So the other day was Sunday. I try to get my board game chores (see next paragraph for what that entails) in on Sunday, depending on my current “Honey can you…” or what is affectionately called the Honey Do List.
What I was doing this last Sunday
Anyways, I like to get a small TV table out get a game that needs clipping, or sorting and put on a movie. perusing through the offerings on my various streaming services I narrowed my selection down to two movies, A Bridge to Far and Memphis Bell. I should have watched Memphis Bell (hence the title of is article) because I put on A Bridge to Far… I was punching, clipping and sorting Multi-man Publishing’s Last Chance for Victory a game on the battle of Gettysburg. Which I had bought at the San Diego Historical Games Convention from my friend Pete. Well I got into the movie and like the weak willed war gamer I am I put Last Chance for Victory away and pulled out The Devil’s Cauldron: The Battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen and Where Eagles Dare the two games in the Grand Tactical Series from Multi-Man Publishing. I did resist the urge to pull out the other games in this series I own, No Question of Surrender and The Greatest Day: Sword, Juno, and Gold Beaches I will save them for another post.
The game that stole my… Oh wait this game is good too…
The Devil’s Cauldron is the Northern part of Operation Market Garden and Where Eagles Dare in the Southern half. The Devil’s Caldron focuses on the two bridges in Nijmegen and Arnhem. The game is not complex and actually works very well but I will say there no real edge to this game either. What I mean by edge is the tension of the game is derived from the playing of the game, not the rules themselves. So for example Paths is one of the tenses games I’ve ever played. It uses cards to allow you do actions and that is how it makes the game so tense and exciting. Each card play is decision because you cannot do everything you want to do. One of my all-time favorite games Axis Empires Totaler Krieg is the another example of tension through mechanics. In this case it is timing is the key, each turn is two months and weather is static meaning certain turns are either Mud or Snow which are very bad for the attacker. These weather effects happen in early Spring & Fall for Mud and Winter for Snow. Summer which is clear weather goes for three turns while all others are two turns before what is called a seasonal turn. This is important, you play a new card every seasonal turn so the card that is face up dictates some important bonus’s you need for attacking and other important things like building units or diplomacy. I don’t want to go into all the rules (but if you ask me I will sit down and play with you and teach what it is all about), but timing in this game is crucial and adds tension mechanically to the game. Getting back to The Devil’s Caldron I would say this game doesn’t have the rule’s mechanics that grab you like the previous two games I mentioned but that isn’t really a bad thing this game(s) follow a simple set of rules and accurately portray small unit actions on a grand scale. I haven’t played any of the big scenario’s yet but I think that what these games are really designed for and will work better on a bigger scale.
If any are interested I am going to try to get one of these (I am leaning towards Devil’s Cauldron or Where Eagles Dare) to the table to play one of the big games. I am going through the rules now and getting everything ready, wish me luck.