Archive For The “Articles” Category

2018 – Looking Back and Looking Ahead, part 1

2018 – Looking Back and Looking Ahead, part 1

Brant Guillory, 31 December 2018

In a tradition carried on from past lives, we’ve reached out to some friends in the gaming world, and asked a pair of questions about the year in gaming.  Part 1 today, to close out 2018, and part 2 tomorrow.

What do you think was the biggest news story in the hobby gaming world over the past year, and why?

Byron Salahor – Dragoon!

Since I am reluctant to quote a single, definitive article, my vote for the biggest news story in the gaming world continues to be the ever-increasing popularity of Dungeons & Dragons.  Over the last couple of years, this hallmark role-playing game has increasingly showed up in the oddest of places – like popular mainstream media.  TV personalities (hullo Stephen!) discuss the game on late-night talk shows; respectable newspapers feature articles on how this odd, niche fantasy game is (surprise!) bringing people together, creating community, or is being used in the classroom.  Local libraries are running D&D game nights; my local FLGS reports having sold “dozens” of starter kits in the run-up to Christmas, and an FLGS in a neighboring province stated on their social media feed that they just sold their 2000th copy of the 5th edition Player’s Handbook.  While D&D will probably never become as popular as Risk, or Catan, or Monopoly, it is – in this gamer’s opinion – very heartening to see how a game that encourages imagination, cooperation, and story-telling  has meaning and value in an age of electronic amusements.

 

Jeff Tidball – Game designer and GAMA board member

I think that it’s a bit unsung at the moment, and we’re only looking at the beginning of it, but I think that Tabletop Wire’s founding, and their ramp-up of legit daily journalism about the business side of the tabletop gaming hobby, has been really exciting this year. There’s simply no other place that’s doing that kind of work, and it’s been a real need for the business (in my opinion) for a long time.

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Classic Reviews: Cactus Throne (ATO)

CRCT magcover

The cover of the magazine

On #TBT, we bring you the occasional classic article – an older review or analysis piece we wanted to rescue

Brant Guillory, 20 December 2018

An early game from Against The Odds Magazine that looks at what was going on while us Americanos were recovering from the US Civil War / War Between The States / War of Northern Aggression / “The Wahr” ~

INTRODUCTION

Cactus Throne is an operational/strategic-level game that covers the war in Mexico between the Republican Mexican government forces, and the Imperial forces of France, Britain, Spain, Austria, and their Mexican allies. The war was originally fought between 1862-1867.

Although there were significant political machinations that affected the campaign, especially in Europe, the game focuses on the allocation of forces within Mexico, and control of the important areas of country.

Some of the political events are included as random events. Additionally, there are events that could have happened, but did not, such as the appearance of both Union and Confederate forces from the American Civil War. Cactus Throne does include some elements of seapower, but only to the extent that it affected the land battles. Ship-to-ship combat is not simulated.

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Fortune & Glory: An AAR – Part 2

Fortune & Glory: An AAR – Part 2

Michael Eckenfels, 12 December 2018

One other element of setting up the game involves placing the first Active Villain on the board, in the space with an Artifact with the highest Fortune value. The Mine of Lost Souls in Greece is that by a landslide, so we place Herr Teufel and two Nazi goon stormtroopers in the space with him.

 

Teufel

If left unchecked, he might very well carry off a great deal of Fortune. Since the Villain Track goes up by 1 for every 3 Fortune gathered, that’s a potential +2 on the Track, and then some.

TURN ONE INITIATIVE

Normally, we roll initiative here to see who the First Player is. I’ve arbitrarily decided that Grant Jackson will go first, followed by Nigel, then Li Mei, and finally, the good Doctor.

TURN ONE MOVE PHASE

During this Phase, each player rolls a die and moves that many spaces. Some sea spaces require more than one movement point. We’re going to start with Grant Jackson, in Cape Town, South Africa.

FANG 2 001

Jackson in action

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Fortune & Glory: An AAR – Part 1

Fortune & Glory: An AAR – Part 1

Michael Eckenfels, 12 December 2018

PART 1: INTRODUCTION

Fortune and Glory is a 2011 board game from Flying Frog Productions. In it, players (from one to eight) can either cooperate or compete while traveling a late 1930s Earth stuck in the pulp genre, searching for and recovering artifacts. In the competitive game, players are trying to amass the most Fortune (which equates to money but is used as a measure of victory rather than an in-game currency). In the cooperative game, players band together to find and unearth the most artifacts, faster than the Vile Organization they are competing against. In the base game, this is either the Nazis or the Mob, while an expansion (Rise of the Crimson Hand) lets you add yet another. Right off the bat, thxere’s several possible games you can play, and they’re rarely the same game twice.

I am not playing with the Rise of the Crimson Hand expansion; instead, I’ll be playing against the Nazis. As one should when cow-towing to the audience here at Armchair Dragoons. I mean, this game is basically Indiana Jones in a box – how can we NOT play against the Nazis?

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Professional Wargaming: Game Design at the Command & General Staff College

Professional Wargaming: Game Design at the Command & General Staff College

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.

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Classic Reviews: Runebound 2nd Ed (FFG)

On #TBT, we bring you the occasional classic article – an older review or analysis piece we wanted to rescue

Brant Guillory, 29 November 2018

  • Pros:  Well-balanced, nifty movement mechanics, gorgeous.
  • Cons:  Little interaction between players, needs a lot of table space.

Some gamers love the intricate role-playing game full of soliloquies, conspiracy theories, and more character development than a British melodrama.  Others would rather dispense with the backstory, role-play an archetypal character, and kick butt.  In the early days of computer games, most fantasy ‘role-playing’ was the former, not the latter.  Runebound strikes me as one of these computer games, transported to a board game environment.
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