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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…

Turn One: Mike Force

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Last time, I talked about my impressions of "Mike Force", a game about Special Forces operations in Vietnam from Joseph Miranda. To get a deeper impression of the game, I'm writing a first-turn report to show off how the game is played. I'm planning to do this with other games in upcoming articles, looking at first turns to show how a game flows.


Setup:
Communists:
I'm playing the Early War scenario here. That means the NVA set up two static units inside Vietnam Communist bases and one static unit everywhere else.


Rolling for initial Infiltration Points, we get a "5", which brings the communist infiltration level down to a manageable "10" on the IP scale. The level is still at "Medium", but only just barely. With some good play and a bit of luck, maybe we can knock it down to "Low".


Free World:
The marker is placed on the "8" space of the Recruit Points track. We roll a "1" and the marker is moved down to …

Mike Force: A First Look

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Mike Force is a solitaire game of Special Forces operations during the Vietnam War. If that sentence doesn't get your heart racing then please put down the horse tranquilizers.

Joseph Miranda (designer of so many games, why even bother listing them here) is behind this effort. It was published in the current (MAY/JUNE 2018) issue of Modern War.

So what you get here is a game that focuses exclusively on the shadowy SOG portion of the conflict to the stubborn exclusion of any other element. It's like the opposite of Nick Karp's zoomed-out look at the conflict in his seminal 1984 game, "Vietnam 1965 - 1975".

With the plethora of decent Vietnam War games already out there (Fire in the Lake, Vietnam Solitaire, Vietnam 1965 - 1975, etc.), you couldn't be blamed for asking the question: Did this game need to be made?


And the answer I would give is "Yeah. Sure."

Because this game is the war's underbelly that you rarely get glimpses of anywhere else. An…

MBT: The Gap

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"The Gap" is scenario 3 from Jim Day's popular MBT (second edition, GMT, 2015).



The Soviet 8th Guards Army are pouring over the border into West Germany along with the rest of the Warsaw Pact. The 79th Guards Tank Division is given the honor of advancing first into the Fulda Gap, where it meets elements of the US 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), the Blackhorse Regiment. The cav's mission - delay the Soviet forces while the rest of the US forces move up towards the border.

In this scenario, the US gets an under-strength Armored Cav Troop. That means we have an M1IP tank platoon (the IP model was basically a slightly upgraded M1 Abrams in terms of armor and electronics) and two pairs of M3 Bradleys along with an M106 for indirect fire support. We also get four recon infantry sections armed with little more than LAWs to deal with the oncoming onslaught of Soviet armor.

The Soviets get a ton of tanks and fighting vehicles. They have an entire reinforced tank company …

Gulf Strike: How do you solve a problem like Saudi Arabia?

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In this article, I'm referring to Scenario 1 of Gulf Strike where the Iranians are thundering down through the Saudi Peninsula with the help of their Soviet buddies, trying to close off American access to the Persian Gulf before the US can rush in carrier groups and Marines and air and endless amounts of supplies for their beleaguered buddies of the Gulf Council States.

So you're playing Iran and turn one has gone fairly smoothly. You've had Kuwait all to yourself to beat the hell out of and now it's conquered and turn two starts. The Gulf Council States immediately declare war on you. With budding optimism, you push your first armored unit south from Kuwait City on its long march towards Riyadh.

If this next step of the takeover plan of the Middle East is not thought through carefully enough, you'll be thinking to yourself by turn 3 or 4: "Wow, this is going to be tougher than I thought!"

By turn 6 or 7, that will change to: "You stupid stupid idiot…

Wing Leader Victories: Stalingrad Airlift

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Wing Leader Victories 1940 - 1942 is a really fun air combat game. I got it last year as an impulse buy during a time when I had a million other things going on in my life. As a result, it slid right into my collection like a stealth plane, its presence barely detectable among all the other clutter of my busy days and frantic nights.



During a self-imposed lull in my life when I should have been hard at work at something or other, I spied it on my shelf. I pulled it out and wondered how on earth I had failed to be enticed by the box cover's lovely artwork featuring a P-40 Warhawk screaming down through the shattered skies.

The components are nice with plenty of reference charts for easy play. It has a nicely organized rulebook and there are plenty of scenarios covering a wide swatch of air combat that characterized the early days of World War II.

The game is easy to learn, plays very smoothly, and has a clean uncluttered look to it. The scenarios are diverse in terms of size and ai…