Scenario: A Test of Wills Author: Jim Zabek, 28 November 2013 Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm More »
A great set of pictures from the Monday night shootouts attended by Dr James Sterrett More »
Gentle reader, it’s that time of year again. We’ve actually had open nominations for Game of the Year for the better part of the year, but now as the year approaches its end we want to reiterate our invitation to nominate your favorite games for final voting.
Remember: if a game isn’t nominated it has no chance of being voted upon. The editorial staff may – might – could possibly – remember to add your favorite game as we peruse the list, but don’t count on it. This is, after all, a readers’ choice award, not editors’ choice. As a reader, it is incumbent upon you to put a game’s name in the hat for consideration.
Nominations for digital games can be made here: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=4393.0.
Nominations for tabletop games can be made here: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=6732.0
Forum registration is required to nominate any game, and registration will be required when voting commences.
I don’t know where this bridge is. It is a long way from my humble cobbler’s shop on the outskirts of Ruzayevka. We have seized another nameless bridge, crossed another blood-cloggingly cold river, and are trying to drive the Germans out of our land so that we can go back worthless Five Year Plans, endless speeches from Stalin, and bottomless bottles of vodka. All I seek after a long day of fixing soles on shoes that have never stepped in a pool of blood is some hot sausage and kraut, a stiff drink, and a big bosomed woman willing to share my creaky bed. God I hate this war.
Author: Lloyd Sabin, November 26, 2013
Very Early Armored Vehicles
It’s the most wonderful time of year! When else do we get to discuss the benefits of century old armored oddities? Probably all the time if you’re a grog, but this is more special because we say it is.
Early motorized vehicles are fascinating enough…apply an inch of armor plate and a gun turret and it’s a real party. The below vehicles are some of my new found favorites…each has that certain something and they all look to have stormed straight out of a steampunk imagination. So put on your goggles, put a rag over your face and let’s see what all the kids are screaming about when they discuss very early armored vehicles. At least my kids, anyway.
Romfell Armored Car
The Romfell was built in Austria-Hungary around 1915. That gives it a slightly exotic air. In 1915 and 1916, only two existed, but they both survived the harsh conditions and combat in the Balkans against the Serbian Army, and went on to engage the Italians and Russians. That gives it a tough reputation. In 1917 dozens more were built and deployed, its successful combat record making it somewhat of a legend.
Each Romfell armored car had a crew of four, was powered by a Mercedes transmission and was armed with a Schwarloze machine gun that could be used against both air and ground targets. Reliable and fast for the era with a 26mph top speed, the Romfell is a popular vehicle for modelers.
It’s hard not to be intrigued by the Romfell. It’s very modern look, pedigree and durability guarantee that historians or car aficionados will quickly fall in love.
Fowler B5 Armored Locomotive
Now don’t get the wrong idea, the Fowler B5 armored locomotive did not go into combat during the Boer War at high speed with guns blazing. It did, however, deliver heavy guns and supplies for the British Army against the Boers starting roughly towards the end of 1899.
To tow these guns, the Fowler factory in Leeds, UK, produced a handful of B5s with close to 125 horsepower! With that much strength, heavy slab armor was applied to the engines to protect them and their drivers from attacks by Boer raiders. Three or four of these heavy armored locomotives were used by the British during the Boer War, some with armored railroad cars as well.
Prototypes of gun carrying armored Fowler B5s were developed but as far as I could research, none were ever deployed in a combat role. It would have been quite the scene if they had been – there’s no telling how effective they would have been at fighting. For protecting and delivering heavy equipment and guns, though, they were very successful.
Scenario: A Test of Wills
Author: Jim Zabek, 28 November 2013
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm has done something for me that no wargame has done for a long time. I am wholly absorbed in it. It’s the only game I want to play. I’ve been addicted to other games (just ask around the forums about Orcs Must Die! 2), but it has been quite some time since a wargame really grabbed me like this. Strange? Perhaps. But there it is.
Normally when I select an AAR I like to choose one I’ve never seen before. It adds to the drama as I don’t know what’s coming and I think it’s a more authentic story to give to an audience. However, With this particular scenario in Red Storm I have played it at least a dozen times and continue to love it. The AI always keeps me guessing. Although I’ve beaten the AI each time I’ve played it, I never feel like I’m winning until after the game is over. The crush of the Soviet horde is hair-raising to the NATO player. The come on almost like a zombie apocalypse: incessant and seemingly innumerable.
In this particular scenario, A Test of Wills, the player is tasked with fending off the Soviets at night. The scenario opens with a heavy rain that limits visibility to 500 meters – one hex. Eventually the rain will lift. But when it lifts can make an enormous difference to the NATO player. In one game it didn’t lift for five and a half hours. As a result the Soviets crawled right into my defensive positions before I could see them, negating my advantage of seeing at night and using ranged weapons like the TOW. I won that scenario, too, but it had me sweating the entire time – I had placed my defensive units in solid overwatch positions to take on the Soviets at range; when they failed to appear I had left some of the roads to the exit points unguarded for an approach in zero visibility. It was probably a worst-case scenario.
In most games the rain lifts sooner – sometimes by the third turn. But the weather isn’t the only thing tossing me curve balls. There are three major avenues of approach for the Soviets. The southern approach has the most victory points and always sees the most action, but the middle of the map also gets a lot of attention, and the northern end sometimes gets heavily tested, too. The AI seems to never do the same thing twice, which keeps this scenario fresh for me every time I play it. And that’s why I keep coming back to this scenario. It’s a mid-sized scenario with lots of uncertainty. So far I’ve won every game I’ve played but I’ve never felt any confidence until the last shot was fired. There simply aren’t enough NATO troops to go around and once their artillery starts to rain too many units get destroyed for anyone to feel confident.
So here I go again. We’ll see what happens.