Tag Archives: Age of Gunpowder

Modern-Day Napoleonic Battles & Travels, Part the Fourth

Wherein our intrepid traveler deigns to report his on-the-ground experiences ~

Jim Owczarski, 28 October 2017

I suppose it is prudent to begin in the middle, at least as far as my trip is concerned, with my one-day drive to Schleiz and Saalfeld.

When I began traveling to Europe a lot of years ago my photographic weapon of choice was an old warhorse of a Konica 35mm SLR.  Built to last and weighing nearly enough to deny it modern carry-on status, its film had to be changed dexterously and in the dark.  I can recall having to do it more than once with my hands inside an empty duffle bag.   One never knew if a particular photograph had turned out until developed weeks later — remember Fotomat? — and, more than anything else, the cost of film and developing set a hard limit on the number of pictures one was prepared to take.

Things are different now.  I’ve spent the weeks since returning from my journey to Germany going over the thousands – yes thousands – of photographs I took of Jena-Auerstedt and other battlefields on my iPhone trying to figure out which ones tell this story best; or, honestly, even how to begin telling it.

GrogHeads Reviews Table Battles

Hollandspiele’s new ‘abstract’ wargame hits the table ~

Doug Miller, 25 September 2017

I’m a hardcore grog. I like my games with hexes and chits. Fifty-page rule books don’t scare me, in fact they often appeal to me. I’m a lot more interested in the simulation value of most games than I am their playability. I’m interested in narrative and historical accuracy. I like maps. A lot.

All of which are reasons that I’m something of an odd choice as reviewer for Hollandspiel’s latest, Tom Russell’s Table Battles.

Table Battles bills itself as “a thinky filler, a light dice game that nevertheless will have you scratching your chin and agonizing over your decisions.” Tom himself posted in a Facebook discussion something to the effect that it might not be a wargame. There is no map. There isn’t any movement of pieces.

GrogHeads Reviews Sovereign of the Seas

Global naval conflict in the Age of Sail? Yes, please! ~

Jim Owczarski, 26 August 2017

The child of many gifts who does not rise to his potential is a cliche.  Now a parent, I find that cliche, when made flesh, to be one of the most frustrating of human experiences.  After all, this is a person you love with all your heart, who you know is capable of remarkable things, and yet, in this moment, for reasons you cannot discern, is just not, well, getting it done.

Thus my summary of Compass Games’ Sovereign of the Seas, an improvisation on the theme of Avalon Hill’s legendary War at Sea that has within it some legitimately fun, if light, game play, but needed more time in development; development that now, unfortunately, is being handled after release.

Reflections on Gettysburg – The Tide Turns

Developed by Shenandoah Studio and published by Matrix/Slitherine

Boggit reflects on the Battle of Gettysburg while playing “Gettysburg – The Tide Turns” ~

Boggit, 29 July 2017

“I have bin in one battle, and that satisfied me with war, and I would beg to be excused next time”

Private Haban R. Foster, 34th Virginia Infantry, 1862.


I’m playing the First Day scenario. My view is that if Lee can’t get an easy win on Day 1, then he’s going to be facing an increasingly worsening attrition battle, one that even if he does win the battle itself will mean the end of his campaign and any prospect of actually winning the war due to excessive, and hard to replace losses.


Gettysburg – The Tide Turns is a game reconstructing the strategically decisive battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War (1861-65) between the Union (Northern) and Confederate (Southern) states in America. In many ways it was the first modern war where weapons development and tactics presaged the carnage that would be seen a few years later in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and the early months of the First World War (1914-18) where modern weapons met Napoleonic tactics with predictable results.

Modern-Day Napoleonic Battles & Travels, Part the Third

Cyrano’s last travelogue update before, y’know, actually traveling! ~

Jim Owczarski, 15 July 2017

I’m a bit embarrassed that it’s taken me nigh eight months to file an update to this series, but, with an apology proffered, perhaps it’s best to dive right in?

I’ll begin, if I may, by again talking about a surprise.  I’ve known of this creature for a long time:

How very, very lovely