The SoA 2012 bonus game is now available for separate purchase from the SoA web store, at £7 (worldwide postage included, for a limited time only). Call it Qids is a fast paced, highly replayable game based around the Battle of Qadesh. By Graham Evans and Ian Russell Lowell.
Call it Qids is a stylised, fast-play, refight of the Battle of Qadesh between the armies of Ramses II and the collected forces of the Empire of Hatti, played out on a square grid with special rules for ford-crossing and the Egyptian camp. The Hatti army is entirely chariotry (the infantry in the historical battle seem to have remained east of the river and so are not featured in this game) while the Egyptians are split into four contingents (Amun, Ra, Ptah and the 'Nearin') in different locations. The Hatti player is after the Egyptian baggage, and clearing away the Egyptian troops is merely a means to an end. The Egyptian player is trying to kill Hatti chariots, and his trump card here is Ramses himself, whom the designers have granted the combat capability apparent in the Egyptian accounts of the battle. He can kill an opposing unit on a near-certain basis, but has to watch out in case he is surrounded and overpowered, an event that boosts the Hatti player's victory total considerably should it occur. Egyptian and Hatti chariots fight at par, their respective advantages and disadvantages being assumed to cancel out. Infantry is at a stiff disadvantage in the open, but able to fight at par in the camp, which is a great equaliser.
The game requires players to balance boldness against risk, and the range of outcomes rewards repeated play. The Hatti player has to choose between an early assault on the camp, which cuts the strength of the Nearin contingent when it appears, but brings it on early, or a later assault, which is more likely to clear the camp but allows a stronger Nearin division to arrive. The Egyptian player has to watch his infantry, who are dead meat in the open but can give a good account of themselves in camp. Baggage is taken around by infantry (only); a Hatti chariot unit that captures a baggage unit promptly leaves the board with it to enjoy the dividends forthwith (and racks up a victory point) and never returns. Obviously, if after the initial panic the Egyptian player can slip his baggage-tending infantry into the camp, he can go some way to denying the Hatti player victory, though this is easier said than done.
Victory compares Egyptian kills of Hatti chariot units with the number of baggage units the Hatti troops have seized, giving grades of success for either side. All in all, this is a fast-moving game with opportunities for both sides, and a slight bias in favour of the forces of Hatti is countered by the Poem-of-Pentaur-like exploits of Ramses.
The booklet also contains an assessment of the sources and forces for the battle.