BHC 000211

This is the first of a short series of newsletters leading up to the
launch of the new WWII card game “This Hard & Calcined Earth” (THACE).

Set in North Africa during 1940-43 the game is essential a campaign
level game. Perhaps the best way to explain it to let the author Neal
Reid describe it in his own words:

“I love board games. All sort of board games; weird, fantasy and
historical. In my experience historical games have a problem: you get
the box, open it, tip out the counters, sort them out to their
individual piles, lay the board open, place the counters on the board
and then, and only then, can you start. How long does that take? And
then there are the rules …

I wanted to create a game that dealt with all the complexities of a
historical campaign yet be physically small enough to put it in your
pocket and play it down the pub, on a train, or in the garden. Plus I
wanted the rules to be simple to learn but difficult to master; rules
that are read once but played many times.

I have always been interested in the WWII North African campaign, my
grandfather fought there, and I set out to portray the broad sweep of
events and strategic issues that surrounded the desert battles in a card
game that would be different each time it was played.

With THACE I wanted events to affect the outcome of the game, but for
the players to have some element of control. I didn’t want the game to
be just a series of random events because too much randomness, or plain
old luck, can turn even the best game into a game of Snap. I wanted the
game to provide an alternative, feasible history of the North Africa
Campaign every time it’s played. In other words, I wanted to make a
campaign in your pocket.”

We have made good progress realising Neal’s aims in a set of only 50
cards. In fact the cards are nearly ready; all we need is the go ahead
from the printer and to sign off a set of proofs. We are already
working on rules booklet which won’t take too long.

If all goes well, the next newsletter should contain some sample cards
for you to look at, an update on the rules and a provisional release date.

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