Saturday, April 30, 2011

Watch with Caution

I've recently discovered Marco Arnaudo's video reviews of wargames. Each review is about 10 to 15 minutes long and covers the basics of the game. Watch with caution--if you're like me, watching a gamer give enthusiastic reviews is but a short step from placing an order.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chronosorting the Bulge

I had an interesting experience this afternoon stemming from something that we wargamers do all the time--sorting counters. I was working on an old GDW game Attack in the Ardennes, which is a point-to-point simulation of the Battle of the Bulge similar to their American Civil War game A House Divided.

In Attack of the Ardennes, each of the counters (representing a battalion), has, printed on the back, either a starting area (e.g., "H26") or an arrival date and time (e.g., "20 PM", that is, the afternoon of December 20th). What I decided to do was to store the counters for easiest setup and play entry. So, I decided to separate the counters of each side into the various setup areas and the various entry times. I then placed them into the wells in a Chessex counter tray: Axis units occupy 7 of the 16 wells and Allies unit occupy 6. But, what a difference in the distributions!

Of the 7 Axis wells, 5 are filled with units that begin the game on the map: 1 well each for staring units in areas D26 (Udenbreth), K25 (Uttfeld), L24 (Dashburg), N24 (Obersgegen, and 1 well for all the other beginning areas. All the reinforcements are stored in only 2 wells. So, the flow of the Axis view of the Battle of the Bulge is one of huge concentrations of forces in a few key ares, with only limited reinforcement later.

Now contrast this with the Allied setup. All the Allied starting units fit into a single well (with only a couple of units in any one area), while the other 5 are filled with reinforcements. Reinforcements for December the 17th and 18th fill one well, those for the 19th through the 21st fits in another, those for just the morning of the 22nd fill another, while reinforcements for the afternoon of the 23rd the the end of December the 26 fill the remaining two wells.

So, there you have the Bulge in a nutshell: the Axis starts with a concentration of forces in a few key areas, they launch an attack against scattered Allied defenders. Over the next few days, the defenders try to delay while waiting for significant reinforcements that finally arrive beginning on the morning of the 22nd which begin to equalized the forces, then the pushbacks occur.

Pretty impressive for just sorting some counters.

Monday, February 21, 2011

First Play of War of the Ring Collector's Edition

A couple of months ago, Fantasy Flight Games announced that they had a limited number of War of the Ring Collector's Edition available at the nominal list price of $400. Since this is going for about $1000 on Amazon or eBay, I decided to snap one up. I had a chance to play it for the first time today. We made it through about 3/4 of the game with the shadow player (me) about to win. We played for 5 hours, but setup and takedown took about 1 hour each. I don't think we did much wrong, but I was certainly scrambling through the rules looking up small details. I hope it will be better next time.

Compared to the regular edition of the game, the Collector's Edition is marvelous! The figures look outstanding and because they're painted, it's easier to see which figures belong to a certain nation. The larger board is also very nice, allowing you plenty of room to stack figures without crowding.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ankle Deep in Lead (uh) Pewter

I recently saw a series of posts on The Miniatures Page where someone was selling their GHQ WWII micro-armor collection. In total, they were selling about 500 vehicles, and I snatched it up for $200 including shipping. And, the sweetest part is that these are already nicely painted. I already have a sizable collection of GHQ modern vehicles (mostly spray-painted medium green with a few details), so this complements my existing collection quite nicely.

Now I'm reading through my entire collection of WWII miniatures rules trying to decide which one to play and find some scenarios. I'm looking at games like Spearhead, Crossfire, Blitzkrieg Commander (a Warmaster derivative), and Look Sarge, No Charts WWII amongst others as well as trying to look at more grand-tactical games where a stand is a company, battalion, or regiment.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be

Yesterday, I had the chance to play both Commands & Colors Napoleonics and the 150th Anniversary Edition of Battle Cry. After playing two games of C&CN (trying to make sure we got all the special +1 die firing/+1 die melee modifiers) followed by the First Manassas Battle Cry scenario, Battle Cry felt very simplistic and lightweight. I loved the game in its day, but perhaps I'm ready for a bit more meat in my ACW games. I'll probably work on retrofitting Battle Cry with C&CN rules, using light rifle infantry and light cavalry for ACW troops. Then again, for light ACW games, there's Yankees and Rebels from Gio Games.

My worthy opponent in both of these games was Richard Bliss of The Game Whisperer blog. Please check out Richard's blog--his is much better than mine. Hi Richard!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Memoir Online

I've just started playing the beta version of Memoir '44 Online. This is very nice. But boy is this going to be a time sink...

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm Stuck on Westeros

I've resisted purchasing Fantasy Flight Games new "BattleLore" game Battles of Westeros, because it was priced high ($80), I already have BattleLore, and I didn't see that Westeros added much to the system. Well, I caved. Why? As usual, because my Friendly Local Game Store, Game Kastle, had a slightly damaged copy for 50% off!

So, I've been reading the rules, trying to grok the differences between BattleLore and Westeros. So far, the items of notes are:

- D8 instead of D6 for battle. dice have (3x light, 2x medium, 1x heavy, 1x all, 1x flag), so that heavy units are harder to damage
- Units in combat are engaged and retreating units have to endure "parting shots"
- Roll dice for a number of activations (single units) and card play for multiple units
- Players alternate activating units instead of iGo-uGo
- For units destroyed, light units count 1, medium units count 2, and heavy units count three

It remains to be seen whether these changes are for the better or not. Certainly it addresses many of the criticisms of the Commands & Colors system.

In the meantime, I've been assembling the figures. I've found that you really need superglue. Two hours and a small tube of superglue later, and I've managed to glue the Lannister faction and the leaders to their bases and tapping them in with the blunt end of a toothpick. Today, my fingers are sticky with dried superglue. But I must continue.