I am quite sure that most readers with an interest in naval warfare during the age of sail will be familiar with the Avalon Hill board game sharing the title of this post. Well, I can tell you that this post is not directly about that particular game at all - splendid fun that it is. I have said in the past that whilst I enjoy the hexed based board game I actually prefer the square based miniatures rules that preceded the Avalon Hill game called Ship ‘O the Line. No matter, I have included that purely for completeness.
Today I took delivery of two board games that thematically slot into my existing collection really nicely. Taking the age of sail first sees the arrival of Flying Colours: Fleet Actions in the Age of Sail by GMT Games (3rd edition). This is a huge game in that it covers Exactly what it says on the box lid but with the option to fight smaller actions. There is something like six sheets of counters with named ships from a variety of fleets from 1st rates downwards. There are some 40 plus scenarios as well as some campaigns and the great thing with this game is that one does not have to write any orders. For Wooden Ships and Iron Men you have to which is fine but it does add to the gaming time. Another big advantage is that ship counters have names rather than numbers! This will go into my collection alongside Wooden Ships and Iron Men and Fighting Sail and I fully expect to be using the counters on the table top with any miniatures rules e.g the set that Mr Fox has cobbled together that work very nicely although for the life of me I cannot remember what they are called as well as David Manley’s Form Line of Battle.
....and Iron Men.
The second game is altogether different but does have a connection with one of my all time favourite board games - Flat Top, the game of carrier battles in the South Pacific during 1942 (not including Midway). The game is called Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal and it is a platoon and section level tactical game featuring the Japanese and the USMC as they battle over the aforementioned island. The naval side was frantic with heavy losses on both sides and the land actions were brutal. Conditions on the island were appalling and the combat was invariably up close and very personal. The number of counters in this game is quite low - 175 and a portion of these are markers of one kind or another. It is a far cry from Squad Leader or more especially, Advanced Squad Leader. The main practical advantage for me at present with this game is that I can satisfy my South Pacific itch prior to getting the models ready. The scale of the game is such that replicating it successfully using figures would be very simple - and that is the ultimate plan.
The production quality for both games is outstanding, especially with the Guadalcanal game mapboards and both have an awful lot of potential beyond the contents of the respective boxes. The counters for Guadalcanal are 1” square and so are not only very tactile but easy to read. I am looking forward to giving this a go and besides, Chi Ha tanks versus Stuarts was always going to get my vote!