Against the Odds magazine investigates military history from a broad
perspective. The economic, political, religious
and social aspects of warfare are examined
in concert with events on the battlefield.
Each issue of ATO features:
Informative and insightful articles showcasing the history
behind events, plus regular columns by noted game
designers providing insight on the latest trends
A challenging, fun wargame that drops the players
into truly desperate situations but gives them
multiple options to alter history.
Professionally printed graphics, complete with large playing map
and 200 to 360 die cut playing pieces.
And much more!
Look for Against the Odds to cover simulation design issues,
order of battle research, rule writing, play
testing and graphic techniques as it evolves.
Get yourself truly "connected" with games and
gaming by reading Against the Odds!
It appears that this winter season is just about officially over but I wanted to share with everyone there is still a small window to grab two of our new winter battle games at the (best) subscriber price - before the website turns over to showcase the next set of ATO Magazine issues. I’ll speak more about that opportunity a bit further along in this newsgram.
A FAQ Secret Things are never static with the readership. I recently discovered the answer to the most Frequently Asked Question as of late doesn’t appear on our website under the FAQ link, so here it is. People increasingly write about the dates appearing for issues and should they have gotten an issue by now? The dates showing are actually masthead publication dates used for postal regulations, and NOT formal calendar release dates. So, as a rule of thumb, if you see an issue advertised on the front page of our website, regardless of the date showing, it’s always the “upcoming one” that you still have time to subscribe for and get the best price. Once an issue releases, we move it into back issue status and present the next one in line as the “upcoming issue” on the site.
What Did I Miss? Well, just published inside our 2013 Annual is La Bataille de Vauchamps, one of those interesting battles mostly lost in the blur of “the 1814 Campaign,” where Napoleon kept giving bloody noses to the advancing allied armies but never quite had the strength for a decisive victory. Few Allied noses were as far out in front as that of Marshal Blücher. There, in a small chapter called the “Six Days Campaign,” Napoleon dealt the “Army of Silesia” defeat after defeat. Reeling from this, Blücher tried to disengage from Napoleon’s personal attention and attack an isolated corps under Marmont, with a mostly infantry force that included the names Zeiten, Pirch, and Kleist that we would see in 1815.)
But “Boney” anticipated that move and turned the tables on Blücher’s Prussians and Russians, who were advancing with little cavalry. For one time in February 1814, Napoleon had more horses engaged and used them well.
The Battle of Vauchamps can be seen in three phases...Blücher advancing while Marmont falls back toward reinforcement, Marmont’s counterattack, and Blücher’s shock at discovering “the Ogre” again confronting him and falling back. Phase 3 is a long pursuit action - French cavalry hounding Allied squares (and breaking several!) Had the ground been less muddy (allowing the French horse artillery to stay closer), things would have been even worse for the Allies. As it was, in the final count, Allied losses may have been greater than 10-1 over the French, and Blücher (once again) was very nearly captured.
Here’s a look at the action around Vauchamps itself:
The designers and developer for Vauchamps really knocked themselves out to make this the perfect introductory game to the La Bataille system. Don't miss it!
Also now starting to mail is ATO #41 where we journey to Russia to a small town sitting astride an important crossroads, held by a very mixed bag of defenders in the middle of the worst winter in decades. Surrounded, greatly outnumbered, and subjected to almost constant attack. Bastogne? Not quite....
Though now largely forgotten the successful defense of Cholm by Kampfgruppe Scherer ranks as one of the great small unit sieges of the Second World War and perhaps of all time.
Now, with designer Mike Rinella's Circle of Firegame, you can relive the first ten days of this epic battle, when the underfed soldiers of the Soviet 3rd Shock Army attempted to capture the town, its food, and its vital road hub “on the march” and avoid what would ultimately become a long and unsuccessful siege. As the Soviet side you have more men, stronger artillery, and armor. As the German side you have the town, the high ground, and air power. Hitler has declared Cholm a festung: there will be no withdrawal. In the waist-deep snow and sub-zero temperatures the battle will be fought to the last man and the last grenade.
Here is a look at the map and counters for this exciting issue:
What’s Coming Next? Our upcoming issues are both diverse and look particularly interesting. We see a range of historical questions covered by different designers, offering you a wide range of historical exploration (and fun!).
In ATO #42 we’ll look back to a time before Hitler, before Napoleon. When another European strong-man invaded Russia… and came to grief. He was Charles XII of Sweden. In later years, it was called “The Great Northern War.” A Thunder Upon the Land looks at the Sweden vs. Russia portion of this war, with the two battles that rather started and finished the conflict. The Battle of Narva took place in 1700, as Russia and a Saxon-Polish contingent aimed to push Sweden out of the Baltic, with the Saxons threatening Riga and the Russians besieging Narva. But it was November, and Peter left his army feeling secure that his 40,000 men could bottle up and capture the 2500 Swedes holding the city.
Charles rushed to relieve the city with an army that was well-drilled and well equipped, but numbered only about 8000 men. So, including the troops in the city, he would be attacking at something like 1-4 odds. And attacking in a blizzard. But the surprise and wretched weather worked to his advantage, and virtually the entire Russian army was killed or captured, along with their artillery and equipment. It was Russia’s finest force at the time, and an immediate invasion by Sweden might well have succeeded. But there was Riga and the Saxons to consider, and Charles let the moment pass.
Years later, having knocked the Saxons out of the war, Charles turned again to Russia, who had surprised Europe by founding St. Petersburg on what was then still Swedish territory. Charles aimed for Moscow, and this time, it was a Swedish army that vanished from the map at The Battle of Poltava in 1709.
What’s Up With Turning Point Simulations? For a bit of news from our sister division, Turning Point Simulations be aware they’ve announced their 4 newest releases are coming out over the summer and they asked us to piggyback the info out on this letter.
You can see their line-up in the image below. The Victory of Arminius covers the Roman disaster at Teutoburger-Wald. Hastings in 1066 is so famous it practically needs no introduction. The campaign and battle at Valmy quite simply saved the French Revolution, and the heroic defense at the First Battle of the Marne in 1914 was one that changed the world forever....
The Last Word Oh, that opening remark about getting two of our best winter battles? Well, quite simply, the ATO website hasn’t quite turned over yet. So if you act fast and subscribe or re-subscribe today, you can start with both ATO #41 with Circle of Fire AND take the 2013 Annual with Vauchamps inside as your Annual pick and save 40% off the cover price of the Annual. That’s cold hard savings in what’s been a cold hard winter.
Like to cherry pick instead by selecting just a back issue or two? Remember to take advantage of our special offers here where we get to pass the postal savings on to you.
Thanks for reading!
Steve Rawling, Publisher, Against the Odds Magazine