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Showing posts from February, 2016

NATO: The Next War - Strategic Surprise Scenario

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1983 was a pretty scary year. Reagan made his famous  "Evil Empire" speech. Andropov was in the Kremlin and the Soviet rhetoric and alarm was just as palpable. Nuclear war was on everyone's minds as the Americans deployed Pershing II missiles to Europe (in response to Soviet SS-20 missiles) and "The Day After" aired on American television. The Soviets shot down Korean airliner 007, further inflaming international tension. Years later, we would learn just how close we came to the end with "Able Archer '83" as well as the false detection of American missile launches by Soviet missile commanders. It felt like things were coming to a head.




It was fitting that NATO: The Next War in Europe from Victory Games was published that year. Designers Bruce S. Maxwell and Richard J.Trup attempted to build a game based on three scenarios of an East-West conflict in 1980s Europe. At the time, it must have seemed that all of them were plausible, considering the int…

Phoenix Command - The Rescue Mission

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Phoenix Command was a combat system for miniatures and roleplaying games (and whatever else you wanted) that was published in the 1980s.  This wasn't just any combat system.  Designed by NASA rocket scientists (I'm not even joking there), the system aimed for realism through an incredibly detailed rules set.



Combat was segmented into two second impulses and half-second phases so everything - and I mean everything had to be accounted for (even flicking your weapon from safety to auto needed to be done).  Weapon damage and penetration was based on detailed ballistics tests.  Damage to the human body was based on computer simulations.  The first time I played the game, it really took me almost an hour to go carefully through the tables and figure out the modifiers and then apply damage.  That was for a single shot!

Leading Edge Games, the publisher of Phoenix Command (and the Aliens and Living Steel RPGs) has long gone out of business. But a quick browse through many RPG forums …

Odds & Ends - The Unusual or Funny in Games

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While reading a rulebook, it's sometimes a welcome bit of relief when the designer pokes their head out for a moment to make some kind of remark or to include something in the game for fun. You start to catch a glimpse of the human being behind the game. I've always wanted to write a short blog post about the unusual or funny things in the rules or components of the games I own so here it is:



Aegean Strike - by Mark Herman

The final scenario of the game allows players to play a huge WW3 battle for control of both the Aegean Sea and the Middle East by putting together the maps for Gulf Strike and Aegean Strike. Before you do that, however, you should check the victory conditions for the scenario. It is completely unwinnable! I'm not sure if this was dark humor, pessimism, or realism coming through but it definitely got my attention:

"If the Warsaw Pact player wins any level of victory...he wins the whole game. However, in retaliation, the United States precipitates a nuc…

Sixth Fleet - Operation Minotaur

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Casus Belli is an old French wargaming magazine that was a pleasant mixture of articles and scenarios on many different games. In 1988, they published a scenario based on the idea of a war between France and Libya. It was called "Operation Minotaur".

I like this scenario because it fills a gap in the scenarios from the original Sixth Fleet core rules. With so many different nationalities included in the game's counter mix, it was practically begging for a scenario that didn't feature the US Navy. Although I love Sixth Fleet dearly, it was so totally focused on Cold War matchups that it felt like it was missing out on potential scenarios that featured local conflicts between powers in the region. This scenario helps to tilt back the balance a bit.

In "Operation Minotaur", we have a similar setup to what was featured in the "Libyan-American War" scenario but instead of the Americans this time, it is the French who are angry at Libya (3 guesses as to…