Soldiers was not a game I was familiar with, but I can see why it is so highly rated, despite it being more than forty years old.
The rules are clear and easy to grasp, and the scenario we played, Le Cateau, was a real wargamer's situation: British on defence, needing to find the best way to defend a wide front against a numerous and determined enemy; Germans on attack, needing to both exit companies from the opposite board edge and inflict a certain number of casualties to claim victory.
We got through two games, but only touched on the tactical possibilities available to both sides. It was an excellent choice of game for the day, and if the sangria led to some less than optimal decision making in the second game, it probably enhanced the simulation value of the exercise!
Here are a few of Pat's photos from the first game (during turn 1, and well prior to the sangria taking effect). I should note in passing that the photos do not do the map justice: it had a lovely antique look to it: there was nothing garish or overstated, and the whole effect was evocative but restful. It was a joy to play on.
|Full board, from the German perspective|
|Germans snake forward on the right.|
|My British defending forward early, and getting battered for their troubles.|
As it turned out, the British won both games, but the first one in particular was very close indeed. There were a number of crucial actions which could have won or lost the game for either side, and we were both left thinking about different strategies to employ, which is surely one mark of a successful wargame.
On that note, while it was only a game for us, the huge slaughter depicted did give one pause for thought about how appalling it must have been for the poor chaps actually involved in these actions and others like them.
It's certainly a game I would play again.
Many thanks to Pat for a fine day's convivial play, and some excellent beverages!