This week I've been playing through a full session of the boardgame 'No Peace Without Spain!' by Compass Games - the War of the Spanish Succession in its entirety. This is a game I've had for a little while and been keen to play, but have lacked the time to really give it a go. It's designed as a 2-player game but like many, solo play is possible and still a lot of fun.
I'm not going to do a full review, as there are already a number of these online, but my overall opinion is that it's an excellent game that does a very good job of capturing the high level strategy of the war. I gives players the challenge of choosing how to use the limited resources available and makes the campaigns, battles and even the sieges exciting and fun to play through.
Overview pic (click to enlarge as always):
It's also nicely presented, with good quality components (although it's a shame the map isn't hard-backed) and goes into just the right amount of detail for the types of operations you undertake at this strategic level. There are historically appropriate events that occur (such as Savoy changing sides, French financial collapse, etc), often causing disruption to your plans for the year. The rules are rated as moderately complex, and once I'd played a few turns they were fairly easy to remember (although I'm sure I didn't get everything right initially!). Mechanisms were certainly nice and straight forward, giving believable results every time.
It's a war that's always been of interest to me, and this game provides the opportunity to appreciate how it was fought, and why things happened (or didn't). Very enjoyable too.
Below - The cockpit of war (in 1711) with Marlborough sitting on a fortified line one move away from Paris, and the French sitting opposite him behind their own line (there's an excellent rule for the better generals to attempt to by-pass defensive lines, and come to grips with the enemy behind). Antwerp is surrounded, with most of the Spanish Netherlands overrun by the Alliance.
Over several sessions I got to grips with the rules and played through until an Alliance major victory result was secured in 1712. The English had withdrawn from the war at the end of the previous year, taking the Duke and his redcoats with them, but it hadn't been enough to allow the Bourbons to recover from their earlier losses. There had been a few 'Famous Victories' (well, once Marlborough stopped losing the early battles!), lots of sieges and some bold manoeuvres by land and sea. Spain and Italy were still largely held by the Bourbons, but the Alliance had done better where it mattered in northern and central Europe.
It's certainly a game I look forward to playing again in the future.