The Maps of Collapse – Wargaming the End of the Reich

By Paul Comben

 

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Let me begin by telling you about this extension kit I came up with many years ago. I was just a lad, but a lad with ambitions to turn my copy of Stalingrad into something that time-wise, went beyond spring 1943, and territory-wise, extended all the way to Berlin and Vienna. To achieve this, I drew a map on a bit of card, putting in the cities, the rivers, and the mountains – and because I had no way of drawing a hex grid, I did squares (of sorts); and when I had finished, after some time of trying to put everything where it was meant to go, it looked absolutely horrible… I mean, hideous to the point of travesty. But I was thirteen, and I did not care; I wanted my Berlin map, I wanted the drama of experiencing the death throes of the Third Reich; and just because all I had was a bit of card that was only slightly better marked out than a Viking’s idea of what Australia looked like, I saw no reason to deny myself the pleasure.

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The Last Thousand Hours of the Thousand Years Reich

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By Paul Comben

Even as American troops were still fighting to maintain their foothold on the east bank of the Rhine at Remagen, several hundred miles to the east, Josef Goebbels was touring portions of the German front along the Oder/Neisse line. Newsreel cameras followed him, ready to capture moments of steely defiance and resolve for the benefit of those audiences watching Der Deutsche Wochenschau. Goebbels tarried in the town of Lauban, recently recaptured from the Soviets. In the square, he addressed soldiers from the Lauban battle, including a diminutive sixteen year-old Willi Hubner. Hubner would survive the war and find himself being interviewed for various documentaries decades later. As for Goebbels, after greeting the new martial favourite of the Reich, Ferdinand Schörner, he moved on to Gorlitz, where he rallied the faithful in the last sizeable Nazi rally of the war.

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The Battle of Setauket – A Boardgaming Life Session Replay

By Mitchell Freedman

A personal reflection on the relationship between gaming rules, reality and the ties that bind them together.

There I was, hiding inside a church on the Setauket green, my British troops – the 3rd battalion of DeLancey’s Brigade – surrounded on all sides by angry colonists and their artillery.
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Only a few turns ago, there were more men in the church with me. But, two units had been cut down by wave after wave of fire from the local militia and the Colonial regulars, such as they were.

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Great (Big) War at Sea – A Board Gaming Life Series Review

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 by Paul Comben

There is an issue with naval board wargames that really does not apply to many other areas of the hobby. You can have some big beast of a Gettysburg game, or of Waterloo, or of Borodino; you can advance through the steppes of 1941 Russia with dozens of divisions; return to Cannae or Gaugamela with arms stretching to reach the extremities of your paper battlefield, but you might still have less administrative hassle, drag on gameplay, and threat of that precious weekend coming to a close far too quickly, than if you embark on grey seas to fight battles with the floating custodians of great matter and moment.

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Battleships Do Not Themselves a Battle Make – A Study of Naval Warfare in the Great War Era

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by Paul Comben

In the heady and desperately deluded days of August 1914, the doubts of the few were readily drowned out by the confident assertions of the many – “Home Before the Leaves Fall”; “Back by Christmas”; “On to Paris!”; “Forward to Berlin!”; and within the various casts of naval nonsense, “Der Tag” (the day of reckoning) for the Germans, and “A Second Trafalgar” (sink everything in sight) for the British.

Needless to say, none of it ever occurred.

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Several Ways with The Hundred Days

 

By Paul Comben

This is a simply a light look at all the Waterloo campaign games I have owned and played over the years. I have tried to include just about anything with at least some campaign element to it, but pure recreations of the climatic battle are not present – so no Wellington’s Victory or The Thin Red Line etc.

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Furthermore, I am not going into any deep detail as to how the qualifying games are played. What I am looking at (chattily) is how these games reflected (or failed to reflect) the issues in my Waterloo as an Utter Waste of Time article – that is, operational manoeuvre room, the issue of time, the weather, and command and control.

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Waterloo – An Utter Waste of Time

by Paul Comben

 

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According to Helmuth von Moltke, no military plan ever survived first contact with the enemy. According to the Duke of Wellington, his plans were to be best thought of as tatty old bits of harness which could be knotted and pieced back together whenever anything snapped or fell off. For Napoleon, perhaps the single most important factor in a campaign’s success was to be found in one of his favourite maxims: “activité, activité, vitesse, vitesse.” This is best translated by recalling Stonewall’s words about surprising and mystifying your enemy – or in other words, acting quicker than they did and generally getting a move on.

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Iron and Oak – A Boardgaming Life Review

Game Design by James M. Day

GMT Games LLC

Review by Mitchell Freedman

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The box cover says Iron and Oak is a game of “ship-to ship combat during the American Civil War. “

The cover is far too modest. Its really a whole lot more.

Iron and Oak is a game of naval combat, with several  scenarios in the “brown water” rivers and bays where navigation can become a problem. So can the enemy forts that go on the edge of the map and can use plunging fire on the ships below.

Players might run into shoals and have to get their ship re-floated, or they could encounter mines or other obstructions, or powerful currents which can carry their ships where they don’t want to go. There are damage control parties, tables of critical hits, and – perhaps most important – die rolls which determine not only the results of combat, but whether a captain can move his ship at all.

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Founding Fathers: Review

A Preliminary Review of Founding Fathers

by Mark D.

Founding Fathers - Board Game Review


Overview

You’re John Adams, President of the United States and Conservative Party leader in the fledgling American republic. George Washington has retired from public life, leaving massive shoes for you to fill. The nation is growing in leaps and bounds and the issues you must contend with grow more complicated and inflammatory each day. Are you up to the task?
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Le Vol de L’Aigle – A Board Gaming Life After Action Report

 

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By Harvey Mossman

 

Last year, our wargaming group in Long Island decided to play Le Vol de l’Aigle via email with myself as umpire.  It was an extremely fascinating experience.  We chose the 1806 Prussian campaign that culminated in the famous dual battles of Jena- Auerstadt because the armies were fairly evenly matched in numbers and opposing forces were not so distant from each other that enemy contact would be unduly delayed.

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