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The Tuesday Interview – COIN on Mars!

The designer of the home-brewed COIN-on-the-Red-planet game gives us the scoop on his personal design ~

Brant Guillory, 25 July 2017

The COIN system has taken a variety of odd directions – some modern, some not – many of which we’ve covered here at GrogHeads.  One place the COIN system had not yet gone was to space.  Until now.

A home-made COIN-based game, set on Mars, has started to capture some attention, and there’s some buzz about it on teh interwebz.  With that in mind, we tracked down the creator (wasn’t too hard, he’s on BGG!) and bugged him with some questions about his design.

First, the obvious question – this wasn’t anything official from GMT, was it?  You’re not just part of a, ahem… “guerrilla” marketing campaign, are you?

Not official from GMT in any way shape or form. When I first had the idea for the game I messaged Volko and asked his permission to use the game engine. He was 100% cool with that and said if I ever wanted to publish the game, that GMT would be the place to do it.

As it stands, there is no agreement, formal or informal, with GMT to publish the game.  Ideally, there will be. Otherwise this will end up being a free PnP game.

 

 

Raid on the Marshall Islands – an Order of Battle Pacific AAR, part 1

After Pearl Harbor, it’s time for the US to strike back ~

Avery Abernethy, 24 July 2017

After the Japanese destroyed most of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the US Naval Command and President Roosevelt were under tremendous pressure to position the US Carriers into a defensive position. Some argued the carriers should defend Hawaii. Others suggested pulling the carriers back to protect the US West Coast. After taking command of the Pacific Fleet on December 31, 1941, Admiral Nimitz was responsible for how the US Fleet would be deployed.

Instead of a strict defensive deployment, Nimitz used the remaining US ships centered on the aircraft carriers to both ferry planes to Pacific outposts and also to launch raids against the Japanese. The decision to launch raids against Japan was a very ballsy move by Nimitz. The most famous raid was by Doolittle’s group from the Carrier Hornet. But a more extensive raid against the Gilbert Islands came first.

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.

Outpost Gamma – A GrogHeads AAR, part 2

The legionnaires are far from home, and facing impossible odds.  Again. ~

Michael Eckenfels, 19 July 2017

AAR: PART 2

We’re playing the first scenario, “The Last Outpost.” There are 12 turns in this scenario, and each turn is divided into ten phases. The object is for the Legionnaires to be the last side to occupy at least three mesa-top hexes, and/or destroy all Irdan attackers. The Irdans win if they destroy all the Legionnaires, and/or clear all mesa-top hexes of them. If neither of these occur, the game ends in a draw.

Each turn’s phases are:

  1. Energy Storm Phase
  2. Disruption Fire Phase
  3. Irdan Movement Phase
  4. Irdan Combat Phase
  5. Irdan Stun Recovery Phase
  6. Imperial/Miner Movement Phase
  7. Imperial/Miner Combat Phase
  8. Remove Disruption Markers
  9. Imperial Legionnaire Stun Recovery Phase
  10. End of Game Turn

I mention all of this to give you a feel for how the game flows.

Now, back to the action.

The Tuesday Interview – Steve Jackson

You know, the one with the company named after him…? ~

Avery Abernethy & Brant Guillory, 18 July 2017

Following LibertyCon, the esteemed Steve Jackson agreed to a short interview with GrogHeads.

 

First, the easy question!  What was your single most enjoyable game moment this year so far?

Had to be at LC playing one of the unannounced sneak playtest designs which I will not name for print. Everybody was involved and laughing. Great moment. I do like the chance to play with new people, and when a game clicks it’s wonderful.

 

One of our writers recently put together a big, multi-part retrospective of classic 80s-era Car Wars.  What can you tell us about the new Car Wars in Development?  What Kickstarter information can you start leaking out? 

I really can’t leak a heckuva lot. We had to set CW development aside to get the Munchkin CCG off to print. We are about to pick it up again. It already works very nicely but we want it to be faster, and the collision rule in particular could stand some polishing.

 

Report from LibertyCon 30

It’s a limited-attendance show, which might keep out some of the riff-raff? ~

Avery Abernethy, 17 July 2017

click images to enlarge

LibertyCon is a small SF literary, gaming and whatnot convention.  They limit themselves to 750 attendees and have sold out for years.  LibertyCon is held in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the last weekend in June.  This was year 30.

LibertyCon is different from every other convention I’ve ever attended.  It is very small, but has an amazing guest list.  This year literary guests included SF (and wargamer favorites) John Ringo, David Drake, David Weber, Charles Gannon, and Michael Z. Williamson.  Also attending (an incomplete list) were  Robert Buettner; Julie Cochrane; John Hartness; Sarah Hoyt; Chris Kennedy; Tom Kratman; Van Allen Plexico and Cherie Priest.  I own probably fifty books written by various author attendees.  Baen Publishing loves me.

The strong author list is partly due to LibertyCon being the local convention for David Weber (who always brings his wife and three kids) and John Ringo.  A huge number of Baen Books authors always attend.  Baen’s publisher Toni Weisskopf is from Wake Forest, NC and they do a two hour “what are we up to” talk every year where they also give away books.  They have a Baen author dinner and probably do quite a bit of business.  They publically give book contracts to authors at the Baen Show.

Modern-Day Napoleonic Battles & Travels, Part the Third

Cyrano’s last travelogue update before, y’know, actually traveling! ~

Jim Owczarski, 15 July 2017

I’m a bit embarrassed that it’s taken me nigh eight months to file an update to this series, but, with an apology proffered, perhaps it’s best to dive right in?

I’ll begin, if I may, by again talking about a surprise.  I’ve known of this creature for a long time:

How very, very lovely

Outpost Gamma – A GrogHeads AAR, part 1

The legionnaires are far from home, and facing impossible odds.  ~

Michael Eckenfels, 12 July 2017

Outpost Gamma is one of a dozen Imperial Legionnaire outposts on the harsh, storm-thrashed surface of Irda, home to ten troopers. The site had been chosen by Imperial Pathfinders, as it lay astride one of the busier canal-ways used for travel by the natives and Twargs; the canals are dominated by a series of mesas, on top of which the Pathfinders recommended one of the twelve outposts on the surface.

The twelve teams had seemed to be a little bit of overkill to the Legionnaires, but the importance of the gemstones in the surface overrode any half measures that the generals back on Terra or in the governing regions wanted to initially deploy. The recommendation had come with three platoons of Omni tanks, each of which to be assigned to one of the three strategic locales determined by the Pathfinders, but that was denied; even those that expected full-on trouble thought the Omnis were a bit like giant boots crushing ants.

Better to crush ants with a terrible advantage, thought Outpost Gamma’s commander, whom went by the call-sign ‘MetalDog,’ than to stoop to their level!

Now, I’m worried, he thought darkly.

He’d had trouble raising the other Outposts all day; even with dedicated SATCOM satellites in low Irda orbit, staying in touch successfully was a roll of the dice. Legionnaire doctrine called on such Outposts to stay in communication with each other at least once per day; that meant Outpost Gamma should have eleven contacts. It wasn’t unusual, though, for days to pass on Irda before raising one or two other Outposts. Usually, Outposts would pass along their contacts to other Outposts, which wasn’t ideal but kept everyone generally informed.

Tuesday Interview – Luke Hughes of Burden of Command

The main brain behind the forthcoming Burden of Command has a chat with GrogHeads ~

Brant Guillory, 11 July 2017

When I hear “Burden of Command” I start to flash back to my days as a company commander, and being buried under a pile of 15-6 investigations, dental cat-IVs, and guys who couldn’t qualify with their personal weapons.  I’m assuming the newly-announced “Burden of Command” game isn’t a game of competitive administrative duties.  Give us the thumbnail insight of what we can expect in the new game, and why this one is more focused on the ‘burden’ of command than other similar games on the marketplace?

Damn, I can run but now I can’t hide.  A real company commander, I’d love to know when and where! (ed note: nothing exciting – it was a National Guard HHC while the rest of the battalion was mobilized)

Now you are so right, real command is a lot of administrative tedium puncture by rare moments of terror.  However, maybe not such a great game. Though the game “Papers Please” might teach us differently.   What you can expect in BoC is not only the command and control decisions you associate with classic wargames (directing fire and maneuver, and the 4 F’s: find, fix, flank, and finish) but the morale oriented decisions we might associate with a classic tactical board game (ASL, Combat Commander, Band of Brothers, Fields of Fire).

Finally, and more unusually, you must take responsibility for the “preserve” decisions around the men’s physical and psychological welfare on and off the battlefield. They will look to you for the right mindset to adopt in the face of war. Novelist Karl Marlantes, who dropped out of his Rhodes Scholarship to serve as a 1st Lieutenant in Vietnam wrote “What It is Like to Go to War.” He argued that, like it or not, when you go to war you enter a spiritual journey because you are in the presence of death. You have entered the “Temple of Mars” as he so eloquently put it. Whether or not you or your superiors have prepared you for that experience, and for making life or death decisions is a different question.  But the burden will be yours, prepared or not.

In sum, leadership in BoC is “Direct, Motivate, and Preserve.” And the burdens are many.