As many of you are aware by now, Perry Miniatures have a new game launching at Salute this year – Travel Battle. The game was made available for pre-order yesterday, and was generally welcomed across social media.
Now, we can’t even begin to make a full judgement on Travel Battles until we see the rules; it is, after all, a game, and any game – no matter how pretty it may look – ultimately lives and dies by how it plays. My initial thoughts on seeing what is on offer are somewhat mixed.
Yes, it all looks very pretty, with moulded terrain boards, scenery and miniatures, but I find myself asking the question “What does this gives us that we don’t already have?”
Let’s take a step back and check what we are getting here. OK, we have some nice new plastic miniatures from the Perry Brothers – never a bad thing – but 8mm? Both 6mm and 10mm are pretty well established miniature scales, so why not go with either of those rather than creating a new scale? The obvious answer is future expansions – if you create something that only you provide, then you corner the market. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with that – game companies do it all the time – but it’s worth a mention.
Then we have the number of miniatures in the box – enough for three brigades a side according to the information. That’s not a huge number of forces. The Perry’s have already stated that more troops will be made available, but not at the moment.
Then there is the scenery. The boards look very nice but they, by matter of design, have fixed topography. Yes, you can re-orientate them to give multiple variations, but the layout is still fixed. This can obviously be expanded upon by adding extra boards in the future, and I am sure this is also in the expansion plans should the game sell well.
I don’t know whether it is the influence of Mr Luff, but I look at this game, especially with the pricing point of £50.00, and wonder if it is better, or at least sufficiently different to what I already own that would make me want to buy it.
Of course, a complete tabletop wargame in a box is not a new idea, and the Napoleonic period is nothing new either. In this particular instance, I think one of the main competitors for Travel Battle is a well established game: Commands & Colors: Napoleonics – obviously this is a game that we have talked a lot about in recent months.
In direct comparison with Travel Battle, C&C:N seems to have several advantages, including a larger number of units and battlefield that can be shaped in whatever way the players desire due to using terrain tiles rather than a fixed board.
You may well argue that the board is only two dimensional and the units are wooden blocks rather than actual miniatures, but I’d argue that C&C:N gives a much wider potential for gameplay in a single box than what we have currently seen from Travel Battle, for a similar price point (OK, C&C:N is slightly more expensive, depending upon where you shop).
Now I admit, there are people who would buy Travel Battle instead of C&C:N simply because it had miniatures rather than wooden blocks, and perhaps there are other advantages – Travel Battle is certainly smaller, so could fit in spaces where C&C:N might still be too large.
As I said right at the start, with any game you cannot think to pass a full judgement until you have seen the rules, and I await Travel Battle’s with interest. Despite this game coming from Perry Miniatures (and I am generally a big fan of what they produce), it has a lot of work to do to convince me that I should add it to my shopping list.