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1  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / The Mandatory Offensive in Wargames on: July 26, 2014, 09:12:08 pm
So I've been playing my first game ever of Eric Lee Smith's Across 5 Aprils, a collection of five different American Civil War battles in one box. In specific, I've been playing the Gettysburg scenario. As I have noted earlier, I am quite enjoying the game, especially the uncertainty generated by the "chit-pull" system. However, I do see one 'issue' that I believe critics of the game have discussed in the past - the combat chit pull, and with it, the requirement to either attack or withdraw from any enemy zones of control. In my case, I am approaching the end of the daylight of the second day, and the Rebs may be on the brink of victory. They currently hold both Round Top and Little Round Top, and I believe they are close to having at least 1.5 times the victory points of the Union. However, as luck would have it, the Confederate Combat Chit has just been pulled, at a time when the Rebel units holding Little Round Top are in contact with Union forces. The choice for the Confederate side (I'm playing solo, by the way)  is either attack these adjacent Union units or voluntarily give up Little Round Top and retreat. The Confederates really have no choice at this point but to attack, because there is only one turn left before sundown and victory determination. So, we have the Confederates securely holding a victory location, and there's really no incentive for the Rebel commander to attack (in this case, the area in question is mostly held by units of Longstreet's corps, with help from a division of Ewell's corp attached.) The logical and "realistic" thing to do would be to sit tight on Little Round Top and let the Union boys try their best to knock off the Rebs. But no, the game mechanics won't allow that.

What to think of a game system that at times will essentially demand that a player do something that, given their druthers, they'd never do? Now, I realize that the entire point of the chit-pull system is to simulate the confusion and uncertainty that permeates a combat situation. I can pretty easily rationalize from a narrative viewpoint that maybe Lee, not being near the portion of the battlefield in question, sent orders for Longstreet to attack and that maybe Longstreet feels compelled to follow that order, despite what would have to be a great deal of doubt on his part. Or maybe one could imagine that Hood recklessly ordered his men to charge the Union positions based on his own reading of the situation. In effect, I could come up with a whole bunch of plausible 'reasons' for the Confederates to make what, in competitive game terms at least, is a nonsensical attack.

I'm going to guess that A5A is not the only game out there that can produce such situations, but I'm not immediately familiar with any other games I've played where this has arisen. So I ask you, how do such situations make you feel, from the viewpoint of a:
1) competitive game player
2) casual game player
3) role-playing minded game player, and/or
4) a history-minded game player
2  Gaming Stuff / General Gaming Discussion / Re: Flavor Text on: July 26, 2014, 11:35:35 am
Anything that helps immerse me in the subject of the game and aids in my suspension of disbelief that I'm only playing a game is a good thing in my book. I LOVE flavor text. I also like more conversational style of rulebooks, even if sometimes those styles of rulebooks have more ambiguity present. I play wargames for role-playing purposes much more so than for simply competition. If I'm looking for nothing but optimizing mathematical play, I'm probably playing a Euro or an abstract.   
3  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / Re: MMP Update(s) on: July 26, 2014, 10:06:07 am
This has been, by far, the most active year for MMP in my experience. When OCS Korea ships, that will make three (3) MMP pre-orders that I've received this year! Reluctant Enemies, The Mighty Endeavor, and then, Korea. I don't know if any of them will get to the table this year of course, but I'm looking to finally take that OCS plunge and see what all the fuss has been about!

I have to say, after years of wondering if MMP was hopelessly deadlocked in terms of producing new products or doing timely reprints, they do seem to have gotten their act together.
4  General Category / Fuck it all / Re: Nuts on: July 24, 2014, 10:07:18 pm
I recently got back from a vacation to Hawaii, so naturally I'm currently favoring macadamia nuts - especially dark chocolate covered ones!
5  General Category / Fuck it all / Re: Rants on: July 24, 2014, 08:05:57 pm
I'll be allowed to post on BGG in a few minutes when my 7 day ban ends. I will be making announcements in 3 of my threads that my content is moving here. I will include links. I was going to RANT over there but ****em! I'll do the rant here somewhere  Grin

Bill - what did those blockheads at BGG ban you for???
6  General Category / Fuck it all / Re: Rants on: July 24, 2014, 08:05:08 pm
F*****g Nickelodeon - they just announced they have pulled the last five episodes of Legend of Korra off the air and will only show it via streaming online video. Now, we can queue up the show on the iPad and HDMI cable it through the TV, so it's not like we can't still enjoy the show, which is easily the best animated series out there (though perhaps still not as good as its predecessor, Avatar the Last Airbender), but it's the principle of the thing. Nick has treated this show like dog crap, with a horrible timeslot and next to no marketing to speak of.  The management of Nickelodeon must be a bunch of complete knuckleheads - and don't even get me started on how they've managed to dumb down the once engaging Spongebob to the point where it is basically a show for preschoolers.

F Nickelodeon!
7  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / Re: Wargames on your table on: July 23, 2014, 08:56:58 pm
As noted in the American Civil War thread, I'm currently soloing Across 5 Aprils' Gettysburg scenario. I have to hurry up and finish it, however, because Dan and I have set next Thursday as the date for us to kick off our face-to-face match of the same game. I'm halfway through Day Two, so I should be able to get this done and reset before next Thursday. We already discussed sides, and he gave me my choice, and I chose the Rebs. I want to see if I can do better than Marse Robert!
8  General Category / Fuck it all / Re: The Big Baseball Thread on: July 22, 2014, 09:45:13 pm
Pirates fan here - been one since the 1970's. Last season was really sweet after 20 years of losing, and they're doing well again this season. Beating up on the Dodgers tonight, so tomorrow will be the rubber game of the series.
9  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / Re: American Civil War Gaming - General Discussion on: July 22, 2014, 09:24:47 pm
Another five turns of Across 5 Aprils Gettysburg scenario in the books. We are now approaching 11:30 in the morning on the 2nd Day and Longstreet's Corps is approach Devil's Den and Round Top. The Union II Corps and a couple brigades of III Corps are looking to stand in the way of the Rebs advancing on those places. Things are getting very interesting, and it's cool to see the game unfolding much as the historical campaign did, though I wouldn't say the game is hardwired in any way to make it so. The chit-pull mechanism and the combat system that provides for both the attacker and defender to inflict losses and retreats on the other side in any given battle definitely make this a solitaire-friendly game.
10  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / Re: Late-period WW2 Games - Red Storm Over/Storming the Reich on: July 22, 2014, 03:47:47 pm
I should note that the first pangs of pain from the root canal are starting to manifest themselves. It will be time for more drugs in a couple of hours. I wonder what games I'll buy then! I should probably deactivate my eBay account for a couple of days, just in case...
11  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / Re: Late-period WW2 Games - Red Storm Over/Storming the Reich on: July 22, 2014, 03:27:55 pm
The "Battle for Germany" just refers to the final stages of the Second World War in Europe, where literally, the final campaigns from both east and west were focused on the conquest of Germany proper. To some degree, the final lines were rather predetermined due to the political agreement reached at the Yalta Conference between Russia and the Western Allies. However, that's not to say that their respective military commanders couldn't contemplate pushing their forces beyond those boundaries, though they would have to consider if the ensuing lives lost would be for naught, as the political situation would have demanded that they relinquish any of their gains when hostilities ceased. Certainly, on the Western Allies' side, there was considerable debate about going on to Berlin, beating the Soviets to the capital, even while knowing about the Yalta agreement, which ceded the Nazi capital to the Soviets (except of course for the three Western occupation zones).

And, yeah, in gaming terms, it refers to the concept first used in SPI's "Battle for Germany", where one player gets to play the Western Allies and the Eastern German defenders, while the other player gets to play the Western German defenders and the Russians. Neat dynamic where each player is trying to push into Germany as fast as possible on one front while holding out the opposite Allied army on the other front. ME 2nd Edition does the same. One could play RSOTR and STR in the same manner, though again, the games aren't formally linked. It would at least make sure one player isn't stuck playing a hopeless German defense on both fronts (of course, some of us revel in playing hopeless defenses, so it might not be such a negative for some players).
12  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / Re: Late-period WW2 Games - Red Storm Over/Storming the Reich on: July 22, 2014, 03:21:19 pm
I also picked up the new edition of Mighty Endeavor for the same reason. I hope to compare how it plays versus separate playings of Red Storm Over the Reich and Storming the Reich. Note that the last two can NOT be linked directly, but there's nothing stopping people from simply playing them simultaneously. I'm a big fan of SCS games, so I'm pretty sure that I will like the new Mighty Endeavor. At the same time, I'm guessing that the two Compass Games offerings, taken together, are bigger games with more counters, but from what I've read, I'm not sure that the rulesets will be any more complex than ME's SCS rules, which hit just about the perfect spot for me in terms of ease of play and chrome.
13  General Category / Fuck it all / Re: Board Game ****es! on: July 22, 2014, 03:13:02 pm
If someone wants to put effort in, I'll open up a board specifically for per-user blogs.

While I make no promises that I will in fact start a blog, I would like to have the option, so, my "vote" would be, yes, please open up such a board and that might serve as a great place to host longer bloviations such as I am envisioning!
14  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / Late-period WW2 Games - Red Storm Over/Storming the Reich on: July 22, 2014, 03:04:27 pm
OK, I remain hopeless in terms of my wargame addiction. I've chronicled before how I've tried to slow, if not halt, my wargame purchases, as I have realized just how stupidly large my collection already is (though, not as stupidly large as some of collections that the rest of you have!). However, I got my periodic email from Compass Games telling me that only 15 copies of Ted Racier's "Red Storm Over the Reich" remained in their warehouse, and that there would be no reprints. I'm such a sucker, so of course I bought it. Further, as they also noted that if you bought this game, you'd not only get for the pre-order price, BUT, you'd also get $10 (yes, 10 whole dollars) off a second purchase, I went ahead and ordered Ted's western front edition, "Storming the Reich"! So, here I am, $124 poorer*, and awaiting two entirely unnecessary additions to my collection. I suspect the meds I'm on may have had something to do with my weakness of will (I just had a root canal this afternoon). However, in my defense:
1) I'm drawn to these late-war situations, and the desperate fights that occurred as the German army tried repeatedly, and with less and less success, to plug the gaps that would be torn in their lines by the Allies, while the Allies strove to push into the heart of Germany in a bid to end the war as fast as possible while struggling with ever lengthening supply lines and leaner and leaner replacements. Having read Earl Ziemke's "Stalingrad to Berlin - Defeat in the East" earlier this year, I find the subject irresistible.
2) I've heard nothing but good things about these games from those who've played them.

So, if anyone has additional good things to say about these games, or just wants to discuss late-war games (or even just late-war history), please comment. If anyone has bad things to say about these games, well, don't say anything - I'd like to avoid feeling any buyer's remorse for a few days at least!  Grin

*Actually, more like $270 poorer, because I just bought eight (Cool new Star Trek Attack Wing expansions too! Whhhhaaaat? Hey, if you're gonna fall off the wagon, I say do it in style!  Roll Eyes
15  Gaming Stuff / Military Games / Re: Star Fleet Battles - the great Klingon civil wars scenario on: July 22, 2014, 06:55:16 am
That sounds pretty cool. I still have my SFB stuff from back in the 80's, though I haven't played it in years. If I were to start up again, I'd be up to use whatever you develop here. Back in the 80's, this came as close as anything to a "lifestyle game" for me, though we switched to "Starfire", because my group preferred fleet battles, and in SFB, it was (and I believe still is) difficult for one person to command more than two ships at a time.

The Klingons are definitely a good choice for a Civil War campaign, though I suppose the Romulans might also work with such a premise. Actually, just about any faction, perhaps other than the Feds, would be potential "Civil War" candidates, since we really don't know that much about the governance systems of the Kzintis, Lyrans, Gorn, or Hydrans.
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