Battleground: Historical Warfare, by lcutner

Read this on BGG @ the link below. Re post, thought this was worth a good look at!:

Review: Battleground Historical Warfare: Second Punic War 218-201 BC Basic Game:: Battleground – a little gem?

Before I start into my review I should give some background. Back in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s I had little idea of what a wargame was. That changed when someone at school suggested that I play a game with him and his friend after school (no sniggering please). I was handed a list of puzzling terms and ideas for creating an ancient Greek army: Psiloi? Hoplites? Cretan archers? Why Cretan and not the regular kind? Very confusing even for a history buff like me. Thus was my entry into miniatures gaming and many happy years of mayhem and destruction ensued. Even my introduction to ancients boardgaming was way back with the S&T issue of Armageddon in 1972 (someone send me a copy).

Ultimately, I finished with miniatures when the cost of obtaining, painting and carrying armies around became just too much. Mind you, getting married made a big difference as well! I’ve always loved the ancients era of wargaming and it seems to run in the family, I recently won a C&C tournament at Castlecon and my brother (in Scotland) became the world champion at Britcon in ancients gaming. The allure of owning a miniatures army has always been there, but with failing eyesight and mobility, the chances of that ever happening again is slim to none and Slim just left town.

Imagine my joy upon finding a copy of Battleground: Historical Warfare at a recent convention. This is a product that seems to give me back my love of figure wargaming in an easy to learn and transport format. I won’t go into details of game play as that has been done before by others. What I will do is give you my impressions based on my background.

I have the base set and the reinforcement pack as well as the terrain pack (kindly donated by Chad). The units are no longer painted figures but units are represented by beautifully illustrated dry-erase cards that are moved around the field of battle. All of the statistics, orders and damage are marked directly on the cards and a simple dice roll determines results of attacks. Yes, the rules can seem a bit much, but to an old gamer like me, they are remarkably simple and easy to grasp. All you need to add is just a dry-erase marker and some dice and away you go – even the base set is plenty. Personally, I would certainly add either a ruler or print off distance markers found on the Battleground Fantasy page on BGG.

I was originally concerned that with the basic game, there seem little or no regard to terrain – admittedly terrain was not a major factor in most ancient battles, but it would be nice to have. I found the terrain pack produced for the fantasy series and realised that it was probably a good solution – so was I right?

Well, first off, I must say that fantasy warfare has NEVER appealed to me and, at our old wargaming club, I think anyone bringing fantasy to the table would have been staked out in the hot sun. Therefore I was a bit concerned that the terrain presented would be too specific and not generic enough for my tastes. So I opened up my package with some trepidation and was pleasantly surprised by the contents. Two large fold-out sheets on thick card stock with the same clear and high quality printing as the unit cards along with the nice dry-erase coating. All I needed to do was cut the terrain out using a sharp knife and patience. Now battles look much better and I am very pleased.

My final comments? I do like the system and hope for more historical expansions. The rules are fairly easy to teach to others and the battles move along nicely once the concepts are understood. Movement can be tricky without a ruler and you must be tolerant of minor movement mistakes by your opponent. If I do have complaints they are more generic than specific. Delineating a playing area can be a pain as you are unlikely to have a table or a cloth just the right size – buying a piece of green or brown felt trimmed to the best size is a good solution. The price of the components is very good, but shipping would be a ’killer’ if you had to order each item separately from a FLGS. Will this product take over from C&C:Ancients? Probably not, for a couple of reasons. This game needs more preparation and more time to play as well as, in my opinion, requiring the players to have a working knowledge of the period and the units involved. In other words, if the words hastati, velites or Numidian cavalry mean little or nothing to you, then much of the joy of the game may be wanting. In closing, I will say that this system is absolutely perfect for me and scratches the ancient and miniatures ‘itches’ nicely. The look and quality of the product is top notch and the customer service I have received is no less. Kudos to all concerned.

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