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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.

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

Vietnam ‘65 vs Afghanistan ‘11 – Two sides of the same COIN?

How do the two counterinsurgency games stack up? ~

Boggit, 10 June 2017

Developed by Every Single Soldier and published by Matrix/Slitherine

The opening screen summarising the game parameters. A player can tweak these in the options screen.

A couple of years ago I did an article on Every Single Soldier’s debut release – Vietnam ‘65. At the time I thought with a bit of tweaking and updating of the game engine they could make a decent Afghanistan game, which is exactly what they have done. So what is different and how does it play out?

 

GMT’s Fields of Despair – First Look!

A look inside GMT’s WWI game ~

Chris Paquette, 26 April 2017

Fields of Despair is part of our program at this Summer’s GrogHeads Central Command at Origins.  What’s inside the box?

The box – the usual big GMT package

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics – EPIC!

Jim descends further into his Napoleonic madness with massive-scale gaming ~

Jim Owczarski, 18 March 2017

I have been waiting for this one for a long time.

It’s almost unreal to me that Battle Cry, the first of Richard Borg’s “Commands and Colors” series, was released in 2000.  I like the American Civil War well enough, but, from the beginning, I hoped that the simple, elegant system evident in the game could be elaborated into the best of all periods, Napoleonics.

In the years since, I’ve bought and happily played Memoir ’44 (2004), Commands and Colors: Ancients (2006), Battlelore (also 2006), not to mention the remarkable array of expansions, special editions, and the like for all these systems.  I gave Zvezda’s Samurai Battles a miss if only because it’s the only era covered that doesn’t appeal to me.

True Napoleonic wargamers are obsessed with scope, spectacle, and sweep.

And then it came out.  In 2010, GMT Games gave the waiting world Commands and Colors: Napoleonics.  Sure, it was wooden blocks not lovely figures.  Yes, it was the British, Spanish, and Portuguese versus the French.  And, yes, for reasons known only to the grim gods of game production, the Prussians were excluded from the included Waterloo scenario.  But it was Napoleonics and that, at first, was enough.

This was no longer the simplified rule set found in Battle Cry.  There was the forming of square; different grades of horse, foot, and guns; and even elegant rules to differentiate leaders and national troop characteristics.  In the latter case, French troops, and their famous columns, fight better in melee, while the British lines do real damage with ranged fire, &c.

After much fun was had, though, it was ultimately not enough.  True Napoleonic wargamers are obsessed with scope, spectacle, and sweep.  It is this that leads us to do really, really dumb things like this: Historicon 2010 Part V Wagram (Shako II) and Outro

For the record this is my shaky-cam — I’ve become better — but this game had run 14 hours before I had to leave with it far from finished.

Classic Reviews – Warrior Knights 2nd Ed.

Another throwback to the classic review days of years gone by under another moniker ~

Brant Guillory, 03 January 2017

INTRODUCTION

Warrior Knights is a board game of diplomacy, commerce, and, of course, warfare, in the Middle Ages. It is published by Fantasy Flight Games and available now. The game covers a hypothetical kingdom in Europe, with real-world territories along the edge of the map, such as Ceylon, Alexandria, and Syracuse.

The knights and barons involved are also hypothetical, but have names evocative of the kingdoms of the Middle Ages: Baron Raoul d’Emerande is Spanish, Baron Mieczyslaw Niebieski is Polish (or perhaps Czech). In all, there are 6 Barons, each with 4 subordinate nobles. Although the names are aligned by nationality, there is no real attempt to have them reflect any real personalities from history.

The original Warrior Knights was designed by Derek Carver and published in the mid-1980s by GDW. The current version is described by Fantasy Flight Games as being reinvented for a new generation while paying homage to the original. It does not appear that Mr. Carver was involved in the design of the current incarnation.

 

wk-contents

TANKSgiving! – Kursk: The Biggest Tank Battle

tanksgivingheaderRefighting Kursk, on-the-go! ~

Michael Eckenfels, 26 November 2016

The Conflict-Series of games on the Android device are great little hex- and turn-based wargames that cover a wide variety of battles from World War II. The developer of these games, Joni Nuutinen, is a solo programmer that creates these games in his free time, and he heavily supports them as well by constantly updating them and listing detailed reports of what he’s done to improve his games.

At 3.99 USD per game, they’re inexpensive and terrific time wasters. To date, I own 19 of them (yes, nineteen), which I’ve purchased here and there over a year and a half or so. As you can tell, I’m fairly addicted to them, and even went so far as to ask Joni several questions and create a Q&A article, which I am currently working on.

Check out his “Conflict-Series” in the Google Play store if you’re interested.

In the spirit of TANKSgiving, I decided to take a deep dive into the Conflict-Series title, Kursk: The Biggest Tank Battle. Can I lead the Germans to victory where they failed historically? Or will I get the German armies shredded even worse?

This game isn’t easy, but admittedly, I’ve played through it more than a few times. I’ve won only one time out of multiple attempts; the Soviets are damned difficult to defeat, especially as they have a lot of tank reserves. Since I control the German forces (and there’s no option to play the Soviet side; in every Conflict-Series game, you play one side only, though Joni has developed more than a few titles that look at a battle from both sides), I have several tough Panzer divisions at my disposal, but not nearly as many as I’d like.

You can find a plethora of information on the Battle of Kursk online, or in hundreds of books available out there. If you’re reading this site, chances are you’re already passingly familiar with the battle and what happened.

overviewmap

(This map was found at EmersonKent.com, which credits the United States Military Academy Department of History.)

Modern-Day Napoleonic Battles & Travels, Part the Second

Cyrano’s next entry to the travelogue ~

Jim Owczarski, 05 November 2016

One of the great joys of travel is discovering something you never thought to find.  This is particularly true for me if it’s something that runs the risk of being lost to time or cultural preference.  A good example is the small memorial sign atop the Stare Vinohrady (Old Vineyard) at Austerlitz.  For all the effort that went into making the battlefield ready for the 200th anniversary back in 2005, it seems no one bothered to put up something more permanent than a simple metal sign, painted white-on-blue, and mounted on two stakes at the site of one of the greatest cavalry charges in history.

Admittedly, depending on how one gets up there, the route to the top of the Stare Vinohrady can be quite the hike and, based on the fair number of beer bottles and cigarette butts in evidence, it seems a popular location for late night fire pits and drink-a-thons.  Still, not long after I laid eyes on the sign — and worked my way through a rough translation of its Czech inscription — I was determined at least to leave it standing and its restoration, however brief, is something I will always remember.

There, better!

There, better!