Blood in the Fog is a two-player game recreating the 1854 Battle of Inkerman, one of the most fascinating battles of the Crimean War. An Allied force made up of French, British, and Turks had laid siege to the major naval port of Sevastopol. Desperate to lift the siege, their Russian enemies probed the allied line for a weak spot. They found it on Mount Inkerman, held by less than 7,000 British. On October 27, the Russians initiated a brief skirmish to test the British defenses (later called "Little Inkerman"). On November 5, they were ready to crush them with over 35,000 Russians.
It did not go quite as planned. The disorganized Russians had their forces divided in two parts, under the command of three generals, each of whom had a different, contradictory, battle plan. A cold and dense fog allowed the Russians to get the drop on their enemies, but visibility was so poor that there was little command structure in place for either side. Regiments and companies had no choice but to fight (or flee) on their own initiative, giving Inkerman the nickname "the Soldier's Battle".
While the fog reduced the range of the Allied Minié rifle, it was far more accurate and deadly than the Russian muskets, especially at point-blank range. The Russians relied on ferocious but bloody bayonet charges to make up the difference. But as Russian morale started to flag, the fog began to lift, and nearly 9,000 Allied reinforcements arrived-- particularly the fearsome French Zouaves-- the battle turned in the Allied favor. In the end, there were 4,676 Allied killed and wounded, and over 10,000 Russian.
The game uses a unique variant on chit-pull activation mechanisms, with each player alternating pulling from their own pool. The number of activations per turn is tied to the current Fog level. At the start of the game, it's somewhat difficult for the Fog to rise, but once it starts to do so, it happens rapidly. Russian morale is simulated via its own chit-pull pool, and like the Fog, it begins the game in solid shape but once it starts to flag, it quickly collapses. In this way, the odds start to shift to favor the Allied Player. Generally speaking, the Russian Player is strong in the early game and his opponent in the late game.
Step-losses and the gradual erosion of fighting strength is modeled using the "stack of steps" mechanic featured in some earlier Tom Russell designs, such as 2012's Blood on the Alma. The game is Regimental in scale, with each hex representing roughly one-tenth of a kilometer.
Game design: Tom Russell
Map Art: Ilya Kudriashov
Hex Number: 7
Duration: 90 to 120 minutes
Solitaire Suitability: High
Theme: Nineteenth century; Crimean War