A walk through the battlefield
Ventura Battle System™ uses a “free-form” battlefield, i.e. a battlefield that has no grid. During battles, players will have to take measurements in order make their soldiers move and fight. The "scale" of the battle, calibrated for two players, is that of the Single soldier, on a square area of about one hectare, represented by a play area measuring 90 centimeters (about 35 inches) per side.
With this choice, the development team wanted players to easily find a space to play in their home, but also to get a game "tile" to duplicate if they wanted to create much larger battlefields, potentially of any size, capable of involving a virtually unlimited number of players.
We bring the game, you bring the miniatures
Although the box of The Fall of the King™ does not include miniatures, for good reasons that we'll explain later, the use of miniatures is the goal of this system. Both the Pedites and Milites tiles were carefully sized to be ideally replaced with 28mm scale miniatures. The three-dimensional vocation of the Ventura Battle System is clear.
The market is crowded with producers of miniatures, both plastic and metal. Sir Chester Cobblepot does not produce miniatures but games, and what games! A quick look at their catalogue,regardless of personal taste, will be enough to understand that you can’t work at that level if you lack certain skills. Top Hat Games is honored to be able to make its publishing debut with professionals of this caliber.
We're just getting started
According to Sir Cobblepot's editorial idea, The Fall of the King™ is only the first battle of their system, and the five hundred years the system was designed to reconstruct, from the Age of Communes and the rise of the Signoria, is full of ideas and opportunities. Top Hat Games hopes that its “craft” production formula will meet the needs of potential customers in order to periodically publish new chapters.
At a glance
Going back to the game features, it should be pointed out that players are required to put their own eyes to the test, because the rules state that Actions must first be declared and then performed if measurements allow it. Obviously, this means that experienced players, being more trained to calculate distances by eye, will be advantaged.
Once is not enough
It might seem contradictory to design an introductory game and then enrich it with such refined rules. But Cobblepot’s philosophy is clear: their games are produced to be played many times and must be structured for players who evolves and gets better the more they play. This was the main feature that convinced Top Hat Games to publish their wargame.
Just like in the Middle Ages
Extreme accessibility and infinite depth: those who appreciate the system will fall in love with it and count it among their preferred battle system. Few tables, average game length, plenty of strategy. Every moment of the battle can be its turning point and it will not be possible to turn off your brain at any moment. You should play like games used to be played, with no distractions such as smartphones and undivided attention.
The old-fashioned way?
Yes and no, we consider VBS a very modern system, in some ways almost videogame-like for its speed and simplification, where the battle simulation is not to be sought in a single action but in all the rounds that make up an historical scenario. Sir Cobblepot is right: it was the only way to give a fresh boost to wargames, which have become an inward-looking, experts-only hobby.
Try before you speak
Don't make the mistake of making a superficial commentary: the foundations of VBS were laid by figures like Aldo Ghetti and Paolo Rodolfo Carraro, who played and wrote rulebooks when many Italian wargame enthusiasts only knew the few games coming from the UK and the USA. VBS is exactly what its producers, determined rather than reckless, wanted it to be,.
Arm yourself with a ruler and divide the space into one-inch-long segments, which is unsurprisingly the diameter of a Pedites tile. If you have little experience, since you’ll have to declare your actions before measuring, be prepared to have some errors affect your first performance. However, this is also part of the game experience: you learn by making mistakes!