Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Ramadi....nearly there!


Very cool cover artwork. More details on the TB page here. Brilliant artwork by Ilya as per these examples....



Hopefully it will go down OK with players!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

More Steel!


Norm has kindly reminded me of the importance of German control of the air over Kursk. I have been doing some more thinking about that and I now have some numbers to report on.

Here is the basic data on German air sorties for the Citadel period on the Southern Front.



Making sense of this in relationship to the Soviet air effort and the ground fighting is next. Lots more to do!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Steel, Steel, Steel!



I'm afraid that Norm has encouraged me to start thing about Kursk again by playing Dark July and assorted other Kursk related games. Although this is a slow burner (like most of my projects), I have been doing work on it in between doing other stuff.

So, here is a really interesting question: what was the most powerful German unit on the southern front of the Citadel offensive? May be a great big SS panzer division? Grossdeutschland division?

Well, OK. You guys are quite right. The panzer pushers' favourites are the biggest baddest units on the southern front. 


I have been working on data about units strengths and the graph above shows the state of the German forces on the southern front on 4 July. What interests me is the strength of a couple of infantry divisions: 106 and 320.

So not as strong as the big guys but not at all shabby. So why were these units so strong? These two units formed Corps Raus, part of Army Det. Kempf. They are strong because of the sheer amount of attached artillery units. All corps assets were allocated at divisional level. So things to consider in designing the game are around what these scores actually mean in terms of manouvre ability, fire effects and combat capability. 

Steel, Steel, Steel! will be a solitaire game with the players leading the German onslaught. It will be designed around the same sort of ideas as my Ramadi game (which is obviously why I have this in mind at the moment, as well as Norm's enthusiastic prompting!). More to come, especially around the source of the numbers and how they will be developed into a realistic game.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

I've got a Vassal module and I know how to use it!


I'm currently working with a developer on the Ramadi game. He has come up with a Vassal module in the space of a few hours so is a bit of an expert. He did it more quickly than I could load Java and Vassal from scratch. Nevertheless, all done. Now ready for my first Vassal game. Very cool.

BTW the cups are the ISIS resource pools for IEDs, fighters and assets. I'm just trying to see if I get genuinely random selections from them.

Hopefully I will be back to normal by end July.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Fun in the Grey Zone!



I have been researching potential Grey Zone scenarios. I'm considering games about the battles in Georgia, Syria, the Baltic (potential) and also the Ukraine. I came across this video of a Ukrainian tank crew having a lot of fun with their tank and thought I would share it. I think this is just great fun.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Buffering.......



I have much going on in thinking terms, including the Ramadi design, so its time to unburden myself on the interweb.

New stuff.....

There appears to be quite a lot of interesting things on the way and some have already arrived.

Red Alert: Just on Kickstarter this is another Richard Borg/PSC collaboration. Command and Colors in space! Not sure its my cup of tea but interesting nonetheless.

Sticks and Stones v2.0: Tiny Battles have refurbished Sticks and Stones, the first of their Platoon Commander games, with redrafted rules and new player aid charts. I'm a big fan of Platoon Commander. As I already have this game, I'm really pleased that there is a free download of the revised rules/PACs which is available now.



Barbarossa: Kicking in the Door... A Russia 1941 campaign game for platoon level rules (of whatever ilk). I came across this on Wargames Vault here. It looks like a really substantial piece of work at the princely sum of $4.95 for the PDF. One for my Father's Day list I think!



New books.......

Well, new to me anyway. Stout Hearts by Ben Kite is a detailed technical description of how British forces actually did things in NW Europe. Lots of technical detail with good snippets from combat veterans. Also written by a real soldier so it has much veracity. Bolt Action players should read and inwardly digest :).



The Defense of Hill 781 by James R McDonough. Another book by a real soldier (his Platoon Leader memoir from Vietnam was superb). This one is a Duffers Drift re-run featuring an unfortunate Lt. Col who is condemned to purgatory (the US National Training Centre) and must successfully overcome the resident OPFOR to get to heaven. Excellent descriptions of how to lead a combined arms mechanized battalion in modern combat.


Last but not least, Losing Small Wars by Frank Ledwidge. This is a book by a former Naval Intelligence Officer. This one analyses the failings of the British Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. Brilliant, well written and insightful. If you need to read a book about the real world this is excellent. Also a brilliant exposition of the need for strategic leadership and a book I would happily take to work and make my colleagues read (along with Platoon Leader and Hill 781).



I have been playing Zombie in My Pocket, a free solo RPG. Very simple and quick. I was incited to do this by Alan on The Stronghold Rebuilt. A potential candidate for re-purposing into a modern house clearing game (Battle Drill 6 brilliant YouTube video). Also, I am being incited to play Norm Smith's Tigers at Minsk again after seeing this great replay on Sound Officers Call.

I knew the unburdening would work, my current themes seem to be centered around platoon level combat and realistic combat mechanisms. Time to get to work on the Grey Zone project again, hence my sniper icon at the top. Thanks for listening folks!

Sorry about the spelling, I seem to be speaking American today.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

News and...

news!



Not war in the Grey Zone (well not yet!) but the latest civil defence advice by the Swedish Government entitled "If Crisis or War Comes". A fascinating document, it reflects the increasing unease in Scandanavia and the Baltics about Russian posturing. Among the interesting things it says is that everyone from 16-70 is required to contribute to Sweden's Total Defence, in the army or civil organisations. It also makes the very striking statement that:
If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false.
As a child of the Cold War, under the very realistic threat of nuclear weapons, I recall being rather concerned about the public information films on TV. Not the namby pamby Protect and Survive but the "you have got four minutes from when you hear this siren!". Makes you think!

On the happier and safer wargame front, first up is some interesting news from Worthington. Not only are they prepping a Hold The Line ACW game but now they are working on:
HOLD THE LINE: SQUAD COMMANDER EUROPE
Squad level combat in Europe during WWII using the Hold the Line system.  American, British, Russian, Italian, and German forces fighting in a streamlined tactical system based on the Hold the Line system.
Not sure if this won't look a bit like Columbia's Combat Infantry but nevertheless right up my street!

The other new thing is Tiny Battle's Dark War


It is an RPG and has vampires and stuff in it, so not my normal sort of game. However, it is set in 1985 in a small German town in the aftermath of a Hot War and is a small scale skirmish game with AK47s and RPGs so has a very Twilight 2000 feel. It also has stands so you can make your counters stand up (standees!). I like that idea very much.