Showing posts from July, 2016

Carrier - Solomons Brawl

I've been playing lots of light wargames lately and although they're nice, I wanted to do something a bit meatier. So I've recently started to get back into Victory Games' Carrier after taking a long break from it.

After playing Scenario 4: Air Search Officer and finally getting a handle on carrier search operations, I decided to try out Scenario 5: Solomons Brawl. This is a surface-force only scenario set at night around Guadalcanal.

The Japanese have four combat forces (C1 and C3 start out as level 2 medium surface forces while C2 and C4 are reported as small surface forces). They are trying to get to Guadalcanal.

The scenario rules are a bit odd as it implies 2526 as the objective hex. However, a quick look on the map reveals an objective hex marked in 2527. I couldn't find anything in the errata about this so I'm probably just missing something - but I treated 2527 as the objective hex until I could find my error.

The Americans get three task forces for the…

Interview with a Blogger: Aaron from Here's No Great Matter

One of my favorite gaming blogs is Here's No Great Matter, written by a good friend of mine named Aaron. Whereas I tend to focus on hex and counter moderns, Aaron has an eclectic taste that runs from ancients all the way up to present day.

Like me, Aaron is an ex-pat who has settled down in Japan. Sadly, we live too far from each other to meet up and game but we have played out some Sixth Fleet by email before and had great fun. Besides blogging, he somehow manages to have a full-time job and be a dad too. The guy has lots of energy and talent.

One of my favorite posts from Aaron's blog is the tale of trying to track down two parcels of games after returning from a vacation and...well, you'll just have to read it yourself. The story is so funny and so quintessentially Japanese that I became an immediate subscriber to Aaron's blog after reading it.

I wrote a small blurb about Aaron's blog (and several others) years ago in an article titled "The Blogs of War&quo…

The Hunt for Red October - Arctic Patrol

The first scenario from The Hunt for Red October pits two NATO submarines against three Soviet subs. In this tense battle beneath the waves during the early days of World War III, which side will come out ahead?

The objective is to sink as many enemy subs as possible and also to get your subs within five spaces of the enemy base.  In this case, the NATO base is Iceland while the Soviet base is Kola. To flesh things out a bit, both sides get ASW aircraft. NATO has a P-3 stationed in Iceland while the Russkies get two IL-38s in Kola.

The Soviets are first to set up their subs within three spaces of Kola.  NATO then places their own subs within three spaces of Iceland. The Soviets can place up to 2 subs in one space. NATO can place only one in each space.

Despite the two subs per space allowance, the Russians place their subs alone in the deep water spaces just off the coast of Norway in the Norwegian Sea. NATO opts for coverage and places each sub three spaces apart just to the north of…

The Hunt for Red October - First Impressions

In 1988, TSR published "The Hunt for Red October", a boardgame based on Tom Clancy's 1984 debut novel of the same name.

The book was a tense thriller set in the late Cold War period. It focused on a Soviet submarine captain's attempts to defect to the United States. Clancy clearly showed a talent for explaining the complex topic of submarine detection and warfare in layman's terms without condescending to the reader.

The book not only spawned a boardgame, but also a computer game, as well as a movie starring the irrepressible Sean Connery as Captain Ramius and Alec Baldwin cast as the main protagonist, CIA analyst Jack Ryan. Clancy went on to write dozens of novels and several non-fiction books dealing with the military before his death in 2013. All of that - the movies, games, and TV series - began with this one novel. So looking at this boardgame as one of the starting pieces of Tom Clancy's hugely successful career feels a bit odd. As a fan of the novel an…