Today marks the last day of 2011 and speaking for myself, its end and the arrival, now just hours away, of 2012 couldn't be more welcome. The year that is finally limping to a close has brought with it few, if any, real signs of economic improvement, either here in the US or abroad. And "wars and rumors of wars" continue, along with dire warnings of an impending worldwide financial Armageddon, to dominate the daily news cycle. Moreover, 2011 — thanks to a combination of computer and health woes — has truly been an "annus horrilibus" when it comes to my own attempts at writing. Nonetheless, I am hopeful that my personal problems are now largely behind me and I can at last look forward to a more productive and less challenging twelve months of blogging than those that are now ending. In any case, as the final hours of 2011 tick away, I want to extend my best wishes to all of my readers for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Now that 2011 is Finally Coming to a Close, It is Time to Look Forward to a Brand-New Year

The arrival of yet another December 31st has, as it usually does, put me in a reflective mood; it sometimes seems hard for me to believe, but my eccentric little blog has now been up and running for more than two and a half years. “Map and Counters,” was launched — pretty much on a whim — in April of 2009, and thus far, over three hundred and forty separate posts have been published on its pages. The gradual growth, over time, in the numbers of new and repeat visitors — currently, the site averages somewhere around six thousand unique visits and 17,000 page views per month — has been both an ongoing source of encouragement and the main justification for my decision to continue with this effort going into 2012. That being said, I want to take the occasion of the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new, to again thank all of you who have taken the time to visit “Map and Counters” and have stayed long enough to read my often overly-long and sometimes frivolous ramblings. Both your interest and your continuing support are deeply appreciated.

From its start, this blog has concentrated on presenting highly-detailed game profiles and operational analysis of traditional, out-of-print, board-style war games. The reason for my focus on older titles is simple: there are already any number of excellent internet sources for timely game reviews, After Action Reports, and even in-depth profiles of recently published titles (e.g. boardgamegeek.com, grognard.com, or consimworld.com, just to name a few); for this reason, I have, with very few exceptions, preferred to avoid this contemporary, state-of-the-art area of hobby commentary. Instead, I have — with my many posts on out-of-print, oftentimes obscure titles — endeavored to serve as an information resource both for long-time players and collectors, and also for those enthusiasts who have entered the hobby more recently, but who, for whatever reason, have developed an interest in these older games.

The focus of "Map and Counters" on the the hobby's so-called "Golden Age" will continue in the coming year; however, I should also note that there probably will be, as there have been in the past, a few modest tweaks around the margins, when it comes to the site's content in 2012. Moreover, as regular visitors to this blog already know: in addition to my usual run of game-related posts, "Map and Counters" will — as it has almost from its beginning — continue to offer commentary on other tangential subjects such as movies and books, our national Holidays, hobby personalities, convention announcements and updates, and even a few posts to cover important (in my view, anyway) breaking hobby-related news. This basic format — like the primary emphasis of my blog — will not change appreciably with the advent of the New Year. On the other hand, whatever my own preferences, it nonetheless matters what types of offerings you, the gamers who actually visit my site, most want to see featured on the pages of "Map and Counters". And for that reason, I would like to invite you all — as I do every year at this time — to put forward your own suggestions about possible new topics for this blog. If there are any game-related subjects that I am not currently covering, but which you think would be of interest to other readers, please let me know via the comments section of this or any of my future posts. I cannot stress strongly enough that any comments (so long as they are, at least, barely civil) or suggestions about the future direction of this blog will always be welcome.

As I look towards 2012, it is my sincere hope that “Map and Counters” will continue to be a site worth visiting regularly in the coming weeks and months. That, at least, is my main goal. The year that is now ringing to a close has, for a variety of reasons, been a difficult one; let us all hope that 2012, unlike its predecessor, will at last usher in better times for us all!


  • My best wishes for a wonderfuln and blessed 2012 to you dear sir. Thank you for all the effort.

  • Greetings Anon:

    Thank you for visiting and for your kind words.

    May you and yours also have a safe and prosperous new year; Heaven knows, we're due.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • I look forward to more fabulous writing, insights and details of our Golden Age of gaming. I also look forward to seeing how you fare in our Stalingrad 50th anniversary tourney!!!

  • Greetings Kevin:

    Thank you for your kind words and for your continuing support; both are sincerely appreciated.

    So far as the 'STALINGRAD' PBeM Tournament is concerned, I had a bit of luck in the early going and my opponent decided to "throw in the towel" a few hours ago; so it looks like -- although I have won my first game -- it will probably be awhile before I get the opportunity to play my second round match. How about yourself; how is your first round game going?

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Joe

    You and the family have a Great new year coming up for 2012.
    Looking forward to more great topics here on Map and Counters for reading enjoyment.Always great to take a trip down memory lane with the Oldies

  • Greetings Kim:

    Happy New Year to you and yours, as well!

    Like you, I am hoping that 2012 will be a better year for us all than 2011. If nothing else, I'd like to see a bit fewer computer problems this year than last.

    As always, thank you for your encouragement and support and

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Marshal Enterprises Releases Another Free Game
    La Bataille de Raszyn Explores Major Battle of Polish-Austrian War of 1809
    Marshal Enterprises has now released its second free game in less than 90 days. La Bataille de Raszyn, which pits the Poles of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw against the Austrians on April 19, 1809, in a tight, tense battle for the survival of the Polish nation in Napoleonic Europe, is the second release in Marshal Enterprise’s Recession Series Games---a series which is free to the wargaming public because “everyone needs to save a buck”.
    Released on Martin Luther King Day, January 16, 2012 as a follow-up to La Bataille d’Halle, released on Veterans Day in 2011, La Bataille de Raszyn can be accessed and downloaded by anyone by going to the Marshal Enterprises webpage, Labataille.me.
    The webpage has easy to access instructions for all the color counters, color maps and charts and rules for this corps on korps battle between Polish Prince Josef Poniatowski and his Saxon allies and the Austrian Ferdinand d”Este ,with his multi-national Hapsburg army.
    While most wargamers are familiar with Napoleon’s 1809 campaign in the Danube Valley against the Austrians led by Archduke Charles which culminated in La Bataille de Wagram. La Bataille de Raszyn is the key battle in one of the other major fronts in 1809---the Austrian invasion of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw in April 1809. Marshall Enterprises, with its tradition of exploring previously untouched battles, believes that the Polish- Austrian contest provides a unique experience for its wargaming public for a campaign unfortunately forgotten by both gamers and history.
    Approximately 40,000 Austrians, including some of Austria’s best cavalry, face off against less than 20,000 Poles and Saxons, which despite their smaller numbers, are greatly supported by favorable terrain. La Bataille de Raszyn can easily be played in an afternoon between two players. Playtests proved the contest to be most competitive.
    The Austrians had hoped to inspire the Poles to rise up against the less than two-year old Duchy of Warsaw, but instead, the Poles, with their usual ferocious devotion to Napoleon, fought the Austrians to a standstill, and not only defended the Duchy, but also invaded Austrian Galicia, a Polish speaking area that eventually became part of the Grand Duchy from 1809 to 1813.
    In addition to several new terrain types, including waterway causeways and dykes, La Bataille de Raszyn, also features special rules which cover the language difficulties of Austria’s multi-national force and the problems Napoleon would have with the loyalties of his Saxon allies.
    Marshal Enterprises is a creative consortium of game designers and cultural commentators who remain the surviving designers of the original La Bataille system. La Bataille d’Halle is also a free game and is available on the Labaille.me website.
    For further information about this release, contact jgsoto@labataille.me .

  • Hope everything is okay out there in Gilbert ...

  • Greetings Preston:

    Everything here is actually fine. If you're wondering where my new posts are, I have to confess that -- although I have a number of different pieces in the works -- multiple distractions (including participation in the CSW PBeM 'STALINGRAD' Tournament and my recent experiments with alternative graphics) have temporarilly derailed my publication schedule.

    The good news, such as it is, is that I should be back posting in the near future.

    Best Regards, Joe

    PS: I hope that you will be able to attend this year's Consimworld Expo in Tempe. Last year, difficulties both with health and with transportation, prevented me from doing much more than visit the convention a couple of times, just to observe how things were going. This year, I expect to be at the Tempe Mission Palms convention site for all six and a half days of the event.

  • What in the wide wide wide world of sports is going on at map and counters? What has happened to SPi Fridays ? I don't recall seeing one in a while. Hope all is well.

    reagards, Rob Ryan

  • Greetings Rob:

    Thank you for your concern; you are not the only one of my regular visitors who has asked this question.

    The short answer is that -- although not really intending to be absent from blogging for so long -- I have been heavily embroiled in several serious (versus purely recreational) PBeM matches since early December. Thus, while I have continued to write, off and on, for "Map and Counters", I have been particularly tardy in bringing these new essays to any sort of satisfactory conclusion.

    All this, however, should soon change. I have plans to resume publishing, on a fairly regular basis, in the near future. Among the pieces that you can expect to see at some point in the coming weeks are game profiles on SPI's THE NEXT WAR, BLUE & GRAY, MODERN BATTLES II, and FOUR BATTLES OF ARMY GROUP SOUTH. I am also trying to crank myself to finally tackle some of Kevin Zucker's early Napoleonic designs.

    In the realm of the Avalon Hill "classics", I am about half finished with an AFTER ACTION REPORT (presented somewhat like one of the old "General" Series Replays) on my recently completed first round match in the 50th Anniversary STALINGRAD PBeM Tournament which, you may recall, I touted last year on the pages of my blog. Other related articles that are currently in the works include a discussion of the correct (read: effective) use of low-odds attacks in STALINGRAD, and a discussion of the effects of the special WBC Tournament Rules on the flow and tempo on one of my personal favorites: the Avalon Hill "classic", WATERLOO.

    There are other pieces in the works as well: book reviews on Orlando Figues, "THE CRIMEAN WAR", and Goldworthy's, "Caesar". And I may, at some point, finally bring my work on the history of board "wargaming" to some sort of reasonable end before the start of the new year.

    Finally, thank you again for your interest and concern; my long pause in blogging, however, is not the result of any sinister outside factors, but merely a consequence of my own selfish decision to grab a bit of "me" time.

    As Always, Best Regards, Joe

  • Good to hear all is well and you are getting some quality gaming in. I look forward to your articles and reviews as always. I recently bought the Orlando Figes book as our local borders went OOB so I am particularly eager to hear your thoughts. I also bought the Keegan WW1 for a buck from our local library sale, and got the Martin Gilbert book on WW1 for a buck as well. Any good games on the Crimean war? If I recall correctly from CSW forum (GMT Glory III thread maybe...) some folks are working on one now.

    Rob Ryan
    FYI. CSW Social is a lot more ...social ...due to an influx of users from BGG

  • Greetings Rob:

    Thank you for your kind words and for your interest; both are appreciated.

    The Figes book is interesting (and quite informative) on a number of different levels. If I have any real criticism -- other than the dearth of maps of the "Danube Campaigns" and of the Allied operations in the Baltic -- it is that the introductions to several of the early chapters read more like the lede to a "stand alone" article than they do the preceding text. On the whole, however, "The Crimean War" is rich in historical detail (Figes made extensive use of primary souces, and it shows) and gracefully written. I think that you'll find it a very informative and enjoyable read.

    When it comes to older games (my specialty, after all) dealing with the Crimean War, I can make a couple of recommendations. First, there is GDW's CRIMEA, which features a very clever design platform (by Frank Chadwick) to deal both with the extraordinary variations in battlefield "tempo" and with the large area over which the various battles of the campaign were actually fought. SPI's quadrigame "The Crimean War", although not a campaign game, nonetheless allows players to fight the major engagements of the Crimean Campaign and, hence, is probably worth a look. If you would like to explore the elements that influenced the outcome of the Seige of Sevastopol, the SEVASTOPOL game in the SPI quadrigame THE ART OF SEIGE is both an interesting challege for both players and, somewhat surprisingly given the sordid misery of the actual seige, a real feast for the eyes, graphically speaking. There are other titles, of course, but these would be my first picks.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • My wife just gave me permission to attend CSW, now the only remaining roadblock is my boss. I plan to be there, and noticed you had an event listed ... :-)

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