Sunday, October 11, 2015

Avalanche Press and WW2

Avalanche Press interrupted my focus of late on re-basing my French and Indian War models by releasing the long-awaited (at least by yours truly) third game in their Panzer Grenadier series trilogy of the North African Campaign of World War 2. An Army at Dawn - obviously a nod to the book of the same name by Rick Atkinson - lets you play out the end game in Tunisia in 40 different scenarios. If you own two earlier games in the Panzer Grenadier series, Desert Rats and Afrika Korps, you can play nearly 150 scenarios covering the whole campaign with all of the relevant forces. 

If you hadn't guessed, my interest in these boardgames is related to my collection of MicroArmor. Like ArkieGamer, I was considering Spearhead by Arty Conliffe (along with the Blaze Across the Sands scenario book) for my WW2 gaming, but when I found the Panzer Grenadier games, with single stands representing platoons (like Spearhead) I found a fun boardgame system that would convert easily to MicroArmor and 4" hexes. All but the largest scenarios will fit on a 5' x 9' table or smaller. I like hexes for this operational scale, as they provide an easy way to represent direct fire on individual units in a hex as well as "area bombardment" that effects an entire hex.

One big advantage of these games for me is the focus on scenarios - some are as small as a dozen units per side, permitting the game to be learned with small fast games, and permitting armies to start small and be built up over time.

You can download the Fourth Edition Panzer Grenadier series rules here if interested. 

See ya!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

JoAnn Score and Book Likes

Score! Between half-off on "fall foliage" and a coupon for 25% off my entire purchase. . .

I scored enough pre-painted plastic foliage to dress up a table full of trees for only $9.00! The pre-painted part is super-sweet - I haven't seen these colors before - even a bit of "Fall creeping in" hues. Some Tamiya Flat-coat and we're in the forest-building business again.

On to the Book Likes. First up by Chris Webber: Gods of Battle: The Thracians at War, 1500 BC - 150 AD.

 Amazon describes it:

Herodotus described the Thracians (who inhabited what is now roughly modern Bulgaria, Romania, the European part of Turkey and northern Greece) as the most numerous nation of all - apart from the Indians - and said that they would be the most powerful of all nations if they didn't enjoy fighting each other so much. There may have been a million Thracians, divided among as many as 40 tribes.
Ancient writers were hard put to decide which of the Thracian tribes was the most valiant; they were employed as mercenaries by all the great Mediterranean civilizations. Thrace had the potential to field huge numbers of troops, and the Greeks and Romans lived in fear of a dark Thracian cloud descending from the north, devastating civilization in the Balkans. The Thracian way of warfare had a huge influence on Classical Greek and Hellenistic warfare. After Thrace was conquered by the Romans, the Thracians provided a ready source of tough auxiliaries to the Roman army. Chris Webber gives an overview of Thracian history and culture, but focuses predominantly on their warfare and weapons. The latest archaeological finds are used to give the most detailed and accurate picture yet of their arms, armor and costume. He identifies and differentiates the many different tribes, showing that their weapons and tactics varied. The resulting study should be welcomed by anyone interested in the archaeology and history of the region or in classical warfare as a whole.

This is a great "wargamer" read. Lots of primary source and archaeology used to describe how the Thracians fought and how they looked doing it. Recommended without reservation.

Next up, by Dr. Phil Sabin: Simulating War: Studying Conflict through Simulation Games.  

 Again, per Amazon:

Over the past fifty years, many thousands of conflict simulations have been published that bring the dynamics of past and possible future wars to life.
In this book, Philip Sabin explores the theory and practice of conflict simulation as a topic in its own right, based on his thirty years of experience in designing wargames and using them in teaching. Simulating War sets conflict simulation in its proper context alongside more familiar techniques such as game theory and operational analysis. It explains in detail the analytical and modelling techniques involved, and it teaches you how to design your own simulations of conflicts of your choice. The book provides eight simple illustrative simulations of specific historical conflicts, complete with rules, maps and counters.
Simulating War is essential reading for all recreational or professional simulation gamers, and for anyone who is interested in modelling war, from teachers and students to military officers.

This is an interesting read if the theory of game design interests you. The appenidx on probability and statistics using the D6 was useful for me. I might have named this "Designing Wargames for Non-Wargamers." I recommend it, but it's a dry read.

See ya!