I caught wind of a rather interesting game in production by Perry Miniatures: A travel-oriented Wargame, creatively called Travelbattle that is available now. The news has elicited a mixed reaction, as with any product which is neither completely new to the genre nor groundbreaking in a highly-significant way. The reason I chose to examine Travelbattle is that the concept of Wargaming is often a static one, and difficult to get into for active youngsters. Traveling also presents an issue for this group, and so a product deliberately appealing to such a niche interests me. Its simplified nature appeals to the idea of an introductory, lighter Wargame, with less decisions to make about terrain placement and unit asymmetry for those still needing to save their brainpower for maneuvers and rules. Still, until I have the game in hand, there cannot be any true judgment on its utility or its value. Here’s what we do know right now:
While I have seen miniature Wargames before in travel size this one has miniatures instead of merely tokens on squares. For fans of painting and miniatures, and those who greatly enjoy the tactile feel of real miniatures this is great. It does come at an in-between size of 8mm, but comes in a lightweight box with dimensions easy to carry and lined with foam for its components and designed for travel. Some assembly is required, with figures on sprues and unpainted, making it a decent project for a parent and child to take on together. All of the components are plastic, so I have some doubts as to its uses with traveling but the creator claims usability is excellent on the trips the team has taken to test the game—airplane trays, train tables, and car trips specifically which thrills me; I envision a product like this to while away the hours of a long hospital stay, as it does not require much room and is on the lighter side too. The game has been in development since the early 90’s as a pet project due to traveling frustrations, so I expect a tactically-light, strategy heavy game that does not use dice too heavily and plays at a reasonable clip with high variance, but only time with the game will tell. The project’s developers are happy with their baby, especially with how the boards turned out, since the grids gave them a lot of headache as they took them through production.
I like the idea of light travel games using miniatures; it captures the visceral joys of gaming and also keeps the game from being too cerebral and thus losing young kids’ interest. Moving a horse column is more appealing and sensible than a token—tokens tempt a designer to add yet more information and numbers to the boards rather than capturing the feel of looking down on armies clashing. I’m very excited to see a new project in this vein, expanding outwards and targeting itself to a need that many parents—even those who aren’t usually Wargamers—can appreciate. Taking those extra moments of life and turning them from entertainment into something with a myriad of benefits is awesome, which is why I bring this to your attention; in a hobby where carving out the time to game and set up is sometimes an issue, there are ways to include it in your family life and to include your family in your hobby and mental sharpening. Still, even if you have no problems in these areas I hope you are excited to see someone with a new angle and uses it in developing our hobby. Time will tell if the product is a bust or a great addition to a collection; while we’re waiting, what are some Wargames with interesting spins and variations on use that you know?