Massive Slitherine Sale on Steam

This one caught me by surprise a bit, but there is a massive sale on slitherine/Matrix titles happening right now on Steam, and there are some great deals on great wargames that everyone should be checking out!

Discount Highlights

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock 80% off

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius 76% off

Fantasy General II 51% off

Combat Mission Shock Force 2 and Black Sea  30% off

Gary Grisby’s War in the East 70% off

Special bundles include:

Hardcore Wargames 66% off

Grand Strategy & 4X 69% off

Warhammer Strategy Bundle 78% off

Strategy Legacy 65% off

Some of my Personal Recommendations

Check out Fantasy General II. The latest DLC Evolution just dropped and I reviewed it a couple days ago. It’s fantastic, and so is the base game. If anyone needs to see what a modernized wargame can look like, look no further than Fantasy General II.

Shadow Empire is an excellent 4x game with deep RPG elements and an amazing world generation. Games are dramatically different depending on the type of world you build, but there is a consistent focus on logistics, tactics, and empire building that I adore. Definite one more turn vibes.

Strategic Command WWI is one of my favourite comfort games. The tactical gameplay is deep enough to keep you thinking, but the overall mechanical load is light enough that it’s very playable after a long day of hard work.

Warhammer 40k: Gladius managed to get away with something I didn’t think was possible. What if you got rid of diplomacy in Civilization? Guess what, it works. Each faction plays very differently, and the emphasis on combat highlights one of the best bits of the Civilization series with AI that can put up a competent defense.

The Sale lasts until Monday, so check it out before it’s too late!

-Joe

Field of Glory 2 Medieval/ Field of Glory 2 Crossover Update

Field of Glory 2 Medieval is making my nerdiest dreams come true. A new update has added army lists from Field of Glory 2 to the game, now letting wargamers pit Norman knights against Roman legions, Welsh longbowmen against Achaemenid immortals, and Irish barbarians against…. earlier… Irish barbarians.

It’s great fun! We haven’t had too much time to check this out so far, but it is very cool. I’m currently enjoying a match as the Romans against the Normans, and the 1000 year time difference doesn’t seem to stop me from kicking their ass a bit. To play with the army mix, in a custom battle, select the “Time Warp” module to bring up the new (old) army lists. Happy wargaming!

-Jack Trumbull

Total War: Three Kingdoms Fates Divided DLC

Update: The new DLC is Fates Divided, a “Chapter Pack” adding a new start date in 200 CE, as well as making various adjustments to most factions’ starting positions in 200 CE. There is a new faction in Liu Yan and later his son, Liu Zhang, as well as expanded mechanics surrounding the emperor, as well as Cao Cao and Yuan Shao’s showdown.

It’s very cool stuff that certainly adds a lot of character to the mid-game of Three Kingdoms, which is where I felt the game was weakest. You can find the full announcement here, and the trailer below the original story.

Original story:

Well look at that! We just got an announcement for Total Warhammer 3 a few weeks ago, and CA is already teasing us with a new DLC for Three Kingdoms! I genuinely don’t have a clue what they could be teasing now, especially since they’ve already included the Nanman culture… perhaps a time extension either before or after the period? In any case, check the video below for the reveal, it’ll air at 3 PM GMT/ 10 AM EST.

-Jack Trumbull

Fantasy General II: Evolution Review

You know it’s going to get good when one of the first things you do in a campaign is eat your siblings for getting uppity. Fantasy General II: Evolution is the latest expansion for the already excellent Fantasy General II released in 2019. The third official DLC, Evolution places you in control of the Lizardfolk Szzlag as he attempts to devour his way to prominence across the Broken Isles.

I had the pleasure of reviewing Fantasy General II on its release, and I was very surprised with just how good a job the developers, Owned by Gravity, managed to do conveying the spirit of the classic 1996 game while modernizing a whole heap of systems. If nothing else, go check out the base game when you get a chance. It’s a good game and worthy of a playthrough. Now, to the swamps!

Szzlag and his warriors creep through the kelp towards a Hooman settlement. Tonight we feast on Hooman Egg!

Fantasy General II has generally done a good job of creating a fascinating fantasy world and backed it up with good game narratives in the base game. The story of Falirson and the Empire was entertaining and I’m glad to see that Szzlag’s story is as well. The writing, possible decisions, and outcomes all reinforce the fact that Lizardfolk are not human and do not share a lot of human sensibilities. Theirs is an eat or be eaten world of hunting and raiding where weakness means a swift death. Don’t let Szzlag be weak. Don’t let Szzlag be human, it may save you later!

Evolution goes that extra mile and demonstrates the nature of this harsh world through gameplay. The game does an excellent job out of the gate of introducing you to a totally different playstyle. Lizardfolk are not the strongest fighters out there, but they are excellent ambushers and full of crafty light infantry. Since Lizardfolk can maneuver quickly through water tiles, and can even hide in deep water and kelp forests, setting up ambushes and luring enemies into traps is the name of the game. Just watch out for the carnivorous fauna! Setting up an ambush and seeing it go off without a hitch is second only to massive encirclements for giddy wargaming highs. There is nothing quite as fun as watching the enemy’s giant crab trigger 3 different ambush moves and defensive fires as they move to attack an exposed gaggle of newts.

Dragon Rider versus Giant Enemy Crab. Guess what? We’re going to eat it too.

Eventually, you’ll encouter Hoomans, with their fantastical trinkets, floating hovels, and distinct lack of swimming ability. The dichotomy between fighting humans on the coast and fighting humans in land is amazing, and requires a very different approach. Pelting humans with javelins and stones from the water while luring ships to underwater ambushes is great fun. Hiding in the jungle, sacrificing newts to lure humans out of position so your weaker units can scrape some advantage, is equally so.

On the campaign layer Lizardfolk play very differently as well. Szzlag and some high tier units require evolution points to upgrade. These are generally acquired by eating notable Lizardfolk, which quickly becomes tied to the central narrative of the campaign. In addition to evolution points, liquid mana is a key resource. This is acquired by raiding certain settlements or, more reliably, whenever a friendly unit dies. Now the cost of hiring a new unit of newts can be weighed against the value of their death. If these units can be killed in a manner that serves an ambush, well then, everything turns up Szzlag!

That battles take place on land and in the marshes and deeps of the Broken Isles keeps things interesting.

I was generally enthralled with this expansion. Lizardfolk make you think and play very differently from most wargames, not just from the base Fantasy General II experience. The campaign can be made more difficult though a few settings, but I felt the difficulty was good, punishing foolish mistakes and rewarding careful plays. I rarely sit down for several hour gaming sessions anymore, but I found myself making time in the evening to get through a mission or two. I really had fun.

Fantasy General II was already a great wargame and this expansion does about everything I’d hope an expansion would do. Gameplay is significantly different, the narrative is interesting, and the campaign is engaging throughout. Definitely check out Fantasy General II: Evolution if you have any interest at all.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

-Joe Fonseca

Valor & Victory News: An Excellent Print & Play Making it to the Digital World

Valor & Victory began life as a Print-and-Play board wargame developed by Barry Doyle. It also has the special honour of being the first Print-and-Play boardgame I ever downloaded. I wrote about the process in a now lost article, but it was a compelling bit of hobbying that unfortunately never made it back with me when I moved to Ontario. Looks like I don’t have to worry too much though, as a new digital version of Valor & Victory is fast approaching from Slitherin/Matrix!

How Does Valor & Victory Play

I quite like how Valor & Victory played on the tabletop. Reminiscent of Advanced Squad Leader with a much less complicated ruleset, Valor & Victory saw players fight man to man actions in a WWII setting. The base download was set in Normandy ’44, but there were tons of official and fan made additions covering most of the second world war.

The digital game seems to be following in the footsteps of the boardgame faithfully. Gameplay will still revolve around the same basic rule structure, dividing play into the following phases: Command, Fire, Move, enemy Defence, and Advance. Since units fire or move, for the most part, and opportunity fire is a constant threat, games of Valor & Victory were quite tactical and enjoyable.

What Does the Digital Version Offer?

I’m happy to see that there will be a decent number of scenarios out of the box with 20 official offerings. There is also a scenario editor which means there is about as much replayabilty as was on offer in the basic Print-and-Play set. I’m happy to see that mutliplayer will be included too in both PBEM and Hotseat modes.

While we’ve only see a little bit of what the full game has to offer, I’m optimistic about what Yoboware Games and Slitherine/Matrix can put out.

Check out the trailer here!

-Joe

The ‘Battle’ of Chemulpo Bay: The Russo-Japanese War 1904-5 on the Tabletop

I’ve been wanting to dip my toes into the proverbial waters of tabletop naval wargaming for quite some time, but other commitments, cost, and a lack of experience has really hampered my ability to really dedicate any time to the subject.

I thought it might kick start things to go the cheapest possible route and download some paper warship counters, find a simple ruleset, and give naval wargaming a test to see if it was something I wanted to put money into. Here is the first results of that little experiment

IJN Asama

Getting Started with Naval Tabletop Gaming the Cheap Way

I knew I wanted to do game the Russo-Japanese War. It’s an important part of my thesis so I know more about it than most other comparable naval campaigns. I think the ships on both sides are very pretty, having a thing for pre-dreadnaught battleships (See below!) And finally, it seems a short enough campaign that eventually gathering and painting miniatures for each ship would be an accomplishable task.

The first thing I did was sit down and take a peek at wargamevault.com with the intent of finding the cheapest components that I could that still seemed pretty enough to plop on a table. I know they’ll never compare to proper miniatures, but it’s a step in the right direction for me

Aboard the IJN Mikasa on a research trip in 2019

I saw that Long Face Games had a full Russo-Japanese War campaign titled White Bear, Red Sun, and that they also had supplements for the Boshin War 1868-69 and WWI lake battles in Africa, two other periods that I have some interest in, the former especially. I dove in and purchased the campaign pack. It was quite affordable. I then took at look at the counters provided and wasn’t very impressed, instead deciding to go with Agema’s pretty counters for both the Japanese and Russian ships. It was then just a matter of cutting the counters out, pasting them onto cereal cardboard, and then getting down to reading.

A Review of White Bear, Red Sun

The booklet comes with a brief overview of the Russo-Japanese War, a full campaign ruleset that is meant to be completable in a day or so, and the full Broadside & Salvo ruleset.

There’s quite a lot of content in the rules and campaign supplement

Broadside & Salvo is a fun, fast playing, simple ruleset designed to get fairly sized battles out on the table and done in a couple of hours. I’m generally more in favour of that kind of game these days, though I do wish I had the time to sit down and chart maneuvers and calculate gunnery, it’s just not the reality I live. Broadside and Salvo does tick all my ‘gamer’ boxes though. There’s a struggle for initiative, a simple combat resolution that has each side rolling dice, the odd chance of something catastrophic happening, and enough rules in place to keep ships moving about how they should. I’ll need to get more games in, but at the moment, I’m pretty happy with my purchase and will keep playing with this until someone leads me astray.

The Battle of Chemulpo Bay, 9 Feb 1904

This was the smallest action that I thought I could get away with. It’s honestly not much of a battle, but rather the second part of Japan’s surprise attack. Rear Admiral Uryū Sotokichi with six cruisers and some torpedo boats (8 by White Bear, Red Sun’s reckoning) gave an ultimatum to Vsevolod Rudnev of the Russian Cruiser Varyag and the gunboat Korietz to vacate the port or be attacked there. The two Russian ships opted to attempt a breakout. They were unsuccessful in the face of Uryū’s ships and were forced to return to Chemulpo.

The outnumbered Russians deployed on the right. Their task was nigh impossible.

In my refight I opted to give the Russians a few paths to victory. If they could manage to get any two Japanese cruisers to silenced or better (heavy damage in Broadside & Salvo) or escape off of the Japanese table edge, I would call it a Russian victory. Anything else would be a Japanese victory.

The Battle took very little time, but the Russians managed to put up a decent fight. Varyag put up some impressive fire on Uryū’s flagship Asama. It wasn’t enough to slow the volume of fire poured on by the two Japanese cruiser squadrons, and eventually she sunk. The Korietz, surrounded by the end of the game, opted to strike colours.

Varyag, already damaged, opts to rush close, spending Command Points, for a close range shot on Asama

The fire resolution is simple, with a single opposed role, modified on both sides, being the entirety of it. Rather than fire for every ship in a squadron, if the target is the same the supporting ships merely add a +1 modifier to the outcome of the combat. I quite like how it handled the engagement.

Initiative and maneuver are key in Broadside & Salvo. Gaining the initiative, and then having the command points available to enact every desired action in a turn is key to overcoming the odds. There is a single modifier for ‘crossing the T’ in Broadside & Salvo, and white it may be simplistic, it does promote trying to outmauever the enemy.

Varyag burning in Chemulpo harbour

A Long Voyage Ahead

I enjoyed this little engagement almost as much as I did reading up on the battle beforehand. I think I’ll stick with Broadside & Salvo for now, mostly because I plan on putting together enough of a force of miniatures to refight Tsushima with a club at some point, and I think everyone would appreciate it finishing in an evening. The main thing now is to track down some affordable miniatures and get painting.

Thanks for reading,

-Joe Fonseca

Gem Wizards Tactics Review: Like a Fun-Sized Tactics-Filled Chocolate Bar

I have to say, I’m surprised I like Gem Wizards Tactics as much as I do. I took a first look at it and thought “this looks like a hex game with a neat aesthetic” and I was right, but didn’t realize the tactical depth behind that first look. There’s enough mechanics here to keep a turn-based tactics fan pleased for bite-sized scenarios for a long time, especially considering the procedural nature of the game.

The premise of the game is thus: there’s a magical land with 7 gems, the 8th one, which is extra magical, has been discovered and now you have to fight to keep your home safe. Pretty standard fantasy premise, but the game is pretty cheeky with it. Anyway, as you begin a campaign, you get to choose one of the (currently) 3 factions to lead against the forces that would oppress you. Essentially, it’s an excuse to go beat up on enemies in a series of small scenarios. Perfectly reasonable stuff there.

These 3 factions are led by unique hero characters, that will be the heavy hitters of your force through the campaign. The Potato faction is led by Andromeda Robin, a witch that can grow fast but weak allies, and create a lightning storm centered on an enemy. The Azure Order, led by Gelf Lanz, is a knight/ mage that can also summon allies, and charge into enemies, bumping them out of position. The last faction, the Business Demons (lol), are headed by their CEO, Bill Milton, who uses money as a unique currency to buff his units. Most other special abilities cost Gems, which are strewn around the map, but good ol’ Bill loves to offer his units Predatory Loans (yes this is a real ability) for dosh.

The factional units are the stars of the show in GWT, as they all have unique skillsets that play into a faction’s strengths. Some units, such as the Potato Roll Guard, will roll forever when shoved, until they hit an obstacle, another unit, or roll off the map. Others, like the more standard Azure Order Longbow, have a special ranged attack, which is just them firing arrows, go figure. And others still, such as the Business Demon (lol) Drill Sergeant, can modify the terrain around them for fuel for future attacks. There’s a nice variety to these units, and their abilities often synchronize well with other units from the same faction. For example, several of the Potato units can create wet ground, from which Andromeda can create her seedling allies. A particularly good combo I found was using one of the Potato Splashmasters to push a Roll Guard into an enemy, and the water trail the Splashmaster left behind can be used to grow seedlings.

Each campaign sees your force choosing to deploy at a few different maps, each offering a different level of progress toward completely freeing your people, and sometimes units you can approach and recruit on a map. The new player could be tempted to focus only on recruiting new units, but making progress is important as there’s also an enemy progress counter. Yet, the only way a player can grow their forces is by rescuing units on these missions, which is necessary to bolster your army. Handy too, considering that you can recruit units from other factions and therefore diversify what your army is capable of. The scenario maps are quite nice too, with a variety of terrain features that alter attack and defense, and frequently play a role in unit abilities as well.

The goal of each scenario is to capture a number of “flags”, represented by either forcing your way into a fortified castle and having your unit capture it, or by killing certain enemy leaders on the map. This must also be done with relative speed, as more enemies will spawn in on the map every few turns, and considering that you will always be outnumbered, speed is key. No playing turtle here! The need for speed is balanced with a need to keep your forces alive, as units are persistent and your strong veteran units are essentially irreplaceable. Their basic attack and defense stats are stronger than most units, and it takes time to grow that kind of experience. 

All in all, Gem Wizards Tactics is a solid, but small, game. The combat is tight, the scenarios are tough and engaging (you will likely lose a lot until you figure out how to use your army’s abilities), and it’s easy to play in multiple sessions. It doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack and writing for the game are really good. The game isn’t that deep, but it comes in a tiny, replayable package, and if you’re looking for something to scratch a tactics itch, you can find it here.

8/10

-Jack Trumbull

Combat Mission: Cold War Reveal

A brand new Combat Mission has just appeared over the horizon, this time bringing the action to a hypothetical Cold War gone hot.

Set between 1979-1982, Combat Mission Cold War sees both NATO and Warsaw Pact militaries battling it out across the Fulda Gap in Western Germany. With 15 scenarios and three campaigns with an eye to more content down the road, this feels like quite the new entry.

The campaigns even include a full campaign covering the National Training Center in the Californian Mojave Desert in 1982. This puts you in command of a US Army Company Team as it begins to transition towards Airland Battle Doctrine and simulates battles against hypothetical soviet forces. Having a full campaign based around training is totally unique, but if anyone could make it interesting with their attention to detail it’s Combat Mission.

The other two campaigns simulate platoon to battalion sized battles in West Germany from both a NATO and Warsaw Pact perspective, and promise interesting engagements based on the types of missions both sides were training for during the period.

“For the old-timers who served during the Cold War it would be gratifying to actually play out many of the scenarios that were conjectured and trained for during the late seventies to the early eighties, or to re-fight battles at the National Training Center (NTC). Combat Mission Cold War provides those old-timers, and any others that are interested, the opportunity to do just that.”

With Combat Mission’s usual attention to detail, this is going to be a fascinating addition to watch out for. Cold War includes highly detailed, historically accurate organizations, equipment, and modeling of weapons. There will be a full suite of period military vehicles including M48, M60 series of tanks, M150 TOW, M1 (105), T64, and T80. In the air keep an eye out for iconic aircraft like the US F-4 Phantom and A-7 Corsair, the venerable A-10 Warthog, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and AH-1 Cobra gunships. The Soviets bring with them their service workhorses, the infamous Mig-23/27, the Su-17, the rare but powerful Su-25 Frogfoot, and the well-known Mi-24 series gunship, including the first “Hind A” version and the famous “Hind D.”

I’m really looking forward to seeing how Combat Mission Cold War turns out!

Be sure to check out Slitherine’s livestream TODAY: Tuesday February 16th at Noon EST

Wellington’s Peninsular Campaigns Review

Two things to point out before diving into the review: one, I’m a big fan of the JTS games I’ve played and two, I’m interested in the Peninsular campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. But despite that, beside dipping my toes into Scourge of War: Waterloo for about 15 minutes, I haven’t played a proper digital wargame set during the Napoleonic Wars. (Total War doesn’t count)

Pictured: Not Counting

So while I’m no newbie in terms of John Tiller Software games, I’m a fresh-faced greenhorn when it comes to anything set before the Second World War from this venerable house of wargaming goodness. While some of the UI may be familiar, there is a lot I needed to learn to get the most out of Wellington’s Peninsular Wars, and while there was some head scratching and manual skimming, I’m glad I put the required time into learning the game.

The Spanish Ulcer and The Iberian Peninsula at War

My family comes from the Aveiro District of Portugal, and so the Peninsular Campaigns have always held a fascination for me, especially when I was younger and trying to decide on an area of study for graduate school. While I didn’t settle on Portuguese history, I did do a fair bit of reading into these campaigns and the terrors inflicted upon the people of Portugal and Spain by the Napoleonic Wars.

Beginning with Spain and Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal in 1807 and escalating with the Dos de Mayo Uprising against French occupation in Madrid in 1808, the Peninsular War saw many terrible battles and atrocities across the breadth of the Iberian Peninsula. At first allied with Napoleon, King Ferdinand VII of Spain was eventually removed in favor of Napoleon’s brother Joseph. This proved unpopular with the people of Spain for obvious reasons, kicking off one of the first major guerilla movements and beginning a war of terror and depredation that would prove to be the worst in Spanish history.

Francisco Goya’s The Third of May 1808

I also grew up reading Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series, which gave me a healthy appetite for learning about the battles on the peninsula. You would think then that I would be all over games that represent the conflict, but time is what it is and the stars never aligned. That is until I generously recevied this review copy from John Tiller Software.

Wait, How Many Campaigns?

Wellington’s Peninuslar Campaigns, like many JTS titles, is absolutely huge. There are more than 180 scenarios including variants, with 60 or so dedicated to Human vs. AI play. As someone who has yet to put any time into multiplayer (though that may change soon!) I’m happy there are so many battles set up for solid play against the AI. There’s quite a variety of battles to cover here too, even going beyond the work of Old Nosey himself.

Scenarios range from the French quest to take Madrid and Britain’s Sir John Moore’s struggles to aid the Spanish, to Suchet in Eastern Spain, to Wellington’s two campaigns in 1812 and 1813 and beyond. There are also some stand alone scenarios hiding amongst the piles that come with Wellington’s Peninsular Campaigns, like the Battle of Maida in 1806. The point is, there is a lot of content here. When I think about how many scenarios I can get out of a JTS game versus pretty much everything else, there’s really no comparison.

Part of my appreciation of what JTS does overall comes down to this overwhelming amount of content. I’ve read about Salamanca several times. But nothing makes the battle as clear for me as seeing the correct units positioned on a correct map. Maybe I’m just more of a visual guy, but seeing, and playing, these scenarios help to expand upon my understanding in a way that always brings me back to the value of wargaming for education. But that’s a topic for another day. The point is, there is a lot of content here, and if you like how the game sounds, I doubt you’ll be running out of stuff to do with it for quite some time.

Deploy the Skirmishers! How Does Wellington’s Peninsular Campaigns Play?

JTS games set in any period have some key similarities in features and gameplay. First, the UI is fairly consistent and easy to understand. A row of buttons along to the top of the window provide just about every maneuver or bit of information that a commander could want, ready at their finger tips. Many of these buttons also have corresponding hotkeys, the memorization of such will make games move a lot faster. Second, there is an information panel along one edge of the screen that gives critical information about units occupying a highlighted hex. Clicking on units in this panel allows for individual orders to be given. It may look obtuse at first glance, but if you get past the dated visuals it’s an easy to work system and soon you’ll be checking LOS, deploying skirmishers, firing artillery, and positioning units within a hex in no time.

This is a phased IGO UGO game (by default, though it can be changed). The first side will maneuver, the second will offer defensive fire, then the first offensive fire, and finally the first side will initiate melee. The turn then switches to the second side where they will go about the same phases. At first this system felt a little clunky. I was coming from Panzer Campaigns and Panzer Battles and was more used to units moving without facing and finishing an entire turn (with opportunity fire), but after getting to grips with how units position themselves within hexes, how movement and morale worked, and how facing worked, I felt right at home.

The systems in Wellington’s Peninsular Campaigns try their best to make players use period tactics and formations. I appreciate that the game encourages skirmishers, protecting flanks, the appropriate use of each of the three arms, and the correct application of reserves and officers.

When forces are maneuvered and battle is joined, it becomes incredibly clear that the proper management of forces, not just the application of force, is the name of the game. Rotating out units is important, as a unit’s fatigue goes up steadily and barely comes back down. Morale, especially when dealing with average or poorer units is also critical to manage, and a folly move might endanger the line. This ties into the innovative threat score.

Similar to Zone of Control in other games, there is a rating on each hex, depending on proximity to enemies of different types, that units will test against when they attempt to perform maneuvers (or even just move with an optional rule in place) failing this morale test might disorder units or cause a route. So it becomes very important to keep units together and covering each other, and to be wary about how close enemy cavalry can get. It can be disastrous to fail to form a square because you waited too long and the threat value in a hex grew too large for the maneuver to go off without a hitch.

I’m really just scratching the surface, but suffice to say I was impressed with the way the game used base and optional rules to push a period feel and keep battles flowing ‘correctly’. I rarely felt like I was battling the system itself after my first couple of outings and, for a game of the scope, that is something I definitely look to when judging quality.

Not Always A Country of Wine and Songs

It’s pretty clear that I like Wellington’s Peninsular Campaigns. Perhaps not as much as the Panzer Campaigns and Panzer Battles that fired my interest in JTS’s systems so long ago, but I do like it quite a bit, and will continue to play it at least until I make it through every scenario at least once, but it’s not perfect.

The enemy AI is often fairly good, but occasionally makes baffling moves. More than once I’ve seen a decent enemy line collapse into a mob, or seen the enemy retreat in relative good order from a position only to start wandering the long way through heavy woods to the next objective. It doesn’t happen too often, and the enemy AI is good on the defensive especially, but occasional hiccups can only be attributed to poor generalship so many times. I personally didn’t find it too bad in most of the scenarios I played, but I understand that some are very sensitive to this sort of thing, so be warned that you will probably run into questionable AI moves here and there.

I am also not impressed with the 3D graphic view. I understand that this is something that Wargame Design Studio is working on for all JTS titles and so it may improve later on, but as it stands the game is best played with counters in the 2D view. Perhaps in future the 3D view will be worth using, but it is not that time now.

Is Wellington’s Campaign a Campaign for You?

Not a long list of complaints eh? Well bah humbug, I had a good time with Wellington’s Peninsular Campaigns. The minor AI hiccups and a 3D graphic view I’ll never use hardly detracted from the fun I had working through these scenarios.

The gameplay is tight, the UI, once accustomed to, is easy to navigate, the scenarios are detailed and entertaining, the AI is competent (mostly), there are dozens of multiplayer scenarios. The list of pros far outweigh the cons. If this is your first time looking at a JTS game, I’d perhaps recommend one set during the Second World War, but for those who are familiar or are only interested in the period of the Napoleonic Wars, this is a fine entry point. Try to wrangle some friends for multiplayer too. It will significantly extend the life of this already massive game.

Tight, fun, absolutely massive, and dripping with period charm. Wellington’s Peninsular Campaigns is a great addition to JTS’s venerable lineup.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

-Joe Fonseca

News and Upcoming Articles: More from Slitherine, JTS, and Indie Developers

I thought I’d take a moment to look at some of the news stories circling around and give everyone an update about what will be showing up on the blog in the next couple of weeks.

Panzer Battles: Moscow After Action Report

Wargame Design Studio

Like many who keep their finger on the pulse of the wargaming world, I was happy to see a new blog post from Wargame Design Studio, who have been working with John Tiller Software on some excellent titles, about their latest: Panzer Battles Moscow. I’m personally very excited for this, and the blog post, which included a playtester’s AAR, did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. Here’s hoping development progresses smoothly and we can all get our hands on it sooner rather than later

Here’s the blog and AAR. Definitely give it a read!

Warhammer 40k Battlesector Announced

From the developers of Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock comes Warhammer 40,000 Battlesector, a new battle level turn based wargame that sees the Blood Angels face off against a Tyranid swarm. I’m a big fan of the two other Slitherine Warhammer games I’ve played, Warhammer 40k: Armageddon and Warhammer 40k: Gladius, so I’m keen to see what Black Lab Games can do here. With a 20 mission campaign, a skirmish mode, and (my favourite) both live and asynchronous multiplayer, it looks like there’s a lot to offer. I’m going to be keeping an eye on this as more information becomes available.

Here’s a link to the steam page for Warhammer 40k Battlesector.

Lets’ Talk About Wargames Upcoming Content

We’ve got a lot coming up in the next couple of weeks so be sure to check back in for daily content across here, our YouTube channel, and our podcast.

Reviews & After Action Reports

We’re looking at getting four reviews published in the near future, including a look at John Tiller Software’s Wellington’s Peninsular Campaign, Indie titles Maneuver Warfare and GemWizard Tactics and, next week, the latest expansion for Slitherine’s Fantasy General II.

We’ll also be positing another History-Gaming After Action Report, this time form Wellington’s Peninsular Campaign, and perhaps one from an undisclosed tabletop game. Only time (and my flagging sanity) will tell!

For video content, today, Friday February 12 at around 6PM EST we’ll be playing War of Rights with members of our discord and (maybe, if I can think and march at the same time) talking about the American Civil War and its representations in videogames. That will be on our Twitch channel, but will also go up on YouTube next week.

Lastly, stay tuned in the next week or two as we’re about finalized our latest podcast episode. I won’t say exactly what’s going on, but Jack and I are very excited to share it with everyone.

Teaser!

Thanks for all your support across the blog, YouTube, and our Podcast. We’re so excited to see our number of visitors shoot up and are inspired to keep delivering the kind of content you want to see. Really, thank you.

All the best!

-Joe Fonseca