Category Archives: War Game

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.

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Current games and thoughts

It has been an interesting couple of months since my last post. I have acquired a few new games, and played a few I have wanted to play that have languished on the shelf for far too long.

I also just this last week was interviewed by three grad students from a local art school in Pasadena about board games. It was interesting to hear what they had to ask, they didn’t ask the typical “How did you get into this hobby”, or “Do you love war” those questions we seem to have to endure when some enters our little domain wondering why we play these games in the first place. They did ask a lot questions on how when playing these games what my feelings were. During the interview (which they filmed) they even asked me to construct with Lego’s how board games made me feel, a little odd but I was willing to play along. I thought the interview was very productive, and if I get a copy of the footage I will post it for others (hopefully it will be edited, I did ramble on… A lot).

Okay a bit to catch up on. I have gotten a few new games to report on. Let start off with the latest I have played, Fields of Despair:France 1914 – 1918 by Kurt Keckley and esteemed war gamer who I am acquainted with.

The game is well  designed and not very difficult. The rules are well laid out and easy to follow. The game is based on a strong bluffing mechanic, all the pieces are hidden and there is a lot of guess work. Not your typical war game, I enjoyed the one play so far but would like to play a few more times before giving a full-fledged review.

Another game I got to play this last Saturday has been in my collection for some time, The Finnish Trilogy 1939-1945: Winter War 1939-1940 (Vol. 1) is the first of three games covering all of World War II in Finland

We only played a very small scenario but it was a good start and showed the basic mechanics of the game. I have to say this is one of the most difficult rule books I have read; the designer has used new terminology for a lot of already established war game rules. On top of that he has thrown what feels like a lot of extra rules to cover very detailed situations. For example, I have played several games that use Headquarters (HQ’s) as separate pieces before, but not eight different types of HQ’s that serve different functions. There are naval rules which seem a bit much since I don’t think (especially during winter) the navies on either side could do much. The Weather Rules cover not only the weather itself, but the extent of ice, the sky conditions, and the type of snow. I can appreciate the amount of detail thrown into this but it is a lot to remember. It isn’t I don’t  like the game, I enjoyed what we did play but this game (series, there are two other games in this series, The Finnish Trilogy 1939-1945: Continuation War 1941-1944 (vol. 2) & The Finnish Trilogy 1939-1945: Lapland War 1944-1945 (vol. 3)) is going to take some work to get the rules right.

Another game I got recently that I haven’t talked about here yet is Fornovo 1495 an interesting new game from Compass Games.

I admit I am like a child in a toy store when it comes to certain war games, and Italy (or really anywhere in Europe) during the Renaissance I just auto buy. This game is the first in what will become a series called Order of Arms, battles from Medieval (Bonus! Medieval & The Renaissance eras) to The Renaissance, from Hastings 1066 to Pavia 1525. Wow my interest was piqued! This got me over the somewhat disappointing fact this game only has one battle, most games you buy have anywhere between two to twenty or more scenarios or battles in them. I would like to also emphasize the production values are this game are every good, the box cover is very nice and the maps and pieces are very well done. But I have say the rule book is what blew me away, the charts and table graphics look like something out a text book (in full color no less), I have to admit I geeked out on how well he rules were graphically laid out.

You can see the chart there standing up, that is what it looks like the rule book! I know, I know how well the rules are written and work is more important but common that just looks sooooo nice. I am hoping to read through this game soon will give a full report on the substance (not the superficial graphics) of the game.

Another game I am current delving into is No Peace Without Spain! The War of the Spanish Succession 1702-1713. Like Fornovo 1495 this is a Compass Games Production (but published in 2011 where Fornovo 1495 was 2016).

This is a card driven game which I enjoy. The rules are easy to digest and well written, they have some historically specific rules that make sure certain historical realities come to pass but nothing too burdensome. I know another of my group is keen on the playing this, I would also like to get this to the table because a sequel (actually a prequel) to this is already in the works and almost finished (Nine Years: The War of the Grand Alliance 1688-1697).

So that is all the news fit to print this Thursday February 23, 2017…

 

 

Fill the holes as quickly as I can

Well it has been a busy several weeks. I went to San Diego Historical Game Convention with Tim and we set up The Wargame Bootcamp and demoed war games that whole weekend. We played a lot of Triumph & Tragedy  plus a few other games.

triumph-tragedy

I also met two board gamers that live out here in the Inland Empire and I have contacted them for our next Friday game night, next week.

In other news I got two new games I am excited about, including a 2nd edition upgrade kit for Triumph & Tragedy. The kit came with a new mounted board, updated rules and new larger cardboard pieces (the blocks remain the same). So I am excited to get this game back to the table and try the new set up the 2nd edition rules have.

I also got some new Operational Combat Series (OCS) games from Multi-Man Publishing. One is called Beyond the Rhine, a game that starts in September 1944 after the D-Day landings and goes to May 1945 on the Western Front in World War II. It is a big game but I am looking forward to it, I don’t get to play this part of WWII that often and the large scale means there is a lot to manage.

I will try to post again soon

“Why this blog?”, or “Do you have anything remotely interesting to say?”

I have been playing board game since I was a kid, nothing really unusual about that. What I think some might find interest in is I have been playing War Games since I was a kid. These type of board games go by a few names, War Games, Historical Board Games, really complicated huge scary board games… I’ll just stick to calling them War Games…

When I was ten I was at my local Boys (and Girls) Club* and one of the staff there handed me this old board game called D-Day by this company Avalon Hill

Box Cover

d-day-second-edition

I was hooked, it was a game about, well D-Day the Normandy invasion by the Allies to free Europe from Hitler’s Third Reich. The Staff guy (can’t remember his name now) showed us the basics and my friend I proceeded to play the game three or four times that day. I am sure we got a lot of the rules wrong but we didn’t care. I was so excited that night when I got home I proceeded to tell my Mom and Dad all about it at dinner. I remember telling them I was done with all those “dumb” board games like Monopoly, Risk, and Sorry and I was going to figure out how to find the D-Day game and other like as soon as I could earn some money.

My father James G. Kreder was a wonderful Dad, he introduced me to history when I was old enough to understand and while he was always patient with everyone he seemed to always be pay more attention to me. I remember that night at dinner so well because after I told him and my Mom how “dumb” other board games where he looked at me and said “Give me a week”. I didn’t know what he meant at the time and went on with my blissfully ignorant busy ten-year-old life. A week later (give or take) my Dad stopped me and said “I found one.” He had a big smile on his face. I looked at him sideways worried it was going to be one his bad puns that came next, “You found what?” I said. Then he pulled from behind his back a board game called Panzerblitz.

Box Cover

panzerblitz

I must have jumped out of my skin I was so happy, and there my Dad stood a big grin announcing to everyone Dad did good.

So that is how it started, I was lucky and soon found out the local toy store in downtown Laguna Beach carries these types of board game and every time I got some money off I would go to by another board game. I also got into another branch of the game hobby called role-playing, specifically Dungeons & Dragons, which was back then called Advance Dungeons & Dragons.

One of three books you needed to play Advance Dungeons & Dragons

add-dms-guide

From then on I was role-playing and board gaming whenever I had the chance. Now don’t go and assume that was all I did, I was a fairly normal kid and did lots of other stuff too. To be honest when I got to high school I wasn’t playing these games as much and was busy being a teenager and playing around with computers (my high school had computer lab with Apple IIe’s, high tech back then). A bunch of life stuff happened and played on again off again through college and my twenty’s and thirties.

Then something wonderful happened around 2004 I started meeting some fellow board Gamers and playing board games again. These were not the War Games I have mentioned earlier but what are called Euro Games (see link here for explanation). I soon found a rather large group of the these board gamers and soon found a few that would play my beloved War Games (if you want a explanation of what a War Game is try here). And that is my story I play board games every week (sometimes more than once a week) and have a collection for 709 board games (you can see them here), and counting.

Which brings to why we are here on this blog, I love gaming and though I should share my thoughts a views on the matter. So here I will post articles on reviews and thoughts on games, commentary on games I have played, and maybe an occasional rant on state of gaming and gaming culture (obsession?).

I wish you well, hope you find this blog useful and above it all, enjoy the games.

*Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s The Boys Club was just called “The Boys Club” not “The Boys and Girls Club”. We had girls at “The Boys Club” but that hadn’t changed the name yet.