My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hold the Line Kickstarter Arrived

After my debacle with the Upfront Kickstarter I now view Kickstarter like a raffle ticket, only with better odds. First they tell you about the prizes and how much it costs to buy a ticket. But you can't buy the ticket yet, you have to wait up to 30 days first. If they can get enough people to buy into the raffle, you get this notice that hey, it is time to pay your money for that raffle ticket you said you wanted. But that is all well in advance of the actual raffle so there is a lot of waiting again, and when the day comes, only then do you see if you won. With all of that waiting, I often forget about that raffle prize. So when I win, it sort of comes as a surprise to me.

On the Friday before Christmas I get a notice that I have a package arrived. Having a rural post office I cannot get it before Christmas, of course, because they aren't open on Saturdays like the city slickers have, and Monday is the official "day off" holiday for Christmas, so I only just picked up my package(s) yesterday. Merry Belated Christmas! It turns out the package is from Worthington Games and it is the Hold the Line Kickstarter raffle that has paid off.

I had purchased Worthington's first game on the topic, Clash for a Continent (CfaC) and had played every scenario. Like various Command and Colors games, they had opted for using wooden blocks rather than miniatures. Unlike Command and Colors however, they had opted to use a single wooden block for each unit and to rotate and flip the block around, like some Columbia Games' block games, to indicate how many strength points remained. It was a clunky mechanic, but it worked. But the real issue was that the other components were flimsy. The game board was glossy cardstock, as were the terrain tile overlays. Further, the artwork for the woods looked ... odd. It looked like someone took an overhead picture of a pile of green sponges. No matter, I had plenty of terrain tiles from BattleLore and it fit the hexes perfectly.

At first I heard that CfaC was a Command and Colors clone, but that is far from the truth. There are no sections on the board, nor any cards. Orders are issued by throwing a die to get command action points and then assigning those points to units in order to indicate which units can take action. Much more reminiscent of DBA than anything. Combat was also a simple combat table using D6 rather than special dice. But I digress.

Worthington later came out for a replacement to CfaC called Hold the Line. It expanded the period to include the War of 1812, I believe. I am not sure because I did not buy it. I downloaded the rules from Worthington's web site and so no appreciable changes, so I did not bother as I heard that Worthington mostly issued this edition because they had run out of copies of CfaC and decided to rebrand the game. They also changed the units to counters.

Eventually – perhaps after seeing what the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) did for The Great War (Richard Borg's World War One game, similar to Memoir '44 – Worthington decided to team up with PSC and produce another version of Hold the Line, only this time they were going to include 20mm (😖) plastic miniatures. (Actually, I did not know they were going to be 20mm at the time. I thought they were going for 15mm.) I had no real interest until they said they were going to revamp all of the scenarios and include even more. I looked at my no-longer-played copy of CfaC with its partially torn box cover and decided it was time for an upgrade.

And here it is.


The boxes are nice and sturdy, using thick, pressed cardboard (as you expect with modern games) and not using the corrugated cardboard box like CfaC.

The rule book and scenario book are printed professionally on nice, glossy paper. The rules are a mere 12 pages of large type while the scenario book comes in at 36 pages with 34 scenarios! The quick reference card is a little unusual in that both sides contain the exact same information. It makes me wonder if it was a misprint, but there really are few charts in the game. The flags are glossy stickers and reminiscent of the ones provided with the old Battlecry game.


You get two bags of 20mm miniatures, red for British and blue for Americans. This is not a buckets of dice game, so three dice is not skimping. No one uses more than three dice in combat.


Here is a close-up of the figures. Note that the artillery pieces are glued together and needs some straightening. The plastic is a firmer soft plastic.

There are figures for line and light infantry (shares the same figure in cocked hat, the flag differentiates the unit type), militia (round hat), artillery (no gunners), Commanders, and cavalry (in helmet).


You may notice some similarities with the American infantry. The only difference is that the line infantry is in a defending pose rather than a march attack pose. The cocked hat on the American (and as you will see, the French figure) has a defect, however, and the back brim is significantly higher than the left and right brims (the turned up parts) so it gives the figure a pointy-headed look. I will have to sand it down because, truth be told, it really bothers me.

Actually, I might very well sell the figures because I have so many singly-based, painted, 15mm figures that I have more than enough to use them for this.


My biggest complaint for CfaC was regarding the thin terrain tile overlays. These tiles are thick like with BattleLore and Memoir '44. Good heft to them, so they are less likely to shift. Unlike many other games what is on the back side of the tile makes sense for what you see of the front side. For example it might be a village on the front and a village in the woods on the back. It is not like Memoir '44 where it leads to a search through every single tile looking for that curved river segment that sometimes appears on the back of a woods, hill, or village.


The game board itself is featureless, but there is no discernable, repeating pattern. The coloring is more yellow than green, but still looks pleasant. As you can see, the sections are thick. The board is one-sided; the reverse is black with binding tape to strengthen it.


The French and Indian War comes as a separate, boxed expansion. I am assuming they are selling it this way.

It includes some additional terrain, an expansion book (2 pages of rules, 13 additional scenarios), flag stickers, and French, Indian, and Ranger figures. Note that two of the new scenarios are for the American Revolution, as they include Indians in the British forces.


The French forces are really disappointing. They are the exact same figures as the Americans, only molded in off white. The militia should look like coureur de bois, not round hat with feather. The funny part is that it include cavalry for the French, but no scenario uses them and they are modeled after the British light dragoons, so totally inappropriate. If anything, they should be Lauzun's Legion hussars.

The Indians are green as they can be used by either the British or the French. But, as you can probably guess, there are scenarios where there are Indian units on both sides. I can see having to do something to sort that out.

The Rangers are green also, but they only appear on the British side, so it does not make sense that they are not red. I assume it was a cost-cutting measure.

If they had made some Indians in white and some in red, then made the Rangers in red, they could have still limited themselves to two colors, but they would have probably had to give us more Indians.


I did not intend to do a review of the rules – maybe at a future date – but skimming through the rules they look exactly the same as CfaC with some additions for new terrain types and the Rangers. The main changes are exactly what they stated at the start, which is to revamp the scenarios and add a lot more.

There were two additional figure types – Scottish Highlanders and Hessian Grenadiers – that were optional figures to purchase, but I did not get them. Given that the figures are 20mm, I just did not want to add another scale. I have so many painted 15mm figures that are still not based, the idea that I should paint these was just too much. So no reason to collect even more that I would not paint. Further, those figures are not required for the scenarios, but they are usable for specific scenarios, like Bushy Run and Trenton.

All in all I am happy with the purchase. Even if the figures were 15mm, they would be more of a nuisance (because I would be compelled to paint them), so that they are 20mm convinces me more to just sell them off.

4 comments:

  1. I received WG's AWI Hold the Line game as a Christmas gift from a friend. My version uses a more traditional hex and cardboard counters for game play. Nice looking game. We plan to give it a test this afternoon.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that was the version I skipped. Great game, but it does suffer from having overly simplistic victory conditions in some of the scenarios. A good example is Guilford Courthouse. It is possible for the British to win by simply eliminating the American militia. Greene did not really care if he lost the militia, so allowing them to count towards victory is a bit naive.

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    2. I say, "Change the Victory Conditions!"

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  2. If you do decide to sell the figures, I'd be interested. I collect that scale, but don't game, so I don't need the game.

    ReplyDelete

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").