Monthly Archives: August 2013

GARPA 26 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

Authors: Dan Pinkham & Lloyd Sabin

Ahh…there is almost a chill in the air and the children are being herded back to school.  That means football season and fall must almost be here. Unfortunately that also means pumpkin in everything you can eat and drink but never fear: GARPA shall remain pumpkin free but still contain all the gaming nutrition you expect.

Board and Tabletop Games

A War of Kings –Playing Cards by Andy Fischer

$8,056 pledged of a $10,500 goal funding ending September 7th

1 War of KingsTo be honest I am getting off easy with this entry but it is too cool looking of a project not to feature here at GARPA. It is a deck of cards. That’s right, 54 playing cards.  However, “each suit is a distinctly different set of fantasy characters, featuring White and Dark Knights, Fire Mages and Barbarians.”  That’s the project, that’s all there is: a card deck with some sweet looking fantasy art. We’ll post some pictures here but make sure to check out their project page for even more art samples.

Fantasy Frontier by Gamelyn Games

$5,187 pledged of a $25,000 goal funding ending October 8th

There is something so very intriguing about airships. Perhaps it is the well-known disaster of the Hindenburg and the idea of what could have been had it not happened. Maybe it is just the notion of slowly drifting through the clouds in your very own dirigible. Whatever the case may be I thought most of us, if honest, find the idea at least interesting.

Since we can’t all go out and buy an airship, we have to keep dreaming and game with them. Fantasy Frontier is here to help with “a 2-4 player game of airships and exploration” that brings the airship fantasy alive on a tabletop.

3 Fantasy FrontierDesigned to be played in about 90 minutes this will make a great game for the coming winter months.  “Each player controls a unique airship with a crew of pioneers. Players manage the actions of these pioneers each turn in an effort to scout the land, gather resources, construct townships, and even battle it out in aerial combat.”

To create the game world over which the airships fly, players develop “geographic patterns via tile placement, the players will develop a new world each time they play.” Each turn players use their workers to perform seven actions: piloting the airship, R&D, scouting the land, gathering resources, constructing a township, aerial combat, or repairing ship damage.

The game comes with over 200 components and looks to be a very unique experience.  Combine the possible turn strategies with the geomorphic playing surface and players get lots of replayability options. If you want to see some cool game art, components, or an early gameplay video then make sure to check out the project’s Kickstarter page.

Allied Corps AAR – Part 2

When we left off my intrepid heroes were had finished Turn 3 and were heading toward a 50 mm PaK, A Wurfrahmen, an SdKfz 234/2, and two units of Pioneer infantry. Because several of my units were open topped I was giving that Wurfrahmen a healthy distance. But at some point it would need to be addressed.

The German AI, on the other hand, had the opportunity to take some shots at my advancing force, but mysteriously held its ground and did nothing.

 

Allied Turn 4

I’m more shocked by the lack of initiative by the German Pioneer and Wurfrahmen. They just sit there. That seems crazy. I decide to focus on the Wurfrahmen first. My P-51 makes a pass and does some damage.

Allied Corps AAR-027

Now I have some choices. Along my line of advance there is a river, the Nederrijn to my south. The way the Panzer Corps engine works friendly units cannot move if adjacent to an enemy unit. So no matter how weak that 50mm PaK is, I won’t be able to squeak past it. I have to destroy it. The Chaffee fires but does no damage while taking a beating itself. The P-47 does a little more damage and then I pull it back to base for refueling. The Wellington, now refueled moves up and eliminates the PaK. That’s good news. Now I can advance. I pull the Chaffee back and move the Airborne up to take the airbase that the PaK had occupied. Their chances of taking on the Pioneers don’t look good so I just let them hang. We’ll figure out what to do with the Pioneers shortly.

Book Review: Africa’s Commandos

Brant Guillory, 28 August 2013

A new collection of memoirs and first-hand accounts of the actions throughout the distinguished history of the Rhodesian Light Infantry makes for a compelling read and memorable look into the first-hand accounts of Africa’s bush wars of the 60s and 70s.

We took off en masse, ten G-Cars carrying the 2Cdo troops; ten K-Cars; two
command helicopters and ten G-Cars carrying the Support Commando troops detailed
to man the forward admin base and ferry in fuel and supplies to the target
area.

The flight provided us with some impressive and memorable visuals.
All 32 helicopters were flying in single file through the majestic Penhalonga
Mountains, some of the most magnificent terrain in the world. The troops gazed
in awe at the spectacle as they leaned out of the Alouettes and looked around.

Two or three Canberras thundered low over us en route to their targets.
For a few minutes there was the amazing sight of the command helicopters and the
ten K-Cars peeling off in front of us to position over their allocated targets;
the six paradaks dropping the 3Cdo and the SAS paratroopers; and the Hunters
diving in on their targets. The air was thick with dust and smoke and the
streaks of SNEB rocket trails.

And the tales of Op Dingo – the Rhodesian raid on an ZANLA camp inside Mozambique – put the reader front and center in the battle.  These are not analyses of secondary sources with discussions of geo-political implications.  These are the memories of the men on the ground, at the sharp end of the spear, pulling triggers and “culling floppies.”  This isn’t the news conference soundbite; this is the scene in Blackhawk Down when the choppers are taking off and the trucks are rolling out and Stevie Ray Vaughn’s cover of Voodoo Chile is providing the soundtrack.

As you read the book and pore over the memoirs, however, you realize that although the raid on Chimoio was an abberation in its size and distance from the RLI’s bases inside Rhodesia, the action wasn’t.  These men were a battle-hardened brotherhood who had chased “terrs” (slang for “terrorists”, the ZANLA and ZIPRA guerilla forces) across their entire country, protecting the population from invaders whose semi-safe bases outside of Rhodesia’s borders gave them a geographic and demographic edge.  The RLI didn’t care.  They found a way to succeed in every battle they faced, and along the way became perhaps the most successful counter-guerilla force in history.

Tuesday Screenshot – Divinity: Dragon Commander

2013-08-13_00010

 

 

A half-dragon’s work is never done.

Trying to save my father’s kingdom from the greed and ineptitude of my step-siblings has proven quite the task. Here I’m slugging it out with one of them on an island filled with valuable…stuff. Every territory I conquer brings me one step closer to crushing the insurgency and unifying the kingdom. Here my airships close in on the enemy’s forces. My ground troops follow behind as we prepare to punish them for aligning with the wrong side. Soon it will be done.

Game: Divinity: Dragon Commander

The GrogHeads Call for Research

GrogHeads Staff, 26 August 2013

Hobby games and gamers – especially in the strategy gaming and wargaming world – have rarely been the subjects of much serious published research inquiry.  And yet, some of us know from personal experience that such research is, in fact, being conducted in graduate schools and academic institutions all over.  Distinct from marketing analyses in that they are not focused on improving commercial performance, these studies are frequently conceptualized and executed by members of the broader gaming community who are seeking to fuse their love for the hobby with an academic persuit in the social sciences or humanities.

Although there are a few academic outlets for such research – the journal Simulation & Gaming springs to mind – not every paper was written with the intention of journal or conference submission.  Nevertheless, the research is still interesting and useful, and for GrogHeads everywhere it is certainly relevant.  Papers shared may inspire better research by later investigators, and the ideas discussed may help designers and developers craft better games.