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Against the Odds Issue #34 – Right, Fierce & Terrible The Battle of Sluys 1340

 

Right, Fierce & Terrible

The Battle of Sluys 1340


Against the Odds Issue #34

History

The Battle of Sluys (also called the Battle of l’Ecluse) was fought on June 24th, 1340 and was one of the first battles to be fought in the Hundred Years War. One of the interesting historical nuances of this battle was that depending on whose reference you read, the Battle of Sluys can be thought of as either a Naval battle or as a land battle. However you want to think about the battle, the simple unique fact that makes this battle so historically important, was that it resulted in the complete destruction of the French Fleet which made it impossible for France to invade England.

This is the historical subject that Issue #34 of Against the Odds magazine concentrates on. This issue is 45 pages in length with an additional 20 pages in the center of the magazine devoted to the game rules which are included with the issue. The game presented in this issue of the magazine is Right, Fierce, & Terrible, Sluys 1340. However, that is not all you receive in this issue as there are other surprises as well as unrelated articles that are equally enjoyable.

Surprise – Schwarm!

I guess I will start off with the surprise that is included with this issue of the magazine. Your receive not one but two complete conflict simulations in this issue. The first game deals with the Battle of Sluys. However, the second game is on a totally different subject and the title of it is “Schwarm”. This is a conflict simulation of an air attack on a B-17F by Bf-109’s or Fw-190s in the late autumn of 1943. It’s a simple fun game that one or two players can enjoy in a short amount of time. I will talk more on this surprise later and give you an idea of how the game plays.

Issue 34 Contents

There are 13 different articles in this issue of Against the Odds. The article titles presented in Issue #34 are;

  • · The Whiff of Grapeshot – Editorial
  • · Order of Appearance – Works in progress
  • · On Guards – The English Bowman in the Hundred Years War
  • · Right, Fierce & Terrible: Sluys 1340
  • · Right, Fierce & Terrible – Rules of Play
  • · The Fifth Columnist – Boudicca’s Rebellion Book Review
  • · And the Data Shows – Right, Fierce, Terrible and Expensive
  • · Sinai Armageddon
  • · Simulation Corner: Sound and Sense
  • · Hit Them Where They Are Weak
  • · All or Nothing: The Battle of Fort Mercer
  • · OP-ED: Gaming the Arab Spring and Beyond
  • · Schwarm! Designers Notes


Now, what does the saying “Right, Fierce & Terrible” have to do with the Battle of Sluys? It is written that this battle was a bloody, mean and harrowing affair. It seems as though a large number of the French crews and marines were killed outright. It was written that the decks of the ships were awash in blood. From these descriptions, fourteenth century chronicler Jean Froissart noted that this battle was “right, fierce and terrible”.

Articles

As is normally the case in the Against the Odds magazine, there are a number of articles devoted to the main topic. The articles on devoted to the Battle of Sluys are;

  • · On Guards – The English Bowman in the Hundred Years War
  • · Right, Fierce & Terrible: Sluys 1340
  • · And the Data Shows – Right, Fierce, Terrible and Expensive

The game in this issue is a historical look at this battle which took place in 1340. What makes this particular historical game a bit more interesting than most, in my opinion, is that not enough historical data has survived to detail exactly how the battle was fought or the tactics that the English used to win the battle. Not only that, but even the geography has changed to such a degree that the location where the battle took place no longer exists. As such, the players are given a number of different scenarios in the game and with each one they are challenged to recreate the historical outcome.

The rules for the Sluys are 10 pages in length with 4 pages of charts (two for each player). Two types of counters are used in the game to define the units in play. There are32 one inch counters representing squadrons of ships or markers, and 140 ½ inch counters representing the marines, leaders and other markers. The map is 22” x 34” and has oversized two inch hexes superimposed over the area where they believe the battle took place. A sample of the starting positions for Scenario 1, Out of the Sun, is shown below.

Other Articles

As you can see from the Table of Contents there are numerous other articles to read in this issue. There is a review of Osprey Publications Boudicca’s Rebellion and a very interesting article on the Arab Israeli War of 1973 in the Sinai. In John Prados’ Simulation Corner he discusses some the design concepts he used in his upcoming Beyond Waterloo game also being published by Against the Odds. Also, there is an article on Amphibious Warfare in wargaming which makes for very interesting reading, an Op-Ed piece on Current Events in the Middle East and Fort Mercer which is a Hessian attack on American forts during Americas War for Independence.

The final article in this issue of ATO is the Designers Notes for the second game that is included in this issue of the magazine which is Schwarm! Here we are given insight into the background of this simple but fun games design.

Summary

Against the Odds Issue #34, Right, Fierce & Terrible, The Battle of Sluys 1340 is a very interesting issue mainly due to the obscurity of the topic. Before reading the articles presented in this issue, I had never heard of this battle or given much thought to naval battles during the 1300’s. Now however, I know much more than I ever did and have a better appreciation of how difficult it was for rulers to put together a naval fleet. As with most Against the Odds Issues, I am not disappointed in the article selection or quality. ATO Issue 34, Right, Fierce & Terrible, The Battle of Sluys 1340 is worth the financial investment because of the well written and interesting articles and high replay value of both of the included games.

Available from http://www.atomagazine.com

MSRP $34.95

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