Play the Game, Read the Book, See the Movie
David Sullivan
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Lynnwood
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When I get interested in a particular wargame topic or period, I can't help looking for as much information/entertainment as possible to stimulate my interest. This GeekList is for wargames that can be linked to both books and movies. Please add your own favorites.
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1. Board Game: Jerusalem [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:6803]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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Jerusalem! is one of my favorite games. The unique, fluid movement/combat system along the roads makes for a very interesting games that can have long sweeps across the game board that are caught short by a force you can't dislodge from a defended town or fortified place.

Book(s): The best book on this subject is "O Jerusalem" by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre. Another good book, though less focused on the the battle for Jerusalem, is "Genesis 1948" by Dan Kurzman.

Movie: "Cast a Giant Shadow" with Kirk Douglas, Angie Dickenson, Yul Brenner, Topol, John Wayne, and just a bit more than a cameo of Frank Sinatra who goes up against Egyptian fighter planes in a Piper Cub armed only with seltzer bottles (he loses). The parts of the movie about the convoy trip to Jerusalem ("Come on, Magda!") and the attack on Latrun are directly related to the action covered in the game.

The fourth element after Play the Game, Read the Book, and See the Movie is Visit the City. I got a chance to go to Jerusalem in 1981. It was pretty interesting to identify the various spots that feature in the book, movie, and game.
 
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2. Board Game: Bloody Keren [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:9133]
David Sullivan
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Lynnwood
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Bloody Keren is a very unique subject for a wargame. There is no other game I know of that covers WW2 in East Africa.

Book: "The Crucible of War" by Barrie Pitt. This book covers the whole war in the African theatre and mostly focuses on North Africa (the Western Desert). However, there is some information about the fighting in East Africa as well.

Movie: "The Best of Enemies" starring David Niven and Michael Wilding. This movie is a comedy set in the East Africa theatre where a 'lost' British battalion and a 'lost' Italian battalion content against each other but mostly against a tribe of Ethiopians who are playing the 'enemies' against each other for their own benefit. This 1962 movie is a lost classic and well worth watching if it comes up on the late, late movie channel. It was released on VHS years ago, but it's very hard to find.
 
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3. Board Game: Streets of Stalingrad (third edition) [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:3936]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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Streets of Stalingrad is the mother of all Stalingrad games, though certainly not the only game. SoS is a 'monster game' without being monstrous. The actual rules are pretty straightforward and flow easily. You can play the battle in chunks using the scenarios or the play the big, bad 'Verdun on the Volga' scenario.

Books: Like the games about this subject, there are so many. The library at Chez Dave is graced with the following titles:

"199 Days: The Battle for Stalingrad" by Edwin P. Hoyt. This is a good, fast-moving overview of the whole campaign. It's not highly detailed, but it's a good read and gives a good view of the main flow of the action.

"Stalingrad, The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943" by Anthony Beevor. Beevor has been criticised for 'thin scholorship' by which I think his critics mean 'he's readable.' When compared to the works of David Glantz, Beevor doesn't seem 'weighty,' but he reads well and goes into some good detail about the battle. I'm sure that if Glantz writes a Stalingrad book it will make all the critics happy that someone has a book on the subject whose footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography are longer than the narrative. Until then, read Beevor.

"Stalingrad: The Deafeat of the German 6th Army" by Paul Carell. First of all, Carell is a German veteran of WW2 and his many books have a decidedly pro-German perspective on the war. His books are very interesting, however, and Stalingrad is no exception. The narrative is really a lot of vignettes that draw heavily on the experiences of Die Deutsche Soldaten. The book is also heavily illustrated with maps and photos.

"Enemy at the Gates" by William L. Craig. Craig's book is a great classic narrative about the battle. His book contains the story about Vassily Zaitsev that was drawn upon for the movie "Enemy at the Gates" (though it goes without saying that Hollywood 'embellished' the story). I read this book years and years ago and it still remains my favorite read on the subject--though it's not a 'scholarly' tome.

Movies:

"Stalingrad." The 1993 movie is a gripping study of the horrors that befall a unit of Sturm Pionieren who are drawn into Stalingrad as part of Operation Hubertus. Fascinating but grim.

"Enemy at the Gates." The aforementioned movie that was based on a story in William Craig's book of the same title. Despite the embellishment, the broad story remains mostly intact. The acting is good and the embellishments make for an interesting story line without too much distorting historical fact.
 
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4. Board Game: Hue [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:7268]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
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A great John Hill game and one of my all-time favorites.

Book: "Fire in the Streets: The Battle for Hue, Tet 1968" by Eric Hammel. This is a very good monograph about the battle. Nice detail that covers the whole action from start to finish.

Movie: "Full Metal Jacket." Very Hollywood, very Kubrick, but a good movie overall. The scenes in Hue really give an impression of the landscape of urban combat.
 
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5. Board Game: Pacific War Classics Vol 1: Tarawa & Saipan [Average Rating:4.58 Overall Rank:13776]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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Pacific War Classics Vol. 1 is really 2.5 games in 1. The Saipan game includes a full naval campaign module as well as an operational level game of the battle for Saipan. The Tarawa game is very different and uses an alternating impulse style that is very like the mechanic in Breakout: Normandy and Turning Point: Stalingrad. The level is infantry squads and individual heavy weapons. The back-and-forth of the system can go very quickly, though the Marine player may feel for a long time that nothing is happening. It does work well to represent the long, long time that the Grunts hugged the seawall before moving 'inland' on this very tiny island.

This is one of only four games that cover the battle for this wee bit of sand and palm trees in the pacific. It's much quicker/easier than playing the ASL "Blood Reef" module and still allows for two-player interaction unlike the SPI and 3W solitaire games.

Books:

"Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa" by Col. Joseph Alexander. This is. I think, the latest book on the subject and one of the best. Alexander is a Marine amphibious warfare specialist himself and has written several articles on Tarawa in addition to this book. If you get one book on Tarawa, this should be it.

"Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls" This volume is part of the series on the US Army in WW2. Yes, the Marines took, Tarawa, but the Army took Makin, which was also in the Gilberts. So, the Army includes some very good coverage of Tarawa with lots of maps.

Also rans include "Tarawa: A Hell of a Way to Die" by Derrick Wright, "Tarawa" by Charles T. Gregg, "Line of Departure: Tarawa" by Martin Russ. "76 Hours" The Invasion of Tarawa" by Eric Hammel, and "Tarawa: A Legend is Born" by Henry Shaw (Ballantine). These are all pretty good, but cover a lot of the same information.

Movie: "The Sands of Iwo Jima" with John Wayne, John Agar, and Forrest Tucker. Despite the title, the movie isn't all about Iwo Jima. Sgt. Striker and his boys also hit the beach at Tarawa where Forrest Tucker got "the Greek" killed because he stopped off for coffee with a mortar unit when he should have been returning to the line with much-needed ammo resupply. As far as I know, there is no other movie that features the battle for Tarawa (but there should be).

Little-know Tarawa factoids:

Ed Wood, Jr., the infamous maker of such movies as "Plan 9 from Outer Space" was in the first wave at Tarawa. Legend has it that he wore women's underwear beneath his uniform and was worried that he would be wounded and found out as a cross-dresser when the medics got to him. I find it hard to imagine that he could hide his cross-dressing on an attack transport, but, hey, if there's a will, there's a way and Ed Wood wasn't one to be stopped by anything.

Eddie Albert, who played Oliver Douglas in "Green Acres," was a Navy Lt. j.g. in charge of some landing craft in the invasion. He was already an established Hollywood actor at the time.

Despite the enormous degree of heroism in the battle, only four Medals of Honor were awarded, three of them posthumously.
 
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6. Board Game: Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1016]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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Well, there are many Waterloo games. This one just happens to be the only one I own. I like the Columbia Games block system and Napoleon was, I think, the first of the line that Tom Dalgliesh designed for Gamma Two games way back in 1970.

Book(s): Also many books on the subject. Two that stand out are:

"Waterloo: Day of Battle" by David Howarth. This book is the first I ever read on the subject. Howarth does a great job providing an overview of the battle.

"Waterloo" by Commandant Henry Lachouque. This is a large format book that is heavily illustrated with maps, drawings, photos, and color uniform plates. The book is not at all heavy on analysis, but covers the course of the actions between 15-18 June.

Movie: "Waterloo" with Rod Steiger, Christopher Plummer, et al. I gotta say that I love this movie despite what anyone else may think. I think Rod does a good job portraying Boney--probably the best by any English-speaking actor. Plummer is great as Wellington. His indignant response to Ramsey's request to take a pot-shot at Napoleon with his artillery is classic.
 
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7. Board Game: RAF [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1715]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
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I've never played this game, but it looks good and is well-rated in the Geek. The other games I'm aware of that cover the Battle of Britain are tactical air combat games like Mustangs, Achtung Spitfire!, and Spitfire, which don't give you the feel of the whole air campaign.

Book: "Eagle Day: The Battle of Britain" by Richard Collier. This is a good narrative of the events of the battle. It's well-peppered with first hand accounts.

Movie: "Battle of Britain" with Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Ian McShane, Susannah York, Robert Shaw, Laurence Olivier, et al. I saw this movie when it came out in 1968. I've always loved it. I have the VHS version and the DVD. For some reason, the producers of the DVD substituted the end quote that displayed just before the credits rolled. The original was Chruchill's quote that "Never in the field of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few," which he said about this battle, with his quote about the capture of Tripoli in 1943, "This is not the end, nor is it the beginning of the end. It is perhaps the end of the beginning." Why? Both good quotes, but the original is so much more germane and better expresses the huge debt the free world owes to those few men who stood against the Luftwaffe in the autumn of 1940.
 
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8. Board Game: Richthofen's War [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:4754]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
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This was the first WW1 tactical air combat game (as far as I know) and was a great deal of fun to play. The board was beautiful.

Book: "Knights of the Air" by David Bashow. Good coverage of the air war in WW1.

Movie: "The Blue Max" with George Peppard, James Mason, and URSULA! Very good movie with lots of good aereal combat scenes (and lots of good Ursula scenes, too).
 
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9. Board Game: Bismarck [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:4261]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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I only played this game a couple of times way back in the day. As naval games go, it didn't grab me. I expected "Jutland," but it wasn't. Still, it's a pretty good game about the search and destruction of the Bismarck.

Book: "Pursuit: The Chase and Sinking of the Battleship Bismarck" by Ludovic Kennedy. Kennedy was a crewman on a destroyer that took part in the final destruction of the Bismarck. The book is a very good retelling of the story of Hitler's short-lived uber-battleship, especially from the viewpont of the Royal Navy.

Movie: What else? "Sink the Bismarck" has always been one of my father's favorite movies and I inherited my love of it from him. It's out on DVD now. If you've never seen it, this movie is worth watching. Also, Dana Wynter is just too beautiful.
 
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10. Board Game: Remember Gordon! The Battle of Omdurman [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:10343]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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I've never played the game, but I think it's one I'd like to own. As far as I know it's the only game of the battle of Omdurman, which isn't surprising since it's a bit of a one-sided slaughter.

Book: "Omdurman: Eye-Witness Accounts of the Legendary Campaign" by John Meredith. This is a fairly recent coverage of the campaign and battle.

Movie(s): There are two:

"Young Winston" with Simon Ward. Churchill was with the 21st Lancers when they made their famous charge on the day after the battle of Omdurman. The movie shows the charge and also the battle of the day before--very well done.

"Khartoum" with Charleton Heston. The battle of Omdurman is mentioned only in the epilogue of the movie, but "Chinese" Gordon's death defending Khartoum against the Mahdi was the catalyst for Kitchener's campiagn in the Sudan a decade later. Consider this movie the 'prequel.'
 
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11. Board Game: Little Big Horn: Custer's Last Stand [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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When this game came out in in 1976, I couln't imagine a game based on a massacre. However, the game has a lot of what-ifs like cannon, gatling guns, and the 2nd Cavalry. A good find if you can get it.

Books:

"Son of the Morning Star" by Evan S. Connell. This is probably the best book on Custer and the Little Big Horn. Connel is a novelist who writes a good story and provides some very interesting historical insight.

"Lakota Noon" by Gregory F. Michno. This is a very good addition to the Little Big Horn story. The book reconstructs the movement of the Sioux and Cheyenne through the battle based on interviews of the Indians who took part. Very good.

"A Good Year to Die: The Story of the Great Sioux War" by Charles M. Robinson. This book is a very good coverage of the whole Sioux War of 1876. It puts the Little Big Horn in its operational perspective as part of a larger campaign.

Movies:

"Son of the Morning Star" with Gary Cole and Rosanna Arquette. Long before he was Lumbergh in Office Space, Gary Cole was GAC in what I think is the best movie about Custer and the Little Big Horn ever made. The movie is based on large portions of Connell's book of the same name and shows very well how disfunctional a family the 7th Cavalry was.

"Little Big Man" with Dustin Hoffman. Okay, this isn't a very serious movie, but I love it. Richard Mulligan's protrayal of a crazy George Custer at the end of the movie is classic farce. Goofy? Yes. But no more ahistorical than "They died with their boots on."
 
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12. Board Game: Guadalcanal [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:9787]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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Guadalcanal is an OK game that plays like a lot of the Avalon Hill games of the mid-60s. The step reduction of the units in the "Tournament Game" was a nice addition that let defenders be a little more tenacious. There are a lot of other great Guadalcanal-themed games.

Book: "Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle" by Richard B. Frank. Great book that covers all aspects of the air, land, and naval campaign.

Movies:
"Guadalcanal Diary" with Lloyd Nolan, Anthony Quinn, and, of course, the great William Bendix who was the unbiquitous "regular joe" in so many 40s-era WW2 flix. This is a good movie, but not a great one. You can find it cheap on DVD.

"The Thin Red Line" with Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte, George Clooney, and so many others. This is either a remake of the 1964 movie or another take on the James Jones novel that the 1964 movie was based on. Sad to say, I haven't seen this one yet, but I think I should. So far, some apprehension of crappiness has always held me back. However, most peple I know who have seen it say it's a good movie. Some say it's even "great."
 
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13. Board Game: Gettysburg [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:12009]
Mitch Willis
United States
Kathleen
Georgia
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I played Avalon Hill's Gettysburg several times growing up, back in the 70's. It probably doesn't stand up to the wargames of today but back then we had a lot of fun with it.

As for books, Edwin Coddington's "The Gettysburg Campaign" probably gives the battle the best complete treatment, although I found Glenn Tucker's "High Tide At Gettysburg" to be more readable. Sears and Trudeau have both written more recent accounts of the campaign. My personal favorite is Harry Pfanz' "Gettysburg: The Second Day", which goes into a lot of detail and analysis of the second day of the battle. As far as novels go, for me nothing can top Shaara's "Killer Angels".

As for movies, I haven't seen anything that can top "Gettysburg" with Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, and Jeff Daniels. Every time I plan a trip to the battlefield, watching "Gettysburg" is a must. It's primarily based on the aforementioned "Killer Angels" novel and although it's not 100% historically accurate, I think it hits pretty close to home. It just gets me emotionally ready to tramp across the battlefield. I wish they'd release the extended version ('bout 30 extra minutes) on DVD.
 
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14. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
Samuel Hinz
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Game : War of the Ring

book : Lord of the Rings

Movie : Lord of the Rings


C'mon people, first thing i thought of
 
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15. Board Game: Monty's Gamble: Market Garden [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:2983]
Iain Cheyne
United Kingdom
Reading
Berkshire
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Operation Market Garden. The last German victory of the Western Campaign.

Book:
Cornelius Ryan (1974) A Bridge Too Far, Coronet Books. ISBN 0340199415

Movie:
A Bridge Too Far (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075784/)
 
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16. Board Game: Texas Glory: 1835-36 [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:4030]
David Sullivan
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
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I waited for this one for a long time. Dan Mings was part of the design team for this game. Dan developed an earlier game called Texas Revolutionin 1981. Dan's earlier game is a traditional hex and counter game and plays well, actually. The Columbia version is a different kind of game, but both put the onus on the Mexican player to move fast and take territory in order to win, with the result that they easily become overextended. The challenge for the Texian player is to keep an army in being and prevent the Mexicans from gaining too much too soon. The Texian player never has the kind of force to enable him to beat Santa Anna in a big stand-up fight, but must use cautious attacks to slow down the Mexican advance and maybe get lucky and take out Santa Anna. There are three scenarios: the 1835 campaign, the 1836 campaign and the combined game 1835-36.

Books: "Texian Iliad: A military history of the Texas Revolution" by Stephen L. Hardin is an excellent treatment of the subject. Hardin is less concerned with the broader themes of the Texas Revolution that with its military aspects. It's a good companion to other works, such as Jeff Long's "Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. fight for the Alamo."

Movies: The Alamo (1960) with John Wayne as Davey Crockett, Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie, and Laurence Harvey as William Travis is always a good watch. The 2004 remake with Billy Bob Thornton as Crockett is surprisingly good as well. Another movie, which I've never seen, is "The Last Command" with Sterling Hayden as Bowie and Ernest Borgnine as his adversary in a somewhat incredulous story line that has Bowie and Santa Anna as old friends forced to fight, reluctantly, at the Alamo. J. Carroll Naish plays the Generalissimo and Crockett and Travis are smaller parts.
 
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