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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 12:23 pm 
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Armada has no card movement, but you do have order tokens, which you have to stack on top of one another. A Star Destroyer has a stack 3 deep, which means that you have to plan 3 turns in advance. Every turn you take an order off the top and use it, and add a new one to the bottom. Corvettes only have a stack of 1, so you pick an order and use it immediately - even though a corvette is far weaker than a star destroyer (about a quarter of the firepower of a Victory star destroyer) that gives it amazing flexibility and responsiveness in comparison, so they have great use.

Also the movement and firing phase is extremely rigid, you fire, THEN you move. that simple expedient means you have to plan at least one turn ahead, as you can't move into position and let rip. Of course movement is pretty constrained so you can guess where the Rebel terrorists are likely to be without a huge problem.

Then you have starfighters on top, which in Armada cannot really operate effectively without a nearby capital ship. There's quite a lot of depth in the interactions here, even though the rules are fairly simple, and the expansion adds a lot of fighters which especially on the Rebel side have quite different functions and uses.

Perhaps best of all you can play a game of it through to the end in a couple of hours, so it's actually playable!

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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 10:33 am 
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EUBanana wrote:

Perhaps best of all you can play a game of it through to the end in a couple of hours, so it's actually playable!



That's something I tend to value more these days. I still have a few wargames but holy fuckstains the time investment. Not to mention ever finding an opponent also willing to commit that much time. :lol:

Fortunately there has been an explosion of co-operative and solo-friendly games in the past few years so I don't need to schedule my mini & cardboard pushing around others' schedules when I feel the need. I think at least half my collection has actual solitaire rules and don't require 10 hours. :geek:

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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 1:34 pm 
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Hey, when you get the chance post some pix of the Sails of Glory game components.


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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 12:30 am 
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mdiehl wrote:
Hey, when you get the chance post some pix of the Sails of Glory game components.


Will do. Think I punched the cardboard stuff, just haven't played it yet.

I recall picking up a couple extra ships but realized that I would need the damn ship display mats & accessories if I wanted to run a 3v3 (as opposed to the 2v2 in the core set). When I looked at the time, they were sold out every damn place. "Out Of Print" happens far too regularly in this hobby.

I dunno when I'll get around to playing, but when the table's clear I'll open it up and take some shots.


Next arrival will be the '70s cold war spy game Agents of SMERSH, similar to Arkham Horror mechanics-wise and in the nuttiest Bond vein. Damn thing has been out of print for almost three years but fortunately the KS reprint just started shipping.

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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:08 pm 
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Solitaire play of base game, with a few KS extras. In the middle of the Cold War Spy action:

Agents Of SMERSH
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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:32 pm 
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Sorting the 700+ cards in Legendary Encounters: Predator into their sub-decks.


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Took me almost two hours to sort (two layers worth), count mini-deck numbers for completion, and stick them in the box w/ dividers. Still more enjoyable than punching & clipping wargame counters. :P

Still has co-op/solo play, as in the Aliens version, but I'm curious about how the new competitive rules turned out (competing predator players).

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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:24 pm 
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Lovecraft time!

Only three turns into a solitaire game of Eldritch Horror and my three investigators are already riddled with Madnesses & Injuries. :knuppel2:

Shub-Niggurath will be having it's way with me if I don't turn this around soon. The Black Goat Of The Woods doesn't give reach-arounds AFAIK, either. And with the murphy'd dice rolls I've been having, who needs Curses?


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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:50 pm 
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It takes a special breed to handle all that.

The old fart, even in his best days, had problems with Monopoly.

Can you get Computer aids like Aide de camp for them?

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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:22 am 
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abradley wrote:
It takes a special breed to handle all that.

The old fart, even in his best days, had problems with Monopoly.

Can you get Computer aids like Aide de camp for them?


There are "virtual tabletop" computer versions for most of them. Such as Vassal, Zun Tzu, and a 3D one - Tabletop Simulator .

Not all tabletop games have modules for those, but most do between all those. Many are free modules. None of those have AI or anything; they're meant for net play or saving table space and you generally need the rules, charts, etc. A few publishers demand that some aspect of the components aren't copied into the game, such as Fantasy Flights past insistence that some of the card text not be shown in the module, so that ownership of the physical game is still required to some extent. The ones that don't have free modules are often sold by the publisher (such as Dan Verssen games).

Still.. you can find a large number that are digitally represented and just download their rules & charts PDFs. I don't expect to use these engines unless playing people multi-player over the 'net. The other reason to use them would be so that you don't have to worry about leaving big games out on the table, or when you don't have enough space, but I have a dedicated gaming table right now so pushing the physical bits around is more enjoyable.

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 Post subject: Re: Tabletop Gaming
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:11 pm 
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A siege in cardboard or:
Quote:
SOUTHEAST ASIA

Hell on a Very Small Map
BY BRUCE GERYK ⋅ JANUARY 26, 2015 ⋅ POST A COMMENT



It isn’t often that two games on the same subject get released in the same month. Unless that subject is zombies, in which case there were two games released each day last week. But my mailbox presented me with MMP’s Storm Over Dien Bien Phu as well as Legion Wargames’ Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble in the same month last fall. If you went to the guy next door and asked him to tell you what Dien Bien Phu was or you’d shoot him, you’d already be in jail. And for good reason, too. I mean, who does that?

In my lifetime I’ve witnessed the passing of many historical episodes into the relevance attic that marks the transition of collective consciousness to something no longer shared by large part of society. When I was growing up, Pearl Harbor and Vietnam were instant points of connection with anyone you might meet, regardless of their education or experience. Those places are probably now taken by 9/11 and Iraq/Afghanistan. Before 1914, the Franco-Prussian War was a ubiquitous psychological phantom for the entire French Republic. The events of 1914-18 provided an entirely new touchstone, and 1940-44 essentially buried 1870 forever. Later came Algeria and Dien Bien Phu.

I’m not sure Dien Bien Phu was ever in the American collective consciousness, although I’d be happily corrected by any cultural historians that might take issue with my understanding of the trans-Atlantic relevance of the end of the French empire. It’s hard to remember the breadth of the collapse of colonialism except as a historical record, rather than the remarkable fact that within my own living memory, a nation like Portugal was messily divesting itself of its claims to a significant portion of Africa. It’s this historical moment that has passed, and with it our familiarity with certain issues, and the way they shaped the world.

But these games aren’t about the post-colonial period. They are about a single battle. As such, they lack that very context. Which is why we read books.

There are basically two books (in English) about Dien Bien Phu that you need to read to say that you’re at least moderately informed about that whole thing. One of them is Hell in a Very Small Place by Bernard Fall, a French-Jewish journalist of Austrian birth who was killed in Vietnam in 1967 and whose access to French records a decade after the battle did much to illuminate a dark place of French military history. He’s also a fantastic writer. His Street Without Joy should be an extra bonus book for you about “the French debacle in Indochina.” Everyone knows Bernard Fall, and everyone cites him, and he is unfortunately no longer living.

Your second book needs to be The Last Valley by the British journalist/editor Martin Windrow, published in 2004 on the 50th anniversary of the battle. Windrow states in his preface that he is “not an academically trained historian,” which originally gave me pause when combined with his admission that the book was “a synthesis of secondary sources.” However, those secondary sources were at least French. There are historical moments that seem not just temporally but also linguistically isolated from English speakers. One such example is the northern crusades in the Baltic and the history of the Teutonic Knights, exhaustively documented in German historiography, less so in Polish, Baltic, and Russian, and almost not at all in English.* Another example might be Dien Bien Phu. So if Windrow wants to synthesize the French literature on the subject to which my high school command of the language doesn’t give me access, I’m grateful.

The Last Valley does a great job above all of explaining the stakes of the French commitment to this remote outpost in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, in his preface, Windrow places it squarely in context.

It is perhaps Britain’s greatest historical blessing that since 1689 the continuity of our institutions has saved the British Army from making political choices. By contrast, France’s 200 troubled years as a serial republic, interspersed with brief periods of less than constitutional monarchy and of foreign occupation, have confronted her army on at least six occasions with disputed claims to the legitimate leadership of the state. Like a human personality, a country’s and an army’s sense of itself at any particular moment is the product of the memories of the past, and the choices it makes in moments of crisis will be dictated to a great extent by its particular tribal myths. Every generation in France’s military history between at least 1870 and 1962 was connected, by chains which have been held up to the light for English readers by Alistair Horne** in his several fascinating books. Dien Bien Phu was an important link in one of those chains.

None of that has anything to do with Dien Bien Phu games, except that it explains why the events on the board had the repercussions they did. Which is important, because the absence of this context is what I think deprives many good games of the satisfaction of closure. At least games about a single battle.

“Battle games” used to be a lot more popular than they are now, probably because campaign games suddenly got a lot more manageable. That’s almost entirely due to technological advancement, I think: Gary Grigsby’s War in Russia stretched the limits of what interfaces could do in 1993, but the only limitations on 2011’s War in the East interface are the designer’s own. When forced to make a choice between a battle and a war, the fact remains that it’s a lot less satisfying from a wargaming perspective to decisively win the battle of Borodino as Napoleon than it is to force Russia to surrender in 1812. Once upon a time we played games about Gettysburg and Waterloo, and now we play games about the whole course of European and American history. Thanks, Philippe Thibaut. Thanks, Paradox.

Kim Kanger, who designed Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble, also designed a game called Tonkin: The First Indochina War, or La Guerre d’Indochine. Maybe at some point in the future, I’ll review that. But the sense you get from an operational game about four years of war is very different from that you see in a game about 57 days of siege. And I submit that the focus you get by concentrating on one mountain valley in 1954 gives you a different, but equally satisfying, sense of finality.

I wanted to do a comparative review of Kim Kanger’s and Nick Richardson’s Dien Bien Phu games. One way would have been to spend three thousand words and twenty screenshots to do it. But I thought that in these days of video and streaming, that seemed kind of archaic, and who knows how many people would have gotten past word five hundred. So I decided to try the video route as an experiment. Once I started, I realized I could include more than just those two games, since there really aren’t that many Dien Bien Phu games in general. I’m pretty lukewarm on the current format of video reviews (“Hi, here is the game box, here are the counters, oh what a nice map …”) so I thought I’d take a different approach. Consider it the first “wargaming documentary” if you will. And please let me know if it was worth it via the comments section. I have a lot of ideas about what I could do next, but if this isn’t interesting then it could be a very short-lived experiment. The five videos in this series will be:

Citadel – Frank Chadwick/GDW (1977)
La vallee de la mort – Paul Rohrbaugh/Against the Odds (2006)
Storm Over Dien Bien Phu – Nick Richardson/MMP (2014)
Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble – Kim Kanger/Legion Wargames (2014)
Dien Bien Phu scenario of Operational Art of War – Norm Koger/TalonSoft (1998); Dien Bien Phu – John Tiller/HPS (2009)
I hope you enjoy the first video.
Remember it well, was in USAF Basic Training, in formation, when there was a stir and a whispered 'Diem Bien Phu fell' came down the ranks ...

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