Grognard Wargamer Thread!

Back in France…

0745 June 6, 1944 - A hero emerges! Private Pinder deftly blasts a path through a nest of barb wire to spearhead Easy Company’s assault on the German fortification. We’ve got troops off the beach!

Got to echo Tom’s comment - they really are beautifully clipped counters. What are you using to do the job?

Almost certainly a plastic corner trimmer from Oregon, I’m guessing 2mm or 2.5mm…

Decision Games has computer versions of D-Day at Omaha Beach and D-Day at Tarawa. Cannot recommend them. Too many bugs and a crappy UI:

Necro-ing myself back to the forums since I asked @tomchick a few days ago about the Leader series on twitter.

Down here in SoCal with some space to fill and can finally jump back into solitaire games (famous last words). For some reason I instantly thought of my brief time playing Phantom Leader on the iPad. It’s a shame it’s not available anymore.

What’s your experience been with the leader series? (Tom recommended Hornet Leader)

I’m cheating a bit here because I know @JeffL and am pretty sure he can tolerate the complexity. He was Computer Gaming World’s flight sim guru for years, played the heck out of the SSI titles, and owned and played Avalon Hill games as a kid. So I think the solo Ardennes experience is something he could assimilate pretty readily. Plus he has a PhD in super-complicated chemistry stuff :)

My rule is 2mm for counters up to 5/8”, 2.5mm for counters larger than that.


If I were a grognard, I would gladly go toe-to-toe with you on this, because my suspicion is that the only reason for the change in scale without a commensurate change to certain design concepts is because they’re jamming a square gameplay peg into a round historical hole. Furthermore, if I were a grognard, I think this might bother me enough to care. :)

Instead, I’m a boardgamer enjoying a solitaire boardgame design, and I’m totally okay with whatever scale abstractions Butterfield feels is necessary to make a good game. But I do feel the differences are worth pointing out, since they affect how each game plays.

I’m almost tempted to divide boardgames into two separate camps. There are too many “narrative engines” masquerading as game designs these days. As much as I’ve enjoyed The Hunters and look forward to getting back into Silent Victory for some (superior, natch) Pacific action, there’s no meaningful design in those games. I feel like that’s an important distinction too often lost on people because it’s seen as a criticism. Which, to be fair, it sounds critical. Saying “there is no meaningful design” isn’t exactly a box quote. But the kind of work Butterfield put into the D-Day series is very different from the kind of work Gregory Smith put into his submarine games, and I don’t see a lot of what I consider “game design” in the latter, even if I enjoy it.

I can make a similar observation about non-wargames, but this is a thread for wargamers, so you guys would have no idea what I was talking about.


This is the correct answer. @Brooski; System apologist?

Nope. Brooski: unwilling to make a definitive statement without supporting data.

@brooski had a great rejoinder when I was bending his ear about how D-Day at Peleliu doesn’t do very much to express what makes Peleliu unique as a battle in the Pacific theater. Namely that the invasion that was supposed to last four days instead lasted over two months, and was of negligible strategic value, and probably should have been called off, and in fact probably would have been called off if the opening three-day naval bombardment hadn’t gotten underway. Those are the things that come to mind when I see the title of the game and start learning to play. Yet there’s virtually no gameplay about those fundamental fact of the invasion. Instead, you just play the opening two days on the beach and then everything slams shut and you’re done.

To which @Brooski replied: Well, it’s called “D-day at Peleliu”, and not “Two Months at Peleliu”.

I didn’t have a lot to say to that, because he had a point. :) I’d make a terrible grognard if I’m going to be that easily dissuaded from my grumbling.


You could say, operationally, that the Japanese scored a success the moment the invasion was launched.

Thanks! I’ve never received compliments on my counter clipping skill. This is a big day for me.

Yes, I’ve got the 2mm Oregon one, as linked by @sincilbanks.

I’ve heard from a couple of counter clipper experts that the Heavy Duty one is more durable, but so far my regular version has held up. If/when this one breaks, I’ll try the heavy duty version. I like the 2mm version on everything, and in my head wonder if the difference between 2mm and 2.5mm might mean less torque on the clipper, and therefore the 2mm would have a longer lifespan than the 2.5mm. But my understanding of physics is pretty much limited to knowing things will hit the ground when I let go of them.

I might shelled for this, but here goes…

My experience with the Leader series so far has been with Sherman Leader, and I really enjoyed the campaign I played with it. I love the dynamic campaign, the story that evolves as you play through your battles, the leveling up of your leaders, the frustrations and last-second victories. Very much a beer and pretzels sort of experience, but there are enough meaningful decisions in the gameplay to satisfy me. I really liked it as a gentle way back into wargaming.

There are caveats.

  • There are places where the rules are unpolished (we’ve discussed them here). I agree with @tomchick’s take on this point.
  • My underlying game board warped after a few months.
  • It’s a game, not a simulation. Combat is unrealistic. Your mortars and Stuart tanks can take out Tiger tanks pretty efficiently. If that sentence bothers you, you will hate this game.
  • There’s a good bit of randomness and luck involved. Sometimes you’re going to lose a campaign because of one unlucky die roll (more likely in campaigns against the Japanese).

I’m not sure how much the other games in the Leader series vary from Sherman Leader. I’d like to try Hornet Leader at some point, and would be inclined to start with that one if I were to start over.

Digs foxhole, puts helmet on.

Ah, yes, that makes sense then! Point taken. In that case, what about something like Empire of the Sun as well? And I think we’re forgetting what some consider the best solitaire game out there: RAF!

You could also say the US won the moment the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. (Or was that the Germans?)

Thank you, Senator Blutowski.

I just need to say this: that heavy duty clipper is the biggest fucking unmitigated piece of shit product I have seen for clipping counters. Sorry for the language, but it sucks total ass. Yes, it is absolutely more durable than the more expensive one with the plastic handle. I don’t care how long a product lasts — it can last until the edge of Time when Dio loses the rising sun on a misty morning – if it jacks up my counters. It undoubtedly works for clipping the stabby corners off laminated badges, which is what is was designed for. But for clipping counters, it can easily slip and take a chunk out of the edge of your counter unless you sit there and carefully align the counter each time. The “deluxe” one literally cannot misclip. It’s unpossible. Which lets you sit back and listen to a podcast or even stream while clipping which I thought was my genius idea until I found out Ardwulf had already thought of it. Even if you’re careful, you might get a misclip every hundred counters, which means that every game you have will have 2-20 oddballs. And as far as the durability goes, I bought my deluxe 2mm in something like 2014 and have clipped DAK, Guderian’s Blitzkrieg, Next War twice, and innumerable smaller games, and it still works exactly as it did when I first bought it. Dunno how much longer you’d want it to go to save thirty bucks, which I think is the price difference between the two. Thirty bucks! It’s like, lunch.

If you’re clipping laminated badges, I can see why you’d say, “nah, I can use the cheaper tool.” If you’re clipping counters, I cannot fathom why you would.

Wow I had no idea I had such strong feelings about that thing but I’m glad that’s over.

They would be wrong :) I do agree that it’s a good game, and enjoy it quite a bit. But it came out in 1986 and what I think is important about the Enemy Action games is that they specifically solve the problem of how to get AI to play a hex-and-counter wargame against you using basically the same rules, which had never been done before. Everything else is “system vs player.” I think it would be cool for someone who hasn’t played a board wargame in 40 years to see this magic device.

Total Ass: Warhammer III

So says the brain surgeon, LOL! ;) Yeah, it would take time but I think I’d appreciate seeing how solo board games handle AI these days. I’ve always been fascinated by AI in gaming, though my focus has been on computers, and especially the efforts to make AI more “human-like.”

And those were the good old days, old friend!

This is good to know, thanks! I saw complaints that the deluxe version breaks easily, and because of that people switched to the heavy duty version.

But fiddling with the alignment of a counter in the cutter would be an endless PITA. The time cost there would be huge if you’re going through a large game. If you have to do that with the heavy duty version, well, that’s a no go for me. I’ve got a really good system down now with just a couple of finger movements. I don’t even need to look at what I’m doing. Like you say, the deluxe version just holds the counter perfectly. And mine is holding up fine so far, probably 15 games in.

The only issue I had is the two inset screws on the cutting plate were catching the counter sometimes because the cheap tape they had over them came off. I’ve covered them up again with a bit of clear packing tape and everything just flies along now.