Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Travel Battle: A review of the latest offering from Perry Miniatures

One of the things that I was particularly interested in seeing at SALUTE2017 was TRAVEL BATTLE, the latest offering from Perry Miniatures. It is being sold as a complete wargame in a box that is suitable for wargamers who are on the move for work, on holiday, or who don't have a lot of space and/or time. As it uses a gridded tabletop, I was determined to at least have a look at a copy.

The stand was being staffed by both Alan and Michael Perry ...


... who seemed to be surrounded by loads of stock whilst being inundated by customers!

Luckily they had a painted example of the game on show ...


... and this gave me a flavour of what was inside the box. I eventually managed to get to speak to both of the Perry brothers, and they very kindly gave me a copy of the game to review ... only the second time that I have ever been given a review copy of anything related to wargaming.

THE BOX

The box the game comes in is made of corrugated card and measures approximately 38cms x 29cms x 6.6cms (15" x 11.5" x 2.5"). It has a plastic carrying handle fixed to the top side of the box.

The box top is decorated with a Napoleonic battle scene that features British and French cavalry and a couple of British Riflemen ...


... whilst the back is illustrated by photographs of the games's components and a breakdown of the contents.


On opening the box, the first thing that one sees is a layer of black foam packaging that is designed to ensure that the game is secure when it is packed away and – more importantly – being carried.


Once this is removed it becomes apparent that the whole game is designed to be stored in an inner foam box, which looks quite substantial and should ensure that the components do not get damaged in transit.


THE COMPONENTS

The game's components consist of:
  • Two preformed green plastic terrain boards, marked with a squared grid of 1-inch squares

  • A grey plastic sprue of houses
  • A green plastic sprue of canopies for the woods and figure bases
  • Two identical red plastic sprues of figures
  • Two identical blue plastic sprues of figures
  • An eight-page Rules and Guide book

The figures are plastic and the foot figures are approximately 8mm high. The detail on them is acceptable, but no doubt will not meet the exacting standards of some wargamers.

THE RULES AND GUIDE BOOK

The first two pages of the book explain:
  • The six troop types used in the rules
  • How to organise the troops into brigades
  • How to assemble fix the figures to their bases
  • The Sequence of Play

The centre pages cover:
  • How to set up the game
  • Movement
  • Artillery Fire

The next two pages explain:
  • The rules for Fighting
  • How to Rally troops
  • How to show that your troops are in Square
  • The victory conditions
  • How to paint your armies

The back cover explains how to paint the terrain ...


... and the origins of the game. (It was conceived and designed by Michael Perry back in the early 1990s.)

PROS AND CONS

I really do like the concept behind this game. It is exactly the sort of game that I would have liked to have designed. The components seem to be robust, and the whole thing should provide many hours of fun to anyone who owns a copy BUT I do have several reservations about the game. These are:
  1. I think that an American Civil War version would have had greater sales potential (I understand that this might be a possibility if this game sells well).
  2. I think that the figures should have been larger. 10mm is any already widely used figure size, and if the figures in this game had been just 2mm taller it would have enabled them to be used in other games and/or players could have expanded their armies with different figures.
  3. I am not that keen on the fact that the terrain is fixed and that I am not able to move the woods, buildings, and hills. This may sound very picky but it is something that I think might have made the game even more saleable.
  4. The rules allow diagonal movement on a squared grid ... which is something that I have come to dislike over recent years. Likewise artillery can fire on diagonals at no cost to their range.
That all might sound very negative, but I think that with a little extra thought this could have been an exceptionally good game that a lot of people would have bought and used ... and that had the potential for considerable expansion.

There - however - lots of pluses as well as these minuses, and to my mind they are:
  1. It is a very simple set of rules to use and learn. As I know from designing and using my own PORTABLE WARGAME rules, there is a lot of subtlety to be found in wargames that have simple rules.
  2. The rules are very playable and easy to understand. I showed them to my wife (who is no wargamer and not a great lover of boardgames other than MONOPOLY), and she understood them without any problem.
  3. I can see myself using the terrain boards for all sorts of mini-campaign battles, but probably using 6mm or 10mm figures instead of the ones that come with the game.
  4. The terrain items (e.g. the houses) can be used with other wargames fought using small-scale figures. (I placed some 6mm figures next to the buildings and they did not look out of place alongside them.)
  5. The design of the woods provides a neat and simple to the age-old problem of how to conceal units in wooded areas. Simply, you make the wood hollow, with a removeable canopy.
  6. The whole package (including the foam lining) will ensure that the game components will survive the rigours of travel ... just as long as my wife doesn't see me sneaking the box into the luggage on our next cruise!
  7. Just looking at the game as I laid the pieces out to photograph them made me want to assemble the figures and bases and to start playing ... but probably an imagi-nation campaign rather than a proper historical one.
So I am I happy with this game?

The answer is a resounding 'YES' ... but I will probably use my own rules rather than the ones that come with the game.

One last thing; cost. I have heard and read several comments about the cost of this game. True, it is £50.00 ... but this is not much more than the cost of four packs of Foundry Napoleonic figures, so it it not that ridiculously expensive for what you get. As someone who has many hundreds of pounds-worth of unpainted metal figures, £50.00 for a game that I can and will use sounds not only very reasonable, but might actually turned out to be a sensible and economical choice.

85 comments:

  1. Bob, thank you for the excellent review. I have been waiting to see more about this game. Living in the States, I am curious to see how much it will cost to get a copy here. The boards look great, however as you pointed out, removable terrain would have been better. Perhaps if this has great success they will make a board with removable terrain; perhaps along the lines of Heroscape. I was wondering at the measurements of the squares? I do love the looks of it and will in all probability buy a copy myself. It shouldn't take up too much room in my camper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jhnptrqn,

      I tried to make the review as comprehensive and balanced as possible. The bottom line is that I think that it is a good game that could have been even better.

      The grid is made up of 1-inch squares, and each board has a 10 x 10 grid, giving a total of 200 grid squares ... which is certainly large enough to fight a reasonably-sized battle on.

      I think that it will be an ideal game for you to take with you on your camping trips.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. Bob,
    Thanks for your very informative review, which tells me all I need to know about this game. I think you have analysed its strengths and weaknesses accurately and fairly.

    The choice of a square, rather than a hexagonal (which would surely have been no more difficult to mould and could still have been rearranged to make different terrain layouts), grid may have been to make the game more accessible to children and others used to traditional square grid games like draughts and chess. It also allows the rules to be simpler, if one isn't too bothered about diagonal movement and ranges, which probably doesn't concern the target audience much.

    The inflexibility of terrain placement is a greater issue. The hollow woods could, for example, have been made to lock into any of the grid lines, or been on freestanding bases like those created by Wargames Widow in the latest MW.

    The choice of 8mm figures is strange: 6mm or 10mm would have made them compatible with existing wargame ranges and made sales of the sprues alone possible, but perhaps the Perrys hope that wargamers will feel compelled to purchase only their products to expand the system - shades of GW! - whereas it will be easier to buy metal figures from other manufacturers to build alternative armies/fight in different periods and sacrifice the original plastic troops.

    On the subject of cost, I must disagree with you. I could - and have! - bought similar sized Napoleonic 10mm armies from Pendraken Miniatures. A similar single army of 90 infantry, 15 cavalry and 3 guns plus crews (the closest I can get due to pack contents) would coat £24.75 and could be easily expanded later from a much wider, readily available range of troop types, and would be compatible with other gamers' collections.

    Or, one could buy a couple of old s/h RISK sets to obtain far more figures in a variety of colours and base them on card. Then, one could draw one's own terrain grid on green sugar paper, glue it to the RISK boards so it can be folded for travel and storage and make freestanding scenery from wood or card offcuts, clumps of lichen &c.

    What one is paying for, I suppose, is the convenience of a complete, ready to play (no effort required) package. And, perhaps, for the Perrys reputation?

    You'll have deduced I won't be buying the game! But I may tinker with the rules...

    Well done for getting a review copy! Glad you enjoyed Salute.

    Regards,
    Arthur

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ... I think Arthur has put it much better than I could... some 6mm figures, a couple of home made boards (out of ply), your own rules, and change out of far less than this costs, and you would have addressed all your con's... having said that you probably know by now that I'd not have bought it anyway - dislike grids/hexes and the rest intensely.... :o)

      Delete
    2. Arthur Harman,

      I don't fundamentally disagree with anything you have written in your comment; if one was so inclined, one could easily produce a somewhat more flexible terrain board and buy figures for less than the price being charged for this game.

      The game does have merits, and for anyone who did not have the time or the ability to 'do it themselves', the cost of buying this game would not seem too outrageous.

      I'll be interested to see how much use I get out of the game once I have assembled the buildings etc., and given it a very basic paint job. I would like to try it out with a mini-campaign, but may well replace the plastic figures with figure blocks from Irregular Miniatures.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. Steve-the-Wargamer,

      As I wrote in reply to Arthur Harman, anyone with the skill and time could have produced their own version of this game. I am sure you that it will sell quite well, and I would not be surprised to see the rules being used with larger scale figures and homemade terrain boards.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    4. Coming in late on this thread, but have to build on your comment. Based on what we've seen with the Command and Colors games, I'd be surprised if we didn't see versions of the game using 15mm Napoleonics and home-made terrain boards.

      Delete
    5. Ed M,

      By doubling the size of the squares, the boards would be 20" x 40" ... and an ideal size to fit on a dining table. If used with 15mm figures, the resulting game would reasonably cheap to put together.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. Great review and lucky you getting a freebie...

    I am yet to be convinced but when I look at the amount I have spent recently on kickstarter model driven boardgames who am I to criticise.

    I wish the Perry's success

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eric the Shed,

      I am pleased to read that you have found my review useful ... and I hope that the Perrys produce expansion sets or - even better - an ACW version.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  4. Very informative review, Bob - thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Giles,

      Cheers old chap! Glad to have been of help.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  5. Thanks Bob, A good and useful review.
    Let me know if you do manage to sneak it on to the next trans-Atlantic cruise.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ross Mac,

      I like e concept, but feel that with just a few changes it could have been so much better.

      I'll certainly try to 'smuggle' a copy aboard ship the next time I come over to Halifax ... but I'll have to be quite careful how I do it!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  6. Bob,
    An excellent and very fair Review of the Perry's Portable Game. I think the price set at 50pd is very fair for what the purchaser receives- you do get a comprehensive game complete with terrain- including Buildings, miniatures for two complete armies, a set of playable rules with guides and dice....compare this: I just paid $75 AUS for a small Sci-Fi Space Ship soft back Rule Book- and upon leafing through it the 'game' is completely unplayable~!
    I think the choice of 8mm for the figure scale is OK- it may entice gamers to buy extra sprues to make even larger Perry 8mm armies and expand the Portable Game....who knows the Twins may be planning to bring out with their sculpting talents an additional range of metal figures in 8mm - Napoleon? Wellington? French Grenadiers?...the whole Project has a lot of Potential. I wish them well with it.
    Thank you for the Review Bob. Cheers. KEV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson,

      I think that the price is not that excessively high when compared with other short production run boxed games, and I had already ordered a copy before I went to SALUTE ... so I will end up with two copies!

      I should have asked the Perry brothers whether they had any intentions to produce additional figures, terrain boards etc. ... but forgot to.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  7. A very thorough review Bob. I quite like the game and, as others point out you could knock up your own board, buy some cheaper 6 or 10mm figures, but ,on balance, I think the price is not too bad. A game of Risk is around £30 today and other wargaming board games are selling at £40 plus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob Kett,

      I am very glad that you found my review useful. I know that other people think that the game is overpriced ... but I think that the Perry brothers have got it about right, and that it will sell.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  8. If they sell the components separately the buildings sprue could be very popular.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nigel Drury,

      I don't know if they have considered that option ... but it would certain make sense.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  9. Thank you for your review, Bob. It's very informative and I will certainly consider picking up a copy.

    Best wishes,
    Aaron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prufrock (Aaron),

      I think that this game will suit anyone who has a restricted amount of space available for wargaming and/or someone who wants to try out a new figure scale or historical period.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  10. Very informative review. The Perry Bros should have consulted or partnered with Mr. Borg of Memoir 44 and/or a historical miniatures gamer/rule designer. The design would have been more saleable to Miniature gamers, I beleive.
    Dick Bryant

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    Replies
    1. Dick Bryant,

      I think that you may well be right. I suspect that they had already designed the game, saw that the move towards smaller tabletop games was a potential growth area, and went ahead with producing it.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  11. Excellent overview. Have you given the rules as written a play? That would be informative as well.

    As for fixed terrain, that seems to be a shortcoming in my eye too. How soon before one tires of fighting over the SAME features EVERY battle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am wondering if this sells well whether we will see more terrain boards and armies down stream?

      Delete
    2. Jonathan Freitag,

      I did push a few pieces around to test the rules, but have yet to fight a full-scale battle.

      The terrain boards can be set up in a number of different configurations, but I would have thought that producing a few more would be a good idea.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    3. Bob Kett,

      I do hope so ...

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  12. A very fair review. There was some speculation on the M&M podcast prior to Salute, based on an incomplete knowledge of the game, so this is very helpful. While the M&M chaps sounded sceptical, you seem to see value in the concept and execution. I would certainly take it camping, travelling, or to the pub, though for a specific battle, I would pbly favour something like the Napoleonic 20 series by VP games, very small ziplock bag affairs. I wonder if the Perrys see this as a recruiting tool for the hobby?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael Peterson,

      I know that there had been quite a bit of negative comment about the game before it was released, but I wanted to see it 'in the flesh' before making a definitive judgement. I can certainly see me using the terrain boards, buildings, and woods, but with another manufacturer's figures.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  13. I have the game on pre-order, so wait patently for that to turn up. Thanks for the insight, though I doubt showing the full rulebook on your website is doing the Perry's any favours - as several have already commented, they could knock there own games together and their incentive to buy for the rules all but disappears (which is why I have bought).

    I would love to see this being a financial success, so that more support follows, but if the comments here so far are anything to go by, then sounds like many remain on the sideline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norm,

      I am waiting for my own pre-ordered copy to arrive, but was grateful for the review copy.

      Could you read the text of the rules from my photographs? I deliberately reduced the pixel size so that it should not have been possible, but if it is, I will change them ASAP.

      I do hope that this is the start of a successful new line of games.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Norm,

      Thanks for spotting the error I made with the images of the rules. I have now changed them so that they cannot be read.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    3. Bob, The rules were fully readable, but I have just checked again and the images are no longer readable. Norm.

      Delete
    4. Norm,

      Thanks for checking. I thought that I had set the images so that when selected they would not enlarge. Apparently I got the settings wrong, so I reduced the images to 25% of their original size and that seems to have corrected the problem.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  14. First off, a very well balanced and fair review, Bob. I think Arthur Harman nailed the cost analysis for 10mm (See post above). I did the exact same comparison with Pendraken. Rounding up, you could buy both armies for about 52 GBP assuming the purchase of just 1 command pack.

    I did the same comparison with Baccus 6mm miniatures. You can buy both armies for about 23 GBP if you stay generic...say buying French troops and then painting the uniforms various colors to represent various nations. The stands would be 2cm square so in some ways would be a better choices as they would fit more comfortably in the 1" squares. The cost is cheaper and you get metal over plastic.

    I do also think that making all the features "static" is a pretty big miss for this sort of game. However, it is important to note that you can set up the boards 16 different ways. So to be fair, there are 16 different battlefields to choose from.

    The odd size choice of the figures is a GW thing. When they came out with Warmaster years ago, the figures were 12mm and not 10mm. Kalistra made 12mm figures to compete directly with GW. Kind of does the gamer a disservice as they miss out on the variety they could have if they could buy compatible figures from elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John,

      As I have written elsewhere, I can see myself replacing the figures with metal ones, possibly Irregular troop blocks.

      The fixed nature of the terrain is a problem, but I think that it is one that one could learn to live with.

      I knew that GW always tried to make their stuff unique so that other competing manufacturers would be left wrong-footed, but did not realise that was why Kallistra had produce 12mm figures. Mind you, with scale creep the 12mm figures will soon grow to be 13mm, then 14mm, and then possibly even 15mm. Who knows where it will all end?

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  15. Bob, Very much enjoyed your very fair review of Travel Battle. Scale is no problem for me, but I do agree that it would have been nice to be able to locate the woods and buildings in other locations on the board to increase the variety of available battlefields. I thought £50 a fairly reasonable price and hope that the game enjoys success. To provide some reading material on the journey home from Salute I bought the latest issue of Wargames Illustrated in which an article gave some background to the game - the original, devised some 25 years ago using Heroics and Ros figures! Also two other versions of the game exist in embryonic form - WWII and the Sudan. Hopefully the Perry's will be encouraged to put them both into production sometime in the not too distant future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David Bradley,

      I tried to write a balanced and fair review ... and I think that I managed that. I happen to think that the game is worth £50.00, although as I made clear, I do have some reservations. As I will probably replace the figures with metal ones, the fact they are 8mm is of no great concern to me.

      Thank you for the background information about the origins of the the game. I would love it if the Perrys brought out a Workd War II and a Sudan Campaign version of the game. I'd certainly buy those as well.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  16. Thanks for a fair balanced review Bob. I wish them all the best as it may bring more recruits into the historical side of our hobby.
    Cheers
    Dave

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David Whitehouse,

      Thanks for your kind words. I hope that this proves to be a financially successful project for the Perrys, and is the first of several similar such games.

      I would hope that this game will encourage new recruits to the hobby. It certainly should.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  17. Bob
    Very good and thorough review. And kudos for scoring a review copy from the hands of the twins.

    I think that you are right to focus on the positives. No it won't be exactly what I would do in their shoes but I'm unlikely to go the DIY route, or if I did I wouldn't get it finished! Based on everything I've seen, the Perrys to things right - witness their plastic figure sets in 28mm- at a competitive price.

    As for the price point, the high end board games and board/miniatures games are at the 50 quid range so I think it's highly competitive.

    Now if I were to do a DIY portable game I'd recommend your book as for the tiles.

    I think there's a market for a travel game and good on the Perrys for filling it.
    Cheers
    Peter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peter Douglas,

      Thanks for you very kind comments.

      Over the years I've tried to make all sorts of different gridded terrain boards, and I've ended up with:
      * A large collection of Hexon II hexed terrain
      * A large(-ish) collection of Heroscape hexed terrain
      * A couple of felt cloths, one marked with 5mm/2" squares and one with 75mm/3" squares
      * A number of different-szied chessboards

      All the rest have either been scrapped, were never finished, or were given away. At least with the new game from the Perrys I get everything made for me, and all I have to do is to glue the figures to their bases.

      I think that the reactions that I have observed from wargamers have been about 50/50 in favour of or not in favour of this game ... which for a product new to the wargaming market is not bad. I agree there is a need for a travel wargame ... and this is a good starting point for the Perrys to work from to produce others, and for their competitors to do something similar. I am sure that if Games Workshop were interested in the historical end of the hobby, they would be producing something like this ... but at two or three times the price.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  18. Hi Bob.

    Thanks for your balanced review. I will be buying a copy of this. The price seems fair to me for a finished and nicely presented package such as this. Any commercial item not funded through KickStarter or similar involves significant investment and risk. I see no problem with charging a fair price to recoup that investment. DIY will nearly always be cheaper with most endeavours, but there is a value to having the convenience of a finished article that is ready to use. Like most of us I already have a lifetimes supply of hobby material, much of which sadly will never get finished.

    This game also has great potential for introducing non-wargamers to the hobby, which can't be a bad thing :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alan Charlesworth,

      Its good to hear that you are going to buy a copy, and I hope that my review helped you to make your choice.

      I think that we are in agreement about the price of this game and the convenience of having it almost ready-to-play from the box.

      One of the things that I thought of when I first opened the box and had all the parts in front of me was a comment by Joseph Morschauser. He advocated having one of his gridded wargames out on a coffee table when friends came around. Invariably it generated comments and interest from predominantly male guests, and that he had even acquired a few new regular opponents from amongst them as a result.

      It makes you think that this game could perform a similar function.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  19. Bob, Good review. Is this a 2 player only game or do the rules cover solo play as well ? I hoped this was trying to fill the gap in the market for people traveling alone or away from their usual playmates!! Regards. Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul Leeson,

      The rules indicate that it is a two-player game, but it would not be at all difficult to use it for solo wargames if one applies a little bit of thought.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  20. Good review Bob, thank you. I'm going to jump in and order 2 sets to begin with as I'm keen to see what I can do with regards to painting them. I think your rules would work very well.

    Another very good review can be found below:

    http://theswordinthesprue.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/review-travel-battle-from-perry.html

    Sent you an email the other day re Portable Wargames.

    Lee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Lee,

      I also have a second set on order as I think that using four boards will enable me to indulge my passion for pre-battle manoeuvring. I'm not sure as yet if I will paint the figures or just leave them as they are.

      Thanks for the link to the other review. When read in conjunction with mine, potential buyers will have a very comprehensive understanding of the game.

      I think that I read and commented on your email. If I didn't, could you send it to me again?

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    2. 'Lee,

      Received and read with interest. I'll respond properly later today.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  21. Thanks for the heads-up, and the review, Bob. I was surprised to see the fixed terrain, but, overall, this does look interesting. Now, where is the piggy bank...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AlFront,

      Cheers! The fixed terrain might be a problem in the long-term, but I think that it will be possible to work around that with a little bit of effort.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  22. I have been going back and forth if I will buy this game or not. Others have made the good points that you can make your own; a project that I have been working on. However, I just like the looks of this set, and seems to be a board game that others wives have played, and enjoyed. I have been thinking of trying Battle Cry with my wife; this game may be better suited, and compact enough that it could be played while camping on rainy days. I do hope they sell the spruces of figures separately, I would buy several sets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jhnptrqn,

      I'm not sure how much the game will cost on your side of the 'pond', but knowing your modelling ability you could easily 'do it yourself' if it is too expensive.

      I would have been extremely pleased if this had been an ACW rather than a Napoleonic game ... but this does not detract from my overall opinion of this game.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  23. A superb review Bob, as I expected, and you've hit on a few things which hadn't immediately occured to me when I wrote my own review. In particular, the issue of diagonal movement. I wonder if it was a concession to simplicity that perhaps goes too far. I think I will try with orthogonal movement only, or perhaps try the old Dungeons and Dragons method for square grid diagonal movement, where it is allowed, but at an alternating 'cost' of 1 or 2 squares of movement allowance per diagonal movement made (if that makes any sense!).

    I share your impression that it is a brilliant concept, only a little imperfectly realised. In any case, to have a major player in historical gaming bring out a grid based game is a boon for this particular niche-of-a-niche in wargames, and if there's any justice in the world, it'll translate into more sales for Portable Wargame!

    Joe

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    Replies
    1. Joe McLaren,

      Thanks very much for your very kind comment about my review.

      I think that Peter Pig uses the alternate orthogonal-diagonal movement idea in some of his rules, and I know several other people who have used something similar. Likewise the 2 diagonal = 3 orthogonal moves makes sense.

      It is encouraging that such a well-known manufacturer has taken up the gridded wargame concept ... and if sales of my book increase, I will be more than a little grateful!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  24. Caliver Books are listing it for £45 world wide post free here http://caliverbooks.com/news.php?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nigel Drury,

      I wonder how they manage to sell it for less than the Perrys can? They are charging £56.00, including postage and packing.

      Very odd.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    2. Post free was surprising. £49.99 at Leisure Games or Orcs Nest though both would add postage.

      Delete
    3. Nigel Drury,

      I cannot understand how Caliver can sell it for less than the manufacturer and not charge postage as well. Recently I've been posting lots of stuff that Sue and I have been selling on eBay, and anything up to 2kg in weight costs £2.90 to post, and that is without the cost of packaging.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  25. Bob,

    Thank you for this excellent review.

    I too wonder about the sprues being sold separately, as it seems like the terrain and the houses would have a wide application, and if sold cheaply, the 8mm armies would have an appeal to those who want to have a bigger battle, without the perceived cost of metal (or the weight).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Lasgunpacker,

      Cheers! I would have thought that selling individual sprues would be a good idea, both for people wanting to increase the size of their TRAVEL BATTLE armies or who want to create 8mm armies for other game systems. Likewise the building sprues could easily sell separately.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  26. I've already pre-ordered (which just shipped today) two copies of this game. I may well order two or even four more, after they arrive and I get a good look at them.

    They will prove an excellent tool to get new people into the miniature wargame hobby.

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    1. Justin Penwith,

      Having played around with the orientation of the two boards that I have, I am beginning to realise that having twice as many boards will give me a lot of flexibility when it comes to setting up terrain for a battle. I am sure that you'll find that as well when your two (or even four or six) copies of the game arrive.

      The game could be an excellent introduction to wargaming, but to do so it needs to be marketed somewhere like Waterstones and John Lewis rather than by the usual wargame retailers.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob,
      you make a very good point: selling at Salute or by mail order from Perry or Caliver will not bring the game to people who are not wargamers already. I read recently a blog entry in which the writer explained how he had played RISK as a child with an adult who had seen Featherstone's War Games and encouraged him to combine the latter with the RISK figures for a battle game. Our generation came to wargames via the Airfix figures which were readily available in Woolworths and local toy shops - that doesn't happen now...

      But you can still buy RISK in the high street, so TB would need to compete with that, on price and contents. Although the RISK gameboard is fixed, the randomised troop placement makes every game different; in addition, there are rules for reinforcements, so armies can change composition, and several variants of the basic game in the rulebook.

      True, the simplicity of the TB rules allows their adaptation to create a more detailed and/or historical game, but how likely is a novice or child to do that? Then, for a really attractive visual effect, the troops and terrain need to be painted, whereas the RISK gameboard is ready coloured, as are the various mission cards; although the troops are just one colour, the variety of colours makes for a more appealing initial appearance.

      IMHO, RISK wins as an impulse buy/gift for a child: on price (£27.48 with free postage on Amazon UK); colourful appearance; suitability for 2-6 players; game variants and the singly based figures can be arranged into different formations for Featherstone or PW type battle games.

      I don't wish the Perry brothers anything but success with TB (I hope it may lead more people to your PW or Neil Thomas's various rules), and applaud their willingness to espouse gridded terrain and simple, playable rules, but feel TB will remain something of a dead-end - a rather expensive stand-alone game whose components will have little other use in other wargames.

      Regards,
      Arthur

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    3. Arthur, it is only us, the gamer that sees this as a good intro tool for new gamers. There is nothing on the box to suggest that the Perry's view this as anything other than a product for existing wargamers.

      the box says "It is intended for gamers who have limited space or those who are travelling on along journey or holiday and need a gaming fix".

      So I think the Perry's are already speaking to their audience and their brand has far reaching reputation within the hobby.

      For me, I see the product being for me, but if I wanted to introduce someone to a fast play, fun game, I would pull this down from the shelves and it is nice to have something like this at the ready for such occasion.

      Of greater significance, I see this as being another crunchy step towards having a wider acceptance of grids by the wargaming community as a whole and those who are grid adverse, at least have the most gentle of introductions to the convenience of the grid.

      I feel that a comparison between TravelBattle and RISK is tenuous at best.

      As an observation, the interior flaps to this box are emblazoned with box artwork for their 28mm plastic range. I can't immediately see a reason for that, but brand is everything (perhaps :-) )

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    4. Interesting points, Norm. Sad, IMHO, that there was no attempt to create/market TB as an entry to the hobby.

      I would have thought any established wargamer could easily create a portable, holiday version of his existing game by obtaining or making a suitable container to hold a selection of his figures, a cloth, a few bits of scenery, a slim rulebbok and some dice.

      My comparison of RISK and TB was solely in the context of a gift/purchase for a child or non wargamer, and thus valid.

      As I've never bought 28mm figures, 'the Perry brand' has no great significance for me, though I respect their artistry as sculptors.

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    5. I am more of a mind that we gamers are the best means by which TB will be used as an introduction to the wargaming hobby. By placing the game into a chain store, which is highly unlikely to be able to demo the game, answer pertinent questions, etc., it will have to rely on a highly motivated buyer or those of us already in the hobby.

      On the other hand, bringing TB along on a family outing where a nephew or niece (or son or daughter) is in attendance, is a ready sales opportunity, especially if they have no place where to charge their phone, ipad, or android device.

      The expense to produce the game requires a return on investment that must, in a very real sense, first be "tested" on the market most willing to buy.

      If wargamers won't buy the product, what is the chance of someone who is unattached to the hobby will do so?

      To use the example that others have already given Risk is cheap to produce in comparison, aside from its long history and many iterations, let along the economy of scale in production. TB, on the other hand, is likely fairly expensive to produce and will remain so for quite some time, assuming it remains in production.

      Certainly, WE could create our own version, using metal figures, to play with, but would we really ever produce them with the intent to give away or sell to people who do not game?

      Were I still running a game shop, I'd be using TB as a sales tool, all day long. I'd have my employees talk it up, play it, paint the figures, etc., to not only generate interest, but also show the ease of getting into the hobby and bypassing the pressure of the usual entry point requirements for miniature wargaming.

      The more I see of TB, even with the quibbles that I personally have (terrain that is locked into place - the woods!), the more I want multiple copies of the game to use at conventions, for solo play, for club games, etc.

      As others have stated, one could easily modify this by using 6mm figures of nearly any period and using appropriate building miniatures as replacements for the plastic period buildings that come with the game.

      I hope we will see the potential for what it can be instead of turning our noses up for what we individually perceive it to be.

      All the best.

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    6. Gentlemen,

      This has been a very interesting discussion, and the points raised have given us much food for thought.

      Over the past twenty years we have pretty well seen the demise of the High Street model shop ... which would have been the ideal outlets to sell TRAVEL BATTLE and AIRFIX BATTLES, both of which are ideal entry-level wargames.

      Waterstones has been selling a variety of board games for some years, and that is why I suggested them as a possible retail outlet for the game. If placed near their military history section, it might have attracted potential purchasers.

      I think the game has lots of potential. Two copies could be used for a back-to-back game and three would be a good basis for a simple tactical kreigsspiel setup.

      I'm still waiting for my second copy to arrive, at which point I will be able to play around with different configurations of the terrain boards.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  27. Bob.
    Thank you for your superb review and this game concept is great and stimulates the little grey cells for all kinds of options. Again, thank you for your xtra efforts for the game community.

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    1. Takeda33,

      I am very pleased that you found this review interesting and thought-provoking.

      As to my contribution to the wargaming community ... well like most things in life, I think that you easily get back as much - if not more - as you put in, and it is my small way of doing my bit for my hobby.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  28. My hard nosed resolve not to buy another commercial wargame crumbled rapidly and I ordered a copy of Travel Battle yesterday in the full knowledge that I will end up using the boards for the PW - Ho,Hum!

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    1. Barry Carter,

      I suspect that you not alone in giving into temptation ... and I will also be using the components with my PORTABLE WARGAME.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  29. Great review Bob - thank you. Like many other "traditional" wargamers, it's not my cuppa but I question if we are in fact the target audience.

    The price is not out of line for some eurogames and the all-in-one-box format will appeal to the large and increasing (and relatively youthful) board game community. If it puts some coin in the Perry's pockets and brings more people into miniature wargaming, then it's a win all around.

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    1. See the thread above (which I missed) for a counter argument. ;)

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    2. Pat G,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I agree about the pricing on the game; it really is not expensive when compared to similar boxed games, and if it does attract some of the growing number of games players into the hobby, all the better.

      I don't see why the Perrys should not make money from producing games like this, although there is an element within the hobby who seem to think that the people who design, manufacture, and supply what we all need to fight our battles should do it for love rather than to make a living from it.

      Ill be interested to see if the Perrys produce a follow up game or expansion sets. From my own point of view, I hope so.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  30. Good review, thanks.

    I've an existing pile of 6mm Napoleonics, so this doesn't really address any form of "gap" in my gaming.
    However it's interesting to watch an innovative product.
    I wish the authors and players well:

    Thoughts:

    * It appears to fall between the "DIY" approach of teh typical grognard and "Play out of the box" of a Eurogamer.
    * Cost is cheap compared to most wargame "projects", slightly above average for a Eurogame.
    * Rules seem to be a small part of the product, Grignards will houserule or toss and replace as they have always done.
    * ACW, FPW, ??W adaptations are likely using 6mm figures on the same boards - Cook your own rules adaptations.
    * Squares Vs Hexes - This can only end in bloodshed"" A look at how Peter Pig handle squares is instructive - PBI allowed a single diagonal hop, the remainder being orthogonal - It provides a fair mapping to actual distance without mangling flanking issues.

    I suspect it will stand or fall on these few issues:
    * How much demand for a travel battle.
    * Will players adapt to squares / plastic / 8mm?
    * Momentum - will the club adopt the game.

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    1. Stephen Holmes,

      Thanks for your comments. I agree with the conclusions that you include in your thoughts, and although hexes do have many advantages, in this case I think that a grid of squares works better.

      As far as I can gather the game is selling quite well, and although I have some reservations about the 8mm figures, I don't think that many purchasers share them. Your last question is an interesting one, and I suspect that some clubs will welcome the game whereas others will pooh-pooh it ... and we all know what happens when you do that! (General Melchett on the subject of pooh-poohs)

      All the best,

      Bob

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  31. Despite the furore over this I still can't see why anyone would drop 50 quid on it. I you really really need to take wargaming with you when you travel there are some far prettier boardgames about- almost anything from the Histoire et Collections stable for a start. Now I'm no boardgamer- I own only 1 -Kingmaker- which I probably play every two years or so.
    Your review was very clear and while the components might be worth the price , out of the box the thing looks like nothing so much as a sort of military Monopoly, BUT it does follow the current fashion for limited scope instant wargaming where no obvious thought is required and which bears little resembelance to its historical prototype. Also it has God's Anointed Perry's name on it so doubtless it will sell well enough.
    However as you may have gathered like Steve-the Wargamer I am significantly less than impressed.

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    1. Big Andy,

      I think that wargaming is a big enough hobby to encompass those who like games like TRAVEL BATTLE and those that don't ... and as someone who has designed and made several 'travel' wargames, I could easily have not spent £50.00 on this game, but chose to.

      I had hoped that my review was clear, and thank you for saying that you thought that it was. I suppose that I must share part of the blame for what your describe as being 'the current fashion for limited scope instant wargaming', as my book about the PORTABLE WARGAME seems to have encouraged several wargamers to fight small, quick-play wargames on simple terrain that will fit on an ordinary tabletop. Such wargames filled my personal needs, and I perceived that I was not alone in having those requirements. I know that there are plenty of wargamers who prefer something much bigger and more complicated, and if that brings them anything like the pleasure that I get from my wargaming, I am very pleased for them. It is – after all – a hobby that we should enjoy, even if we do not always agree with each other.

      All the best,

      Bob

      PS. Are the Perry’s and their products really held in that level of esteem by some wargamers? That I do find surprising ... but then again, I’ve not consciously bought any of their stuff before.

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  32. Great review and even better discussion. Bob, your thoughtful responses are very much appreciated and contribute to the quality of thie discussion.

    I have the game and I'm going to re-purpose my 6mm purchased painted Baccus armies to this game.

    I wonder how long it takes to play a game.

    Bill

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    1. Bill Hupp,

      I am pleased to read that you found this review helpful.

      I have a few 6mm figures, and to date have pushed some of them around on the terrain boards, but I have yet to fight a battle on them.

      I expect that a game will last about sixty minutes, judging by comments I have read elsewhere.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  33. Thanks for the review. I found this at the Warstore and am seriously considering it, though I'm a bit disappointed the terrain is fixed it's something I could live with given the handy physical size. I've been reading your own gridded rules and am considering using them.

    I experimented last week with your Sudan rules on a chessboard with 2-inch squares - the figures are 20mm so bases are a bit large. Stuck to basic fire, movement, cc and support and added a bit of terrain on the second try. Worked okay though I simplified them (for one thing, I didn't have command stands) and the teens I tried them with enjoyed it.

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    1. Jennifer,

      I am pleased to read that you found my review helpful. I have yet to use my copies in earnest, but hope to do so in the near future ... but using my rules rather than those that come in the box.

      Most of my rules are designed to be tweaked by the users to suit their particular circumstances. I assume that the teens you are using the rules with are not experienced wargamers. Are they students or family members? I ask because I spend a large chunk of my working life as an educator, and used wargames whenever it was appropriate.

      All the best,

      Bob

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