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Quick Looks: SCS Autumn for Barbarossa

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Quick Looks: A Victory Lost

The first hex and counter war game I bought and played was A Victory Denied, a follow up to AVL from about 10 years ago. I hated it, and wrote off hex and counter games for about another year. The victory conditions seemed off, the combat was ok but not that interesting and the whole thing just seemed to lack any hook. I assumed hex and counter games were only popular with nostalgic old men and I’d stick to card driven or block games.

Sometimes I get this urge to East Front. Had it about 2 months ago, asked around and ended up picking up SCS Autumn for Barbarossa and A Victory Lost.

A Victory Lost is actually great, and for good reason spawned a system that will soon include a reprint of Konigsberg, a game on Narwa and the whole of Barbarossa.

This is operation Uranus through to Von Manstein’s vaunted back hand slap in the winter of 43, in Ukraine post Stalingrad. Units are divisional or bigger and the hook is the game uses chit pull. Chit pull has been around since the 80s but was rea…

Future War is over Fishing: Command:Modern Air / Naval Operations

Command:Modern Air Naval Ops is a very complicated mil-sim game that I periodically dip into but never quite invest in. I believe there is a commercial version sold to militaries. As the name suggests its only ships, subs and planes, no land units.

I tend to find the more complex scenarios over whelming, so I try and stick to smaller engagements where I control a handful of ships and perhaps a helo or two. In this way I don't have to worry about wing composition or getting fighter jet load outs correct. Instead I can play a simpler game where I tell my units where to go and whether they are weapons free or restricted and what active sensors are on or off.

 Quite a few of the scenarios in game are about fishing rights. It seems if you are a small scale naval engagement scenario designer its war for fish every day and a tuesday.  It is 2023 and I have to protect a small fleet of Indian fishing boats from the South African military for 24 hours. I've got two F39 Betwas - Indian M…

Quick Play Thru: Washington's Crossing

Being a man who likes diversity I bought / pre-ordered 4 games for Christmas about dudes in flashy coats with muskets marching around road networks. I’ve already Quick looked at Nappys Nemesis 1813, Metz is yet to be released from P500, Autumn of Glory is on the shelf, so this weekend I have played Washington’s Crossing.

The Patriot opening more or less followed the script. Washington moved with his stack, crossed the Delaware with decent movement and ferry rolls and come morning was sat just outside Trenton next to Rall’s Hessian garrison. The American gets a rather scripted +5 to surprise rolls when attacking Trenton, plus it being dawn and a prepared attack gave Washington very favourable odds but the roll was terrible and Rall escaped with only 25% losses and a retreat.
Further south Greene collected a few detachments of militia and drove the other Hessian garrisons north.

The Hessians forced marched out wide forcing Washington to either hunt them down for a few extra vps, or look el…

Quick Looks: Napoleon's Nemsis 1813

A question often asked of a boardgames is does its mechanics represent its theme? Or is the theme just art work over a set of dice rolls and cube trading?

Whether a war game simulates its historical era would seem easier to determine. Today we have a quick look at an east front war game set in 1813 1945.

1813 Napoleon's Nemesis covers the Leipzig campaign following Italian publisher Europa Simulazioni's previous game on the ill fated 1812 Invasion of Russia. The napoleonic game of maneuver has long been the grail of wargaming for me. I looked for it in Zucker's Day's series and found a bumper cars CRT, I looked for it here and found something more akin to Red Storm.

Lets look at some numbers.

According to the Wiki (that venerable source of 'facts') there were 380,000 coalition vs 225,000 French Empire men on the field at Leipzig. According to the Nemesis rule book each infantry counter represents a division of ~8000 men and 6 unit counters is the strict stackin…

A weekend of Wargaming Part 4: 1:1200 Pre-Dreadnaught Naval, A Quick Look

I don’t know what the rule set we have used is called but it’s based around Tsushima, so im going to refer to it as that (Pete may comment with more info). In both games I’ve played the Russian Baltic Fleet, Pete the IJN combined fleet.
Tsushima is a game of two very distinct halves. In the first you move around paper markers trying to out bluff and out manoeuvre each other to cross your opponents T and get your destroyers in close. This is by far the most nail biting time I have had with miniatures.

Once your two bluff counters have been seen through and your others revealed you swap them out for metal ships (1:1200) and your fleet is on the table. The first half is the initial jockeying for position and the first pass. The second half is the following confusion and then perhaps a second or more passes. The first pass is very much a calculated icy affair of trying to secure the best fire angle for your fleet. After this the game sort of takes a life of its own as your formations brea…

A weekend of Wargaming Part 3: Plan Orange: The Pacific 1930-1935 Review

I’ve played a fair amount of Empire of the Sun over the past 5 years and now there are two magazine games based on the same system; South Pacific which is effectively a trimmed down version of the 1943 (or is it 42) scenario from the original game, and Plan Orange, a variant that takes a pacific war in the 1930s that was war gamed and considered by both sides but never took place.

I’m not going to discuss many of the games mechanics. Empire of the Sun is a very complex game and it is also rather unique. The core conceit is that you play cards from your hand to launch operations. An operation would be something like the battle of the Coral Sea, or the invasion of Guam. Based on the resources your cards give you, you would send out a fleet, your opponent may detect your move, either by die roll or card play) and counter with their own fleet. A battle or more may result perhaps followed by an amphibious landing. It’s a concise way for Mark Herman (the designer) to get you to juggle intel…