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GrogHeads Reviews Battle Academy 2 – Eastern Front expansion Kursk

The first expansion for BA2 Eastern Front is here.  How does Kursk stack up? Lloyd More »

Gametalk: The Movies

Byron Grant,20 April 2015 The movies! Have you ever tried to recreate a scene or battle More »

Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 4

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. More »

Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 3

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. More »

Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 2

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. More »

Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 1

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. More »

 

GrogHeads Reviews Battle Academy 2 – Eastern Front expansion Kursk

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The first expansion for BA2 Eastern Front is here.  How does Kursk stack up?

Lloyd Sabin – April 20, 2015

Largess

Here in the West we tend to be a bit short-sighted when it comes to history. Take a look at the majority of American movies and books on World War II and the Western Front will almost always be the main focus. The Eastern Front, if discussed at all, is framed as a distant, alien component of World War II, not more than a sideshow because of its foreign nature to Americans.

As grogs, we know this is a huge mistake. World War II’s Eastern Front was the central land combat theater of the entire war, far larger and certainly more pivotal than the Western Front, dwarfing land combat operations anywhere else on the globe during World War II. It was on the Eastern Front that Adolf Hitler attempted to establish his concept of lebensraum for the Third Reich, where the Reich’s logistics and supply systems were severely tested by distance and weather, and, ultimately, where World War II was decided in a massive, bloody, total war to the death between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union.

And within this bloody total war, the central, deciding push was The Battle of Kursk (German offensive Operation Citadel), begun in July, 1943. It pitted almost 800,000 German troops under the command of Generals von Manstein, Kluge, Hoth, and Model (among others) against almost 2,000,000 Soviet troops led by General Zhukov and a cabal of other generals. In 2015 it’s almost impossible to conceive of these gigantic numbers of men, not including the thousands of tanks and heavy guns arrayed on both sides. In the end, The Battle of Kursk would further evolve beyond just being the most colossal battle on the most pivotal front of the war – it would also morph into the most gigantic clash of armor the world has ever seen.

Hard to resist the Kursk campaign now that is available, especially playing as the Germans.

Hard to resist the Kursk campaign now that is available, especially playing as the Germans.

The First Four Steps: Designer’s Notes For The New Line Of OSS Folio Games

Brian Train, 22 April 2015

Game Theorist and Designer Brian Train joins us for a look inside the design of his new folio games with One Small Step games.

Ed Note:  We’ve already reviewed Shining Path here at GrogHeads.

At the beginning of 2015, One Small Step Games began to publish a series of new “folio games,” small format wargames on a variety of subjects at a reasonable price. At least eight will be released during this year: four by me, two Civil War titles by Richard Dengel (Lone Jack, Middle Creek) that use the Rebel Yell! tactical system, and two strategic World War Two games by Gary Graber (Battle of the Atlantic, Fall of Berlin).

The four titles by me are all modern-era, from 1956 Budapest to 2010 Afghanistan. Most of the game designs (I’ve published (30+ and counting) are post World War Two: for me, this is an area full of ungamed topics, grimy and nasty irregular wars which inform and shape the world we live in today. I was always interested in guerilla war/ irregular war/ low-intensity conflict, whatever it was being called at the time. I’ve been designing for about 25 years, and near the beginning of my career I was one of a very few people “ploughing in the COINfield”, as it were (I’m happy to say I have more company now).

The GrogCast, Episode 7

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podcast SPLASH


21 April 2015

This week, we’re joined by Joel (Airborne Rifles of GrogHeads), and discuss Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations, Russian adventurism, and Christmas Cards.


 Discuss this episode below, or pop into our forums to chat >>


Full podcast feed here

Gametalk: The Movies

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Byron Grant,20 April 2015

KellysHeroesBigJoeThe movies!

Have you ever tried to recreate a scene or battle from a movie in a wargame? Did you ever modify an ASL scenario to play out a scene from A Bridge Too Far or use Lock’n’Load: Band of Heroes to play out part of The Longest Day? Ever try to game out The Patriot or Gladiator? Any interesting realizations or learnings that came out of gaming a scene from a movie?

 


Sound off below, or jump into our forums to say your piece >>

Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 4

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Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. Here’s a play-by-email AAR of the First Battle of Bull Run.

by kwhitehead (of the Matrix Forums), 17 April 2015

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Turn 34c – 1620

And even better opportunity presents itself on the Ball’s Ford side of the line. One of those greased pigs didn’t quite make it far enough. I have an opportunity to surround the 29th NY.

Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 3

BAB-AAR-SPLASH

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. Here’s a play-by-email AAR of the First Battle of Bull Run.

by kwhitehead (of the Matrix Forums), 17 April 2015

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Turn 27c – 1400

On the other flank, Ball’s Ford, it looks like the Union had some truly bad luck. A number of key regiments which need to move to get them out of the pocket failed to activate as indicated by the red circles. And Longstreet’s 11th Va regiment managed to hold his ground right in the middle of them. They are almost surrounded. And I move all my regiments to make it a solid wall of enemy on three sides. Things are probably going to go badly for them. Key regiments I give charge orders too.

Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 2

BAB-AAR-SPLASH

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. Here’s a play-by-email AAR of the First Battle of Bull Run.

by kwhitehead (of the Matrix Forums), 17 April 2015

BAB-AAR-20
Turn 16 – 1020

For a change I did more damage to the Yankees (213) than they to me (142). Hopefully a trend.

I finally got enough of my troops moving toward the enemy to expand the fight at Ball’s Ford to include their rear guard line. Longstreet is trying to get around their left flank and Holmes plus a couple of Longstreet’s regiments are striking their right. This should take some of the pressure off my defense of Ball’s Ford.

Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 1

BAB-AAR-SPLASH

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. Here’s a play-by-email AAR of the First Battle of Bull Run.

by kwhitehead (of the Matrix Forums), 16 April 2015

I am the Rebel player. Lacresta has the low life Yankees.

The “2-Player” scenario is the wide open do what you want to do scenario particularly for the Union since they start uncommitted to McDowell’s flank attack. The Scenario starts with most of the Union army concentrated along the Warrenton Turnpike between Centreville and the Suspension Bridge over Club Run.

I have used the jump map shown below to illustrate the troop positions. Since the jump map doesn’t show roads and trails very well and is somewhat out of proportion (stretched a bit in the north south axis) I have labeled various important locations in green. I also added the general location of my brigades by adding the names in white. The jump map shows the Rebel unit locations with red and the victory hexes in yellow. Since it is hard to tell what type of victory hexes they are I added a number in purple next to the yellow showing the number of Union VP hexes in that location.

In this scenario the Victory Hexes are rather scattered. I showed the Union ones mostly because they will be the ones the Yankee Player will go for since final victory is based off of who holds the most VP hexes. Victory hexes come in three flavors. They can be for both sides, USA only or CSA only. For example, the CSA player has a victory hex at Poplar Ford at the top of the map but the Union player doesn’t. This doesn’t mean he can ignore the hex since denying Victory hexes to the opponent is important too. It just won’t reward the Union player for sending a unit to occupy it. Some “yellow” areas have multiple Victory Hexes like Centreville which has two. One is for both sides and a second one is only for the Rebel player. The Rebel player has some type of Victory hex in every yellow area but the Suspension Bridge, New Market Crossroad, north of Blackburn Ford, and the one at the bottom representing the road to Manassas Junction.

Looking at the map’s red dots it is obvious that the Rebels only have a small force based around Cocke’s brigade on their far left. The majority of their forces are concentrated around the McLean House on the right with a contingency deployed along Bull Run to their north. The center is a vast empty land with a few cavalry companies covering. The Union player has to decide where to focus the weight of his army based around Centreville. It is about equal distance to Bull Run marching west or south. The problem with a southern drive is their aren’t very many Victory hexes to be taken. Most are Rebel ones. A drive that direction would require destroying the Rebel army to obtain victory. Considering the terrain and the Rebel army already concentrated their it would be difficult.

So like McDowell the Yankee commander will look west. Unlike McDowell he knows the Stone Bridge is weakly held. In addition, he knows that Cocke’s brigade is to spread out and most of Bull Run between Cocke and Bonham is empty. So a drive on the Stone Bridge, Lewis Ford in front Cocke, and Ball’s Ford looks like a sure thing. He could further cover his bets by sending a division around the Rebel flank by way of Sudley Ford which is off the screen shot to the NW.

The Rebel player, in this case me, must guess which way the thrust will be made and the weight of that thrust. The scenario starts at 2 AM so there are two night moves (2 AM and 4 AM) before the first day light move at 6 AM. After that turns are 20 minutes. The bad news for the Rebel is that these are high movement point moves at night. They obviously can’t cover the distance that six 20 minute turns would give but they still can make quite a jump down the road. The Union player obviously knows where he needs to move since he has the initiative. The Rebel must take a leap of faith.

The Rebel does have one advantage, a large number of small cavalry units, usually about 70 men each. These he can throw out as a screen. They will act both as a trip wire for identifying which way the Union is moving and as a speed bump to slow that deployment down buying valuable time for the rest of the Rebel army.

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