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Convention Report – Buckeye Game Fest 2016

What happens when gamers get together and just, y’know play games?! ~

Gary Mengle, 01 October 2016

From September 5-12 wargamers, local and from far away, gathered in Columbus, Ohio for the annual War Room. The War Room is an event that runs in parallel with the Buckeye Game Fest, a show that draws hundreds of gamers from around the region and put on by the Columbus Area Board Gaming Society — the same group that hosts the Board Room at Origins, and which boasts massive attendance at its weekly meetings. Euro games, card games, rail games and racing games — you name it, they’re all on display at Buckeye Game Fest. But the War Room is for wargamers, and we get an extra three days to partake.

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Tracer Rounds: The Best Damn Songwriting You Never Appreciated

Can we finally give Guns ‘n Roses their due ~

Brant, 19 September 2016

Things have been a little too heavy lately, and we need to talk about something completely different…  So can we just take a step back and spend a few minutes admiring what totally bad-ass, criminally-under-rated, and never-appreciated songwriters the guys from Guns’n Roses were?  Sure, we all know the ‘hits’ – Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, You Could Be Mine, and Sweet Child o’ Mine – and the ‘scandal’ songs like Used to Love Her, or It’s So Easy.  But once you get beyond the radio tunes (or heck, even with the radio tunes) the quality of songwriting you get from the band so far exceeds their contemporaries that they’re not even in the same galaxy.tr-gnr

Back in the late-80s, the popular talk was comparing GnR to The Rolling Stones, under the premise that supposedly no other band had conquered the rock and roll world on their own terms to the degree that GnR did.  That was typical rock journalist hyperbole, of course.  But honestly, the depth of songwriting, quality of musicianship, and production was blowing most other acts at the time out of the water – even GnR’s supposed contemporaries.  Motley Crue didn’t figure out how to write a song until their 4th album; Poison never quite did.  Ratt’s riffs were impeccable, but aside from the one-off lyrical curiosity like Wanted Man, they didn’t keep up.  Great White?  Slaughter?  Bulletboys?  XYZ?  Rough Cutt?  Firehouse?  Please.  Don’t embarrass yourself suggesting them.

Modern-Day Napoleonic Battles & Travels, Part the First

Cyrano delves deep into the world of Napoleonic battlefields in preparation for an eventual visit, and more ~

Jim Owczarski, 08 September 2016

Most images click to enlarge

People are incessantly telling me I’m missing the point.  (ed note – he frequently is, but usually about other things)

They wonder how someone can visit Paris and prefer the Army Museum to the Louvre — pace those areas given over to David — or would rather spend time crawling over an Old Vineyard in Bohemia rather than sitting in a coffee house in Vienna two hours to the south.

They even have a word for what I love to do, viz., “dark tourism”.  I suspect it’s not intended as a compliment.

But I, and I am assuredly not alone, am obsessed with Napoleonic battlefields.  I read about them, watch movies about them, play as many games about them as I can lay my hands on, and, far less frequently than I would like, visit them.  I’ve been to Waterloo twice, Austerlitz once, and, having spent this Summer taking my son to middle-American water parks, am determined that next Summer will bring a visit to Jena-Austerstadt.  The management has asked me to share my own journey to Jena as well as talk about those conflict simulations that take up the campaign and its battles.

Tracer Rounds: When Positives Become Negatives

Possibly the most raw column I’ve ever written ~

Brant, 05 September 2016

Some of these columns are a lot easier to write than others.  Some days I feel like I’m forcing it.  Some days I honestly feel like I’m mailing it in (see the column about professional sports from last Spring).  Some days the column just flows and before I know it, I’m at 2800 words and feel like there’s a lot left to say.

Some days, there’s a lot I want to say, and just not sure how.  Many of those turn out to be kind of personal, like the column about the Imposter Syndrome.  Today is one of those days, and it’s going to be hard for make this as coherent as it deserves to be, particular since I’m not quite ready to name names and potentially ruin lives.  But I also said back when I first started this whole endeavor that I was going to do this without a net (i.e., no editor), so you’re getting an unfiltered look at the insanity that ping-pongs around my head as I write these things.

Tracer Rounds: The C2E2

Revisiting an older concept to reinvigorate the re-conversation ~

Brant, 29 August 2016

So, about 5-6 years ago, I started playing with an idea for a game/system.  The idea was a basic unified set of rules for current events conflicts, with regularly-released updates that would provide unit information and updated map details for the current world situation.  This would allow any player to just grab the current update, and “play forward” from there, to see how the various conflicts might shape up over the next few months or years.  When the next update rolled around, the players would have the option to either reset to the current world situation, or adapt the update to their own ongoing conflicts and continue an “alternate future” using the update components.

It’s not like I was breaking any really new ground with the idea, but I had a pretty high-minded concept for how I wanted it to happen, but got quite bogged down in the actual execution of it all.

What I’d like to do here is reopen the discussion and attempt to reinvigorate the participation in the development of the rules and current updates, in the hopes that many minds are smarter than mine, and we can collaboratively move forward on an open-source set of rules and initial process for putting these kinds of tools in the hands of gamers with an interest in current events.

GameTalk: The Bad Guys

Byron Grant for GrogHeads ~

The Bad Guys

Cops and robbers. Cowboys and Indians. Someone has to play the bad guys…but when we do so, is it fun, challenging, contentious or educational? Do you consider the OPFOR role as a useful tool to expand our understanding of wargaming (and dare I say military operation) perspectives? Are there some OPFORS you don’t want to play for personal or political reasons (the SS, Vietcong, Taliban, Hamas, etc.)?


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

Tracer Rounds: I Know What I Did Last Summer

Game Camp, for the win! ~

Brant, 22 August 2016

GameCamp-65_n-cropThis past summer, I spent a week at a local game store (shout out to The Gamer’s Armory in Cary, NC) running a one week day camp for gamers.  This was not a GrogHeads-sponsored event, just Brant renting out some space from a local game store for a week of summer camp for kids, in an air conditioned and weatherproof environment.  The focus was on playing games – as many as they could in the week they were there – with an intent of trying a lot of new stuff.

We got a late start advertising the camp, in large part because we got a late start even deciding that we were going to do the camp.  For future summers, assuming I’m not working a day job somewhere, the plan is to start advertising for the camp much, much earlier.  Like March.  Seriously.  Parents around here get their kids scheduled out for the summer by the time the kids are on Spring Break, so that they can arrange family trips, parent vacation requests, etc well before Memorial Day hits.

Scenes from GenCon 2016

What happens when you wander around GenCon with a camera and an overdose of caffeine? ~

Michael Dunn (special to GrogHeads), 20 August 2016

While GrogHeads doesn’t have the official presence at GenCon that we do at Origins, we still sneak in someone to play games and take pictures.  This year, we borrowed Mike to do the honors for us.

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See you guys next year?  Maybe!


Chat about it below, or in our forums, or hit our FaceBook page >>