August 13th, 1704
game design by Steve Pole
The Battle of Blenheim 1704 is a tactical level two player game covering one of the pivotal battles during the War of Spanish Succession. One player takes the role of Marlborough, commanding the British and Allied forces, and the other of Tallard, leading the Franco-Bavarians. At Blenheim Marlborough found himself confronted by a superior Franco-Bavarian force in a strong defensive position. Like Hannibal's great victory at Cannae, Blenheim was won by the successful implementation of a bold and imaginative plan. The flanks of the Franco-Bavarian forces were pinned by furious attacks at unfavorable odds which denuded their centre of troops re-deployed to buttress the hard-pressed wings. Then Marlborough released his cavalry to smash what was left of Franco-Bavarian centre and cleave Tallard's army into two. The threat that Louis XIV's France would come to dominate Europe was over.
The Seven Hex System (SHS) derives its name from the map which is divided into areas comprising of seven hexes which enables the player to adopt various positions within an area to reflect different tactical formations thereby making it more likely that an attack will succeed or defending units will stand firm. The SHS incorporates several unique features intended to replicate in a simple and intuitive way the options available to a commander (the wargamer) of a large army. So whilst the commander has complete freedom to devise a plan, and a good deal when positioning units which have yet to encounter the enemy, once battle is joined the options become increasingly limited and unforeseen events can play a part in determining the outcome. Nonetheless, even at a tactical level a commander's decisions are crucial in shaping events. The key to success is a sound plan with a margin for error which allows for ill-fortune, the shrewd deployment of units so as to be able to implement that plan, and the timely commitment of reserves.
new blenheim game
Posted by william moran on Apr 24th 2018
I am still in the process of working out movement and conflict resolution. The 7 hex system appears to be overly complicated compared to older AH and SPI movement systems. After a few games I may have a different opinion but it appears now that normal hex movement would be better. You would know what terrain could be crossed and what blocked movement. The command rules that recreate the fog of war and uncertainty about orders being followed correctly are good. This feature could be added to a traditional hex movement and it would be fine. I am disappointed since I have always been interested in Marlborough’s campaigns and have been waiting for a good Blenheim game. Since the map and artwork of the pieces are so good, I will try to see if I can overcome any of the initial problems and give a better review.