Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Boardgames - MMP - Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North

"Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North" arrived as part of the pre-order bundle with "Atlanta is Ours". This is a substantial box of material, the biggest in the whole series to this point. I admit to being a bit confused when I saw the title "Roads to Gettysburg" on two maps and "Here Come the Rebels" on the other two so I had to go back and read the box description. This box covers three sets of previously published material; "Here Come the Rebels" which covers the 1862 Antietam Campaign, "Roads to Gettysburg" which covers the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign and Rebels in the White House which covers Early's 1864 Raid on Washington (which appeared in the Skirmisher II magazine OOP).

Like "Atlanta is Ours", the rulebook for Lee Strikes North is perfect bound so we will see how that holds up overtime. The rest of the components match what has previously appeared in the prior additions with a couple of minor changes. There are four counter sheets, two primarily informational, one for "Here Come the Rebels" and one for "Roads to Gettysburg" There are four map sections one set for each campaign and they significantly overlap so all four could be used together if you wanted too. The whole series is designed like that, all the maps would (and I think do at this point) link up for the Eastern campaign, but I will have to check on the Western campaign. 

Another excellent release from Multi-Man Publishing, I just shudder to think how long the next one in the series will be. I can see them either reworking the Richmond Campaign in the east or perhaps moving back to the west and starting with the invasion of Tennessee at Forts Donalson and Henry through Shiloh and maybe through to the Siege of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River.

Here are a look at the components for "Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North", Volume XI:

The massive perfect bound rulebook

Here Comes the Rebels is Countersheet 2, Roads to Gettysburg is Countersheet 1

Its a bit more obvious on the Union side which one is for Here Come the Rebels and which one is for Gettysburg!

Here Come the Rebels maps

Roads to Gettysburg maps

The very standard charts and tables. The information for Early's Raid is on the back of the confederate card. I forgot to snap a picture of it.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Boardgames - MMP - Atlanta is Ours

Here is the first of the two new games from Multi-Man Publishing for the GCACW. "Atlanta is Ours" is officially Vol 10 in the series and follows SJWII in the series. "Atlanta is Ours" represents the campaign for northern Georgia from May to October 1864. These are the armies of William Tecumseh Sherman against Joe Johnston's Army of Tennessee.

MMP has certainly maintained and perhaps increased the quality of the game, of course considering the price tag on this one, I really expected something that would blow me out of the water. I was not disappointed. The first surprise out of the box is that the Atlanta is Ours rulebook is actually perfect bound. This surprises me quite a bit and I'm curious to see how it holds up, or if I will have to resort to three hole punch or a spiral binding at some point in time. The standard rules have been updated to version 1.3 but still have the cover from SJWII which I find slightly disappointing as they don't match up with the cover on the rulebook now. All the rest of the components are exactly as I expected them to be, nice stiff cardboard charts, gorgeous maps, three countersheets of 1/2" counters and a lovely theater campaign display. I'm pretty excited about pulling these out and actually playing them again. they make an excellent basis for a miniature campaign as well, the maps are certainly detailed enough to define the broad geographic features for a tabletop fight.

Perhaps my only disappointment is that the covers don't match.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Boardgames - MMP - Battle Above the Clouds

The two latest games for the GCACW series arrived yesterday so I figured I would just continue along with the theme this week. I'm reaching back to the past again to Vol 8 in the series the "Battle Above the Clouds", the first foray into the western theater. This volume covers both the Chickamauga and Chattanooga campaigns in the west. Like the rest of the series the production qualities of the game are excellent. 

I do get a little concerned about how often these games are getting published. Grant Takes Command (Vol 7) was published in 2001 and it was 8 years before we saw Vol 8. Then SJW II was published in 2013 so the publishing time dropped to 4 years and now in 2018 we finally see not one volume but the next two volumes released so a 5 year period in between publication dates. I'm not sure whether I should expect the next volume to be published in 2 1/2 years or 10 years!

So here is Vol 8 Battle Above the Clouds, the campaigns for Chickamauga and Chatanooga
Box top

Box Bottom

Rule Books, note that this one has version 1.1 of the standard rules, which were at 1.2 for Stonewall Jackson's Way II.
Another interesting feature is that the full size artwork is stretched across both covers, so side by side you can see the entire piece of cover art. This was done in SJW II as well.

Game Charts

I had to pull theater display out to show off. 

Two more magnificent maps

A close up of Chattanooga on the map

Counter sheets, again the main one is in front the other ones are primarily informational counters

A counter close up.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Boardgames - MMP - Stonewall Jackson's Way II: Battles of Bull Run

While I love tabletop miniature games I really cut my teeth on boardgames. My first wargame was Avalon Hill's Gettysburg back in 1971. Somehow its fitting that one of the few series that I try and keep up with is "The Great Campaigns of the American Civil War" or GCACW for short. Stonewall Jackson's Way II is Volume IX in the series that was originally started by Avalon Hill back in 1992. The first release was Stonewall Jackson's Way; 2nd Manassas (obviously Vol I in the series). Multi-Man Publishing took over the series, under license from Hasbro, with Grant Takes Command.

I pulled this one off the shelf as the next two games in the series should arrive this week and I have been looking forward to getting them for months since they were pre-ordered. This copy was still in the shrink wrap which probably speaks to what little time I actually have for boardgames anymore. This is an expansion of the original Jackson's Way to the beginning of the war starting with the first Battle of Bull Run (1st Manassas if you have rebel leanings). While Grant Takes Command was published by Multi-Man Publishing I'm pretty sure that Avalon Hill had completed the work and it just needed to be printed. Stonewall Jackson's Way II was MMP's second offering in the series from MMP, it was preceded by Battle Above the Clouds which was the first foray into the western theater and done completely on their own. MMP certainly held up the quality that was established all the way back in Stonewall Jackson's Way. All the components are gorgeous and the maps remain as detailed as ever. Its a very playable system as well and uses a concept developed by SPI with a set of standard rules for the series and then an additional booklet specific to the campaign including all the scenarios. This game was published in 2013,. The next two should arrive this week and feature the campaign for Atlanta and another look at the Gettysburg Campaign (first appeared as Roads to Gettysburg, Vol III in the series).

Here's a look at what comes in the box:
Box Cover

And the back of the box

The standard rules and the game specific rules books.

Three sets of counter sheets, the top sheet being the most important!

Back in 1992 the map artwork set a new standard for the industry

A close up at a section of the map

High quality charts and tables, no cost was spared which makes for an expensive game, but I'm old enough now to appreciate what a difference quality components make in the game play experience,

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

C&N Railroad Project - O Scale Miniatures - Knuckleduster Western Rail

The O Scale miniatures that I ordered from Knuckleduster arrived quite promptly yesterday. I already have some of these miniatures from Knuckleduster's Gunfighters' Ball Range and I was definitely curious to see how they would look scaled up. These are the same digital sculpts used in the Gunfighters' Ball range just printed and cast in 1/48th scale. They hold up quite nicely to their smaller brethren, quality miniatures from Knuckleduster. Huge improvements in sculpting quality now that they have do digital sculpting. 

I was eager to so how close in size they would be to the minis from Aspen Modeling as well. Again I was not disappointed, the two lines match up very well and I don't think there will be any problems mixing them together after they have been painted. I think Aspen Modeling miniatures are a bit beefier but you can decide for yourself from the pictures below.

The loot. The biggest difference between the two companies is definitely price. I  picked up: Mary (KWR-48111), Town Doctor (KWR-48114), Carpetbagger (KWR-48112), Swede (KWR-48110), Bartender (KWR-48106) and the Conductor (KWR-48118)

KWR-48110 - Swede in 1/48 scale. He is simply labeled as Pedestrian on the website though.

Large Swede and small Swede. You can really see the difference in scales here.

The Photographer from Aspen Modeling on the left, Swede in the center and right. I'll be able to use both ranges without an issue. The smaller scale Swede might well fit in as a youngster though, definitely something to think about.