#ThreatTuesday – @RANDCorporation “Command and Control in US Naval Competition with China”

RAND Corporation analysts Kimberly Jackson, Andrew Scobell, Stephen Webber, and Logan Ma looks at issues of Command and Control (C2) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) in their research report Command and Control in U.S. Naval Competition with China which is available as a free download. This report is not only a good backgrounder on the C2 differences between the PLA Navy and the US Navy, it also has poses some questions that could make for a good “serious” wargame topic albeit a difficult one to design because C2 and wargames don’t necessarily go well together.

Research Questions

  • How is C2 exercised in the U.S. Navy and the PLA Navy?
  • How are these C2 concepts reflective of service culture?
  • How do these C2 structures support or challenge each nation’s shift to new maritime missions?

Key Findings

The U.S. Navy and the PLA Navy will likely be challenged to fully shift to new strategic postures if they do not adapt their existing concepts of C2

  • The U.S. Navy’s model of mission command appears conducive to counter-power projection missions in theory, but success will likely require increased investments in education and professionalism across the force.
  • The PLA Navy’s rigid control and command structure is likely to come under increasing strain given the relative independence and greater operations tempo required by power projection operations.
  • Currently, many unknowns exist, particularly in understanding how PLA Navy culture is evolving and how the Chinese Communist Party might weigh its preferred method of tight control throughout the PLA against more-effective power projection efforts.

Future Study = Wargame?

The part that interested me as a wargamer was actually the four topics the authors propose for future study:

  • What is more valuable to China: the ability to project power globally or retaining its rigid control and command system?
  • Will the PLA Navy’s increased experience and professional development affect the trust placed in PLA Navy personnel by senior PLA commanders? And how will increased PLA Navy professionalism affect control and command?
  • Would the Chinese Communist Party tolerate a PLA Navy that is more empowered to make independent decisions?
  • Would the PLA Navy taking a mission command approach to C2 be a threat to the United States?

Each of those study topics, in a way, make for a good jumping off point in a more serious wargame. My problem is finding a commercial wargame that gives one a good taste of C2 challenges out-of-the-box. In order to make it more realistic, one often needs to resort to some sort of pre-plotting or double-blind systems with a referee. Let’s be honest, the real questions about C2 are more than just an initiative roll to see who goes first;. A part of me feels like we need an OODA Loop game like Less Than 60 Miles (Thin Red Line Games, 2019) does for the Air Land Battle of the 1980’s in Europe. Amongst my commercial wargame titles some insight may be gained but it will require lots of tinkering:

  • Harpoon V (Admiralty Trilogy Games, 2020): This wargame that verges into simulation is very good at depicting tactical situations but I am not sure the design can really be stretched to show the more operational-level elements of C2 outside of starting scenario conditions.
  • Indian Ocean Region – South China Sea: Volume II (Compass Games, 2021): This forthcoming second volume of John Gorkowski’s South China Sea-series of games is in many ways the 21st Century successor to the 1980’s Victory Games Fleet-series; however, there are no real C2 rules in the game.

Feature image courtesy cimsec.org

Full Citation:

Jackson, Kimberly, Andrew Scobell, Stephen Webber, and Logan Ma, Command and Control in U.S. Naval Competition with China. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA127-1.html. Also available in print form.

#SundaySummary – Jan 03, 2021

Wargames

Shores of Tripoli (Fort Circle Games, 2020) arrived just before the new year. That made it eligible for (and the winner of) my 2020 Wargame of the Year. Really, I can’t extol the virtues of this game enough. Really a great first-outing for new designer Kevin Betram and his Fort Circle Games label.

C3i Magazine Nr 34 is inbound. Thanks to USPS it will arrive sometime in this new year.

Likewise the Kickstarter fulfillment of Buffalo Wings 2 – The Deluxe Reprint is shipping and my copy is somewhere between the publisher (Against the Odds in Philadelphia, PA) and me.

Boardgames

Been playing only very casual, short games with Mrs. RockyMountainNavy and the Boys. Santorini (Roxley Games, 2016) and Crab Stack (Blue Orange Games, 2015) have landed multiple times mostly as we prepare for next semester of Mrs. RMN’s tutoring.

Roleplaying Games

I worked on more than a few posts for the coming year. I am starting a series on ground combat in the Traveller RPG universe. Keep an eye out.

I also dug deep into The Expanse Roleplaying Game. My plan is for an overview impressions post and then a short narrative replay of sorts. I also see that the Bundle of Holding has an offering; very tempted!

#RockyReads

I’m going to try to track more of my reading this year. To that end I started a new hashtag/segment of my blog I’m calling RockyReads. The first one covering Alfred Price’s Instruments of Darkness is already posted.


Feature image: A gull is perched amid the reflection of the Capitol on Dec. 4. (Miki Jourdan/Flickr) via Washington Post

#RockyReads for #Wargame – Instruments of Darkness: The History of Electronic Warfare 1939-1945 by Alfred Price (Frontline Books, 2017)

BLUF

A good general history of electronic warfare in Europe during WWII that tells not only the technical advances but also the intelligence battle behind them. Efforts to expand the story into the Pacific feel incomplete and tacked on. Possibly a dated account; no references.

EW Past

My first assignment in the US Navy was with a Tactical Electronic Warfare aviation squadron – EA-6B Prowlers. Since then I have always had a soft-spot in my heart for the “Battle of the ‘Trons.” There is much talk in military circles these days about cyber warfare, but at the same time classic Electronic Warfare, EW, keeps coming up again. Somewhere I stumbled upon a recommendation for this book and put it on my wishlist. Christmas 2020 it arrived in the RockyMountainNavy home.

Instruments of Darkness: The History of Electronic Warfare 1939-1945 is a good, easy narrative to read. Although billed as account of EW in all of World War II, the book is clearly focused on Europe first. The Pacific parts feel very tacked on and incomplete. Instruments of Darkness is also in many ways an intelligence story. The “Battle of the Beams” was not only a see-saw battle of technical innovation and advancement vs countermeasures but also the story of the cat ‘n mouse battle between scientists and engineers and the airmen they served. In many ways this was the enjoyable surprise of Instruments of Darkness and is a good deal of the appeal the narrative delivers.

According to the front matter of the book, the original was first published in 1967, expanded in 1977, and revised in 2005. Although this edition was printed in 2017 it appears to be straight reprint of the 2005 version. The dating of Instruments of Darkness is important to me because it gets directly to the sources Dr. Price may have used. I say “may have” since the sources are unknown given there are no footnotes or endnotes (not even a References section). The Author’s Acknowledgments to the first edition (reproduced in this edition) credit several individuals and some official records. The end result is a book that appears most likely to be based on oral histories and declassified records of its day. With today being 2021 meaning more than 15 years past the 2005 “revision” I have to wonder what other information may be available.

Rocky’s Thoughts

Best Value

General history; intelligence angle.

Weakness

Possibly dated account; lack of references.

Wargame Application

Chapter 1 “Battle of the Beams” is, to the best of my knowledge, not really reflected in any Battle of Britain wargame. Later chapters covering the protection of bombers over Germany is likewise not depicted in any wargame I know own.

Citation

Price, Alfred, Instruments of Darkness: The History of Electronic Warfare 1939-1945, Yorkshire: Frontline Books, 2017.

#FamilyFriday #Boardgame Discovery – Santorini (@roxleygames, 2016)

Mrs. RMN and I were out shopping post-Christmas and passed a pop-up Christmas location for a chain with huge banners proclaiming everything on sale at 50% off. We walked in and took a look around. I found a copy of Santorini (Roxley Games, 2016) on the shelf and, having recently seen something about it, went ahead and purchased it.

Mrs. RMN was very interested in Santorini and wondered if it might be suitable for use by her elementary-age students. So that evening we tried the game. You have to understand that Mrs. RMN likes using boardgames (and other educational games) for her students but she is often very reluctant to play them socially with the family. I guessed long ago that Mrs. RMN likes abstract strategy games; she previously professed a liking of Qwirkle (Midware, 2006) and Blokus (Educational Insights, 2000) but a recent attempt to play Patchwork (Mayfair, 2014) was a failure. Late in the year she enjoyed two new-to-us games, NMBR 9 (Abacuspiele, 2017) and Layers (Happy Baobab, 2018) which was a change for her.

After a quick set up I explained the beginner game of Santorini to her. She was doubtful but played against me anyway. At one point in the game she paused and stared at the board, not talking, for a long time.

A very long time.

Several silent minutes passed.

I was very worried.

Then it clicked. Then she beat me. Then she declared a new favorite game.

After our (several) plays, I explained to her the option of using the “God Power” cards in Santorini for some asymmetrical play. She flat-out refused to use them in our games preferring to keep our plays simple straight-up matches. That’s OK; I’d rather have her comfortable playing a game than forcing her into something she does not enjoy.

BTW, when we bought Santorini there was a second copy still on the shelf. Recognizing a good game and a good deal, we went back and snagged that copy for her “Shelf of Giving.” Some lucky family will be getting a copy sometime in the future!

Mrs. RMN’s “Shelf of Giving” stock

My 2020 #Wargame of the Year (Hint – @MultiManPub vs @fortcircle)

It’s the end of the year so it’s that time for the inevitable “of the Year” lists. Although I play boardgames and wargames, I am a wargamer at heart. Since Christmas 1979 when I got my first wargame, the holidays and wargaming have been forever linked in my heart.

To be eligible for this category, the item must be a wargame as I define it. It must also have been released in the 2020 calendar year AND IN MY POSSESSION as of Dec 31, 2020. I know for a fact that at least one wargame I have on pre-order has a 2020 publication date but, since I don’t have it in hand it’s not eligible for this list. For a near-complete listing of all the wargames I acquired in 2020 (including many titles not eligible for this annual list) please see my GeekList 2020 RockyMountainNavy Gaming Acquisitions and look for entries labeled “WARGAME”

Candidates (in alphabetical order):

Drumroll please…

I am happy that I took in a very strong slate of games this year. Each of them have something going for them that makes them a worthy candidate.

Amerika Bomber is the only dedicated solo game on the list. I usually shy away from solitaire games as they often are “too procedural” but the theme of Amerika Bomber keeps this title enjoyable.

The Battle of Rhode Island is another strong entry in the Battles of the American Revolution series from GMT. I like the war engine in this series and enjoy the heck out of the scenarios.

Brief Border Wars brings back the classic “quad” packaging with four games using the same basic war engine but with each having its own identity.

Dawn of Empire : The Spanish American Naval War in the Atlantic, 1898 shows the classic War at Sea/Victory in the Pacific war engine can still be leveraged and new challenges created.

French & Indian War 1757-1759 is a very pleasurable block wargame that is simple to learn and thematic enough to keep it interesting yet playable in a short evening.

Fury at Midway is a bit of a hidden gem testing several competing theories of what actually happened at Midway. Hint: It doesn’t end well for the Americans as often as one would expect given “history.”

Harpoon V is the return of the “serious” wargame.

Iron Curtain: Central Europe, 1945-1989 is a ‘managable monster’ with lots of replay potential in a relatively small package.

Philadelphia 1777 is another block game using Worthington’s proven war engine but this time depicting a kind of “tower defense” campaign.

The Shores of Tripoli is the Kickstarter remake of a solid game now given a very professional look.

Undaunted: North Africa shows once again that wargames can use non-traditional mechanics; who woulda thunk that Deck Building can make a good wargame?

Waterloo Campaign, 1815 shows that you don’t need a monster game to depict one of histories greatest battles.

White Eagle Defiant takes the Brave Little Belgium war engine to the next level yet still is easy to learn and fairly quick to play.

…and the winner is…

With such a strong field of contenders I actually picked a Runner-Up and a Winner.

My runner-up Wargame of the Year for 2020 is Iron Curtain: Central Europe 1945-1989 from Multi-Man Publishing. This game might be the most ‘old school’ or the closest to a classic hex & counter game of all the candidates this year but that is actually a major reason why it places so high. It’s not that I dislike the ‘new age’ mechanics in some of the new games; rather, Iron Curtain, an entry in the Standard Combat Series, showed me the joy of a ‘manageable monster’ wargame. Iron Curtain is multiple games in one with different eras and options for the Soviets or NATO to be that attacker. Add to that the Run Up to War pre-game and you have package that is easy to learn (uses the Standard Combat System) yet it will never serve up the same game twice no matter how often its played. I also really appreciate that it is fits on a moderate-sized table and yet it still can be both set up and played in just a few hours.

Iron Curtain from Multi-Man Publishing

However, as somebody once said, “There can be only one.” My Wargame of the Year for 2020 is The Shores of Tripoli from Fort Circle Games. Yes, I know it is the professional publication of a print-‘n-play title that predates 2020 but designer Kevin Bertram’s attention to detail and hard work has taken this little gem of a game to another level. From the moment you look at the box (awesome) to laying out all the components on the table (luxurious) you can see his attention to detail. Gameplay has, dare I say, improved over the original PnP with the benefit of more development and playtesting. The Shores of Tripoli is almost as polar opposite of a wargame design from my runner-up, Iron Curtain: Central Europe 1945-1989 by MMP that you can get. That is a great part of it’s strength in my mind; The Shores of Tripoli is an excellent example of the “new wave” of designers and wargames titles that aren’t afraid to break from “convention” and assemble a set of mechanics into an interesting, challenging, and dare I say very “playable” wargame.

The Shores of Tripoli by Fort Circle Games

My 2020 #Boardgame of the Year

It’s the end of the year so it’s that time for the inevitable “of the Year” lists. In this year of COVID, boardgames formed an important part of the “coping” mechanism in the RockyMountainNavy family. As you will see, the boardgame hobby brought ALL of us closer together. So without further ado, here is my 2020 Boardgame of the Year.

To be eligible for this category, the item must be a boardgame (not a wargame). It must also have been released in the 2020 calendar year. For a near-complete listing of all the boardgames I acquired in 2020 (including many items not eligible for this list) please see my GeekList 2020 RockyMountainNavy Gaming Acquisitions and look for entries labeled “BOARDGAME”

Candidates (in alphabetical order):

*Very unfair since i picked this one up the day before this post. It’s legally a contender but I have not actually evaluated it yet. That said, I don’t think it’s going to knock out my winner so it stays on the list with this little asterisk.

The Best of 2020…in a moment

Before we get to my 2020 Boardgame winner, I’d like to take a few moments and tell you about the favorite boardgames I acquired this year from the perspective of the Mrs. RockyMountainNavy and the RockyMountainNavy Boys.

This year had a watershed moment for the boardgame hobby within the RockyMountainNavy home. Mrs. RMN has long tolerated my gaming hobby and never discouraged me to bring the RMN Boys into gaming; indeed, she always encourages our Saturday Night Game Nights. She even used games to teach her students. But even after all that she was ‘reluctant’ to play against myself or the boys. I think it’s because she sees herself as a slow gamer prone to analysis paralysis. I personally don’t think she is a slow gamer, just a careful one. This year, however, we took in two games that changed her outlook on gaming:

  • NMBR 9 (AbbucusSpiele, 2017) – I knew she liked Tetris-like games but she had tried (and afterwards avoided) Patchwork. For some reason, NMBR 9 resonates with her and is a real hit that she will play against the boys or me. She even plays solo at times!
  • Layers (Happy Baobab, 2018) – I bought this one on a Black Friday fire sale because I thought it was good for her students. I was right but didn’t expect that she would be so taken by the game. She often sits at the table doing the puzzles solo. She is still not the fastest but she gets great joy out of it every time she plays.
Mrs RMN’s Game of the Year

If the RockyMountainNavy Boys had a vote, they would tell you that Here to Slay (Unstable Games, 2020) as their Game of the Year. I backed the Kickstarter on a sort of whim and I’m glad I did. The RMN Boys enjoy the card play and art. They enjoy sharing this game with their friends. It is the most-played game in the RMN family collection this year by far.

Here to Slay (Unstable Unicorns, 2020)

But my 2020 winner is…

Four Gardens from Korea Boardgame company. I love how the game looks on the table. I love the simple, yet deep gameplay. I love that I can use this title as a ‘second game’ when introducing others to the hobby. When Four Gardens reaches wider distribution I am sure it will be a real hit.

Four Gardens from Korea Boardgame Company

My 2020 #Boardgame #Wargame Expansion of the Year

It’s the end of the year so it’s that time for the inevitable “of the Year” lists. Here is my 2020 Gaming Expansion of the Year.

To be eligible for this category, the item must be an expansion to an existing boardgame or wargame that is unplayable without the base game. It must also have been released in the 2020 calendar year. For a near-complete listing of all game expansions I acquired in 2020 (including some items not eligible for this list) please see my GeekList 2020 RockyMountainNavy Gaming Acquisitions and look for entries labeled “EXPANSION”

Candidates (in alphabetical order):

…and the winner is…

Wing Leader: Origins 1936-42 from GMT Games. It continues to amaze me how the abstract model used by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood for his Wing Leader series shows the relative capabilities of different aircraft. The system really shines with early World War II aircraft. This made every play of Origins a ‘flight of discovery’ because although the reputation of many of these aircraft was poor (to put it charitably), when placed into the Wing Leader system those same poor capabilities became challenges to be dealt with. The play absolutely enhanced my understanding of aerial combat at the start of WW2 and showed the rapid advancements in aircraft performance.

Wing Leader: Origins from GMT Games

My 2020 #Boardgame #Wargame Gaming Accessory of the Year

It’s the end of the year so it’s that time for the inevitable “of the Year” lists. Here is my 2020 Gaming Accessory of the Year.

To be eligible for this category, the item must be an accessory to a boardgame or wargame meaning it is not mechanically necessary for play but which somehow enhances the play experience. It must also have been released in the 2020 calendar year. For a near-complete listing of all the gaming accessories I acquired in 2020 (including some items not eligible for this list) please see my GeekList 2020 RockyMountainNavy Gaming Acquisitions and look for entries labeled “ACCESSORY.”

Candidates

Presented in alphabetical order:

My 2020 Gaming Accessory of the Year

Aircraft Data Cards for Downtown, Elusive Victory, and Red Storm. Not essential for play but having them makes play go so much faster with the right data at your fingertips with little need to cross-reference or otherwise search for what you are looking for. I deeply appreciate GMT Games allowing these cards to be published through Game Crafters using game art.

Aircraft Data Cards for Red Storm, Elusive Victory, and Downtown

My 2020 #Boardgame #Wargame Year in Review – By the Numbers!

I’m not a data scientist, but in this year of COVID we all have (hopefully) become a bit more savvy when it comes to numbers and statistics. So here is my look at my 2020 gaming year “by the numbers.”

Important note as you read below; although I consider Root (Leder Games, 2018) a wargame, for the purposes of this post it is counted as a boardgame.

Can you find Root, the wargame?

2020 Gaming Acquisitions

Total Gaming Items Acquired in 2020 – 82

  • Accessory – 8 (5 Boardgame, 3 Wargame)
  • Boardgames – 38 (Includes 30 base games & 8 expansions)
  • Wargames – 36 (Includes 31 base games & 5 expansions)

Comment: Did I really buy more boardgames this year than wargames? This is a major blow to my wargaming cred!

Part of the wargame collection

Wargames

  • Total Wargame Items – 39 (48% of total)
  • Base Games – 31 (79% of all wargame items)
  • Expansions – 5 (13% of all wargame items)
  • Accessory – 3 (8% of all wargame items)
  • Published in 2020 – 17 (44% of wargames)

Comment: A good mix of old and new with a fair amount of expansions thrown in too.

Wargame Items by Era

  • Pre World War II Era – 9
  • 20th Century 1925-1945 (World War II Era) – 18*
  • Modern Era (1945 to Near Future) – 9
  • Future or Sci-Fi – 1
  • Multi-Era – 2

* Includes Amerika Bomber: Evil Queen of the Skies (Compass Games, 2020) since it is really an alternate-ending WWII game.

Comment: Shows that World War II remains far and away my most popular era although Modern Era games are also strong. Whatever happened to sci-fi? (Answer – They went to boardgames).

Wargame Items by Publisher (Base Game-Expansion-Accessory)

  • Admiralty Trilogy Games – 3 (1-0-2)
  • Command Magazine – 1 (1-0-0)
  • Compass Games – 3 (3-0-0)
  • Counterfact Magazine – 1 (1-0-0)
  • Fort Circle Games – 1 (1-0-0)
  • Game Crafters – 1 (0-0-1)
  • GDW – 2 (2-0-0)
  • GMT Games – 5 (3-0-2)
  • Hollandspiele – 3 (2-1-0)
  • Lock ‘n Load Publishing – 4 (2-2-0)
  • Multi-Man Publishing – 4 (4-0-0)
  • PSC – 1 (1-0-0)
  • Osprey Publishing – 1 (1-0-0)
  • RBM Studio (C3i Ops Magazine) – 1 (1-0-0)
  • Revolution Games – 4 (4-0-0)
  • US Naval War College (via History of Wargaming Project) – 2 (2-0-0)
  • Worthington Publishing – 2 (2-0-0)

Comment: I’m pleased with the diversity of publishers that I purchased from this year. Although I bought more individual items from GMT, I actually bought more base games from two other publishers (Multi-Man Publishing & Revolution Games).

Boardgames, good boardgames

Boardgames

  • Total Boardgame Items – 43 (52% of total)
  • Base Games – 30 (66% of all boardgame items)
  • Expansions – 8 (20% of all boardgame items)
  • Accessory – 5 (12% of all boardgame items)
  • Published in 2020 – 18 (42% of boardgames)

Comment: Seeing how 42% of all boardgame items were published in 2020 should I be looking for a Cult of the New (CotN) or Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) vaccine? Not really; 10 of the 17 items were accessories or expansions leaving ‘only’ 7 new games from 2020 – 16% of all boardgames.

Boardgames by Domain* – Base Games Only

  • Abstract – 5
  • Card – 3
  • Children’s – 6.5
  • Family – 4.5
  • Strategy – 6
  • Thematic – 5

*Using the BoardGameGeek classification where able.

Comment: Was a bit surprised that Children’s games were at the top here. Then again, I should not be surprised as Mrs. RockyMountainNavy and myself made a concerted effort to buy new children’s games this year for her to use in teaching.

Four Gardens from Korea Boardgame Company

Board Game Stats (Plays)

  • Total Game Plays – 257 (223 in 2019 = Up just over 15%)
  • Different Games Played – 123 (119 in 2019 = Up ~3%)
  • Percentage of Game Collection Played in 2020 = 14%
  • Players – 27 [Mr. Solo – 30%, RMN T & RMN Jr. 22% each]
  • Locations – 3 (Up 50% over 2019)
  • Days of the Week – Sun 22%, Mon 10%, Tue 7%, Wed 9%, Thu 10%, Fri 20%, Sat 22%
  • H-Factor =6 (Six games played at least 6 times)
  • Game Quarters (at least 25 Plays) = 0
  • Game Dimes (at least 10 Plays) = 1
  • Game Nickels (at least 5 plays) = 10

Most Played Games

  • Here to Slay (Unstable Games, 2020) = 10
  • Brief Border Wars (Compass Games, 2020) = 9
  • Dragomino (Blue Orange Games, 2020) = 8
  • Iron Curtain: Central Front 1945-1989 (Multi Man Publishing, 2020) = 7
  • Tri Pack: Battles of the American Revolution – Guilford, Saratoga, Brandywine (GMT Games, 2017) = 7
  • Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987 (GMT Games, 2019) = 6
  • Elena of Avalor: Flight of the Jaquins (Wonder Forge, 2017) = 5
  • Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid (GMT Games, 2017) = 5
  • Fury at Midway (Revolution Games, 2020) = 5
  • Lonato (GMT Games, 2002) = 5
  • NMBR 9 (ABACUSSPIELE, 2017) = 5

Comment: Roughly same number of games played this year but more plays of those games. Reflects the fact that because of COVID I got a slightly larger gaming table which allowed me to keep games setup longer. This resulted in multiple plays of more games.

Incoming Games…Someday (Pre-Orders & Kickstarter)

Living GeekList is here.

As of Dec 27, 2020

Comment: Hmm. Average age (or time on list) is a bit over 11 months. And that’s i the year of COVID which slowed down manufacturing. If this time shrinks appreciably in 2021, could it be a barometer of recovery?

The 2021 RockyMountainNavy Game Collection

According to my BGG Profile

  • Boardgames Owned (Boardgames + Wargames): 782
  • Expansions Owned: 247
  • Accessories Owned: 7 (Obviously this is not correct as I acquired eight this year)
  • Average BGG Boardgames Rating: 6.55
  • Average BGG Expansions Rating: 6.71
  • Top Rated Game: 9.25 Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel, Kursk – 1943 3rd Edition (Academy Games, 2019)

It’s the most wonderful #boardgame #wargame #books #models time of the year thanks to the RMN Family, @Ardwulf, and @fortcircle

Christmas 2020. The year the Grinch brought COVID to the world. In the RockyMountainNavy home we actually had a good year in great part because our family bonds are strong (and stayed strong regardless of how much the Governor of Virginia tried to keep us down). Gaming played an important part in keeping the RockyMountainNavy family going this year as you will see in a series of posts coming before the end of the year. Christmas 2020 also brought several “new” games and other hobby items to my collection.

From the RMN Boys

Iron Curtain: A Cold War Card Game (Jolly Roger Games, 2017). The RMN Boys went to the FLGS just after Thanksgiving and dived into the 70% off sales tables. This is one of the items they found for me.

Car Wars: The Card Game (Steve Jackson Games, 2015 edition). Another 70% off sale item. The BGG ratings are kinda low but hey, who doesn’t like a little mayhem and destruction?

FLGS 70% Off Sale? Don’t Matter!

The RMN Boys also surprised me with a plastic model this year. Their “excuse” is that they know I prefer to build 1/144th scale these days so this one will “fit” with my collection. I love my Boys!

Bandai Millenium Falcon 1/144th scale

From @Ardwulf

Well, not really a gift from him but purchased off of him. Kudos to the USPS for “only” taking 14 days to ship this 3-5 days delivery.

Victory at Midway (Command Magazine, 1992). Supposedly similar to Seven Seas to Victory (XTR, 1992) by the same designer which I already own. The copy is showing age with yellowed edges but I’ll store it in a ziplock magazine bag to slow down further aging. That is, when I’m not playing it! Will be interesting to compare this to this year’s Revolution Games release of Fury at Midway.

Victory at Midway (Command Magazine, 1992)

Harpoon: Captain’s Edition (GDW, 1990). I have played Harpoon since the 1983 Adventure Games edition of Harpoon II. I remember passing up this version in the 1990’s because it “looked too simplistic.” I have long regretted that decision so I jumped at the chance to add this title to my Harpoon collection. The box is a “players copy” on the outside but (near) pristine on the inside.

Harpoon: Captain’s Edition (1990)

Harpoon III (GDW) / Harpoon 4 (Clash of Arms). Included also was a copy of Harpoon III with more than a few sourcebooks as well as Harpoon 4 with the 1997 Harpoon Naval Review and two other modules. I already own these but having secondary copies on hand is not a bad thing. The counters alone are worth it.

Second copies for my Harpoon collection….

From Fort Circle Games

The Shores of Tripoli (Fort Circle Games, 2020). Again, not a true gift but still a nice present to get this Kickstarter fulfillment before the end of 2020. I have the original PnP version and like it so much that backing the Kickstarter campaign for a “professional” copy was a real no-brainer.

The Shores of Tripoli (Fort Circle Games, 2020)

From Me

OK, a bit of a cheat here. I took advantage of a US Naval Institute book sale to get two new books to read. I really am looking forward to digging into The Craft of Wargaming for, ah, “professional” reasons.

Some “professional” reading