Mark Mokszycki
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I posted the following over at the forum for Operation Dauntless but I decided to copy and paste it here for several reasons. I apologize if this strikes anyone as off topic.

1. It occurred to me that there are still gamers out there that are unaware that this game exists. Operation Dauntless uses the same basic game system as Red Winter and is the second game in the series. The game is set near Caen (in Normandy) in late June of 44, after the D-Day invasions. It uses the same scale for units, hexes, and game turns. All the core rules are the same, but gone are the Winter War particular rules (ski movement, frozen lakes, bonfires, sub-zero losses, etc.) and in their place we have more developed subroutines for assaults, combined arms combat, and (especially) armor vs. armor combat. Whereas only the Soviets had tanks in Red Winter, both the British and Germans have tanks (and lots of them!) in Operation Dauntless.

2. Not many people seem to have noticed my post over at the Op Dauntless forum - probably because I've been mostly silent over there for too long.

By cross-posting the following here at the Red Winter forum I hope to introduce Red Winter players to the game as well as get a bit more attention for my recent request for volunteers. Thanks!

(cross-posted text follows)

Hi all

I've been busy, busy, busy behind the scenes. I apologize for the lack of recent updates. Unlike with Red Winter, where 70% of my time was spent on art and promotions, I've been working on the game itself. I did try to post a quick update twice in the last month but it seems to have gone oddly missing both times. soblueNot sure what's up with that. I also had a bit of trouble getting an article past admin. Oh well.

On to other news...

Module Update

The talented Dave Deitch has come through with yet another Zun Tzu module update for Operation Dauntless. The newest module incorporates the latest playtest counters as well as the new, improved playtest map by Antonio Pinar. This should mark the final versions of playtest map and counters. They are the ones I'm handing over to Mark Mahaffey and Charlie Kibler, respectively, for creating the final components.

The following artwork is for playtesting purposes only and does not represent final versions! Playtest map by Antonio Pinar, playtest counters by me. And yes, I am well aware that not all vehicles are done in the same style. I was experimenting. Rest assured that the final counters will be done in the same style used by Charlie Kibler for Red Winter.

Here's a portion of the northern half of the map from version 7.2 of the playtest map.



Here are some sample playtest counters for British units, British assets, German units, and miscellaneous units and markers.









Note that the German Elefant and King Tiger units, as well as the American Hellcat tank destroyers, are used only in the fictional "SS Zoo" scenario. It's a remake of the classic GEV "Breakthrough" scenario whereby the Allied player has to exit his speedy but thinly armored Hellcats off the northern edge of the map while a smaller number of more powerful German units defend a thin line. It's included just for fun.

A Call to Arms!

I'm looking for a few good men or women who are willing to create save game files for the scenario setups. The game has 15 scenarios, plus about half a dozen tutorial scenarios. Creating a setup file for each one should be a fairly simple matter, but it will be time consuming. I can do it if necessary but I feel I can better utilize my limited Op D time on other endeavors including proofing, development, and (especially) the designer notes + historical notes for the playbook, plus final playtesting and balancing of the scenarios themselves.

This work would require a current version of Zun Tzu, the latest module, and a willingness to go through the playbook a scenario at a time, dragging the appropriate counters to their setup hexes (or regions) on the map. Then we can have a save game file for each scenario, making final playtesting a breeze.

Any volunteers?

Below: A Firefly of the British 24th Lancers tank regiment captured in a screenshot from Broadsword's 3D recreation of the battlefield. This is the hilltop northwest of Fontenay (see map above.





Thanks in advance for your kind consideration!

Mark
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Rusty
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I don't expect this to be a popular opinion, but frankly, I think it's a little inappropriate for you to post this here without at least mentioning that it's still available for the P500 price at http://www.gmtgames.com/p-315-operation-dauntless.aspx
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Björn Hansson
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kuhrusty wrote:
I don't expect this to be a popular opinion, but frankly, I think it's a little inappropriate for you to post this here without at least mentioning that it's still available for the P500 price at http://www.gmtgames.com/p-315-operation-dauntless.aspx


Very rude indeed.

This game is preordered like crazy.
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Dean Zadiraka
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You're probably going to have a much harder time finding help as you're looking for Zun Tzu users.

I'd help if it was in Vassal.
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Rui Serrabulho
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Hi Mark

Thanks for the info on your hard work.
I have pre-order Operation Dauntless on P500 on GMT.
I really would like a Vassal module for this new baby.
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Tyler
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Have had this preordered since the minute I laid eyes on Red Winter. Very much looking forward to this one.
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JE SUIS VENU. J'AI VU. JE SUIS PARTI.
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Radz wrote:
You're probably going to have a much harder time finding help as you're looking for Zun Tzu users.

I'd help if it was in Vassal.

Same here. I have a Mac, so it's only Vassal for me.
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Eric Normandeau
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lucasbrooks wrote:
Radz wrote:
You're probably going to have a much harder time finding help as you're looking for Zun Tzu users.

I'd help if it was in Vassal.

Same here. I have a Mac, so it's only Vassal for me.


And same here. I run Linux so Vassal is the only option. Plus, a game system that runs only on Internet Explorer? Really?!? Are we back in the 1990's?

EDIT: My bad, Zun Tzu suggests Internet Explorer but can use another browser if it complies to some prerequisites. If anybody can make this work in Linux (maybe through Wine?), I would like to know. Otherwise, I guess virtualization could be an option.

Enough for Zun Tzu the rant though, this game has long been pre-ordered!
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Mark Mokszycki
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Internet Explorer, really? I use Zun Tzu with no web browser whatsoever and it runs fine. When I do get online I use Firefox exclusively. Never have used Internet Explorer.

Thanks for your preorders, guys! Thanks also for all your support in general over the past years with Op Dauntless and Red Winter. I'm really looking forward to getting this series rolling. Now that OpD is almost out the door, I honestly believe that future games in the series will arrive much more quickly. The hardest part was designing/developing the system from the ground up. Fleshing out future games should be relatively painless by comparison. We have begun preliminary work on OOB, scenarios, and maps for 3 more games in the series: Red Winter 2, Guadalcanal Land Battles, and Mokra 39 (all working titles and subject to change).

Thanks also to the 3 kind gents who've volunteered so far for the scenario setups. Since Xesqui was the first volunteer, I'm going to let him orchestrate who does what scenario. That way there's no overlap. Plenty of work for all! Just let me know if you run into any questions. Thanks again!
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Bryan McNamara
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Damn, I have been waiting to hear about this sequel. I had no idea. Pre ordered immediately!!

I love your work Mark!
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Mokra 39?
sounds good...
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Mark Mokszycki
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Yes, Mokra should make for a very intersting game. Hordes of panzers (but mostly panzer I's and II's) facing off against a Polish cavalry brigade defending a semi-circle of woods around three small villages. The Poles have high morale as well as AT guns and a "top secret" weapon - the wz.35 AT rifle. And let's not forget a Polish armored train named "Smialy." Lots of fun...
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Stacey Hager
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Can't wait to see Guadalcanal in development!
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Mark Mokszycki
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The Guadalcanal game will feature multiple scenarios which are, in this case, not linkable into a grand campaign. The battle of the Tenaru (aka Alligator Creek), Edson's Ridge, the fighting along the Matanikau, etc. The time frame here is too large and I can't reasonably handle the Guadalcanal actions as a single entity given the 90 min turn scale of this game system. That said, there will be some multi-day battles akin to Red Winter. Night attacks and jungle movement (which comes with a chance of getting lost or delayed en route) will be very much the norm in this game. Scale for turns, hexes, and units will be the same as in RW and Op Dauntless, as will all core rules.

I could share some preliminary playtest art with you but I should probably get permission first...cool
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Thanks for the update Mark.

While I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a fanboy, I was impressed enough with Red Winter and the obvious care and effort that you put into it that I pre-ordered OpD early on.

The system is a good one, and I am interested in how you will extend it to Guadalcanal. That campaign has always captured my attention, and I'm sure you can do it justice.

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Bryan McNamara
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Please post some info on the Guadalcanal game when it goes into preorder in one of these (Red Winter and Operation Dauntless) forums...I don't want to miss that one! I'm pretty much going to buy all of your designs based on Red Winter.
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Mark Mokszycki
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Quote:
While I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a fanboy,


That's it, Jim. You're off my Christmas list.

Quote:
Please post some info on the Guadalcanal game when it goes into preorder in one of these (Red Winter and Operation Dauntless) forums...


I'll try to remember to do so, Bryan.
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Usually I have no interest whatsoever in tactical games, because at that scale to be realistic the whole game system should be double-blind, apart from the few units in immediate contact with the enemy. However, intrigued by the subject, I tried Red Winter last night at a small games convention, and although we played only one day (the second day, when the tanks turn up) I enjoyed it immensely, and will certainly play it again.

What appealed to me were:

1. The pivotal nature of the battle: it really was an important moment in that war.

2. The intriguing terrain, especially fighting up two isthmuses bordered by frozen lakes that you could risk crossing if it really was important (I was the Soviets).

3, A small number of units, so the game moved along quickly.

4. Wide variety of abilities of the various units, so which asset you used where really counted.

5. Attractive but not excessive level of chrome: who can resist a game with field kitchens to plunder?

But it is precisely because of these that I will probably not buy Dauntless. Martlet/Dauntless wasn't a pivotal moment in the war, being an operation to support Epsom, there's nothing special about the terrain, and the addition of tank vs tank combat is likely to add a lot more burden to the rules.

Certainly I will buy the Guadalcanal game though, because it is a campaign I know a lot about, but also because its asymetric nature (fanatical infantry army versus cautious mechanised army) and hellish terrain away from the coast echoes the confrontation between the Finns and Soviets.

What I would like to see though is the system used on other pivotal small-scale actions, for example:

Narvik (intriguing small-scale invasion and counter-invasion situation, good for this system)

Beda Fomm (ideal for this system: 500 good men of Chaforce plus a squadron of light tanks and a few guns holding off up to 20,000 demoralised Italians for two days until relieved)

Wake Island (perhaps too small)

Kohima (ideal: 6 - 18 April 1944, fighting over a tennis court)

Remagen Bridge (7 - 17 March 1945: probably too big, but where else will you get a game with an attack by V2s?)



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Mark Mokszycki
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Thanks for the feedback. Good food for thought! While I don't necessarily agree with your opinions on the importance of the Dauntless battles or the non-special nature of the terrain, your points are well taken and I understand where you're coming from.

On the nature of the Dauntless battles... They seemed pretty critical to the Brits at the time, who felt they needed to both secure the high ground on the flank of Epsom and tie down a large number of German armored units in that sector in order for Epsom (the attempt to outflank Caen) to succeed. But viewed with the hindsight that Epsom was ultimately a failure, it's easy to see these as non-pivotal battles.

What these battles are, however, are very interesting from a gaming perspective given their scale and their nature. Once again, as with Red Winter, you have two sides with very different capabilities. The Germans have awesome firepower but not enough units, and a big supply problem / ammo shortage to boot. The Brits have inferior quality but make up for this in sheer numbers, tenacity, and their lethal and plentiful artillery.

If Dauntless had succeeded, and so had Operation Epsom as a result, the history books surely would read differently concerning the importance of the battles.

On nature of the terrain... The wide open farm fields are the rough equivalents of the frozen lakes in Red Winter. Though the penalties associated with them are not quite as severe. You also have "close terrain" in this game- villages and heavy bocage which ZOC extends out of but not into, and which can conceal units, forcing you to Assault these hexes. There are also walled farms that serve as German strongpoints. You have a handful of streams that can only be crossed by motorized units at bridges, making bridges important points to capture and hold. You also have rules which place a premium on high ground hexes because they allow you to see over an adjacent hex of blocking terrain and into the first non-adjacent hex of blocking terrain. All these terrain considerations combine to make for a very interesting mix of possible strategies, considerations, and approaches to the victory objectives, imo.

And yes, the tanks do add some complexity to the system but boy they sure are fun.

Thanks also for your suggestions for future games! I'd already considered a couple of these topics (specifically, Beda Fomm and Remagen) and I'll certainly look into the others. Much appreciated!
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Bryan McNamara
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That map is so pretty. I love the detail, it really makes me want to fall into it. Mark Mahaffey has been my favorite artist for a long time now. I am learning Red Star Rising right now, Where There is Discord is on the way, his designs are just so PRETTY.
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Mark Mokszycki
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Glad you like the map. But just to be clear, the map artist for the above playtest map is Antonio Pinar. Mark Mahaffey will be doing the final version of the map (not pictured, and not compelted as of this time).

EDIT for typo: The final map is neither completed nor compelted at this time.
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Ken Kmak
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I really like the Red Winter game system. I can't wait for you to turn your attention to Guadalcanal and Mokra 39. I have pre-ordered Dauntless and am looking forward to your treatment of the tank battles.

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Thanks for the reminder! Preordered!

Cheers,

Dirk
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If Mark does a Beda Fomm game, I shall have to kill him; I have just begun translating the Italian official history with an eye toward a probably-impractical treatment using the Tactical Combat Series system.

For the sake of history, it was Combeforce, and the non-infantry elements were in place at 12:30 in the afternoon of February 5th. The Rifle Regiment (actually a battalion) arrived later in the afternoon to reinforce the position, and the 4th Armored Brigade began attacking the flank of the Italian column that same afternoon. In the morning, the 7th Armored Brigade (reduced to a single battalion) joined the fighting.

Intriguing terrain? Nope, unless you count the various maps of the area not agreeing with each other. For example, the Italian official history shows a secondary road or trail running right along the coast, down which some of the service units were fleeing. This doesn't show up on the U.S. topo map from the 50s/60s or the Soviet topo map from the 60s. Looking at Google Maps' satellite view, Antelat doesn't seem to exist. The various maps can't even agree on El Magrun sit to the east or the west of the Via Balbia!

Small number of units? Not too big, I suppose, but you need to represent a bunch of Italian trucks. Beda Fomm, though, credits the Italian with at least 16 battalions of infantry(!), plus tanks, artillery, etc., etc., and so forth.

While the total Italian "force" was huge, almost all of it was disorganized, unarmed (or nearly so) service troops who were preoccupied with getting away. The battle itself contradicts the image of Italian troops as being cowardly and unwilling to fight. The infantry attacks were beaten back, but some were pressed gallantly and remained in contact for hours, exchanging fire. While the desert terrain offered little cover for defenders, it was also deadly for attackers to cross (not as bad as frozen lakes, though). The armored forces pressed home some attacks to total destruction.
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Mark Mokszycki
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Quote:
If Mark does a Beda Fomm game, I shall have to kill him

Please don't kill me until after Op Dauntless is out the door. Otherwise my ghost will haunt you eternally.

I doubt I'll ever do a Beda Fomm game. There are too many other ideas out there that strike me as more interesting. Hordes of trucks and demoralized, minimally armed service troops don't strike me as particularly appealing from a player perspective. The official Italian history sounds really interesting, though. Please keep me in the loop on the TCS project. I'd love to see what you come up with.
 
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