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Tag Archives: Board Games

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics – EPIC!

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Jim descends further into his Napoleonic madness with massive-scale gaming ~

Jim Owczarski, 18 March 2017

I have been waiting for this one for a long time.

It’s almost unreal to me that Battle Cry, the first of Richard Borg’s “Commands and Colors” series, was released in 2000.  I like the American Civil War well enough, but, from the beginning, I hoped that the simple, elegant system evident in the game could be elaborated into the best of all periods, Napoleonics.

In the years since, I’ve bought and happily played Memoir ’44 (2004), Commands and Colors: Ancients (2006), Battlelore (also 2006), not to mention the remarkable array of expansions, special editions, and the like for all these systems.  I gave Zvezda’s Samurai Battles a miss if only because it’s the only era covered that doesn’t appeal to me.

True Napoleonic wargamers are obsessed with scope, spectacle, and sweep.

And then it came out.  In 2010, GMT Games gave the waiting world Commands and Colors: Napoleonics.  Sure, it was wooden blocks not lovely figures.  Yes, it was the British, Spanish, and Portuguese versus the French.  And, yes, for reasons known only to the grim gods of game production, the Prussians were excluded from the included Waterloo scenario.  But it was Napoleonics and that, at first, was enough.

This was no longer the simplified rule set found in Battle Cry.  There was the forming of square; different grades of horse, foot, and guns; and even elegant rules to differentiate leaders and national troop characteristics.  In the latter case, French troops, and their famous columns, fight better in melee, while the British lines do real damage with ranged fire, &c.

After much fun was had, though, it was ultimately not enough.  True Napoleonic wargamers are obsessed with scope, spectacle, and sweep.  It is this that leads us to do really, really dumb things like this: Historicon 2010 Part V Wagram (Shako II) and Outro

For the record this is my shaky-cam — I’ve become better — but this game had run 14 hours before I had to leave with it far from finished.

A Look at the Playthrough Gaming Convention

We sortied out to the local game convention for a load of photos, and more ~

Brant Guillory, 26 February 2017Playthrough-Logo

Raleigh, NC has a pretty thriving game community – 2 local colleges have digital game design programs, there are at least 4 pretty active game clubs, and all three major game stores are packed most nights for any combination of D&D Encounters, minis warfare, Friday Night .\\agic, or general board gaming.  The Triangle Simulation Society runs 2 minis-focused conventions each year, but this year the Playthrough Gaming Convention took over one of the exhibit halls at the Raleigh Convention for a weekend of digital, tabletop, and live-action gaming, as well as seminars, tournaments, and a costume contest.

Looking over the gaming hall. Booths in the front, video games on the right, and tabletops in the back.

Looking over the gaming hall. Booths in the front, video games on the right, and tabletops in the back.

GrogHeads Reviews High Treason!

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See you in court! ~

Jim Owczarski, 18 February 2017

Function before form!

Function before form!

My love of the Napoleonic era is high, wide, and deep, but I’ve always taken the age of empire to be my second true love, if such a thing can be countenanced.  Much of my early study of the era came from Jan Morris’ Pax Britannica trilogy, particularly the first volume, Heaven’s Command.  Far from an academic exercise, it’s an evocative series of sketches of the men and women who peopled the British empire, giving more weight, it has always seemed to me, to the interesting as opposed to the more objectively significant, although one can certainly be both.

The Tuesday Interview – Dr James Sterrett talks Brown Bag Wargaming

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With the recent launch of CGSC’s “Brown Bag” wargaming lunch program, we reached out to the guys at Ft Leavenworth to ask about how hobby wargaming is making its way (back) into the professional ranks ~

Brant Guillory, 07 February 2017

So there was mention of a “brown bag” lunch series of wargames for Army officers to come learn about this crazy hobby of ours, and – we’re assuming – learn how it can all tie into the profession of arms for their future benefit.  Can you tell us a little bit about how the series got started, and what the expectations were for the initial ramp-up of the program?

The idea for the Brown Bag Gaming Program came from our desire to provide a wider array of games that we can fit into our Training with Simulations elective course.  The more we thought about it, the more objectives we realized it might fill.

The core tenet of Brown Bag Gaming is that the development of simulations professionals requires the exploration and discussion of a wide variety of modeling and simulation approaches.  The best means of accomplishing this is to experience the models and simulations in action.  Less formally, that means playing games and thinking about them critically.

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Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 8

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The Car Wars retrospective is back! ~

Michael Eckenfels, 3 February 2016

click most images to enlarge

UNCLE ALBERT’S AUTO STOP & GUNNERY SHOP
2035 CATALOG

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Ah, good ol’ Uncle Albert and his catalogs ‘o death. If the ‘basic’ Car Wars rules just didn’t have enough creative ways to destroy, maim, and otherwise disassemble, the Uncle Albert catalogs certainly helped pad those needs, and then some.

The Tuesday Interview – Ty Bomba

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Longtime industry veteran Ty Bomba gives us the low-down on his upcoming projects ~

Brant Guillory, 31 January 2017

 

You’ve certainly been around wargaming for a while. At last check, your designer page on BGG goes about 4575454646386 pages deep. Of all the games you’ve worked on as a designer or developer, which one sticks out as one that just immediately ‘clicked’ as a smooth design, and what’s one that took some serious wrestling to get it into shape to get published?

To answer the last part of that question first, I tend to have trouble with naval designs unless the assignment allows me to use an evolution of the old-AH War at Sea system. I don’t know why that is. As to design projects that “immediately clicked,” that happened the first time for me with Dynamo: Dunkirk 1940, which I did for World Wide Wargames back in the early 1980s. Since then it’s happened a lot – so often I couldn’t enumerate all of them. As a matter of fact, it’s happening right now, as I’m working on volume three of my “Putin’s Wars Series” – Putin’s Silk Road War: The Coming Sino-Russian Conflict for Central Asia – for One Small Step Games. My feeling is, if you have a creative occupation and that kind of thing isn’t happening for you a lot, you need to ask yourself if you’re in the right career field.

 

2016 Readers’ Choice Award Voting

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Have your say about your favorite 2016 games ~

GrogHeads Staff, 18 January 2017

It’s time to get your votes in for the Readers’ Choice Awards for game-year 2016.

The only required items are the overall digital / tabletop games, at the end of each of those categories.

This year we’ve made a few changes:

  • We’ve consolidated the overall number of categories within the tabletop/digital divisions, to try to keep them as consistent as possible year-to-year
  • We’ve added an “AAR of the Year” category, at the request of the readers and members of our forums
  • We received no nominations for miniatures rules/expansions, so we’re not doing away with them as a category, but we can’t give you what you don’t nominate!

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

The Tuesday Interview – Mark Walker talks Tiny Battle Publishing

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Renowned designer and author Mark Walker comes back through for a chat ~

Brant Guillory, 10 January 2017

Mark Walker has paid us a few visits before (here and here and here), and he’s graciously stopped back by to chat about his other, other, other venture, Tiny Battle Publishing.

Tiny Battle Publishing has churned out about a game a week – or so it seems some days.  What was the final headcount, anyways?  And were you intending to try and keep pace with Victory Point Games, or was it just accidental that you had that many games to publish over the past year?

LOL, yes it sometimes seems that way. No, we aren’t trying to keep pace with any publisher. We wanted to set a schedule and stick to it. That schedule is two games a month. We’ve fallen a bit behind, but feel like we can get back on pace now that the holidays are behind us. There are just a ton of games that fit our footprint. Interesting titles, be they historical, science fiction, horror or whatever. We want to share those titles with gamers, and maybe make a buck or two doing it. 🙂

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Some of Tiny Battle Publishing’s titles