Monday, 1 October 2012

The Digest: 01-Oct-12 - The Art Of War

風 Swift as the wind
林 Quiet as the forest
火 Conquer like the fire
山 Steady as the mountain
The Art of War - Sun Tzu

Last night for our regular KoffeeKlub meeting Michael brought along a game that I'd been after for some time, D-Day at Omaha Beach, by Decision Games. This wasn't for a play-through (it's a solo game), just a chance for me to take a quick look at the components, map and rules.

I was initially a little disappointed, as the map really didn't do much for me and if anything probably put me off my pursuit of a copy. Later however I thought about my reaction and how I really shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, or a game by it's map...

D-Day At Omaha Beach
The D-Day map (left) looks like the Allies have dropped paint bombs all over Normandy. Michael described these colourful designs as being a key part of the system, but for me it seemed like a bit of a distraction, taking away from the feel of the D-Day landings.

There are mixed views online as well, some describing it as "interesting", like "confetti or fireworks" or simply "I LOVE this game. I HATE this map!". Not all are negative as some feel that "At first, an unholy mess. Once you play, it becomes a sublime work of art." and certainly since yesterday I'm beginning to warm to it and it's strangeness.

An ASL Historical Scenario "Red Barricades"
Immersing yourself into a system and the period it's covering can also really bring an otherwise mundane map to life. Take the Red Barricades map from ASL as an example, it's a nice map yes, but only once you know the history and play through ASL can you truly appreciate it as a piece of war gaming art.

In other games it's the beauty of the map itself that draws you to the historical period and the game. Indeed in recent years the quality of wargame artwork on both maps and box covers has improved greatly. 

Below I have included some of my favourite maps.

Liberty Roads - covers the WWII campaign in France, from 6th of June 1944 (D-Day) to March 1945.
Liberty Roads

Here Come The Rebels - covers the Antietam campaign from the American Civil War.
Here Come The Rebels

Kingdom Of Heaven - covers the Crusades A.D. 1097 to A.D. 1291. Probably my favourite wargame map.
Kingdom Of Heaven
You can find other fine gaming maps at Mapology.

My gaming experience is limited and you guys are bound to have a few suggestions and favourites of your own...?

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