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France has lost its forces on the mainland, but continues to hold North Africa open to allow the newly-arrived US units safe landings in Casablanca and Algiers. The British held Baghdad against the Turks and Germans, but Cairo, Port Said, Alexandria and Suez all fell to a German-Italian campaign.

 

The Russians continue to re-arm and are massing at the border, but so are the Germans now that France is under their heel. The Ostland Accord will end soon and things will get bloody quick in the East again. As the US opted for the Victory Program (bodies instead of materiel), Russian will have to make do on her own and hope the US-British forces can provide enough distractions to keep the German hounds from her throat.

 

It has been a challenge to keep pushing forward into unknown territory with no historical benchmark to check against. But it is certainly engaging and making me think a lot harder about every card play and every troop movement. I think this approach will make me a better player of the historical game, as I am getting a better understanding of why and when certain things are done.

In our last two boardgame meetups we have completed 3 games of Dune. Two 6-player and 1 5-player game. I owned the original when it first came out but had never played it. My first exposure to the game mechanics was playing Battle for Baghdad (MCS Group) in 2010. That game was very enjoyable so I was looking forward to trying Dune and it did not dissapoint. Mark Woodson did DIY copy of the game using the graphic files on BGG and it turned out very nice.


Game one was a quick one, ending on turn 3 with an Emperor/Guild Alliance victory.The Harkonnen collected all the spice from the first two turn's spice blows and was victorious in one or two battles netting him a big spice lead and a big target on his back for turn 3. A worm showed up on turn 3 and three alliances were formed, Emperor/Guild, Harkonnen/Bene Gesserit, and Atreides/Fremen. with their wealth the Emperor/Guild alliance bribed others to buy Treachery cards keeping them out of the Harkonnen hands and then used their mobility advantage to drop large forces into the final two strongholds they needed for victory. When the Harkonnen tried to ship in troops to contest one of the strongholds, the Guild played a Karama card cancelling out the move and sealing the Victory.


Game 2 lasted a little longer, 7 turns, with two Nexus' occurring. In the first one, the Emperor/Guild and Atreides/Fremen allied leaving out the Harkonnens.The two alliances came close to winning early but had beaten up each other too much to gain enough ground for the win. When the next Nexus occurred two new alliances were formed, Emperor/Atreides and Guild/Harkonnen. The Harkonnen used the Lasegun card to kill off at least 3 or 4 leaders before the Emperor committed a weak leader with a Shield against Feyd Rautha and his Lasegun in Carthag. On the following turn,turn 6, the Emperor's forces landed in the ruins of Carthag and reinforced them on turn 7. In order to prevent the turn 7 win, Guild/Harkonnen forces concentrated on taking out the Atreides forces in Arakeen and Tuek's Sietch. Both battles were close but the Atreides managed to hold both strongholds for the Emperor/Atreides alliance win at the end of turn 7.


Now that everyone had 2 games under their belt we thought game 3 would last a little longer. The Fremen split their initial forces in half starting Sietch Tabr and False Wall South. On turn 1, the Spice blow fell in the South Mesa, so the Fremen in False Wall South moved in to collect. The Guild played agressively landing 6 units in the South Mesa right next to the 5 units he starts with in Tuek's Sietch. The Harkonnen started aggressively landing 8 units in Tuek's Sietch. A bloody first turn for the Fremen, Guild, and Harkonnen. The Fremen were victorious in False Wall South while the Harkonnen won in Tuek's Sietch. The first Nexus occurred on turn 2 and the following alliances were formed: Emperor/Atreides, Guild/Harkonnen(Allies after beating up each other on turn 1), and Fremen/Bene Gesserit. The second Nexus occurred on turn 3 and every alliance remained the same. No other Nexi occurred for the remainder of the game. On turn 3, House Atreides sent in a suicide mission into Carthag. The Lasgun/shield explosion cleared out the 10 Harkonnen units from Carthag. House Harkonnen never recovered from their losses. At this point I believe they had only 1 unit not in the tanks. On the following turn the Bene Gesserit declared non-coexistence in Tuek's Sietch to prevent the Emperor/Atreides faction from going for the win. The Emperor did land a sizeable force in the now vacant Carthag though. An Emperor/Atreides victory was only delayed a turn though as both factions landed in force in Carthag and Tuek's Sietch for the win. The tanks were overflowing at game end on turn 5.

I was in the Netherlands for two weeks, and played a lot of Settlers of Catan and its Seafarers expansion with my friend Robert (Tiger_NL on ConsimWorld) and his girlfriend Chontalle.  It was all great fun.

Starting For the People.

 

Vids here once I'm done.

Completed one game of Twilight Struggle with Christian and another is still going on.  We started Caucasus Campaign right away and we are now in turn 3.  We played it over Skype and realized that it should be easily done with VASSAL PBEM as well.  The game of Most Dangerous Time with Kenneth over Skype and VASSAL was also completed.  Oda was dead.  I lured Kenneth into Stalin's War immediately.  The solo game of June '44 at home was also completed and I found that it was a good and easy game for the campaign at operational level.  Now, men, Dai Senso has arrived and four people are gathering this weekend for the monster!     

Lobositz (BAR). Very very painful, at first.

 

I still think it's a terrible design, in terms of too many mechanical actions,

but I'm pushing through, and kinda enjoying.

 

Vids loading.

I've been playing the latest edition of Hornet Leader from DVG.  Also, while I was traveling this week, I had the Matrix Games version of Harpoon on my laptop, and played a couple of scenarios in my hotel room.

Great Pacific War didn't last long...one turn.

 

As I suspected its a better FTF game than a solo simulation.  Rolling sixes against yourself isn't much fun.

 

Now I'm going to try Eric Harvey's APTO which I have had since it came out but never played, but...I can't find a set up for a game that starts in December 1941!!!!  I can pretty much fudge everything but China. It would be nice to know where to put the Chinese and Japanese units .

 

I have e-mailed Eric Harvey buit haven't got a response yet.

We played the Dai Senso on Saturday, starting with the 1937 set up. Finished the game on turn 6 or so. People thought that the game lacked the maneuver part but I am fine with it because I don't think China is a theatre for a mobile war. The terrain to the west is always hill or rough. The only natural choice for the Japanese was to go south attacking Shanghai (it wasn't fall yet at the end of day).

I love the DS game design in which it integrates the political module with the military module very elegantly (as many of you who are familiar with Totaler Krieg! may know). The "Initial Administrative Phase" gives its due emphasis to the political events, played out by Options Card chosen by the player (with some preconditions) instead of random pick, and military build up operations and tempo in the Support Segment and Organization Segment. The latter two added a bit of load to the gameplay but I think they are absolutely essential. 

People definitely like the game with so few counters on the map (at least in the beginning) while so many things can happen. The Soviet player controlled the Hopeh country after it resisted the Japanese invasion. The Western player looks a bit boring though with rolling dices leading to no result with the Options Card.

Overall, this game is fun and realistic on the strategic level for WWII Asian theatre. China is the focus in the game, the only game that I can think of so far that deals with the Japanese invasion of China directly at this level (whereas Empire of the Sun left China entirely). There is a lot of depth to the game for many years of enjoyment, with different development of stories every time (for example, Hopeh may be ceded to Japan early the next time!). The map is colorful enough with the money I spent on the game.  But DG counters remain something to desire with regards to their thickness. The game is perfect for solitaire study and PBEM too. I am going to study it more.

Played: Another try at W@W15, "Soft Underbelly:Italy 1943". Lost as Germans for 2nd playing but won on first try as same. A fun game. Solitaire W@W#9, "Destruction of Army Grp Center". OK, but I liked the original better. GMT's "Twilight Struggle" twice. Won as Soviets, lost as US. Won as Soviets 1st time, at Monstercon,a couple years ago. ummmm, I see a pattern; Soviets 3 vs US 0. Played with my Gaming grp: Clash of Arms game "King David" didn't finish but fun, and Histogame "Friedrich". Lost as Prussia. A very good 'game' but short on History.  C3I's "Battle for Moscow", won as Soviets but very close. A nice filler game. Helping 2 friends to learn some GMT Games; "Flying Colors" and "SPQR".
Working my way through SPQR's battles.
Case Blue / Enemy at the Gates

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