Liberators! V1: The War In the South, by John Fletcher.
2006, Grenadier Productions
Potential conflict of interest: please read my disclaimer!
For whatever reason, the American Revolution has proved to be popular with wargamers, but the wars of liberation in South America remain relatively unknown. John Fletcher has published a very interesting volume that sets out to change that.
The audience for the volume is specifically wargamers. It contains the kind of information usually associated with the Osprey volumes. It includes a brief overview of each campaign with maps. There are descriptions of the organization and composition of each army. The volume also includes detailed uniform information, suggested rule amendments, and a variety of scenarios. It retails for $29.95 and is available from a number of retailers (including me).
Visually the book is beautiful. Very well laid out, nicely illustrated and full color throughout. The maps are very good (though it would have been nice to have an overall map) and legible. The writing is crisp and lively, and throughout the author’s passion for the period comes through.
I really only have one criticism of the first volume in what is a planned trilogy. The campaign summaries, in my mind, are much too short. While I know a book like this takes a lot of work and money to launch, there is simply a lot of empty space (like double spacing of the text) that I think could have been put to better use with a little more detail on each of the campaigns.
Even with that, this is a really wonderful book for wargamers. It puts everything you need in one place so while you track down biographies of San Martin and Bolivar and read up on the campaigns in depth, you can get started on your armies right away. Included are some very nice uniform plates with diagrams of the cuff/collar/turnback colors for each regiment. The illustrations are all in full color. You will find you can field many troops with existing Napoleonic figures, though in many cases you will have to accept close proxies. In a few cases you’ll have to stretch more than that (the Gauchos, for example, may prove hard to find). In fact throughout the book there are illustrations that use figures from the author’s collection.
The book also provides notes on organizations, morale and leadership. Plus, since it is a wargamers’ guide it includes suggested rules changes that you can adapt to whatever rules set you prefer (I am planning on using General de Brigade, myself).
Finally, you get 11 scenarios (and there are more available on the publisher’s web site). Each scenario includes complete OOBs with unit strengths, a nice map (see sample) in color, and historical notes.
This is a fascinating era, and this book prompted me to pick up another by the same title which covers all of these wars in great detail.