Showing posts from April, 2016

Delta Force - The Roleplaying Game

Try to imagine what things were like thirty years ago. America had only recently been through the Iran hostage crisis (and the failed rescue attempt). The Marine barracks in Beirut had been bombed in 1983 with horrific loss of life (305 fatalities). American medical students were taken hostage on the island of Grenada in the same year. The Achille Lauro and TWA Flight 847 were hijacked in 1985 and in April of '86, three people (2 of whom were US servicemen) were killed in a bombing that would later be traced back to Libyan agents who were likely acting under the direct orders of Libyan intelligence or perhaps even Ghaddafi himself. 
Even though the horrors of terrorism were not to hit directly upon the homeland until a full 15 years later, it seemed back then that Americans abroad were ripe targets for terrorists of every sort. One could argue that the bombing of Libya on April 15, 1986 (Operation El Dorado Canyon) was as much a response to America's frustration with internat…

One Battle, Two Tanks, Three Systems: Design, Complexity and Outcomes

A while back, I wrote a post about Phoenix Command, detailing a squad-level firefight and talking a little bit about how the rules were extremely detailed. A good friend of mine mentioned in a comment that for all its complexity, the system was actually no more realistic than simpler rules systems.

I suspect that's probably right and it got me thinking about writing a blog post that shows the results of three combat systems and looking at how they work across the same battle. Just to make things interesting, I'll be using armoured vehicles and just looking at how things go in a fictional battle between an M1 Abrams and a T-72. Because I want to look a bit at how vehicle movement influences combat, I'll have the tanks start off at 500 meters distance from each other traversing an open field.

My main interest in doing this is to answer a few questions such as: How are these games different or similar in terms of mechanics (meaning what factors influence timing, accuracy of …

The Civil War: A Brief Recounting

I've just finished up my first play of The Civil War, playing a short 3-turn game to nail down some of the rules before embarking on a longer game at some point in the near future. What can I say? I really enjoyed this classic and I can see why people like it. It seems to hit just the right spot in terms of rules depth while at the same time beautifully capturing the width and scope of the conflict as it played out historically.

Since this was my first game, I really had no idea what I was doing with either side and my play was so astoundingly inept that I'm not sure it makes for great retelling.  For those still interested, I'll summarize the events rather than go into lurid detail:

I started off with the 1861 setup and decided to play three turns just to start learning the rules.

The Union went hard in the Trans-Mississippi and the West early in the game during turns 1 and 2. Lyon managed to push out the Confederates entirely from Missouri and even make some impressive g…

Starting A Civil War

"Here, in the dread tribunal of last resort, valor contended against valor. Here brave men struggled and died for the right as God gave them to see the right." -Adlai E. Stevenson I It's amazing to think about what came out of Victory Games in 1983. This small company full of talent managed to release no less than three games that would still be remembered as classics more than thirty years down the road. NATO: The Next War in Europe and Gulf Strike are fondly talked about even these days but the one game that many gamers speak of in tones of reverence is Eric Lee Smith's The Civil War.  This game was so ambitious in terms of scope and historical accuracy that it is still hard to find anything that matches up to it.

I haven't played any Civil War games before and I admittedly don't know much about the conflict itself. Wanting to learn more about the appeal of this era, I cleared my late evening schedule for the next month or so and put this game on the table…