Academy - 878 Vikings

Revisiting “Secret of the Silver Blades”

Back to a classic Forgotten Realms setting ~

Avery Abernethy, 17 April 2017

Secret of the Silver Blades is the SSI Gold Box follow up to Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. I recently replayed this on a modern computer and my thoughts are on playing this game in 2017, not 1990 when it was released.

I recently replayed this on a modern computer and my thoughts are on playing this game in 2017, not 1990 when it was released.

I enjoyed replaying Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. Both had an interesting overall plot line that engaged me and kept me going through the long series of battles and leveling up my characters. Regretfully, Secret of the Silver Blades has such a poor plot that I could never really engage with it.

In Silver Blades your party (either imported from Azure Bonds or newly rolled-up) teleports naked to village. The village made a sacrifice to a teleporter and your group is hopefully the answer to the prayers of the village. The small town gives your group some pretty nifty equipment. They also heal, identify your magic goodies, and provide basic equipment for free every time you come back to town.

Gaming Nostalgia – Metagaming

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nostalgia-metagaming2

Small boxes with some big fun inside.


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GrogHeads Reviews Appendix N

Review of “Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons and Dragons” from Jeffro Johnson ~

Avery Abernethy, 12 April 2017

Appendix N is the list of books in the first edition Dungeon Masters Guide that Gary Gygax referenced as primary influences on the development of Dungeons and Dragons. Jeffro Johnson secured these books and read them. Mr. Johnson had two goals for Appendix N. First, identifying how each novel inspired specific aspects of D&D and other early role playing games. Second, Jeffro’s observations on how each specific novel inspired an aspect of D&D and the enjoyment that a modern reader would have with these books which were published from the 1910s to the 1970s.

The Tuesday Interview – Didier Rouy

Part 1 of 2, as Cyrano starts asking more Napoleonic questions ~

Jim Owczarski, 11 April 2017

There aren’t too terribly many people who can claim to have designed games about warfare while at the same time being able to consult on a wound from a musket ball.  Dr. Didier Rouy holds his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Paris – Diderot and his M.D. from the same institution, earning the former in 1992 and the latter in 1991.  In 1989, though, he published the first of what would eventually be over a dozen different Napoleonic wargames.  His Vive L’Empereur system has since produced eight volumes.  Even dearer to my own heart, he is the creator of the three-volume Vol de L’Aigle, an operational Napoleonic Kriegsspiel, as well as Le Combat de L’Aigle, a tactical system that can be used to work out battles in the operational game.

Dr. Rouy took time recently to answer questions about how he got started, how the whole medicine thing figured into his wargaming, and what is his deal with oblong unit counters.  His answers were so thoughtful — and so long — that this particular interview comes in two parts!

GrogHeads Central Command Origins Events

What’s coming up at Origins this summer? ~

GrogHeads Staff, 8 April 2017

Per GAMA, event registration goes live on 3 May.

What’s on tap this year?  Plenty!

  • Tournaments!  We’ve got afternoon/evening tournaments for Lock’n’Load Tactical, Quartermaster General, Spearpoint 1943, and Twilight Struggle
  • Team / Group events!  In addition to our Command Post Wargaming, we have a pair of Team COIN games back this year, plus big team games of Old School Tactical, Sergeants!, and Crucible of Force (Slaughter in the Snow).
  • Kids!  We’ve got a special wargaming program this year for the kids – yes, KIDS!  We’ve got 4 games that we’ll be running all weekend, in shorter 1-hour sessions.  And for any kid who plays all 4 games at least once each, we’ve got a special Junior General prize.  These games are for kids age 7-14, and they must have an adult come to the table with them.

Which companies are here with us?

  • Griggling Games!  Quartermaster General, and some expansions
  • Flying Pig Games!  Mark’s got 5 (five! fünf! cinco! V!) different games over the course of the weekend with us
  • Enterprise Games!  With their support for our GMT events again this year, we’ve Fields of Despair, Wing Leader Supremacy, some COIN events, C&C Ancients for the kids, and the Twilight Struggle tournament
  • Collins Epic Wargames!  We’re running Spearpoint 1943 events (for the kids, too), but look for Polyversal, also
  • Lost Battalion Games!  The always-awesome Sergeants! games are back, and look for their award-winning tiles, too
  • Proving Ground Games!  Bringing the lead to the battle, with their minis wargaming, and a special movie-monster scenario for the kids
  • Lock’n’Load Games!  Nations at War, LNLT, and tanks for the kids

Over 65 events across 4 days, for all your wargaming goodness.  Plus, show up Wednesday afternoon and see what the staff has on the table just for their own fun 🙂

When you’re looking for our events in the Origins master event grid, they all start with “GrogHeads Presents”.  We did that to make it easier to find when sorting through a giant spreadsheet with over 6000 events, however we stripped it out of the names on our event grid here just to simplify the listings.

Don’t forget that everyone who plays in our events gets a discount with our vendor partners, and gets entered for some great Sunday-morning raffle prizes.  There’s also at least one prize for one of the players at every one of our events.

Note that the kids’ events – as noted above – have a special prize for kids who check out all 4 of the different games, and do not have prizes for each individual event.

Click through for the sortable table of events

Gaming Nostalgia – Ral Partha Minis

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nostalgia-ralp

Ral Partha was the name in minis back in the ’80s.

 


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The Tuesday Interview – Bloody Monday with Ventonuovo

Cyrano pulls up his Napoleonic britches for a chat about Borodino ~

Jim Owczarski, 4 April 2017

Vento Nuovo made no small statement when it blew into wargaming back in 2012 with Blocks in the East.  A big, colorful map; hundreds of wooden blocks and other pieces; and an area-movement system that felt just friendly enough while at the same time satisfying wanna-be von Brauchitsch’s everywhere; marked it as a strong new-comer.  Now seven games on, the Blocks in… system covers the whole of the ETO, it’s released Gortex game maps big enough to sleep under, and it even found time to release a game about the greatest battle of all time, Waterloo 200. (Author’s Note:  Favorably reviewed here)

For his second run into the 19th Century, designer Emanuele Santandrea has chosen to have a go at Borodino, the climactic struggle between Napoleon and the Emperor of Russia that in many ways ended the First Empire.  The game, Bloody Monday, Napoleon at the Gates of Moscow, has already hit its funding goal, so it was particularly nice of him to answer a few questions about his design philosophy, why Borodino, and the difference between Goretex and Magnatex.

The KickStarter, by the by, is here:  Bloody Monday, Napoleon at the Gates of Moscow

Vento Nuovo has had quite a few recent successes on KickStarter and has become well known, certainly in wargame circles.  Who, though, is on the team behind Bloody Monday?

Well, the list is so long I’m sure I will forget somebody. I can name Luca Preda, Jim O’Neill, Flip Labarque, Paul Comben, and Kevin Duke. But that’s just a part.

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GrogHeads Reviews Order of Battle: Winter War

Airboy bundles up for a fight in the snow ~

Avery Abernethy, 1 April 2017

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Finland. The Finns were one of the few who repaid their World War 1 debts to the United States. I’ve had three enjoyable trips to Helsinki in the last thirty-five years. The Finns have good beer and you can take a “beer trolley” tour of Helsinki. “Hello” in Finland is “Hey” – the same way Auburn fans say hello to each other.

WinterWar-1 - Scenario 1 Intro