28 January 2010

MMG and Hidden Movement

The most complicated spotting method you are likely to see is the one used by the Miracle Mile Gamers, who value subterfuge over everything.  Even though it slows down the game, they are willing to have the referee make judgment calls over every line of sight and hidden unit than to put dummy and real counters on the board.  I am going to try and overturn this convention when next I run a game for the MMG dudes.  I think there will be howls of protest. But I am looking at anything that will speed up the game, and this most certainly will.

Recommended modules

There are many good scenario books available now.  Four publishers in particular sell useful products.  Treadhead Games pitches their scenarios at exactly the scale of Mein Panzer.  They have two scenario books covering lesser known areas of WWII, that are well worth the effort.  First is White Death, covering the Soviet-Finnish war in 1939.  The second is Balkans on Fire, covering Italians vs Greece, then some Commonwealth vs German scenarios.  Another good source for scenarios is the Rapid Fire modules that can be downloaded from the Wargame Vault. These translate into MP fairly simply, although it takes some getting used to the Rapid Fire method of OoB's.  Too Fat Lardies produces a number of huge scenario campaigns available for download.  Finally, Skirmish Campaigns puts out books that are located at a level that might be better for the forthcoming Meine Truppen, but they can be scaled up to a next larger scale without too much problem.  Just try to keep the same number of pieces on the map as the scenarios call for, and you should do all right.

Our group just recently ran a Soviet-Finnish game out of the Treadhead games book, that the Finnish barely won.  They had to kill a lot of the enemy to do it, though.  And I can now legitimately say that I have won at least once in a Mein Panzer game.

26 January 2010

New General Quarters module

Our latest offering for General Quarters will be a huge module, offering both a naval and land component.  The design team we have compiled has done an amazing job of researching the various parts of the campaign we are presenting.  It promises to be an engrossing look at a little-known era of naval warfare, and should provide phenomenal replay value.  Concurrent with its release will be Amendment 2 for GQIII/FAI, which will bring the rules up-to-date with the previous Amendment 1 and introduce some additional changes and optional rules.  We are very excited about this new project, which is currently in beta testing.  As we progress further along, we will begin keeping everyone posted about its subject matter and how it is developing.

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.10

I have just recently revised the process- or mechanic-driven system of American Battlelines for an experiment.  I am trying element-based, or stand-based, determination for combat, morale, etc.  The Kill Value number on the table, normally associated with the number of figures on stands, will instead equal the number of stands firing.  No figure counting, which means the number of figures per stand is truly irrelevant.  All infantry stands take four hits to remove, cavalry take three, and artillery take two (two guns per stand).  Artillery is using the newly revised method which has gun factors assigned for each type of artillery gun.  This makes for a much simpler and smoother resolution of combat, with approximately the same effect as before.  It will be interesting to playtest this experimental way of playing the game.

16 January 2010

Skewed views

One has to be careful about where one looks for information.  Long ago a poll was taken on The Miniatures Page about the most popular WWII rules, and Mein Panzer came out on top.  Today, it might barely merit a mention.  Has it stopped being played?  No, not according to our forum and to our sales figures.  We have recently updated it and that has been well-received.  It does mean that newer games have come out and that there are very vocal factions that frequent certain forums, while other gamers do not, or are not as prone to comment.  If you believe what you read on TMP, everyone plays either I Ain't Been Shot Mum, from Too Fat Lardies, or Flames of War from Battlefront Games.  Now I, of course, have my opinions of these games, and I have played them, but they are well-supported by their respective companies and worthy choices for gaming.   However, they are not the only WWII games out there, and many others should be considered that do not enjoy as much press.  Panzertruppe from LMW Works is a little gem of a game that should be better received than it has been.  Schwere Kompanie from Troy Ritter is another fine game few people seem to know about.  Panzer, from StrikeNet Games, is a revision by the original author of the old Yaquinto game of the same name, but now for miniatures without hexes.  The first two are inexpensive and comprehensive, especially SK, and Panzer can be had as a download relatively cheaply.  For battalion level games, where a stand equals a platoon, Kampfgruppe Commander is an excellent choice, though few have chosen it.  There are others I have not mentioned.

Now I am not advocating these over Mein Panzer — that would not be very bright.  I am simply pointing out how the flavor of the moment and where one gets one's information determines how well a rules set does.

15 January 2010

Artillery and the ubiquitous deviation

In almost every WWII game, indirect fire artillery fire deviates randomly.  This is patently incorrect, as spotting rounds that came in were invariably corrected and fire brought on target in almost every case.  There were rare cases of short rounds in the war, and they became so infamous that games endeavor to recreate them in every artillery shoot.  A recent discussion on the Forum at the ODGW web site illustrates the confusion over how artillery worked, and works.  The rules for Mein Panzer and certainly for Meine Truppen will be amended to account for this reality.

For those of you who want a lucid explanation directed at the layman on how artillery works, go here.  It will give you all you really need to know about how artillery works, and how different nations employed this essential arm of combat during the Second World War.

13 January 2010

Macs & Windows

As a confirmed Mac-head, I have always bemoaned the fact that there has not, until recently, been enough interest shown in making applications usable for the Mac. Well, that has changed for several reasons. First, the Mac is now using the Intel chip, which is the same as in PC's.  This means virtual Windows software is much easier and faster running on Macs.  Second, Apple has the benefit of "cool," what with iPods, iPhones, and all sorts of other neat products, like their wafer-thin and light MacBook Air, so more people are buying them.  Finally, the sheer power of the latest Mac's and their own native Boot Camp allows virtual Windows to run on the machines with little drop off in performance.

Even better is not having to purchase Windows in the first place.  Wine, which stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator, was first designed for Linux.  As the the web site says, "Rather than acting as a full emulator, Wine implements a compatibility layer, providing alternative implementations of the DLLs that Windows programs call, and processes to substitute for the Windows NT kernel."  However it works, if you are good at programming, you can implement Wine for free.  However, a company called Codeweavers is compiling a database of Windows programs that will run under the Mac Wine interface, so that Mac owners can use their computers at work without switching.  As a Codeweaver advocate, I try to get my chosen Windows programs to run under CrossOver, the Wine program from Codeweavers.  So far I am batting about .500, which is not too bad.  It is great when a program to which you were denied due to your computer choice suddenly works.

03 January 2010

Real wargaming

Here is how it really should be.

Deuces Wild AAR

Here is another of the Miracle Mile Gamers groups battles.  This time it was much more fair.