Archive For The “Interviews” Category
Michael Eckenfels, 2 October 2019
Tell us a bit about yourself – where you live, what it is you do for a living.
I’m Joni Nuutinen, a history buff and a Finnish professional software developer.
Tell us the story of how you first became interested in military history.
Growing up in the eastern part of Finland it was impossible to avoid running into the Second World War; not only did several of my family members serve, but some also perished, and living fairly close to the border with the USSR meant that I could both visit the physical remains of the battles and also experience the atmosphere such events inevitably leave behind on the border regions. (more…)
Brant Guillory, 1 December 2018
The US Army Command & General Staff College (CGSC) recently launched a new program for students there to pursue an interest in game and sims for training purposes, and end up with a Masters Degree at the end of it all. We’ve got a more detailed conversation coming up with Dr James Sterrett, who oversees the program, but for now, we thought we’d have a chat with a few of the students who recently completed their degrees and are now back in circulation in the Army, equipped with a wider toolbox of gaming experience.
What’s your gaming background (if any)? Was there much exposure to professional military wargaming beyond the usual MDMP / training exercises?
Mr Williamson: I have been wargaming since childhood with the only American Heritage series, a multi-level submarine game, a cool tank game, the great Carrier Strike and others.
For board wargames, my first experience was my dad getting us to play Avalon Hill’s Luftwaffe. Then in 1978 or 1979, I became engrossed in the original Squad Leader, Third Reich, and Bismark and numerous others. Then in the mid-80s the Milton Bradley Axis and Allies and the like started to take up more time. In the 90s it was the computer wargames (actually it started in 80 or 81 with Cris Crawford’s Eastern Front).
Then, as with everyone life gets in the way from the late 90s until about 2015 when I went into a game store in the DC area and saw ASL Starter Kit 1. I thought, “What in the world? Is this still being published? Are people still playing old wargames?” And next thing you know I was hooked back into it. VASSAL became very important as my assignment took me to different countries where finding wargamers wasn’t going to be easy.
MAJ Clayton: I am not what you consider a “gamer.” I came into the MMAS program from MCTP (Mission Command Training Program), operating as a commander for they Hybrid Threat Divisions. I see the MMAS wargaming less as a hobby and a resource to apply to our military wargaming development. It can be apply to change an individual or groups cognitive thinking. Or applied to a scenario in order to develop creative thinking and move away from the standard manual tactical and operational moves.
Jim Owczarski, 14 November 2018
Wargame writers tend to focus on games, game designers, and the companies that manage them both. The backbone of the industry, though, are the stores, large and small, that help bring the games to the market. Even more special are those that sell both new and used games, letting eager gamers connect with a title they might have missed or become reacquainted with a fondly-remembered childhood pastime.
For over 20 years, Don Pawley has been responsible for Enterprise Games. Located in Indiana, it is for those of us who love the hobby something of a magical kingdom filled with thousands of old and new games, some of which have been out of print for decades. Mr. Pawley has a long-standing affiliation with GMT Games and, in that capacity, has been a sponsor of wargame events run by Armchair Dragoons staff at the Origins Game Convention for several years. He was good enough to take the time to answer questions about his business, the state of the gaming market, and the most expensive game he ever sold.
For those unfamiliar, who is “Enterprise Games”?
Enterprise Games is an online retailer of board games with our specialty being wargames. We carry new games, but our focus is on out-of-print. We do dabble some with military miniatures and non-sport trading cards, but that is a minor part of our business. Most sales are through our web site www.enterprisegames.com but we also setup at several conventions in the Midwest, in particular Origins.
Brant Guillory, 27 October 2018
Armchair Dragoons: Thanks for taking the time chat with us!
Christopher Davis: Thanks for reaching out!
ACD: So, what’s your wargaming background? First wargame you learned to play? First wargame you loved? What’s the top of your rotation today?
CD: I think I was born into it. Growing up, my dad was an Army attack helicopter pilot, so I learned a lot about the Soviet army, especially its tanks. And that branched into general military history, especially World War II.
And I came of age just as computer games were booming. My parents bought me Civilization 2 – from Scholastics magazine! – when I was in 6th grade and it’s been a gamer’s life ever since on both the PC and the tabletop. By the start of high school, I was playing microarmor and Napoleonics.
But it wasn’t until the last five years or so when I really started seriously exploring the tabletop hobby on my own – DVG, Compass, GMT, etc. My recent rotation has included Pavlov’s House, Corsair Leader, War of the Worlds, Nightfighter Ace, and Unconditional Surrender. Next up is Skies Above the Reich. My all time favorite games thus far have been Labyrinth: War on Terror, Star Wars Rebellion, and B17 Leader.