Showing posts from 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…

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…

Patton's Best - Ballad of the Spring Chicken

In 1981, Avalon Hill released the beloved B-17:  Queen of the Skies, a solitaire game that put players in the shoes of a B-17 bomber crew trying to fight its way through the war just one mission at a time. The player would go through each mission, rolling dice and checking tables as his crew made it from England to occupied Europe and back on a bombing run.  Although B-17 was short on strategy and long on random results, the experience of watching your crew grow in skill and experience over the course of a campaign made the game somehow more than the sum of its parts.  Many people grew to love the game and it's still played and remembered fondly even today.

One of B-17's designers, Bruce Shelley, took the basic concepts of this gameand brought them down to the ground level.  The idea of the player having a tank crew and taking it through the war similar to B-17 probably seemed like it would be a sure-fire success.  The result was the 1987 game, Patton's Best, a solitaire g…

Ranger - Recon Enemy POL Site

Well, it's been a long while since I've done a video so I decided to get the camera out again.  Not sure of what to play after my affair with Victory Games' Vietnam, I went with something simple that I could play in an evening.  Omega Games' Ranger seemed to fit the bill.  It's pretty straightforward and I haven't played nearly enough of it since I got it almost two years ago.

The mission I pulled here was to recon an suspected enemy POL site.  Not long after my squad was dropped off in the jungle, they ran into some pretty huge problems that created a domino effect of disaster.  Check out the video below to see how the chips fell and how bad decisions compounded on each other to make for a bloody affair in the jungles of Puerto Ono:

Heroes of the Gap scenario: Sucking in the '70s

I originally submitted this for publication in Line of Fire 16 but stuff kind of happened and here we are.  I tried to make a scenario where the Soviets invade West Germany after the end of the Vietnam War, well before the US starts making those wonderful and deadly M-1 tanks.  I've also tried to think of how chemical weapons would work in the game.  I'm not totally sure it works but I tried my best on it.  I also tried to take into consideration the ability of the M-60 Patton to be used for indirect fire.  Lots of little experiments in this scenario.
“Sucking in the 70s” 
Background:  June 12, 1975 – After the end of the Vietnam War, the USSR takes the opportunity to invade West Germany as it faces down a demoralized and broken US Army.  On the third day of the war, the Soviets attempt to enter the town of Richthausen in an attempt to either pass through to the west or seize a vital local intersection.   With only a handful of men, the Americans waited for the Soviets to arriv…

Vietnam: 1965 to 1975: Final Update

Well, I can safely say now that I've finished a tour of duty in Vietnam: 1965 to 1975 from Victory Games.  And what a ride!

Between the extreme of busy-ness of work and home right now, I've shoehorned in the time required to play about as much of it as I can at the moment.  Many games, you can sort of sit with for an hour or two after work and lose yourself in them despite being already tired.  Vietnam is not that kind of game.  It demands a lot from the player, both in terms of time committment and mental energy and if you don't give it the right amount of time and concentration and respect, you'll probably get burned pretty badly.  Rather than watch things degenerate into farce, I've decided to stop the game here and take stock of what happened.

To wrap things up, early 1966 started off with a failed NVA offensive against Saigon itself as two full divisions were repelled by American and SVN forces defending the capital.  The NVA units retreated north towards the…

Vietnam 1965 - 1975 Campaign Update #4

Fall & Winter 1965

South Vietnam is in political chaos as two successive coups have happened in the fall and winter season.  The generals in charge of the ARVN Corps are demoralized and disloyal, preferring to focus on bitter in-fighting rather than getting the job done of securing the countryside from an increasingly bold VC presence.

Fall 1965 starts off with the US choosing to save its air power for operations in the field.  No bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail or the North happens at the start of this season.  Big mistake.  The VC use the trail to good effect, throwing in men and supplies everywhere, especially in the interior near Kontum.  The Viet Cong take control of several provincial capitals in this area and they now have a stronghold from which to launch attacks on the US and ARVN forces further to the east.

The SVN capital finds itself under siege as rumors of NVA regiments moving down the trail are preparing for an offensive against Saigon itself.

With the ARVN in dis…

Vietnam 1965 - 1975: Weekly Campaign Update #3

Summer of 1965 has just ended and gives way to fall colors, Hogan's Heroes, Sandy Kofax, The Hollies, and a deepening conflict in Vietnam.  The first hints of change in American culture begin with the protests of thousands of people across America on October 16th.

Well, I never thought I'd get through a single turn of Vietnam 1965 to 1975 but here we are in Fall 1965.  Over the summer months, the Viet Cong have been steadily gnawing away at South Vietnam's population support.  Starting the summer turn, most of my ARVN divisions ended up being effective, except for the 2nd division up in Quang Nam near Da Nang.  I didn't worry about it too much because I had the 2nd and 3rd Marine regiments sitting up there ready to pick up the slack for them.

What did concern me were the two full NVA divisions sitting just across the border to the north.  I also had a ton of VC sitting on the roads along the coast, cutting off the ARVN divisions from each other and limiting their abil…

Vietnam 1965 to 1975: Campaign Game - 1965

Well, I didn't get much time to play my first Vietnam campaign game this week due to the insane amount of work I had on my plate.  However, I did get the chance to sit down through Saturday morning and afternoon and get things rolling a bit.  I'll be updating this blog with weekly progress.

I haven't moved any units yet but holy cow, SO MUCH has happened anyways.

Here's a rundown as summer of 1965 begins.

The NLF player places a division within arm's reach of the SVN/NVN border.  They look ready to sweep down into South Vietnam, which is a bit alarming.  I only have a handful of ARVN regiments protecting it.

As the NLF player, I decided to purchase 4 regiments and 20 battalions of VC and placed them throughout South Vietnam, especially in the inland areas.  The VC are basically everywhere on the map.  I don't think I left a province untouched with their presence.  It is going to take a long time and it will be a really hard fight to root them out of these area…