Category Archives: Featured Posts

GrogHeads Analyzes Order of Battle: Kriegsmarine

Some thoughts on strategy for your naval battles ~

Avery Abernethy, 20 August 2017

Avoid purchasing battleships.

I have several strategy suggestions gleaned from three completed games. Avoid purchasing battleships. They are slower than cruisers and their firepower against surface ships are not worth the extra price. But the obsolete battleship you start with at Danzig is remarkably effective as an anti-aircraft platform. It is helpful to keep her alive. You need to stay with the Deutchland cruiser class for two reasons. First, they are less expensive. Second, they have a one hex greater firing range than the Admiral Hipper class. The extra firing range is much more important than slightly higher damage.

GrogHeads Reviews Order of Battle: Kriegsmarine

Battles in the North Sea at the Atlantic rage through WWII ~

Avery Abernethy, 19 August 2017

After the successful invasion of Norway in 1940, German naval combat was largely limited to submarine warfare, commerce raiders and costal defense. Order of Battle WW2: Kriegsmarine is the fifth supplement in the Order of Battle series. The Kriegsmarine single-player game puts you in the role of the commander in chief of the German Navy and provides extensive what-if options to WW2 German Naval operations. I purchased Kriegsmarine and played it through three times.

GrogHeads Analyzes Aftershock: A Humanitarian Crisis Game

Professional development through better gameplay? ~

Brant Guillory, 12 August 2017

The first tremors hit Carana around 415 in the morning, local time. The capital was just stirring as many laborers were hurrying through their pre-dawn meals before shuffling out of their small houses to arrive at work by sunrise. The full brunt of the earthquake arrive 20 minutes or so later, and the devastation was described by at least one news outlet as “biblical.” The nations tenuous infrastructure, barely a patchwork to begin with, had no chance against the fury unleashed by the Earth’s shifting tectonic plates as bridges crumbled, roads buckled, water pipes tore apart like paper, and the electrical grid shut down, ending any communication that was out of shouting distance.

The full brunt of the earthquake arrive 20 minutes or so later, and the devastation was described by at least one news outlet as “biblical.”

Help was slow in arriving. Certainly the help wanted to arrive, but the routes into the country – the limited airport, the ramshackle seaport, and inland border – were never ideal under perfect circumstances, and these were not perfect circumstances. The local population certainly had a will to survive, but lacked critical supplies for medical care, safe water, and food & shelter. The world mobilized to help.

And the help began to arrive, a multi-headed hydra of organizations, services, expertise, and agendas. Usually cooperative, occasionally antagonistic, and always under the steady gaze of the worlds’ TV cameras, the various organizations rolled up their sleeves to start the long, hard slog of restoring the basic necessities of life to Carana.

Monsters of War: Learning Complex Games

How do you eat an elephant? ~

Gary Mengle, 31 July 2017

Many wargamers can hear the quiet siren’s call of the complex monster, the game with a thousand counters and 50+ pages of rules… or more. For those of us who desire simulation over competitive gameplay the song can be particularly strong. Sure, that game of For the People is enjoyable for a long afternoon, but we still thirst for the big, deep, epic, massive game that takes weeks or months and hundreds of hours to play.

 

Even so, most of us have only so much mental space to be taken up with complex rules for multiple games, which I figure is why a lot of ASL players seldom touch other games with similar depth. “Complex” doesn’t equate to “monster,” of course — and ASL is again a great example of that — but in recent years many monsters have also been complex.

Advanced Squad Leader

So how do you approach a game like that? Having learned and forgotten a number of complicated games over the years, here are some time that might help you learn the great beasts of wargaming. These won’t guarantee mastery… but learn the rules and then play, and mastery will come.

Raid on the Marshall Islands – an Order of Battle Pacific AAR, part 4

The culmination of the raid on the Gilberts & Marshalls ~

Avery Abernethy, 30 July 2017

As introduced in the first episode – This is an after action report (AAR) from Order of Battle: World War 2 the US Pacific Campaign and the Marshalls – Gilbert Islands Raid scenario. I played this scenario as part of the US Pacific Campaign. 

On Turn 13 the Red Task Force air wings start the attack on the last major objective. It will be a tough nut to crack. There are at least three squadrons of Japanese planes including a highly dangerous torpedo squadron. My carrier will have to stand off at least two flight turns away to the East to avoid being hit.

Reflections on Gettysburg – The Tide Turns

Developed by Shenandoah Studio and published by Matrix/Slitherine

Boggit reflects on the Battle of Gettysburg while playing “Gettysburg – The Tide Turns” ~

Boggit, 29 July 2017

“I have bin in one battle, and that satisfied me with war, and I would beg to be excused next time”

Private Haban R. Foster, 34th Virginia Infantry, 1862.

 

I’m playing the First Day scenario. My view is that if Lee can’t get an easy win on Day 1, then he’s going to be facing an increasingly worsening attrition battle, one that even if he does win the battle itself will mean the end of his campaign and any prospect of actually winning the war due to excessive, and hard to replace losses.

 

Gettysburg – The Tide Turns is a game reconstructing the strategically decisive battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War (1861-65) between the Union (Northern) and Confederate (Southern) states in America. In many ways it was the first modern war where weapons development and tactics presaged the carnage that would be seen a few years later in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and the early months of the First World War (1914-18) where modern weapons met Napoleonic tactics with predictable results.

Raid on the Marshall Islands – an Order of Battle Pacific AAR, part 3

The raid on the Gilberts & Marshalls is almost done ~

Avery Abernethy, 28 July 2017

As introduced in the first episode – This is an after action report (AAR) from Order of Battle: World War 2 the US Pacific Campaign and the Marshalls – Gilbert Islands Raid scenario. I played this scenario as part of the US Pacific Campaign. 

A lot happened on Turn 10. First, I received two US submarine units to the far Southwest. They spotted a Jap merchant. Subs have fairly damaging attacks but also take several turns to reload after firing.

Raid on the Marshall Islands – an Order of Battle Pacific AAR, part 2

Airboy’s raid on the Japanese, early in the war, rolls on ~

Avery Abernethy, 26 July 2017

As introduced last episode – This is an after action report (AAR) from Order of Battle: World War 2 the US Pacific Campaign and the Marshalls – Gilbert Islands Raid scenario. I played this scenario as part of the US Pacific Campaign. 

 

Objective Black 1 was hit by my air wing on Turn 2. The aircraft were on the ground and two Jap ships were at the island. Unfortunately, there is also a Jap coastal battery on the island. My air groups immediately sink one Jap ship and strafe the parked planes. My carrier must stand off until the coastal battery is taken care of.

 

By turn 4 the US Navy in TF Black has sunk two ships and destroyed the coastal battery. My ships can now shell the Jap planes on the ground and blow up the oil depot.

 

Meanwhile, TF Red’s combat air patrol spotted two Japanese merchants in-route to target Red 1. My air wings heavily damaged the Jap merchants while my two ships sailed closer to Red 1.

 

An overview of the situation is easily obtained by the game.

The distances are so great that the overview feature in the game is very welcome.

Objective Red 1 was really easy. No coastal gun, no anti-aircraft and no oil depot. My carrier air wing did the job really fast.

Objective Black 1 has been largely liquidated. The coastal battery, the AA gun and the Jap planes are all destroyed. My ships will shell the oil depot as they pass on their Southern heading towards objective Black 2. The dive bomber and torpedo plane landed to refuel and reinforce. My F4F Wildcat refueled last turn and is heading South to recon the next objective.

 

Objective Red 2 is going to be a lot harder. There is an airfield with Jap planes, an AA gun and an Oil Depot. My PT Boat will swoop in close to the island to bring the AA gun and any parked Jap planes under direct fire. The last Jap plane from Objective Red 1 was destroyed. Black Task Force is steaming South.

 

On Turn 8 my Red Task Force has liquidated the first target and is sailing West towards target Red 2. That is going smoothly. Black Task Force destroyed the Oil Depot and is heading South. Unfortunately, Objective Black 2 is even tougher than Black 1. There is a light cruiser, a heavy AA unit, a merchant ship and an unknown number of Jap planes as scouted by my F4F. It will take one carrier air wing, two destroyers and a cruiser a while to eliminate this target.

 

 

Turn 9 shows how my US battle plan is starting to unravel. I sent one destroyer from the Black Task Force due West in order to link up with the Red Task Force around the last objective. The Jap Light Cruiser steamed North at full speed and is attempting to engage the carrier with the Black Task Force. Target Red 2 is going to be easy meat. My PT boat damaged the Jap Squadron on the ground. My F4F did additional damage. I should be able to shoot down the Jap squadron next turn. The PT boat can easily take care of the light AA gun and my ships can blow up the Oil Depot as they sail West. So far, the Red Task Force is getting the easy opposition and the Black Task Force is engaging a lot more units.

How does the battle wrap up?  Come back and see later…


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