Over the Hills and Far Away - 2018 WBC AAR
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
83 
 Thumb up
8.36
 tip
 Hide
I had a lonely drive out to Seven Springs this year as Dutch, my faithful travel companion, was waylaid by family obligations. By the power of caffeine and heavy metal I managed to stay mostly awake, arriving intact mid-afternoon on Saturday.

Familiar faces
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: WBC2018 [+] [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
1. Board Game: Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere [Average Rating:8.40 Unranked]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I bumped into Bob Heinzmann almost immediately so after a catch-up chat I offered to teach him GEACPS. First up, Bob took the Japanese. He bounced off Chungking repeatedly as the rest of the Chinese and the Commonwealth flowed onto the board. After three years of failure we called it and switched sides.

Imperialist aggressor

In the second game, I suffered similar failure against Chungking, so I declared war on the Commonwealth in '41. Using the Borneo oil, I headed east and conquered Townsville before turning my attention to China once again. This time I aimed to take Kunming via Rangoon. I captured the latter, but Bob's counterattack kicked me out and he quickly consolidated his position. My losses piled up, putting the game out of reach.

Trying the back door

This continues to be big fun in a small package, and will find a place in MMP's production schedule soon.

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: The Grizzled [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:294]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bob and I were joined by Steve Brooks and Chris "Campoverdi" Greenfield for a little World War I misery. Steve was Felix Moreau, Bob played Gustave Bidau, Campo took Charles Sauliere, and I was Anselme Perrin.

Big little lies

I was the opening commander of our first game and decided we should take four cards apiece. I don't know what possessed me to raise the level of difficulty of an already-difficult game, but needless to say things didn't go well.

We did a little better in our second game, enjoying a glimpse of a possible victory before destiny asserted itself and we found ourselves bleeding out on the wire. This time our biggest enemies were Hard Knocks - they're all bad but the particularly onerous ones straitjacket your options and make it difficult to withdraw. We were hit with multiple variations of these and the war memorial was revealed quickly thereafter.

"All my choices suck"

We discovered afterwards we handicapped ourselves by starting without our lucky charms, which might have made a difference in the second game. Regardless, this remains a challenging title that calls us back again and again despite our continued failure.

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: DiceAFARI [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:12820]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Campo departed, but was replaced by Bill Edwards as Bob introduced us to DiceAFARI. This is a little dice placement/set collection game with a wildlife photography theme. The board is composed of a random setup of tiles, each of which represents a particular kind of terrain (jungle, savannah, etc). The faces of the dice correspond to the terrain types.

Your turn consists of a press-your-luck style roll - one die represents the number of tiles you may occupy, while the rest define the types you can choose. You then deploy your dice in an attempt to flank chits that represent various critters such as lions and giraffes. The chits are on the borders between tiles - you can only claim one on your turn but if you are on both sides of any unclaimed chits at game end, you get to claim them too. However, other players can boot your dice off the board in favor of their own.

Bill loads his camera

The game flew by and I was looking good with a shot at getting one of each animal chit, the highest scoring set. I had to depart after my final turn so I missed the endgame. Apparently Bob did quite well on his own final turn, disrupting my position to deny me the multi-set. However, Bill had an even better last turn, and surged into the lead to claim the win.

Sadly, Bob was called away mid-week for a work-related crisis and Bill departed due to health issues, so this was the last game of the con I shared with this pair of old friends.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:461]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I rushed off from DiceAFARI to catch the first heat of Medici, a game of which I have many fond memories, none of which include how to actually play. Fortunately former champ Susan Cornett was at our table, and quickly got me up to speed. We were joined by Rob Murray, François de Bellfeuille, and Brandon Bernard.

The game opened with some so-so cards but then a pair of great Dye cards appeared. I dropped a big bid and captured the set but was at the back of the pack for the rest of the day. However, the flow was favorable and I was able to close out my ship with more high-value lots and scored the highest total for the day. The resulting bonus gave me a lot of breathing room in the rounds to come.

A tough bid

By game end I was able to top out the Dye track, and did well in a couple other commodities. I didn't manage to score the top ship again, but did collect a few florins for my ship total the succeeding two days. I was fortunate in that no one else topped out a commodity pyramid. As a result, I edged Susan 98-90, with Rob, François, and Brandon tightly grouped at 72/66/65.

Winning the heat was enough to advance, but unfortunately the next round conflicted with another event. This was my only game of Medici for the week, but the refresher rekindled my interest and I will try to reintroduce it to our local crew.

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:137]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I closed out Saturday night by jumping into a well-timed heat of Ra with Nicole Bosca, Tina DelCaprio, Jacob Wagner, and Curt Collins.

In the opening epoch I took the lead in pharaohs and started building a monument variety pack. Nicole and Tina showed good sun discipline, and were the sole remaining players with four empty slots. Their reward? Four straight Ra tiles.

Nice haul but not enough

In the second epoch, Curt snuck past me in the pharaoh race while I continued to collect monuments. Nicole again held last position, this time with three open slots, and was again jammed! With Nicole, Tina, and Jacob all seeing some poor luck, it was a two-person race going into the final epoch.

I gave up trying to catch Curt for the pharaoh crown, a fruitless pursuit at this point. Instead I worked to flesh out my monument park, and hoped to snag three Civ tiles. I did well with the former but failed on the latter. Also, Tina thwarted my hopes of winning the sun total at game end. As a result, Curt took first place with 47 points to my 40, while Jacob captured third at 25. Good game, with Curt's tenacious defense of his pharaoh lead proving decisive.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: A Victory Awaits: Operation Barbarossa 1941 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sunday morning I paired up with Nick Richardson to playtest the full three-map campaign game of this upcoming beast from MMP. This package combines Tetsuya Nakamura's three Fierce Fight! Barbarossa games (Smolensk Blitzkrieg, Leningrad Blitzkrieg, and Kiev Blitzkrieg), originally published by Game Journal.

Dr. Nick puts on his panzer pants

The basic chassis is a straightforward operational wargame system using chit pulls for activation (much the same as A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943 and A Victory Denied: Crisis at Smolensk, July-September, 1941). The chits represent HQs, which can activate any combat unit within range, regardless of formation. ZOCs are semi-permeable - you pay to both enter and leave. Exfiltrating from a dicey situation is near impossible for the slow Soviet rifle formations, but merely difficult for their German counterparts and mechanized troops. The CRT is pretty bloody and dangerous for the attacker up to 4:1 or so. Given the mobility of the forces and the ability to infiltrate ZOCs, the attacker can usually bring a lot of weight to bear in a critical situation. With that in mind a defender (almost always the Reds) must pick his line carefully to make the most of terrain bonuses and keep his flanks anchored.

PzG 3 makes life difficult for 11th Army

Nick took the Germans to my Red Army. The Wehrmacht PanzerArmees get a bonus combat phase before kicking things off in earnest. All of the German activation chits save Army Group South are available on the first turn, including the Manstein and Guderian chits, which are held aside and used to pre-empt any given chit. My Soviets, on the other hand, had limited activations, with only the frontier military districts able to respond to the dawn of Barbarossa.

No prospect of relief

Nick opened by pressing hard on either flank of the Bialystock salient, battling across several river lines and bagging hordes of Soviet rifle divisions in the process. I fell back as fast as I could while maintaining some semblance of a line. The poor lads in in the Bialystock Pocket were doomed, however. Whenever I pulled their chits, Nick stepped in with Mainstein (PanzerGruppe 4) or Guderian (PanzerGruppe 2) to thwart my plans. The panzer pincers met, cutting off my supply, and 3rd and 10th Armies marched into the permanently eliminated box, never to return. Down south, I exacted vengeance on the weak Romanians, after stripping that front of a few divisions to slow the advance of PanzerGruppe 1. The rest of my activity focused on rushing the troops of the interior military districts forward to stem the feldgrau tide.

Death's heads on the doorstep

Midgame, Nick's spearpoints were starting to look a little lonely as the infantry struggled to keep pace. He was stymied on the Baltic coast as the headquarters of 27th Army made a valiant stand in Riga, withstanding the assault of Totenkopf long enough for reinforcements to arrive to hold the Dvina river line. In the center, Fast Heinz jumped in to prevent me from meeting PzG 2 in the heart of the Pripet Marshes, but I stitched together a strong defense on the eastern edge. Up to this point my net losses had been heavy but now I was receiving over 20 divisions a turn, far outstripping Nick's ability to kill them off. No more pockets, and Nick's own precarious flanks forced him to pull in his horns a bit.

Guderian pushes through the swamp

Victory is determined by VPs, awarded for control of key cities and (for me) inflicting German casualties. With four turns to go Nick needed three more cities. Thanks to the glorious heroes of 27th Army, Leningrad was out of reach, but Minsk and Vitebsk were very much in play, and Gomel and Smolensk were vulnerable. We called it at that point, a tight game that could go either way.

I like my chances

Our mission was to make sure the separate games cohered as a whole, and to evaluate the Soviet game experience. On the former point, the campaign works well - the scope is huge but the basic systems are very straightforward and the chit pull system keeps both players involved without much downtime. It therefore moves at a very good pace - we played for about six hours and completed two thirds of the game, not bad for a game of this size. On the latter point, I definitely enjoyed the game, but I am partial to playing the Red Army in Barbarossa games. The Soviet player gets his head kicked in for the first three turns, but still has a lot of interesting decisions to make in terms of where to stand, where (and how far) to run, and most importantly, where to commit his reinforcements. As they stream onto the map you must commit yourself to a given axis and reorientation costs time.

Resistance begins to gel

The one thing I missed was the opportunity to make counterattacks, an historical feature of the campaign that is absent from almost every game on the subject. However, at the point we quit I was just getting the forces I needed to start punching back. I expect the last couple turns should see a more even fight on that count, as the Germans stretch to reach their last city and the Reds look to score some points off overaggressive panzer divisions.

Touch and go in the north and center

Overall, this looks to be a successful product. I think some map revisions are in the offing and I'm sure the rules and charts will get reworked, but the game itself is fundamentally sound and good to go. The three individual games will be playable as stand-alones as well, so it should be nicely scalable to your time and space constraints. Looking forward to seeing it published in the months to come.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Time of Crisis [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:944]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
After a bite to eat I met up with Wray Farrell who handed off his ToC kit complete with the upcoming Time of Crisis: The Age of Iron and Rust expansion playtest components. I was joined by Tom Drueding, Gary Phillips, and Dr. Rob.

I started off in control of Pannonia and quickly added Macedonia to my portfolio. I bought mostly military cards so I wasn't in a good position to expand further, so I did what any ambitious Roman of the era would do - I marched on Rome. Parking in the capital, I overwhelmed the Senate with my charm, good looks, and 30,000 legionaries.

Unbridled ambition

As Emperor I steadily built a lead, but found my authority undermined when some sort of witch king appeared in Syria. Dealing with this knucklehead left me weak in the provinces, and I was soon booted from office, with Tom assuming the throne.

We were approaching the endgame, but Tom wasn't close to the point total needed to close things out. I was within shouting distance if I could retake the capital. However, Rob was up, and as last player he had a chance to end the game with no recourse from the rest of us. He thought he had no shot at becoming Emperor, but finally figured it out thanks to some sportsmanlike hints. The good theologian ascended to the throne for his one and only turn, scoring enough points to close out the game with a victory.

Hail, Rob!

We all enjoyed it, though we spent a couple turns relearning how to play before we could focus on the new cards. These are pretty nifty, adding interesting actions which expand your options without adding too much chaos. For me at least they certainly enhanced the game experience. Well done, Wray!
25 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:155]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gary joined me for a little Glory to Rome along with Pete Stein, Marty Sample, and Jeff Coyle. Pete, never afraid of a dick move, opened with Catacomb. That set the tone for a mad scramble with everyone playing buildings that let you construct marble on top of silly putty or triple-craft whenever anyone took a sip of beer. It came down to whoever could stuff their vault with interesting commodities. I managed to stow a shoelace and a day-old croissant, but Marty did much better, scoring 16 points to edge Gary at 15. Pete, Jeff, and I closed out the field with 12, 11, and 10 points respectively.

That's so Pete
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:4]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I finished the evening with Terraforming Mars, rounding out a table with Andy and Danny Lewis, Bryan Collars, and Gary. I chose the Thorgate Corporation, and quickly constructed a monster power/heat machine. I drafted a slew of energy cards and followed those with cards that upped my heat production as well. I was jacking the surface temperature every turn and ramping my TM rating.

I assembled a blazing white-hot thing of beauty. I was unstoppable. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Danny playing some big cards, and Andy looked kinda busy. When Campo briefly took over Andy's seat I heard him mutter "Wow", but I was too busy adding centrifugal governors, massive flywheels, and oscillating cylinders to my magnificent beast. How do you improve on perfection? I'm not sure, but I managed to do so every turn.

High voltage rock 'n roll

Eventually the riffraff filled the last pond on Mars, and I impatiently awaited my coronation. We tallied it up and I finished fifth. Out of five. Danny took the win with 66, with Andy at 60. Bryan was in third with 54, while Gary edged me 52 to 51. In a gesture to our long-standing friendship, he limited himself to just one chorus of his personal victory anthem, You're A Loser.

I love this game but often succumb to the hypnotic allure of engine-building, ignoring the context of what is going on around me. Danny's key to victory was Jovian tags - he had two of the 2x scoring cards and made good use of them. Maybe I should've forgone a couple cheapo energy cards and hate-drafted some of the big VP cards into the discard pile. Regardless, it was a hoot - fun game and well played.

17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: The Battle of Bushy Run [Average Rating:6.17 Unranked]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
After a late night of gaming I switched on the TV to unwind and discovered something called Battlefield Pennsylvania on what looked like a public access channel. This is a series of 20-45 minute programs on various conflicts around the state. The host, a youngish historian, interviews a couple experts on the episode's topic. These experts might be park rangers at the site of the action, academics, or authors with a book on the subject.

I always thought this was an Ohio battle

The range of actions covered is quite diverse - several aspects of Gettysburg are covered, as you'd expect, but also labor battles, skirmishes from the French and Indian War, and the Battle of Lake Erie (my favorite of what I saw, with a great subject matter expert). The channel seemed to be running a marathon all week, and it was nice treat at the end of a long day of rolling dice.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Air & Armor [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:4226]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sunday morning I met Jeff for our annual game. This year we went with Air & Armor, opting for the advanced rules since life's too short for half measures. We chose the first advanced scenario, The Wolf's Jaws. A Soviet Guards Motor Rifle Division is in over its head, enveloped by a couple US mechanized brigades and some Bundeswehr panzergrenadiers. The NATO forces must crush the MRD before another Guards MRD can ride to the rescue; a West German panzer brigade also shows up to lend a hand.

Novy Sovetsky Chelovek

A die roll gave Jeff the Reds to my NATO. He set up 39th Guards in an all-around defense centered on Arnstein, with his artillery in the core and the divisional tank battalion ready to react. He placed his forward units as best he could to force me to approach through open terrain. I set up most of 35th Panzergrenadier to hit the northern flank of 39th Guards, with a small detachment and some dummies moving to meet 57th Guards as it entered. The US 2nd Brigade was slated to do the heavy hitting versus the 39th, while 1st Brigade monitored the 39th's eastern flank and watched the Main crossings for a possible deep penetration by the 57th. We each scored points for killing enemy steps but Jeff also tallied VPs if he could press far enough south. As an added measure, I blew all the bridges on the Main east of Schweinfurt, as well as every span in the northwest quadrant of the map.

Circling the wagons

I opened with the panzergrenadiers beating up on some motor rifle troops with the aid of divisional artillery and some Tornados - the latter lost half their strength as they rolled in but the ground pounders succeeded nonetheless. 2nd Brigade had less luck, as Jeff's T80s gave my M1s a bloody beating despite an Apache strike and copious artillery support. 1st Brigade spread out a bit from its initial deployment, edging toward the 39th while casting an eye north toward Jeff's entering forces.

*Still* the Washington Generals of the History Channel

57th Guards Motor Rifle Division ignored the pleas of its comrades and drove for the Main instead. Blown bridges would be a minor inconvenience for the dedicated engineers of the Red Army, and Jeff choppered in 207th Airmobile Battalion to secure the far bank. Unfortunately the 39th was proving to be no tomato can, so I couldn't spare much of 1st Brigade to contest a crossing. The brigade's attached engineers and a single step of mech infantry headed east to try to slow things down until 36th Panzer could come up to greet the 57th.

Warthogs catch some T72s in the open

Midgame, NATO was sweating. 35th Panzergrenadier was doing well but the US 2nd Brigade was taking a beating. My armor was out in the open, a huge no-no in A&A. Jeff was ripping me with Hinds, Frogfoots, and artillery, and only his crap dice were saving my Abrams from annihilation. A fortuitous initiative roll bailed me out, however, and I used an Apache strike and some electronic warfare shenanigans to persuade the T80s to relocate.

Abrams scramble for cover

By now 57th Guards had reached the Main. However, the bridge sites were flanked by open terrain. I had used up my scenario-granted air strikes, but could summon more at the price of one VP apiece. It proved to be a bargain as smoking BMPs and T72s soon marked the right bank of the Main. On the southern side, my engineers and a handful of 11 Bravos eradicated some of the dopes on ropes while the Leopards of 36th Panzer dealt with the rest.

Countering the coup de main

Stymied at the blown bridges, Jeff still had a shot at my underprotected artillery and HQ elements hiding in Schweinfurt. He rolled up with some infantry, and I foolishly countered with armor. Unfortunately, armor isn't patricularly effective in built up terrain, and I just handed Jeff a small stack of VPs. However, a mixed bag of 35th and 36th Brigade panzergrenadiers arrived in time to stabilize the situation.

A desperate bid for Schweinfurt

With 57th Guards halted for now, I turned my attention to the 39th. 2nd Brigade was close to shattered but 1st Brigade still had some punch and 36th Panzer could lend a hand. After some effective air strikes, successive assaults by US and West German troops overwhelmed the crust of the 39th's defense, and overran the divisional HQ and artillery formations. That was enough to push the game out of reach for the Warsaw Pact, so Jeff threw in the towel.

The noose tightens

We had a blast with this, though there were a lot of "Wait, what?" moments in the early going. Once we found our legs, we made good time. The interactive nature of the turn sequence keeps things interesting for both sides. The advanced game adds a lot of options with associated rules overhead, but I think the payoff is worth the extra reading. The engineers are no trouble at all, and the EW element is simple in execution if a bit hit-or-miss in effect. Jeff slowed some of my assaults with maneuver jamming and I cut off his defensive artillery support with jamming of my own. However, it's the air element that completes the game, true to the title. It's not a sure thing by any means, and careful deployment can throw up a curtain of flak to discourage effective close in support. Still, the mere threat of airstrikes shapes your every move, as you stay in the trees and eschew otherwise ideal routes for fear of a Sukhoi dropping out of the sun.

We reach the rich, nougaty center

I've played this twice over the course of a couple months, and with the rules settled in my mind, I look forward to playing more in the summer and fall. Despite its age, the game has a surprisingly modern feel. The only knocks are inefficient charts and unit ID fonts designed for much younger eyeballs. That's a small price for a highly interactive and engrossing look at a war that never was.

15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: The Last Hundred Yards [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mike Denson spent the week demoing The Last Hundred Yards, his WWII tactical combat game, so Jeff and I stopped by to give it a spin. He introduced it with Black Cat Blues, which saw Jeff's mixed force of GIs and Shermans trying to push my German infantry out of a small town. He had four Sherman platoons to my one Panther formation, but I had the advantage of terrain and the defense.

Mike offers some opening tips

The basic bones of the system include an alternating activation cycle, ranged combat (your modified firepower generates a DRM for the target's armor/cohesion check), concealment, reaction movement (limited but potentially very effective), and heavy weapons support (primarily mortars). The side with initiative kicks things off by activating a formation. The defender may react directly to this activation or choose to sit tight and enjoy full movement in his own impulse. This goes back and forth until every formation has had a go. I only had one formation so the interleaved aspect wasn't really illustrated, but I did make good use of the reaction component.

US mortars find the range

I should mention one more interesting facet - the passage of time is semi-random, with a die roll at the end of each turn determining how many minutes have passed. The attacker must achieve his victory conditions within a certain span of time. The casualty differential will push this one way or the other. I think it's a nifty idea and a nice way to address the artificially bounded nature of most tactical games.

Jeff opened his attack by peppering my center with his supporting MGs before advancing with an infantry company, with the Shermans in support. I think I may have revealed myself a bit early but I was anxious to hit his dogfaces while they were moving in the open. I got my licks in but his follow-up company shredded my now-discovered defenders. He ultimately closed to eliminate a couple platoons in close combat while I built a line in the village itself.

The Hauptmann begins to lose his nerve

As the Americans closed on the town, my Panthers got to work. They killed one platoon of Shermans as the rest scurried to the far side of the board. I then called down mortar fire on GIs trying to finish off my defense in the center of town - the mortars proved devastating, killing a couple units and breaking the rest. On my left, Jeff pushed forward only to be met by the redeployed Panther platoon and a highly accurate panzerschreck team.

We called it at this point - atrocious (from my perspective) time rolls slowed the clock in the early going but things were starting to move now. Also, the casualty ticker had moved in my favor, so Jeff was feeling some pressure. However, he only needed a couple more building hexes to fulfill his objective. I think we would've wrapped it up in another 45 minutes or so but we were already baked from a full day of Air & Armor.

Awaiting the next push

I think this is an interesting game with some fresh ideas. I'm not in love with the action/reaction cycle but I like the combat resolution system and the general idea of formation integrity. Also, Mike deliberately emphasizes the killing power of mortars and their potentially decisive impact on small unit actions. This jibes with my own reading and I think it is well-illustrated here. Jeff isn't quite on board with this aspect but he's still searching the underbrush for dogtags as I type. The Last Hundred Yards doesn't offer the same ol'/same ol' you've seen at this scale in the past, so if you're in the market for a new approach, check it out.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Holland '44: Operation Market-Garden [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:2551]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tuesday dawned with another annual matchup, this time with Gary. This year's battlefield would be Holland '44: Operation Market-Garden, with Gary taking the Allies to my Germans. I've played this twice now, and my second playing came down to a Determined Defense die roll on the last turn of the game. I was hooked, and happy to play it again when it popped up as one of Gary's suggestions.

Monty aims for Arnhem

My game plan consisted of snatching some decent troops from the maw of the Blood God of XXX Corps, harassing the Allied flanks, grinding 1AB to dust, and muttering "please rain please rain please rain" just under my breath. I wasn't putting much faith in my demolition engineers - the bridge rolls are always fickle and bound to break your heart at some point.

A good start for the Red Devils

Gary opted for a conventional drop with few surprises. I couldn't keep him out of Arnhem (an artifact of the setup) and was sad to see the Arnhem rail bridge remain standing (the road bridge cannot be blown by special rule). Elsewhere, the Maas bridges remained unscathed as did one over the Maas-Waal Canal, and the Zuid-Willems Canal crossings were also intact. My bitterness was barely contained, but then all three of the central road bridges over the Wilhelmina Canal blew up in Gary's face. I admit it, I cackled.

Slowing the beast

Down south, the Vandeleur boys headed up the highway and pasted the first company of Fallschirmjägers unfortunate enough to be in their path. Gary's breakthrough combat roll wasn't as successful (H'44 allows followup attacks after particularly good outcomes) and the Irish Guards were already a little off schedule. On their flanks, infantry widened the shoulders and worked to open secondary routes.

They didn't sign up for this

In return, I skedaddled my own infantry west of the highway off the map into Zone A, while the troops on the eastern shoulder continued to hold the canal line. In the center, I paired an unenthusiastic company of Fallschirmjägers with some StuGs south of Eindhoven and hoped for the best.

The 406th struggles to make progress

On turns two and three, I failed to make much of a dent in the Red Devils, and the 406th ID hit the Groesbeek Heights like a loosely-packed snowball. However, Guards Armoured fell further behind schedule as my stubborn paras and assault guns survived well past their expiration date.

Gary puts in an order for hash browns at the Son Waffle House

The Guards could only watch as the Screaming Eagles were battered by a fierce assault from the western map edge. By turn five, my Germans were battling 101AB for the highway itself as XXX Corps bridging engineers struggled to span the Wilhelmina.

Hellish

On 19 September my rain dance finally paid off, with a full overcast blanketing Holland in both the morning and afternoon. This denied Gary the last of his airborne reinforcements, and just as important, kept his pack howitzers from getting resupplied. I couldn't slow the relentless grind of XXX Corps, but I made good progress reducing the Red Devils and finally put some heat on 82AB as well.

Target of opportunity

British armor helped the Screaming Eagles clear the highway around St. Oedenrode, but I stymied the right flank of the ground advance with heroic stands at Helmond and Asten. 11th Armoured and 3ID massed to cross the eastern branch of the Zuid-Willem Canal, as a steady stream of fresh German battalions replaced the heavy losses inflicted with each Allied attack. I scored a major psychological victory when a battalion of the 1035 Infantry Regiment snuck onto the map to kill the Northumbrian divisional artillery.

Waaled off

On the morning of 20 September, I split the 1st Airborne lodgment in two and starting killing Red Devils in earnest. The Poles landed south of the river but I had enough troops on the Island to keep them from interfering with the destruction of their comrades. The 82nd, on the doorstep of Nijmegen, was opposed by a full garrison of SS with reserves just north of the Waal. Gary was across the Wilhelmina in force and heading north of the Zuid-Willem, but now faced the mighty 107 Panzer on his western flank. Still, he pressed on for the Waal.

No time for tea

On turn 11, Shermans of the Coldstream Guards pushed up the highway and hit the unknown garrison of Uden, which turned out to be a highly motivated battery of 88s. With the death of the Coldstreamers, Gary threw in the towel. He was well behind the timetable, and the battle for Nijmegen would be challenging before he could attempt to relieve the Red Devils. XXX Corps was finally picking up the pace, but a little too late in the game.

Dying with their boots on

We both enjoyed the game, with its options for maneuver, attack, and defense for both sides. Gary's fate stemmed from a cascade of 'for want of a nail' events - the stand of my StuGs at Eindhoven, the blown bridges around Son, and some ill-timed retreats by the otherwise stalwart Red Devils. The Allies have the tools to succeed but a few early disruptions can ripple through the succeeding turns to create compound difficulties in the endgame. I love the asymmetry of the sides - I'm happy to play either but each demands a particular mindset. I'm a fan of Mark's games in general but I put this one several notches above its cousins Ardennes '44 and Normandy '44. I feel it effectively evokes the campaign with a very light touch of chrome - there is a host of special rules, but they are generally intuitive and don't get in the way of decision-making. The complete campaign can be completed in a long day, and the short scenario (11 turns, maybe?) should be under six hours. This was my favorite new wargame of 2017 and remains high on my overall list. Check it out!

22 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:106]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I blocked off Wednesday for the Combat Commander tournament, ably run by Bryan Collars. This year's scenarios had us scrambling around the foothills of Italy. I paired up with Stan Myszak for the first round. We had three scenarios to choose from, and we picked Rolling With the Punches, which saw Stan's Germans on the attack against my Free French.

I had a single good leader, a heavy machine gun, and an 81mm mortar, and a mix of Legionnaires and Chausseurs. That was all pretty sweet but with just the one leader I was forced to concentrate my forces in the only cover on my side of the board - a couple buildings ringed by fences. I risked conceding my right flank, a grain field screened by orchards. I suspected Stan would use that as an exit highway, but was hoping my HMG paired with the leader could generate enough firepower to slow his VP conveyer belt.

Tough troops in a tight spot

Sure enough, Stan set up about a third of his force to exit, and used the rest to build a firebase in the buildings on his side of the map. He had a big mortar as well, and it spent the early turns sending smoke rounds into an unknown parallel universe. My own shooting wasn't much better, as his exit group made its way across the board without much interference.

Midgame, Stan started landing smoke rounds, but I began landing some shots of my own, double-breaking some units. We were about even on points as we pushed toward the first time check. However, I then pulled a reinforcement and suddenly had some 155mm artillery on call. The game became a race between Stan's exiting platoon and my effort to kill Germans with heavy duty firepower.

Stan prepares another mortar round for an unknown destination

I had insane luck with the artillery - you're usually lucky to score with a couple concentrations over the course of the game but I hit home four times, twice hitting multiple hexes. The ultimate insult was generating a large drift followed by snake-eyes, which proved more accurate that a small drift would've been. The German body count began to mount, as did my VPs - still low, but on my side of the ledger. After a couple tense time checks and an exchange of the initiative, the game finally ended with a one-point French victory.

Stan and I have always had tight games, and this was the tightest - it was a mentally exhausting game but a hoot for both of us. I'm sure Stan will get a chance for payback next summer.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:106]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Next up, I faced Mark Yoshikawa in Roll Bones, with his Germans facing my British in a battle for a small town. The setup had a twist - we each divided our forces into three groups, and alternated setting up one group at a time. I created two groups with one unit each, and put the rest in my third group, which I placed last after I'd seen Mark's setup. I'm not sure if that was the intent, but it seemed like the best approach.

Italian abattoir

We started off just a couple hexes from each other, ideal conditions for a knock-down drag-out fight. I advanced my best leader with a team and a squad and eradicated a German squad in melee. Yoshi retaliated in kind, eliminating my whole group. The red mist descended, and it was on like Donkey Kong.

"My kingdom for an Ambush card!"

Mark spent the rest of the game stuffing my head in the toilet while I was busy punching him in the nuts. Casualties piled up in a relentless cycle of Fire/Recover/Advance/Ambush. The game would be decided by the surrender threshold well before a time trigger came into play. I was lucky enough to land the final blow, thanks to drawing a pair of ambush cards to fill my hand after a full discard. The resulting melee pushed Yoshi over the limit, and I staggered away with a memorable, blood-spattered victory.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:106]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
After Mark, I was paired with Jordan Kehrer. We ended up playing Roll Bones due to the vagaries of the selection process, and this time I had the Germans. I used the same setup technique as before but I don't think it really mattered as the nature of the board naturally shapes each side's deployment.

"What's my discard limit again?"

Jordan landed some light blows early, but I was able to seize the objectives in the initial no man's land. Jordan approached with most of his force but I hit a hot streak of fortification cards, including wire, mines, and a bunker which I plopped on the fat VP objective. He fell back, and we traded fire for a few turns as Jordan cycled cards in order to assemble a solid attacking hand. In the meantime, time checks flew by, and I acquired an OBA radio along with a heavy infantry gun which appeared in the center of my defense, perfectly sited to guard the two objectives in contention.

Behind on VPs and under time pressure, Jordan advanced into melee, overstacking with an extra squad for good measure. Unfortunately, I had a couple ambush cards, and pulled a good card for resolution. The resulting casualties put the game out of reach for Jordan. I breathed a sigh of relief with a victory in a game that was far closer than the situation indicated. If Jordan had succeeded with that last attack, it would've been a sixteen point VP swing, leaving him in a dominant position. Earlier in the tourney Jordan overcame a 25 VP deficit to pull out a win, so he knows no game is ever completely out of reach.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:106]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In my fourth and final round I faced another Canadian, Alain Belisle, in Rolling With the Punches. This time I had the Germans against Alain's Free French. This one was all about the cards. My mortar landed smoke early and often, and my exiting group scampered to the far board edge. Alain hit me with a couple mine cards on each of my exit hexes, but I was still able to slip off for some healthy VPs. It only went downhill from there for the French.

Imperturbable

My initial troops were giving Alain a lot of grief as he feverishly cycled his hand in search of Recover cards. Then the real trouble started - over the course of about half a deck, I picked up a second HMG, a heavy infantry gun, a hero, and some artillery. It was an absurd amount of firepower in a game that was already trending my way luck-wise. Somehow Alain remained cheerful throughout, playing a solid game as I landed blow after blow. After a rash of double breaks, he hit his surrender limit for a merciful conclusion. Cheers to Alain - he's a strong player utterly betrayed by the decks. I enjoyed his company, and look forward to another match on more even terms.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
18. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:652]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I met up with Dr. Rob, Campoverdi, and Greg Schmittgens for one our annual late night silly games, Can't Stop. This was surprisingly competitive, with everyone but Campo closing two tracks. Suddenly it got a little cagey with cautious advances by everyone except Campo. We were all within striking distance when I had a solid run of dice, finishing out 3, 7, and 10 for the win.

Like so many before him, he could not stop
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
19. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:652]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I advanced to face Eli Sotirakos, Megan Mossman, and Gregory Zavacky. Eli is a relative local, making his way out from Pittsburgh. I met several gamers from Pittsburgh over the course of the week, many of whom only started coming to DonCon after the move to Seven Springs.

Campo initiates a Monte Carlo simulation on a remote server while Megan eagerly awaits the results

This was not nearly as competitive as our first game. I flamed out on a deep run with the Holy Trinity, and ended up only closing snake eyes. Eli and Megan were completely shut out as Eli advanced to the next round with 8, 9, and 10.


4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
20. Board Game: Let's Go Hiking [Average Rating:5.30 Unranked]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I bumped into Jeff as he returned from a hike and decided to give it a go myself. There's a nice five klick loop up over the top of the mountain and back - other than a 200-300 meter stretch of challenging grade, it's a pretty mellow jaunt. I made the loop alone and with others, and found it a great way to start the day. I'll try to make this a part of my regular routine next year.

From the top

12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
21. Board Game: B-17: Queen of the Skies [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1245]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
After years of observing this event from afar and even attending the after-action meeting, Campoverdi and I decided to finally enlist with 8th Air Force and take a crack at the Hun ourselves.

Our bombing group consisted of Campo and myself, along with Scott Nerney, Caley Roarke, John Shaheen, and John Welage. Though complete rookies, we had veterans Larry Sisson and Joe Chacon to our immediate left, and they helped us get our wheels off the ground. I christened my brand-new Flying Fortress Thirty Seconds Over Your Mom and prepared to take the war to the bad guys.

Our comrades

The event was comprised of three missions, drawn from historical raids. This year's theme was Big Week, February 1944. 8th Air Force hoped to break the back of the Luftwaffe with multiple 1000 plane raids. Our first mission was a challenging long haul that warned of things to come - we were to fly deep into Hitler's Europe, all the way to Poland, to strike a a Focke-Wulf plant.

Campo and I were hammered on the way in as Bf 110s augmented the usual swarms of 109s and FW 190s. We both dropped our payloads somewhere over Poland (probably) but nowhere near the target. Walking hits devastated our crews - one fighter killed both Campo's pilot and copilot, forcing his radio operator to man the controls. A similar bit of luck left my engineer in command of my aircraft.

Campoverdi straps in for the second mission

Somehow we both made it back to England. With a seriously wounded waist gunner, jammed elevators, no tail wheel, and about 10% of my rudder remaining, my chance of a successful landing were nil. Therefore, my engineer circled the airfield as the rest of the crew bailed before he attempted to bring her home. Needing boxcars to survive, I rolled a five, earning my engineer the DFC, small consolation for the smoking crater at the end of the runway. Campo's Fort suffered a similar fate.

On our second mission, we flew all the way to Oschersleben, Germany, to hit another aircraft plant. Flak took out Campo on the way in, but I was able to drop my bombs, again off target. However, I took heavy damage from Ju 88s as I entered the target zone and on the homeward leg flak separated my port wing from the fuselage. No parachutes were seen as Fun City rolled into a slow cartwheel toward the Saxon countryside.

Piece of cake

Last up, we hit the plants at Schweinfurt, the scene of legendary air battles the previous year. We saw flak early and often, and swarms of fighters over the target. I didn't have to worry about the latter, however, as a flak shell burst inside the fuselage of Fool Me Twice, separating the tail. Somehow my pilot and a waist gunner managed to bail out successfully, to watch from afar as Campo scored the only on-target run by our group all day.

All told, our group suffered the loss of nine aircraft in eighteen sorties, a horrific rate that was matched or exceeded by several formations in the historical actions. I found the atmosphere and camaraderie great fun, but the process itself was a bit of a slog. All three missions were meat grinders, and even veterans of the event were a little shell-shocked. At least we finished in a reasonable amount of time - some folks were there for twelve hours and others simply didn't complete all three missions. It was a fun event - I'm glad I participated and I get to tick a box on my DonCon bucket list, but I'm not sure I'll be back.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
22. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:106]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My 4-0 record earned me a slot in the Thursday morning semi-final against Larry Sisson. Larry is a perennially strong player and I was shocked to learn this was the first time he'd advanced despite several 3-1 finishes. Bryan told us to fire up a game using the Random Scenario Generator (RSG). The cards gave us a Romanian/ANZAC matchup - I had the Aussies.

All downhill from here

The point total was slightly in my favor, putting Larry on the defense. The choice was obvious, since I made a boneheaded move when I selected the map. I was looking for something symmetric, but rectangular symmetry works two ways. I was focused on the long board edge, and selected a map that had a town on one flank and open fields on the other. The orientation die roll, however, let Larry pick one of the short sides. Shockingly, he picked the town. I found myself standing in a wheat field assaulting a surprisingly well armed pack of determined Romanians sitting in good cover.

Having filled the pot with water and set the burner to high, I graciously stepped in and awaited my fate. Larry had a carefully planned defense with overlapping command zones, good lines of sight, and well positioned heavy weapons. He proceeded to execute a good deck churning strategy, burning through cards at an alarming rate. Meanwhile, I was trying to push triangle-shaped blocks through square-shaped slots.

A worthy champ

Larry was stacking Aussies like cordwood, helped largely by my conventional attack. I'd dug myself a hole before we even flipped a card, and needed to come up with something original to climb out. Instead I stuck to the standard precepts of concentration with an eye on overwhelming the low-morale Romanians. This made Larry's deck-burning a lot more effective. Only in the late game did I finally start to disperse, work the flanks, and make some progress on exit VPs. By that time the game was well out of reach. One of my two consolations was finally killing a Romanian weapons team. My second consolation was losing to a great player and a real gentleman. Larry went on to take the overall title, knocking off another strong player, Jeff Spaner. I walked away with the third place plaque and a couple lessons in gameplay and sportsmanship.

18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
23. Board Game: Atlantic Storm [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:3282]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Scheduling conflicts have kept me out of the Atlantic Euchre event for years, so I was pleased to see the last heat pop up just when I had some free time. I was joined by Stephen Shedden, Eric Stranger, Jim Kramer, and Paul Risner.

Stephen prepares to shed another fistful of garbage

We had an amazing hand in the early going - Eric opened with Rodney, followed by Jim with B-Dienst, allowing him to hold out for last play. Rodney's commitment allowed my Bismarck to sail with confidence. Stephen's eyebrows popped up so he threw in Hood. Jim scanned the table before closing the hand...with Tirpitz. I'd never seen all four big ships out on one hand. I rolled boxcars and considered my options. With only Jim to split the trick, I tossed him the convoy and kept the British battlewagons.

Tasty spoils

After that, it was a surprisingly aggressive game, with a lot of fated cards tossed out on the open or early in a trick. It looked like a tight race given visible convoy points. However, my cache of Royal Navy hardware made me feel like I had the lead, so I did my best to lean against whoever was the current threat to overtake me. It worked out as I took the win with 30 points, followed by Paul at 24 and Jim with 23.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
24. Board Game: Atlantic Storm [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:3282]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My heat win was good for the spot in the semis, where I joined Anna Kiefte, Dacey Collinson, Pete "Stein Flush" Stein, Greg Smith, and Trevor of the increasingly terrifying Schoenen clan.

Pete leapt out to an impressive early lead which I was careful to point out to everyone at our table and one or two adjacent tables, just to be safe. My own game wasn't going too well, with a couple lame convoys showing and two leaky pig boats in the kitty.

Gimme a second, I'm thinking!

With Pete held in check, Dacey, Anna, and Greg all made a strong run through the midgame. We came to the final trick which Dacey won along with Anna, Pete, Greg, and myself. She claimed the fat convoy but was uncertain about how to award the single five point spoil. I made my case as the least threatening of her Kriegsmarine colleagues. Dacey took my measure with a jaundiced eye before tossing me the spoil with only the slightest hint of disdain.

That proved to be the winning move as Dacey won the table with 24 points, with Anna at 23, Pete at 22, and Greg at 19. It was a fun game with a great group, and we were happy to learn Dacey took second overall in the final.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
25. Board Game: B-17: Queen of the Skies [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1245]
J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The B-17 after action briefing is always a nice chance to unwind and hear about the events of the previous day. Keith McFarland and Passaic's Finest provided refreshments while we listened to tales of woe and honor. It was fun to see a big crew dressed up for the formal later that night - they were in fine form and picked up a couple accolades, including a coveted sand plaque. It was a nice coda to a well-run event.

The Chief refuels
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.