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Subject: Intense Wargaming Experiences rss

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Enrico Viglino
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In another thread, someone brought up an intense wargaming weekend.

I think it would be nice to remember some of our experiences where we
played long stretches of games, that left an impression on us.


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Enrico Viglino
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The first one that sticks in my mind was a week when an old friend
of mine came back to visit his home area for his father's retirement.

He ended up spending a couple weeks with his gf at my house.
We played a lot of shorter stuff, in group play, but the big
memory was setting up a game of Thunder at the Crossroads (second edition), and
playing through as much as we could. I remember him coming into
my bedroom, after my gal went to work, to kick me awake and tell
me, 'it's your turn'. :P

We never finished. He had a flight back to CA to catch. He was
considering delaying it, to complete the game. Given that's the
kind of circumstance he left the area on (oh, I'll just stay at
some guy's house for a month or so), and really really missed
playing the big wargames (back when we lived together, we had
set up and played a few games of TSS, Red Barricades, Empires in
Arms, and many shorter things), I was very worried he'd not leave...
ever. Pretty much pushed him onto his plane.
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Justus Pendleton
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calandale wrote:
We never finished.


I suddenly have a mental image of Wargamer as Humbert Humbert and so much of the grognard's lifestyle begins to make more sense.
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Enrico Viglino
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:D Definitely.

The next (again unfinished) was a blitz of Empires in Arms,
which we meant to push out in a week (Sat -> next Sunday).
We had done it a few times (never finished :D), over long
periods, with weekly games. This time, we were resolved,
even though we only had five players (one of whom had a
job, and had took his vacation for this).

All went well for the first four days, and we were on track
to finish early. The outcome was becoming apparent though,
and the guy who took vacation became very ill. Some others
also caught the same cold, and we ended up calling the game.

Felt like defeat to have come so close.
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Jim Cote
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My best match for this topic was a 13-hour game of Here I Stand last fall. It's not a 100% wargame, but it's got diverse military, political, and religious conflict. I ate 2+ meals over the course of the game (the hottest Thai I've ever had, sweet). The game never felt like it was dragging; I think the one-action-per-turn system helps a lot with this. People were walking by many hours after we started asking, "Are you guys playing it again?" The forces of Henry VIII grabbed a win while Henry himself languished in a Hapsburg prison.
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Enrico Viglino
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ekted wrote:
My best match for this topic was a 13-hour game of Here I Stand last fall. It's not a 100% wargame, but it's got diverse military, political, and religious conflict.


Add to that, there's nowhere else on this site
where people talk about it much. Guess that makes
it a part of the hobby.


In a like vein, back in college, I managed to fail a couple classes,
and take a 15 year break (largely for personal reasons, but gaming
helped me hide from those) - on the last couple weeks of classes/finals,
had a week where we played three games of Pax Brittanica (none so
long as 13 hours - one was over in about two - second time player
as England managed to ALMOST lose the game following my advice,
"you want to end the game quickly because you've got all the
advantages early"). In the first of the games, we had eight people,
so I sat out, and two other experienced players allowed that same
player (in his first game) as Italy to shlep into every key location
with co-dominions, never taking him to war. I was amazed that people
who had played the game, and KNEW that it was Britain and France's
job to prevent stuff like this, just let him get away with it.

Incidentally, this was the guy who crashed at my place - one of the best gamers I've known.
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Enrico Viglino
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That was known as the week of Pax.


For finals week itself, we had the week of TSS,
playing a continuous game of Terrible Swift Sword. There
were usually about four players (though I think we had around
ten people who played at SOME point during the week). I was
having to switch sides, because one of the regulars would never
play the confeds, and one insisted. This was the birth of the
term 'Mr. Death' for one of my friends, who only played for
a few hours, but sat and watched others doing so for much of
the time, trying to track the casualties on the charts.

One day, one of my housemates came down in the morning, to find
no one home, except a couple people who didn't live there, playing
the game, and another passed out in a chair. I'd get home, and
there were people who didn't live there gaming. It was really
amusing.

Oh, and we didn't finish. Got through the second day though -
but then people (like me) had flights home, and our one housemate
who wasn't playing wasn't willing to let these icky wargamers
stay any longer.
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Eric Feifer
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Greatest Wargaming Experience Ever

Eight of us gathered at a friends house for a 24 hour binge. His wife took his two girls to her sister's for the weekend. This left to burp, fart, swear, scratch ourselves, drink beer, and generally ... well you get the idea.

We started at 8am on Saturday with an eight-player game of Wooden Ships & Iron Men. We took a break for a lunch of pizza. This was followed by an eight-player WWII miniatures scenario. Dinner consisted of cheesesteaks. Then we broke into two groups with one playing an umpired, double-blind Flat Top scenario and the other group playing AD&D. This was followed by pairing off for a variety of games. A midnight snack of cheese burgers on the grill and we were back to more two-player action. The culmination was an eight-player game of Fight in the Skies on his dining room table which had an east-facing bay window. We started when the light was just coming up and played through sunrise as it fell across the playing surface. Breakfast was sausage, eggs, hash browns, and a lot of clean up. Oh, and there was beer.

I've never eaten like that in a 24 hour period since, and I have never had such an intense wargaming experience; even at a convention.

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Jon
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Not sure if it was the most frentetic (that would be reserved for convention experiences), but the most intense and enjoyable was the multi day session Terrible Swift Sword with my brother over about a month long break from school one Christmas.

So in between all that holiday stuff, we managed to set up the campaign game in his basement on a sheet of old plywood. Many an afternoon and evening were spent down there with the wood stove keeping us comfy, sitting on a pair of old couches and defending the map from the two cats, who naturally gravitated first to the stove heat and then over to us. I think this was about the time that I got into scotch. Yep... pretty sure it was. We spend as much time yapping about the game, the war, history and generally shooting the shit than moving the units.

Anyway, it was about the best gaming experience I had, which is saying something as I have been lucky enough to have had a lot of them over the years. Spanning such a long period and playing almost every day of that makes it the most intense too. TSS, the smell of wood smoke, great company, orange cats and sipping booze make up my memory of that long ago time.
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Enrico Viglino
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TSS was such a magical game. Hell, it was probably
the only monster that my ex-wife insisted we play
out the campaign for.

Oh yeah, and as HH - we didn't finish that either.
She went on a dig in Turkey, and I didn't want my
table filled for so long.
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Eric Walters
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There are so many of these....

My first real INTENSE experience was playing Air Assault On Crete/Invasion of Malta: 1942 over a long weekend my senior year at Miami University in Ohio in 1981. It was one of my favorite games at the time, a real nail biter. We played it multi-player--a German player for the Maleme sector and one for the Heraklion and Retimo sectors, with corresponding allied players. The Heraklion and Retimo players for both sides got to be overall commanders, deciding where reinforcements would go and allocating airpower.

We started on a Friday night with the setup and commenced play early Saturday morning. We got maybe five hours of sleep a night. Finished the game with a very narrow Commonwealth Victory in the late Monday night hours/wee hours of Tuesday morning. I practically shivered at several points in the game, it was so nerve wracking.

It was the first of many intense sessions to come after that....
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Jim Cote
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efeifer wrote:
double-blind Flat Top

Complete fog-of-war. Sounds like a blast.
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Jeb
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I had a buddy throughout grade school through college who I played many an intense games with.

The key ones that come to mind was "The Longest Day" left on his basement floor over a summer. We got to a point where it looked like an allied win was probable. The game took almost as long as the real thing.

My same buddy's grandparents had a place in the Pocinos and on several occasion we spend a week up there hammering away on each other ... Sometimes with his family, sometimes several friends with attached girlfriends sometimes it would be the two of us. I have some very fond memories of my buddy and those summers.
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Robert Wesley
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I'll 'speak' in "generalities" here, since MOST of mine were "beyond the intended scope", like where we played PAST the 'end-point' and extended the TURNS for plenty. Or where we 'constructed' something about the "Plains Injun War" when NONE existed, and it was FUN! Then we had PRESTAGS to array an "Army" against one another and later on with "Jutland", then actual 'miniatures', or "Chariot Races" and "Swashbuckler"!
surprise

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Enrico Viglino
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GROGnads wrote:
;) I'll 'speak' in "generalities" here, since MOST of mine were "beyond the intended scope",



It's great when a game makes you want to see it continue that way.
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Enrico Viglino
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Had a number of such experiences with SFB,
back in the days when it was my key addiction.

Lived with one guy with whom I would daily play
out a battle in our Hydran vs. Romulan (shhh! they didn't
know they weren't near one another) campaign. That was
probably the most intense, with huge fleet battles.

More ambitious was another friend - and this convinced
me to spring for the Captain's edition - with whom we
started the F&E grand campaign, playing out every battle.
Well, we didn't get through the third turn (and it took a good
couple months), and it wasn't as much continuous play (every
couple days). I've done that solo a couple times (never much
further), but solo play just doesn't feel 'intense' to me.
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Skip Franklin
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My most intense wargaming experience would be playing Atlantic Wall with Cobra to keep the non-active player busy. I did good in Cobra while an odd thing happened in Atlantic Wall. My opponent, not quite the Grognard as me, lined up the Germans in a straight line from Caen to St. Lo and it was impossible to crack with the neutered armor rules.
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John McLintock
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Combat Commander, Labyrinth and Twilight Struggle have all given me some of my most intense gaming experiences in recent months (and years, for CC). But for my truly intense gaming experiences- ie. those which live long in my memory, I'd have to go back to the mid 80s and the mid 90s, to Squad Leader and to Up Front, respectively.

The Squad Leader game was a play of Scenario F, The Pouppeville Exit, published in The Avalon Hill General, Vol. 17 #2 (since re-released in a heavily-modified form as ASL Scenario T5). Long story short: I was the American paras trying to hold the exits off Utah Beach. There were 2 exits, so I got my forces into position (I seem to recall there was an actual paradrop in the SL version), held off the weak German garrison forces, and awaited the German reinforcements, which included armour.

My wily opponent had paid closer attention to the victory conditions than had I, so I was quite taken aback when he didn't split his reinforcements to go for both exits, but instead concentrated them all to attack just one. Sure enough: the German player only had to negate American control of one exit, not two. And so began a bitter battle which included lots of double-timing through woods and every other trick in the SL playbook. On the last turn I had just 3 squads covering the road, facing 8 or 9 squads' firepower equivalent. I survived, barely, with 1 1/2 squads covering the road. cool

The Up Front game was much simpler: I was playing the Japanese against the British. My firegroup was on a hill and had suffered heavily from British fire. Meanwhile the British assault group had closed to Relative Range 5, with at least 3 Sten guns. There was some infiltration too IIRC. Facing 25+ firepower, I did the only thing that made sense: "Banzai!" My lads made short work of the British.

The concise paragraph above might make that sound like nothing much, but Up Front players will know how much fire you can expect to take from 25+ firepower, and how marginal would be the Japanese chances of survival were that firepower to be delivered at a group in banzai. The decision was obvious- it really was do or die; but the situational analysis- not to mention the wait to see whether I'd hear the sound of gunfire, was intense; of that I can assure you!
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marc lecours
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For me it was a game of world in flames (3rd edition). We were 4 players. The game was played in weekly sessions for several months. Each side's turn can be long but the time flew by. I was Japan. I used a stack of 80 page notebooks during the game for planning. During opponent's turn and during time off, I would plan out future operations. Each operation had codenames, objectives, charts of which unit had to be where and when. I was totally immersed. Great game !

In the end, the game played out roughly historical and went down to the wire with the allies winning at the last minute.
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Colin Raitt
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Wilbur and I used to play fleet games starting at 6pm after work and finishing the next morning at 7am. Both of us grew up during the cold war. The area anti-air rating and fuel capacity of OH Perry frigates were as meat and drink to us. We started with subtle ploys like pushing lone freighters forward to draw out the enemy taskforces. By the end mistakes were rife, half my subs would drift unused and forgotten for an 8 hour turn. Whoever could maintain concentration would win. Our flatmates would give up at midnight and find out what had happened when they woke up the next day.
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