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Latest Additions to the Collection

Historiesch Spel van Waterloo
Netherlands, 1816

This is the earliest game to show specific Napoleonic battles. The spiral track traces Napoleon's later campaigns and has spaces showing the burning of Moscow in 1812, Napoleon's exile to and escape from Elba, and his final battle at Waterloo in 1815.


It was published in the Netherlands just one year after Waterloo, and the central illustration shows one of the results: the marriage of the Prince of Orange (later King William II of Netherlands) to Anna Pavlovna, sister of Tsar Alexander I.


The marriage, which took place on
on February 21, 1816, at the Chapel of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, was a symbol of the alliance created after the Congress of Vienna.

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Right or Wrong?
British Palestine, 1941

Subtitled "How to Act during an Air Raid", this game was published by the Shemen consumer goods company in Haifa in what is now Israel but was then controlled by Great Britain.

Like air raid games published in other countries during World War II, this roll-and-move game illustrates both good and bad practices for avoiding casualties from enemy bombers.


Good behaviour illustrated includes preparations such as taping windows, sandbagging entrances and keeping essential tools and supplies handy ahead of time, obeying orders to head to shelters when warning sirens sound, and coping with the damage both during and after the raid.

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Haifa and other cities were bombed multiple times during 1940-41 by Axis planes based on the island of Rhodes.


While most of the bombing was done by Italian planes, the game focuses on German aggressors including twin-engine and Stuka dive bombers emblazoned with the Nazi swastika. 

Jeu des échanges France - Colonies
France, 1941

This trading game was published while the Germans occupied much of France and Vichy France administered the rest. It sought to raise French spirits by reminding players that France still controlled a vast empire of 24 colonies spanning Africa, Asia and the Americas.

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Each of the 2, 4, 6 or 8 players takes an equal number of colonies to start. The goal is to completely exploit one's colonies by providing to each one a ship, an aspect of good government such as a school, hospital, engineers or religious missions, and then collecting and exporting the colony's two main products.

Counters are drawn at random by each player in turn and either used for the player's own colonies or traded to another player. 

L'Empire Français
France, c. 1940

This card game from Paris publisher Miro (which later published La Conquête du Monde, the first edition of what became Risk) offers another take on the extent of the French Empire at the outbreak of WWII.

The box includes a quote from then prime minister Edouard Daladier's speech in Algiers on Jan. 6, 1939, in which he declared that France's colonial activities were always based on love, and that it acts only to "bring people into the light".

It is a set-collection game, with sets comprising one card with a map and main exports of a colony and the others bearing photographs and key statistics. Colonies in the deck include: Indochina, Tahiti, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, La Réunion and its enclaves in India in Asia and Oceania ; Syria and Lebanon in the Middle East; Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Cameroon, Togo, French Somalia, French Equatorial Africa (Congo), French West Africa (Ivory Coast and Mauritania) and Madagascar in Africa; and St. Pierre and Miquelon, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana in the Americas.

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The Strand War Game
United Kingdom, 1915

Published by The Strand Magazine, this WWI game superimposes a checkerboard over a large map of the Western Front. However, players start from opposing corners rather than sides of the board. And each player has a mix of three types of pieces (infantry, cavalry and artillery), each with specific powers. 

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To Berlin
United Kingdom, c.1915

This undated game is a comprehensive tour around wartime Europe. Players start in London, pass through France, Italy, Austria, Bosnia, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and Russia before arriving at the belt of fortresses surrounding Berlin. The fact that Russia is shown as still holding Warsaw suggests it was published early in the war.

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Red squares are disasters, starred spaces represent fortresses and red-crossed spaces would appear to be recovery/hospital squares. No rules are shown on the board.  

Le jeu des armées
Belgium, 1940

Smash 'Em
United Kingdom, c. 1915

Subtitled "Can the Allies be Defeated?", this is a simpler WWI game from the designer of the pre-war War Tactics, or Can Great Britain be Invaded?"


The board is a plain brown on white with a 16 x 13 grid that covers the Western Front from Paris to Berlin and from Holland in the north to the edge of Switzerland.

Players use ground and air units, including the "engine of destruction, the airship". In attacking, players must steer around both Holland and Luxembourg, which remained neutral.

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This game was published just before Germany invaded Belgium in 1940. The box art appears to show Belgian defenders under heavy attack by unmarked planes that appear to be German Dornier Do17 light bombers. 

The board is more abstract, with a 16 x 20 grid over a three-colour map featuring key objectives (government, broadcasting and arms production) and a variety of terrain including rivers and slopes, as well as obstacles such as wire and bunkers.

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The playing pieces are wooden in four shapes. Each side gets 24 infantry (cubes), 8 artillery (rectangles), 2 motorized divisions (cylinders) and 6 bridging units (triangles). While a single tank is shown on the box and a few small tank outlines on the map, the game does not appear to anticipate the critical role of armour in the coming German blitzkrieg.

France, c. 1939

This self-published game by Eugène Petiot of Paris anticipated that the next war with Germany would focus on battles between tanks. His playing pieces show very early models: the Renault R-35 light tank for the British and French counters, and machine-gun equipped Panzer Is for the Germans.

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By the time war broke out, both sides had better tanks, but the Germans had figured out how to use them most effectively.

Sprung auf, marsch, marsch!
Germany, c. 1935

This game clearly appeared early in the days of German re-armament prior to WWII. Tanks are nowhere to be seen: horses are featured both charging and in reconnaissance. Other images on the board include artillery, motorcycles, field phone, infantry in the assault and pontoon bridge-building.

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Battle of the Coral Seas
United Kingdom, c. 1949

While its title plays off the then-recent WWII naval Battle of the Coral Sea, it is actually an abstract game of naval combat played on an 8 x 10 grid. Unusually, ships sit on intersecting lines of the grid rather than in the spaces between them.

Each player starts with 10 ships: one battleship, two heavy cruisers, four light cruisers and three destroyers. 

The aim is to manoeuver ships to bring their broadsides to bear on an enemy on an adjacent position. A larger ship can kill a smaller ship the lies directly ahead. In turn, each player may move one ship, either one intersection forward or a turn to the left or right.  

The destroyers have the option of any two moves (two ahead, a turn and move, or turning directly astern). The battleship can attack at a range of two.

Each side also has a land battery that kills any ship ending a move on its line of fire.

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United Kingdom, c. 1940

This abstract naval game has a couple of interesting features. First, there are multiple maps (two for the standard game and three for the deluxe version).


Each map has a triangular grid. The maps are laid on top of a cork board, and the playing pieces are mounted on pins that stick into that board. 


Second, combat is resolved with a 12-sided teetotum, which provides odds-based results.


If two equal ships fight, the color of the letter is all that matters. If two different ships fight, the letter determines the winner. The teetotum has 6 Bs for Battleship, 4 Cs for Cruiser and 2 Ds for Destroyer. A battleship therefore has a 3:1 chance of beating a destroyer, 3:2 against a cruiser and even odds against another battleship.

Each player starts with one battleship, three cruisers, five destroyers and one submarine. The submarine fights at even odds against any other ship. 

The submarine can move only one point, while the battleships and cruisers can move two and the destroyers three. In each turn, a player may use a maximum of 10 movement points, split amongst his ships as he sees fit within the limits of each ship type.

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Combat is triggered by moving onto an enemy ship's location. The losing ship is removed. In the advanced game, ships have numerical strengths and the highest value wins. Players may attack with multiple ships to gang up on a larger foe.

The land areas are marked with ports having values of 10, 20 or 30. The winner is the first to capture 100 points worth of enemy ports.

Volldampf Voraus
Germany, 1903

This may be the last naval wargame published before the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 revolutionized the design of large warships. In this game, each player has three ship types: ships of the line, large cruisers and small cruisers (in English terms, pre-dreadnought battleships, armoured cruisers and protected cruisers).

The most interesting facet of the game is the use of curved circles between ship locations, which limit the degree to which ships can change facing as they move.

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Netherlands, c. 1920

This naval game is an early Dutch version of Battleship. Each player gets a 10 x 10 blank board and a fleet of one cruiser, two torpedo boats, two minelayers and four submarines. After choosing hidden locations for each of their own ships, players take turns calling out grid squares and marking them either with misses or hits by type. The first player to sink the other's entire fleet wins.

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Neues Exerxierspiel
Germany c. 1870

This is a wooden box with two games, one on top and the other on the bottom.


The bottom has a traditional Belagerungspiel board illustrated as the siege of Sebastopol during the Crimean War. The top is a race game called New Exercise Game.

This is a race game played with large figurines of soldiers. The pieces start at the red triangle at the bottom and advance across a grid of red vertical lines and green diagonal lines.

Movement is determined by a unique die. This has six sides marked with letters: R, G, H, L, K and E. An L or R requires the player to move forward diagonally (right or left) along a green line. A G moves forward one along a red line; E moves two forward on red; H means stay in place and K forces the player back one on a red line. The winner is the first to reach the final rank.

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USA, 1939

This huge box (21" x 15.5") contains a set of markers and four nighttime aerial pictures showing a city, an industrial district, a port and an airfield. Each has a five by five grid containing a double-digit number that corresponds the roll of two dice. Each player takes one of this images.

Players roll dice and place a black cardboard square over a corresponding space. A player who succeeds may roll again, with the dice only passing to the next player on a failed roll. The winner is the first to cover all the spaces on his image.

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Red counters are provided to keep score over multiple rounds, with the winner collecting a token from each other player for each their uncovered squares.

Big Shot
USA, c. 1942

This bagatelle (pinball) game from Gotham Steel has an odd combination of images, with the large central artillery piece and two smaller ones on the sides shown with very old-fashioned crenellated battlements! The spring-loaded plunger launches metal balls up the right side. In addition to the usual U-shaped ball traps, there are pivoted levers on each side to open high-value pockets and spinning dials with variable values toward the bottom.

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