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They Died With Their Boots On, Vol. 1
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Strategy & Tactics magazine #236 (May 2006).

They Died With Their Boots On, Vol. 1, presents a wargame system that simulates two campaigns of the US Army in the 18th and 19th centuries. The rules use sub-systems that show the wild fluctuations of fortune that affected the forces of both sides, from heroic last stands to blunders that led to some of the more infamous military actions of the century.

Boots uses an interactive game turn in which both players command an overall force made up of several sub-commands. During each turn, players alternate picking "command markers," which designate the sub-command within their force they may then use to conduct operations. The player then moves units of that sub-command and, at the completion of its movement, conducts attacks with units of that same sub-command. Play then passes to the other player, who similarly picks a marker and moves and fights. That procedure continues until all command markers have been picked. Additionally, certain events cause players to pick "heroism markers" at random, which may generate anything from mad, impetuous charges to abject surrenders.

The rules are divided into the standard rules, which are common to all games in the system (Boots 2 will appear in S&T #242), and the scenario rules, which provide deployment and reinforcement instructions, as well as victory conditions, for each specific battle game.

This edition of Boots includes two games: On to Quebec: The US Invasion of Canada, 1775-76; and Custer's Last Stand: The Yellowstone/Little Bighorn Campaign, 1876.

In the Custer game, each turn represents from three days to three weeks, depending on the level of intensity of campaigning, and each hexagon on the map represents 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) across. US Army units are battalions (actually task-organized sub-divisions of regiments). Indian 'units' each represent groups of warriors, with about 80-120 individual per strength point.

In the Quebec game, each turn represents one to two months, depending on the time of year, and each hexagon on the map represents 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) across. Units of maneuver for both sides are battalions and regiments, artillery batteries, and a few miscellaneous units of smaller sizes..

The game system is low-complexity (totaling about 13,000 words) and is being presented here for the first time. There are 280 iconic half-inch unit-counters. Playing time between two experienced opponents of roughly equal skill levels will be about three hours per game. Designed by Joseph Miranda."

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