Monthly Archives: March 2017

When One Does What One Must


Well the weekend has come and gone, and here I sit weak and weary facing a Monday morning. Which really isn’t all that bad, I had a good weekend of gaming so Monday begins with a smile on my face.

So I am sure you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to hear the results of my last post, whether I played 1866: The Struggle for Supremacy in Germany or Red Poppies Campaigns: The Battles for Ypres. Well Red Poppies won out, we actually played two games of it. I first played the Germans who are the attackers that have to get across the trenches into the green fields beyond and take objective high ground and village hexes. I did not rather poorly, there were some early German victories taking small sections of the British lines but were quickly lost when British reinforcements came up.

We decided to try again but switched sides. This time the Germans under Tim’s command fared much better, however because we are focusing so much on getting rules right we didn’t really concentrate on the victory conditions and he had the British trench but not the objective hexes which were the highest elevation points (he got a lot of them but they were only one point each) and villages (villages were three points each), he only controlled one of the eight or nine village hexes and technically lost.

I think if he had realized the victory conditions better it would have been a much more interesting contest as we would have been fighting and maneuvering away from the trenches.

To give some background we were playing the YS Scenario 3, Unfrozen at Frezenberg:

After gassing French and Canadian troops on the northern edge of the Ypres salient (off the north edge of the game map), German units attacked the British-held center at Frezenberg Ridge on May 8. Britain’s 27th and 28th divisions fought tenaciously but yielded on the first day under heavy German pressure. Note: This scenario is simply the first Attacker scenario from Campaign Game 2 repackaged so that players can run a full map slug fest without a Campaign Game.

I recommend this scenario if you are experienced enough to know the game and want something bigger than just a few units on the map. It can be played in a four or five hours with experienced player(s) and I think and very good representation of the game systems at work without have to play the entire campaign.

Tim & I Red Poppies1

This is a little picture write up Tim did after the game.

That sums up my playing of Red Poppies Campaigns. I’ll be working on finishing up the first session of The Greatest Day:  Sword, Juno, and Gold Beaches this week and will hopefully be playing the second session this coming weekend.

Till then stay out of my ZoC.


The Difficulty of Choice

So our monthly board game meet up in Pasadena California at Game Empire this Saturday (join us, join us…). A few of us have talked about what we want to play. Two games I suggested 1866: The Struggle for the Supremacy in Germany and Red Poppies Campaigns: The Battles for Ypres.

1866 The Struggle for Supremacy in Germany    Red Poppies Campaigns The Battle for Ypres

1866 is a card driven game on the Austro – Prussian war. The rules low complexity and seem to flow well, but other than reading the rules I don’t know much about the game. “What?!?” you ask how can that be, you read the rules. My answer may seem like a cop out but it is simple. You cannot really know how a game is going to work till you play it. The only problem I have with regards to getting this to the table is guilt.

Guilt over the fact I have a lot of very good games on my selves that I don’t play enough, that brings us to the other game Red Poppies I have played before. Red Poppies is a grand tactical World War I game again with low complexity rules and interesting premise. This game comes with 3 different maps of the battle. Each map depicts the battlefield at different stages, one is 1914 and shows the entire area the battle took place as it looked at the start of the battle. 1915 is the midway point and things have changed, the trench lines are being built, sections of  forest have been leveled outlying villages are gone. The last map 1917 is almost a totally different map then the 1914 one. The entire landscape has been scarred, the city of Ypres is mostly leveled. This is to keep some historical accuracy of the game. In my experience if left the players the trench lines on destruction would be a lot of different if non-existent. I am not a big tactical game fan, but this game intrigues me and I want to play more of it to explore the proper tactics and strategies to be successful.

So I am torn, a new game to try with 1866 or one I have had awhile but want to play again. I have been thinking as of late I need to play the games I have more, and stop worry about new games, get more return on my investment as it were. But I have always wanted to explorer new games, my friends always joke I am the cult of the new war game as I always seen to have at least one new war game every time they see me.

So I will post next week and let you know which game I played this weekend, and hopefully have the first After Action Report I made for The Greatest Day: Juno, Sword, and Gold Beaches which I played the first session last weekend at a friends house.

Till next time… Stay out of my ZoC







I’ll see you on the beach

I love the moving Saving Private Ryan. The first scenes are they troops riding in their Higgins boat were riveting.

Because of my prior post The target for today is… Bremen one of my friends has invited me over to play The Greatest Day: Sword, Juno, and Gold Beaches one of the games in the Grand Tactical Series I mentioned in that previous post.


We have agreed to play something big, but the table is 7.00′ by 4.00′ so we don’t have a ton of space. On the back of the scenario book is the different map layouts for scenario’s using less than the “whole thing” (which is 61.0″ by 77.5″ which will not fit on the table). I think any of the Advanced Scenario’s will work, we have to be able to get the division sheets and charts and tables on the table too, so we need to leave some space open.

I have been reading the rules and the game is not difficult to learn at all. First off you have to understand the scale of the game. each hex on the map is approximately 500 meters (1500 feet), each unit or counter is a company 100-150 men, each counter is organized into formations (think brigades) with a colored stripe saying which counter is which formation. The background color of the unit shows it division.

The Greatest Day Campaign Game1

You pull chits out of a cup to find what units activate. You spend points to put the chits in the draw cup, the points are called Dispatch Points. You also have Command Points which are used during your activation to give units a second action or to activate units when you draw a Direct chit, or you can exchange Command Points for Dispatch Points at 2 Command for 1 Dispatch Point. Also Command Points can be used for automatic success’s on checks you roll for on units. You roll dice to get more Dispatch and Command Points when you draw a Division Chit.

You have a division chit that activates all the units in the division, the division chit you cannot just do whatever you want with the units activated by this, think of it as a standing order. Units can move but not shoot, and are restricted in a few other ways. If a formation chit is drawn that formation within the division gets to move, shoot, and do all allowable actions. A Direct Chit activates individual units when spend one Command Point for each unit you activate. There are other chits you can draw, to activate off board naval assets, British Royal Commando’s but that is I think all.

Some of the rules are standard war game stuff, movement, leaders and command, rally, are fairly standard. The shooting (from here on referred to as combat) is actually easier than some other war games I have played.


Roll a ten sided dice (supplied with the game), add the modifiers to the unit fire rating that is firing , the color bands match the color box around the fire rating on the unit, and check the left side for armor and the right for unarmored. Pretty darn simple, I like that.

The nuances of the game system is not actually in the rules themselves per say but the map terrain and how different units move (or don’t move through it), and with one unique rule that replaces your stand war game Zone of Control (ZOC), the Fire Zone.

At the scale the game is at there is not your standard ZOC other war games use to show how modern weapons with the longer ranges control parts of the battle field. Instead your units have fire zones that is a range of hexes they can react to enemy movement and fire. First lets talk about terrain, the map has natural choke points. If you look at the terrain effects chart (sorry no picture) you will see different movement types (tanks are tracked, wheeled vehicles, infantry is leg) are affected by terrain differently. This is where this games differ from others. Here is a quote from the rules:

Unlike some war games, Tracked and Wheeled vehicles find movement channeled by crests and forests. Roads are often the only way vehicles may cross from one point of the battlefield to another through certain terrain and anti-tank forces deploy accordingly. Strengths and weaknesses of unit types depend on the terrain and the proper interplay of infantry, armor, artillery, and motor transport are vital to successful play. In some war games infantry are just slow, weak versions of tank units. Not here. You must barrage well-placed defenders lest his anti-tank weapons shred your vehicles and units moving up to attack. Some war games only recognize combined-arms tactics and terrain effects by adding a +1 or a -1 to your attack. In this game you actually see and use the interplay of combined-arms and terrain.

I didn’t get a chance to finish this article before we played a first game on Sunday. So what I would like to do is wrap this up and talk about the scenario we played and the post wrap up.

Sorry about the abrupt ending…