Released late last year, Triumph and Tragedy is a simple set of rules for fighting skirmish battles in the “pulp era”, the years between the two world wars. Unlike several other rules sets covering this period, T&T focuses on actual battles between military or at least paramilitary forces, with rules for all kinds of heavy weapons, tanks, and aircraft.
So what is it that makes these rules different from its competitors? Two things. The first is that it takes an almost role-playing approach. Although players may field 20 to 30 figures a side, the game is dominated by a few heroic individuals. These characters are allowed to roll for special skills (and may end up with drawbacks as well). Some people may find this cinematic approach unappealing, others will probably find it right up their alley. It is purely a matter of taste.
The other unique feature of T&T is the turn sequence. Every unit in the game is given its own action card. At the beginning of the turn, the player arranges these cards in the sequence he would like his units to act, while his opponent does the same. Each player then flips over their top card. The unit with the higher initiative acts, followed by the other unit, before two new cards are flipped. This mechanic gives the game a greater degree of tactical thinking than is found in many skirmish rules, forcing a player to plan out much of his turn ahead of time, especially if he wants to co-ordinate the actions of different units.
Production-wise, T&T is one of the new generation of wargame that is blurring the line between a fan produced book and a professional product. The cover is full colour, but the interior is black and white. The layout is simple, but clear, with lots of nice miniature photographs and a few helpful diagrams. The writing is generally clear with an informal style.