Forum Replies Created
05/09/2014 at 08:35 in reply to: The Intersection of Simulation and Beer & Pretzels #7124
Sorry, I did know that, purely finger trouble, but apologies to both of you!
Well just a brief update. Solo playtested my CWC 1:1 adaptions a few times this week, and they seemed to work pretty well, albeit purely armour v armour. As you predicted, there were some C2 issues, and I think I will have to provide NATO platoon level ‘Combat Elements’ with their own commands, whilst the Sovs will have to get by with Company command teams. But all reasonably historical to my mind, and a great excuse to get more exotic kit out on the table! Next step is some all-arms solo playtesting, and then to inflict it all on someone at the club. Will probably be a while, but in case anyone is interested will raise a separate post once there is anything to update.
Thanks again!04/09/2014 at 22:48 in reply to: Woo-hoo – Cold War Brits and Canucks in 15mm from QRF getting closer.. #710804/09/2014 at 22:35 in reply to: The Intersection of Simulation and Beer & Pretzels #7105
If I buy a set of rules, I want a set of rules. Not a flippin’ toolkit.
Well of course that’s exactly what you get with Black Powder straight out of the box – in spades! The toolkit add-ons should you later wish to ‘customise’ your game for a particular campaign or scenario are a big billy bonus!
Reminds me of a story about Admiral ‘Jacky’ Fisher, the irascible Admiral who put the Royal Navy into shape for WW1. He reinvented the concept of a monitor – a no frills platform whose sole purpose was to provide Naval Gunfire Support – no armour, no communications and flag suite, no boat deck, no ‘admiral’s walk’. On being shown around the first in class by its enthusiastic Captain, the latter waxed lyrical about its new mixed fuel propulsion plant. Jacky struck the rail in disgust and was said to have expleted: Damn your fancy engines, all I wanted was a simple bloody hull built around the biggest bloody pair of guns they could find!
The deflated 4 -ringer rallied bravely and enquired of the exasperated First Lord where he was to find tugboats that would tow his guns to within effective range of an enemy coast!
(To Jacky’s credit, the story is that he saw the funny side!)04/09/2014 at 08:26 in reply to: The Intersection of Simulation and Beer & Pretzels #7047
I wonder who set the bar that high–and why?
Well I should probably recognise that in my case our resident club critic has had a personality by-pass…but it does get to me all the same when what you think of as a great set of rules that you could all play together gets written off. or half the club are scared to use, because of one anomalous situation seized on by that individual. You know – that one that every club seems to have who, despite never actually running a game himself, somehow has assumed the role of deciding whats hot and what’s not – until he loses with a ‘hot’ set, of course…
Sorry, this has degenerated into a bit of a rant, but my point is that if designing a set of rules, allow them to be defensible to critics if you make necessary shortcuts or decide not to cover that last percentile of possibilities…03/09/2014 at 22:55 in reply to: The Intersection of Simulation and Beer & Pretzels #7016
One of my objections to many rule sets (regardless of their category) is that they address many common situations through special-case rules. My issue with this is that then playing the game is practically a quiz on the rules where the player who knows the various special-case rules better and can apply them to his advantage is likely to prevail.
You got that right! Although I’m not a huge of FOW, a lot of my very Battlefront loyal mates are shaking their heads over the large increase of ‘special case’ rules that only the tournament geek can bother to remember.
The problem though with having rules that only cover 99% of probabilities is that the one time you find the rules force you to do something silly or ahistorical – that’s the one time your clubs hyper-critical grognard is watching! Thereafter any mention of that ruleset will be met by snorts and eye-rolls from that direction!02/09/2014 at 22:54 in reply to: Woo-hoo – Cold War Brits and Canucks in 15mm from QRF getting closer.. #6913
Getting back to the OP, I wonder if Geoff is back from the Ukraine yet, ready to cast up those Helmeted Brits – I now have this months wargaming dosh burning a hole in my pocket…02/09/2014 at 22:44 in reply to: The Intersection of Simulation and Beer & Pretzels #6910
Great that you guys are enjoying your liberation from petty questions of column, line and square. Personally I find it interesting to have to ensure my battalions are in what seem to be the most appropriate formation for the tactical circumstances they are currently in, and that are foreseeable….(well, not squares, to be honest, they sort of come in automatically if required as an emergency response in the opponents phase). But I don’t think having this petit-tactical role necessarily rules out a higher level role of deciding what my grand tactical strategy might be…because there are perfectly good rulesets out there right now that deliver both!
Yes – I’m one of those that wants their cake and eat it – micro managing the small stuff at Battalion level, but also concerned with the grand sweep of the overall Corps. Just like Davout, or Wellington…01/09/2014 at 08:24 in reply to: Woo-hoo – Cold War Brits and Canucks in 15mm from QRF getting closer.. #6675
My biggest complaint was the original Kursk Book I bought. Okay and lets be clear about this: I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed and it has to be said that I found the book quite confusing but once you get the hang of the rules they’re worth the effort.
Exactly so! And the generic small rulebook really helps with this as it has all the rules concentrated together without all the campaign bumpf…01/09/2014 at 08:19 in reply to: BATTLEGROUP NORMANDY AAR: “BETWEEN A ROCK AND A FEST ORT” #6671
I don’t think they’re TTG Sam – the TTG swords looked like telegraph poles!
I can’t say too much as I am involved in the play testing, and so bound to secrecy by the most terrible and awesome oaths, but Sam Mustafa’s Blucher has a fun and effective campaign system as an add-on to the rules, intended to provide game settings. I’ve never been much of one for campaigning as people tend to lose interest and fall away! (unless you’re playing with a group locked down for a 6 month submarine patrol!) But, purely for play testing Sam’s system, a dreaded whole evening of playing through successive campaigns to the point where a gameable scenario was achieved was great fun! And, first timers all, we played through 4 campaigns in about 3 and a half hours!30/08/2014 at 23:47 in reply to: The Intersection of Simulation and Beer & Pretzels #6538
or worse, non-historical motivators to drive historical results.An example of the latter can be seen in Command Points and in Command Radius. A fundamental criticism of Command Points is relating them to the issuing or orders. As yourself, have you ever read an account of a battle where a general lamented how he didn’t have a method for issuing an order? Or, better yet, when he thought to himself, “I issued the attack order to the I Corps first because it was most important and I knew whichever order I issued first had the best chance of success.” Well, I have never read such accounts.
Good point, and of course I have never read such accounts either! But primary historical sources are often as much about what is left unrecorded, since the writer assumes the everyday and obvious doesn’t need to be remarked upon. Whilst I cannot immeadiately find you a historical source, I’ll eat my hat if even the most successful battlefield commanders didn’t steadily develop tunnel vision as the battle developed, and concentrated their nervous energy, and fleetest ADC’s, on ensuring a particular Corps carried out their wishes! Which is a long winded way of saying, the game’s command activiation mechanic, in forcing the player to prioritise his impact on the action, is realistic in its effect if not in its format or phrasing.
I think the answer to your question lies in market segmentation. Yes some wargamers prefer detailed simulation a la Empire V. But I suspect most are reasonably happy with ‘beer and pretzels’ thinly disguised with a veneer of historical authenticity.
Probably the most successful are those which provide the toolkit to do either, so that tired, time poor or ‘fun first – history second’ gamers can throw down a ‘pick up game’ fast, but those blessed with a compulsive-obsessive period tragic in their group can allow him to take the time prior to the game to add the period and campaign chrome through tweaking the unit stats and characteristics, and delving through the tool kit of special rules and add-ons to fit that particular battle. As you may know, I consider Black Powder, and its stable-mate Hail Caesar, to be such a happy medium!
So, FWIW, my advice would be to have the ‘beer and pretzels’ aspect prominent during the actual game play, and the ‘simulation’ aspect as a voluntary add-on before the game starts…
Around these parts the Anzac biscuit tin seems to be de-rigeur for carrying buckets’ o dice around….
Paraguay claims to have 3 operational M4 Shermans as it’s main battle tank!
Not as daft as it sounds – very few logistic and repair issues I would think! And pretty mobile at high altitude! An out-dated runner will beat a state of the art recovery job any day!
I have to say I’ve never drunk or experienced people drinking much whilst wargaming…too much driving involved in Oz I suspect – one crowd of very posh North Sydneysiders make a point of demolishing a bottle of vintage Grange during their games, but that’s a bottle between 4-5 of them…and fairly apt for Horse and Musket gaming somehow. My problem is, after 23 years in the navy, most of it ‘before the mast’ I can’t simply do ‘a’ drink – when I drink I do it properly until I have to retire for the night suitably ‘tired and confused’ – ex Senior Rates officially never actually get ‘drunk’ – that would suggest someone has blundered in giving them the Queen’s Commission!
That said I absolutely love a session with the players after a massive mega-game to swap our war stories – unfortunately, given the driving issue, it happens very rarely! I’m hoping that a few of us will book a hotel for the middle evening of our Waterloo Mega bicentennial game nest year though!
Flecktarn has already taken Mike’s shilling- he hasn’t posted for a while but may be deployed or on Ex… as for the others I would let them know but my posts on TMP about TWW mysteriously disappear…..
Also the Peruvians are, or were until recently, fighting a major brown water navy/amphibious war on drugs up in their back country, the headwaters of the Amazon – with some ‘friendly Western Nations’s’ special forces helping them out. (Not me I hasten to add, the closest I got to special forces was remedial PT at Dartmouth) – I was just a military tourist back in 2008, but was staggered at the intensity of the operations up there!
However, from the sculpting pov, I have to say the Peruvian naval infantry appeared absolutely indistinguishable from their, um, ‘friendly North American’ instructors in terms of clothing, webbing and small arms. Some of the armoured cars in use though looked very interesting, perhaps fairly elderly, and not at all ‘North American’ – more like WW2 Pumas with the centre set of wheels tireless and extra wide, I thought perhaps to give extra purchase on mud and shingle. Painted chocolate brown, iirc! (Which actually was probably the best colour for the area.)
Thanks Graham and Steders, I hadn’t looked at it that way….will have a think and a few dry runs!
Yes, agreed, IGOUGO interleaved with interrupts and reactions by the passive player seem to be the way to go these days, and don’t preclude solo play…I think it also a period thing – whilst we can probably just about accept a horse and musket era unit standing and watching an enemy unit march right across its front without reacting, it wouldn’t feel right for the 20thC!
Great to have you onboard! Cider Pasties
I’ll add my enthusiastic recommendation for Hail Caesar. Over the years I have played (at least one time) some 20 different rule sets for ancients. HC has a command and control system that models battlefield ‘friction’ in a very elegant way, and helps to keep games from becoming stale or overly predictable. The rules also have a flexible ‘tool kit’ approach that allows me to use just about whatever basing system I wish, and to add special rules that give my units and armies the ‘flavor’ and characteristics that best match my view of how they behaved historically. The rules are also a pleasure to read, and tremendously fun to play. Having said all that, it is also important to note that Hail Caesar was designed primarily for scenario-based play amongst friends in a relaxed, social setting. If your preference is for very precise, tightly written, competition-oriented rules, then HC may not be your cup of tea. Cheers, Scott
Yup what Scott said goes for me too! With Bells on!
Love the picture of the wee lassie with the armoured, um, embonpoint, but couldn’t they have found a slightly more scandanavian setting to model her against?
I mean the door knob isn’t even an IKEA pattern for heaven’s sake!
Welcome to the forum, although you have already made a valuable contribution! Central Brittany – sounds wonderful!
OK that’s quite a catholic assortment there!
The cake I miss most from the UK? Fresh cream Belgians! The Sgt Bunn bakery in Weymouth used to have them fresh every Saturday morning – there was a queue (Of course – it was England!)
But Bourbon biscuits are also missed. Thankfully choccie hobnobs have now made it down under. Now all I need is for Chip shops to realise that there’s nothing illegal, strange or indeed perverted, about a Chip shop selling hot meat pies! ‘Do I look like a ****ing butcher mate?!‘ I take comfort from the fact that there are some daring, avant garde chippies in the more sophisticated, cosmopolitan suburbs of Sydney who are prepared to serve your chips with gravy, so there’s hope!
But no, for the record, a Tim Tam is not the same as a Penguin! But at least you can get Tim Tams in black forest gateaux flavour, which forgives a great deal
Yes sounds fascinating. The French restoration army certainly had nice cavalry uniforms!27/08/2014 at 22:56 in reply to: Recommendations Needed for 28mm Prussian Cavalry 1813-1815 #6063
Hi Jonathan, very kind. No my bases are 65mm wide and 55mm deep. Not sure why to be honest, it just seems a good fit for 3 x 28mm cav figures ‘stirrup to stirrup’! The movement trays are very quickly made from mdf and those pre-cut balsa wood strips you get in craft stores. I’m a gaming megalomaniac so movement trays are an absolute must for our monster games!
Yes – one of our regulars, who is a real gent, and so whilst very knowledgeable about WW2, doesn’t disparage ‘beer and pretzels’ games but just rolls up his sleeves and joins in, said at a recent ‘Bolt Action’ game – ‘I think of it as simulating the movie of the battle, not the battle itself’ – I think that’s neat!
Sparker wrote:I’m confused. I thought the Queens and Royal Hampshires were combined into the PWRR?Correctly correctington. I only mention the Queen’s because a lot of the people I’m referring too are old enough to have served before the PWRR was formed. Same as me.
Ah yes, very wise! Actually I remember a very happy day as a young Army Cadet with 3rd Queen’s at Connaught Barracks, Dover. Great bunch of blokes, looked after us really well and pushed the boat out for us – Close combat range in the moat, ETR range with Charlie G’s firing at massed Soviet tanks, Milan simulators, the works!26/08/2014 at 23:41 in reply to: Recommendations Needed for 28mm Prussian Cavalry 1813-1815 #5977
Thanks Henry! Yes I like ’em too and they have fairly plain, easy to paint uniforms. And of course, since in 1815 the Prussians, for some unaccountable reason, left their Cuirassiers behind, they are all the heavy cav the Prussians had at Ligny and Waterloo…
Another big name in Napoleonics on this site. You are very welcome Sir!
Soviets are no exception.
Of course not. And the arguments above that the Red Army developed and extended initiative downwards are compelling.
I would also recommend, in returning to the wargaming context, a read of John D Salt’s excellent article on Russian Tactics here:
in which John points out some obvious disconnects between Russian tactics (in this case set in the Cold War, but probably also applicable to 1944-45) and most sets of wargames rules…
But, returning to the question in the OP, I still think, on balance, the Soviet squad will tend to show less initiative than the German one, and be in possession of less information about their 2-up’s intent. The German squad leaders are the product of an Army teaching mission orientated orders since 1918, whereas for the Russians, initiative is more likely to be just the latest slogan, the security of ‘need -to-know’ is paramount, and punishment for your actions being misinterpreted is likely to be irreversible.
I don’t say this as a German fan-boy, just my take on the history; actually when I wargame, if given the choice I prefer to play the Soviets! Although I have to say I am rarely able to enjoy the advantages the rules should give me as stated in John’s article – you can only do so much when the dice gods laugh in your face!
I suspect that any Soviet junior leader who took the attitude “if in doubt, go to ground and wait for orders” would be straight off to a shtrafbat.
Taking my quote out of context, and following it with Stalin’s quote, doesn’t really help the debate. If you look at the context, I meant when in doubt, ie the original objective taken or circumstances changed. Going to ground when in receipt of clear attack orders would lead to trouble for our NCO in any army!
What is more useful in gauging the likely level of initiative of Russian NCOs is the immediate post war studies conducted by the US Army in 1947-8 in interrogating German Officers who had served on the Eastern front. Whilst of course like any interrogation, the motives and recollection of these Germans has to be borne in mind, they had very close hand knowledge of the subject!
“the Russian soldier…possesses neither the judgement nor the ability to think independently….There still remained an appreciable residue of dullness, inflexibility and apathy which has not yet been overcome…Most of the time a Russian who has to stand on his own feet does not know what to do….
The flexibility demonstrated by the higher commands was not evident at lower levels….The Russian small unit commander’s fear of doing something wrong and being called to account for it was greater than the urge to take advantage of a situation. “
Russian Command Methods in WW2 German Report Series, pp. 3-7.
But lets also consult a more modern and sympathetic source, David M Glantz:
“In contrast to the German belief in subordinate initiative, the purges and other ideological and systemic constraints convinced Red Army officers that any show of independent judgement was hazardous to their personal health.”
Operation Barbarossa, p.21.
If true of officers, how much more so for NCOs! No, if in doubt, wait for orders!
Concerning the number of LMGs in a squad, yes, a Russian Rifle platoon had 2 heavy squads and 2 light. The heavy squads had 2 each, the lights 1 each, for a total of 6 in the platoon, according to the December 1942 T0 04/552. Red Army Handbook, p.23.
Personally I’d happily trade the lot in for the 3 MG42s held by the equivalent German platoon! (So long as the ammo supply was good….)
Queen’s and PWRRs
I’m confused. I thought the Queens and Royal Hampshires were combined into the PWRR?
‘The Waterloo Companion’?25/08/2014 at 23:57 in reply to: Recommendations Needed for 28mm Prussian Cavalry 1813-1815 #5832
The absolute very best in 28mm Prussians, for all arms, are Calpe Miniatures. As Henry observes, no plastics are available – although some mates of mine have bodged the Perry French Hussars, using Prussian shakoes from their Infantry sets. The only real problem are the shabraques, which are completely different. Didn’t worry us though!
My review of the Calpe Prussian Dragoons linked here:
And some pictures of my Calpe Prussian Cav Bde. Please don’t let my painting put you off what are excellent and obsessively researched sculpts though!