Showing posts from January, 2014

My Lock 'n Load Tactics

Lock 'n Load is easily one of my favorite game systems and I find it just gets better the more I try out and learn different tactics. Lately, I've been going back and replaying scenarios that I haven't touched for a long time and I've noticed that things were much more fun this time around.  I think part of this was due to knowing the rules a bit better but I think another reason is that my tactics have changed and improved a little bit over time.

Generally speaking, the decisions have become a lot more interesting and the outcomes are a lot less one sided than they used to be.  This is an article about how my tactics in LnL have changed over time and where I'm at now with my game.  Of course, tactics are going to vary widely based on the type of scenario objectives, terrain, and enemy considerations but I think every player has a few general principals that they try to follow in order to get the win.

1.  Infantry Tactics on the Offense

When I first started playing …

Star Wars Miniatures - Darth Vader & Obi-wan Redux

I am currently the proud owner of two miniatures games, which are Star Wars Miniatures and Axis & Allies Miniatures and I love them.  They give me a nice light alternative to my hex and counter games, most of which are relatively complex affairs that are not always easy to dig out and mull over, especially after a long day at work. The rules for these two games are a breeze to learn, filled with pages of nice color illustrations and lots of examples.  Most of the time, the outcome of my playthroughs are decided more by the luck of the die rather than any real tactical considerations, which is great when you're tired and more concerned with the beer and pretzels than the right die roll modifier for being behind low cover.

Anyway, here's a brief playthrough of a battle between the galactic forces of light and darkness.  Although the situation doesn't exactly follow the movies, that's fine with me.  In fact, that's the beauty of this game.  If you want to make a &…

Heroes of the Gap - Back to Basics AAR

"Back to Basics" is one of my favorite scenarios from Lock 'n Load Publishing's squad-based tactical combat game "Heroes of the Gap".  Set in the beginning days of World War III in a fictional 1985, this scenario consists solely of infantry fighting it out in confined spaces, up close and personal.  This, in my opinion, is what the Lock 'n Load system does best and that's what makes Back to Basics so compelling.

In this scenario, the Soviets are trying to gain control of as many buildings as possible to the west of the Eisenbach River.  The Americans are basically trying to keep their grip and hold the encroaching Soviets at bay.  There are two complications.  First, the Soviets (like always) significantly outnumber the Americans.  Second, the US player is facing not only the regular Soviet army but almost two platoons of Spetsnaz infantry who are armed to the teeth.  

The Soviet regulars only have one leader (Capt. Sarukin) but he's got a Coord…

Decision Games' D-Day at Omaha Beach - Unboxing

Another recent purchase of mine is John Butterfield's "D-Day at Omaha Beach", a solitaire offering published by Decision Games.  I had heard a lot of good buzz about this game since the first edition was released in 2009.  The game was so popular that it was kind of hard to get hold of until the new edition was printed last year.

So this thing arrived and it was impressive right off the bat.  The box art is wonderful and features a single powerful image that the words "Omaha Beach" conjure forth in most people's minds.  I thought this image was much more evocative than the one used for the first edition and the sides of the box have the look of wood grain, which matches the art nicely.  So immediately, I had the sense that good things awaited inside of this box and I wasn't wrong.

Inside the box, we have some plastic baggies that were kindly provided by the publisher.  I always love to see this even though I almost never use the bags.  We have a large …

Fire Team by West End Games

Since I've been on a World War III gaming kick for the past several years, I decided to purchase West End Games' Fire Team, a game of squad tactics published in 1987 by the now defunct company.  It was designed by Jon Southard, who created a bunch of great games in the 80's like Carrier and Tokyo Express, to name a couple.  This is another one of those 'Cold War Turned Hot" games that fell victim to the sudden end of the Cold War rather than suffering from any real design flaw or lack of imagination (for another example of this, check out AH's Tac Air).  In fact, the effort that went into creating Fire Team, a game that tried to simulate modern command and control on the platoon and squad level, was pretty much unrivaled at the time of its release.


Fire Team has about a dozen scenarios that feature the big bad Soviets running wild over the plains of West Germany in 1987 as NATO tries its best to halt them.  The scenarios vary widely in both the numbe…