Platoon Commander Kursk

Category Archives: Columns

Battle Lab: Games and Sims for Training and Learning, II

Continuing the long-running discussion ~

Dr James Sterrett, 12 December 2017

Previously published back at GrogNews, we have a guest article written by Dr James Sterrett, an instructor at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College. Please note that these are his ideas and are not reflective of official US Army policy, doctrine, canon, religion, or other official imprimatur.

the objective of an activity [is] more important that the software (or paper rule set) being used

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Brant and I have cheerfully sparred over the distinction between games and simulations over the years.  What follows is my take, focused on training & education, in two different variants.  The first is useful as a snappy comment, while the second works better analytically.  In the end, both point to the objective of an activity as more important that the software (or paper rule set) being used, and neither variant is perfect.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 10

Our pint-sized pistoleer picks up Pike & Shot ~

Lloyd Sabin, 11 December 2017

If you include fan made scenarios and campaigns, Pike & Shot Campaigns covers warfare all the way up to the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

As soon as I learned that the Pike & Shot: Campaigns engine was the same one used by the Battle Academy games, I knew I would be drawn in. I love those games for their simplicity and also for the sense of urgency their turn-based structure creates. In some ways they create a sense of tension usually reserved for playing against other humans, either digitally or in person in a board game. Pike & Shot is exactly the same, with the added bonus of covering European conflicts that are generally lacking in game coverage from the late 1400s to the late 1600s. If you include fan made scenarios and campaigns, Pike & Shot Campaigns covers warfare all the way up to the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

It had been a while since I had fired up Pike & Shot: Campaigns to look around, but I quickly downloaded literally dozens of fan made scenarios, including ones based on the 16th century Italian Wars, the early 18th century Great Northern War, a Gustavus Adolphus campaign and many more. I then started the first tutorial mission. It was one of four in the the tutorial campaign portraying the struggle of 17th century Transylvanian Boyars against the forces of the Holy Roman Empire. Digest that for a moment, I’ll wait…

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 9

The pummelin’ pocket Pomeranian packs a punch ~

Lloyd Sabin, 4 December 2017

I continue with my Polish campaign…the year is now 1313 and to get to this point I had to trample the Lithuanians and Kievan Rus while playing nice so the Holy Roman Empire wouldn’t do the same to me.

At this point it’s not exactly a two front war as much as it is a battle against two advanced, pissed off enemy powers.

In between, Hungary and Novgorod got all uppity and are trying to wipe me from the face of the earth. At this point it’s not exactly a two front war as much as it is a battle against two advanced, pissed off enemy powers.

The Stainless Steel AI is putting up a good fight, more so on the campaign map than on the tactical map, but I am finding myself being smacked around nonetheless. See some of the below images to find out exactly how I got to this point of questioning my nation’s independence and even it’s existence in the next few turns. If I annoy one more power…that may be the tipping point and then I’ll be fully on the defensive.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 8

The low-flying lord of longswords swings his blade around Eastern Europe ~

Lloyd Sabin, 27 November 2017

With the darkness and cold this time of year, I need some comfort food and some comfort gaming as well as beer. My ultimate comfort gaming series is Total War. It just makes me feel good. And one of the best Total War games is Medieval 2.

It just makes me feel good.

Combine one of my favorite series with one of my favorite installments of that series and it just doesn’t get much better…unless I add one of the best mods for a Total War game…Stainless Steel! I recently installed Stainless Steel v6.4 after having issues with it for years and settling for v6.3. It works like a charm now, runs extremely smooth and I haven’t had one CTD in about 15 hours of play. Not sure what finally clicked but I’ll take it.

If you have loved the Total War series even a little, you owe it to yourself to try Stainless Steel v6.4. If you enjoyed Medieval 2, run, don’t walk, and grab it right now. You’ll need a copy of the Kingdoms expansion as well. Here, have this link. It has everything you need to get started.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 7

Our very own half-pint hammerhead is back at war ~

Lloyd Sabin, 13 November 2017

If you’re keeping track of what I’m playing you really need a better hobby. That said, last week I covered my foray in to the first act of Shadow of War, and despite myself I found I kept coming back for 10-12 hours of pretty mindless orkish bloodletting. Now another week has passed and after moaning and wailing, I have arrived at the second act of Shadow War, just in time for army construction and that sweet, sweet siege warfare I have been screaming for. And wouldn’t you know it, just as I’ve developed a good head of steam and plowed directly in to the act…I have started to lose interest.

So I am some distance in to the second act of Shadow of War and feeling a little ‘meh’ about the whole thing.

I don’t dislike Shadow of War, but as noted last week, the entire first act is more of the same from Shadow of Mordor. Relatively speaking, that’s a good thing and the nemesis system is solid…I just wanted more NEWER FASTER!!! And I didn’t get to it quickly enough.

So I am some distance in to the second act of Shadow of War and feeling a little ‘meh’ about the whole thing. For a time I am going to shelve Shadow of War and move on, for my own sanity and yours. I will come back to it, and probably pretty soon, but right now my brain needs something else. An old favorite, a new take on an old formula, something totally out of left field…I’m not sure yet, put it that way. But whatever I start gaming in the next few days will make this little column here more interesting than my mewling about that sweet, sweet siege action. I know this.