Grognard Wargamer Thread!

In the early turns at least the AI is focussed on filling gaps in the line (a decent strategy to be fair) It calculates this based on the position value of the hex. The XVIII corps deployment area is huge (the northern half of the map) and this corps gets quite a few reinforcements in the early turns (along with V corps of course)

If when you have finished your activation and you draw an allied card you can be in a position where you are “proximate” to a position hex which is in XVIII corps deployment area and away from your main thrust then the AI will choose this position (as long as you aren’t proximate to high position value hexes in the axis of your main push). So pushing forward to Manhay meant the AI deployed 2 units of the 82nd and one of the 7A there rather than in my way up towards Trois Point because I made sure to be proximate to hexes with decent position values in them.

The second thing to bear in mind is that the AI will make an Allied reserve check when you activate a unit adjacent to a roadblock. If your infantry units pushing westwards towards Bastogne fails it’s roadblock tests then when you next activate that unit the AI will deploy a reserve on it. That’s another reserve unit out of the pool that can’t get in your way further north and won’t be present for undetected defender tests when you try and attack elsewhere.

It’s not a perfect strategy (relying on the dice rolls of course) but it does simulate a “feint” attack quite well…

I saw their tweet earlier this week. I’m hoping to drop in as well.

You’re really making me want to finally take the plunge on this one. Nice report. :)

@Brooski @sincilbanks and whoever else might have an opinion, how does War and Peace compare to GMT’s The Napoleonic Wars? I’ve only ever played The Napoleonic Wars once and really enjoyed it. I am a big Here I Stand fan so that kind of game at that level of abstraction works really well for me. I played Empires in Arms about 20 years ago and I have the old Matrix PC version where every now and then I try to beat my head on that interface. So I don’t quite like Empires just yet.

They are completely different games.

The Napoleonic Wars is a card-driven carnival of sorts (boxcars). It doesn’t really have much to do with history but it’s a h00t. Loads of fun with multiple people throwing cards down. Play is close to Here I Stand in terms of mechanics, and about as historical.

War & Peace is clean, elegant hex-and-counter wargame that presents the operational historical situations better than pretty much any other game I can think of for the same rules overhead. Maybe Kevin Zucker’s operational games are more detailed, but W&P captures each campaign’s dilemmas with a simpler system that still feels satisfying.

The problem is that the grand campaign game doesn’t work. The naval and production rules just don’t mesh with land systems, and despite tons of re-working over the years, I don’t think it can be fixed. It’s just not a design meant to cover 1805-15. But the 1813 scenario, for example, is the best War of German Liberation game I’ve played.

So play Napoleonic Wars for the campaign game and the beer and the pretzels, and play War & Peace for a real look at 1807, or 1809, or 1813.

Kind of crazy that they’re by the same designer.

That’s a shame about the W&P grand campaign, I’d hoped they’d fixed it up after playing the original AH version a couple of times a long, long time ago. Still have fond memories of the game and the updated maps and graphics are definite improvement I think.

Speaking of War and Peace. Looks like it certainly passes the heft test: Unboxing: War and Peace from One Small Step - The Players' Aid - YouTube

Excellent job this morning stirring up the pot/discussion, @Brooski. :) I enjoyed the discussion.

Thanks! I try to make things interesting.

Eh, that’s all the extra mapboard. I actually don’t think it’s all that much improved. John Gant has done tremendous work on the game, including an updated mapboard that has been available for some time. It was originally made available as part of the 3rd (4th?) edition VASSAL module, and then people started printing it out and using it with the new rules.

That was like ten years ago. I printed this thing out myself and had Print-n-Play make me a mounted map.

Not fancy, but understated and preserves the period feel I think the first map did so well. Just some touch-ups.

Then we get this:

Big, busy map, in the style of Wargame, Generic. It is like Photoshop is doing to art what PowerPoint did to presentations.

I’m sure people will disagree with my opinion of this, but I hate this art. And the colors used for the counters turn it into a maze of clashing colors. Because it doesn’t pay, you can’t get a good graphic designer.

Just my opinion. There aren’t any more counter sheets in the new game than the old one: the heft is just the map. It looks a lot meatier than it is.

At least the rivers are through hex sides in the later map!

Fair point.

Is this online anywhere for those of us who were in bed at 8am on a Saturday morning? I’m too old to figure out from the Discord page whether these are like actual radio/theater – live only! – or like podcasts.


I think it’s just live, like the radio shows it is trying to imitate.

I kind of like the underlying geographic design choices. But on the whole I’d argue that it could use some…typesetting improvements.

But … they have to try so much harder to get to the pristine glory of Absolute Victory…

That…is horrid.

Christmas ideas from The Players Aid: Christmas Gift Wargame Ideas - The Players' Aid - YouTube

Enemy Action Ardennes update:

End of the 20th December. The 20th is one of the key first dates in the game, a number of rules are modified and change the way things progress quite a bit.

German corps boundaries limiting movement disappear, so the elements of my 5th Panzer Army I committed to the right hook are now free to go as far North as they want, rather than spending some of the 19th holding back like a nervous teenager asking their sweetheart for a dance at the school disco.

Also roadblock checks on US position hexes are only made if it’s a VP hex, so all those orange circles with numbers in no longer threaten to hold up any German advance unless they are also VP hexes, but:

German fuel shortages are now in play. Every command card has some dates on it against the units that are being activated, if it’s that day then you throw that card away and draw another, there are some ways to mitigate this, but not many (chiefly captured fuel dumps)

That purple 10VP hex right on the Northern edge of the photo (and the map) is the far side of the Meuse. I get 10VP for crossing it, if I take the two cities I get another 15VP, I need 50VP by the end of the 22nd to end the game and I have 17VP already. I also get a metric crap-ton more units from OKW reserve if I can get across the Meuse and still have that unit in supply when it is across. As you can see I’ve bust a large whole in the line and just need a break with the cards and some dice rolls to see me across.

US V corps is performing heroics in holding off 2 SS Panzer Corp from rolling them up and that might well be the thing that stops me, because:

That huge pile of reinforcements due tomorrow is Monty and XXX corps. Coupled with the 6 VII corps units already to be deployed right in the path of the German advance the AI has a lot of units to put in my way and I don’t have any feints left in the bag to redirect them. I have to get across the Meuse before they arrive and if I don’t it’s a long way for 1st and 2nd SS Panzer Corps to catch up (after they have hopefully reduced US V corps) and every single turn increases the VP requirements for a win by 5VP. The clock is ticking, and ticking loudly!

In the South I have broken out with 7th Army and am heading for the 5VP hex to try and put me in with a chance of winning the game.

The 21st will be make or break I think, get across the Meuse and it’s still game on. Fail to do so and the AI gets some units in the way and I don’t think I have enough strength to move them from their positions.

Excellent report, thanks! It sounds like it’s going to come right down to the wire. Good luck finding fuel!

So the 21st comes to an end with the resounding sound of the brakes being applied…

For most of the 21st Liege remained tantalisingly within reach but just not able to make it over the Meuse.
The roadblock check for getting into the city failed (which it should have done, I needed a 7 or better on a D10 to prevent it) and that then places a reserve unit (if available) in whenever the unit next to the roadblock is activated. I didn’t have anything like the combat values around to shift the VII corps armoured unit parked there as the other units were busy ensuring supply lines were kept open and assisted in trying to take Stavelot., which they did as the day ended.

Then the Allied activation card for their second to last draw of the day was the 21st Army group card which brings every single reserve unit available in the box into play. That’s pretty much the entire of VII corps which is now camped around Liege and threating the entire of the Axis supply lines in the North, running as it does past Stavelot.

US V corps continues to perform heroics but the 1st SS have sent some units past them to help out with the attempt to take Liege and soon the elements of LXVII corps will be able to take over isolating them from supply freeing more units up to push towards Liege. V Corps is now entirely cut off and it’s just a matter of time before they get to the point where Axis units can attack without taking casualties, but every impulse spent reducing the pocket is an impulse the Allies can get their reserves mobilised or counter attack in the centre…

In the centre US VIII corps spent the day pushing back the thin line of Axis defenders and also threatening to push in the supply lines, I spent a valuable impulse rushing some reinforcements into that area to shore it up.

And in the South the 21st Army group cards brings in the big guns of III corps and puts paid to any thoughts of advancing there.

I think the game is up now, it’s going to take pretty much all of the 22nd and 23rd to get most of the 1SS and 2nd SS units forward to help with taking Liege and by then XXX corps is almost certain to have arrived with it’s massive stack of reinforcements that go around Liege. Since I haven’t crossed the Meuse I don’t get the OKW reserves or the VP boost and the Allies now have something like 20 strength points in or next to Liege and that is a lot of strength points to move plus some of these Axis armoured units are bound to get out of fuel cards soon slowing things down even further.

Another cracking game so far with some genuinely tense moments and the AI doing what it does best and frustrating the Axis advance and following it up with just enough counter punches to divert your attention from where you want it to be…

Enemy Action Kharkov is on pre-order and I’m looking forward to that hugely…

@sincilbanks, how long would you say it took you to play that scenario? Not in terms of how long you had it sitting out, but in terms of ATAT (actual time at table)?