The Saving Throw
The Games of War - A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships and Planes June 13th, 2008
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The Games of War - A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships and Planes
published by AuthorHouse reviewed by Martin Drury
271 pages, 2007, $32.95
Content 16
Organization 12
Consistency 14
Intelligibility 12
Review Scoring

   Most boys have owned toy soldiers at sometime in their lives and acted out battles using them. Some of these boys move onto playing wargames with with these various toy soldiers, planes, ships, tanks and other war themed toys. Some grow up to be history teachers. And some, like John Bobek, the author of The Games of War, grow up to do both, and write a source book to instruct others on gaming with the toy soldiers that might be gathering dust in the closet.

The book has five chapters covering different eras of war, from ancient times to modern naval and air battles. These five chapters are sandwiched between an introductory "Getting Started" chapter and a chapter of miscellaneous rules and references. Each of the chapters contains numerous pre-made scenarios for historical battles, which underlines the main goal of the book, that it is written to be more of a teaching tool for other history teachers, than a source for gamers.

While overall the content and rules in the book are fleshed out, the rules limits itself to just the six-sided die, and the author leaves no doubt about his bias against other dice sizes. This is unfortunate, because the number of tables, exceptions and oddness that occasionally crop could be addressed more eloquently by allowing even the eight-sided die or ten-sided. There are occasional editting errors, but that can be forgiven in a book of this size. Unfortunately, the rules and scenarios, as they are presented, quickly grows to be a dry, tedious read. The layout and design of the book are reminscent of older gaming source books, although this is expected for a self-published title.

Ultimately, The Games of War would serve a history teacher wanting to liven up the battles of history well, but gamers would be better served spending their hard-earned gaming dollars elsewhere.

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