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Against the Odds magazine investigates military history from a broad perspective. The economic, political, religious and social aspects of warfare are examined in concert with events on the battlefield.

Each issue of ATO features:

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Autumn 2021 News Update from ATO Magazine


Autumn Greetings from ATO Magazine,


This is just a quick newsletter out to catch people up on what’s happened, and what’s happening here at ATO. Plus we found some mint out of print ATO ziplock issues in a sealed box in the warehouse and we’re offering them up on a first come, first serve basis. More on that below.


What’s Old: Our last release was our Annual with La Vendée inside. Everyone should have gotten their copy by now, if you didn’t, write us at admin@atomagazine.com and we’ll investigate. If you didn't order it, here's the skinny below on this game.


In 1793 the Central Western provinces of France proved to be a major headache to the new French Republic. There, nobles lived with and were respected by the peasants who adhered to Catholicism. Parisian decrees ordering conscription and church closure encouraged counterrevolution. Vendéan peasants (Whites) begged local nobles to rebel and defend them against a massive invading army (Blues).


The odds were against them but with remarkable martial spirit the Whites captured what they needed. Victory seemed possible despite massacres committed by both sides. At one point the Duke of York considered landing British troops to support them. Outnumbered two to one by well-equipped troops led by generals Lazare Hoche and Jean Baptiste Kléber, the Vendée was subdued and large swaths burned. Its inhabitants slaughtered. Historians still squabble over the term - genocide.


Still, the Vendée (pronounced "VON-Day") rose again – and again – and again, even during Napoleon’s reign. Notably, the Whites so worried the Emperor during his “100 Days” that Napoleon actually committed 20,000 troops to settle the region. Might those troops have staved off defeat at Waterloo?


This area movement game by designer John Poniske depicts the first Royalist rising, centering on the “White” player’s attempt to capture and hold Republican forts. If all goes well the English may enter the fray. Meanwhile “Blue” armies attempt to overwhelm their weaker foe and implement a scorched earth policy while partisans harry their every move. Event cards present both sides with opportunities and challenges.


Learn more about La Vendée by clicking this game link. Best of all, you can still grab a copy at the subscriber’s discount if you sign up today and choose the Annual option linked to your subscription.


What’s New: Due to supply chain disruptions and raw plastic material price hikes, we are no longer able to offer deluxe boxed subscriptions, or sell the plastic boxes as a standalone. Basically we’ve been told the price has tripled and “take it or leave it”. Existing deluxe boxed subscriptions will be honored till the issue where they personally expire for each reader, or our remaining stash of boxes is exhausted, at which point we hope you’ll convert to the regular ziplock version (our magazine’s insides will still continue to be as great as ever). We still do have some of our back stock already in plastic boxes that we'll continue to sell till they’re gone.


Overseas Readers: We had to suspend international subscriptions last year due to the increasingly poor postal service rate hikes, and onerous customs forms at this end, and extra surcharges applied by countries at the other end. It turned out it was actually cheaper for readers to purchase issues in a store overseas than buy a subscription from us. We have come up with a backdoor way for international friends to still “subscribe” and get subscriber extras which you can read about here under the PICK 3 option on our on our website if interested.


What’s Next: Our upcoming issues are both diverse and look particularly interesting. We see a gamut of historical questions covered by four different designers, offering you a wide range of historical exploration (and fun!).


In about 3 weeks we'll be releasing ATO #54 with Monty’s D-Day inside. The companion game to Bradley's D-Day, Monty’s D-Day will complete the Normandy Invasion vision by adding the D-Day assault frontage that was targeted by the British Commonwealth forces under Miles Dempsey which -- likely -- got much more of overall commander General Bernard L. Montgomery's attention.


British General Sir Miles Christopher Dempsey, GBE, KCB, DSO, MC, served on both world wars and with considerable competence as brigade, corps, and then army commander in the European theater. Liked and respected, he managed to get along with Montgomery and was highly regarded by him.


In fact, it was DEMPSEY in command of the three Anglo-Canadian beaches at Normandy. Technically, all FIVE of the Normandy beaches were "Montgomery's," since he was the commander of the entire army group, with Omar Bradley commanding the American contingents on 2 beaches and Miles Dempsey commanding the three Anglo-Canadian beaches. But can anyone imagine calling this game "Dempsey's D-Day?"


Most certainly, the objectives for the Anglo-Canadian beaches sound like Montgomery talking. The city of Caen, nine miles inland, was targeted for capture on D-Day itself. It actually fell in late July, and only after the city had been leveled by bombing. Was it a "city too far?" But back to the game.


Monty’s D-Day will bring the design fully in-sync and up to the standards set by Bradley's D-Day, including rules for parachute and amphibious landings, plus new German alternative responses. And the same wonderful Mark Mahaffey graphics.


And, Monty’s D-Day will link to Bradley's D-Day to permit the player to investigate the possibilities of the full panoply of the D-Day invasion, but works perfectly as a stand-alone game on the Anglo-Canadian D-Day landings.


Learn more about Monty's D-Day by clicking this game link.


Then we travel in time backwards to the American Civil War for the long-awaited final installment in the "Lee Trilogy" which began with Not War But Murder in 2007 and continued with Birth of a Legend in 2011.


Lee’s Greatest Victory: Chancellorsville, 1863 appearing in ATO #56 is an area-impulse game but one unlike anything seen before. Since the appearance of the “sunset die roll” nearly three decades ago players have alternated activating a single area, with variation coming in the form of an uncertain turn length. Play has a chess-like feel, with players able to act and react with a great deal of prior calculation. Short turns could be frustrating for one or both players.


In this revolutionary development of the genre players no longer know how many impulses they, or their opponent, will have, creating both opportunities and crises that cannot be anticipated in advance—just like real combat. The “momentum” swings back and forth but rarely the same way twice. At the same time, each turn lasts as long as the players wish it to last, ensuring something will happen every turn.


The game features one 22" x 34” area map, 176 double-sided 5/8” counters, and around twelve pages of rules. Units of maneuver are Union divisions and Confederate brigades for the most part, with historical leaders present to provide a combat boost though at the risk of being wounded or KIA. Pontoon bridges and entrenchments are part of the basic rules while optional rules incorporate weather and optional units for both sides.


Best of all, it's just six turns and playable in one sitting!


Learn more about Lee's Greatest Victory by clicking this game link.


There are other subscriber only goodies in the pipeline too, both free-standing mini-games and add-ons for the games already in your collection.


The good news is you can subscribe or re-subscribe today and still get all the upcoming issues above! Click here for options on subscribing or re-subscribing.


If you have any questions, or would like to tell us about your experiences as a subscriber, I would love to hear from you.


And Look What We Found: Oh, and about those mint ziplocks. The list is below with prices and the amounts are postpaid. You can’t go through the website to buy these, you’ll need to use PayPal and just send the money directly in along with a shipping address and what you want to sales@atomagazine.com


The reason for PayPal is that it’s very easy to refund your money if the issue(s) you want has already been sold out – as these may go quick. First come, first serve. We’ll let you know of course.


Regular ATO ziplock back issues ($60.00 each in the US, $75.00 each international)

ATO #4 Napoleon at the Berezina (4 copies)

ATO #5 North Wind Rain 1st edition (5 copies)

ATO #14 War in the Aegean (4 copies)

ATO #16 La vallée de la mort (4 copies)

ATO #17 Imperial Sunset (5 copies)

ATO #18 The Golden Horde (4 copies)

ATO #20 A Fatal Attraction (3 copies)

ATO #23 Guerra a Muerte (7 copies)

ATO #24 Deathride (6 copies)

ATO #28 “Tarleton’s Quarter!” (2 copies)


ATO Annual ziplock back issues ($75.00 each in the US, $100 each international)

2009 Annual: Verdun, A Generation Lost (2 copies)

2013 Annual: La Bataille de Vauchamps (5 copies)


OK, that’s it. Thanks for reading!




Steve Rawling, Publisher