Travel Battle has arrived on the wargaming scene and has garnered mixed views, namely here and here. The first link is a review, the second an opinion piece and, to be honest, I fall firmly in the latter camp.
As I have stated before, I am an historical wargamer. To those of you who don't understand that, it means that my preference in the hobby is in the order of History, then Toys, then (in the far distance) Games. So, when I first found out about TB, I was unimpressed. Having read the above posts, and a few others, I am still unimpressed.
Perhaps it's the facade that it's vaguely Napoleonic, the only link to which I can see is the box art. Pretty as it is, it adds nothing to the game. Identikit plastic soldiers, cavalry, artillery and houses (all in equal number - since when did that ever happen in the real world???), unpainted because, well, it's just a travel game, isn't it(?) and thin of rule book, it comes across as an attempt to sell to wargamers who maybe should know better, £50 for the box set, though judging by some posts and comments here, there are some who have bought multiple copies and are planning mini campaigns! Forgive me, but why the hell would you want to create a mini-campaign for a travel game? You'd need several boards, so at least three copies of the game (unless you can buy them separately). More figures, buildings, everything. Not exactly fitting in with the travel ethos. If you wanted to go bigger, why not a room, tables, terrain cloths or boards and scenics??? Hell, why not get a few friends, some painted armies, a vaguely historical ruleset and a pub. Oh wait. That's what we already do. I am sure you can find several vendors who'll sort out a 6mm or 10mm set up for £50 or so. Just takes a tad more effort on your part though if you've ever painted 6mm, not that much effort.
Maybe it's the gaming side of it I don't get. Now don't get me wrong, I like a good wargame. But take, for example, a weekend show. I go with the rest of the crew, we do our show thing and then, on an evening, I whip out my TB extravaganza. Erm, no! Apart from the fact that one would laugh himself into a coma and the other practice aggressive insertion techniques with said pretty box art (though with that cavalry, my condition would be anything but stable afterwards!), there is only so much wargaming I can take.
Where is the challenge? Everything is determined by dice rolls. By that, I mean, it uses dice rolls to try to hide the fact that it is so limited. Where is the room for tactics, manoeuvre, sneakiness? I can't see it with those rules. For the cost of TB, I could buy a travel chess set (which has a greater variety of units, strategies and no dice) and with the change, pay for a decent meal and a few drinks.
Maybe it's me. I am not a fan of dice heavy games as it is. If you want to dice away for anything, as some gamers seem to want to do, try a Live Action Role Playing game where you have to dice for how your food is cooked. You want to boil an egg? Roll a six, it's solid, roll a one, prepare for food poisoning. Roll low on prawns and I'll send flowers and condolences). TB seems just like that because it is so limited.There is only so much you can do with what the box offers. It is designed to be limited but, and this is how I roll(!), that would just bore me.
TB is yet another step removed from historical gaming that I see at shows these days. I can't see the point of it. Not when, with a bit of a thinking brain, there are far better options for people who WARgame rather than warGAME. It's probably not overpriced for the kit you get, buy in my eyes, £50 could be spent on more productive choices. Or should I say £45. Yep, already discounted by 10% at Carronade. I wonder what they'll be going for at 1st Partizan on Sunday...?