RockyMountainNavy, 19 October 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay
The Falklands War has always fascinated me. Maybe that is because it was the first television war that I remember growing up. In 1982 I was a teenager ending middle school and a dedicated wargamer. I watched the nightly news coverage of the war and a year later discovered a set of naval miniatures rules published by some guy associated with another wargame called Dungeons & Dragons. Harpoon II by Larry Bond and published by Adventure Games (run by Dave Arneson, a co-developer of D&D) came with a module called Resolution 502 which was scenarios for the Falklands War. All that said, I actually own only a few Falkland Islands wargames; that is, until the arrival of Goose Green, the latest Tactical Combat Series (TCS) design by Carl Fung from Multi-Man Publishing (MMP).
Goose Green is a bagged game that helps keep the price down. I was fortunate enough to get in at the pre-order price of $24, but even the current $32 listed on the MMP website is a bargain.
click images to enlarge
Since Goose Green is shipped in a bag one doesn’t get a nice box wrap but MMP does provide front and back cardstock covers. MMP is also concerned that everybody knows what the contents of the game are supposed to be and how to reach out to them if necessary.
Goose Green is in many ways a magazine-sized game. The contents are few and nothing is mounted. Players must provide their own dice (2d6, one red and one white, is recommended).
As in many series games, Goose Green ships with two rule books. The first rule book is the Tactical Combat Series Rules (v4.02 dated from 2020) and the second is the game rule book.
A major game mechanism in the Tactical Combat Series (TCS) is the command rules of which I have previously heard some criticism; specifically, a dislike of “plotted movement.” This criticism is not precisely true as TCS command rules use Ops Sheets which “define your objectives.” As rule 6.0 Command directs, “Create Op Sheets to define your objectives. The units on an Op Sheet must execute the mission on that sheet until they accomplish the mission, are reassigned, or the player cancels the Ops Sheet.” The rules go on to explain:
“6.2 Unit Actions Unaffected by Command. Ops sheets show the functions of higher level formations, such as battalions, brigades, or regiments. Much of what unit counters do while part of a higher plan need not be controlled by Op Sheets. These actions include, but are not limited to, fire combats, exact unit movements, Assault and Overrun combats, Minefield operations, and artillery fires. Play proceeds along Op Sheet frameworks, but Op Sheets do not control precise unit actions, unlike games featuring plotted movement.”
The Series rule book for Goose Green is 32 pages long. The game series rule book is shorter at 16 pages and focuses on special rules for this particular game topic and scenarios.
You can’t have a wargame without player aids these days and Goose Green is no exception. The game ships with two player aid sheets which are actually four-pages on fold-outs. Personally I am not a fan of this format as the fold-outs are too unwieldily for my taste around the gaming table. That said, the aids do appear to be rather comprehensive…
Goose Green comes with a single double-sided counter sheet with 140, half-inch counters. I usually like to round the corners on my counters but I am not sure my smallest clipper (2mm radius) will be usable here.
UPDATE – NO WORRIES
Finally, a comment on the map for Goose Green. The 22″ x 34″ map is arranged “portrait” style with the long edge on the left/right side when viewed upright. Although I totally understand why this arrangement is used, it doesn’t sit “naturally” on most game tables. I know—#FirstWorldWargamerProblem, eh?
Goose Green comes with five scenarios. The shortest scenario is “5.2 Burntside House and Low Pass” which is five turns long and the longest scenario is the alternate set-up “5.5 Bloody Goose Green” at 40 turns. I cannot find an expected play time for Goose Green on either of the covers in the game or the rule books nor on the MMP website so I have little idea what to expect. I will likely start with the short scenario to learn the game and go from there.
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The Armchair Dragoons with glee,
Unbox games for all to see.
With dice and cardboard so neat,
They strategize, can’t be beat,
In their world of tabletop glee!