Category Archives: Reviews

GrogHeads Reviews Sovereign of the Seas

Global naval conflict in the Age of Sail? Yes, please! ~

Jim Owczarski, 26 August 2017

The child of many gifts who does not rise to his potential is a cliche.  Now a parent, I find that cliche, when made flesh, to be one of the most frustrating of human experiences.  After all, this is a person you love with all your heart, who you know is capable of remarkable things, and yet, in this moment, for reasons you cannot discern, is just not, well, getting it done.

Thus my summary of Compass Games’ Sovereign of the Seas, an improvisation on the theme of Avalon Hill’s legendary War at Sea that has within it some legitimately fun, if light, game play, but needed more time in development; development that now, unfortunately, is being handled after release.

Video: Tech?No! Bowl – First Look!

Kick-off* your week with Tech?No! Bowl ~

Michael Eckenfels, 20 August 2017

What’s in the new tabletop football game?

*yes, we know it was a gimme joke.


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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.

Video: High Flying Dice Two-Pack – First Look!

A two-fer Tuesday video unboxing ~

Michael Eckenfels, 15 August 2017

High Flying Dice sent over copies of both Gliders from the Sky and St. George’s Valor.  Michael digs into both.

Note that these games are not sold in a combo pack, but were both shipped to us together.  Watch for more as Michael digs into the games


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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.

Classic Articles: A Different Theory of the Japanese Surrender

Did the Soviet Union’s actions influence Truman’s decision-making? ~

Brant Guillory, 8 August 2017

Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which is alternately considered both controversial and essential to ending the war.

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to hear a talk at the Mershon Center at Ohio State by Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, discussing the impact of the bomb on Japan’s decision to surrender.

INTRODUCTION

I attend[ed] a weekly seminar series at the Mershon Center for Security Studies and Public Policy here at Ohio State University. On some weeks, the seminar coincides with guest speakers. Last week, Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa came to talk, and this is a summary of his narrative. But first, it may be helpful to introduce Dr. Hasegawa by way of his Mershon Center bio:
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa is professor of Modern Russian and Soviet History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His current research interests include the political and social history of the Russian Revolution, focusing on crime and police in Petrograd during the Revolution, March 1917 – March 1918, as well as Soviet military history, collecting materials on V.K. Bliukher. Hasegawa is also studying Russian/Soviet-Japanese relations, especially the Soviet-Japanese War of 1945, Soviet policy toward the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, and the Soviet-Japanese Normalization Talks, 1955-56. Hasegawa has published widely on the Russian and Soviet history, his most major publications being The Northern Territories Dispute and Russo-Japanese Relations. Vol. 1: Between War and Peace, 1967-1985. Vol.2: Neither War Nor Peace, 1985-1998 (UC Berkeley, 1998), Russia and Japan: An unresolved Dilemma between Distant Neighbors, edited with Jonathan Haslam and Andrew Kuchins (UC Berkeley, 1993), and Roshia kakumeika petorogurado no shiminseikatsu [Everyday Life of Petrograd during the Russian Revolution] (Chuokoronsha, 1989). His most recent publication is titled Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (Belknap, 2005). Dr. Hasegawa received his PhD from Washington University in 1969.

THE PRESENTATION

Following the fall of Germany in May of ’45, the Allies turned their attention to the three-year old Pacific War. To avoid continued American causalities and bring World War II to a close, Truman ordered the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Conventional American wisdom is that the atomic bomb brought about the fall of Japan, and few American textbooks challenge this idea. However, a Japanese scholar, Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of UC-Santa Barbara, has published an new book, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, that re-examines the end of World War II through a new perspective on international diplomacy, and comes to the conclusion that although the atomic bomb was certainly a very important factor in ending World War II, it was not the most important one. In fact, it might have caused the U.S. to prolong the war longer than necessary.

GrogHeads Reviews Advanced Platoon Leader

Michael gives you a look at the new tabletop tactical game ~

Michael Eckenfels, 5 August 2017

More to follow later, at some point…


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