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Fortress

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This might be hard to believe - but I am not a weeb. I don't watch anime and I don't think Japan is the greatest country to have ever existed on the planet. There are lots of problems here. Big ones too. But I like it just fine as a place to live and work. It's a nice place with lots of good food and people. With that disclaimer out of the way, I'm going to necessarily weeb out a little bit in this continuing look at Tsukuda Hobby's wargaming output in the 1980s.

As I mentioned in my look at Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Tsukuda had started off producing wargames in 1981 with their science fiction line then soon branched out into historical wargames and then beginner level games aimed at casual players.

Fortress is the second game ever released by Tsukuda Hobby. Designed by Atsutoshi Okada, the game is based on several key battles that take place in the original Mobile Suit: Gundam animation series that came out in 1979.

I could go in-depth here about the series…

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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Tsukuda Hobby made their first real venture into wargaming in 1981 when the company acquired the license for Mobile Suit Gundam. At the time, the animated space opera was a huge hit in Japan. And no wonder! It's about huge freakin' robots fighting each other in space. How could you go wrong with a premise like that?!



The success of the first two Gundam-based wargames, Jabro (which dealt with ground combat) and Fortress (which focused on space battles) spurred the company to venture further into their existing licenses and make games that dealt with other topics. Star Wars: Death Star and Star Trek: The Invasion of the Klingon Empire were published in 1982. I'm not sure if any of these games were good or not but they were successful enough to spur Tsukuda to keep releasing similar gaming products throughout the 1980s.

In fact, the company branched out its wargaming into three separate series. The first was an SF series that produced games based heavily on popular sci-fi li…

Star Explorer

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Waaaay back in 1982, the wargames industry was reeling from the death of SPI. Meanwhile, roleplaying games were the new hotness as TSR was hitting its stride. Dungeons and Dragons had firmly usurped the time and dollars of the gaming public and Gary Gygax sat perched on the teetering throne called TSR.

Fantasy Games Unlimited, which had been busy publishing wargames during the 1970s, saw an opportunity in the changing market and shifted gears towards publishing roleplaying games.

One of the results was a game called "Star Trek"...I mean, "Star Explorer", which billed itself as a "role playing boardgame" that allowed you to step into the shoes of a StarShip [sic] captain of the Federation.



Designed by Dr. Leonard Kanterman (M.D.) and Douglas Bonforte, the game was more than a homage to classic Trek. Years after the game's publication, Dr. Kanterman would come clean and say that he intended this to be a Star Trek game from the start. From his response t…

MBT: FRG - First Moves Pt. 1 - Scenario 11

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Situation

This scenario from James Day's MBT 2nd edition expansion FRG features a battle between some aging but still respectable equipment of the Soviet Red Army and the West German Bundeswehr.  Two platoons of Leopard 1A4s fight for control of river crossing points against two platoons of T-62MVs from the Soviet 248th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment.

This is the first scenario in the FRG scenario booklet and it's meant to introduce players to the game. Although intended as a learning scenario for use with the Basic Rules, I am instead using the Advanced Rules. I guess I'm just crazy like that. I'm ignoring turrets (I just find the extra work annoying and not especially worth the simulation value) but using Weapons Malfunctions (because they're fun and easy to implement) along with Command Span and Command Range. Both sides have a command span of 10 hexes. I'm also using Morale rules.

The unit quality of both types is Seasoned and Excellent. The scenario ends afte…

Pacific War - Scenario 1: Pearl Harbor

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December 7, 1941 - the day that would live in infamy. Mark Herman's 1985 classic "Pacific War" (Victory Games) covered the topic in the first scenario of the game. This is a tiny solitaire battle that has the player take on the role of the Japanese in a limited engagement.

The scenario lasts two Battle Cycles with most of the setup (weather, time, etc.) following the historical situation. The only real decision for the Japanese player to make here is how many planes to allocate to hitting the battleships or the airfield.

And that's okay, because this game can seem intimidating when you open the box and feast your eyes on the 55-page tome of rules and the nine counter sheets of playing pieces.

This first scenario eases you into the game  and keeps you focused on the first part of the book, which covers the rules needed for playing the smaller scenarios.

So when you get to the end of that first section and realize that the final 21 pages of the rules are dedicated to …

Crowbar! An Interview with Designer Hermann Luttmann

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Hermann Luttmann is a prolific game designer with credits that span many genres, complexities, and themes. His newest offering is Crowbar! published by Flying Pig Games, and its currently doing the rounds on Kickstarter. Here's what he had to say about it:




Why did you choose this particular topic?

Well, I was kind of spurned into action when I saw a number of posts on Facebook and elsewhere in which players were talking about their current plays of In Magnificent Style (IMS).

I was honestly shocked that people were still playing and talking about the game, as it was published back in 2012. I had been toying with the idea of eventually doing another game in the series, especially since a couple of proposed designs (by other designers) for the series never got off the ground.

I was contemplating for a long time what ideal military situation would be appropriate for the system. Then I believe it was the Pointe Du Hoc scene from The Longest Day movie that made that situation click fo…

Storm and Steel: A Scenario for MBT

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This scenario recreates the first scene of a book I wrote called Storm and Steel. It's about a West German tank company commander's experience of World War III between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in 1985.


I created this scenario first and then wrote the book based upon the outcome. Since the book has gotten quite a bit of attention lately, I've decided to write up the scenario I created and provide it here for free to anyone who's interesting in trying it.

Here's some context for the scenario:


On the eve of the Third World War, NATO forces throughout West Germany are rushed to their designated deployment as close as possible to the Iron Curtain.

As part of the 244th Mountain Tank Battalion in Bavaria, Hauptmann Kurt Mohr and the men of 2nd Company are assigned with the rest of 1st Mountain Division to defend the border near Czechoslovakia. They set up in prepared positions to the north of a town called Grafling that lies along Route 11, a highway that leads south tow…