Brant Guillory, 19 October 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay
For a number of wargamers, the sale of Victory Point Games to Tabletop Tycoon caused a bit of anguish, as some smaller-but-well-loved titles and series (like the -20 series) dropped out of circulation for a while. Some of those have been resurrected elsewhere (Frank Chadwick’s Thunder In The East) while others are still in limbo.
For the ones that stayed with Tabletop Tycoon, though, they were given a serious component upgrade and makeover. Gone were the digest-size ziplock bags and folded inkjet-printed maps, replaced with larger boxes, mounted maps, and real cards.
The twin States of Siege games Ottoman Sunset and Hapsburg Eclipse share a designer (Darin Leviloff), a setting (WW1), and are even linkable with a special set of rules that allow the player to combine the two games.
click images to enlarge
There’s the usual box-ness that we share in all the unboxings. Can’t unbox it ’til you get it in the box, right?
Hapsburg Eclipse has a folding map, deck of cards, one counter sheet, a pair of dice, and the rulebook.
The map has all the classic States of Siege hallmarks – the enemy tracks along which they advance, some holding boxes for tracking statuses and off-map events, and some flow-of-play information. While the graphics in the original game were outstanding for a small POD press, having them on a folding, mounted mapboard really pops.
The States of Siege games were always pretty low counter density, and one sheet of heavy double-sided counters provides everything you need to track the game as it unfolds on the map.
The rulebook is full size, glossy paper, and colorful, with clear examples of how the rules behave as the game plays out.
The card deck includes a few setup cards that are honestly a little tough to read. Just use the pages in the rulebook! The cards, along with the map, are a slam-dunk indisputable upgrade over the old VPG production.
Coincidentally, Ottoman Sunset also has a folding map, deck of cards, one counter sheet, and a rulebook. However, you only get 1 die instead of 2, despite the games costing exactly the same! 😱
The Ottoman Sunset map has some odd ‘blended’ tracks on it, as well as a few more off-map tracking tools.
Again, a single countersheet is plenty.
Both games include some good historical notes, but at a very high level. They also include the information needed to combine the 2 games.
Finally, the cards. Again, a significant upgrade over the VPG originals, and the artwork on each card really increases the level of immersion.
Hapsburg Eclipse is going to be the first of these 2 to hit my table, as I’m already a little more familiar with it, and I’m more knowledgable about the Eastern European front in WW1 than I am the MidEast / Near East. I definitely want to try the large combined game, but I need to figure out the best table space configuration for that.
These twin games are definitely a component upgrade over their previous small-press incarnations, and I look forward to getting them to the table soon.
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The Armchair Dragoons with glee,
Unbox games for all to see.
With dice and cardboard so neat,
They strategize, can’t be beat,
In their world of tabletop glee!