Tag Archives: Board Games
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.
We sortied out to the local game convention for a load of photos, and more ~
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.
See you in court! ~
Jim Owczarski, 18 February 2017
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.
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.
The Car Wars retrospective is back! ~
Michael Eckenfels, 3 February 2016
click most images to enlarge
UNCLE ALBERT’S AUTO STOP & GUNNERY SHOP
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.
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.