

Title: La Garde recule! Attack at Waterloo
Price: $0 free with a purchase
Series: Pocket Battle game #10
Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh
Graphics Designer: Mark Mahaffey
Publisher: LPS, Inc
Published Date: 2011

Subject: This pbg concerns the last actions of Napoleon's Guards in the final French attack on the Allied center. 

Abbreviations used:  AF = Attack Factor, DF = Defense Factor, MP = Movement Points, CD = Card Draw, ACT = Activations, PBG = Pocket Battle Game, "Allies" = British and Dutch, "French" = Old, Middle and Young Guard,  " > " is the Greater Than math symbol.

Scale:  A quick guesstimate, if I may, considering that the infantry units can fire up to 2 hexes away,  a hex is aprx 100 yards with the units representing battalions.  But, this is really not important. 

Complexity:  Introductory!!!

Description of Play:  Either player draws a card (CD). The color and type of card allows one player to activate up to 3 units. Once activated, the unit can either move one hex or preform fire combat or flip a unit over from a reduce state to full strength.

Note: If you have played TSP's pocket battle game #5, "A Hard Pounding", then you will know how to play this one. Differences is no French Arty marker or Major Baring, but the Allies do have the "Duke", himself and all cards are used in the deck, no 9 or 10 cards pulled. 

Components and Physical Quality:  The game comes as a standard size 4" x 6" postcard cardboard. The card is very nice and can take a lot of plays.  Printing is very good. The rules along with a small player's aid listing the terrain with it's corresponding card modifiers and unit breakdown are on the backside with the game map on the front.  Counters need to be cut out for playing.

Counters: The game only has 17 counters. Allies have ten (9 infantry units and 1 Duke of Wellington leader) counters and the French have six and one game turn marker. Allied units are red (British) or green (Dutch) with black lettering and the French are blue with white lettering.  
 
Note: There are no differences between Guard units and regular line (foot) infantry.

Game Map:  For such a small game map it is well design. I can see why LPS, Inc uses Mark as their GD.  

Player added Component:  Players will need to provide a normal deck of cards.  

Card Deck setup:   Shuffle a standard card deck with 1 Joker,  A CD is perform with the French using black cards and Allies using red cards.  An activation allows a unit to either move or perform fire combat.

Each type of card does the following:
  • An even CD allows up to two units to activate.  
  • An odd CD allows up to three units to activate. 
  • A face card CD allows one unit to activate or to flip one unit from reduced to full strength. 
    • An ace is treated as a one for combat or odd for activation.
  • For combat when a face card is drawn, it is an automatic "miss", exception is Duke of Wellington, as he can be eliminated on a CD of a black ace or king. See "Special Unit Counter" below).
  • The Joker signals the end of the game turn when it is drawn for either activation or combat resolution, unless it is drawn before both sides have activated units. In this case, bury it and continue play until the end of the deck.
La Garde, recule! card deck

Note: Of course, High Flying Dice Games, has their own card set for this game. Cost is $8 plus postage. Click on the .jpg to the right.

Solitaire Playability (Scale 1 to 10):  This is like A Hard Pounding.  I give it a 7.  It can be played as solitaire, as just about any game can. 

Versions/Scenarios:  Only one version, no extra rules or scenarios.

Setup Time:  Once everything is cut out, what, maybe 3 mins for setup? It will take longer to shuffle the card deck.

Playing Time:  This one is quick.  My games last 30 to 45 mins if that long. Maybe 45 mins to 1 hour to learn the game the first time, but after?

Rules:  The rules are simple and flow nicely from the various areas of "Setup" to "Play" to "Combat" and to "Reinforcements".  After looking over and playing this little game, I found these rules to be very logical, concise, and can see why "A Hard Pounding (TSP's pbg #5) plays so well. Most important - NO ZONES OF CONTROL and combat is voluntary.  No stacking except for the Duke.

Addenda:  "none" as I can't find any.

Description of Play:  Play is very easy, almost as if the designer was using a formula that he perfected in the past, sweet. This game has the following:
  • Setup:
    • Six Allied units setup on the red diamonds, and three units on any "R". 
    • Two "1st wave" French units on any blue diamond.
    • No stacking, except if the Lord Wellington counter is used as an allied reinforcement.
  • Play:
    • A card draw (CD) activates units for either moving 1 hex or fire combat.
    • It doesn't matter who draws the card, as it is the color and type of card that  depicts which unit(s) are activated.
  • Combat:
    • Units may fire up to 2 hexes away.
    • Infantry have a -2 CD modifier if firing at a non-adjacent hex.
    • Allied Artillery firing at a French unit in an adjacent hex has a +1 CD modifier.
    • Allies "Lord Wellington" adds +1 CD modifier for attacking and +1 DF for any Allied unit he is stacked with.
    • Terrain on combat
      • Hill terrain has a +1 CD modifier against clear terrain.
      • Units in woods have a -1 CD. 
      • No firing thru other units, hills, woods, but can fire into such hexes.
  • To perform a combat resolution, the attacker picks out the lucky defending target.
    • a CD is performed (any color or suite is used), adding this to the AF. 
      • Subtract the DF and hex terrain and/or range.
      • Face cards are an outright miss (exception: the Duke of Wellington is killed if the unit he is stacked with has a combat CD of black Ace or King)
      • A hit is scored on the defender if the final modified value is greater than the target units DF. 
        • If the unit was full strength, it is flipped over to it's reduced side. 
        • If the unit was reduced from before, it is eliminated and removed from play.
    • If the modified value is equal to or less than " < " the target's DF:  No Effect.
  • Reinforcements:
    • Only the French receives reinforcements. 
      • There is a number on the lower right side that indicates the earliest turn the French reinforcement can arrive. They can always enter on later game turns.
Game Length: The game last up to 5 turns of card deck shuffles. Victory is dependent on the French securing their victory conditions - either eliminate all Allied units or exit three non-reduced units (or four units if one of them is reduced) along the north edge of the game map. Otherwise the Allies win.

Special Unit Counter:  There is one special unit, the Duke himself, "Wellington". He enters the game on game turn 2 by spending any red CD and placed on any allied unit.  Once in play, he cannot exit the game. He doesn't have to enter the game. He has to be stacked with an Allied unit at all times. And confers a +1 to a CD and +1 to the DF to the unit that he is stacked with. If the unit the Duke is stacked with is eliminated, the Duke is moved to another unit. If all Allied units are eliminated, the Duke of Wellington is captured and the game ends in a French victory.  If the Duke is eliminated on a card draw of a black ace or king for combat, there is no adverse effect for the Allied player.

That's it, pretty much everything one would want to know about this game. 

Play-Balance:  This pbg, imho, is finely balance as "A Hard Pounding". Out of the 20 or so games played, the Allies won 60%, with the French winning 40%.  Now some may say "well, thats not balance", but think about it, did the French really have a chance with such few battalions of the Guards attacking?  
  • At Ligny, Napoleon used 19 Infantry btns (11 btns of Guards and 8 btns of Gerard's Corps), with 28 squadrons cavalry (4 squadrons. of Guard Cavalry and 24 squadrons of Cuirassiers) to break thru the Allies line and was successful.
  • At Waterloo on the western wing against the British (inc KGL) and Dutch, only 16 Infantry btns (8 btns of Guards and 8 btns of Donzelot's division), with 3-5 squadrons of cavalry (1-2 squadrons of Guard and 2-3 squadrons of Cuirassiers was used).  This was not enough. 
  • And on the eastern wing, fighting the Prussians in Plancenoit, 10 btns of Guards and 9 btns of Mouton's Corps with no cavalry was used and again, this was not enough.
In the battle, when the Guards broke thru the first line, they were spent, but the follow up Guard btns were almost as spent and just didn't have the men or stamina to carry the attack. Not enough men assign to the task at hand shows that fighting on two fronts is a solid and loud "Non!". And was Napoleon's biggest fear. 

Which begs the question, "what if Napoleon had a B-52 at the Battle of Waterloo?"

Not sure what heading to use: I had two full paragraphs on possible strategies but you know, the game is small enough enough, you can come up with your own. Besides my non-ability to win any of the games as the French disqualifies me from offering advice. :D 

Summary: This is a sister pbg to "A Hard Pounding Fight", the battle for La Haye Sainte.  There are many books written on the Battle of Waterloo. I have ten myself. from the quint-essential bible on Napoleon "The Campaigns of Napoleon" by Dr Chandler to Scotty Bowden's masterpiece "Waterloo" and all in between. There are literately dozens of websites not only on Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo, but on the different regiments, battalions, brigades, and other leaders. This time period is covered more than the Roman Empire or Germany versus Soviet Union.  Games are very numerous too.  For example, I have 15 board games, three sets of miniature rules, and the six pocket games. Though most tend to take hours (and hours and hours, and...) to play, these little pocket battle games take only 45 mins or less. A bargain these are and the price is right too.   

It would be nice to see a six pbg series that all joined up on the Battle of Waterloo, like the four pbg games on Leipzig 1813 and using that scale. Now that would be something....

-ab

This blog is considered to be a living blog. Changes will be made to it as needed to clarify, correct errors or update with new information.