Wargames on your table - October 2020
Sam C
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Soli Deo Gloria!
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My September was marked chiefly by the arrival of a new future wargamer. This means that battles involving armor-piercing rounds have mostly been put on hold in favor of battles involving dirty diapers.

However, I still want to hear about your wargaming! Digital or analog, opposed or solo, old-fashioned or new-fangled, it's meet for this list.

Subscribe here to receive notification of the new list each month!

Five shiny Geekgold to the first commenter to identify this October battle!

From gallery of spartax


Wargame links!!!

Vassal Request Thread

Rule Books on Your Table

Wargame Chain of Generosity

European Wargame Chain of Generosity

Pay It Forward For Wargamers Mk 2!

BGG Wargame Flea Market

The Unwanted C3i (and others) Insert Giveaway Geeklist

Wargamers - Fair Trade it Forward

Wargamers Fresh Fair Trade it Forward

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1. Board Game: 1989: Dawn of Freedom [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:600]
Board Game: 1989: Dawn of Freedom
Sam C
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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I have managed a little bit of near-war-gaming, though. I got the reprint of 1989 in the mail and managed to carve out some time for it solo. As an enthusiastic Twilight Struggle player, I'm interested in the changes to the system, particularly the way that scoring cards get removed from play after Democratic victories (or Communist concessions).

My game is just entering Late Year and the Democrats are way ahead in VP, but only E. Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria remain in the deck, and the Communists have substantially better positions in all of them, particularly E. Germany. It probably won't be enough to overcome the Dem's lead, though.
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2. Board Game: Rock of the Marne [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:7472]
Board Game: Rock of the Marne
Tony Kinner
United States
Monclova
Ohio
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Here is my playlist of current and where future videos will appear. Current through turn 2.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqpCbp--vlsFMfvRLUg6A...
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3. Board Game: Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:997]
Board Game: Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection
Tony Kinner
United States
Monclova
Ohio
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Working my way through this game. Playing it as a two-player solo. I am not using the bots. Below is the video playlist on my youtube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqpCbp--vlsEz0glQj59V...
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4. Board Game: Foreign Legion Paratroopers [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Board Game: Foreign Legion Paratroopers
Tim Korchnoi
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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I don't play too many modern wargames, but I have always been a sucker for the French Foreign Legion (no clue why) so when I heard about this game I decided to take a look at it.

This game is a modern era "crisis force" game where you deploy members of the legion to deal with crises such as WMD, warlords, insurgents, etc...

thumbsup Game play is fast (once you grok the rules).
thumbsup There is a lot of tension
thumbsup Replay value is high due to the unknown units of the OPFOR as well as the crisis events table.
thumbsup Six mission maps create great scenarios dealing with modern political issues.
thumbsup Very challenging and tough (I have won only once in 7 games! )
thumbsup Can be played as individual missions or as a campaign game
thumbsup It's about the French Foreign Legion!!!
thumbsup The feel. This is Black Hawk Down the board game.

thumbsdown The rules can be a bit of a slog and take a bit of getting used to.
thumbsdown The game can spiral into insane territory depending on die rolls (right now I have 21 OPFOR units opposing my 6 FFL troopers. Sainte Fumee!)

Verdict: Keeper!

Once you get your head around the rules, this game is a blast. If you have played either Crete 1941: Operation Mercury or Objective Havana: The US Invasion of Cuba, 1962 (OPLAN 316-62) the learning curve is not as steep as there are many structural and procedural similarities.

This game is very close to earning my coveted 3F rating: Fast, Fun, and Furious! Right now, it is easily within the Top Five New to You rankings for 2020.

For some more detail check out my play through video here:
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5. Board Game: Gathering Storm [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:13278] [Average Rating:6.11 Unranked]
Board Game: Gathering Storm
Joe Preiser
United States
Federal Way
Washington
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My last attempt went poorly.
Been reading and rereading the rules again and checking out videos in the GS-AWAW website.
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6. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:154]
Board Game: Paths of Glory
David Martin
United States
GENEVA
Illinois
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From gallery of dmartin1982
Paul's AP fall at the end of Fall, 1915

Paul Namie
United States
Crown Point
IN
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Paul and I concluded our fifth PBEM of Paths. After two games with me as the Allies, we decided to switch things up, so I donned by pickelhaube for this one. We also decided to use the optional cards. Each player was allowed to swap out any or all of them at his discretion, provided card being swapped out was equal or greater value than the card being taken (e.g., you could swap out a 3/4 for a different 3/4 or a 2/2, but not a 4/4).

I had an early success with my Schlieffen Plan, rolling a '6' on my opening attack on the BEF. It would've shattered them if Paul didn't have Withdrawal handy. But even still it put a valuable reduction on them and I chased them all the way into Calais.

The Entrench card didn't get played until the summer of 1915, which in retrospect may have been fatal to the AP. Its absence allowed those German armies to push into France much easier. Paul and I both agreed in a discussion after the game that it behooves the AP to play Entrench as early as possible.

In the end, Paris was nearly surrounded by German armies. It probably would have fallen on the very next turn (Winter, 1916), but I had enough to qualify for the Automatic Victory at that point.

We will be firing up another PBEM later this afternoon. I doubt I'll be as lucky as I was in this one, but I'm excited to see what's in store.
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7. Board Game: Brief Border Wars [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:10105]
Board Game: Brief Border Wars
Piergennaro Federico
Italy
Milano
Unspecified
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We just finished the Football war (Honduras minor victory) and now we have on the table the Third Indochina war
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8. Board Game: Nightfighter Ace: Air Defense Over Germany, 1943-44 [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:4459]
Board Game: Nightfighter Ace: Air Defense Over Germany, 1943-44
Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
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I began another play of Nightfighter since my first of the game I had misinterpreted two rules which would have changed the outcome of the game. When I started I hoped to get a Me 110 type to play but when I rolled I got assigned the Bremen base Grove and they only had a Ju-88 type planes. Instead of rerolling I stuck it out. On Fritz Freiburg's first sortie he was able to shoot down two bombers but on his landing he crashed the plane and received a critical wound which took him out for 8 missions. With only 4 ammo available flying a Ju-88 is like hunting a bear with a muzzle loader got one good shot. Fritz has made a slow climb up to 23 kills as of February 1944. One of those was a lucky kill of a B-17. I have enjoyed Nightfigher so much I would like to get Interceptor Ace and then play the British side getting Target For Tonight.

Hope to be able to play even more games now since I will be retiring at the end of this month.
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9. Board Game: Wing Leader: Eagles 1943-45 [Average Rating:8.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.53 Unranked]
Board Game: Wing Leader: Eagles 1943-45
Marstov
United States
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We're currently playing through the Rabaul campaign. It's very tense; the rules for fatigue of your airgroups really make for some tough decisions.

Nothing is quite as fun as sending the B-25 gunships in at tree top level to deliver a 0.50 cal + parafrag greeting.
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10. Board Game: Polis: Fight for the Hegemony [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:754]
Board Game: Polis: Fight for the Hegemony
This has been my 15th play of Polis. A great game. Playing as Sparta I could buy Gelis and strengthen my position in the south. During the second year, I went crazy expanding and held 8 different polis at the end of the round (including a very lucky last turn siege for Thebai - catching Athena's Proxenos as a bonus).

Athens had hoplites in Messena and was looking forward to besieging Pylos and harvesting the province, which would have been a serious problem for Sparta. Thus I decided to forgo 5 prestige points in order to play first. But Athens replied by also forgoing points to be first.

So we start year 3 with 3 prestige for Athens and 4 prestige for Sparta. The event drawn is "Free trade with Persia". Athens is forced to move their galleys (going down to 2 prestige), thus the siege of Pylos is critical. The dice roll is a 1, the siege fails, Athens has 1 prestige left (albeit having 8 gold), but cannot do more than buying wheat for the rest of the turn, while Sparta can force Athens into land battles (withdrawing not being an option).

The final year just has Sparta solidify the victory. I did not even need to "play until the very end", scoring an easy 41-19 victory.

I love this game. It has a true "sandbox" feeling to it (you can pretty much do anything you like while you have prestige to pay), but still presents a tense tactical grind. Awesome.
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11. Board Game: Iron Curtain: Central Europe, 1945-1989 [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:9889]
Board Game: Iron Curtain: Central Europe, 1945-1989
Kevin Conway
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My copy finally arrived yesterday and the VASSAL module just dropped, so I’ve started up the 1945 Western Allies Offensive on VASSAL while I read the meaty playbook.
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12. Board Game: Thunderbolt Apache Leader [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:975] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
Board Game: Thunderbolt Apache Leader
Iain K
United States
Arvada
Colorado
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Given last month's binge of solitaire titles, especially those by Dan Verrsen Games, it should come as no surprise that I've graduated to one of the more complicated members of the Leader series, Thunderbolt Apache.

After watching several videos, I've begun by playing a 4 day scenario (Israeli Defense with Rapid Deployment) and learning as I go.

I'm learning that I'm really, REALLY hard on aircraft. So much damage. Like all the damage. I'm learning I should probably have purchased four aircraft and not just three (I got 2 Apache's and an A-10), as I don't always have enough pylons worth of ordinance. And I'm learning this is a great solitaire game that I'm going to enjoy playing a lot.

Little things I like ... I like that one starts the game with all the enemy battalions revealed, so you have strategic decisions to make about who you strike and when. I like that damage is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. You know the red ones are worse then the yellow, but the yellow can still create challenges. And I like that bullet holes in an aircraft stress out _the next_ pilot who flies it.

And it's all logical, quick to pick up and smooth flowing ... without being "easily solved."

Unless the solution is "open a salvage yard" I'm not sure I'll ever solve it.

------------------------------------------------------------

4 October

One of the things I’m finding I like about this title is the variety of aircraft, and how they impact tactics play styles. My present campaign has a group of four AH-64D Apaches and two drones (RQ-1). The interplay is a much different experience that a group of A-10s’. The drones are linked to the rotocraft, allowing them to “see” the entire map so that ridges hide them, but no enemies are hidden by ridges.

I suspect this is much different than piloting F-16s across the map at 3 hexes a turn, or circling high in the sky with a C-130 Spectre. Then there’s the Harriers, which combine the hover capability of the rotocraft with the speed (when desired) of the jets.

The only issue I have with an all Apache group is that I find I’m basically using the same munitions each mission and the Apaches don’t have much capacity, so there are some battalions that are simply too big for me to destroy in one mission.

In the current session, I had two pilots linger too long over the battlefield while destroying a battalion (which I really needed to destroy). They both went Bingo 10, and then I rolled two d10 and each was a 1 … they each got 9 stress from the bingo fuel alone! On the upside, my choppers are taking very little damage, as the drone allows them to skulk behind ridges and attacks as Fast pilots.

Note to self, consider equipping fuel tanks.

Interesting stuff.

------------------------------------------------------------

6 October

My exploration of the title continues, and now the fun is really starting.

I've started a new campaign. I was finding that a group consisting only of Apaches was (a) less interesting especially from the standpoint of armament options, and (b) often lacked sufficient "punch" to knock out a battalion.

I'm playing Iran 2014 / General War campaign, and loving it. I spent _all_ my initial SO on aircraft, I wanted the best equipment. So I took two of the most advanced Apaches (AH-64D with Link and +1), the most advanced A-10 ("C" again linked and with +1), a AC-130, a RQ-1 drone (which I call RQ-DQ), and a scout. They've been a really fun group to captain, and after 4 turns the campaign is going very well. Not only did I do OK without a stockpile of SO going into the campaign, I've managed to amass 6 SO. The AC-130 is a big part of this being that it's immune to weight penalties and doesn't need any SO to equip. It simply goes anywhere and hits anything (not in cover). In its first mission, it cleared the board and then circled for three turns waiting for the last two units to leave cover (on a cover roll of 10) ... and they finally did.

The other epiphany I've had is the immense value of fuel tanks. The extra two turns they provide on target can make the difference between a destroyed battalion and a halved one, between 2XP and 3, and most importantly, between a risky attack plan and a more leisurely (and safe) one.

To be clear, the AC-130 mission above didn't benefit from fuel tanks, which it can't equip, but it benefitted from a fantastic scout roll (+3 loiter, -1 stress) and an inboard mission card (of +1 or +2 linger). On another mission, my Apaches and the A-10 had fuel tanks, while the Scout added +4 linger ... yes, this one goes to 11.
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13. Board Game: Iron Curtain: Central Europe, 1945-1989 [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:9889]
Board Game: Iron Curtain: Central Europe, 1945-1989
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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From gallery of mirsik


From gallery of mirsik


I'm about halfway through the 1945: Operation Unthinkable scenario and it's kind of turned into WW1 trench warfare. I'm also including a few shots of the 1983 scenario which I just finished as well. There's a lot of replay value here with the various scenarios, the air system, etc., so that's good. It is an unusual NATO vs. Warsaw Pact game, but I'll save the details for a review as there's too much stuff to get into.

From gallery of mirsik


From gallery of mirsik
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14. Board Game: Baltic Gap: Summer 1944 [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:3532]
Board Game: Baltic Gap: Summer 1944
Randy D
Australia
Sebastopol (Ballarat)
Victoria
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Well, this is currently on my table, but I think I've just played the last turn. The Germans have had enough as the pending "War of Attrition" around Riga seems utterly hopeless.


From gallery of GeneSteeler



Summary – Off to a slow start, the Soviets eventually broke through the German line which overstayed their welcome in USSR. The Soviets then swarmed through the Baltics. The mass amount of Soviet infantry was unstoppable and able to simply pocket and take out all axis forces in their way.

Full AAR here: You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em - Baltic Gap – Campaign 5.1
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15. Board Game: Washington's War [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:608]
Board Game: Washington's War
Bryan Becker
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
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Having packed up Fire in the Lake for a bit, decided to pull this out and go through the Playbook example of play to try and grok the rules. Planning on doing a "solo" run through after finishing up the example.

I'm enjoying it quite a bit - rather intuitive. I think I have a first edition copy; there are a ton of typos in the Playbook, right? There are multiple contradictions within the same sentence, and disconnect between the text and example images. It's making me refer to the rulebook more so I guess that'll help in the long run...

From gallery of veniatregnum

Right before the Battle of Albany.

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16. Board Game: This War Without an Enemy [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:7883]
Board Game: This War Without an Enemy
My KS just arrived and it looks great. Only quibble so far is the text on the map doesn't pop which is a little tricky for those of us not expert on UK geography.

Just pushing counters around for now and trying one of the short scenarios solo to learn the mechanics.

I'm hoping to get Wendell to teach me Unhappy King Charles! and then I'll be able to compare them. In the meantime, here's a pic of some blocks and the board. Game also includes two card decks (it's a CDG), a couple player aids, 2 setup cards, a rulebook and a playbook.


From gallery of sushidog


From gallery of sushidog
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17. Board Game: Federation Commander: Klingon Border [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:2591] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Federation Commander: Klingon Border
Gary Young
New Zealand
Unspecified
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Well actually I'm soloing the pnp cut down version from the Amarillo website. I want to see if the game is what I'm after.

The early turns were a little excruciating as I set upon the rules and very little seemed to happen. Ploughing on, and further in, it's become a tense little dance as I work out how best to utilise movement. It's a clever little SOP, breaking the movement into 8 little subpulses.

I'm just wondering though if it isn't just an exercise in ultimately dry maneuvering - at the moment it just lacks that thematic, and perhaps some personality.

Might be the tactical WW2 gamer in me that wants individual leaders with drm/DRM and a half tonne of detail....

I'll grind on....
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18. Board Game: Winter Thunder: The Battle of the Bulge [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Board Game: Winter Thunder: The Battle of the Bulge
Neil Bunker
United Kingdom
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My first Battle of the Bulge game! What can I say...I'm new-ish.

Anyway, enjoyed this a lot. Played it twice solo using the included die roll decision table...got trounced both times.

The combat system is neat. It uses a mission matrix (double blind chit selection system) rather than a CRT. It works really well but, I think, would be even better at 2-players.

The rules are 'relatively' straightforward but I found the fan made player aid here invaluable.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/174004/sequence-play

Photo shows my PnP components and probably isn't reflective of the retail version.
From gallery of Bunkelos Board
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19. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Napoleonics Expansion #2 – The Russian Army [Average Rating:8.39 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.39 Unranked]
Board Game: Commands & Colors: Napoleonics Expansion #2 – The Russian Army
Magister Ludi
Australia
Fremantle
Western Australia
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Introduced my son to this system today. He has played quite a few of the ancient series and memoir 44, so he is familiar with the mechanics.

We played the Eylau, morning scenario.

French ended up winning after a dream run of cards, but his Russian cavalry mounted two devastating charges and destroyed a number of my infantry squares.

Photos of the end game.

From gallery of Aussie550


From gallery of Aussie550


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20. Board Game: COBRA: The Normandy Campaign [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:7460]
Board Game: COBRA: The Normandy Campaign
David Brown
United Kingdom
Stockport
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This is my 2nd attempt at this, I gave up my 1st attempt some months ago as I wasn't in the mood for it.

It's not a bad game and appears to deal with the landing and build up rather well. However as I'm solitairing this I may be making mistakes or misunderstanding some rules.

Unfortunately the counters are all printed with the Cobra scenario in mind rather than the campaign game, this makes the campaign game a real pain to set up and takes a disproportionate amount of time.

Also the turn/reinforcement track should have been printed separately and not on the map as it just gets in the way. As it is the Germans have to sit on the East of the map and the Allies on the West, rather than the more usual and obvious North facing the beaches. If it wasn't for the fact that I may well sell this in the future I would cut this turn track record off .

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21. Board Game: World in Flames [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:1277] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
Board Game: World in Flames Deluxe Edition
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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We finished September/October 1941 last night.

In the USSR, the Axis has pushed my Soviets back; they took Kiev and Pskov this turn, but I still hold Vitebsk and the urban centers of the Dnepr bend. He attacked Krivoy Rog and inflicted losses on both sides, but I held it. The turn was average for weather - Axis got two fair-weather impulses in Russia and two stormy/rainy ones.

In the Med, the Italians sortied to meet the Royal Navy's provocations off of the Italian Coast. This time with superior numbers, the Italians got the better of the exchange, sinking the Repulse and Newcastle, at the cost of a damaged light cruiser.

No further action in Greece. Eight British/Greek/Australian/Indian corps plus a couple of divisions still there, along with six Italian, three German corps - including two Italian and one German HQ. Better there than in Russia.

The Japanese continued to disengage in Siberia (Soviets forced peace with them at the end of Jul/August). As the turn ended, Stewart (Axis player) was sending transports/amphibs and units to Cam Ranh Bay/Saigon and also to Truk, but not much in the way of warships; the main fleet is still in Osaka. Stewart said he wasn't planning to declare war in November/December '41 and I believe him based on troop dispositions. He's not ready.

At the end of the turn, Isaac (US/CW) took the "Fleet to Pearl" option, which is necessary to improve US odds of declaring war on Japan if it comes to that. He still needs to pass the War Appropriations Act though.

We then began Nov/Dec '41, in stormy/rainy weather in Russia.
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22. Board Game: Shifting Sands: The Campaign for North Africa [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:2522]
Board Game: Shifting Sands: The Campaign for North Africa
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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Grant and I continue our PBEM game, we're getting into late 1942. Axis (my side) have been hurting for reinforcements and replacements all along, so unfair.
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23. Board Game: Return to the Rock: Corregidor, 1945 [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Return to the Rock: Corregidor, 1945
VASSAL PBEM

After a misread of the initial invasion rules that I mistook for clever strategy, my opponent asked for a redo so we've started again. A much more tense beginning this time. And we've each been hit with having our momentum cut off early recently. It happened to him first and I thought I'd pounce on him, but it happened to me immediately afterwards. Rinella's newish momentum mechanic keeps things from being predictable.

From gallery of sushidog
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24. Board Game: Wilderness War [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:829]
Board Game: Wilderness War
VASSAL PBEM

This is only my second play of this title (both times as the French), so I shouldn't be surprised by feeling overwhelmed, but wow...redcoats everywhere.

From gallery of sushidog
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25. Board Game: Waterloo Campaign 1815 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:7587]
Board Game: Waterloo Campaign 1815
VASSAL PBEM

For such a simple game, it's enjoyable to see how often your opponent can surprise you.

From gallery of sushidog
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