The Krulak Center BruteCast video/podcast called out Tim Barrick’s Operational Wargame System (OWS) and Sebastian Bae’s Littoral Commander (civilian version available for pre-order from The Dietz Foundation). You get to see lots of how both games work.
Two weeks before Russia began its current invasion of Ukraine, we offered a #BruteCast panel on “Rapid Wargame Prototyping for Crises.” When the invasion actually occurred, #TeamKrulak staff started looking in real time at how to apply rapid prototyping concepts to the wargame platforms already offered to the Marine Corps University and wider national security communities. The goal was to provide “living” wargame layers and mechanics to allow these communities to learn and test battlefield developments as they were observed, in order to provide campaign analysis and inform future decisions. Mr. Tim Barrick, director of wargaming at Marine Corps University, and Maj Ian Brown, operations officer at the Krulak Center, discuss the prototyping and designs processes applied to the Operational Wargame System and Fleet Marine Force/Littoral Commander wargame systems as the war in Ukraine unfolded.#BruteCast S5 E5–Tim Barrick & Ian Brown, “Wargaming and the Russo-Ukraine War”
New Arrival – Five Parsecs from Home – Third Edition: Solo Adventure Wargaming (Modiphius, 2021). Five Parsecs from Home is a set of rules for miniatures wargaming. Specifically, it is a set of solo “campaign” and combat rules. The feel is very Classic Traveller RPG-like. Look for a future #Wargame Wednesday feature.
Well, a card game actually. Picked up a replacement copy of Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace – A Love Letter Game (Z-Man Games, 2022). My original copy was a birthday present but I gave it up to RockyMountainNavy Jr. as he packed for college.
I “appeared” on the Season 9 premier of “Mentioned in Dispatches”, the official podcast of The Armchair Dragoons. Our topic was supposed to be “I know what you did last summer” but we meandered through many topics. Final edited version coming in the next few weeks.
Armchair Dragoons Regimental Commander Brant was gracious enough to publish my article, “Thematic? A look at Flashpoint Series Volume 1 from GMT Games” (29 Aug 2022). The article in turn kicked off a wide-ranging (and reaching) Twitter discussion of “game” vs. “simulation.” Listen for more on that topic in the near-future!
I’m also giving a shout out to Rex Brynen at PAXSIMS who mentioned my Armchair Dragoons article “Wargame History – An anti-nuclear wargame in Fulda Gap” in his recent “Simulation & gaming miscellany, 3 September 2022” posting. If you are a wargamer and not a follower of Rex and his PAXSIMS site you are doing yourself a great disservice.
Feature image “OWS tutorial with the Marine Corps War College Advanced Studies Program. Doing the Battle Royale naval domain scenario focused purely on teaching game mechanics.” Courtesy @BarrickTim on Twitter.
RockyMountainNavy, 18 August 2022 ~ #UnboxingDay Speak about timing. GMT Games has released Harold Buchanan’s latest title, Flashpoint: South China Sea (Flashpoint Series Volume 1) 360 more words#UnboxingDay ~ Flashpoint: South China Sea by GMT Games — Armchair Dragoons
RockyMountainNavy, 18 August 2022 ~ #UnboxingDay Remember the Lightcycle scene from the original TRON movie? If you loved that scene you should be all-in to play the new… 366 more words#UnboxingDay ~ Reality Shift from Apollo Games/Academy Games — Armchair Dragoons
Summer Slow Down
Now comes the time of the year that the days are longer and outdoor chores call, which means there is less time for gaming which in turn means a bit of a seasonal slow-down in this blog too. That said, in the coming weeks look for:
- A new Wargame Library series
- Some American Independence Day wargaming
- A return of my 2022 #TTRPG Character Generation (CharGen) Challenge
- A return of family boardgame/wargame weekends
- A new long-piece on a next Korean War for The Armchair Dragoons
- New arrivals (more on that below)
Mrs. RockyMountainNavy’s favorite student had her birthday this last month. We gifted her with Coconuts (Korea Boardgames Co., 2013). Coconuts is ranked #8 on the BoardGameGeek Children’s category and deservedly so. This is a fun dexterity game with an awesome toy factor. Miss A loved the game and we all had fun playing it with her.
We also gifted Miss A Smart Farmer (Smart Games) which is a one-player puzzle game. Now I get it; one-player puzzle games are considered “Outside the Scope of BGG”. Doesn’t mean these are not “games” and more importantly aren’t fun. Mrs. RMN has long favored Rush Hour (Think Fun) as the go-to puzzle game for youngsters, but admittedly getting girls to play with cars is sometimes “challenging.” In Smart Farmer you have to use the fences to separate the animals. What makes this game so appealing (yet again) is the toy factor; the animals are cute to look at and have some heft and a slightly rubberized texture when handled. So not only does the game look great, it feels great. Little Miss A is already working though the 60 challenges. Truth be told, we also learned that Miss A’s mother is working to keep up with her daughter as they are “racing” each other to see who can solve more puzzles in a day.
For what it’s worth, Youngest RMN played Police Escape Blockade (now available as SmartGames RoadBlock…but apparently only in Europe) when he came home after school in his early elementary years. While his older siblings worked on their homework, he would work on the next one or two puzzle challenges. When he finished all of them he just went back to the beginning and started all over again. This game was instrumental in helping him learn life-long skills like concentration, logical thinking, spatial awareness, and problem-solving. Yeah, we played many other boardgames but puzzle games like Police Escape Blockade were very useful as after school fillers for the young ones.
Fire Mission; Grid 20….
After a long (postal) drought, it looks like some wargames and boardgame pre-orders are finally nearing delivery!
To date in 2022, I have taken delivery of just a mere two pre-order/Kickstarter fulfillments; that being AuZtralia: Revenge of the Old Ones and AuZtralia: TaZmania from Schimil Games in mid-March. and (just this week) 2 Minutes to Midnight by Stuart Tonge from Plague Island Games. Now a few more games are getting closer to gracing the shelves of Casa de Rocky:
- Root: The Marauder Expansion / Root: The Clockwork Expansion 2 (Leder Games) – Fulfillment in progress; to be complete by end of June
- Reality Shift (Academy Games) – Ship due in New York June 5, to fulfillment center OOA June 14
- Red Storm: Baltic Approaches (Douglas Bush, GMT Games) – Shipped/Enroute to Hacienda de Rocky
- CDG Solo System (Stuka Joe, GMT Games) – Shipped/Enroute to Hacienda de Rocky
This week I also ordered another Ben Madison product from his White Dog Games studio. The Mission: Early Christianity from the Crucifixion to the Crusades will be arriving soon.
Feature image Virginia Beach in the morning, taken by self
RockyMountainNavy, 19 May 2022 For us navalist Grognards, the war in the Ukraine has been feast or famine. Well, mostly famine. Aside from the sinking of the Russian Federation Navy ship Moskva, the war at sea has been light on action. Fortunately, as a wargamer you can look at alternate happenings, and what better way…#UnboxingDay – Ukraine War at Sea with Harpoon V from The Admiralty Trilogy Group) — Armchair Dragoons
The week was a bit slow in Casa RockyMountainNavy. This is the first holiday we celebrated in our “new” nuclear family configuration since Eldest RMN Boy is in Tech School for the U.S. Air Farce. It also follows three months with the Mother-in-Law in town and a simultaneous major health challenge for Mrs. RMN (not COVID…but while the vaccine might of protected it appears it brought on other health issues). So we have much to be thankful for. For my part, much of the Christmas shopping is also complete, at least as the major presents for each RMN Boy and especially Mrs. RMN go.
I took some down time this week to work on a First Impressions piece on The Battle of the Bulge (Avalon Hill, 1965). If I get the photos together you’ll see that later this week. I also was inspired by D-Day at Omaha Beach from Decision Games (Fourth Printing, 2020) to look at wargame maps and data. I need to work up some photos and run it by Brant at Armchair Dragoons to see if it meets his standards. Finally, I owe designer Brad Smith a deep apology since I volunteered to playtest Warsaw Pact Air Commander (coming in the future from Hollandspiele) but am very delinquent in sending him anything. I made an effort this week to change that.
Huzzah Hobbies, my FLGS, had a 50% off sale this weekend. I didn’t make it up there but the RMN Boys did and sent me a photo of the shelves and asked for suggestions. We’ll see if anything shows up under the tree this Christmas.
Role Playing Games
A long-forgotten backorder from Naval Institute Press arrived this week. Fighting the Fleet: Operational Art and Modern Fleet Combat argues that naval concepts are often diluted or lost when too much jointness is introduced. It also talks about the use of Operations Research, which I see as adjacent to wargaming. I need to finish this book and then use it to consider wargames like John Gorkowski’s South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region from Compass Games as well as the naval modules for any of Mitchell Land’s Next War series from GMT Games.
For the few wargamers out there that care, the 2020 Charles S. Roberts Awards (aka “The Charlies”) were awarded this week. The link is to the website that is yet to be updated; the awards announcement was via Dan Picaldi’s No Enemies Here YouTube Channel. It’s no secret that I am not impressed with the Charlies even in a year when I was nominated in a category. I’d wish all “better luck next year” but with the award process so unknown I honestly don’t care if there is a next year. For more reactions make sure you check out Brant and the gang over at the Mentioned in Dispatches podcast from Armchair Dragoons.
New Arrival: Battle of the Bulge (Avalon Hill, 1965). Picked up through a local auction for $5. Box is in poor condition (every corner blown) but the contents are generally good.
On the Table: D-Day at Omaha Beach (Decision Games 4th Edition, 2019). Working my way through this solitaire system that at first looks a bit formidable but once you get it to the table and step through a few rounds it makes easy sense.
Harold Buchanan hosted SDHistCon 2021 over this holiday weekend. I was unable to attend any of the events as I had family commitments or work. I’ll have to check out the various recordings later. For those same reasons I missed out on Historicon too. [Late edit…this weekend was the Compass Games Expo too.]
“Office-al” Game: Iron Curtain (Ultra Pro/Jolly Roger Games, 2017). Not necessarily a solo game but having to walk away between hands helps one to forget what is there making “two-handed solitaire” doable. Small game also got some big attention from office mates.
New Arrival: Cepheus Deluxe by Omer Golan Joel and team at Stellagama Publishing. Omer’s latest version of Cepheus Engine looks to take the Classic Traveller RPG into the 21st century with updated mechanics and more player agency while retaining the essence of the 2d6 Original Science Fiction RPG rules.
Not much to report on in gaming this week due to family obligations.
Imperial Campaigns #1: Boer War (Joseph Miranda, Canvas Temple Publishing via Kickstarter) is moving along nicely with the mounted maps unlocked just before the funding campaign expired.
It took a few extra days but my hardcopy of the Compass Games catalog arrived. Several games are given “provisional” (my term) delivery dates which, alas, all are in 2022 (one actually doesn’t have even a provisional date—which is kinda worrisome). We’ll see how that works out! Now to mark the catalog up with already have, on order, and like to haves.
- 74 major Titles in catalog
- 6x Owned
- 5x Pre-ordered
- 6x Titles of Interest (3 available now)
I really need to be careful and not get too carried away with ordering from Compass right away. I already owe Mrs. RMN (aka “Family Accountant”) an explanation of why GMT Games and Canvas Temple Publishing are charging within days of each other. I also won a local auction for Sekigahara (GMT Games, 2011) that I’m picking up this weekend—only a week after Tapestry (Stonemaier Games, 2019) arrived…
Jim Dietz updated the shipping timeline for 1979: Revolution in Iran (Dan Bullock via Kickstarter) and it looks like this game may be the first of many COVID shipping-delayed games to (finally) arrive.
Speaking of Tapestry, I was able to get the game tabled this weekend. Bottom line: I like it! I think I see where many critics are coming from—I just disagree with them.
Role Playing Games
Please take a moment to look at the well-done research article on Armchair Dragoons regarding “Nineteenth Century Military Wargames – H.G. Wells’ Little Wars as Kriegsspiel.”
For all you Squid Game fans out there make sure you check out Geoff Engelstein’s GameTek#9 newsletter this week featuring “The Game Design of Squid Game” (Warning- MAJOR Spoilers).
Very happy to see Regimental Commander Brant and other members of the Armchair Dragoons at Origins Game Fair this week. Origins started out as a wargame convention and over the years it, uh, changed.
The Dragoons bring wargaming back to the Fair and it’s good to see. Some of the games played included Tank Duel (GMT Games), Second World War at Sea (Avalanche Press), Team COIN, and Command & Colors Napoleonics (GMT Games). I am very sad that I missed the Persian Gulf game with the admiraltytrilogy.com folks.
The new game Zurmat (currently on Kickstarter from Catastrophe Games) was also prominently featured; this “small COIN” game looks very interesting! Check out the Armchair Dragoons Twitter feed (@ADragoons) or their webpage for pictures and the like.
I look forward to talking with Brant about how this year’s convention went and what he sees (or doesn’t ) as the future of wargaming at Origins. So far it looks good
This week I also backed Imperial Campaigns Series Game Nr. 1: Boer War by designer Joseph Miranda from Canvas Temple Publishing on Kickstarter. Several reasons drove my decision; the topic is interesting, Joseph Miranda can be a hit-or-miss designer but Jon Compton at CTP is involved in development, CTP is a smaller publisher somewhat local to me so I think of them as my FLGP*, and the price is not outrageous.
The October Sale from Revolution Games is underway. Great chance to pick up more than a few bargains. Personally I recommend Pacific Fury. If you are willing to purchase folio-packaged games some of the prices are really low and (hopefully) more affordable.
I continued my local acquisitions support program by picking up a copy of Jamie Stegmaier’s Tapestry (Stonemaier Games, 2019) from a nearby gamer. Used but in great condition. Will try to get this to the table soon, maybe as the season kickoff for the Weekend Family Game Night Return.
Jim Dietz has been doing a great job communicating the shipping status of 1979: Revolution in Iran (which I affectionally call Volume II of the Axis of Evil Series following No Motherland Without). For many games we are happy just to hear that “it’s printed” or “it’s shipped” but Jim is giving us shipping movement details at the near-daily level. Certainly helps build anticipation!
*FLGP – Friendly Local Game PUBLISHER