Tag Archives: Zabek

Tactics in Wolfenstein: The New Order

Jim Zabek, 10 September 2014


The release of Wolfenstein: New Order has thrilled the FPS community with its intricate gameplay and graphics.  Here at GrogHeads we’ve been keeping an eye on it, and after multiple hours of gameplay we’ve worked out some excellent tactical tips and tricks for you.

GrogHeads Interviews Mark H. Walker

Jim Zabek & Mark Walker, 30 July 2014

GH: Hi Mark. It’s been a while since we last chatted. A lot of events have transpired since then, not the least of which is your latest book, Desert Moon. Can you tell us how you took your first novel, A Craving for Blood, and updated it to Desert Moon?

Mark: It’s been completely re-edited. Both a copy and structural edit. Additionally I rewrote passages that I didn’t like, and deleted others. The basic story remains the same–the enslaved people of a planet fight against overwhelming might with ancient military hardware. Ancient being Abrams tanks and their ilk. Additionally, I felt that the new cover and title better fit the novel. Finally, it’s great to expose the vast Kindle Direct Publishing audience to the book.


Of course, writing novels isn’t the only thing you’ve done. After successfully launching a game publishing company, Lock n Load, and running it for several years, you turned around and sold it. Can you tell us more about that decision?

It was part financial and part total-freaking-burnout. I’m proud of the fact that between June of 2006 and March of 2013, I was able to not only make and produce some pretty damn good products, but also support a family of five with those products. But I grew tired of living on the financial edge, and even more tired of working seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Make no mistake, I understand how lucky I was. It’s a dream job, but I was ready to move on.

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm AAR Part 5 – Conclusion

When we left Part 4 I was sensing the tide of the battle had shifted. The Soviet offensive was stalled and I decided to start pushing forward and take advantage of their degrading communications and battered offensive forces. Make no mistake – the Soviets can still pack a punch. They have plenty of armor and massive amounts of artillery that can quickly reduce my small force to nothing if I’m not careful. But if I do this right I can capture some objectives, score some points and crush the Soviets.

Turn 11 – 26 minutes elapsed

The game is now four hours and twenty-six minutes into the fight. The scenario can run another five and a half hours, but I think the Soviets are in trouble. What I’m not feeling good about is the lack of damage I’ve taken. Aside for the beating my engineers took up north, I’m in good shape. Usually the Soviets beat me more badly. That tells me there’s some tough fighting yet to be done. Hopefully we can keep on the move and stay out of their artillery umbrella.

My luck is holding. Because my troops are on the move several barrages of Soviet artillery fall on empty fields in the south. Keep moving, men!

The mines I drop on a VP take out a couple of units. They’re hidden from me, but I hear the reports of their explosions. Fighting in the south heats up with heavy exchanges between all visible units. A suspected Soviet recce platoon is spotted near my HQ area and my mechanized units moving north to the central objective spot it and take it under fire. More Soviet artillery misses and we continue to push forward.

The turn comes to a close. Lots of Soviet artillery has fallen and none of it has found its mark. I intend to keep that streak going by making some unpredictable changes to the line of movement of some of my units.

Around the middle objective I can see more units now, including a stack of about nine tanks. Tempting as that may be for my MLRS I’m going to use my regular artillery to fire at it.

Turn 12 – 27 minutes elapsed

This round goes badly for me. The Soviet ground forces aren’t much of a threat, but their artillery seems to be everywhere and on target. Entire units go from full strength to zero and it hurts. Normally this kind of response is only drawn when I’m in proximity to an important HQ unit. The suspected air defense unit to the far east of the southern approach is probably more than it appears. The VPs around Dudenhofer to the south are clearly must-haves for the Soviets as they appear to be throwing everything they have at them to retake the VPs I have captured.

Soviet Armor pushes south toward Dudenhofer.

Soviet Armor pushes south toward Dudenhofer.

Turn 13 – 21 minutes elapsed

Note my decision cycle has decreased to 21 minutes while the Soviets have an estimated 37. I’m moving at almost twice their speed. Their success with artillery is probably due to the fact that it’s in LOS of mine and giving direct support to critical HQ units. Let’s see if we can break that pattern now.

There is now a significant cluster of units south of Weiskirchen and it’s time to bust out the MLRS.



I also order artillery to take out the suspect HQ unit to the far east of the southern objective, while my other artillery battery targets the nine tanks north of Jugesheim.

GARPA 34 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

Authors: Brant Guillory & Jim Zabek

As Santa’s elves are banging out the last of their projects to be delivered next week there have been a number of game developers who’ve been making similar plans but with the help of crowd-sourced funding. Those of us in the US have even enjoyed a reprieve in the weather, with temperatures around LongBladia managing to briefly climb above freezing. The levels of snow we’ve received could be characterized as harassing fire – enough to cover the lawn and roads but not enough to make the kids happy with a day of school closure. Not to fear, temps are expected to come crashing down soon, but you know what that means: spring can’t be far behind.

Tabletop Games

Castles – A Strategic Card Game by AAIIEEE! GAMES

$7,339 pledged of $2,500 goal ending January 2nd

GARPA-34-Castles-Card-GameIf Castles looks familiar to you, it did to me, too, and for good reason.

Way back in November AAIIEEE GAMES (their capitalization, not mine. Really.) launched Castles as a “Strategic Card Game For Two Players” and set their funding goal at $6000. It failed to come anywhere near that goal, gaining a modest 2,787. Undeterred, the developers have reworked their math and decided that they could make do with backers supplying a more modest goal of $2500 and removing the word “strategic” from their game’s name.

They must be evil geniuses because this time the public got solidly behind them, easily meeting the $2500 goal and – surprisingly – have more than four times the number of original backers have coughed up $7300 worth of support, an amount that would have surely satisfied their first attempt at funding.

Crowd-sourced games can be strange in that way. In any case, if you’re looking for strategic card game for two players, with mild elements of fantasy and some attractive artwork, Castles may be the game for you.


MegaMat Gaming Mat by Frontline Gaming and TABLEWAR

$73,374 pledged of $15,000 goal ending December 22nd

GARPA-34-Megamat-ImageMiniatures gamers are constantly on the prowl for a better mousetrap. Anything which gives their gaming experience an edge is carefully considered for addition to what is likely to already be a well-stocked inventory of gaming accessories. The limits of discretionary income are often the greatest impediment to buying wholesale swathes of accessories for our tables and it is well that we should have limits lest we have no room to store our accumulated treasures.

So it is that I am well aware how tempting it will be to many readers when I place these gaming mats here for your consideration. The creators of the MegaMat have already reached a successful level of funding. Their offering is simple: 4’ x 4’ or 4’ x 6’ gaming mats that provide a color base on which to game. So far it appears as though three backgrounds are available: grassy plains and blast zone were the first two mats promised if the minimum fundraising goal was met, with additional plans for more mats to be unlocked as fundraising levels were achieved. Planned stretch goal maps will include urban combat, alpine, and barren wasteland.

The mats have been created by professional game artists and the printed resolution is promised to be at 300 dpi (current test images are said to have been at 150, which already looks quite good).

The material the maps are printed on is similar to that of a mousepad, which provides a flexible material for ease of storage that is also crease resistant, and has a rubber back to help secure it to whatever surface it is placed upon. The mats are also coated with a water-resistant material to help resist stains and keep it clean. If any of these mats needs to be on your gaming table you’d better hurry as the fundraising window is closing rapidly.

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm AAR Part 4

Author: Jim Zabek

At the end of Part 3 I had successfully managed to hold off the initial advance of the Soviets and I was considering advancing the hard core of my defense, a company of Abrams tanks, to catch either the Soviet HQ undefended or a southern thrust on its flank. Let’s see how that plan survives contact with the AI…

Turn 8 – 28 minutes elapsed

Now I get busy with orders. First I call in some mines to be dropped in front of the tanks in the north that are heading south. If I’m lucky the tanks will walk into the hex before I drop the mines – a favorite tactic.

Next I order a barrage on the suspected recce/HQ unit in the woods near my own recce unit. They didn’t seem inclined to move much so I’m hoping to catch them even if I can’t see them. Then I order my mechanized units in the south to start moving around. All are ordered east, in a push to recapture lost VPs. The 1000 point VP east of Rodgau is a favorite hide of a Soviet HQ unit. In the past they’ve protected that guy with some serious artillery which directly supports it, so when those units start moving (it’ll probably be a turn or two) I’ll want to hit it with artillery as soon as I’m able.

Mechanized units in the south start to move east.

Mechanized units in the south start to move east.

The last piece of the puzzle is the MLRS. I have several targets to choose from. Finally I decide to use saturation fire on the units to the northeast of Dudenhofen. It’s just a hunch but they look like they’re moving and my sense is I can do some serious harm right here and now.

I hit start to watch the action unfold.

The recce units’ luck runs out. Several Soviet artillery barrages catch them and blast them something good. It hurts.

Soviet Artillery rain on my engineers to the north but fortunately it does no lasting harm.

Then my MLRS arrives and multiple blasts across multiple hexes confirms that I made a good decision.

The MLRS delivers another round of pain.

The MLRS delivers another round of pain.