Grognard Wargamer Thread!

Just bought it (Tide at Sunrise). Thanks, B. Merry Black Friday to me.

I bought Tide at Sunrise and Beyond the Rhine. They’d better be good, Bruce.

Nostalgia got the better of me and I bought Unity of Command 2. Some thoughts:

  1. The time developers spent making the map “3D” was largely time wasted. Or else I’ve vastly underestimated the number of people out there trying to create the perfect screenshot of pocketed Axis armies.

  2. The tutorials are woefully inadequate. The campaign starts at Wadi Akarit. The tutorials cover the Louisiana Maneuvers and explain the basics of movement, combat and supply. Things not covered: specialized combat, naval landings, airborne operations, the card system, Corps specialization and basically everything new that UoC2 brings to the table. The mind boggles.

A tutorial covering the Torch landings to the beginning of the campaign could have addressed all of this, while casting some light on a part of the North African campaign that lives in the shadows in the land of computer wargames. Such a wasted opportunity.

3). The AI is as good as the original. Perhaps a little better. So there’s that.

I’ll probably have more to say after I’ve completed the campaign, if anyone is interested.


@Navaronegun Speaking of prying, can we pry some thoughts on WarPlan out of you please?

I’m in the middle of 2 mirror PBEMs. When I’m done, I’ll elaborate. I know Santa is curious, so it should be soon.

I’ll say this, the initial bugs have been worked out, so that is a good thing.

WWII open-source tank commander roguelike.

It’s kind of cool looking, if butt-ugly of course.

Have some clip art


I can’t remember if we’ve discussed this before, but has anyone in the thread played in any matrix games? (The role-playing-like wargames, not the company that produces computer wargames).

There are several groups that run them at Gen Con every year, and I know that they are played in some military and political circles.

Tom Mouat describes them in his collection of notes, Practical Advice on Matrix Games, as follows:

Matrix games are different. In a Matrix game, there are few pre-set rules limiting what players can do. Instead, each is free to undertake any plausible action during their turn. The chances of success or failure, as well as the effects of the action, are largely determine through structured argument and discussion. This process allows for imaginative game dynamics that are lively and open-ended, and yet also grounded in reality. In a Matrix Game, you use words to describe why something should happen, the Facilitator or the players (or both) decide how likely it is, and you might roll a dice to see if it happens (but equally, in the face of a compelling argument, you might not need to). If you can say “This happens, for the following reasons…” you can play a Matrix Game.

Matrix games are particularly well-suited for complex conflicts and issues involving multiple actors and stake-holders, varying interests and agendas, and a broad range of (diplomatic/political, military, social, and economic) dimensions. The game system crowdsources ideas and insight from participants, thereby fostering greater analytical insight. The games themselves are not intended to be fiercely competitive, with obvious winners and losers. Instead they operate with the players working to generate a credible narrative. The player roles may have objectives that will place them in conflict with other players, but it is perfectly possible for all of the players to achieve at least some of their objectives by the end of the game.

I’m busy with the upcoming Westphalia game at the moment, but once that is completed, would anyone be interested in giving one of these a shot? I’d be happy to moderate, and have some ideas about what to play and how we can adapt it to a online forum.

I’ve played (forced to play) many when I worked for the military. As a result my interest is below zero (is that possible?). :)

They are ooey-gooey and end up being feel good “team-building sessions” but do a poor job exploring actual strategic/operational problem-sets . I’ve even been in two sessions run by the author, Mouat.

That “Robust evidence from research on intelligence analysis and prediction
shows that crowds outperform individuals” quote is laughable (BTW, he has a bone to pick and a product to sell - in his day job he is affiliated with a company that attempts to see crowd-sourcing software to NATO) as well as selling these game sessions to whatever NATO nation is willing to pony up bucks (9/10 times, "Murica).

I think the amount of fun you have with this type of game is is inversely proportional to how seriously you are expected to treat the consequences.

As policy planning tools go, they are not particularly helpful. I think of the exercise as a light role playing game, rather than a meaningful tool. In that context, I think they can be fun.

Yeah, even as a pure “for fun” game, it really depends on the scenario/ actors. But essentially its an rpg with a gm making all the mechanics/rules decisions.

I play free form RPGs, so I am very used to this. Probably doesn’t belong in the Grognard thread, honestly, but the most interesting games tend to pol-mil.

Well, if crafted properly it can scratch both the RPG and Wargame itches.

I remember Quantum Link doing a US-Soviet game in the late 80s. I can’t remember the specific scenario, but I remember advocating for deploying the Black Sea Fleet before Turkey closed the straits. It had all the problems you would expect with online, such as someone being in the opposing sides chat room, and being a “spy” for the other team.

Red Cell, White Cell, Orange Cell, Green Cell. :)

I went to Connections UK last year where Matrix Games (the video-game company) were allowed to attend for the first time, as the whole theme was on ‘automation’ and digital tools. Mr. Mouat was very vocal about how digital tools weren’t up to the job and everyone should use analogue methods instead.

(Not specifically Matrix Games - I prefer ‘mega’-games myself, although he did run a Matrix Game session at the conference.)

Either absolutist position seems wrong. Some stuff works great digitally. Some doesn’t. Makes sense to leverage the strengths of both. I guess I am not trying to sell analog or digital game’s though, so it is easy for me to take that position.

Strategic Command WW1 is out. The marketing for the game features a graphic mod which is far better than vanilla. But it is not included in the game and I doubt the creator has received any payment. That does leave a bad taste of the publisher monetizing free work of others.