Short, reasonably simple, entry-level wargames seemed like a good trend to continue, so today (pressed for time, what with family and religious obligations) I set up a quick game of Hammer of the Scots. I played the "Braveheart" scenario--William Wallace vs Edward Longshanks.
I've heard various claims out there as to how long the game takes. Not including setup and reading the rules, I managed to bang out a solitaire game in about ninety minutes. It's not a small game, like Eutaw Springs, but it's also not a big wargame and experienced players should be able to improve on this time, assuming they care as little about the quality of their moves as I do. I can also imagine agonizing over one's turn...so much hidden information!
Actually, there's probably less hidden info in Hammer than in most Columbia games, since most of the units on the map are Lords, who rarely stray too far from their holdings. An average memory should keep one abreast of most of the units on the map.
In my game, there were essentially two wars going on: William Wallace doing his thing in the north, usually sweeping all before him with the English preoccupied with neutralizing Bruce in the south. The English, in that campaign, just got nowhere. The Feudal Levies were usually pretty terrible, and after a few years William was able to move south and help out, and that was all she wrote. As the English, I should probably have been more aggressive against William early, since when William started picking off the Nobility he became hard to stop.
Solitaire-ing the block games is kind of a drag, but it's quite possible (you just treat them like counters, and be honest with yourself about what you "know" and what you "don't know" as each player) and the games are typically good enough to provide a good story and lend some insight into how the game works. Of the "one-map" Columbia games that I've played, this one is up there; my favorite is Quebec 1759 still, but this could be #2.