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Games About The OTHER 19th Century Wars
Alex Bagosy
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Ladera Ranch
California
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Looking for some variety beyond Napoleon? Tired of Blue and Grey? Non-Napoleonic and non-ACW themed 19th Century Wars are, generally speaking, less common subjects for wargames. For whatever reason, those two topics dominate the narrative, discussion, and publishing schedules.

Nothing wrong with them, but what about the OTHER 19th Century Wars? As I'm currently working on a game for such a topic, I thought it would be interesting to explore some of the interesting Non-Napoleonic and Non-ACW themed 19th Century Wargames out there.

As usual with my lists, feel free to add your own noteworthy entry(s) (even if it's notable for being a terrible game - those tend to be some of the most amusing additions to these kinds of lists.)

Note: Once again, while I am a miniatures gamer as well, I have not considered miniatures games in this list, as I'm thinking boardgames here. Please keep that in mind if you're adding something.

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1. Board Game: 1866: The Struggle for Supremacy in Germany [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
 
Wendell
United States
Twin Cities
Minnesota
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This one's in playtesting, the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.
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2. Board Game: 1879: A sangre y fuego en las costas de los Andes [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Produced in South America; covers the 1879 Great War of the Pacific, which is virtually unknown outside that part of the world. In fact, the "Great War of the Pacific" is often the name used by some historians to describe the Second World War in the Pacific, rather than this conflict principally involving Peru and Bolivia fighting against Chile.

This is a two player, self-published game. One player represents the Peruvian and Bolivian forces; the other player commands the Chilean forces.
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3. Board Game: Adua 1896 [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
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The disaster at Adowa when the Italians fought Ethiopia.
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4. Board Game: The Alamo [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:7592]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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3d representation on a 2d map,
makes LOS rules wanky.

Cute slaughter though.
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5. Board Game: Barbary Coast War [Average Rating:2.14 Unranked]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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US naval demonstration against the pirates.

No clue how this plays out.
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6. Board Game: Battle of Buena Vista [Average Rating:5.19 Overall Rank:9477]
steven slater
England
County of Essex
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Headgin down mexico way.
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7. Board Game: The Battle of the Little Big Horn [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:7775]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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This is a board game about the Battle of Little Big Horn, but it comes complete with painted toy soldiers/miniatures as the playing pieces. Highly desired by collectors as are the other games in the series.

The Little Big Horn is arguably the single most covered topic of the 19th Century American Indian Wars as far as boardgames go, and it isn't far behind as far as miniature games go, either. Most of the other wargaming involving the Native Americans typically involves engagements dated prior to the 19th century, with the French and Indian War being the most significant topic in that regard.


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8. Board Game: Battles of 1866: Frontier Battles [Average Rating:5.94 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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This was originally to have covered the entirety of the Seven Weeks War, but has subsequently been split into three different volumes, each of which covers the German, Bohemian, and Italian campaigns of the war respectively. So far as I know, that hasn't been released yet. There was a lot of interest in this game at one time, but the decision to split it into three different games wasn't popular.

The decision to split the game up between the first and second volumes "Frontier Battles" and "Konnigratz," is somewhat questionable, since Frontier Battles covers only a single battle involving the German allies, and is otherwise part of the Bohemian campaign. Seems to me the two should have been combined, and a third volume done for battles like Kissingen, Langensalza, etc, but that's merely a matter of opinion. Academic, at this point, since it seems no closer to release.

Playable? Valid question with an Avalanche Press game, but hard to tell. Some of their systems are quite player friendly; others make me want to tear my hair out in frustration.
 
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9. Board Game: Bittereinder [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:6327]
Ziegreich
New Zealand
Auckland
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Strategic level game of The Boer War (1899-1902). A war that straddled the centuries. It saw the use of means ranging from lancers to trenches to guerrilla warfare to aerial reconnaissance and X-ray machines.
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10. Board Game: Blood & Iron: Bismarck's Wars for Empire [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:7114]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Another game in my collection.

This is an interesting campaign level hex and counter wargame with a relatively fast playing, low complexity system. The maps, at varying scales, cover the Second Schleswig-Holstein War of 1864, the Austro-Prussian/Seven Weeks War of 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. It's also possible to do "what ifs" with the maps and counters provided, such as French intervention in the German campaign of 1866. I believe the map also includes Ottoman counters for possible Ottoman intervention in the Balkans, but it's been some time since I've sorted through all the pieces.

Impressively, the map for 1866 covers the Italian, German, and Bohemian theaters, so it's possible to play with most of the belligerents in that conflict. It would be fairly easy to play as a multi-player game, too, for these same reasons. Alternatively, the game allows you to play one particular section of a conflict, so it's not too hard to just game the German battles of the Seven Weeks War, for example.

Not a bad system - a bit dry, perhaps, by current standards, but certainly playable. As a bonus, it's the only boardgame that I'm aware of which actually covers Denmark vs. Prussia/Austria/and the German allies in 1864.

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11. Board Game: Blood of Noble Men: The Alamo [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:6253]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A block based game simulating the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas War of Independence. Uses the same block system that was developed for "Victoria Cross", Worthington's Rorke's Drift game.

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12. Board Game: Cinco de Mayo: The Battle of Puebla, 1862 [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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Freedom!
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13. Board Game: Dark Victory: The Battle of the Alamo [Average Rating:4.73 Unranked]
steven slater
England
County of Essex
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More mexican fun, a gift from Santana.
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14. Board Game: The Defense of Rorke's Drift [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:4600]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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This could stand in for what are literally dozens of titles regarding the Battle of Rorke's Drift. Ironically, games covering the Anglo Zulu War of 1879 at a campaign level are rare in the board game world (fairly rare in the miniatures world, too). Most focus upon individual battles, and the overwhelming favorite is represented here, with Isandlwana a very distant second.

One title that's been highly recommended to me on the subject of the Drift recently is Zulus on the Ramparts! by Victory Point Games.

The problem for me as a wargamer is that, while I am a big fan of colonial wargaming in general, and while the Zulu War is a particular favorite, I have literally gamed this particular engagement to -death-. I'm not sure how enthusiastic I'd be about this particular subject in board game form, at least in terms of a "more than once" play.

Attempting to do a "campaign level" treatment of this conflict is one of my dream projects as a game designer, but it's a very difficult subject to do from a playability standpoint - there's a very good reason that most miniatures systems focus upon the British side of things. In my opinion, while the Zulus were (and are) extremely brave, they don't exactly have an easy time of it - it's really a war for the British to lose, rather than a war for the Zulus to win, and so a Zulu player has to be exceptionally sharp in order to take advantage of weaknesses in the British effort and exploit them wherever possible.
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15. Board Game: The Franco-Prussian War [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:8238]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A Jim Dunnigan game covering the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Produced by SPI. One of only a handful covering the topic, though the Franco-Prussian War is positively super-common compared to the 1859, 1864, and 1866 wars that preceded and laid the foundations for it.
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16. Board Game: The Franco-Prussian War [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:4871]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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Never played it, but have my eye out for it.
The Russo-turkish sequel was good enough to
make me want to try this one.
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17. Board Game: Geronimo [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:7916]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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Genocide makes for a fun game!

Odd system - not a wargame, but I find it enjoyable.
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18. Board Game: Great War at Sea: 1898, The Spanish American War [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:4577]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Part of the "Great War At Sea" series, and principally covers the conflict between the Spanish and American navies in and around the Caribbean, along with several plausible "what if" scenarios. Nicely expanded by the "Great White Fleet" scenario book. The core game includes scenarios for the Philippines, but ownership of other modules is required for play in that particular theater (though all of the ships are provided), and this a bone of contention for some. This is the first game in the series that I purchased.

Has the same strengths and weaknesses of the rest of the series, in my opinion. The campaign module is very good; the tactical system is fairly weak (though workable) and abstracted to the point that it isn't a naval combat system so much as a system for resolving battles that involves naval elements (if that makes any sense?)

One of my favorite topics in 19th Century warfare, but this was never a huge seller, partly I suspect because the Spanish are so outmatched in the historical engagements. The game has since gone out of print, and will apparently not be reproduced again in this form.

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19. Board Game: Gringo! [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:2919]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A modification of the "TSS" (Terrible Swift Sword) Engine for the Mexican-American War. I have never played TSS in its original incarnation, but I did play the initial battles released for this system in their S&T Magazine incarnation.

I've written and published a miniatures system for the Mexican-American War, and I much prefer to game it at the tactical level using miniatures, rather than in board game form. That said, this is not a bad game, at all, but it's difficult to get it to the table with those who have already experienced the war in miniature.

If nothing else, this is an excellent resource for orders of battle and research, though I wish the information provided was more clearly sourced (just so that I could check out some of the sources used for my own purposes.) In particular, there are some excellent, and extremely obscure, scenarios in the base game, which make the game worth the price in my opinion.
 
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20. Board Game: La Guerra de Africa 1859-60 [Average Rating:6.81 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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Now, here is an obscure topic.This is an Alea "Magazine Game" covering the Spanish-Moroccan War of 1859-60.

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21. Board Game: The Halls of Montezuma [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:3605]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A card driven campaign level representation of the Mexican-American War. I have not played this, but have been warned away from it during previous attempts to purchase. Apparently there are significant problems with the game, as presented. Would be particularly interested in hearing what people think of this one, ie: what those issues are.



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22. Board Game: The Indian Mutiny [Average Rating:5.41 Overall Rank:9242]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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A "Magazine Game" about the India Mutiny of 1857. The Sepoys in the British Army of India revolted against the British East India Company, a result of decades of mismanagement exacerbated by a seemingly insignificant decision to grease powder cartridges with pig fat, an "unclean" meat in the religions practiced by most Sepoy units.

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23. Board Game: Indian Wars [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Alex Bagosy
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
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One of several "war card games" produced by the publisher. This particular game covers the battles in North America between American troops and Native American tribes.

As the son of a Native American mother, I have a mixed opinion of the subject matter. I don't necessarily object to gaming it, though some games, I think, go too far.

For example, at Historicon several years ago a group put on a game about Wounded Knee, which I found to be just a tad bit questionable. On the other hand, it's a free country, as they say, and I'm not going to tell people how they should think/behave. Just not my cup of tea.




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24. Board Game: Keep Up The Fire! [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:4400]
John Welch
United States
California
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This game just came out on Thursday - the game puts the player in the challenging position of having to defend the Legation Compound in Peking and get the Eight Nation Relief Army from the port of Taku to Peking before time runs out!
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25. Board Game: Khyber Rifles [Average Rating:4.85 Unranked]
steven slater
England
County of Essex
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Standing up to the Khazi.
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