A box of delights – Fifth Column Games’ Codeword Cromwell – Sussex’s finest hour

Posted: September 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

IMG_3365This is less of a review, more of a preview as I haven’t actually played this game yet. So after an interminable wait Fifth Column Games’ self produced Codeword Cromwell finally sits proudly in my home. This is the first time I’ve committed funds KickStarter style to a board-game that at the time had not even been produced.  Reading through all the positive feedback on Board Game Geek kind of alleviated my fears although the price tag in excess of £60 not including courier postage didn’t. So I did what any right minded sane scheming sly little oik would do and suggested Wifey might want to get it for me as a present.  Job done although I had to wait a few months longer of course.

So what is Codeword Cromwell? In short its a military boardgame simulation based on the German Armed Forces Invasion of England, in the summer of 1940, hypothetically speaking of course.

Rather than recreating the entire invasion it focuses on a single action, the ‘Battle of Birkham Stokes’, in which a small group of civilians, Home Guard irregular forces and Regular British soldiers defended the strategically vital Sussex village against advance elements of the German Invasion Force.  Think “Went the day Well” meets”The Eagle has Landed” meets “Dads Army” and you’re on the right track.  Of course living in a Sussex village and loving this sort of “what if/it happened here”? history doesn’t get much better for yours truly so it was something of a no-brainer in reality.

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“You’re gonna need a bigger table”

So whats in a box? Have a look/see. From this picture it looks fairly standard fare until you realise that the map-board is 104x72cms or 3&1/2 by 2&1/2ft !!! Blooming mahoosive AND ITS MOUNTEDNow I’m going to digress a bit here but this subject is very close to my heart. Remember those good old days round the fire with Mother and Father sipping Horlicks and playing Monopoly, Cluedo or Escape from Colditz and later your first pre-pubescent initiation into wargames via Avalon Hill? Still with me? The thing they and this game have in common is a mounted map/gameBOARD, not a flimsy excuse for one like those thin 1mm card efforts or even worse bog standard paper with a glossy (oooh wow) finish. No an actual map/gameBOARD. So well done Fifth Column Games big thumbs up here. Right, back to the contents, apart from the huge mapboard theres the usual rules, and technical data manuals and another first, in full colour on smell sense overload glossy paper (this time a proper WOW) that makes me want to sniff the ink right off those pages like theres no tomorrow. Chuck in the ubiquitous dice and Event/Strategy cards and the contents seem again almost run of the mill. So whats left?…….the counters! not your little 1cm sq bits of matt card here, my descriptive skills are inadequate when attempting to describe them so I’ve attached some pics to pore over and marvel at the sheer beauty. These 1 inch counters are also thick, thicker even than a Brighton & Hove Albion fan on a good day.

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So hopefully this demonstrates what I’m rambling on about. Its Capt Mainwaring, Daisy the village brass, the Rev, Womens Institute and Harveys infused Pub Regulars armed with an assortment of weapons from cricket bats & pool cues to Thompson smg’s and a Spigot mortar. Their quarry, German Falschirmjagers (easy for you to say) and Panzers. AWESOME! I suppose it was too much to ask for (leather……ahem) Nuns with beards and jackboots under their habits speaking that classic slightly insulting 1970’s wartime German accent (you know the sort, lots of Vees “Vee vill ask zee qvestions, Your name vill also go in zee book “etc). BUT there is a fifth columnist Codenamed “Chaplin” this is one of your very own who at some point you hopefully discover as he/she will be doing their fiendish best to sabotage your efforts to defend the village the dirty low down surly beadie eyed rotten damn unsporting just not cricket scoundrel.

Of course, production values do not a classic make, only playtime will tell but I suspect this is a good ‘un.  Oh and by the way the first print run sold out months ago so you won’t be able to buy this unless a second print run comes in or someone is nuts enough to sell his copy.  So for me its onto the rules although strangely enough work commitments (yes you read that right) might delay starting this.  Once I’ve mastered them, it’ll be time to convert to my local village and commence a series of AAR’s Pathe style.

“You know what morale is”?

  1. Peter says:

    “In short its a military boardgame simulation based on the German Armed Forces Invasion of England, in the summer of 1940, hypothetically speaking of course.”

    A logical follow-up considering the results in your annual RAF campaign… 😉

  2. simonsmrt says:

    My thoughts entirely!

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