I bought Pea Ridge, Wilson's Creek and First Manassas from Greg at Wargame Downloads. I was intrigued because the site said that one could build the battle board in 3D. Maybe I will get to that in the future, but that may end up being an unrealized project. Pea Ridge is the first of three that I assembled.
After the purchase, one receives a ZIP file download that has several PDF files included. These PDFs include the battle board, counters, rules, instructions for making the 3D board and a small history about the particular battle.
One of the first things I realized is that the battle board is on A4 metric paper. I have a B/W printer, so off to one of the big chains that does color laser printing. I found that printing Actual Size, centered on Legal size paper produced the correct results. Next was a visit to a Hobby and Craft store to get some Black Foam Core, Spray Adhesive and Mat paper.
Assembly was pretty easy since the map was kept to 2D. Note, when working with foam core, have several new #11 blades ready for your knife. When cutting with a dull blade, the foam will tear and look nasty. A razor sharp knife glides through the material effortlessly, but the foam core dulls a new one pretty quickly. I used three blades for this project. I wanted a nice clean look.
All the games in this series use the Brothers At Arms rules set. It looks to be a pretty straight forward rule set with some interesting rules for Command and Control and Zones of Control. I look forward to playing the initial Pea Ridge game this week. Are you ready Greg?
I do not understand why the authors of this game chose to create hex based unit counters. It meant just that much more cutting and trimming and doesn't really add anything of value. Square counters would have served just as well. On my next game, First Manassas, I will be converting the counters to squares. However this is a minor nit, all in all the assembly was easy and was a nice Saturday afternoon project.
Finally my OCD kicked in, since I was not able to find a box that I liked. I made one, and used the remaining Pea Ridge cover page as the box cover. I now understand why games are so flaming expensive. There is a lot of work to build the board, make the counters, create the rules and package the whole thing. All told, I have about 25$ into this one game for purchase, printing and craft supplies. That seems like a pretty good deal to me.