Grognard Wargamer Thread!


Let me repost what I have gleaned after going through the tutorial this morning:

I have still to actually go through a full scenario: those are my impressions after playing one turn :) So take them with a grain of salt, I still need to get more familiar with both the supply and the command and control system.

I also issued an MP challenge on Slitherine’s MP server, I see that you have the option to play “paired” games, which is always nice.


You got a fan here, Luke :-) Every little bit helps…


Ah, WiF… the only game that has actually made me cross at release.

OCS is an awesome achievement. The handling of supply appeals to me no end. I just love the tough choices about where to grab supply from. After playing OCS, the typical “trace a supply line back to this hex” mechanic seems less satisfying.

Yes, exactly. The choice of 1) where to allocate stuff to get things rolling and 2) how to make it happen is pretty much the gist of what logistics is about. OCS does great with 1), with 2) is a bit of busy work… but worth the effort.

My analogy with V4V is the following. There you had a given amount of “tonnage” on hand, your choices were about who was getting how much, and who was giving up stuff to make up for the difference. And the computer did the busy work for you :)

For whatever the reasons, computer war game design have either opted for a highly abstracted system (like TOAW or John Tiller’s Panzer Campaigns) or you’re literally loading ships and dispatching them across the globe (War In The Pacific). The middle ground, like War in the West or V4V or Desert War does appeal to me much more.

Also, I really enjoy lower-counter-density OCS; it reminds me that war is not a seamless wall of square counters aligned against another such wall. Instead, there are clumps of machines and human beings, and empty space in-between.

They do know how to hit a very sweet spot when it comes to balance out counter density, hex scale and ZOC rules. I wonder how OCS worked though on the Syrian campaign game (I haven’t played Tunisia either :-( ), where force densities were very low.


Also, a somewhat lukewarm review on The Wargamer


Heh, I read that on the other forum, under your other name! Good write up.


I think that review was more an example of uninspired writing as much as being lukewarm. The Wargamer reviews always seem to have a sort of plodding character to them. At least this one spares us the equivalent of the “open the box and look at all the components” stuff you often get.


It gave you some interesting choices, like whether to use up all your supplies or wait and stockpile them for later. Or you could dump a lot of supplies into a small part of your force and hope they could accomplish decisive on their own. Those choices feel a lot more meaningful to me than micromanaging exactly which hex I’m going to move each unit to.


I can totally see that @Miguk - it may well be the that the particular choice of what hex to break through is of no consequence. On the other hand, I personally find that dealing with suppressive fires, ZOCs, TECs and the like do add some crunchy puzzle-like quality to the problem of executing plans.


From that review:

Mmmm, not really.


I really don’t know where the author got that from, tbh.


Well, there’s this mythology about the Western Desert, born partially of the desolate, empty nature of the place, and from the relatively low unit density, as well I think out of the fact that between the fall of France and the arrival of the Americans in November, 1942 with the TORCH landings, this was pretty much the only place the Commonwealth folks were able to do much other than retreat. And there is of course the romanticism of the Afrika Korps, Rommel, the Desert Rats, and all that, coupled with good old fashioned Orientalism (in the Edward Said meaning of the term); after all, Egypt and all that.

Part of this mythology, which of course has bits of reality mixed in with the nostalgia, is that the war in the desert was “clean,” with no civilians to worry about, no cities to sack, just fighting men matched up mano a mano in a sort of Hemingway or Boys’ Life-esque test of wills. Sort of like the baloney about WWI air combat, and just as bogus. But because on a map it looks like you get these sweeping movements of armored units to and fro, leading the more colorful accounts of battles to liken them to naval engagements and stuff like that. So it’s likely the author of this review was influenced by this sort of popular History Channel interpretation of events, coupled with a misunderstanding of blitzkrieg concepts and application.

I’m not anywhere near an expert on blitzkrieg, but it sure seems that the desert war wasn’t a terribly good place for the sort of thing Guderian did. The types of objectives, the combined arms, the type of enemies blitzkrieg was designed to combat, all of that seems absent. The desert war was often fluid (though oddly enough, most of the battles seemed to revolve around getting dug in troops out of where their holes were, go figure), but it wasn’t terribly similar to France or Poland or what not.


What’s this criticism of there being “no campaign”? Does that mean there isn’t a full Desert War in North Africa scenario with this?


Scenario List:

2nd Battle of Bardia (introductory scenario)
Operazione E: The Reluctant Offensive, 13-20 Sep 1940
Into The Blue: Battle of Sidi Barrani, 9-12 Dec 1940
Beda Fomm: Death of an Army, 1-7 Feb 1941
Battle of Sollum: Operation Battleaxe, 15-18 Jun 1941
Sunday of the Dead: Battle of Sidi Rezegh, 18-24 Nov 1941
Rats vs The Ram: Battle of Bir el Gubi, 19-21 Nov 1941
Gazala–First Five Days, 26-30 May 1942
Gazala–The Cauldron, 29 May - 10 Jun 1942
Gazala–Fall of Tobruk, 11 - 21 Jun 1942
High Tide at Alam Halfa, 30 Aug - 5 Sep 1942
2nd Alamein: From Lightfoot to Supercharge, 24 Oct - 3 Nov 1942


Right, currently there’s no linked campaign. People are speculating that some modder will make one eventually. It’s not a deal-killer for me, but I haven’t decided yet whether to buy the game.

The supply system looks neat. I like the distinction between basic, movement, and combat supply. I’m reading through Slick Wilhelm’s tutorial, trying to learn more about this and other systems of the game.


Lack of a campaign doesn’t really bug me at all. This theater isn’t one that, to me, cries out for a campaign type treatment. The fighting was in a few distinct stages, there was a lot of back and forth over the same ground, and really, in the end, once the Axis can’t take the Canal, it’s pretty much over except for a long slog. Plus, any campaign would be 90% logistics/10% fighting, which while cool in some ways doesn’t make for the same sort of gaming goodness as, say, a whole Barbarossa campaign or a D-Day to the Rhine rumble.


Well, it’s a little misleading, then. “Desert War” is technically applicable. Very strictly speaking. But the name implies that it covers “the Desert War” writ large. I had no idea that it was really an operational level game. Or even just a battle game. Or portion of a battle game. Given its WEGO system, that’s understandable.

It should, though, be called something more like “Battles and Engagements of the Desert War”.

I’m actually not a big fan of North Africa, so the individual battles at this scale don’t grab me. I do have more interest in the campaign possibilities though, but this isn’t that. So… meh.


Makes sense, when you look at it that way.


From the first sentence on the product page at Matrix. My bolding:

Desert War is an operational level, ground-centric wargame that recreates the epic tank battles fought between the Axis and Allies for possession of Libya and Egypt.


Which is why No Retreat: North Africa is so brilliant.


Well, yeah I guess. But I didn’t read that. I’m not saying they’re trying to mislead anyone. Only that I was, in fact, misled on the name.

And… it is technically possible to have an operational level game that covers the major portion of the entire campaign. Like the venerable SPI title “Campaign in North Africa” (which, incidentally, I just sold a mint copy of for $430!).