Monday, December 26, 2011

Dungeons and Dragons Online review

So over the course of last weekend when I was supposed to be playing the Aion beta I was not. Well, I did play Aion to be fair, however I stopped short Saturday and never logged back in after playing Thursday night all night. Due to the holiday and a busy schedule, I just did not feel like sitting there spamming hotbar icons and taking quest after quest in an effort to level up and have my character erased. This is called burn out guys and gals, and it has hit me hard. I am tired of MMO’s and if I sit at my computer, you had better keep me entertained and keep me involved or within 10 minutes I am off and back to the XBOX 360.

My love for MMO’s, the traditional kind, has worn off and now in my gaming twilight I am looking for instant gratification and ACTION. I know I was coming down hard on the Champions Online beta and the first 10 levels of Aion but guess what: I was coming down hard on them because they offer nothing different! Hence, I was getting bored.

So imagine my surprise when Hicks, a friend of mine, went back to Dungeons and Dragons Online and let me know how cool the beta was for the free client. I actually managed to install the beta client and test it out and the game seemed different. I don’t know how to put my finger on it but the game seemed to work better, it was brighter, more responsive and FUN. The store was dead on in it what it offered and it FELT like a good action oriented MMO the type of which we hadn’t seen since Tabula Rasa shut down.

Since that night I have not been able to log into the beta server to test it again (some account issue I think) but I did resubscribe to DDO to get in there and test out the new player experience and by GOD I LIKED IT. I actually liked it so much that any free time I had MMO wise was spent in DDO this past holiday weekend.

Now I am not going to go into a review or any of that stuff. If you want that other bloggers beat me to the punch already. Take a read over at Bio Break and look at Pumping Irony’s AWESOME newbie island write ups from back in November of 2008 (yeah, I am late on the DDO train).

Now DDO is a game that I bought when it launched and spent about 4 days in before trashing it. The reasons were the controls, the style of fighting and it wasn’t World of Warcraft. Common little issues that we have all been guilty of yes? At the time of release I was a WoW Head I admit it. The thought of mana and hit points not returning to me and having to actually click to SWING my weapons was foreign and frightful. Now however I love it. I am involved, I have to plan ahead for my rest breaks to get HP back, and the combat seems so much more visceral.

The primary issue I always had with the game were its really dumb controls. I come from the old school mouse control world where right click mouse button hold moves your freaking camera, and left click selects a target. Not in default DDO. For some reason they made right click swing a weapon, exactly like if you play Oblivion and walk around and swing but imagine it mapped to the wrong damn mouse button.

Whenever I would try to right click to talk to someone, or pick something up I would swing my weapon and my character would enter that dumb battle stance. I was so frustrated that I just could NOT rewire my brain to comprehend this new control scheme that I actually stopped playing.
I didn’t do the research on the game, I didn’t understand the leveling, I didn’t even get why I got no XP for killing monsters. I just flat gave up, wiped the drool off my desk and jacked back into the Matrix that was World of Warcraft and it’s shiny colors.

So I have no idea what clicked or what happened this time around but I am fairly sure it had 80% to do with Oblivion for the PC and the fact that it was on sale this weekend. You see, I always wanted to like Oblivion but despite the fact it had great content and really neat side stories I was bored to fucking tears with it. I always wanted Oblivion to be online because I liked the combat and how involved you were with fighting.

After I went in and REMAPPED my DDO controls the entire game just clicked and I became instantly addicted to it. Much like Guild Wars I liked that it was heavily instanced but since it was D&D it had flavor, it had some spice to the dungeons and it was heavily reliant on atmosphere and not geared toward PVP at the end game. DDO just felt “homey” to me where I always felt like a tourist in Guild Wars because I knew if I maxed out in that game I would just quit because I super SUCK ASS at PVP.

So DDO had a great new starter island added that when I tried it last year I really did not explore completely. I know most of you are thinking “but the game is so weird” but it really is not. Think of DDO as Oblivion online and you will go in and understand the game. Think of it as “I am going to DDO from WoW” and you will hate it. For me, along with the fact that it allows me to play in chunks of time, the atmosphere and the ability to get into dungeons after all this solo content they added has really picked the game up a notch.

I have a lot of time to get back into gaming and see all these things I have missed and I have to say I am having a blast. Not with just XBOX 360 titles but also with free to play games like Requiem or Jade Dragon. The problem is though that even these games are technically WoW clones. After a bit, I start to zone out and I lose interest because lets face it we all know where this is going.

Not DDO though. DDO is a WEIRD game and it is weird because it has mechanics we as MMO players are not used to. Some basic facts follow.
  • Yes, you do not get XP per monster kill. You get it for finishing an adventure.
  • Yes you do not regenerate health and mana during an adventure. You need to watch it and time how you use the rest shrines.
  • NO you will not get uber weapons and armor drops, you must get to the chest at the end of a mission and see what is there.
  • YES rogues have a purpose other than to get owned by AOE in raid groups like in World of Warcraft.
  • No you cannot charge forward in a dungeon and expect to live.
  • Yes there are traps and puzzles to think about.
  • No you do not level fast and leveling is very odd since you have ranks within levels to clear before you actually level (think of them as EQ2 mini dings and that will help many).
  • Yes the game does encourage people hanging out in taverns.
  • Yes the class builds are odd and you can multi class.
  • Yes combat is twitchy but not to the point that you have to have a Street Fighter type combo menu memorized.
All these things that scared me off before are now a breath of fresh air and I wonder if Turbine is really marketing this game wrong. I think they went after a DIKU loving crowd and failed miserably to meet their target audience. Oh sure, there is an action bar and some hot keys on it. You WILL use them eventually (the first few levels on the newbie island are LAUGHABLY easy don’t let that fool you) but the core system of the combat is not a “push it and wait for it to refresh” type of combat system. You need to attack by swinging your weapon, try to trip your opponent, watch your facing, target mobs and actually AIM a bow to hit something. The game’s combat sounds lack some UMPH but it is still satisfying for me to swing a huge two handed axe and know that as long as the monsters are in front of me I will hit them in a big arc of damage. No AOE attack hotkey needed, no waiting for a cool down, no targeting. Just plain combat common sense. If many opponents are in front of you and you swing a huge axe sideways, you will clip some if not all of them. One drawback is you will click the mouse a lot if you are melee. I mean A LOT. However this is not much different than “A” button spam in a console title.

Archery is a little different. You need to target and aim and then shoot to really hit the enemy. This also makes it very satisfying when you line up a shot from far off and hear the nice THUNK when the arrow hits the mark and you see a damage number go up. Want extra fun? Turn on die rolling and watch and see what you roll when you shoot. Roll a natural 20 and sure enough you will crit on screen. This is a lovely nerdgasm moment that has to be seen and felt to understand.

Abilities are sometimes only usable a few times per dungeon run, and expending them will mean that you need to rest before getting them back. You need to plan ahead and equip what spells you want to bring in as a caster, and not having the right ones can be embarrassing and detrimental to the party. You need to think on your toes and examine everything since there may be secret doors and areas of a dungeon that if found will give you more XP upon completion.

Best of all you can BREAK things. Crates, barrels, altars, coffins you name it you can smash it (unless it is part of the artwork). In these things may be cash, potions or other items just like Oblivion. In short DDO plays like an XBOX 360 role playing game and you can even use a gamepad with it. I like this system now and it has me hooked. Another great thing is the ability to run dungeons over again even after you have finished the initial quest. I can hop online, do something for 20 minutes and get out without wasting my entire night. Sure, there are longer dungeons that require more people but the solo content is right on par with my experience in a console title that lets me save the game. I have the added bonus with DDO though of meeting up with my friends (if I can get them to play) and adventuring.

Overall I have been pleasantly surprised in the changes in the game (especially the hirelings which saved Hicks and I during one mission where we were rushed by 200 kobolds) and look forward to unlocking and purchasing extra adventures when the free to play RMT model goes live.

The newbie island of Korthos had enough content to easily get me to level 2 if you READ and do not blow through it. Many people do one or two quests and don’t look around and realize that after a bit you unlock the gate that goes out to the rest of the outdoor area: the huge island itself wherein lies many other dungeons and kill tasks and some great long distance archery combat.

There are issues with the game sure, but honestly I just wanted to blog about my experiences I am not a person paid to review games. A blog is for what you do and to talk about adventures to me so that is what I have done here.

I guess the best thing about DDO going free is that people no longer have an excuse to ignore it. I agree that the monthly price when it launched was a bit of a joke, but now there is a ton of content and some good perks to think about maybe subscribing when the F2P model goes live.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Star Wars The Old Republic Hutt Ball full game video

It is not all about questing you know. Sometimes you need to settle in for a friendly game of Hutt Ball and just smash other players.

Full video below via YouTube



 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Rifting we will go go - then what?

So in a concerted effort to get back into MMO's I have been revisiting RIFT lately hoping to ignite the spark I lost over a year ago. While RIFT is about as generic a fantasy MMO you can get and does not offer up anything new I haven't seen before it is well polished and makes it tolerable.

The problem with fantasy MMO's is that I just don't care anymore, especially if they are new. They have a shelf life of a good population of about 6-9 months then burn out. RIFT for example will be dead when Star Wars launches. As it is right now there are few alts in RIFT that I can see being made and that is a bad sign. WoW remains the king as lame as it is nowadays. Other games have smaller populations but most of them are inhabited by level capped elitist snobs such as in EQ2 (a game more broken than ever).

So RIFT it is if I do not want to suffer through the throngs of retards in World of Warcraft. I still laugh at level capped RIFT players though as they take their dailies and little raiding instances so seriously. In a few months all of it will mean nothing as their cities go dead and the game loses a majority of the players it has due to being a clone of everything else on the market. I just cannot get excited about the lore and the end game. Do I really care if Regulos does this or that? Nah...not really. In EQ1 I DID care about what happened to Norrath. In WoW I DID care about killing the Lich King. Other than that I cannot think of one generic fantasy MMO with some cut and paste lore attempt that I can care about.

My necromancer is level 23, my warrior is level 28 but he is so boring I doubt I will go back to him. Lets see how far I can get this necro before Star Wars launches and I bid farewell to fantasy MMO's AT LAST. It has been since Tabula Rasa that I have been this excited over a sci fi MMO. I tried to get into Star Trek but knew from beta and from the fact that Cryptic had it that it would be destined to fail and go free to play.

Ah well at least my rogue pet looks cool. The MMO population continues to get watered down and dumber with age as more and more of these types of games get released and thin the population down to noobies that want things the easy way. RIFT is no exception but at least it WORKS as opposed to some other games (anything by Sony Online for example).

Expect more Star Wars updates in the upcoming weeks.



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Star Wars Old Republic Podcast list

Want to bone up on your knowledge of the game waaaay before launch? Check out this mega list of podcasts posted on the official SWTOR forums:

http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=46726

Who knows I may start my own when the game launches lets see how much free time I have.

 

 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TOR Wars interviews SWTOR’s Georg Zoeller

TOR WARS website sat down with Georg Zoeller who is Star Wars the Old Republic's lead combat designer. They discuss tactics, combat design and more in the interview.
How do you go about designing a combat system that will keep players excited and motivated for numerous hours a day, potentially over a number of years?

Zoeller:
Options. The Advanced Class system allows characters to fill several roles within their class and through our skill trees we offer multiple types of gameplay with a lot of depth. This goes a long way to making sure players can get the most from their class.

Read the full thing here:

http://torwars.com/2011/09/01/torwars-interview-swtors-georg-zoeller/

Battlefield Academy announces Operation Market Garden add on

For more information about BATTLE ACADEMY Operation Market Garden, check out the product page.


With 8 single player missions and the introduction of a campaign mode where you have to possibility of carrying over your units from mission to mission, Market Garden adds a complete new level of gameplay to Battle Academy and is a must have for all the fans of this award winning strategy gem !

Additionally a brand new add-on is now also available for both PC and Mac: BATTLE ACADEMY Operation Market Garden challenges players to use all their tactical skills to capture Arnhem bridge and secure a crucial victory against the Germans in one of the most complex engagements ever fought. Eight brand new single player missions, four multiplayer maps and the introduction of a campaign mode which includes carrying over units from mission to mission, make this new add-on an incredible package that any BATTLE ACADEMY player will just have to have to play.

“We listen to our players as much as we can,” said Iain McNeil, Development Director of Slitherine. “We have been asked for a campaign mode and we know this has been the top demand from our players. It took us a lot of development resources and time, but we decided that we just had to bring this to our loyal fan base, and it makes the expansion an amazing package. We are sure we are going to make a lot of our fans happy with this one”.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Playing Pathfinder online

Our adventures continue.

Along with my normal RPG gaming crew I also run a Tuesday night online campaign of Pathfinder. While having the 5-6 guys I play my cleric with meet up each week is fun sometimes you need to have some smaller adventures on the side and playing online allows you to do that quite well.

All in all the gaming for me is in high gear and rolling along well with a more mature bunch of people.

Some images of the software we use online to fulfill our Pathfinder needs:





Friday, August 26, 2011

Pathfinder and Global Agenda Update

More RPG playing the past two weeks and very little wargaming unfortunately.

My Squad Battles Red Victory tournament ended quickly as I had to face guys that not only play tested the scenario but knew exactly what hex to move each unit into to ensure victory. Not fun.

Turning to video games Global Agenda, a game which I pre ordered last year and played for a bit before becoming terribly bored, is ramping up its PVE content with a new free expansion.

With a busy work month I have not had a chance to get down and dirty with more Advanced Squad Leader or Lock and Load. That will change next week hopefully.

Monday night Pathfinder is going well, and now we are starting a Tuesday night online group as well. Should be fun
Notable expansion additions include:

  • New Open Zone with several instanced missions, quest chains, mid-high level
    content, vendors, social spaces

  • New enemy bots – encountered within Open Zone as well as instanced missions

  • Daily Repeatable Quests – for solo agents and teams. Some quests take place
    in zones, while others send teams into Recursive Colony hive nodes and ruins.
    These quests include new 4-man defense Raid missions – now available to smaller
    groups (1-4) at lower levels (20+)

  • New Dyes, Flair, and Trails – rewards for winning missions, completing daily
    quests,  rare bot drops, others given via achievements

  • New Pets – new pets available as rewards and crafted items.

  • New Blueprints – for consumables and mods

  • Easier crafting – components now within the zone, to help with leveling
    crafting skills

  • New High/Max/UltraMax missions entering the Spec Ops queues

  • New PvP Map – Push Dust will be entering the Merc queue from Beta

  • New PvP Acquisition/CTR Map – Colony Caverns will be entering the Beta Queue

  • Revamped Intro Missions – Tutorials now include class-specific elements to
    help train new players

  • Some quests now affect the state of the world (example – Brownouts in Dome
    City…)

  • Ability to transfer between different Open Zone instances (and VR Arena)

  • Open Zone cross-instance chat channels

  • Disconnect to Character Select Screen without re-login

  • Improved Vendor Item Previewing


Monday, August 15, 2011

Pathfinder pics from first gaming session

Session one is under our belts. 3 hours 600 xp earned. Interesting night but more on that later. Here are some pics of a roadside bandit attack and a campfire encounter with a pack of wild boars that almost wiped out our whole party. Would have helped if I wasn't fighting in my underwear. The highlight of the night was me being able to slam my warhammer into the face of a bandit and rolling a natural 20 crit for triple damage. That'll teach em to pick on the healer.







Friday, August 12, 2011

Vikund the Cleric is set

With our first group meeting next week I finally got my Pathfinder character fleshed out and he is ready to join the ranks of the 4 other party members in my RPG group.

I used Hero Lab (along with the Core Rulebook) to help create him and present a nice character sheet and printout. We are from the town of Winston Ridge but most of us will be making the trek to the frontier town of Vigilance at some point on the first evening we meet up.



On another note I played Descent Wednesday and will play again next Sunday. We learned it is a tough go for a person that tries to play the game with ONE hero. Not again that is for sure. I slaughtered him easily. When I return to the game we will tweak it so that he does not have to play 3 heroes at once and reduce the card draw for the Over Lord player.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

John Tiller's newest Squad Battles is Falklands

Just released. He does these things like a ninja.

You can read all about the new game here:

http://johntillersoftware.com/SquadBattles/Falklands.html

I probably will not pick this up the subject matter just does not interest me. I hope he focuses more on that mysterious Panzer Battles game listed on his site to be honest.

Here are the details:

Scenarios



  • 54 scenarios covering actions such as Operation Rosario, Grytviken, Coronation Ridge and Goose Green.

  • Scenarios range in length from 6 to 36 turns and cover actions from small firefights between a handful of men to hundreds of men battling it out for key strongpoints on a variety of battlefields.

  • Close quarters urban fighting, hostage rescues and a variety of remote terrain fights are modeled.

  • 2 linked scenario campaigns.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ian Trout of SSG departs us today

Ian Trout (1949-2011), President and co-founder of SSG, passed away today after losing his battle with cancer. Ian was the designer of most of SSG's games and his untimely death represents a huge loss to SSG and the games industry.

You will be missed Ian, God speed.

NWS Online Store adds Victory Point Games inventory

NWS Online Gaming Store, a site I use frequently to order almost all my HPS SIMS games and a ton of boardgames as well, has announced a Victory Point Games sale where $100 dollars spent on VPG titles nets you free shipping. They are carrying almost every title that VPG releases also. There is also discounted shipping for lower cost orders.

The details can be found here:

http://yhst-12000246778232.stores.yahoo.net/vipogase.html

Order subtotal:
USA: ($50-$74) -50%


($75-$99) -75%

($100>) FREE SHIPPING!


Canada/International: ($50-$74) -25%, ($75-$99) -50%, ($100>) -75%




 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today's ASL game came down to the wire: Released from the East goes to the Russians

Eastern front 1941. Winter battle. Russians get special snow camo movement rule.

The objective: I had to take two of three buildings from the Germans by the end of turn 6

The result: on the very last movement of the game I dash a squad of Russians ACROSS a road, into German fire, make my morale check on a hit they take and jump into the 2nd building to claim it and win the game!

We had some crazy stuff this game. I used a demolition charge early to blow the Germans out the middle building. I also broke two machine guns but fixed one...only to break it again.

Late game a dice roll of a natural 2 created a German fanatic in the exact hex I was trying to assault to win the game.

On Turn 1 3 of my squads got shot up to half squads just entering the map and trying to take the middle building. However my Russian persistence paid off and on several gutsy moves I melee'd the Germans and took the building. My plan worked as I drove up the middle, split his forces and then focused on his weakest side. However when the fanatic was created it forced me to ignore my original plan and attempt to sneak a squad into the last building. Basically I won the game on a die roll and it paid off.

All in all another excellent game and once again my opponent played me down to the very last possible movement.

Pictures are included below, some chits are spread out to show what was in the hexes.





 

[caption id="attachment_4535" align="aligncenter" width="649" caption="The game winner: an exhausted Russian unit runs into the building"][/caption]

 

HPS Simulations Napoleonic Battles Optional Rules

Another tough list to find are the optional rules for HPS Sims Napoleonic Campaigns. You will have to search through the included PDF's in the updates to find the rules so to make it easy I have put them together right out of said PDF for easy reference here on my site.

Optional Rules Dialog
The Optional Rules Dialog is used to view and select the Optional Rules for a new battle. Optional Rules can be set at the beginning of a battle, but not changed once the battle has started. The Optional Rules selected in the Optional Rules Dialog are saved and become the subsequent default for new battles. See the Design Notes in the Users Manual for why Optional Rules are not called Advanced Rules.

 

  • If you select Manual Defensive Fire, then each turn will consist of a number of Phases rather than two player turns. The game rules under this option are described in the Users Manual.

  • Select Victory Points for Leader Casualties to have Victory Points awarded for enemy leaders that are killed, wounded, or captured. See the Design Notes in the User Manual for why this is not a default rule.

  • Select Rout Limiting to reduce the amount of secondary routing that occurs. The default routing rules require that units adjacent to a unit that has failed its morale check must also take a morale check (there are restrictions such as  routing skirmishers cannot cause non-skirmishers to rout). This is applied recursively if those units also fail their check. While this can result in the rout of large number of units, given normal probabilities it is ``self limiting’’, that is, it stops after a certain number of iterations based on the situation.

  • When Rout Limiting is in effect, units in adjacent hexes undergoing a morale check receive a progressively larger modifier to their default morale. This modifier starts at 1 and is increased by 1 for each iteration based on a failed morale check. So, for example, if unit A fails their morale check, unit B in an adjacent hex undergoes a morale check with +1 added to their default morale. If unit B fails this test, then unit C in an adjacent hex to B undergoes a morale check with +2 added to their default morale. And so on. Therefore, as these modifiers increase, a point is reached where units stop routing which, in general, will be before they would have stopped otherwise. See the Design Notes in the Users Manual for why this is not a default rule.

  • Select Isolation Rules to cause Isolated units to have their strength divided by 2 when defending in a melee. Also Isolated leaders receive no benefit from their commanders during command checks. When an Isolated Artillery unit fires, it may become Low or Out-Of-Ammo. The Artillery unit will become resupplied when it becomes non-Isolated, unless the Artillery supply level for its side is zero. See the Design Notes in the Users Manual for an explanation of the Isolation melee effects.

  • If you select Optional Fire Results, then the resulting fire casualty values are based on the average of two default fire calculations. This produces values which are more likely to be in the midrange of the casualty interval rather than uniformly distributed.

  • Select Melee Terrain Modifiers to have the terrain modifier of the defending hex applied to melee results.

  • Select Column Pass Through Fire to have Artillery Pass-Through fire effects apply to Infantry in Column formation as well as Infantry in Line formation.

  • Select Target Density Modifier to have the fire value affected by the total number of men in the target hex. When the target hex has more than 1200 men in it, then the fire value against units in this affect is multiplied by Total/1200 where Total is the total number of men in the target hex.

  • Select No Retreat Overruns to prevent the defenders of a melee from retreating into hexes containing enemy skirmishers.

  • Select Weak Zone-Of-Control to allow units to move one hex through enemy Zone-Of-Control per turn and to allow units to retreat one hex through enemy Zone-Of-Control.

  • Select Partial Retreats to allow some units to retreat from a hex after being defeated in melee even when there is not enough room for all of the units to retreat. See the Design Notes in the Users Manual for why this is not a default rule.

  • Select Line Movement Restriction to cause infantry units that move in line formation to have the chance of becoming Disordered. The details of this are explained in the Users Manual in the section on Movement.

  • Select Flank Morale Modifier to have the morale of non-Skirmisher units, with non-Skirmisher friendly units on both flanks, increased by 1 for the purpose of Rout and Disorder determination. Another way to refer to this is as "double flank elbow courage".

  • If you select Optional Melee Results, then the resulting melee casualty values are based on the average of two default melee casualties. This has the effect of reducing the variation in casualty values.

  • Select Multiple Cavalry Melees to allow cavalry units to melee attack units that have all already been meleed against.

  • Select Multiple Infantry Melees to allow infantry units to melee attack units that have all already been meleed against.

  • Select No Opportunity Fire Against Skirmishers to prevent opportunity fire from being targeted against hexes that only contain skirmishers and leaders.

  • Select No Melee Eliminations to prevent defenders in a melee that have no valid retreat hex from being eliminated.


 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pathfinder at last

Finally one year after the last GenCon (which sadly I am not attending this year) I will be stepping foot into the world of the Pathfinder RPG once more. This time I will be playing and my buddy is DM'ing along with 4 other players. We have a solid group that will be meeting weekly to hammer out some hardcore adventuring. We are all starting at level 1, no wizards or summoners. Our starting town will be Vigilance which is a small outpost on the edge of the frontier. Who knows what awaits us. I will be rolling a cleric however as that is just what I like to play.

To contribute and help our DM out (and my Advanced Squad Leader Jedi Master) I picked up the Paizo Publishing Dungeon Map Pack today at my local store. It is a nice set of laminated dry erase capable map tiles that can be arranged to simulate corridors etc etc.

I have thought about using Descent (from Fantasy Flight Games) tiles as well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Andy Chambers and DUST Miniatures

This just in:
Fantasy Flight Games is excited to announce the upcoming release of Dust Warfare, designed by renowned miniatures guru Andy Chambers! Our intent to launch a Dust tabletop miniatures game was announced even before Dust Tactics was released. Now the success of Dust Tactics has paved the way for us to take the next step. Currently in beta, this tactical tabletop miniatures game of alternate 1940s reality World War II combat will demo throughout Gen Con Indy 2011.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

3 games of Combat Commander today

1 regular game and 2 in the Mediterranean where I played the British both times. I played the allies all day long and ended up with a 2-1 record after an all day frenzy of the game that lasted from 11 am until 6pm

Game one was the standard starter scenario Fat Lipki which I won after a disastrous melee attempt near the end of the game wiped out the Germans and my opponent conceded.

Game two was the Crete battle and the Anzacs versus the Fallschirmjagers. This game went right down to turn 7 which was one more than Sudden Death. When the game ended, thanks to a random scenario objective placed by an event, I lost 1-0 since I had captured one less objective and not exited enough men off the board to make a difference. This game was right down to the wire and I was about 7 hexes from victory. The German paratroopers were tough as nails.

Game 3 was a laugher. African desert, scenario 23 from the expansion and a wide open map British vs Italians. We started in trenches and I had artillery which didn't hit anything until the 4th turn. As we neared the end the Italians spawned a hero from an event and things looked grim. The Italian player went for it and lost  a melee which eliminated a majority of the units on his right. With all his other units broken from nasty combos and fire I played my opponent conceded and we called the game.

All in all a super fun time and I cant wait to play more this Sunday. Then it's back to Squad Leader. I learned today however that I play much better when dice are not involved. That also means there is a lot of random play in Combat Commander that can change things in an instant before you can recover. It is a catch-22 and I am not sure if I miss the dice or if I like the card play better.









Monday, July 25, 2011

Arrivals today

The last of the games are in place and now I own the complete ASL starter line. It was a long haul that is for sure. #3 was out of print and in such demand for so long I had to judge whether I would ever be able to afford it. It went from 66 dollars to 95 dollars on Ebay which is just absurd for a Starter Kit

Combat Commander Med is in also so I can play the Brits and French Wednesday (The French with their 1 discard ability lol). After I got rocked in my last two games I am ready to really try some punishment and attempt the Italians or French!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A massive drop in the price of CIV 5 makes it a best seller again

STEAM has Civilization V down to $17.00 right now and the game quickly shot to the top of the sales charts. Here are the rest:

  • Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues

  • Terraria

  • Dead Island

  • GRID

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Annihilation Content Pack

  • Left 4 Dead 2

  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Digital Premium Edition

  • Counter-Strike: Source

  • Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition

The end of my miniature gaming era

Finally, last Friday, I sold the very last item of miniature gaming I had in my possession. It was a Sabol Army Transport bag. In less than a month I sold every miniature, paint, tool, flocking supply, glue and terrain I owned and made over $1500 dollars on EBAY.

To say I do not miss miniature gaming is an understatement. I have been away now for almost 3 months and I couldn't be happier. I never was able to find a single rules system I liked for the most part going all the way back to 1994. I abandoned board wargaming back in 1992 and that was a dumb mistake. I have already met a lot more mature, fun and for the most part non power gaming opponents in my board wargaming travels than I did in the decades I spent wasting money and time on miniature gaming.

I can count on one hand the number of true friends I met while miniature gaming to be honest and I think that has to do with the age difference and attitudes between board wargamers and miniature gamers.

I don't see myself ever going back into that genre. The waste of time, effort and money and the arguments that ensue over the various rules systems are just not worth my time. I have always been a board wargamer at heart, and while harder to find opponents for that quest is made a lot easier thanks to VASSAL and Board Game Geek.

So here is to all the lucky soles that got my items for a real bargain bin price. I hope you meet finer people and have more enjoyment with my miniatures than I did. Best advice I can give to anyone is of course to stay clear away from Games Workshop and the environment it fosters. There are some people that are in love with the IDEA of miniature gaming and I think that was my problem. It looks great but it never plays the way it looks. Looking is enough for me. I think I know a lot of people that have that issue. Heck I know a guy that went back to GW for just 3 weeks at the start of July and is already selling everything AGAIN even his Bloodbowl team that he swore he loved so much. There comes a point when poorly written rules and a bad community just start to slap you in the face over and over and you realize that it is the way the games play that matters. I don't care if you use Legos to represent units. If the rules are bad the rules are bad. However a great rules system can make a game so much better. Power gaming lists, flavor of the month crap and all that garbage go by the wayside when you leave miniature wargaming. I for one wont be sad to never hear those words uttered in my new circles again.

If there is ever a return for me to this genre it will be in the form of very small skirmish games such as Malifaux, Dystopian Wars or something like Infinity. And it will not be whatever is popular just for the sake of having other gamers nearby.

Friday, July 22, 2011

No sound in streaming Netflix with Apple TV?

Thought I would pass this along. I had this issue with some of the newer movies like The Fighter and Skyline.
"I had this issue as well. I only had sound on some Netflix movies with my Apple TV. What I did was go into my audio and video settings on the Apple TV and turned off the dolby digital, turned on sound check. Dont know if that last part made a difference but I saw that step on a different question for sound issues. But after I did those steps it started working. Hope this helps."

Latest updates on Panzer Corps modding

Straight from the Slitherine newsletter comes a list of really cool mods for the newly released Panzer Corp:
Although only just released there is a very active community beavering away to create all sorts of mods and new scenarios. The built in scenario editor has been praised for its ease of use and this can be seen from the wealth of new content that has already been created. Here is a snap shot from the

scenario design and modders forum.

  • Hammer4000 is working on a map that covers all of Europe!

  • NickGen is working on a Cold War mod with loads of new units.

  • El Condoro has created an invasion of Australia scenario.

  • Locarnus  has modified the campaign flow to give an option that keeps it completely historical.

  • HBalck  has created new units - a motor cycle, bicycle infantry and horse drawn transports.

  • El Condoro has created a Kharkov 1943 scenario


This is just a small sample of what is going on. Check out the forums for more details. As you can imagine - if this is what has happened in one week, how much content will there be in 3 months time or a year!

Combat Mission Battle for Normandy Patch notes

Released just a day ago here are the enormous patch notes for a game which I still need to reinstall since rebuilding my machine:

Vehicles

  • Moving vehicles fire their weapons with further reduced accuracy.

  • Spotting ability of buttoned-up vehicles is further reduced.

  • Fixed a graphical bug that could cause a Puma crew to rotate outside the vehicle.

  • Vehicles that lose an unbuttoned crewman to small-arms fire are more likely to pop smoke and/or retreat like they typically do when the vehicle itself takes a hit.

  • Armor penetrations through a vehicle's main gun mantlet are not reported as hits on other locations.

  • Hit text for projectiles that enter an open vehicle hatch says "Hit: Opening" rather than turret or hull.

  • Corrected a rare problem that could cause tank drivers to remember "threat locations" for too long and rotate the vehicle inappropriately.

  • In a campaign game, if a tank is in working order but its crew is decimated, the tank will not appear in the next battle only to immediately become "knocked out" due to having a decimated crew.

  • Rhino vehicles are additionally available in August.

  • Fixed a bug that prevented ricochets off a Panther lower mantlet into the hull top (though this intentionally remains rare).

  • The glacis/hull-roof armor plate on the Tiger front is thicker.

  • SPW 250/9, SPW 251/9, and SPW 251/10 halftracks will button up under fire like most other vehicles do.

  • PSW 222 crew is now commander/loader, gunner, and driver.

  • PSW 222 and PSW 223 are capable of firing weapons after losing a crewman, and have slightly improved commander's visiblity when buttoned up.


Terrain

  • Troops hiding in trenches or foxholes get better protection from shrapnel.

  • Concealment in foxholes is increased.

  • Corrected a problem that protected soldiers when a wall was behind them, but not enough when a wall was in front of them.

  • The distance between a soldier and bocage where the soldier may see through the bocage is slightly shortened.

  • Direct hits do more damage to trees.

  • Trees are less likely to block large projectiles consistently.

  • Tree placement remains precisely consistent each time you load/play a particular scenario.


Quick Battles

  • Corrected a problem that sometimes switched attacking and defending sides.

  • The unit auto-purchaser is improved.

  • Air support may only be purchased during daytime with clear or hazy weather.

  • The "Random Service" option works properly.


Artillery

  • Artillery is a little less precise.

  • When a forward observer cannot see where spotting rounds impact, he will usually require another round to be fired rather than skip ahead to fire-for-effect with poor accuracy.

  • Corrected a problem that sometimes caused artillery missions targeted near a TRP to "prepare" indefinitely.

  • Pre-planned missions for on-map artillery won't ever use spotting rounds.

  • Corrected an accuracy problem that could affect the first rounds of pre-planned artillery strikes using the Line pattern.

  • White phosphorous (smoke) does not cause unrealistically high casualties.


Soldier Behavior

  • Soldiers are less likely to use SMGs at longer ranges.

  • Soldiers are less likely to fire on exposed tank crew.

  • Soldiers can spot anti-tank mines (in addition to anti-personnel mines).

  • Corrected some problems with mortars in direct-fire mode.

  • Soldiers are less likely to use explosive weapons for area-fire at very short range.

  • Soldiers won't set up heavy weapons on the precise edge of the map.

  • The TacAI pays a bit less attention to unarmed vehicle targets.

  • Soldiers aim better when area-firing into an immediately adjacent building.

  • Corrected some problems with soldier placement around heavy weapons in foxholes.

  • Soldiers are quicker to stop attempting to surrender if friendly soldiers are nearby and enemies are not.

  • HMG assistants can cower under fire like the rest of their team.


Grenades

  • Troops may throw grenades from buildings at open-topped vehicles.

  • Grenade throwing obeys covered arc orders.

  • Grenades won't roll through building walls.


Bridge Pathfinding

  • Corrected some minor pathing problems across bridges.

  • Troops are more willing to move across nearby fords rather than use distant bridges.


Anti-tank Guns

  • Antitank guns won't attach to vehicles that are too small to tow them.

  • Corrected a problem that potentially allowed an antitank gun team to move the gun into a building.


User Interface

  • Keyboard camera controls are smoother (Windows version).

  • When placing troops in a building during setup, if you click on a soldier or its icon (instead of the building) to set the destination, it won't cause the moving troops to float in midair.

  • Trenches and barbed-wires "remember" their rotations if moved to a location that is not adjacent to other trenches or barbed-wire.

  • When attaching targeting orders to a waypoint, the range display is calculated from the waypoint, not the unit's current location.

  • Corrected a problem with area-targeting a non-occupiable roof of a building.

  • Clicking Exit or New in the Editor brings up a confirmation dialog.


Miscellaneous

  • Less framerate is devoted to showing wind blowing through trees.

  • MP40 ammo pouches display correctly on German soldiers.

  • Fixed a disappearing "gable" on a couple of barns.

  • Updated US rank icons.

  • Fixed some out-of-memory problems.

  • Adjusted the point values for bunkers.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Squad Battles Optional Rules descriptions

If you are like me and play Squad Battles a lot sometimes you forget what the optional rules do. These can be picked at the start of a game and have certain effects upon the realism of the game. Trying to find those in the actual gameplay manual can be annoying and they are actually found in the help files for the game.

I have decided to cut and paste them here as a reference for myself and others should they be unable to remember what they do. It is also quicker than using the help files in game especially if you are on a newer PC that may not have the updated Windows 7 Help File fix

Optional Rules Dialog


The Optional Rules Dialog is used to view and select the Optional Rules for a new battle.  Optional Rules can be set at the beginning of a battle, but not changed once the battle has started.  The Optional Rules selected in the Optional Rules Dialog are saved and become the subsequent default for new battles.

Optional Fire Results – when this rule is selected, each fire result is calculated as the average of two normal fire results.  This has the effect of reducing the variation in results.

Optional Assault Results – when this rule is selected, each assault result is calculated as the average of two normal assault results.  This has the effect of reducing the variation in results.

Helicopter Hovering – when this rule is selected, helicopters can enter the state of Hovering by performing certain actions.  In this state, they are more vulnerable to enemy fire.  More information on this rule can be found in the Users Manual under Hovering in the section on Movement.

Vehicle Fire Over – when this rule is selected, it is possible for Vehicles to fire over On Ground units of the same side.  For more information, see the section on Firing in the Users Manual.

Variable Ending – when this rule is selected, it is possible for a scenario to continue past the specified last turn.  For each 10 turns, or fraction of 10 turns, of the original scenario, the duration can be extended up to one additional turn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We are on Google +

I sent myself an invite from my other Google+ account so now Blunt Force Gaming is live in the new "it" thing in social media. I never really used Buzz and I doubt I will use Google+ too much but you never know. Anyway we are on there and I have added the logo to the FOLLOW US block on the right hand side of the blog.

Alternatively you can click below (I think) and follow us. It is basically a reposting of our Facebook Page articles

https://plus.google.com/105707270252256336865

I am pretty sure you will need to be in the beta to see the page

Proud Monster Deluxe at local store

I walked in today and my usual gaming buddies had Proud Monster Deluxe in hand and we decided to lay out the map.

It is indeed a Proud MONSTER. This game is epic and huge. The components are nice as are the maps and reference cards.

Not sure when I person would ever find time to finish this without leaving it setup somewhere on a ping pong table but it is indeed awesome. This is a title by Compass Games.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Advance of the Reich: A narrow win

The scenario? Heavy Tanks at Rossienie. A 9 turn battle
24 Jun 41.  The appearance of heavy Russian tanks during the initial invasion of Russia caused some panic when they were first encountered by the advancing German forces.  The German Panzer divisions, which had previously been unstoppable across Europe, found that none of their available guns, short of the rare 88mm, was capable of penetrating these monsters.  Only with great courage and tenacity where they able to halt the advancing Russian tank forces and resume their advance.

This scenario came down to turn 8. I was desperate. The Russian KV-1 had blown up all my weaker early war tanks in succession and he sat right next to the 30 point objective that I needed to retake. In turn 1 the Russians had stormed down and taken the objective and I had worked all game at getting around in cover and trying to take that spot back.

All my AT guns, all my Mortars, all my tanks could not crack that KV-1. It was time for a desperate move. I moved Lt. Thiel into position and on turn 8, armed with a satchel charge, I pushed him and his men into the road into near coverless ground to make a last ditch assault on that tank with the satchel charge.

One charge blew....still the tank was there.

Second charge blows...TANK DESTROYED.

And on top of that Lt. Thiel had taken back the objective. He came under merciless fire. Meanwhile my AT guns could now focus on the exposed Russian infantry as they were pinned down. Out of the woods on Theil's right another squad of Germans erupted, assaulting pinned Soviet troops there and forcing them back. Nebelwerfers supported me as I pounded the wheatfields with fire.

In then end Thiel's squad lost 4 men and were badly shaken but as turn 9 rolled around and ended I had scored a major Russian defeat. Added to the minor win I had gained in my Red Victory Squad Battles title and I was on a roll in my return to the series.



Oberst Klink's Operational Art of War Tutorials

Oberst Klink over at the Gefechtsstand Blog has released his tutorial for The Operational Art of War. The Norm Koger classic gets the treatment with a series of pictorial scenes that the Oberst himself put together to help new players get familiar with the interface.

You can read all about them here

http://gefechtsstand.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/toaw-tutorial-2/

 

 

 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Squad Battles: Red Victory

Finally got around to reinstalling and playing Squad Battles again. I usually avoid the more modern titles since I just dont like the way they play but of course I do have the WW2 titles.

Red Victory is one that I did not dive too much into and instead opted to spend more time in Eagles Strike or Advance of the Reich. I decided to crank up Red Victory and play the getting started scenario today and the Germans do not have a fun go of it at all in that scenario.
28 JUNE 1944, NEAR SLUTSK, BOBRUISK - BARANOVICHI ROAD:

After shattering 9th Army's lines near Bobruisk, Konstantin Rokossovsky, commander of the 1st Belorussian Front, committed his exploitation force, the powerful Pliyev Cavalry Group, into action. Pliyev's tanks and cavalry stormed the German defenses behind Berezina River and kept the momentum in the marshlands of Pripyat.

On 27 June, the 1st Mechanized Corps move into Glusk, sweeping aside the remnants of the German 35. Infantry Division. By 1700 Soviet armor were pouring through a gap at Glusk in the direction of Slutsk. A very important railway junction, Slutsk was vital for the Soviets for keeping the momentum onwards Baranovichi and later, Minsk. Frantically gathering reserves from other sectors, German command committed a newly arrived paratrooper unit, Kampfgruppe Schirmer to block the seemingly unstoppable Russian spearhead before Slutsk.

Right off the bat the one thing you do not want to see in turn 1 is a stream of T-34's advancing down the road toward your dug in infantry. Luckily I do have at least one PAK40 gun and in turn 4 it made quick work of two T-34's advancing down the road. I will play this battle out and see how it goes. For now below is a screenshot of that PAK40 and the T-34 it immobilized:

Friday, July 15, 2011

GMT to give free demo of Andean Abyss

I love these things. GMT is once again giving a free demo of a game that is upcoming and it is Andean Abyss.

This game focuses around controlling Columbia in the 1990's. This game is by the same designer who did Wilderness War.

You can find out more here

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-337-andean-abyss.aspx

And information on the free demo (get your Ventrilo account and headphones ready) is here:
Following up on a series of demonstration videos, on Sunday, July 17 at 8:30pm Eastern Time we will be hosting a live demonstration of Volko Ruhnke's new game  design, ANDEAN ABYSS! Please visit our Ventrilo  Voice Server page for details on how to tune in.

 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Great Pacific War/Third Reich VASSAL module on Avalanche Press site

Slowly but surely some VASSAL modules are being released by Avalanche Press

The first that I see are Great Pacific War and Third Reich.

You can add them to an online check out cart here:

http://www.mcssl.com/store/4e466d3b9268494c82869d4417a53b/online-play-modules/great-pacificthird-reich-vassal-module

That's a start!


 

Monday, July 11, 2011

New downloadable titles from HPS Simulations


 

  • Now available via direct download in addition to CD: 


Civil War Battles: Campaign Chancellorsville
Naval Campaigns: Guadalcanal
Musket and Pike: The Renaissance
Squad Battles: Vietnam
Future Force was designed for The Army Command and General Staff College to help train military leaders in force management and resource allocation. It is not a traditional type of wargame - players do not move counters on a map and engage in specific combats.

Instead, it portrays the short term and long term effects of decisions the players make in deciding what force structure to create and maintain, where to allocate resources, and how to effectively manage the Army’s budget during a simulated twenty-year period against current and emerging threats.

During the game, the player seeks to find balance between the following tasks:

  • Conduct intelligence & counterintelligence

  • Prioritize theaters of operations

  • Manage strategic lift capability

  • Create new units

  • Update existing unit capability

  • Conduct Research & Development


Monday, July 4, 2011

Learning ASL one stupid mistake at a time

This scenario is taking place in September of 1942 in Stalingrad. The first scenario I played I was the Americans and in this one I wanted to learn more rules so I took the Germans. Mainly for the smoke usage but also I wanted to try demolition charges and flamethrowers.

This game was on VASSAL with a friend of mine in Belgium that I had met through playing Fighting Formations. So this was a morning session for me, evening session for him and we only had time to get through the first German half of Turn 1. I wanted to discuss some things I learned.

First off Assault Movement is a nice thing. Previously I had not used it in my first game because...well...I accidentally skipped over it in the rule book. This time around, after a liberal assault on my rulebook via a pink highlighter (yeah...pink) I was ready and knew the options I had before me. The thing about Squad Leader is that it is a lot like John Tillers Squad Battles put on a board with chits and made more complex. If you have played John Tiller's Squad Battles on the PC then you can get the idea of Squad Leader. I know what I WANT to do in ASL, I just need to know the rules to do it.

When I go to do something, I bust out the big ASL Binder Rulebook I have and look it up in the index. For example even though Smoke is in the Starer Kit Rulebook it is buried deep in a wall of text. I want to know more. I thirst for knowledge! So I turn to the ASL Binder and look up smoke. Now in the binder there are more in depth rules such as wind and dispersal etc etc.

Now I have my knowledge. It is putting that knowledge to use that makes ASL hard because you do not want to mess up the rules.

Above was my setup. I am the Germans (light blue-grey). Terrible. Now looking back at it and realizing I have the first move I should have put my men IN the buildings and here is why: It takes a lot to move and get through the buildings and around them. In the Starter Kit there is no bypass movement. So I have to go in or move around buildings. Right off the bat my setup was poor.

My plan was to drive across the gap and assault the building in hex E8.

The thing about this game is there are so many options and ways to do things it did not occurr to me to just race across the road and assault the building. I would take a lot of fire but I could have fired and tried to take out that Russian machine gun. Instead I chose to get fancy and here is how:

I wanted to pop smoke, move across the lane, and occupy the building.

I guess that is the beauty of Squad Leader in that it lets you PICK how you want to do something. Ultra Realistic yes, but to me no different than playing John Tillers Squad Battles like I mentioned.

So off I went.

I decided to use movement to move up into the buildings across from the Russians. I took some sporadic fire. Now I threw smoke and failed on one placement (even though in this scenario some German units needed a 4 to place I rolled terrible)

I managed to get some smoke out and now I went to execute my plan. My opponent was silent on my Skyped in headset. He was letting me learn as I babbled to myself.

Ok, time to cross that gap. I will Assault movement and go into the building in front of the smoke, then get across the road! What a brilliant plan right? Not really.

Before that you will notice I put one German squad up north and to the right. His main job was to suppress and hold that Russian MG in place and keep it pinned or routed. In my Prep Fire Phase this worked to perfection. It was about the only thing that did go right for me. I put a NEG 1 leader with him in case he got hit and broke or something. Since I am new to this game I am not sure what the best deployment is for certain things but I have years to learn and have to catch up. Most Vets have been playing for 20 years.

Anyway back to the smoke crossing. I laid out everything and prepared to move.

My opponent likes to let me go until I do something wrong, then he mentions it.

I laid out the smoke and went to move. Unfortunately for me I forgot that Assault movement was one hex of movement and then done. I started too far back by not being IN the buildings and had to use Assault movement to get into a building (I used that to avoid the FFNAM bonus a player gets shot at with for moving and not being cautious)

Problem is all my movements were a hex off because I deployed so badly. So I ended up one hex short on everyone because I didnt plan ahead and thus could not even get INTO the smoke hexes I had created.

Well the best laid plans I guess. I watched in dismay as my movement phase ended and my opponent mentions that he was going to tell me to take my deployment back but he wanted me to learn the hard way.

So as the minutes in the battle went by there lay my pretty smoke clouds...in the middle of the gap just sitting there as I failed to move forward and use them

All this happened and it was only my part of the FIRST turn. Now I also could have DOUBLE TIMED it, I could have opened fire more and not moved, I could have seperated my stacks and all sorts of combos.

Thats the thing about this game. You need to really plan out how you want to do something ahead of time and just go for it and stick to the plan. There are however many many ways to accomplish a goal. I think that is what keeps me addicted to learning this game.

I also had trouble in VASSAL remembering how to mark that a squad was CARRYING a support weapon and had to go back and redo a lot of my stacks. It is the little things you need to go over again and again before moving over to the other Starter Kits. One hand it is a learning curve, on another you get hours of playtime out of one Starter Kit.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

SPQR Great Battles of History: Ambush on the Romans complete

Another day and another learning step in figuring out this great battle system. Today over at my friends we finished up the SPQR turn we started the other day. Since this is a teaching game it moves slowly yet still has plenty of excitement.

At the start of Turn 2 the Carthiginians under Hannibal sprang an ambush on the Roman left from the woods.

Today we finished that ambush and the 2nd turn. While initially my ambush was a rousing success and I broke the Roman left, the Romans rallied routed units quickly and shifted their lines over to meet the threat. Next week we continue the game and see if my ambushers can hold off the fast approaching Roman response and see if I can keep the momentum. I routed a lot of him and put some hits on his once strong units but now I must finish them off before he brings too much force down on my right flank.



At the start of the ambush I came out of the woods strong and broke a good deal of Roman units getting a lot of flank attacks.



Javelin throwers and slingers run out of ammunition quickly in this game and are marked as such.



When all was said and done I had burst out of the woods and gained some ground. However the Romans rallied quickly and threaten the northern side of the ambush.

Civil War Banshee Team works on Panzer Campaigns France '40

Read all about it here:

http://forums.gamesquad.com/showthread.php?101177-France-40-New-quot-Talon-quot-3D-Graphics-Mod-available-from-Old-Banshee-Team.

This is a pretty cool mod done by a team that really changed the way HPS Sims Civil War Campaign series looked when you played it. Check it out for sure if you own France '40 Panzer Campaigns. If you do not, what are you waiting for!

http://www.hpssims.com/Pages/Products/PZC/PZC_france40/france40.html



Rommel about to catch some Tank-fright of his own:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jena 20: With backs to the wall, Prussians hold out for a draw

Hooked up for a game of Jena 20 on VASSAL last night. This is a small, tidy quick game published by Victory Point Games. Many of the Napoleonic 20 titles are being consolidated and released by GMT in a nice new format where you get 4 titles in the N20 series per box and GMT quality. Fading Glory is the first such title which I have pre ordered. For that price it is hard to turn down:

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-345-fading-glory-napoleonic-series-20-multi-pack-1.aspx
Following France’s glorious victory against the combined Austro-Russian armies at Austerlitz the previous December, the Prussians have finally come off the fence and declared war against Napoleon. As both sides maneuver, uncertain of the location or center of gravity of the opposing army, they meet in a dramatic double battle on the fields of both Jena and Auerstadt.

Can the heirs of Frederick the Great maintain their composure and cohesion long enough to teach the haughty French a lesson, or will Napoleon and his Marshals ride on to ever greater glory?

Deceptively simple game yet full of interesting options. Fog, cavalry charges, and bad die rolls really had me (the Prussian player) up against a wall. I started out very slow and reacted poorly not knowing how the game worked, I found myself about to be cut off by the French near Jena. I decided to leave one Corps (or is it Division?) behind as a speedbump and reorganize behind the river line. This managed to work. The game ended on the next to last turn with a die roll, and I pulled a draw. Dont ask me how, but I managed to do it.

I abandoned Dornburg midway through the game since there was no way to hold it. Also the French were threatening Auerstadt. I had to pull back due to the strength of the French units. I made my last stand at the bridges crossing Ilm River. This tactic worked well, but my Prussian Cavalry, in a mad dash to cross the river to safety, were cut down by 2 French Divisions. Finally at the very end, with the moral for both myself and the enemy no where near zero, I managed to keep the game a draw and hold on for my very life.

A fun little game that actually makes you think quite a bit for its size. The shots below show the game in a turn by turn progression:









Sunday, June 26, 2011

My next project: Great Battles of History by GMT Games

Along with trying to learn Advanced Squad Leader one step at a time I will also be learning Great Battles of History starting with the SPQR (The Senate and the Roman people) Deluxe boxed set.

You can find out more information on that here:

http://www.gmtgames.com/c-4-great-battles-of-history.aspx

I will start with a good three part tutorial that GMT Games has on their actual site. You can follow along with it by using VASSAL and watch as he moved the pieces and explained things by listening to an MP3 file at the same time

So you will want VASSAL:

http://www.vassalengine.org/download.php

This module: (unzip that so that you have .VMOD file)

http://www.gmtgames.com/vassal/SPQR_Deluxe_v1.vmod.zip

And these audio files and log files:

4th link down

http://www.gmtgames.com/t-GMTVentrilo.aspx

Then you double click the 1st LOG file and VASSAL will launch, tell it you want to be an observer and you can follow along with the MP3 audio file while wearing headphones and at your PC.

You can step forward in VASSAL as he talks using the arrow in the upper left in VASSAL to forward the log file.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Board wargaming Saturday: Campaigns of King David

This weekends title was Campaigns of King David by Clash of Arms games.
The Campaigns of King David cover the 35 years struggle for supremacy of the fertile crescent during the Old Testament reign of Judah's King David.

Using a unique system that incorporates economics, diplomacy and military operations, players maneuver combat units and leaders over a full color map of the Near East and have a limited number of turns to determine victory!

With 15 Action Phase Chits to choose from, each turn is unique as players deal with the twists and turns of fate - ensuring no two games are ever the same. Players mys husband their resources to maintain their field armies, build and re-equip units, fortify cities and wage war through leaders who command chariots, phalanxes and militia.

We only got three turns completed but the game was surprisingly fun. With random things going on each turn broken into phases you never knew what would be coming up next on the turn track.

The game started innocently enough, I as Judah expanded south and had an uneasy truce with Philistia to keep a small border between us. Aramea advanecd southwards and was quick to be at war with minor nations.

I built up my southern forces and struck south in Turn 2 to attack the minor neutral NEGEV. This battle went poorly for me the first time out and I was repulsed outside the city. Finally next turn I took the country capital and spread out, claiming all its resources and harvest points. Meanwhile up north Aramea was moving south and battling Philistia. I had to use an event chit "secret way in" to take the Capital of Negev without a fight.

Near the end of our game, which we did not finish due to learning time and just chit chatting, the board was built up for a huge final clash. I had crossed the river Jordan and bulked up my forces in the north to prevent further Aramea expansion south and I was prepared to meet the assault should he drive for the Jordan Crossing. I had built all the phalanxes I could and moved most of my leaders up there. Philistia had resisted one Aramea incursion into his lands mainly because he had built up his cities to fortified level 4