Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Magazine Review: Table Top Teasers Vol 1

Henry Hyde launched Battlegames in 2006 and one of the regular features of this new gaming magazine was "Table Top Teasers" written by Charles Grant. However, Brigadier (ret) Grant's articles weren't exactly a new feature. Charles Grant's first wargame scenario was published in Battle for Wargamers in February 1978. Since then he and his son have made major contributions to the wargaming hobby, not just in the UK, but throughout the world. Charles Grant's book The War Game remains a classic.

Table Top Teasers Vol 1 is a compilation of the first 12 "teasers" to appear in Battlegames magazine. But there's more to this booklet than a dozen scenarios. Nearly every scenario is followed by battle report of a game played tested using one of Grant's teasers. While the scenarios were originally written for Napoleonic battles, the use of generic terms allows wargamers to modify them to fit other historical, or even science fiction and fantasy settings. These games were played by some of the UK's most well known wargamer-authors, such as Angus Konstam, Ross Mafarlane, Jim Purky and Bill Protz. If I left anyone out, that's because Volume 2 appears to be in the works. Also included is an introduction on the origins of "Table Top Teasers" along with a discussion of historical battles versus scenarios and a product list.

I've bought several issues of Battlegames since its debut and Grant's "Table Top Teasers" is my favorite section. Unfortunately, since I'm not a subscriber and don't always get regular issues here in the US, there's been a large gap in my "teaser" library.

But no more, thanks to this special edition and--hopefully--more to follow.

What I've enjoyed most about "Table Top Teasers," is that each scenario presents the players with a unique tactical puzzle--hence the name. These are not just "line 'em up and have at it" encounters. In addition to enemy forces, players may have to contend with hostile natives, treacherous rapids (and allies), exploding bridges, ancient artifacts and buried treasure; just to name a few curves that can be thrown at players in any given scenario.

From what I've read of the play testing reports, each scenario is well balanced and more often than not, provides a down-to-the-wire finish.

This is a 5-star product that I'm looking forward to implementing in future gaming sessions someday.

Table Top Teasers Vol 1 can be purchased directly from the Battlegames website:


ColCampbell50 said...

I also enjoyed reading volume 1.

But I have to say that Jim Purky and Bill Protz aren't from the UK. They are both from the USA.


Stern Rake Studio said...

Thanks for the correction Jim! I assumed--incorrectly--all the contributors were from the UK.

Take care.