Friday, 9 December 2016

Aussie Gaming Gripes - and Almeida & Bussaco 1810 from Hexasim Games

Back in August, I listed my top most highly anticipated games of the day. Now, 4 months later, I am still yet to own a single one of them. What happened you may ask? Well, some of these games have simply not yet been published - and are expected in 2017. However, FAB Golan and Stonewall's Sword have been out for some months now. 

What has prevented me from pulling the 'buy' trigger here in Australia is either the games cannot be purchased from any retailer here, or - if they can - the retail price is 150-200% on what gamers in the US enjoy. 

Shipping these games internationally has become hideously expensive. Not too long ago, Milsims here in Australia was offering these games at a very attractive price, but the wheels sadly came off of that operation and a number of gamers - including myself - got burnt, with Milsims neither honouring orders nor making refunds. The ratbag running that operation took the money and ran.

I must hasten to add that Milsims has now been resurrected under entirely new ownership. It's too early to tell yet if we gamers will once more enjoy the kind of prices and range of titles of yesteryear. Somehow, I doubt it, as such prices probably contributed to the downfall of a company that had, for so long, been a key part of the gaming retail landscape here in Australia. As a teen in the 70s - when the dinosaurs still walked the Earth - I well remember the excitement of receiving their latest catalogues in the post.

Well, enough of these gripes. At least this new climate of austerity has encouraged me to spend more time with the games that I own - including some that I (ahem) have owned for some time, but never played. More on that in future they hit the table. Right now, I am doing a solo learning game from Almeida & Bussaco 1810 - one of the many titles from Frederic Bey's Jours de Gloire Series.

This is the game's cover, provided by Christophe Gentil-Perret on the game's BGG page:

 I saw this title for sale on E-Bay and decided to pick it up after noting just how highly rated these Bey game are. After playing a couple of solo games, my strong impression is that their reputation is well deserved. These games are generally at battalion-scale - here's a snapshot from that battle - again from the BGG site - provided by Remi Carton:

You can see the fortress of Almeida in the SW corner of the map, bristling with fixed Portugese batteries. For those of you - like me - who are fans of the Richard Sharpe novels from Bernard Cornwell, Almeida should be well known to you....and you can also spy the 95th rifles in the bottom centre of the above image.

I'm not going to go into detail now about this game system, but will reserve that until such time as I have a couple of 2p games under my belt. However, in my solo games, I've been enjoying the chit pull and order allocation system. With the latter, you can see the 'QG' markers with their horseman silhouettes in the above picture. When specific formations are activated by having their command markers drawn from a cup, their associated order (horseman) markers are turned over, to reveal if they have been allocated orders or not. This order status will have implications for a range of actions, including movement and combat. In the picture, you can see a revealed marker immediately to the left of the fortress, indicating that the British formation has not been allocated orders this turn. A player does have the option of trying for a die roll to see if a formation can receive orders. If this fails, then all they can do is rally.

In contrast to the situation in the above picture (Turn 8), in both of my solo games, the British/Portugese were smashed by overwhelming French attacks. I need to think more about how to put up a more effective defence/delay operation.

I look forward to a face to face game of this in the near future.

Enough of Napoleonics. You may be asking what has happened to the epic Battle of Second Bull Run? Well, after a couple of weeks' hiatus while Roger was traveling, the battle has resumed....with fury. More on this soon.


  1. The increased cost of purchases is particularly brutal due to the infrequency of playing these titles. Any ideas for a workable system of pooling funds for a library of games? Take turns buying them?

  2. We can enter into a dark pact to support one another in getting titles sitting on our shelves out on to the table!!