Monthly Archives: February 2016

Tracer Rounds – New Wargamers Needed: Apply Within!

Evangelizing the hobby ~

Who was the last convert you brought into the (Dis)United Church of World Wide Wargaming?  Seriously, when was the last time you talked with someone about wargaming (or heck, even more broadly – strategy gaming) and they displayed enough interest to actually take a plunge and try a wargame, and then stuck with it, at least for a while?

Pacific Theatre in Axis & Allies 1942 2nd EditionIt’s an odd hobby we have, right?  There’s a certain barrier to entry just based on the level of detail in most of these games.  Put another way: there’s an amusing “how to choose the perfect board game” flowchart that’s focused on Eurogames, and to get to Axis & Allies you have to answer “yes” to the question “hardest rules ever?”.  And most of us consider A&A to be an entry-level wargame, right?

So we’re already starting off from a position of disadvantage.  Or are we?  In most cases, the level of detail in the rules is there for a reason.  These are complex phenomena that we are trying to quantify and get a handle on.  “Elegance” in wargame design is one of the highest forms of praise in that it indicates an ability to capture challenging and amorphous concepts in such a way that one can easily understand their effects on the battlefield of the game.  Morale, leadership, training, esprit de corps, and basic task competence on the battlefield are all difficult to assess, and ever hard to quantify, and games that can do so in a plausible mechanism are ones that tend to garner high praise.  So how do we explain that to a new player?

GrogHeads Reviews
The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass

Airboy reviews Jim Butcher’s Steampunk series opener ~

Avery Abernethy, 22 February 2016

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher is an action packed, steampunk influenced start to a new series. The population inhabits “spires” which are huge cities on large towers above the surface of the planet. The surface world is too dangerous for ordinary people but contains valuable resources and vicious animal life.

AeroThe major power technology are crystals. Tiny crystals provide light and minor power. Major crystals which are almost impossible to create can power large airships. Envision wooden Man-O-War flying through the air with cannons and inefficient power lasers. Hand weapons are hand sized power crystals and sabers. There are strange creatures, rare and unbalanced magic users who understand how crystals work, and daring traders, naval fleets and privateers flying the skies.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 9: Back to the ’40s!

the 1840s! ~

Jonathan Glazer, 18 February 2016

One of my favorite slogans found on an internet meme states “The hardest part about a Zombie Apocalypse is pretending not to be excited”.   I know several people who are stockpiling weapons and ammo because they truly believe it will happen and they need to be ready.

The problem is that the ZA is not just a shooting party where you get to continue your everyday life, but shoot zombies instead of going to work. This is the proverbial crap on the fan situation. In the original move Dawn of The Dead, there was a scene where the local rednecks were described as having a good time while they were shown having cookouts and stopping to snipe at ghouls unlucky to approach across an open field. It won’t really be like that. Life will change for everyone (if it even continues) forever. TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It) will become a reality.

There will be exceptions. People who truly live off the grid in remote areas and provide for all of their own food probably will not see a huge change, other than having to take more head shots than in the past. But for the rest of us, life will not be so rosy. Eventually, the power grid will fail. That is because the power plants and transmission facilities required to distribute the electricity around the continent need to be maintained. And the people responsible for said maintenance will be eaten. The power shuts down which means no refrigeration, air conditioning, internet, cell phones, land lines, lights, microwaves or iPads.

Gaming Nostalgia – Duel for Atlanta

#TBT at GrogHeads!

Imagine if they played this on a contemporary map of Atlanta. They'd be stuck on The Perimeter and never make it downtown to start burning.

Imagine if they played this on a contemporary map of Atlanta. They’d be stuck on The Perimeter and never make it downtown to start burning.

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Polaris Sector – First Mission, part 2

A visual AAR, from Sauron ~

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we can build several, I choose 2 for now

we can build several, I choose 2 for now