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I had the opportunity to play Forged in Fire on Friday with my friend Doug. Forged in Fire is a block game by Worthington Games covering the peninsula campaign of the American Civil War. This is not an easy campaign to model because of a variety of factors but Forged in Fire does it well and in a very playable manner. The rule book is relatively small but the game has great depth to it. If you are not familiar with the campaign, you have a vastly superior (in numbers) Union force trying to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond and thus end the war.
(Below) Small Confederate Force Holding Fort Magruder While Also Trying to Protect the James River by Holding Norfolk
The Union has superior numbers but faulty intelligence and is led by a sometimes indecisive leader in George McClellan. The Confederates, with their smaller numbers, are the proverbial boy putting his fingers in the dike. There are a lot of potential invasion points that they have to cover and they don't have a lot of forces to do it with. Their plan is to play for time until more force can be concentrated near Richmond and Robert E. Lee enters the game.
The game plays pretty rapidly. This was our first playing and it took about 5 hours but we were constantly checking out rules. I think experienced players could do this one in possibly 3 hours. The game presents both players with a wealth of decisions to make with upsides and downsides to each. I played the Confederates and did not retreat enough. As I result, I got pounded by the Union siege guns at Fort Magruder and never fully recovered from that.