Grognard Wargamer Thread!


Please post after you have played it. I have been looking at it for a while and I am curious how it fares.

Yeah I really liked Defending The Reich, whether or not you find its ethical aspects powerful as I do, its a great game regardless.

Right now I am looking forward to Lock ‘n Load: Heroes of Stalingrad published by Matrix. Enjoy Lock N Load publishings approach and I hope it goes over to the PC nicely.

My inner carboard grog keeps calling me, every now and again I see the box of The Gamers OCS series Tunisia staring at me from the shelf reminding me of my failure to dare approach its lofty slopes. I have just about convinced myself the Burma reprint is when I will really jump into OCS which by all accounts is THE system for supply build up based warfare.


OK, I’ll post some initial impressions.

Conquest of the Aegean

First up. My pedigree so you can perhaps work out how my comments might apply to you:

  • Enjoyed Close Combat series a lot
  • Enjoyed Combat Mission
  • Not a fan of the Panzer General series, or hex computer wargames in general.
  • Enjoy the usual range of blockbuster games.
  • Have enjoyed sims like WW2 Online and Wardbirds in the past.

So, first impressions? Well, I’m digging through the main manual after completing the first tutorial last night. And I’m liking it so far. You end up really feeling the role of a regimental or divisional (or corps!) commander. One has a very strong sense that carfully studying the ground, opfor, your orbat and your objectives is important. From there, you formulate a plan and set it out for your men. I find this initial process very rewarding and clearly had an impact as I played through the rest of the game.

This seldom seems to be the case in other games, where mass-and-march seems about all that matters. In CotA there seems to be more room for subtlety and planning and trying to get inside the opponents decision cycles and to feint, trick and out-think the enemy. Quite rewarding, although I haven’t played enough to see how that goes with another player (or AI).

Graphics are fine, although contours are a touch harder to read than I would like, and I’d love it if someone reworked some of the textures for forests, towns, rough ground etc. Functional I guess is how you describe the look.

Sound. Not much of it, but not a lot is needed I guess. Was able to have itunes play happily in the background and alt+tabbing to the manual was easy. Which is a blessed relief.

I’ll play through a scenario later without guidance and let you know how I go. Perhaps a small AAR would be pleasant? Might save that until I know WTF I am doing.


I wouldn’t call myself a Grog, but there are a handful of games i install on every single pc/laptop i own/format.

Forge of Freedom - The American Civil War
Korsun Pocket
Steel Panther’s World at War
The Operational Art of War
Combat Mission Series

A few dozen others also but the above are the only ones i was able to really get into. I mainly prefer the WWII stuff, but have a liking for the old American Civil war stuff, especially if i can help rewrite history as it should have been, ie. The English kicking arse ;)

Im not particulary good at them, but i have spent countless hours playing the odd turn here and there.


If you are in to real grognard board games, do not forget that you can also play Advance Squad Leader with others over VASL:

There is also VASSAL, which lets you download other game modules besides just ASL (I know that VASSAL is the general engine, and VASL is a derivative of it):


This is a nice take on the Combat Mission style:

It’s a bit raw still, but coming along nicely. It actually taught me how to play the game, unlike Combat Mission. It actually generates readable briefings for the random campaign missions, which is a neat touch.

I’d rather play a real wargame face to face though.


Kharkov looks pretty good. But it also looks extremely similar to CM, which for now I’ve had my fill of. How does it compare? How is the multiplayer?


Wow, that Lock and Load PC version looks pretty cool. I’ve been waiting a long long long time for someone to do a port of Squad Leader to the PC. Looks like I finally might get something close to my wish.

I’d settle for an online version of M’44 or Tide of Iron myself. I love both those games in person but logistics make it very difficult for me to ever play them – all my boardgaming friends are either not into wargames or not into 2-player games.


How is the AI?

Why do you say (not you Calistas, the original poster on the subject) that it is still a bit “raw but coming along nicely?” It has been released.


I don’t expect I’ll be able to pick it up for another couple weeks as I just spent an arm and a leg on two ASL Modules, but I’m dying to get C&C:A. What makes it more war-gamey? I’ve played and enjoyed M’44 and would absolutely love a heavier game with similar mechanics.


If you like Conquest of the Aegean, you should look into Panther’s earlier game on the same platform, just not as evolved: Highway to the Reich. It covers the Market-Garden operation (Bridge Too Far and all that). Most exciting to me though is the Battles from the Bulge that they are finishing up; it’s a, duh, Bulge game using the same system. It won’t have a huge overall campaign, but it should be a killer Ardennes sim nonetheless.

Personally, I have no issues with hexes, turns, et al, but as much as I love the HPS games I find I never really finish them. Battles that take 300 or more turns just take too long, and even shorter ones don’t unfold very rapidly at two to four hours a turn on that scale. But I love that scale, operational/grand tactical, and very few continuous time systems have proven workable there. Panther’s system works pretty well, thankfully, but it’s fairly limited in scope.


Squares have eight directions you can move! Typical boardgaming rules have it so, anyway.
Hexes are in fact limiting, in my opinion :)


I would recommend Tide of Iron to that list of board games, its more complex then Memoir '44 while still having a lower learning curve then most wargames IMHO and doesn’t rely on cards for executing tactical decisions.


The short answer is that the period is better suited for the style of play that the C&C system supports (what feels realistic when commanding a phalanx of Romans is utterly absurd when giving orders to a bunch of tanks), and that the rules have elaborations that make it feel more simulationist and less gamey. The long answer is my BGG review.


Thanks for the link, and nice work on the article. I also dig the ancient world setting far more than WWII. Looks like I’ll be getting C&C:A the instant I have cash monies.


I prefer it to Combat Mission, I never really got my head round that game. I don’t really play this kind of thing multiplayer though, I don’t know any opponents.

Why do you say (not you Calistas, the original poster on the subject) that it is still a bit “raw but coming along nicely?” It has been released.

It feels like a work in progress. It’s the follow-up to an existing game (Winter Storm), and if you check out the boards the developers suggest that a lot of the requests (e.g. destructable terrain) will crop up in future patches / versions. Regardless, it’s a very enjoyable game, but I am not the best judge as I tend to be quite a poor player of this kind of game, so an AI that challenges me may prove to be a walk over for a grizzled veteran.


Some of my favorites…

Korsun Pocket
Advanced Tactics:WWII
Birth of America
Panzer Command: Karkov
Commander : Europe at War

I just picked up Panzer Command: Karkov. From what I’ve read, it’s a lot like Combat Mission (although, I never played CM). I’m really enjoying it. The training missions do a good job of showing you a lot of the basic tactics that you will need to use in the campaigns. It has a few rough edges, but overall it’s done well. For a taste, download the demo for Operation Winter Storm, the first game in this series. They’ve improved the game a lot since then, but it will show you the basic mechanics.

Another game that I just grabbed is Commander : Europe at War. It’s on sale right now at the Matrix site. It’s a really simple WWII hex game that plays a lot like Advance Wars on the DS or Fantasy Wars (which I am told, play a lot like the original Panzer General). Each unit represents an entire corp. There’s a technology tree of sorts and generals that provide various bonuses that you can “create” for attachment to a unit.

Like I said, It’s a simple game, but it has an addictive, one-more-turn quality to it. They released a demo at the Slitherine site this past week -

The next game I am really looking forward to is the Lock 'n Load game mentioned above. ASL is one of my favorite table top wargames, but it’s hard to find someone interested in a game. LnL for the PC looks awesome.


Another vote for C&C:Ancients over Battle Lore. Battle Lore has some neat bits with the magic, and deployment (from expansions), but there is less variety in units, and the unit matchups are wrong due to the silly supremacy of cavalry long swords.

These seem at face value like small details for what aren’t meant to be realistic games (they’re both a WW2 game stuffed into an ancients mold), but the more nuanced C&C units yield tactics that better fit the theme, and more variety than just focusing on getting your red cavalry to charge headlong into the nearest edge infantry.

Plus I like the clean look of blocks better than the plastic figs, and C&C’s rules summary is handier than Battle Lore’s bizarre idea to try the same thing with a jumble of cards.


I understand the motivation for the reference card system: If they introduce new units and terrain in an expansion, all they have to do is include the reference cards for them, and voila; whereas C&C:A needs to reprint the entire four-page quick reference pamphlet with the new units included. It’s more modular, and given the small-pack expansions of BL, it’s really the only reasonable approach to take. But the C&C:A way is handier and less hassley, and works well with GMT’s “two armies and a gazillion scenarios” big-box expansions.

I tend to think that all the games have made the right decisions about things, given their differences, but BattleLore is certainly hovering at the edge of complexity where a lot of things stop making sense.

Also, as far as the unit variety goes, BL is sort of a mix of M44 and C&C:A in that way – in M44, it’s the terrain that provides variety (since there are very few types of units), and in C&C:A it’s the units (since there’s typically almost no terrain). In BL, you’ve got this mixture of both the terrain and the units, so you’ve got to smartly handle both morale/formations and terrain/cover.


Tide is a great game. My weekly gaming group plays it on occasion. It’s a nice little Squad Leader Lite game.


SPI’s The Campaign for North Africa, 1978

… or you’re just not serious.