#SundaySummary – #Wargame & #Military Reading

Book

New Arrival – Mitzer, Stijin and Joost Oliemans, The Armed Forces of North Korea: On the Path of Songun, Warwick: Helion & Company Limited, 2020. Perhaps the most comprehensive open source compilation out there…for 2020.

Articles

Arnold, James, Maj, USMC, “Matching Strike Dice Rolls ito the Chinese Calculus,” Naval War College Thesis, DTIC Public Access AD1144299, 5/14/2021. The Halsey Alfa Advanced Research Program explores potential military decisions using a two-team (Red vs. Blue) wargame scenario representing high-end conflict between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the United States (US).

Bocek, Laura and John Schaus, “Decisionmaking at the Speed of the Digital Era,” CSIS Briefs, August 2022. “At present, however, the Department of Defense underutilizes publicly available data and the software development community to build tools that enable faster modeling, hypothesis testing, and variability analysis than traditional wargaming or modeling alone. This brief describes the speed and utility of developing a simple software tool to stress test a hypothetical People’s Republic of China (PRC) surprise attack against U.S. facilities in the Indo-Pacific.

Gayl, Franz, “CSIS’ inflammatory games expose it has no clue how core China’s sovereignty is to its 1.4 billion citizens,” China Global Times, Aug 18, 2022 04:49pm. Be careful mentioning the author in the presence of Marines! Here only for the CSIS wargame mentions.

Tagvhee, Babak, “Persian Tomcats: Can Iran get another 20 yers out of its F-14s? (How Iran Manages to keep its F-14 Tomcats flying),” Aviation News, August 2022. How do you say “Anytime, Baby” in Farsi?

Unattributed, “Beijing wouldn’t have an easy time with Taiwan,” Budapest Magyar Nemzet, Aug 18, 2022. Interviews a lecturer at National Institute of Public Service in Budapest who uses the RAND Hegemony game.


Feature image by RMN

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – Death, Taxes, and…#boardgames?

Death and Taxes and Boardgame Markets

If you aren’t tracking the news already, the BoardGameGeek GeekMarket is dead. Yes, both the “Classic” and new “Beta” version. There has been lots of discussion on the BGG forums, so much so that many of the relevant threads are locked.

Behind the scenes, the story apparently is that BGG had issues with how to tax sales when buyers are purchasing from each other and “on honor” to pay a commission fee. As one friend of the blog explained the situation:

“Hey, here’s a new marketplace so the IRS doesn’t crawl up our ass”

“Hey y’all hated the IRS crawling up your asses in our new marketplace, so we’re shutting it down”

“Oh yeah, to keep the IRS off our backs, we’re shutting down the old marketplace, too, so good luck!”

Personally, I will miss the BGG GeekMarket. I did some buying and even a bit of selling there, and always was happy with the other folks I met. I lurk in a local flea market GeekList that I occasionally buy from but it’s not very good for wargame purchases. The part I will miss the most is the price history function. This loss seems to have generated lots of talk. My first reaction was horror but, after some further thought, I’m sure we will survive.

Wargames

New arrival: Aircraft & Missile data cards for Red Storm: Baltic Approaches (GMT Games, 2022). Includes Tomcats and Backfires and SRAMs (nuclear-capable). What’s not to love?

Produced by The Game Crafter

Family Gaming

RockyMountainNavy Jr. is off to college this week. This leaves just Mrs. RMN and RMN T at home (he works full-time locally). Thus, we face a sea-shift in our family gaming as it will be RMN T and myself for weekend gaming. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it means many more WARGAMES can land on the table. There are lots of Conflict of Heroes or Commands & Colors scenarios to work through, and many many more!


Feature image courtesy Pexels Free Photos

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – Long ago Midway, Black Shoes, and Seconds to Die #wargame #militarybooks

Wargame

New Arrival C.V.: A Game of the Battle of Midway, 1942 designed by S. Craig Taylor, Yaquinto Publications, Inc., 1979. I have long owned a copy of the 1977 Battleline edition of Flat Top by Mr. Taylor and played CV using a copy a friend had in the early 1980’s but I have not owned my own copy…until now.

Photo by RMN

Books

To go along with the wargame CV I picked up a copy of Black Shoe Carrier Admiral: Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal by John Lundstrom (Naval Institute Press, 2006). I was motivated to buy this book because Jonathan Parshall, co-author of the seminal Battle of Midway book Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway (Potomac Books, 2005) uses Lundstrom to reconsider the battle in the article “What WAS Nimitz Thinking?” for The Naval War College Review (Vol. 75, Nr. 2, Spring 2022). There is a wargame angle to the story which I am writing up for Armchair Dragoons.

The other new book this week is 7 Seconds to Die: A Military Analysis of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War and The Future of Warfighting (Casemate Publishers, 2022) by John Antal (Colonel, U.S. Army, Ret.) which is less about the actual war and more about that future. A very interesting (short) book that again has a wargaming connection.


Feature image by RMN

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – Reality #Boardgame and Policy #Wargame season with @Academy_Games @gmtgames @HBuchanan2 @Bublublock @compassgamesllc

I knew it was close to shipping, but the surprise arrival this week was Reality Shift Deluxe from Apollo Games (an imprint of Academy Games).

I’m very glad to see this game as it has been on my Kickstarter/Preorder GeekList since it funded on Kickstarter in December 2020. Originally projected for delivery in May 2021, arrival in July 2022 leaves five games ordered earlier than Reality Shift that are yet to deliver. Sigh…

As hinted at last week, two new wargame/boardgame arrivals this week. The first was Flashpoint South China Sea: Flashpoint Series Volume 1 designed by Harold Buchanan for GMT Games. Here is how the ad copy from GMT Games describes the title:

Flashpoint: South China Sea is a two-player strategy game that simulates the complex geopolitical contest currently taking place between the United States and China in a disputed region of the South China Sea. The game is driven by a card deck that captures developments ripped straight from today’s headlines, bolstered by cards with a context-setting reading of recent history, and a set of speculative cards capturing a diverse range of potential future events. 

The Chinese player works to influence other countries in the region, establish territorial claims and regional hegemony, and improve its world standing. The U.S. player works to maintain influence with allied countries in the region, secure freedom of navigation, and keep China in check. Success for both players hinges on the support and allegiance of non-player countries in the region. The game stops short of dealing with a potential full-scale military conflict. Rather, it requires the nuanced exercise of political, economic, and military resources, in a form of prima facie diplomacy – on the waters, in the air, and ultimately in the minds of the people – to achieve victory.

GMT Games Ad Copy

If you are looking for a wargame that depicts a potential military conflict between the United States and the People’s Republic of China then you need Next War: Taiwan (Mitchell Land, GMT Games, 2014) or South China Sea (John Gorkowski, Compass Games, 2017). Flashpoint South China Sea stops short of military conflict. In military planning terms, this is the Competition Phase of an operations plan. In some ways Flashpoint South China Sea is the Political Phase in South China Sea. Hmm….

The other new arrival this week was a micro-expansion published by designer Dan Bullock for No Motherland Without: North Korea in Crisis and Cold War (Compass Games, 2020). One comment I had about the original Compass Games publication was the very “red” look to the game; many of the original markers were “lost” in the color scheme on the board. This micro-expansion includes new markers that use a different color scheme that is easier to see on the board. It also includes eight (8) new Policy Cards for the West player to use in the Songun Era of play.

Both of these games will be landing on my office desk in the next few weeks (months) as “office-al” gaming. I especially am looking forward to Flashpoint as it is supposed to be playable in 30-60 minutes; i.e. lunchtime!


Feature image by RMN

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – Flash news, marking #Wargame & #Boardgame, and Midway summer reading

Wargames

Next wargame arrival (this week?) should be Harold Buchanan’s Flashpoint: South China Sea from GMT Games. I expect this one to be an “office-al” lunchtime game. I also ordered from The Gamecrafter the “Baltic Approached Aircraft & Mini-Cards” for Red Storm: Baltic Approaches also published by GMT Games.

Boardgames

Speaking of markers, designer Dan Bullock offered a set of after-market markers for his game No Motherland Without: North Korea in Crisis and Cold War (Compass Games, 2021) which should make the game look so much nicer on the table.

The Kickstarter fulfillment for Reality Shift from Academy Games is supposedly “ready to ship.” Funded in December 2020 with an original projected delivery of May 2021, it’s only running about a year late. Sadly, of the nearly 20 items in my Kickstarter/Preorder GeekList this one is smack dab in the middle of the pack, doing much better than the oldest P500 from October 2019 that still languishes…

Books

Articles

The Spring 2022 edition of Naval War College Review has an article by Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword. The new article, “What WAS Nimitz Thinking?” looks at the Admiral’s battleplan for Midway. One part I really enjoy in this Parshall analysis is the comparison of “Bad Hornet” and “Good Hornet” with regards to that carriers initial strike. Of great potential interest to wargamers, Parshall actually looks at some of the alternative battle situations by using an Operations Research approach through the work of Aneli Bongers and Jose L Torres and their article “Revisiting the Battle of Midway” published in a 2020 issue of Military Operations Research. Hmm…


Feature image courtesy navsource.org. The accompanying text reads: “On Thursday, 4 June 1942, during operations near Midway Island, an F4F-4 Wildcat, # 3-F-24, from VF-3—USS Yorktown (CV-5)—, piloted by Ensign Daniel Sheedy, accidentally fired its .50-cal machine guns while landing on USS Hornet (CV-8). ENS Sheedy had been wounded during the battle and the controls to safe the guns had been shot out, according to eye-witness accounts. Five Hornet crewmembers were killed (one of them LT Royal R. Ingersoll II, son of ADM Royal E. Ingersoll and grandson of RADM Royal R. Ingersoll) and 20 others wounded in this accident.”

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – “All the News That’s Fit to Print” in Paper Wars Nr. 101 from @compassgamesllc

Wargaming

This week saw the arrival of two new wargames; Case Geld: The Axis Invasion of North America, 1945-46 by designer Ty Bomba found inside the latest edition (Nr. 101) of Paper Wars: The Journal of Compass Games and The Siege of Mantua by designer Amabel Holland from Hollandspiele. I’m going to address the wargames in later posts, but for today I want to talk about the latest Paper Wars.

As the title says, Paper Wars is focused on Compass Games and serves as the “house organ” for the publisher. This often is a red flag for me because a publication that is hyper-focused on a single publisher means I find only a few games of interest in the magazine. Paper Wars Nr. 101 has proven to be a bit different:

Looking at the next few issues of Paper Wars, the wargame titles don’t really grab me. Maybe I got lucky this time and finally found an issue that has both a wargame of interest and interesting articles.


RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – Summer, Kid’s Games, and INCOMING! #Wargame #Boardgame @ADragoons @kbgpublishing @SmartGamesUSA @LederGames @AcademyGames @gmtgames

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)

Coco-NUTS

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.

Courtesy BGG

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.

Courtesy smartgames.usa

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:

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.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – Give up #wargames and#boardgames for Lent? NEVER! (mentions of @gmtgames @SchilMil @Academy_Games @LederGames @Volko26 @DouglasBush @JoeStuka @stuarttonge)

Well, with my busy schedule it certainly feels like I have given up boardgaming for Lent! I don’t know about you, but I am (beyond) fully back to work at something like 120% in the office (including some weekends and after hours “events”). It really has put a crimp into my wargame and boardgame time. The Shelf of Shame is growing with little indication that it will be seriously worked off in the near future.

I need to work off some of this backlog because more games are inbound. In what seems to be a post-COVID rebound, the flow of games started in the COVID-era are finally making their way through the pipeline and some are getting closer to delivery. A few titles that may show up within the next 3 months include:

Even though my Shelf of Shame is starting to sag, new games are always welcome. That said, my “acquisition strategy” has been to slow down a bit this year (Mrs. RMN says, “About time!”). Here in late March my trend-line of gaming acquisitions is a bit under-slope from the last few years:

  • 2019 Gaming Acquisitions thru March: 12
  • 2020 Gaming Acquisitions thru March: 19 (+58%)
  • 2021 Gaming Acquisitions thru March: 20 (+5%)
  • 2022 Gaming Acquisitions thru March: 13 (-35%)
Gaming Acquisitions – Cumulative Monthly

I think many of us are going to look back at 2020 and 2021 and see that, even in the worst of the COVID lockdowns, our gaming was in something of a Golden Era. Sure, there was less face-to-face gaming for many, but here in the RMN house the RMN Boys and myself got in lots of good gaming. That “Golden-Horror” time has certainly come to an end, and now we struggle to keep our hobby life going.

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#SundaySummary – Missed Charlie but going from Bulge to D-Day with a deluxe serving of #CepheusEngine (@ADragoons @HBuchanan2 #wargame #ConSim #boardgame #TravellerRPG)

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.

Wargames

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.

ConSim

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.]

Boardgames

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.

Roleplaying Games

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.

#SundaySummary – New arrivals need a Quartermaster General so not lost in Forgotten Waters while reading Game Wizards of North Korea (@AresGamesSrl @PlaidHatGames @compassgamesllc @docetist @TravellerNews #TravellerRPG @toadkillerdog @gmtgames)

Wargames

New ArrivalIan Brody’s Quartermaster General WW2 (Ares Games, Second Edition 2020). Described by some as “Card driven RISK” that’s an unfair characterization as the game is much more fun than it looks. This is also supposed to be a decent 3-player game playable in 2-hours or less making it a great candidate for the weekend Family Game Night. We already have Quartermaster General: Cold War (PSC Games, 2018) which we enjoy playing so we look forward to going back to the “classic” version.

Quartermaster General WW2. Photo by RMN

Boardgames

New ArrivalForgotten Waters (Plaid Hat Games, 2020). Another candidate for Weekend Family Game Night. Also my first foray into the “Crossroads System” as well as my first “app-assisted” boardgame. I traded for my copy of Pacific Tide: The United States versus Japan, 1941-45 (Compass Games, 2019). I like Pacific Tide, but Forgotten Waters will be played with both RMN Boys vice one at a time. That said, when it comes to cooperative games the RMN Boys prefer classic Pandemic (Z-Man Games, 2008) and then the “Forbidden“-series (Forbidden Island and Forbidden Skies specifically) so we will see how unforgettable this one becomes.

Forgotten Waters. Photo by RMN

Role Playing Games

New ArrivalGame Wizards: The Epic Battle for Dungeons & Dragons by Jon Peterson (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2021). This is definitely a hobby business history and NOT a history of D&D as a game. So all you Edition Wars fighters out there looking for Jon’s vote need to look elsewhere. I wish Jon would do the history of Marc Miller and Traveller someday. I know, not as dramatic but nonetheless of intense interest to a Traveller RPG fan like me.

Game Wizards. Photo by RMN

Professional Wargames

The Defense Intelligence Agency released the 2021 edition of North Korea Military Power: A Growing Regional and Global Threat. This product is a must-read for any professional wargamer that wants to include North Korea as a threat. Given that it’s unclassified and for public release, even commercial wargame designers like Mitchell Land can use it to update Next War: Korea (GMT Games).

Courtesy DIA

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2021 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0