Friday, February 20, 2015

Unconditional Surrender: Poland 1939

Unconditional Surrender!  World War 2 in Europe (USE) from GMT is designed by Salvatore Vasta and has been heralded by many gamers as a possible contender for one of the best games that deals with World War 2 on a strategic level.  Just to give you a flavor for what the game is like, I thought I would post a short playthrough of the 1st training scenario from the game, the German invasion of Poland in 1939.  Here goes!

Setup of Germany and Poland prior to game start.
The scenario only lasts one turn and the Germans have two air units and two Panzer armies along with a good deal of infantry.  The objective for the Germans is to break the Polish national will.  In USE, countries don't just collapse automatically when their capital is captured (although it certainly helps).  Nor do you need to chase around every last enemy unit and destroy it before counting the opposing country as defeated.  The game uses National Will as a marker for when countries are collapsed or conquered.  Losing an army unit or a city (or a capital) serves to slowly erode an enemy country's national will until it goes kaput. In this scenario, Poland starts off with a national will of 12 and the country is conquered when it reaches zero.

National Will values of each city

In USE, you basically have two types of attacks - mobile and assault.  Assault attacks represent army groups piling up on an enemy unit to gather enough bonuses to the die roll.  Mobile attacks are basically one army unit conducting immediate blitzkrieg-style battles.  In this particular scenario, we're only using mobile attacks.  Combat is handled by both players counting out die roll modifiers and then rolling six-sided dice.  There are no combat or movement values on any of the counters in the game - everything is figured out by modifications to a die-roll.

So we start off in September 1939 and roll for weather, which is mild.  Good news for the German pilots.

Getting the Polish down to national will of zero isn't as easy as it looks.  If the Germans can capture the cities closest to the border and eliminate a few Polish units, they should be able to pull it off.   On the other hand, the job is made so much easier by taking Warsaw itself.

Deciding to risk it, the Germans activate the 16th army in East Prussia and attack the Modlin Army to the south. The 1 Luftwaffe activates for air support (air units can sortie 6 times max).  The German army gains a +2 DRM (for being German) and another +2 DRM for the air support.

16th Army attacks Modlin army north of Warsaw.

We get a 6 for the Germans (10 modified) and a 2 for the Poles, which results in a DE (Defender Eliminated) on the CRT.  The German 16th army advances south again, crosses the Vistula and takes Warsaw.

Germans take Warsaw early in the game.

Polish national will goes from 12 to 7 (-1 for the eliminated Polish army unit and -4 for the capital).

Well, things are looking pretty good for the Germans so far but I've managed to lose this scenario with them before, so it's far from over.

The 2nd Panzer army east of Breslau attacks the Polish army near Lodz and uses some help from the 4 Luftwaffe.  The Poles elect to use a ground support marker (+1 DRM to their roll) but the Germans have a whopping +6 for their own attack roll (+2 Germans, +2 air support, +2 tanks).

2nd Panzer goes for it near Lodz.

The German player rolls a 5 (11 modified) and the Polish player curses his luck with only a 1 (modified to 2).  The defenders near Lodz are eliminated and the 2nd Panzer can continue moving and attacking (all tank units get 10 movement points and mobile attacks let you keep going until the MPs are gone).  The Poles lose another National Will point for having a unit eliminated (down to 6).

2nd Pz advances.

2nd Panzer decides to keep the momentum going by crossing the Warta River and advancing into Lodz, putting it under German control.

German 2 Pz marches into Lodz and attacks the Prusy army.

The Polish National Will is careening towards the rocky ground below as it loses another 2 National Will from the capture of Lodz (down from 6 to 4).  Having only spent half of its MP, the 2nd Panzer goes for yet another attack, this time on the Prusy Army sitting east of Lodz.  With more air support on its side from 4 Luftwaffe, the Germans get another +6 modifier.  The Polish player uses another ground support marker (its remaining one) and we roll a 6 for the Germans (12) and yet another 1 for the Poles (getting a 2 modified).  The Prusy Army is eliminated.  Some great rolls for the Germans and some very poor luck for the Poles so far.  Polish national will tumbles from 4 down to 3.

The German player activates 1st Panzer army way up north and decides to try and fell the final blow.  The panzers roll into Danzig, bringing Polish national will down to a measly 1.

1st Panzer takes Danzig.

It follows up with an attack on Army Pomorze to the southeast.  With a river in between the two armies, the Germans suffer a -1 on the attack roll but they still get +5 DRM anyways (+2 for German, +2 air support, +2 for tanks, -1 river).  The Germans roll up a 3 (modified to 8) and the Poles get a 4 (unmodified).  Army Pomorze is forced to retreat and moves southeast towards the Vistula.

Army Pomorze retreats.

2nd Panzer has spent 5 of its 10 MP so far, so it follows up the attack by chasing down the retreating Polish army and attacking it again for 2 MP.

1st Panzer chases down Army Pomorze.

With plenty of air support from the Stukas overhead, the German 1st Panzer manages to reduce the Polish army and force it to retreat east, since it cannot retreat into the enemy ZOC to the south projected by the 2nd Panzer army sitting in Lodz.  With 3 MP left the 1st Panzer spends 2 MP on a final attack on Army Pomorze.

1st Panzer goes for a final attack on Army Pomorze.

Things look bleak for the Poles since they are reduced and hence suffer a -2 DRM to their combat roll.  The Germans once again call on the Luftwaffe to join the attack and get a +6 modifier to their attack roll.  The Germans get a 4 (modified to 10) and the Poles get a 5 (modified to 3).  The result is another step loss for the Poles and they are eliminated.  The Polish National Will falls from 1 to zero and the Germans have successfully taken over Poland.

Thanks to some extremely good rolling on the part of the German player at the start, the conclusion was pretty much foregone after Warsaw fell in the very first part of the game.  However, if the weather doesn't cooperate and the Germans can't bring their air support to bear then it can be very hard going for them.  I have managed to lose several times with the Germans but the scenario is definitely favoring them as it did historically and most of the time, they can pull of a win without too many problems.  This is a great scenario for learning the basics of the USE system and it introduces some really important concepts involving movement and combat.  Great stuff.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Some Updates!

Well, it's been a while since I've last posted here due to some major busy stuff going on in my life but rest assured, I have been gaming!  During January, I spent many hours learning the Next War system and playing through all the standard scenarios in Next War:  Korea.  I also got a start on an advanced scenario with all the bells and whistles, playing the first several turns of the Strategic Surprise scenario.

Next War: Korea - Turn 3 begins
All I can say is, wow!  Next War: Korea with all the advanced rules is like a well-oiled and very complex machine that runs perfectly and is full of interesting decisions.  The use of Special Forces, airstrikes, detection, amphibious assaults, airborne drops, and ground combat all works together superbly to deliver a very tense game.  The Strategic Surprise scenario is incredibly tough for the ROK as the DPRK catches it unaware of a major invasion and launches attacks right out of the barracks, gambling everything for a quick takeover of South Korea.

The North Korean army is like a juggernaut and once they penetrate through the DMZ, the losses start to become overwhelming for the ROK and the US.  As the Americans and the ROK gain air superiority, lots of interesting options start opening up and I watched with glee as my A-10s launched interdiction strikes south of the 38th parallel in an attempt to delay the North Koreans just enough to buy time for the next trickle of reinforcements to arrive.  The North responded with chemical weapons and it was up to my F-18s to start hitting at chemical weapons factories north of the border.  Everything you do in the game has a major impact on play and seemingly small decisions in one turn can either help or hurt you badly later on.  Fun stuff!  I intend on trying this one later on and I've become deeply interested in the Next War: Taiwan game that has just been released by GMT.

I recently bought yet another new game and have started to learn it by playing through the training scenarios.  Unconditional Surrender!  World War 2 in Europe is a strategic WW2 game by Salvatore Vasta and published last year by GMT.  Although this topic has been explored in many classics over the years (Third Reich, Hitler's War, you name it), I didn't actually have any games that covered the topic at this scale so it sparked my interest.  Most of the reviews that I read or watched used the word "elegant" to describe the system and I'm starting to see why.

The game happens at the army level and there are no combat factors or movement points on any of the units.  There is nothing to add up or subtract (except for a few die roll modifiers) nor are there combat ratios to figure out in combat.  Ground units get 8 movement points and tank movements get 10.  That's it.  Air, naval, and ground actions can be taken in any order during a faction's turn.  Each side gets events (ground support, surprise attacks, strategic movement) that can be played and used to help units get bonuses in combat or do special things like launch amphibious invasions or airdrops, etc.  Having only played a bit of the game, I can say that it's very fluid and intuitive once you grasp the basics.  I'm looking forward to trying out the full campaign game in the near future.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Next War: Korea - Seoul Train AAR

GMT's Next War: Korea is part of the ongoing "Next War" series designed by Gene Billingsley and Mitchell Land.  The series is based on potential conflicts in the world today. The first release in the series, Next War:  Korea, was successful enough to keep the series going with the 2014 publication of Next War: Taiwan..  I can see why.

Next War:  Korea has gotten a lot of positive response from gamers over the last couple of years and it's been well supported with updates, errata, and Land's helpful responses to even minor questions over on BGG.  The rules are cleanly written and the units are nicely done with beautiful maps.  There's a standard rule set and an advanced one with all the bells and whistles and tons of optional rules. The standard rules are not difficult to learn and they manage to incorporate the core concepts of a good wargame without feeling watered down.  The real meat of the game, so I'm told, is in the advanced rules - which I haven't gotten into yet.

GMT'S Next War: Korea (2012)

In this first scenario for Next War: Korea, called "Seoul Train", we're using standard rules.  The DPRK has begun a surprise attack on South Korea and its intentions are to cross over the DMZ and grab Seoul as quickly as possible.  But this isn't going to be a cakewalk like 1950. The DMZ is heavily fortified and the ROK is no pushover.  Fortifications at the border prevent the DPRK from using road movement in these zones and it's an extra +1 movement point to pass through these hexes during the game's first turn.  Add to this problem that the North Koreans only get 4 game turns (2 weeks) to grab Seoul and you've got a division-sized headache for any military commander bent on impressing Dear Leader.

The game starts out with the North Koreans having initiative (and keeping it for the next two game turns), which allows them to conduct extra movement and combat (exploitation movement and combat) after going through the standard movement and combat turns.  The scenario also allows the DPRK player the use of three tunnel markers, which allows for overstacking in attacking hexes and a -2 DRM on attacks directly across the border into the DMZ.  The North Koreans also get a couple of Mi-24 attack helicopters for close air support as well as some specialized elite units that can add to attack efficiency ratings or be used to sneak around ROK units and cause havoc in the rear areas.

Game Turn 1:

The North Koreans start off the war in clear weather with 2 air points while the ROK has no air points available for support this turn.  I guess the DPRK really caught the south with its pants down today!  In any case, the skies are still contested at this point.  It's not enough of a difference (not even close, actually) to obtain air supremacy.

The NK player lands an airborne brigade to the east of Seoul in swamp terrain just outside of Uijeongbo after it survives air defense fire.  The brigade moves immediately to try and seize the northeast outskirts of Seoul and draws a clearing marker (in NW: K, you don't just automatically grab control of urban hexes, you need to clear them out first).  This is a diversionary move meant to pull vital units to the south away from reinforcing the battle going on up at the DMZ.

The NK player uses three tunnel markers to attack several ROK hexes and, with the help of light infantry (especially the 17th Sniper Brigade, which can call in Mi-2 support), it takes all but the most eastern hex.  In the battles, one of the ROK AH-1 Cobras get called in for air support and was shot down by air defense fire.  The North Koreans also took losses with their Mi-24 Hind helos, but the unit is far from finished fighting.

NK airborne units seize Seoul and are placed under clearing marker.  

The only remaining survivor of the attacks is the ROK 5th Infantry Division from VII Corps (which has suffered a step loss) while the ROK Ist Corps has lost two full divisions.  The 101st brigade from Ist Corps huddles in the corner of the fighting, surely to be targeted next for elimination in the exploitation phase.  The North Koreans have lost only a light infantry brigade so far.  The first round of the invasion can be considered an enormous success for the DPRK at this point.

DPRK advances after the initial movement and combat phase of GT 1.

In the elite movement phase, the non-initiative player (the ROK) gets to move its best units which are not in an enemy ZOC.  The Capital Mechanized Infantry Division, sitting in the south of Seoul, moves up to take on the DPRK's 38th Airborne Brigade in hex 3021.  Since leg units get double defense values in urban hexes, the battle may not be so clear cut in terms of outcome.

Elite Reaction Phase:  Capital Mech. Div. moves adjacent to 38th DPRK Airborne, spoiling for a fight.

Exploitation movement and combat begins so the DPRK starts to shuffle around its units in the rear, placing two light infantry brigades on the eastern flank in a hopeful attempt to bypass the ROK units and get around into the ROK rear again.  The objective is just to sow more chaos in the South.  Meanwhile, the 101st ROK brigade is completely overrun near the border and the 5th division from VII Corps to the east is destroyed.  The North Koreans are pouring in everywhere and with no air to stop them, the south is getting hammered again and again.

The ROK 9th Division moves east to hex 2919 to try and help contain the flood.  It is placed just behind the front lines and right in the direct path of Seoul itself.  The Capital Mechanized Infantry Division assaults the DPRK airbone regiment in Seoul and both units are completely destroyed.  This is a huge loss for the ROK as a 10-11-8 unit has just been wiped out by a 2-2-5 one.

During the reinforcement phase, the Americans enter the scene and a mechanized brigade from 2nd Infantry Division arrives northeast of Seoul.  Two AH-64 Apache units are based in Incheon for close air support.  

Reinforcement Phase:  Turn 1 - US Army's 2nd ID arrives to help defend the capital.

Things aren't completely lost for the South Koreans.  The NK advances have mostly stopped short at the Han River and the arrival of reinforcements could certainly help shore up the defenses.  On the other hand, the extra MP cost for moving through the DMZ fortification hexes will be gone in the next turn, which will certainly keep the ROK busy with units moving steadily south.

Game Turn 2:

Just when you think things couldn't get too much worse for the ROK, along comes a storm and grounds their entire air force.  The DPRK's air force is also grounded but it's not like it was doing much anyways.

The movement phase starts off with North Korea sending its light infantry on the eastern flank down south through the DMZ.  Controlling these hexes enables follow on units to use road movement so this helps out considerably when a couple of divisions north of the DMZ punch down to join the growing push in this area.

DPRK light infantry brigades clear the DMZ hexes on the right so follow-on heavier units can take the road.
In the combat phase, the North Korean player has two options - either to push on to the eastern flank and hit the 20th ROK Mech. Inf. Division or try for some riskier attempts closer to the coast.  Undoubtedly the terrain to the west is a little easier to deal with than the highlands hex where the 20th now sits.  But it seems that DPRK can bring much more strength to bear on the 20th and taking out this ROK unit before the Americans arrive at the front would be most helpful.  So the DPRK attacks at 3:1 odds and trades a step loss with the South Koreans, who nevertheless stubbornly remain in the hex.

The Americans move their unit from the 2nd ID stright north to Uijeongbo in the elite reaction movement phase to firm up the ROK's right flank.

During the exploitation movement phase, the North Koreans replace some light infantry lost in the fight against the 20th and send another light infantry unit down into the DMZ to keep clearing the path to Seoul.

During the exploitation combat, the DPRK decides to hammer away again at the 20th ROK Mech. Inf. Division in an attempt to finish it off.  With a -2 column shift on the CRT, this will be riskier than last time even though the 20th has already taken a step loss.  Fortunately, for the North Koreans, they manage to destroy the 20th after taking two step losses and advance a stack of attacking units from north of the Han straight into the highlands hex.  As a bonus, they also capture an ROK airfield in the hex.

North Korean armor and mech infantry advance south   ROK units move up HQs to help with defense.
The ROK is in a real panic now.  Moving its stronger units from the west would mean inviting an attack on the left flank that would bring the North Koreans within easy reach of Seoul.  In desperation, the South Korean player brings up some HQ units to add a meager amount of defense to help out the crumbling right flank.  It seems obvious the DPRK is going to hit hard in the next turn so the idea of gambling a loss by counterattacking north is out of the question.  The only thing that might save the ROK next turn is air - and lots of it.

Game Turn 3:

The storms continued unabated into the second week of the war.  North Korean light infantry continued their advance along the ROK right flank and headed into the city of Namynangju.  Now the North Koreans had effectively bypassed the front lines and had infiltrated into the ROK's unprotected rear.  Nothing lay between these advance units and Seoul.

Turn 3 Movement:  NK forces push their light infantry past the Americans and towards Seoul.
The first combat phase for the North Koreans was full of possibilities.  The American unit in Uijeongbo was the obvious next target for the DPRK but the defender's terrain was unfavorable to armor river crossing and an uphill battle into the city.  It was time to dent the ROK line further to the west and gain some breathing space for the DPRK units in the center of the front line.

The ROK 2nd Armored Brigade and 25th Infantry Division of I Corps stuck out like a sore thumb in hex 2918 and the rough woods terrain was great hunting ground for the DPRK light infantry massed to the north and northwest.  The attack wasn't totally without risks.  Crossing the mighty Han River during a storm would be no piece of cake but the DPRK units managed to eliminate both ROK units in one fell swoop without taking any step losses in return.

DPRK units advance into hex 2019.

The ROK was completely shattered at this point.  A lone HQ unit sat in desperate defense between two mechanized divisions and the Americans held on to the right flank - but just barely.  Not wanting to further risk losing their momentum, the DPRK held back during the exploitation phase but did move a light infantry unit south into Namynangju to assist its comrades with clearing the city.

Flipping over the clearing marker, we get a "3", subtracted from the efficiency rating of the light infantry (6) for a +3 DRM.  Since we're one unit under the minimum safe stacking number,  there is a -1 DRM applied to the roll.  All we need to do is get a "1" or greater on the roll and the city is cleared.  The roll comes up a "0" and the city is not cleared.  One of the light infantry units is destroyed.

DPRK light infantry units in the south fail to roll equal or greater than the clearing number and take a step loss.
This could actually work very badly against the DPRK.  Next turn is a contested turn, which means that exploitation movement and combat will not happen.  This really limits what the North Koreans are able to do.  Best case scenario at this point is grabbing a single hex in Seoul for a minor victory.  I'm kicking myself for not getting more light infantry on the right flank moving faster down into Seoul earlier in the game.

Game Turn 4:

More storms!  Both air forces have been grounded for more than a week now as each side slogs it out in the rain and mud near the DMZ.  Since this is a contested game turn, I decided to go for broke here.  My DPRK light infantry unit bypassed Guri without clearing it and went right through to Seoul, hoping to capture it by the end of the turn.  A clearing marker is placed on it.

DPRK light infantry in the heart of Seoul placed under clearing marker.

Meanwhile, I decided to just go for broke with the units I had at the front and try to destroy the defending ROK army units.  Successfully doing so would shift victory one level further in DPRK favor, leading to a major victory.  The DPRK attacked all three ROK units but destroyed none of them.  They each took a step loss after inflicting heavy damage on my DPRK divisions.

The 30th ROK Mechanized Infantry Division near the border took a step loss along with a divisional HQ unit in hex 3019.  The lone ROK headquarters unit defending in the middle of the pack lost a step and was forced back south towards Seoul.  The attacking DPRK infantry units were only too happy to advance one hex after combat with only one hex between its new position and South Korea's capital.

DPRK punches a hole right in the middle of the front by the end of combat at turn 4.
The ROK units were forced to pull back and form a new line of defense around the northern outskirts of Seoul.  The frontlines were extremely brittle but they held - for now.  The only remaining thing to do was to check if the DPRK could squeeze a victory out of the scenario by controlling a hex of Seoul.

Checking for hex control at the end of turn 4.

We get a "5" on the back of the clearing marker and this gives us a +1 DRM for the clearing attempt.  Unfortunately, we only have 1 stacking point and the minimum safe stacking points for an urban hex is 4.  This means a -3 DRM for a total of -2 DRM for the clearing check.  We roll a "1" and curse, as the clearing attempt fails and the unit is removed from the map.

The final result is a Minor ROK victory, according to scenario rules.  This is actually the best result I've had yet with the DPRK.  One thing I've learned is that the North Koreans need to use their light infantry to make repeated infiltration attempts from the first turn and get as many units as possible into Seoul.  The ROK military might be too powerful to totally overwhelm and punch through in enough time for a win.  There were so many situations in this game that made infiltration a perfect option for the DPRK.  First there were the tunnels in turn 1, which allow for automatically successful infiltration attempts.  Next, the storms give a favorable die roll modifier for infiltrating units.  It looks like my efforts may have been too little too late.  Perhaps I also could have just focused more on the ROK right flank with the DPRK attacks in turn 3.  A very successful attack would have also opened the road to Seoul.

Update:  Made some mistakes here with movement of light infantry and going a hex or two beyond the play area.  I also didn't follow the complete phase order.  No wonder things were so tough for the North Koreans!  Anyways,  I'm replaying again with the correct rules now and finally using those precious airmobile units to full effect!  I'll rewrite another AAR later so you can get a more accurate picture of the game.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Best of 2014

Well, looking back at 2014 (over 60 articles), it seems that this blog saw a lot more action than 2013 (36 articles all told).  It probably had something to do with finally being finished with a degree and having more free time this year but I would also say that I got a bit deeper with my gaming experiences too.  Up until this year, I'd kept the gaming scale down to short (a few hours of play time) platoon/company level (Lock 'n Load, World at War, etc.) games with brief forays into brigade-level (Dawn's Early Light) affairs.  With my purchase of Victory Games' The Korean War in early summer, that all changed for me.

The Korean War was really a turning point in my own gaming experience.  It was the first really large-scale operational game that I had ever played and which covered an entire year of a war.  I wasn't sure how I would make the jump to this scale and scope and I was concerned that it would be too complicated.  Fortunately, the learning scenarios in the game were terrific and the number of interesting decisions (just enough to make the game cool, not so many to be overwhelming) really drew me in.  From there, it was a no-brainer that I had to finally sit down and play Gulf Strike, another VG game that was operational, although a bit more complex.  From that point, it was all downhill to Vietnam: 1965 to 1975, where I finally reached my Waterloo after a year of game time and called it quits (I still intend to return to it some day).

I think the most important thing I've learned this year is to just keep putting things on the table and see what sticks despite the intimidation factor of any given game due to complexity, length of time required for play, or just the size of the map.  By playing these "larger" games, I also got a new appreciation of my smaller-scale games and how nice it was to have something that could be played in a single evening session without the need for book-keeping or notes.  To say my gaming habits and preferences have changed radically is not really true - but it would be fair to say that they're becoming more diverse...even though I still haven't brought myself to step outside the confines of modern conflict.  Maybe I'll try that next year and see how it goes.

Since it's the end of the year then, I guess it's fashionable to make lists.  So here (in somewhat hierarchical order from good to great) are what I consider my top 5 articles from this year followed by a brief reason why they're on there:

5.  Twilight: 2000 - The Last Battle:  A Review

I don't write many reviews but when I do, I try to be detached.  Not this one.  I had a long personal history with the roleplaying game, Twilight:2000, and I was cutting it no slack here as I played through it and found some ridiculous and hilarious results during the course of the game.  Was I disappointed?  Yeah, man.  This was my teenage years at stake.  After getting slightly inebriated, however, the game took me right back to the late 1980s, surrounded by high school friends on a Friday night while eating pizza and complaining about how bad the last episode of Miami Vice sucked.  It was a bit like watching the movie Starship Troopers, where all you could think about for the first thirty minutes was how bad the movie was - only to realize in the last half that something wonderful is happening.

4.  Vietnam: 1965 to 1975

I tried...I really tried here.  I dove into this campaign at a really busy time in my life.  Work was exploding and I had conferences to attend overseas along with a big side project that was getting off the ground.  Still, this thing sat in my game room for weeks on end as I scurried back and forth reading the rulebook on the couch and then going into the game room and moving a piece or two.  Still, I sort of somehow got to the point where I could see the decisions I had made piling up and this beautiful epic narrative start to unfold before my eyes.  You don't really play Victory Games' experience it.

3.  Gulf Strike:  The Invasion of Kuwait

Gulf Strike was one of those games that sat in my gaming closet for about a year before I dared to bring it out on the table.  I'd read about.  I'd scanned and skimmed the rulebook.  I stared at the box.  Finally, I just went with it, trusting Mark Herman not to lead me astray.  He did not and I found GS to be one of the best games I've ever played.  I loved the reaction system and the way that detection works along with the overall scenario design.  It doesn't drag on and on.  Decisions are made and the rules are fluid enough to handle whatever you want to do without getting bogged down in minutiae.  It took a while to get the system down in my head but once you get it, you can start to appreciate the beauty of it.

2. World at War:  Counterattack

I need to give a shout-out here to Mark Walker, who brought a narrative to his World at War games through "The Untold Stories" and then took things a bit further with the dual campaigns of "Counterattack".  There's a real mystery unfolding in the pages of Counterattack and some very solid scenario design.  I always felt CA never really got the love it deserved and that's too bad.  The WaW system had some new life breathed into it and Counterattack helped to keep things fresh and interesting for people who had been following the series from the start.

1.  The Korean War:  North Korea Invades

This was the year I fell in love with Victory Games and operational-level gaming and big campaigns.  This was the game that started it all.  I can't say enough good things about The Korean War.  It was based on a conflict I really knew nothing about and hadn't really been that interested in before playing this game.  The rules are easy to understand and the decisions are really interesting.  The combat and movement system are like nothing I had ever seen before and the idea of activations, world tension levels, intervention, and commitment are handled so nicely that it's a real joy to play - even for someone relatively new to wargames.  If you haven't checked this game out, I really recommend doing so.  I think you'll find it's well worth the trouble of tracking down an older copy.  I would put it on my shortlist of things to bring if stranded on a desert island.

Thanks very much for reading and I hope you have a great holiday and prosperous new year!

All the best in the new year.