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Tag Archives: Age of Gunpowder

The Battle of Waterloo: A Comparative Exercise, Part 3

In the finale of our Waterloo comparisons, our resident Napoleonicist continues his side-by-side comparisons with the groggiest of the grog games ~

Jim Owczarski, 23 July 2016

The 201st anniversary of the Great Battle has passed, Spring has turned to the heat of Summer, and, for those who have come this far, it’s time to explore the rarefied air breathed by the more complex simulations of the Battle of Waterloo.  (ed note, links to read part 1 and part 2)

I begin with a game to which I react much like that famous speech from the end of so many relationships, viz.: “it’s not you, it’s me.”  Martin Wallace is one of the great Euro-game designers of our time and there’s much conceptually to admire in his “Waterloo”, but, despite my best efforts, I’ve never been able to bring myself to love it the way some do.

You can keep your Mona Lisa.

You can keep your Mona Lisa.

The Battle of Waterloo: A Comparative Exercise, Part 2

Our resident Napoleonicist continues to compare all things Waterloo side-by-side, and ratcheting up the difficulty level on the games ~

Jim Owczarski, 21 May 2016

The nice part about doing a series is one can leave aside the preliminary pleasantries and leap to the business at hand.  For those who missed the first journey into the world of wargaming Waterloo (I may need to trademark alliteration that strong), it’s here.

For those already up to speed, what follows is a discussion of some of the medium-weight games to take up this greatest of battles.

It may surprise some that I do not find Richard Borg’s Command and Colors: Napoleonics to be a light wargame.  It is, after all, the direct descendant of Memoir ’44, likely the greatest gateway wargame ever made.  It borrows its predecessor’s left-center-right battlefield construction; units, though blocks and not little plastic man, are still formed of a few markers each; a hand of cards drawn from a common deck that shares many similarities with Memoir drives the action; and combat is resolved with dice that have symbols rather than pips.

They were on sale.  How could I say no?

They were on sale.  How could I say no?

Victory and Glory: Napoleon – First Impressions!

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever. – Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French ~

Boggit, 30 April 2016

Developed by Electric Games, and Published by Matrix/Slitherine

Victory and Glory: Napoleon is a strategic level game covering the Napoleonic Wars. It offers six start points during the Napoleonic Wars, each preceding one of the major campaigns in the wars, with the player cast in the role of Napoleon. To win the player must either make peace – or survive as an individual from becoming a prisoner or battle casualty, and make it to the scenario end turn. If you get that far, your performance throughout the game is qualitatively assessed in terms of victory or defeat.

A very pretty menu screen. Here’s hoping the rest of the game is too.

A very pretty menu screen. Here’s hoping the rest of the game is too.

The Battle of Waterloo: A Comparative Exercise

What happens when our resident Napoleonicist compares all things Waterloo side-by-side(-by-side-by-side-by-side)? ~

Jim Owczarski, 23 April 2016

With respect to E.S. Creasy, lists of “greatest” or “most significant” battles are best left as the stuff of coffee shop debate or oversized, remaindered tomes available at your local discount book store.  There’s just too much that goes into defining sprawling words like “greatest” that prevents the conversation from being useful much less dispositive.

That said, Waterloo is the greatest battle ever.  Ever.  I will not subject this to further debate.

Let us instead, at the request of the editorial staff hereabouts, visit some of the many consims to take up the battle, and, along the way, talk about how approaches to the battle have changed over the years.  This is not a complete list and it is a subjective one, but I hope it gives you a small window into the world of Waterloo gaming — a place where I have spent an awful lot of time.  Lest the tyro turn away at first glance, let the story begin with the simpler games that offer to take the player back to mid-June 1815.

I must here confess that I don’t think over-much of the Avalon Hill classic “Waterloo”.  It’s not that both the board and the counters are, putting the matter generously, merely serviceable.

Yep, 1962.

Yep, 1962.

GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory #91

A hefty dose of groggy tabletop goodness from guys that are not the biggest publishers out there ~

GrogHeads Staff, 08 April 2016

Moscow ’41. Wargaming on the Eastern Front (Ventonuovo Games)
$15k of $5600, ends 1 May 2016

Scaling down from the theater-wide Blocks in the East, Ventonuovo’s latest offering focuses on the initial German campaign down Moscow. A block-unit and area-movement game, M’41 lets players re-fight the vital campaign that Hitler was sure would knock the Soviets out of the war. The graphics on the block stickers are fantastic, and the colors pop against the gorgeous map. The Germans are trying to seize Moscow as quickly as possible, while the Soviets are patching their lines with a mixture of remnant units and full-strength, but untested ones, leading a tense sequence of probing, responding, and exploiting on the battlefield. Rumble over to their Kickstarter page and help them get to their stretch goals.

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Tracer Rounds: Attack of the Killer Poetry

What do you do with a backlog of reviews? ~

Brant, 04 April 2016

We get all kinds of games sent to us, along with the ones we pick up one our own.  Some good, some bad, some gorgeous, some not so much.  We try – we really do try – to get to all of them for review purposes, but it doesn’t always happen.  There’s a reason I’ve got a weekly blurb here called “What I’m doing this week when I should be playing games”.  Moreover, when I play a game for review, I want to play it multiple times to ensure that the review I’m writing is accurate based on how the game is balanced, and how it plays over time – especially if replayability is one of the key factors we want to discuss.haiku

Among the reasons I’ve made it a point to start republishing a bunch of the ‘classic reviews’ are that I don’t want my reviews to be dependent on someone else’s site continuing to exist, as well as wanting folks to be able to find opinions on older games that they may want to take for a spin.  Additionally, many of those older reviews (some of which I’m going to get to soon) were longer borderline-investigative-journalism pieces that really dug into the games through repeated plays.  That was a lot easier when I was in grad school.  Working 3 different teaching jobs, plus being the editorial director here, makes all that a lot tougher.

So, this episode of Tracer Rounds is designed to catch up on those reviews – with a twist.

Tracer Rounds: Origins Events!

Here’s what’s coming at the GrogHeads Central Command at Origins ~

Several years ago, we approached Origins with a simple idea: bring wargaming back to the convention.  It had been withering on the vine for a while.  The first year I attended as BayonetGames was in 2005.  We were across the aisle from MMP (who said about 4 total words to us the entire show), next to Columbia (where Ferkin said about 4 words to us every other second), and within sight of Avalanche Press, GMT Games, and Matrix Games, with Decision Games, and others, all in the hall as well.  By 2010, there were almost no wargamers left in the building.  There were some folks playing over in the CABS Board Room (after its consolidation with the War Room), but wargaming had evaporated, not out of malice, but out of neglect.  So I called GAMA.  I talked to them and asked what sort of parameters they had for us to operate within if we wanted to try and bring the wargamers back to the show.  And thus the GrogHeads Central Command was born.  We were able to bring some wargaming companies in that hadn’t been there before, as well as bringing back some others.  And now we’re getting ready to launch our third year working with Origins, and here’s what we’ve got in store for you:

  • Enterprise Games, a retailer out of Indiana, will be the official rep/sponsor of our GMT events.  That’s right, for the first time, the Central Command will include official GMT events – we’ve got scheduled events for both COIN series games and Wing Leader, as well as the opportunity for some pick-up games of other titles, like Combat Commander and Command & Colors.
  • Lock ‘n Load Publishing is coming in.  Since the ownership change, they’ve not come back to Origins, until this year.  David is planning on bringing in a (literal) boat-load of new games off the press, and we’ll be running events for LNLT, World at War, and Nations at War.
  • Lost Battalion Games is back!  They’re the only company that’s joined forces with us every year of the GrogHeads Central Command, so we probably ought to get them some t-shirts to celebrate or something.  They’re going to be running some large ‘rolling’ events for both Sergeants – Hell on Wheels! and Rally Round the Flag that’ll permanently occupy a pair of our tables for the entire show.
  • Flying Pig Games is making their Origins debut.  Mark has committed to the show and we’ll be running events for both Night of Man and Old School Tactical.
  • Proving Ground Games is bringing back their Origins Award-winning minis rules, and taking over a table of their own with their snazzy terrain boards for a weekend of minis-based wargaming, both WWII and modern.
  • The ever-enjoyable Command Post Wargaming, wherein you and the rest of the participants get a quick primer on military planning, and then get to develop your own plan for keeping the red horde from rolling over the inter-German border.  And then you get to execute your plan and watch it fall to pieces in the first 10 minutes as you scramble to adjust while the war goes on!  Seriously, though, it’s an exercise in wargaming with a far more realistic approach to planning, intel, and logistics than you get out of any other tabletop experience.  If we get enough participants, we sometimes run this one head-to-head, so bring your friends!
  • For those that want the Command Post Wargaming experience, but are short on time, we also have the more scaled-back Command Post Chess events, where the principles of planning, intel, and execution are very similar, but with a simplified game that everyone already knows – Chess!
  • Because I’m the guy that puts all this together, I also sneak in a few events of my own, so we’re going to make sure that BayonetGames‘ long-discussed-and-eventually-to-be-published game about modern-day war in Ukraine hits the table (Orange Crush) as well as one of BayonetGames’ Warfighter-series games, Asian Thunder.

We’ve got over 50 wargaming events spread across 5 days, including some drop-in game times and a stray seminar here and there.  There’s something for everyone, so come join us this summer at Origins.  Detailed day-by-day schedule breakdowns are below –

GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory #87

And on the Frith Day, he gave us GARPA! ~

 

7th Sea, Second Ed (John Wick)
$481k of $30k, ends 13 March 2016

Another project that blew through its funding goal so fast that it almost feels like they’re just making up stretch goals as they go. 7th Sea was a beloved RPG that was popular in the early 00’s, in large part because the world of Theah was such a fantabulous setting. The creator now has the rights to his game back, and is updating all the material for re-publication, and by the looks of it, there’s a few thousand people that can’t wait to get back on the train. Sail over to their Kickstarter page and marvel at the depths of their stretch goals and drop your doubloons on your own pledge.

g87-sea