2:56 PM

(5) Comments

My eyes glazed over with sticker shock!

Mister Nizz

My word, that's a big'un

Pre-order price for a wargame, that is.

A news item on CSW directed me to the Avalanche page, and these two items in their queue:

Hearts of Iron

Hearts of Iron: Ironclad Campaigns, 1864 and 1866
During the age of nationalism, the Austrian Navy fought two campaigns at sea. The first came in 1864, when an Austrian squadron sailed into the North Sea to challenge the Danish blockade of North German ports. The Austrians fought the Danes at the Battle of Helgoland, winning a strategic victory by breaking the blockade. Meanwhile, Austria’s Prussian allies fought an inconclusive sea engagement with the Danes at Swinemunde.

Two years later, the Austrian fleet fought the Italians in the first open-sea battle between ironclad fleets, at Lissa in the Adriatic. An Austrian victory, it prevented Italian seizure of the strategic island of Lissa.

Hearts of Iron is loosely based on our Great War at Sea series of games, but uses the large counters found in Napoleon in the Desert or Rome at War. The “search” part of the game is very similar. There are two operational maps, one of the North Sea and Baltic and one of the Adriatic. The tactical partof the game is more detailed, with armor (or lack of it) and ship design playing a much more crucial role.

In addition to the Danish, Prussian, Austrian and Italian fleets, there are the American Mediterranean Squadron that the Austrians believed would fight alongside the Italians, and the Turkish European Fleet that entered the Adriatic to support Austria.

As with all of our naval games, there is a wide variety of both operational and battle scenarios, based on extensive archival research into the original reports and dispatches.

Hearts of Iron includes two operational maps, one tactical map, 88 double-sized ship pieces, 154 oversized playing pieces.

This is a time period that I love to read about and game in; unfortunately the sticker price is (gasp) SEVENTY FIVE simoleons. And the Commitment Price is a whopping discount of: $60

Just doesn't seem like all that much of a break, does it?

Great War at Sea: cone of fire

Another fun addition to the much stretched GWAS engine, this time retreading the same ground taken with the DREADNOUGHTS package, only instead of having the Great Powers make use of the Latin American dreadnoughts, the game investigates the what-ifs of the countries actually purchasing said fleets and going to war with each other. Now that should make for a really fun little what-if wargame:

Great War at Sea has covered naval wars around the world, both those that occured and those that might have but did not. One of the flash points that failed to ignite was at the southern tip of South America, where Chile and Argentina engaged in a heated naval arms race in the early 1900s.

Cone of Fire adds the fleets of South America to the Great War at Sea game system: Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Peru. Both the fleets built by these nations, and the ships planned or ordered but never received, are included. Chile’s battle cruisers and aircraft carrier, Argentina’s fast pre-dreadnoughts, Peru’s armored cruiser and more are all here.

There are more than three dozen scenarios, covering several tense periods:

The 1901-1902 Beagle Channel crisis.
1914, the outbreak of World War One.
1920, the Great War’s aftermath.
Cone of Fire includes:

Two 34x22-inch operational maps.
One 25x25-inch tactical map.
140 “large” playing pieces
280 standard-sized playing pieces.

The all too familiar retail price: seventy five dollars, with a commitment price of sixty bucks. Again.

I'm not busting on Avalanche Press in particular, here. They actually have been making great strides in the exact OPPOSITE direction lately; their line of affordable wargames is growing yearly, and I supported that by buying each one of them! GMT, Avalanche, Clash of Arms and Columbia all have SRPs that will make your eyes bug out compared to about ten years ago. I think the days of the complex, multi-mapped and multiple scenario wargame being published for a SRP under sixty bucks are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. I used to buy wargames for the sheer fun of acquiring them; some that I bought in the 90s I knew I would never play, I just wanted to get the latest and greatest thing (most of these are the ebay fodder of the past, now). That was back when wargames cost from 30 to 40 bucks each.

Nowadays, I have to think long and hard before I buy even ONE wargame, at these prices. Are my fellow wargamers that much different from me?

Both sections of quoted text copyright Avalanche Press from their website