A busy few days: Recon show, Necromunda, The Great War and Wargames magazines.

Last weekend I, with Paul, flew the flag for Pennine Megagames by taking the demo version of ‘Harrying of the North’; it is a simple map movement and battle board participation game.

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The Normans have to hoover up supplies whilst Saxons under Edgar the Etheling try to stop them. It is mainly to show off the combat mechanisms I plan to use in the future megagame. Be honest about it, whilst the game works, it take too long for what would be available in a megagame turn so it needs streamlining more. However, with Fall Blau on the horizon I am devoting my energies into that. I plan to take a demo version of it to the Hammerhead show at Newark and possibly Chillcon in Sheffield. Pleasingly the paper figures that I cut out seemed to be very popular with the punters at Pudsey. Given how little time they took to construct I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that my sense of nostalgia had been tweaked by Games Workshop’s reissue of Necromunda. Well my friend Jonathon has a copy so I popped round to have a game.

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Having got such fond memories of the original and gaming in my teenage years I was hoping that it lived up to the hype.

I quickly came up with a Goliath gang and got on with it, I’m pretty sure a few of the subtleties of the rules were missed but it was good to get a feel of the new version.

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The production quality is outstanding, as it should be for such a company, and the new figures are miniature works of art. My choices for the gang weren’t ideal and as the Escher were so very good at ranged combat I took heavy casualties until I got into close combat. Still it was a learning experience and I know what I’d do differently next time.

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I’m really tempted to get the game- sadly running out of space means I may not. I’d love to make a detailed vertical board for it but the question is where to put it… I guess I really should sort out my shed. It may be the impetus I need. Either way I may start with a Goliath gang of my own for a starter; it shouldn’t be too hard to find space for ten figures.

I also played a quick game of PSC’s The Great War with Evan. Given the kickstarter I mentioned has been funded it was good to get it on the table again. The scenario we chose to play was based on the famous action of a tank named ‘Fray Bentos’ at Passchendaele:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/10358335/WW1-The-siege-of-Fray-Bentos-at-the-Battle-of-Passchendaele.html

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My Germans, despite getting off to a good start, failed to achieve much. Aggressive infantry backed up by the immobile but still shooting tank completely outclassed me. Another game I’ll do better at next time….

I also picked up two of the three big wargaming magazines, it is not something I often do but they both had articles that looked interesting, the differences between the two are quite marked though.

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Wargames Illustrated has by far the better production but the depth of the articles left something to be desired: the Russo-Japanese one, whilst featuring some lovely photos was a bit shallow so to speak. The campaign on the fighting in Prussia in WW2 was interesting but could have done with some better editing. Great eye candy though but little in I’d refer back to later beyond the campaign.

Miniature Wargames has undergone a few changed from when I used to buy it; it looks far more professional now. It always had the best articles in but was often let down by poor photos. Under new owners and editorship that has changed. The reason I bought the magazine was that it featured an article on the Warsaw battle 1944 by Jim Webster, he is much under rated as a games writer in my opinion. I’ve always found his writing to be worth the price of admission alone. His ideas on gaming urban warfare are no exception and something I’ll try out on my own table top soon hopefully.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

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The Last Romans: the megagame.

Last weekend saw the final game in the Pennine Megagame calendar: the Last Romans, designed by Paul Howarth. Set around the Mediterranean during the reconquest of the west by the Byzantium general Bellasarius. My role for the day was the control for the Sassanid empire, I was lucky to have a great team of players to watch over. Other teams covered the various outposts of governors of Justinian’s empire, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks as well as a separate  court and Constantinople game; making  for a 50 player game.

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Play started with the eternal peace between Justinian and the Sassanids in force, for which the Byzantiums were paying gold every year to keep. This meant for quite initial turns for the Sassanids which allowed them to build up their army. Some combat experience was gained by attacking the Arabs to the south and the barbarians to the north. One general went incognito to lead a barbarian army to gain some experience in the rules system.

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Most of my day was spent checking the administration of the portion of the Sassanid empire that was in the game, using a  simple control panel and a worker placement system and also deal with any public works that were being built, competition to out do other teams in both quantity  and gaudiness (much glitter was used) was very much in evidence. Other than that is was the usual round of adjudicating on rules queries and making sure battles ran smoothly once the fighting between the Sassanids and Romans started. It was the Romans that broke the eternal peace first and then the counter attack by the Sassanids proved quite strong. Their ambassador player, was so silver tongued that he managed to exact heavy reparations from the new emperor for breaking the treaty even in the face of ongoing counterattacks.   A plague event, that even killed Justinian, did mean that the Roman provinces at the eastern end of the Med suffered badly, so much so that by the end of the game they were looking to be subsumed in the Sassanid empire as vassal states, such was their neglect by Constantinople.

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My duties to the Sassanids meant that I was pretty ignorant as to what was happening in the rest of the game, I couldn’t tell you anything, for example, about the very popular Chariot races and entertainments that were a big part of the Constantinople game. However, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves so it was a good way to round off a very good year of Pennine Megagames.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

An Update… and Normandy holiday pics…

… I figured it was about time for one.

 

The big news is that I’ve finally finished my MA in Military History and done well enough for a distinction, next step is to try and find the funding for a PHD as I’m wanting to expand my MA thesis.

 

I’ve also had a holiday to Normandy, was a nice road trip with my Dad. The extended family was down in the New Forest area for my Uncle’s wedding so it was an easy trip across the Channel to visit Normandy. All in it was only a week long trip but I managed to make the most of it.

Friday- Down to New Forest  but called in at Bletchley Park.

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A replica working Bombe.

I’d not been before – I was really impressed with it, I don’t think we saw all of it as it we only had a few hours but I’ll certainly be back. The scale of the operation was staggering in terms of the number of radio messages being intercepted and decoded.

Saturday- Uncle’s wedding.

Sunday- drove to Portsmouth for the ferry over to Ouistreham and then on to the holiday cottage.

Monday- Sword beach, The No. 4 Commando and Le Grand Bunker museum.

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Sword Beach looking west along the coast.

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The Museum entrance with a couple of artillery pieces outside.

Tueday- Arromanches and the Mulberry Harbour, the DDay Museum there and the Longues Sur Mer battery.

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The remains of one of the Mulberrys.

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A casemate and gun at Longues- Sur- Mer.

Wednesday- Point Du Hoc and Omaha beach.

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An open gun pit at Pointe Du Hoc.

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Omaha beach looking East.

Thursday- Peagasus Bridge, Gondree Cafe, Airbourne Museum and Merville Battery before getting the overnight ferry back to Portsmouth.

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The new bridge and memorials.

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The original bridge in the grounds of the museum.

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A casemate at Merville.

Friday- Arrived in Portsmouth, saw the new RN aircraft carrier and lots of Type 45 destroyers as we docked then drove and hour west to see Bovington Tank Museum.

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The biggest ever ship for the Royal Navy.

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Just one of the halls at Bovington Tank Museum.

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Some of the heavy making up the Tiger exhibit at Bovington.

As you can see it was a pretty packed holiday. It was the first time I’d visited any WW2 battlefield; it was something I took a lot from and will be something I’ll be repeating next year (probably around my birthday time). The deeper appreciation of the events and sacrifices you get from touring places yourself cannot be overstated. Omaha beach was particularly poignant as it was so quiet being midweek and the end of the season. That said the sites that had an American connection were busier than those which did not. As a whole the museums were great (Bovington especially so as well as the new one at Pegasus Bridge) I took hundreds of photos so if people are particularly keen I’ll do a blog entry on each site…?

On to the gaming side of things:

Pennine Megagames is going from strength to strength at the moment. Next years calendar has been decided upon with just a few dates to confirm. Starting with Cockroaches, Copper and Cows (the Mexican Revolution) we then go to The Shot heard around the Universe (rebellious planets in space). June sees a trip to the Eastern Front with Fall Blau ’42, an operational game being developed by myself and Matt. This will be followed by Megamunda– as the name suggests a SF game blending Necromunda and Judge Dredd. Everybody Dies III: Playing with Fire adds more dragons to the well known Game of Throne setting. Finally, double dealing and espionage in 60s/70s South America in Juntas sees out the year. I’m really enjoying getting my teeth stuck into all the operational accounts of 1942 to develop the game engine for the Fall Blau game.

In parallel to this I am working up a Post Norman Invasion of 1066 game that I’ll submit for consideration next year. Set in 1069 it sees the Normans try to cement their control of the North against the last Saxon attempts to retake the crown. The combat system got an early run out at the recent Fiasco show in Leeds. It will be making an appearance next at Recon in Pudsey in early December if anyone wants to catch it.

I’m rather pleased with how my first attempt at making a map has come out.

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I used the paper figures from the Helion book series. I’m really pleased with how well the turned out (I’ll put them in another blog entry) I manged to get two decent sized armies done in a week.

The next expansion to the rather good The Great War board game is up on Kickstarter at the moment:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1992455033/richard-borgs-the-great-war-french-army-expansion?ref=user_menu

I’ve backed this, it looks like it will be bringing in some interesting new rules, the French expansion is set around Verdun which got my interest straight away.

I’m awaiting the new Next War: Poland game to come out, I’ve played the Korea and Indo- Pakistan versions and enjoyed them so this is a must buy. They are not the easiest rules to play but they scratch my modern chit and hex itch.

Oddly for me I’ve been all misty- eyed and nostalgic for my youth now that Games Workshop have reworked Necromunda. I’m seriously considering picking it up, however cost and storage will be an issue.

On to figures I’m still plugging away with my 20mm WW2 and modern figures. I’m currently working up a linked series of scenarios to tie smaller 20mm skirmishes to a big 6mm battle. My Cold War 6mm collection is still a work in progress, some 2nd hand acquisitions have led to an Arab Israeli in 1973 side project. That and I keep eyeing up the new Baccus WW2 miniatures.

Naval and Air war is still going along. Though more movement will be made on those projects when I go to a show next and pick up some more bits from Tumbling Dice. Getting some 6mm figures to tie into my Russo- Japanese warships is another possibility I’m considering at the moment.

All in all plenty to keep me occupied- thanks for reading.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

Still Not Over By Christmas- a WW3 Megagame.

A couple of Saturdays ago I was in Sheffield for another Pennine Megagames’ event, one I had been particularly looking forward to for a long time (in fact since the game first ran down in London) Rob Cooper’s Still Not Over By Christmas.

As you’ll have gathered from my previous post it was that classic scenario of the Cold War going hot with the Soviets invading westwards. I choose to play the Soviet Air Commander (thus fulfilling a wish I’ve had since I started megagaming 6 years today of overseeing the aircraft) I had two players underneath me who would do the actual fighting as well as an assistant on the day. Things had started a few weeks before the game day with an online planning game run through Facebook, various groups were set up for the players to plan their initial attacks and starting dispositions. I had been fortunate enough to attend the pre- game briefing for game control so I had a good understanding of the game mechanics (not that much of an unfair advantage as one of the NATO air players was present too). From this I was acutely aware that the NATO planes had a threefold advantage. Firstly, their best planes such as F15s and F16s were rated highly, the only thing I had that could equal that was the MiG29 and I had fewer of those than NATO had of eagles and Fighting Falcons. Secondly, their repair rating was better meaning that had much more chance to come back from damage, in the rules things were only permanently lost when they failed a repair roll. Thirdly, NATO had abundant stocks of advanced air to air missiles meaning that they fired first in an engagement, again the Warsaw Pact had some but nowhere near as many. Accordingly, my strategy was to hammer the airfields that the aircraft were being staged out of being as it was easier for us to defeat them on the ground rather than in the air. The number of airbases that we took out affect the number of aircraft that could be flown. By doing this I hoped to keep the balance to contested in our favour, not so much to provide CAS to our own troops but to deny the enemy the same, especially as this would protect the bridges that our follow-on Corps and Divisions would be using to get to the front. Not losing in the air meant we could win on the ground.

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Photos of the counters taken at the pre- game briefing.

 

Air combat was fought with a dogfighting stage leading to an assessment of who had air supremacy, superiority or whether it was contested, this then determined the number of aircraft that got through to perform Close Air Support, Recce or Deep Strike missions, the gamble was that you had to commit aircraft to these tasks before the dogfighting took place; assessing your likelihood of victory was key.

My main job in the preplanning game was to decide upon the initial strategic attacks as the air forces were pretty much set into their north and south groupings. My suggestion was to hit hard and first with a two-day Chemical Weapon strike, we were only allowed to use them for two successive days so I figured a devastating strike on the airfields would get us off to a good start. Also by using them at the start it was be seen, hopefully, as less escalatory than going to WMDs mid game. If anything, we could step down and de- escalate… Similarly, the Spetsnaz cards I had to use were targeted on HQs to give us a slight edge.

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Jason (CinC) and Adrian (my 2iC) plotting on the mini map.

On the day itself as I had a high command roll I was with the CinC sequestered in an upstairs room a long way from the map the game was being fought on. As such we had to make do with second hand reports and camera phone photos in the guise of recce pics; this was aided by a WhatsApp group set up of all of the pact players for quick messages. We were fairly confident that our initial attacks would go well as we had activated a lot of our reserve forces to get as much possible forward as soon as possible. The down side to this was that the NATO forces facing us would be aware that something was coming.

The first CW strike went disastrously, all 6 SCUDs that were delivering the chemical agents to airfields in the northern half of the map missed their targets, causing significant civilian casualties. The second round were more successful but by then the fallout was not just radioactive. The US President, represented here by control, authorised the firing of a single tactical nuclear weapon as a punishment for and a warning against any further civilian casualties. Accordingly, one of our Corp HQ units got vaporised. In the command room there was a rather hurried discussion on how to respond; to go by the doctrine in the handbook we should have responded with 24 weapons targeting HQs and airbases. This, quite obviously, would be a big escalatory step, so with one eye to the meta game we decide to just ask for permission to respond with a single tactical weapon. This was granted and a NATO HQ went the way of ours.

 

For the rest of the game however I made sure that a list of potential targets and enough planes to carry out the missions were kept in reserve by my two air commanders, a few SCUDs were kept back for that purpose too.

For the rest of the game my job mostly consisted of deciding when and where to put the reinforcements. This was tied to where Jason as CinC wanted the main effort to be focused. At the highest levels of command in a megagame I find that coming up with a plan then reacting to the enemy and keeping on top of them with good decisions makes for a less stressful and more enjoyable day than the frantic activity at the map. One of the assets I had at my disposal was the Long Range Aviation aircraft, this could be potentially used to attack the UK mainland, the advantage of doing this was that it would hopefully withdraw some aircraft from the main European theater as well as take out some of the very capable F111s too. However, I was only prepared to launch such an attack if I had seen evidence that the RAF aircraft that had been slated for home defence had moved to join the European fight. My two Mig31 Foxhounds would be no match for all the Phantoms and Lightnings I expected to find there and if they then went on to shoot-down the Tu22 Backfire bombers I’d have a lot of explaining to do to someone before a reassignment to Siberia. Instead I just added them in to the normal fights to give a boost, although one Foxhound was given the special mission to try and breakthrough the fighter screen and go after a NATO AWACS aircraft, this would give us a big advantage in the combat. This, against all the odds, worked, medals all round for the pilots. In fact, making medals for the players at the map did seem to have the desired effect, quite what the NATO players made of them is another matter.

 

On the ground the war went well, Denmark fell to a small, under- resourced but well-handled force and was removed from NATO, there should have been bigger political ramifications from this imo. Also, some VDV had a very short stay in France getting as far as Strasburg. In the best megagame tradition if it had gone on for another turn things would have decisively turned in the Soviets favour, our 2nd wave of ground forces would have entered combat, the anaemic Dutch counter attack would have been defeated and what’s more NATO was running out of all those fancy high tech weapons that were giving them the advantage. In fairness to NATO their deliberate targeting of our Warsaw Pact Allies meant we had political troubles of our own to contend with the resulting dilution of force. Also, a bit more could have been made of the big but narrow salient we created in the NATO centre. One of the differences between an open and closed map is that clever manoeuvres are harder to pull off: everything is visible to the observant player. As such concentration of force and a determination to follow things through often rewards more than an outflanking march that will be spotted.

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After the game we had a debrief: this blurry photo is the closest I got to the main map all game.

I really enjoyed SNOBC, very glad I played it and if the rumours of a follow- on game the year after next come to be true I’d love to reprise my role.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

Audio files from the Connections Conference.

A few weeks ago King’s College in London hosted the Connections professional wargames conference. They have released slides and audio recording of the presentations here:

http://www.professionalwargaming.co.uk/2017.html

A few highlights that are worth your time following up on…#

Pennine Megagames’ own Paul Howarth amusing talk on games in schools- hearing how the games cut through gender and social boundaries and gets children enthused is really great.

Dr. Nick Bradbeer and David Manley’s talk on improving Maritime engineers’ design through game play is interesting- especially as David Manley has blogged on his involvement with the games here:

http://dtbsam.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=ucl

I was surprised at the lack of military knowledge that was alluded to of the students on the course but given that we are a maritime nation dependent on sea trade and our Navy it is something that takes a very low profile in our modern world.

Finally Paul Strong’s talk on the Western Approaches Tactical Unit gives a great insight into how wargaming helped to win the Battle of the Atlantic, including a rare example of wargaming being conducted mid- battle and influencing its outcome.

I’d have loved to attended- and played in the megagame as well as the other games sessions but I was on a bit of a road trip with my father (a post on that will be forthcoming) so missed it, will look into attending next year.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

 

Still Not Over By Christmas- an annotated bibliography.

I was chatting to one of the attendees for the upcoming Pennine Megagames’ Still Not Over By Christmas  game in a few weeks through FB; Rob was asking me for reading suggestions to get in the mood for the event. Now asking me for book recommendations means you’ll end up with a big list as an answer. I thought it would be useful to share what I said to him here. I’ve focussed on those books that I have read; I know there is a list on the game’s webpage but I’ve added my own comments.

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Paddy Griffith – Not Over By Christmas (1983).

The obvious place to start is with the book that gave the game its title. The late Paddy Griffith gives us an academic analysis of the then contemporary stand- off across the Inner German Border and suggests a new flexible mobile defensive plan for NATO to adopt that does not rely on the use of tactical nuclear weaponry. Some have claimed that this led to a reduction in the tensions of the time but I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable to comment on that in detail.

 

Paddy Griffith- Ultimate Weaponry (1991).

By the same author but aimed at a completely different market this coffee table book written at the very end of the Cold War gives us a run down of the weaponry and tactics of a modern army and how it fits together. A useful (and, at the time of writing, cheap) way to get the details on the basic tactics and the state of the art at the turn of the decade.

 

David Miller- The Cold War: A Military History (1998)

This makes a good companion piece to the above as it covers the whole Cold War but at the higher operational and strategic levels. Taking in both the narrative history as well as technological changes it makes an ideal primer.

 

General Sir John Hackett- The Third World War (1978).

General Sir John Hackett- The Third World War: The Untold Story (1982).

The Third World War really kicked off the 1980s trend for fictional accounts of a possible war between East and West. Covering the war at a fairly high level it charts the deployments and combats, the second volume expands the narrative to cover some of the more minor theatres. Whilst the scenario is well thought through it is a little dry at times.

 

Harold Coyle- Team Yankee (1988).

Coyle’s story is set with in a larger conflict but really concentrates on the lower tactical level of a US armour group: the eponymous Team Yankee as they try to delay the Soviet advance. It makes for a great action filled story with M1 tanks and mechanised infantry being pushed hard by T72s and BMPs filled with infantry.

 

Tom Clancy- Red Storm Rising (1987).

To my mind this is the best written novel of the fictional wars, coming from the prolific Clancy it is one of his few novels that is stand- alone not set within the Ryan-verse that you may know from his other books and many film adaptations. The main story concerns itself with the US attempts to get a convoy across the Atlantic in the face of attacks by Soviet Naval Aviation leading to a second Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Iceland. If you were to read one book to get a feel for the setting I would recommend this one.

 

Kenneth Macksey- First Clash (1985).

Macksey wrote this book to be used as a training aid to the Canadian army, as a result it is a rather detailed account of a 48 hours delaying action by the Canadian 4th Mechanised Brigade (they were to be a reserve for the US forces in CENTAG). Despite this it is still a good read, giving some insight into how the army could see such a mission being carried out.

 

Ralph Peters- Red Army (1989).

Second to Red Storm Rising this should be on all the Soviet players reading lists, unlike the vast majority of the novels listed here to focuses telling the story from the Russian side, whilst not an insider’s account (warning treat Suvorov with suspicion, I’ve not included him here for a reason) it gives an insight into Soviet ways of thinking about how they approached war in the 1980s.

 

Cyril Joly- Silent Night (1986).

The fiction of the time tends to fall into two camps, those who show how NATO’s technological edge will ultimately prevail of those which portray the Soviets as an unstoppable force that could steam roller over us; in both cases there is a point (usually linked to defence spending or the lack thereof) that the author is trying to make… Silent Night takes the idea of the Soviets as unstoppable to frankly ridiculous levels in its account of a Christmas time surprise attack. Avoid this propagandist drivel.

 

Michael Palmer- The War That Never Was (1994).

An interesting and slightly meta account of a fictional wargame after the Cold War. Interesting as it contains a lot of detail of actions and naval confrontations on those theatres that are peripheral to the other stories i.e. anywhere that isn’t West Germany.

 

Peter Tsouras (ed.)- Cold War Hot (2003).

 

A short story anthology of different ways in which the Cold War could have turned hot. The last light- hearted Vodka based one stands out in particular.

 

Bob Forrest – Webb- Chieftains (1982).

Very similar to Team Yankee in that it follows a tank unit on the tactical level but differs in both tone and nationality: downbeat and British. Tough fights and a feel bad ending make this one a favourite.

 

Steven Zaloga- Red Thrust (1989).

Steven Zaloga- Tank War Central Front (1989).

 

The ever prolific Zaloga offers a mix of fiction and analysis in this volume detailing in turn how the component parts of a Soviet offensive would work. Worth looking out for.

 

The second volume comes from Osprey publishing so most of you will know what to expect from this format. The title pretty much explains what it covers, making this a good primer for those in a hurry.

 

Alfred Price- Air Battle Central Europe (1986).

 

A nice little book that focuses solely on the air war (a volume I’ve been looking at again given my role in a few weeks). Interesting as it is written by a former Cold War aviator turned historian based on interviews with contemporary serving pilots. The basic take home from this is most of the aircraft would be used for interdiction, that and the differing approaches that some of the NATO countries take. The USAF going for Vietnam style strike packages whilst the RAF sneaking planes in in pairs under the radar.

 

Harvey Black – Red Effect, Blue Effect, Black Effect (2013- 2014).

 

These are very recent entries into the genre and as such seem a little nostalgic in a strange way. The first one was for me the best focussing as it does on the build up to the war and the activities of the BRIXMIS operatives that went behind the Iron Curtain as military observers, the real life job the author had at the time.

 

All of these books are fairly easy to get hold of through the usual channels, Amazon’s marketplace, ebay and abe books, some are available on kindle too. I hope that this proves useful to some.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

The Pirate Republic Megagame- the view from the side room.

On Saturday Pennine Megagames were back in Manchester to put on a 60-player game set in the Caribbean in the early 1700s based around the golden age of piracy. Erring more towards historical facts than the pure fantasy of recent films players took on the roles of pirates, colony governors or nation teams. The game was John Sharp’s first design and it filled that very popular slot of having something for everyone in as much as most play styles could be accommodated, from a combat heavy game to colony management to those who just want to roleplay and interact with the other gamers. The players really got behind the idea of the game; most were dressed up; the gender balance was much closer than in previous games and lots of rum was drunk throughout the day leading to an almost party atmosphere.  That many players needed a fairly substantial control team, of which I was a member. As seems to be my usual role in this was to be intelligence and dirty tricks control. Quartered in a side room, players would come to me if they wanted to spy on another player, gain intel on a colony or port or come up with their own cunning plan. I would adjudicate on this and make a decision based on how good their plan sounded and how much they were willing to spend to make it happen. Additionally, I was in charge of giving out quest to players- these were a nice idea from John to give the pirate players who didn’t want to – or whose characters weren’t so good go for a combat heavy game.

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The game started off with a lot of action at the map which made the game system creak somewhat; I think it is a testament to how far Pennine Megagames has come as a control team that all the control umpires made a decision in the first two turns as to what rules to keep, what rules to get rid of and what rules to modify to make the game work, none of this was done by having a control meeting, everyone just drew on their experience to make it work and it did.

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I knew that the game would be a good one as on the first turn players were asking about the possibility of poisoning a water supply to reduce the ability of the garrison of its fort to fight. From then on it was steady stream of players coming in with their plans and spy missions. A couple of highlights for me were they French colony team who paid to spread false rumours that lead to a stream of irate players landing in Philadelphia asking where the treasure could be found- as a tactic to keep people away from their colony it was quite effective. Just before lunch the Governor of Havana came to me as he was worried about arson attacks in his port, he wondered if it would be possible to have extra night watchman patrols to guard against it. I decide that was a very reasonable plan and charged him a modest fee for it. I also noted down on a card rules to the effect of being able to spring an ambush on any would be attackers. I did think that he was wasting his money somewhat as I had had no-one come to me requesting intel on Havana. I had forgotten about the incident as I was mainly dealing with the quests in the afternoon until at about 4 o’ clock a player comes in wanting more intel and complaining that his attempted attack on Havana was foiled by night watchman patrols he was not expecting, I remembered the card I had written and had to laugh (the Governor of Havana did pop by a minute or so later to say thanks too).

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The quests were very popular with the players, so much so I had to quickly come up with some more as the nine original one had all be completed. Whether it was searching for wrecks, mapping rivers or hunting albino crocodiles it added an extra dimension for those who didn’t fancy mixing it with the navies on ship to ship combat. Some of the quests were based on emergent technologies of the time such as the Marine Chronometer. It was nice to see that once they had been discovered or captured they were then fought over by players who were not involved in the original action of the quest for possession of them. Talking to John later I think that it would be something that could be expanded upon should the game be reprised, possibly with multi part quests and an overarching story to them.

 

All in all it was one the most fun megagames I’ve been to, the atmosphere was excellent making for a very enjoyable day.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

PS- I know my photos are a bit crappy I really recommend looking on the Pennine Megagames Facebook page for better ones.