Happy 4th of July!
This weekend being the 4th of July holiday in the States usually means I try to play either a Gettysburg or American Revolution game. As of the time of writing this post I had done neither, but I will call your attention to two recent “Rocky Reads” columns I did on the books Meade at Gettysburg and Longstreet at Gettysburg.
The title of this post is only partially true. True—There is little wargame and boardgame action in my schedule right now. Not True—It’s a lazy summer. Reality is I’m back to work 100% of the time with something like 120% of the taskings. My Game of the Week approach was designed to optimize my reduced gaming hours but even that schedule is being threatened by work demands. Add in family requirements for summer vacation activities and gaming takes a back seat.
Game of the Week / Wargames (Mostly)
Time demands meant I struggled to get through Stalingrad ’42: Southern Russia, June-December 1942 (Mark Simonitch, GMT Games, 2019) this week. I barely made it through a play of the eight-turn Fall Blau scenario. Deeper impressions coming in my #WargameWednesday column, but I’ll just say as familiar the ZoC-Bond System was after previously playing Holland ’44: Operation Market Garden, September 1944 (GMT Games, 2018) I was surprised by how much slower this game felt.
Looking ahead, I think I’ll be able to get through Space Empires 4X (Jim Krohn, GMT Games, 2017) and Wing Leader: Legends 1937-1945 (Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, GMT Games, 2021) in the next few weeks. I am especially excited about Wing Leader: Legends because the campaign game is Kursk, which means I get to circle back to My Kursk Kampaign series from earlier this year. After that I think I’ll need to drop wargaming for a few weeks as real summer vacation kicks in. The family takes boardgames on our summer trip so some boardgaming will happen. I figure a return to wargaming won’t happen until mid-August after which Ted Raicer’s Dark Summer: Normandy 1944 (GMT Games, 2021) and Strike of the Eagle (Academy Games, 2011) should land on the gaming table. By then I expect a few other GMT P500 deliveries to deliver too. With the return of the school year I also hope that the Weekend Gaming Night returns.
Speaking of Wing Leader: Legends, I (belatedly) came across this awesome video explainer of air combat in the Wing Leader series by Joel Toppen. Joel’s careful explanation here seemingly draws out this combat example but I find that once you understand the system then combat resolution actually flows quite quickly.
RMN Jr. actually approached me this weekend to play a short, 2-player boardgame. He pulled Kahuna (KOSMOS, 1998) off the shelf so we played. As I quickly scanned the rules I missed the destroy bridges part…but Jr. had not forgotten. It put me at a disadvantage which he mercilessly reminded me of. Regardless of my stupidity a great game was had.
**If you have not read Dan Thurot’s review of Comancheria: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire (Joel Toppen, GMT Games, 2016) then STOP what you are doing and go read it RIGHT NOW. I’ll even understand if you don’t come back because this is
one of the best review of a boardgame I have ever read. **
While you’re at it, the words of Kevin Bertram from Fort Circle Games in an interview on the Beyond Solitaire podcast are also very worthwhile to listen to.
Role Playing Games
My middle boy approached me about restarting our Traveller RPG or Star Wars Roleplaying: Edge of the Empire campaigns. While I’m quite happy to run a Traveller RPG campaign loosely set in the Third Imperium using the “modern” Cepheus Engine, I am a bit hesitant to jump into a Star Wars campaign. The setting is the problem. The RMN Boys are huge Di$ney Star Wars fans and voraciously consume all the new content. I am not as excited about the new stories and therefore have limited familiarity with shows like Rebels, The Mandolorian, or the newest Bad Batch. Add into the equation the fact that RMN T is the actual owner of most of the Star Wars RPG splat books in the house and I am at a bit of a disadvantage.
Or maybe not….
In this case my familiarity with non-Star Wars might be an advantage. With a bit of some prep (like reviewing the splat books to see what additional rules are there) I can probably run a campaign that leverages history and is Star Wars but avoids much of their canonical characters. It’s a big galaxy out there.
As it happens to be, I am reading Robert Erwin Johnson’s Far China Station: The U.S. Navy in Asian Waters, 1800-1898 (Naval Institute Press, 2013) this week. As I started reading the book, I felt that in many place it reads like a classic Traveller RPG adventure. So maybe I have inspiration for the RMN Boys Star Wars campaign after all.