Wargames On Your Table - May 2013
Judd Vance
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Here we are: May. What are you playing? Who are you playing with? If it is ongoing, how is the game going? How did you enjoy it? Inquiring minds want to know!

Now to promote some Geeklists:

Looking for an online opponent? Is there a game you really want to play but can't find an opponent? Go to the
VASSAL/Cyberboard/Skype request list.

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Interested in buying, selling, auctioning, bartering, or trading wargames?
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Help the BGG Database of Wargames:
Check out this Geeklist and look through the list of war games that do not have a review. If you are willing and able, pick one out and get it on the table if need be, or write a review for it

Help a traveling wargamer find wargame stores:
Know a good store that sells wargames? Add it to the War Games FLGS Directory, so when others are there, they can support the store.

What games did you acquire last month?
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1. Board Game: The Price of Freedom: The American Civil War 1861-1865 [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:5593]
Judd Vance
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I've been interested in this one for awhile and got it last summer. I read the rules last weekend and even made some card plays to help aid in learning. Now, I'm setting it up to solo. No Vassal play, because it has no Vassal mod, but the publisher did send me scans of the counters. ninja
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2. Board Game: Hands in the Sea [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:1854]
Judd Vance
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Old news by now, but I have been playtesting this game and creating a Vassal module for it. It's an incredible game on the First Punic War (Rome vs. Carthage) using the deck-building mechanics introduced to our genre by A Few Acres of Snow.

The noticeable difference, though, is that Acres plays like a Euro because it's designer comes from a Euro background. The designer of this game is a tried and true wargamer. He's not a wimpgamer like me. He's into GBoH, SPQR, World in Flames, numerous Avalon Hill classics. He knows what makes a good wargame and it shows in this one.

You do settle and develop like Acres, but the area is so small, that you run out of real estate and start cracking heads. It utilizes supply routes and supply sources. It incorporates all kinds of details from that war, such as the Romans and their bad omen chickens that won't eat, the brutal storms that wiped out much of their navy, mercenary revolts, the corvus (a big plank the Romans used to turn their ships into mobile land battle platforms), Xanthippus, and a whole lot of other stuff that I probably don't ever realize, because you see, the designer has a masters degree in this stuff (it's fun to pick his mind during our Vassal games). Also, it takes the importance of control of the sea into consideration. The naval aspect opens up a whole other front that players fight for.

We have been playing the heck out of this game, and I've had a blast doing it. We play, analyze, tweak cards, try new strategies. There is no 'Halifax Hammer' in this (where England quickly conquers Quebec and wins the game on auto-victory). If you can take Rome or Carthage it does spell auto-win, but the rules are set up to make this near impossible, because historically, only one sea invasion took place in Africa. In our games, I have never even tried one, because I just didn't have it in place. He tried one in Northern Italy on me, and it failed.

We have been looking for a non auto-win, yet unbeatable strategy, but it doesn't exist. I tried using the principles of the Halifax Hammer to steamroll over Sicily and it failed gloriously. Plus, the sides are not so asymmetrical: for example, Carthage can raise money in a steady stream better than Rome, but Rome has the ability to turn out big chunks of it periodically better than Carthage. Carthage has more naval cards, but Rome can take control of the sea with their Corvus, but that makes their ships less seaworthy, which creates other problems. There are advantages, but there is a constant give-and-take to every choice.

Not only do the sides lack an "unbeatable" strategy, I don't think either side has a "best" strategy. There are random events and strategic events that can really mess over your best laid plans and force you to adjust on the fly, and if you can't adjust, you lose. Every card in this game is valuable. There are numerous strategies you can employ and you have to draft cards to make it happen, while also drafting enough to counter the other guy, without getting a fat deck.

For my playtesting copy, I went all out (as best as I can): pimping it out with parts from other games. I even made a mounted map by taking a map from a crappy thrift-store quality game, printing the map, and taping it to the mounted board. I even printed the "box cover" (shown on this entry) and taped it to the box. My wife thinks I fell off the nerd wagon with that last one (guilty).

And since I get asked all the time: I don't know the time lines and status. I think he just about have the cards perfected.

I can only comment on the Vassal module, and I THINK I have the Vassal module close to being exactly where I want it. I say that because every time I sit back like a proud papa, I think of some other way to improve it. It is extremely automated: when you draft cards, it takes the money from your account automatically. If you lack the money to perform an action, it is grayed out. But I won't release it until the game is published, and I do not know those details. I only know that I haven't been this crazy for a game since Washington's War back in 2010 and if you know me, you know that's rare praise.

We play live Vassal about twice a week. I'm also trying to squeeze in some live-teaching games locally.
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3. Board Game: Hold the Line [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:1876]
Judd Vance
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Seanmac and I are playing this one on Vassal. We are finishing up the Long Island battle, which is always my favorite. After the British flanked the Americans (before the scenario sets up), the Americans have to fall back to their fortified lines. I managed to just about get all of my troops behind. I pushed back the first frontal assault, but I am brittle up front, and my command structure is very weak. But the time is running out. He has to get hot with the dice, or I'm going to win on the timer.
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4. Board Game: Caesar's Gallic War [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:5689]
Judd Vance
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Barteus and I are playing this on Vassal using optional cavalry and all pro-German optional rules. I'm the Romans and I started off like a ball of fire taking Sequani, Helvetii, and Mandubii (home of Alesia). He recruited Bellovaci (Braduspantium) and the leader Dumnorix with plans of moving on Britannia when I played a revolt card on him and targeted Bellovaci. I did that to keep him from reinforcing Alesia when I moved on it, not knowing of his plan for Britannia. He took Belovacci back with a political move and then got really lucky and brought Britannia on his side.

Still, I was really happy on year 1. My legions took quite a bit of damage and needed a lot of supply, but I had taken two major supply centers.

Year 2 opened with a massive revolt and most of my gains were all for naught.

That is where we stand. We are also testing out my first Vassal module and it needed some tweaks, so I tweaked it, reset the game board for the current, and now we are ready to resume where we left off.

I love block games. I've played a bunch of them, and this and Asia Engulf are right at the top of the list. This is a blast because the cards can have up to 4 different functions, making it play like a simple card driven game, yet much more than the Columbia-style card where you move or reinforce with a card. This one has a supply track to manage, which becomes a game unto itself. Finally, the sides are very asymmetrical, and playing to their relative strengths are key.
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5. Board Game: Storm Over Stalingrad [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1895]
Judd Vance
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Barteus and I continue on this. I (Axis) made some great strides on the first turn, but it's slowing down into the meat grinder, just as I feared it would. How historical!
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6. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:439] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Judd Vance
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I'm playing the basic rules on Vassal with Ahmed. We are still exploring our own space, but one of my ships ended up getting sprayed with Mr. Spock's red matter ... it wasn't pretty.
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7. Board Game: Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:1559] [Average Rating:7.85 Unranked]
Judd Vance
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Seanmac and I tarry on in Eindhoven. He pushed me back, but I just opened fire with my first 88. That was ... balancing. whistle

But I'm still in a world of hurt. This is kind of what the game resembles (I'm the Jedi).

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8. Board Game: Julius Caesar [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:735]
Judd Vance
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Seanmac and I continue. He wisely used a card I had little regard for: the first strike at sea card. He's used it three times, and as Rome, he's taken control of the sea and of Crete and he's threatening Alexandria. Right now, I'm slightly ahead in the victory points in the next-to-last year. This one is going to be close!
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9. Board Game: For the People [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:711]
Judd Vance
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Lars and I are about half way through this one. That object you see in my hands is my butt and he's handing it to me. I'm actually looking forward to this one being over -- not because I'm not having fun, but rather because when we switch sides, I can see what I SHOULD have done.

He makes it look so easy. So much so, that when I have the CSA, I'll probably have someone like Bragg running the ANV by himself and Lee commanding a 1-strength corp out in New Orleans, wondering all the time, how he built up those invincible armies so easily that seem to roll about +20 in modifiers on each combat roll. shake
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10. Board Game: Unhappy King Charles! [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:1347]
Judd Vance
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Jon and I had an extended break, but now we are back at it. We are the 3rd year. I (Charles) brought the Queen in to the North. Charles is hulking up. Jon has kicked me completely out of the South. I laid siege to one of his local notables and he nearly laid siege to Reading when Prince Maurice came down to relieve the besieged.

And I heard the most profound and hilarious question posed: Given the chance, who wouldn't want to go to a Boogie Wonderland?

I guess you had to be there. shake
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11. Board Game: Yom Kippur [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:3239]
Leo Zappa
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Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
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Currently, we've completed turns 1-3, and will pick up the game on turn 4 on May 9th. My first play of an SCS game (not counting an incomplete solo effort on Stalingrad Pocket 1st Edition many years ago) and I'm loving it. You know you like a game when you love it even while you are getting your butt handed to you, as I am at the moment!
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12. Board Game: Rise and Decline of the Third Reich [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1440]
Leo Zappa
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Aliquippa
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Just finished setting this up for a three-player Campaign game play, which will commence near the end of May. Prior to that, I will actually play a year or two of the game solo, just to knock the rust off (haven't played in a couple of years, and that was a solo play. Haven't played this against another human in almost 20 years!!!)
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13. Board Game: Storm over Arnhem [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1592]
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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My games with
Judd Vance
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and

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Victoria
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That's Karl on the left. Eternity on the right.
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I love Melissa, but don't tell her. It's a secret if she can find this. Shhhhh....
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continue.
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14. Board Game: Storm over Arnhem [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1592]
Judd Vance
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Kansas
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Maybe I do have too many games going on at once...nah!!! I almost forgot the epic struggle that Pete and I have been fighting.

Great game! My paratroopers are tough, but are getting backed up into a corner. He tried to set some building on fire, but the roll failed. I immediately thought of Bugs Bunny blowing out a match. I don't know why, but it makes me chuckle every time.
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15. Board Game: Stonewall in the Valley [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:2570]
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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N/A

and I are into the 2nd turn of the 1st scenario.
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16. Board Game: DAK2 [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:2326]
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Still cranking on the 2nd Play of a campaign. June 41 sees the Allies in dire straights again.
Lots of AAR and video content on the blog.
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17. Board Game: Afrika (second edition) [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:1996]
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Play via Vassal, stuck on Turn 7, neither of us sure what the problem is. Not much action to date. Niether party has attacked...doah.

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18. Board Game: 1806: Rossbach Avenged [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:6530]
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Turn : 13th of October - The French sweep all before them but may still come up short on VP's.
Time will tell!


The Prussians have a plan however!
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19. Board Game: C.V. [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:5892]
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Doing this as a play by poll. Where you are able to vote on Strategy and Tactics via poll on the Blog and via PBEM forum on BGG.

Just getting started, lots of fun!




hmm no image? WTHeck
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20. Board Game: Field Commander: Alexander [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:1890]
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Just set this up. Looking for something light to play... Lately tho solo games have not been cool.

I'm hoping this will scratch the itch.

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21. Board Game: Tide of Iron: Stalingrad [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked]
bill jaffe
United States
Oakland
California
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play testing the new Stailngrad Expansion's scenarios

Bill Jaffe
1A Games
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22. Board Game: Bastogne: Screaming Eagles under Siege [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:2320]
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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Played 3 turns tonite with Steve Arthur had a blast. This game takes a while per player for turns, but combat and arty is nice and fast and it is indeed simple to play!
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23. Board Game: The Civil War [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:935]
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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My game with
Joe Moles
United States
Idaho Springs
Colorado
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has entered turn 4 with Van Dorn capturing St Louis and the Army of the Potomac led by Halleck ravaging Virginia.
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24. Board Game: The Korean War [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:2202]
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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About to start the 1st scenario with
Rui Serrabulho
Portugal
Lisboa
Lisboa
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You have to, at least from a distance, look as if you know what you're doing, and I can manage that.
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Have wanted to play this for a while so excited to be starting this. Two novices meeting on the 38th parallel.
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25. Board Game: Normandy '44 [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:1238]
Daniel Axe / "daxelos"
Germany
Hamburg
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Still on the table. We are playing with 3 players with divided Allied command. As it is very difficult to manage the schedule of the 3 of us the game is moving along rather slowly. But great fun if and when we manage to get together! I as the Germans have a real difficult time to decide with how much strength to defend Caen and how to slow the American advance which is gaining ground much faster,
My fabulous gaming buddies are
Berta B.
Germany
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and
andre Heller
Germany
Hamburg
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