Here's something I just received from Germany yesterday, an old kid's game: Homerisches Kampfspiel. This set was produced by Heinrichsen in 1881. The figures are 40mm, representing gods and heroes of the Trojan Wars. At least the 19th Century idea of it, not a boar's tusk helmet or figure-eight shield in sight here.
It's funny, I had contacted Dr.Grobe of Heinrichsen about something completely different, threw in a question about this set thinking it was long out of stock, and was pleasantly surprised to find she still had one with the unpainted castings. My eBay Romans had fetched a nice sum, more than enough rationalize getting the game.
The components are nice, with a sturdy 9x9 board and two trays of beautifully engraved figures.
The rules for the game are chesslike, rather simple and minimalist, but somewhat murky at the same time. Perhaps something is lost in translation. Each side has 23 figures: 5 gods and goddesses, 8 heroes (3 mounted, 5 on foot) and ten warriors serving as pawns.
Capture is only on the diagonal. The pawns move like chess kings, the foot heroes move as the pawns do except cannot retreat. One wonders what happens when they reach the other edge of the board, presumably stuck there like players on the old electric football games who vibrated to the sidelines and end zones, out of the action until the next play. The interesting wrinkle is that the foot heroes all have a patron god or goddess, identified by like color codes painted on the bases. These gods can then fly across the battlefield to protect their heroes from capture (at least from one side). The mounted heroes enjoy no such protection but are nicely compensated by the granting of unlimited movement on the diagonals, like chess bishops. When a hero dies, his godly protector is removed from play, no doubt retiring to Mt. Olympos. When all heroes to a given side are killed, that army is defeated and the game is over.
Here are the game pieces, shown in their factory paint.
I look forward to painting these in my own way, as soon as I finish a few other things in queue.