When evil is good – great wargaming with Table Battles (@Hollandspiele, 2017)

uzYnpkZgTZOXhUpmAh6N2ASaturday morning is not the usual time a wargame hits the table in the RockyMountainNavy house. This past Saturday was a bit different as the Youngest RockyMountainNavy was studying for a math quiz and the Middle RockyMountainNavy Boy was a bit bored waiting for his brother to finish. So I challenged him to a game of Table Battles (Hollandspiele, 2017).

This was Middle RMN Boy’s first time playing. We set up The Battle of White Mountain (Thirty Years War, 1620) and he took the Imperial & Catholic League. Game play proceeded a bit slowly as I had to be patient as he absorbed the game rules. My Middle RMN Boy is on the Autism Spectrum and he sometimes struggles with multi-step rules or too many choices. It’s not that he suffers from Analysis Paralysis (AP) while gaming, he just takes a bit longer to process his thoughts. Table Battles turned out to be a good game for him; simple enough rules and procedures with just enough depth of to create a challenging (but not insurmountable) array of choices.

In Table Battles, Special Formations are usually the most powerful, and therefore the hardest to “ready.” Middle RMN had The Twelve Apostles (historically the twelve biggest cannons) as his Special Formation and to “ready” it takes a “Straight 4;” rolling a sequence of four consecutive numbers on the dice. As the Special Formation card is harder to load, it also can be easy to miss when rolling.

Me – “OK, go ahead and roll.”

RMN Boy – [Rolls five dice as one formation already has a die placed]

Me – “Well, you could….”

RMN Boy – “I rolled a 2, 3, 4, 5. I can load this card, right?”

Me – “Uh, sure….”

RMN Boy  – [Smiling & laughing evilly as he adds a cube to the Special Formation]

That pretty much describes the battle. The end came down to two last formations, each almost reduced and ready to Rout. After I rolled and failed to get the needed Triplet to ready my formation I thought I would have another chance as his formation was totally unready with no dice placed.

Me – “OK, roll your dice.”

RMN Boy – “I really need a triple to load my card.” [Rolls dice – 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 6]

Me – [Deep sigh]

RMN Boy – “So I move these here. Dad, you sure you don’t want to surrender now?”

Even though I lost it was a great game. While the Youngest RMN Boy has proclaimed Table Battles as a “favorite game” I think it is Middle RMN Boy who will enjoy this game more. Kudos to designer Tom Russell (@tomandmary) for making a simple, yet deep wargame that I can enjoy with all my boys.

Featured image – Battle of White Mountain, oil on canvas by Pieter Snayers (courtesy wikipedia). You can practically see the Table Battles formation cards in the scene….

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