GARPA 32 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Lloyd Sabin, Brant Guillory, and Jim Zabek, 22 November 2013

Winter is coming. As a blast of cold, icy air descends from the Arctic we here at Grogheads are doing our best to keep your blood hot for some new games and we’re leading off with GMT’s Fields of Fire, which sounds hot even when you read it through the cool glow of your monitor. Don’t miss some other great gaming goodness beyond the Read More link which includes some awesome terrain for sci-fi minis and some remakes of a couple of classic electronic games.

Tabletop Games

Fields of Fire II from GMT Games
Cleared p500 and in final development

Still available at the p500 price of $55, this sequel from GMT Games takes the highly-regarded Fields of Fire series into action with the USMC.  You’ll lead a rifle company through a variety of solitaire scenarios ranging from the WWII PTO through the present day.  A card-driven game with a terrain deck and action deck, Fields of Fire has been described by combat veterans as a pretty damned good representation of the kinds of decisions you need to make in combat.  Check it out here and go place your order with GMT.




Millennium Wars Advanced: States of Conflict from MCS Group
Still on preorder, no timetable

The Millennium Wars games are an odd fish.  Clearly a map-and-counters wargame that any grog should grok at first glance, but quite complex in the interplay of assets, missions, capabilities, and environmental constraints.  A heavy focus on C4I puts the Millennium Wars series in the forefront of modern conflict simulation, and allows solid modeling of organizational cohesion as well as varied non-combat effects like cyberwarfare and political fallout.  Still on preorder at $49.95, MWA is a package stuffed with a variety of conflicts to make you squirm your way through the difficult decisions faced on today’s battlefields.



$4600 of $35000, project closes 15 December 2013

Steampunks!  Yeah, you!  Wanna race?  Wanna race an airship?  Wanna race and airship and fight dirty?  C’mon, you know you do.  Interchangeable boards, wacky characters, dirty tricks, and lemmings – it’s all here.  Players have modular airships that allow you to mix and match capabilities.  Racecourses change each game, and the deck of dirty tricks looks like a Mario race in the sky.  Put on your brass goggles and silk scarf, float over to Kickstarter to check out a video of gameplay, and plunk down a couple of bucks for a rollicking ride through the sky.


Tank on Tank: East Front by LNL Publishing

$2680 of $12000 ending December 11th

GARPA-31-Tank-on-Tank-ImageTank on Tank, for those who don’t know, is a simple and fun game of armor combat. It’s a great entry-level game or can be used for a skirmish over a quick break for lunch or between heavier gaming fare. The Eastern Front sequel brings new units to the game system including Soviet armor and German Stuka dive bombers. If that doesn’t sound fun I don’t know what is. To get in on the action head over the to the I Want This Game website and check it out.

Double Six Dice by Matt Flemming

$3074 of $3246 ending January 10th, 2014

GARPA32-Double-Six-DiceDouble Six dice are a simple concept: regular six sided dice are cubes with six sides all at right angles to each other. Double Six dice are twelve sided dice with pips going from one to six twice. The result is a dice that will produce one of six numbers with a one in six chance every time, but with a smoother roll. If you like to roll dem bones the Double Six dice will roll a bit more before producing a result.

There’s not much to the project beyond that other than the pledge levels which will net you various lots of dice. There’s even a clever little pledge level for $8 for which the amount of dice you receive will be determined by rolling six dice. You’re guaranteed a minimum of eight dice, but the upside could be substantially more. For gamers willing to take a risk, there’s a lot of potential upside to that pledge level. At the top end $25 will net you 50 dice. I’m not sure who is out there rolling 50 dice at a time – even for Warhammer games that seems like a lot. But the option is there for those who want it. If smoother rolling d6’s are your thing check out the Kickstarter page for more details.

Battle Systems Sci-Fi Modular Terrain by Battle Systems Ltd

£125,748 of £21,000 ending December 1st

GARPA32-Battle-Systems-Scifi-TerrainYes, those numbers are in British pounds not US dollars. You’ll get over it. Battle Systems modular terrain is a sci-fi minis gamer’s dream. If you’re playing a game and think it may be compatible with Battle Systems then it may be. It appears to be suitable for the 25 – 30 mm range of minis, but the creators have linked to a fan-maintained page which has a listing of all the games fans believe will be compatible with the terrain. The list may be found here and is near the end of the page. What’s impressive to me is the level of oversubscription. With just a few days left clearly the project will succeed and it’s simply a matter of selecting how much terrain you want and giving them your money.

What makes it appealing is the reasonable cost and pre-printing so there is no painting. The material is card stock with acrylic clips for joining some sections together. If there is a drawback to this it’s the weight of the material for shipping. Card stock weight can add up, and while the cost of the material is fairly reasonable you may wish to pay some attention to the delivered cost. The good news gets even better – the designers have said that if this project succeeds (and clearly it will) then they have other projects in mind including fantasy themed terrain, so am expecting some big things from these folks. If this sounds like your kind of deal head over to their project page and look at it for yourself.


Digital Games

Wings! Remastered Edition by Cinemaware

$60,902 pledged of $85,000 goal, funding ends Tuesday, December 10

Wings!Games are all about emotion, right? I was originally going to post some hokey tripe about attempting to stay neutral when writing about these crowd-funded projects but quickly realized that it was just that: tripe. And hokey. I write about the projects I am interested in. How could it be any other way?

Wings! is by far one of my most treasured games of all time, and is equally beloved by 1000s of other fans and was additionally praised by the gaming press when it was released on the Amiga in 1990. Taking place on the Western Front of World War I from 1916 to the end of the war in 1918, the different elements of the game came together to produce an emotional experience the first time around. The technical structure of the game, its introduction of new pilots, the paternalism of Colonel Farrah, the daily journal notes from the front that introduced each mission, the silent film style movie clips and the feeling of comradery and of really belonging to the 56th Aerosquadron was something special that only a select few games had accomplished then, and even today.

So it is with unabashed squealy delight that I bring you news of the Kickstarter campaign for the Wings! Remastered Edition…everything you loved about the original game is set to return with HD graphics and sound, a recreated UI, and an enhanced set of controls. Coming quick on the heels of the recently failed Red Baron relaunch, and the failed first attempt at getting a new Wings! off the ground (pun intended), this announcement went far to salve my gaming wounds. The team has stated that each mission from the original campaign will be reworked in the new game engine, including the straight forward air patrols as well as the ground attack missions on enemy trenchworks as well as bombing runs, for a total of roughly 230 missions.

Wings! Remastered Edition also has a five mission demo out now that includes an air patrol and a balloon busting mission, and I am happy to type that it still retains the character and flavor it had back in 1990, albeit with a ton of technical graphics and sound improvements, just as advertised. The controls are keyboard-only right now but that is expected to change, but actual flight is just as simple as it was in the original game. Simple physics and dynamics are represented but this is no Rise of Flight.

And it doesn’t want to be. Wings! is billed as an “RPG action-flight game,” and the original was exactly that: created to illicit emotion. And the new demo looks, feels and plays the same way. Additionally, Wings! Remastered Edition was just made available on Steam Greenlight and Android and iOS versions are planned alongside the PC release.

Future content and releases are promised, with the aid of former Cinemaware staff from the original release, and even a full German campaign is mentioned on the Kickstarter page as quite a delectable stretch goal, among others. So this is it…a new Wings! looks to be on its way to our gaming screens within the next 8 months if the current funding trend continues. And I am bursting like a shot of flak with vintage aerial gamey excitement! If this sounds good to you check out their Kickstarter page.

Trainz: A New Era by N3V Games

$82,718 pledged of 153,000 goal, funding ends Tuesday, December 17

TrainzI did not realize that Trainz has been around for such a long time…just about 13 years to be exact. Trainz: A New Era is hoping to build on the past popularity of the series with a full-featured graphics overhaul and a restructuring of the game’s architecture to make it run efficiently on modern machines. This will include more detailed environments, new shadow and lighting effects, inclusion of full-featured environments that include pedestrians, wildlife, vehicles and environmental conditions, and a newly improved scenario editor.

Trainz: A New Era promises to be more than just good looking. New editable physics rendering and a new ‘manifest’, i.e., the list of cars available for the player’s train, are also in the works. This will improve the actual “train-driving feel” of the simulation, and add more variety to the types of trains and their makeup. Performance of individual locomotives will also be customizable, and ‘feature sets’ will be offered, including modes where players can act as surveyors and railyard controllers as well as driver.

Other additional features that will be offered as customizable option packages will include smoke and weather effects, driver effects, track options and more. Stretch goals are numerous and include weather, advanced animation, AI upgrades, high detail screen shot features, multi-player and social media support and multi-platform availability, just to name a few.

All of these options and design features are planned to offer third party content developers the most robust virtual train set available for the PC, and there are already plans in from these international contributors for scenarios set in the US, the UK, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, South Africa and other locales. So if you’ve ever wanted to pilot the slow freight over the Carpathians in winter, Trainz: A New Era will land right in your wheelhouse.


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