Sunday, 8 October 2017

Market Garden Sampler

I've had the Mercury/Market Garden hex'n'chit boardgame for a while, and it in fact was purchased with a view to getting something on the tabletop with miniatures.

Dispositions at the start - watch the 'club route'.

Uncannily, it does have the exact number of hexes, width vs length, that fit both the size of my table and the the number and size of large (120mm) hexes that I own.

That said, we wanted to at least try the game out, before we plunder it for unit counter markers for the miniatures game (Mercury/Crete is also featured and does look very interesting too).

Key things from a game of this size:
  • Abstraction...Abstraction...Abstraction: Artillery is subsumed; armour benefits control ZOCs rather than promote breakthroughs; supply becomes critical - as well as access to dropzones.
  • You begin to think about supporting large attacks, while holding off more maneuverable elements. By the same token, your opponent is utilising the advantages of built up real estate and blowing bridges in order to slow your advance with regard to reinforcements.
  • Airborne forces are fragile if unsupported.
  • Catered for are areas such as: armour moving around ZOCs unless impinged by other armour; timely reappearance of German Battlegroups; the ability to wear down defensive units in towns - though at cost, and over a period of days.
  • was Nijmegan...

These are obvious points, though this game, and of necessity any miniature version of same, will require the same results and strategic though brought about by the turn mechanism and mechanics, if it is to succeed.

I'm still very keen to look at Bob Cordery's Hexblitz and the Portable Wargame as solutions here - especially so with regard to difficulties in breaking prepared positions, the amount of troops thereby required and the fog of war built into the turn mechanisms.

The British airborne could not make it into Arnhem and sustained considerable losses even trying, then were caught in the open.

The 101st kept the road open. German attentions were focused on the crucible that Nijmegan was fast becoming.

The 82nd are hard pressed, as German Kampfgruppe and reinforcements focus on cutting the road here.

 Nijmegan and Arnhem become the focus for bolstering German defences...though XXX Corps is coming.

 In the end, Nijmegan became a siege of sorts, until eventually the German position, cracked and was flanked, though the airborne elements had been pounded by then.

A nice game, and gives a decent appreciation of the importance of certain segments and routes on the battlefield...and certainly gives us food for thought for a miniatures version at the same scale.


  1. Interesting, I am dipping my toe into the world of board wargames these days as a mate has hundreds, American War of Independence this afternoon.

    1. Ah - AWI sounds interesting in this type of game...will watch for it. A lot of the rules in hex'n'chit games are superior to some wargame rules. It always pays to look for little mechanisms that can be stolen I think.

    2. Exactly right, DdG! Many terrific ideas buried within hex and chit games. For Operation Mercury, I have my eye on MMP's latest game on the topic. Perhaps it will be among the games discounted during their annual Black Friday sale?

    3. Yes Jonathan - Mercury is in the same box as Market Garden and does look interesting indeed. MMP's latest offering does look tempting too.

  2. Looks like fun, nice to see a game having a go at the 'grand sweep' type feel of game.

    1. Definitely a grand sweep mate. Easy Company of Band of Brothers fame - is 1/9 of a counter at this scale.