31 May 2010

KG Stachwitz

Yesterday, the Gametowne boys of San Diego got together at Gametowne to play out a battle from Unternehmen Zitadelle using Mein Panzer rules.  The Germans were outnumbered 2:1, which seemed to make it a fair fight, given the superiority of the Pz VI E's and the Pz V A's [should be the 'D' model], even with their teething problems.  There were a fair amount of Pz IV H's in the fight, as well.  All of these tanks were up against the redoubtable T-34/76, which should have been no match for the tough German tanks.  Well, superior maneuver by the Soviets undid much of that advantage, and the Germans lost when they only managed to trade one for one in tank losses.  I was somewhat at a loss to explain their defeat, but defeat it was, and rather too handily.  I identified some problems with the scenario, and also made the requisite number of refereeing errors.  These tended to wash out for both sides.  Will have to consider what happened the last time the scenario was played, when the Germans thoroughly beat up on the Soviets on their way to a victory.

Saturday, I played in an ongoing campaign with the Anaheim-based Saturday Night Irregulars, revolving around Buttdorf, a fictional battle somewhere on the German border.  We now are facing off against attacking German Pz IV's somewhere in the vicinity of 8-4/8-5 (see map to left).  So far, the Germans have mounted a totally successful attack on an unoccupied hill.  We will see how they do when they find out where the US forces are.

Our next gaming event will be a non-ODGW game, Formula D, a Euro-style Formula One racing game.  It has a nice balance of random elements and tactics that keep the game interesting, as well as numerous Grand Prix race courses from around the world.  Should be a good time, and a welcome change from strict wargaming death and destruction.

27 May 2010


One of the best places to advertise, even better than taking out an ad in the convention program, is to have an event listed in the Historicon PEL.  It gets more scrutiny than any other description of the event.  So new editions and redesigns are well-positioned in games that make the deadline for the online PEL.

Iron-banging fun

Sometimes you just want to bang away with tanks in a WWII game.  There is no better place than Kursk, 1943, for this type of battle, and that is the scenario coming up this Sunday for the San Diego Gametowne group. Hammer and tongs, all the way.  No poor, bloody infantry to get in the way of the mayhem.  We will see how the vile Nazis fare against the despicable Bolsheviks.  No kudos to either side for winning.

23 May 2010

New offering

ODGW is currently in negotiation for a new series that will further enhance its naval complement of games.  More will be revealed as soon as the negotiations are completed.

22 May 2010

Happiness is...

...a new game.  Nothing buoys the spirits like a new game, or module, or book.  It means hours of pleasure tearing into the thing and trying it out.  To go along with this, I have started the process of divesting myself of games that are good, but that I will never play again.  It is time to admit it — there never will be enough time and, quite frankly, interest.  So up the games will go, on ebay, BoardgameGeek, and other places.  Just trying to get the most I can as I sell these items off.  No doubt it will hurt, but that is the way it should be.  Getting rid of the games will free up so much space — space I do not have.

18 May 2010

San Diego gaming

We had a game down in San Diego this weekend, a refight of the First Battle of Savo Island.  One of the problems with this battle is that it is almost impossible without masses of rules to recreate the conditions which led to such a spectacular loss by the Allies.  It has the same problem that strategic WWII games suffer from, i.e., how can France lose so quickly.  In both cases there often are "idiot" rules.  In the ODGW version of the battle, we use it as an optional start for our Solomons Campaign.  Even with strong rules hampering the Allies, it is very lucky if the Kaigun can pull off an historical result.  In Sunday's playing of the battle, the Japanese lost one destroyer to the Allies one destroyer, one or two minesweepers, and two transports off Tulagi.   Not bad at all, considering.  Rated a tactical victory for the IJN.

Next time I am in San Diego I am going to run a straight up armour bashing for the Gametowne guys.  They like Mein Panzer, and have enjoyed the two games played so far.  After that, in two weeks, I go down to run Formula One racing using Formula D, a re-issue of the original Formula Dé.  Should be fun.  With Historicon looming sooner than I think, it will be a quite a spring and summer's worth of gaming.

14 May 2010

WWII & Facebook

This is priceless — WWII on Facebook.  It's a generational thing.

13 May 2010


An offer has been made to us to publish the ongoing chapters of an already existing set of rules.  Whether we will or not is the question of the day.

12 May 2010

Historicon scenario

I am running a playtest version of American Battlelines at Historicon, titled "Diversion at Glass Mill."  It is on Saturday morning at 10a.  Stop by and say hello, or better yet, sign up for the game.  It is a very interesting scenario.

10 May 2010


I now have enough lead for the ACW, ECW, and WWII to put on quite a war all by myself.  The scale for the early periods is 10mm, while I persist in my appreciation of microarmour, 6mm, for WWII.  It just looks so right for the dimensions of the table and the ranges.  15mm is beautiful, but I come unhinged when two tanks with barrels practically touching are 50 or more yards apart.  Just do not have that issue with 6mm.  The MMG have routinely used 6mm for pure infantry battles, one of the arguments for larger scales, and had great success.

I alway wonder why a rules set is indicated as for a specific scale.  For 15-20mm, you can just put more small figures on the stands, and everything looks great.  This is what I intend to do for two other games I want to play, which (gasp!) are not ODGW creations.  The rules I am intrigued by are Battlegroup Panzergrenadier, which I have never played, and Kampfgruppe Commander, which I have played several times.  BgPz uses the squad as the smallest unit, while KGC uses the platoon.  It is nice to mix things up a bit, rather than play the same thing every time.

Merchant ships of WWII

Here is a very useful link for tracing merchant ships, using the scanned Lloyd's Register from 1930-45.

08 May 2010

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.15

I have had several games of the latest rules, and I have come up with a very satisfying way of handling skirmishers, which takes the place of the original rules, which were kludgey at best.  Skirmishers now successfully harass, but can be disposed of with ease by a well-timed bayonet charge.  I am very pleased with the play of the game now.  There are fewer dice rolls than before, and the interaction is smooth, even with the optional Command chapter.  It is now a very viable rules set.

02 May 2010

Little Wars convention

Little Wars has come and gone, and I had an even better time than last year, when it was, by my accounting, pretty good.  Played in four games over a three day con, and enjoyed all the games, even if I had to keep my right hand from going for the green pen, Dr Strangelove-style, on some of the rules sets.  First was Mein Panzer — a Khalkyin Gol scenario of the Russo-Japanese battles of 1939.  Well-designed scenario run by a novice to the system who had never run or played MP with anyone else.  Came to his assistance a few times, and that helped keep the game moving.  Did not even mind that it was in 15mm, which is too big for this 6mm diehard.

Saturday, there were two AWI games from rules sets that I had never heard of.  Both used a modified buckets-of-dice system, with one having more historical accuracy than the other.  Still, neither inspired me to run out and purchase their systems, though I fell prey to the scenario book that one game had published.  Maybe I will spring for their ruleset now.  This latter game was almost spoiled by referee "helpers," i.e., co-authors of the game, who were so interested in moving the game along for each side that they were taking decisions out of the hands of the players.  They let up after a complaint, and we went ahead and made our own horrid errors.  Somehow we muddled through, as the colonists posted their second AWI victory in games I played.

Sunday morning I spent trying out a new WWI – WWII naval game, called Naval Thunder.  There were aspects of it I liked, and others I did not like so much.  My personal reservations about the game did not stop me from having my IJN DD put four torpedoes into Prince of Wales.  Bottoms up!  The Sunday afternoon agenda was the First Army Division museum in Wheaton, IL, for which my buddy and fellow traveller Tim can do a visual narrative from the number of pictures he took.  Good static displays of everything from a M5 Stuart through various AFV incarnations to a M1 Abrams.  Some infantry guns, too.

Did I forget to mention great pizza?  And Hooked on History bookshop? How could I forget keeping from reflexively reaching for my billfold like Tim, who is a candidate for carpo-tunnel syndrome from his continual wallet-grabbing.  Found some gems amongst owner Bruce Herrick's "rubbish" books at Hooked on History, and some of the discounted $10 books.  Nice.

Last gaming-related event was a visit to Games Plus, who took some of my money for an out-of-print Runequest Glorantha book and the inevitable dice.  Good to find blank versions of D12's and D20's.  May have to get some more of their out-of-print Runequest stuff.

All in all, a great break from the mundane and somewhat stale daily events.  Almost sorry to be back, but am looking forward to the next travel squad event for me and the intrepid few to the east coast and Historicon.