Archive For The “Features” Category

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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Battles of North Africa 1941 Preview (WDS & JTS)

Battles of North Africa 1941 Preview (WDS & JTS)

Jim Owczarski, 17 November 2018

There must be something to this.  While it is neither chronologically nor in absolute terms my first wargaming love, there is something about World War II’s struggle in the desert that appeals.

Jackson Bentley:  What is it, Major Lawrence, that attracts you personally to the desert?
T.E. Lawrence:  It’s clean.
–Lawrence of Arabia

Monty, Rommel, the “Desert Rats”, the “Afrika Korps”, are all evocative enough, but what is it about the theater itself?  A vast expanse of sand and forbidding ground; oppressive heat; and armies sweeping back and forth a space far too great for them ever to command. It had none of the hedgerows, sunken roads, farm fields, and tree-covered hillsides of Normandy.  Nor did it play host to the barely-imaginable hordes of the Eastern Front.  And yet we have gamed it again and again.

Consider just the best-known games; games that many who read the articles on this site have been playing for years:  Afrika Korps, Tobruk, Rommel in the Desert, DAK (1 and 2), and, always good for a cheap laugh, Campaign for North Africa.  Combat Mission: Afrika Korps is, for some, the most missed of the series’ first iteration.  And newer consims like Revolution Games’ Operation Battleaxe and Gazala: the Cauldron have been very well received.

MyGuy

And they had this dude.

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The Best of the Jena-Auerstedt Games

The Best of the Jena-Auerstedt Games

Jim Owczarski, 9 November 2018

 

And now, as I write this, fall has come to the American Midwest.  Football (our flavor) is being played in earnest, a chill is felt in the air, and the leaves have begun to turn.

That means it is time to think of Jena-Auerstedt one last time.

Unlike Waterloo which has been distilled to consims many times — only the unwashed say too many — the double-battle of 14 October 1806 is more slightly covered.  This is not to say there are not some fine offerings, and I would like to take a moment to introduce you to the five I like best. (more…)

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Battle Lab: Civilians on Hexagonal Battlefields

Battle Lab: Civilians on Hexagonal Battlefields

Brant Guillory, 6 November 2018

The following is the set of slides from Brant’s ’06 Origins War College talk about integrating civilians into wargaming.  Note that these are only the slides and not a full accounting of the entire robust discussion around the topic. Also, the talk focused on the game design effects, and not on the larger real-world implications of civilians on the battlefield.

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Armchair Dragoons Interviews Designer Christopher Davis (Hero of the Soviet Union)

Armchair Dragoons Interviews Designer Christopher Davis (Hero of the Soviet Union)

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. 

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