My first impressions on unboxing “Travel Battle” from Perry Miniatures
£50 though you might find it cheaper.
In the summer I had an idea of playing (and kind of reviewing) three Napoleonic board wargames. Well, I got one done. A few months later I saw this in the local shop. It is as it says, a complete wargame in a box. Figures, terrain, dice and rules for a Napoleonic wargame. It is based on a game that the designers came up with when one was recovering from a serious injury, that used a gridded board and 6mm figures. The rules are very simple, the rule-book thin and even has advice for painting the figures and terrain.
I had been tempted to get it for a while, it was reduced a bit so I got it for myself as a Christmas present. Inside are two board, which together give you a battlefield of 51 cm x 25.4 cm. They are isomorphic so can be arranged in any manner and they will match up.
It looks like something you could put in a day pack alone with a laptop and a few things and the board, if you were travelling on a UK intercity train, would fit on a table if four of you could grab one of the seats with the big tables. Obviously trains shudder about a bit, not tested it but the rough terrain board tilted about 40 degrees before a base slid off, so hopefully it will be OK.
Each side gets two sprues, enough to make four brigadiers (you only use three), two units of Heavy Cavalry, two units of light Cavalry, two artillery pieces and eight units of infantry (2 guard, six line). Cavalry and infantry are three figure sets to a base, one brigadier or artillery group to theirs.
My first thought was “can I get more? These are 8mm in size, not a scale anyone else produces. They seem to be pretty much in proportion and to have a decent level of details for the size, as far as I can tell without putting them under a magnifier, which would be a silly thing to do, until you want to paint numbers on buttons. I may compare them to some 6mm Ancients I have to see how noticeable the difference might be. You can buy extra sprues from Perry Miniatures but, although they had planned to produce other units, they haven’t. I get the feeling they still might, in theory, but it is way down the priority list.
A Farm using three of the six supplied buildings. Each building comes in two halves and need to be glued together
Which brings me to a quandry. The idea of this is that this is a complete game. And it is. I will get into rules and gameplay in the next post, but you can play each side with slightly differing arrangements of the divisions, and the boards can be placed differently to give variety. But the instinct to expand with larger armies and boards is a fairly natural one. By the way, it is cheaper to buy an extra boxed set than buy the component boards and sprue equivalent.
The other issue for me is to paint or not to paint. This is a travel set, complete and playable out of the box, at least if you blutak or glue the buildings together (not the treetops, back to that) and the figures to the bases. Once glued the figures are going to be hard to paint the insides of ranks/columns of, so if you are going to paint then better to do that first and then glue in place. I think, for trying out the game-play, I’ll glue just one figure set to a base, and, if I decide to paint them, then I can do that then finish the job.
I mentioned not gluing down the treetops, the pictures above and below shows why, if troops move into the woods then you take the treetops off and stick the troops in.