Games > Storming the Heights
STORMING THE HEIGHTS
The Battle of the Alma, Crimea 1854
the time is: 1130 hours, 20 September 1854
Storming the Heights is a simulation of one of the first major battles of the Crimean War, the Battle of the Alma, fought on 20 September 1854. This game models in a highly-playable format the key elements of the battle — command control (lack of generalship), weaponry, and tactical formations — and aims to captivate players with its strikingly beautiful period map and counters designed by graphic artist, Terry Leeds.
An Anglo-French-Turkish force had landed at Calamita Bay on 14 September 1854 and then marched down the western coastline of the Crimea, their objective: the Russian naval base at Sevastopol. At the River Alma on 20 September 1854, the Allies were met by a Russian army holding a ridge line. The Allies assaulted the Russian position and through the tenacity of the troops, won the position, though failing to gain a decisive victory. The Russians fell back on Sevastopol more or less intact, leading to the protracted Allied siege of the city. However, the possibilities are fascinating, to say the least. Had either side taken more initiative, there was the opportunity for deciding the Crimean campaign in the course of a day. The Battle of the Alma is the subject of controversy to this day. The main issue was leadership, or lack of it, on both sides. Higher commanders did little to control the battle and ultimately the battle was fought and decided by lower echelon commands as well as the troops.
The battle was notable for its lack of generalship on each side, as well as the tenacity of the troops. The Anglo-French armies possessed a tactical edge insofar as they were better armed (with rifled-muskets) which they exploited via linear formations. The opposing Russian infantry tended to deploy in large columns with older muskets, but had an efficient artillery arm. Command depended on personal initiative, or lack thereof.
Storming the Heights places the players in the role of the commanders of the Allied and Russian armies. They must utilize some of the unique characteristics of the armies of this war, which includes:
Command Control. Most of the senior commanders did little to influence the outcome of the battle. So the command control rules are somewhat minimal to reflect the lack of generalship. Instead, players must take personal command of subordinate formations and take decisive actions.
Weaponry. Most of the Anglo-French troops were armed with rifled-muskets, which outranged and out-shut the Russian smoothbore muskets. On the other hand, the Russians did have a professional and robust artillery arm.
Tactical formations. The size of the unit counters represents the tactical formations in which the units actually fought. The Russians are in large battalion columns, the British in extended lines and the French in linear-style columns.
This combination makes for some unique play challenges for each side. It puts players in command of what would be considered today asymmetrical armies, modeled with different sized unit counters. There is a strong personal element because if you can get your leaders to the right place at the right time, you can win a decisive victory. And that can settle the Crimean War in the course of an afternoon. If you fail, then expect a protracted war to follow.
Storming the Heights features a gorgeous full-size period map of where the battle was fought, along with strikingly decorated different sized unit counters to represent the tactical formations in which the armies deployed. This combination promises to deliver one of the most engaging and visually pleasing gaming experiences ever produced covering this time period.
- One 22" x 34" full-color, period-style mapsheet
- One 1/2” full-color counter sheet
- One 5/8" full-color counter sheet
- One 3/4” extra wide full-color counter sheet
- Rules booklet with Designer's Notes
- Two Player Aid Cards
- One 6-sided and one 10-sided die
Time: 30 minutes per turn
Map: 300 meters per hex
Units: infantry battalions, cavalry regiments, and artillery batteries
Complexity: Low to Moderate
Playing Time: 3–5 Hours
Number of Players: 1–2
Designer: Joseph Miranda
Developer: John Kranz
Graphic Design: Terry Leeds
Packaging: Rodger B. MacGowan and RBM Studios
Editor: Jack Beckman
Prepress Assistance: Mark Simonitch
Producer: John Kranz
P500 Price: $35.00 (a savings of $15)