Gaming Contemporary Tactical Ground Combat

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Gaming Contemporary Tactical Ground Combat

Discuss your favorite games/systems/scenarios covering pre-WWII to hypothetical future tactical ground combat. What are your favorites and why?

Members: 33
Latest Activity: Dec 6, 2014

Discussion Forum

Fireteam and Squad Level Games 4 Replies

Started by Eric Walters. Last reply by John Kantor Aug 21, 2008.

The Gamers'/MMP's Tactical Combat Series 1 Reply

Started by Eric Walters. Last reply by blue May 19, 2008.

winSPMBT 3 Replies

Started by Don Lazov. Last reply by Don Lazov May 9, 2008.

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Comment by Eric Walters on May 26, 2014 at 8:42pm

Am getting into SERGEANTS: MINIATURES GAME and am enjoying it.  So maybe I can dive into CHAIN OF COMMAND!  SMG is horribly expensive (and is so much so that Lost Battalion games is doing a board game version) but I can not resist it!

Comment by Thomas Richardson on April 8, 2014 at 8:55am

I know this group is talking about cardboard and paper games, and I have played all the mentioned, ASL, ASLSK, ATS, Lock & Load, TCS, Combat Commander, Firepower, Panzerblitz and others I have forgotten. But of the best systems for Tactical Ground Combat to come out are TooFatLadies, I Aint Been Shot Mom (IABSM) company level, and the new game from 2013, Chain of Command (CoC) Platoon level. If you want tense, seat of the pants game play, and to be that tactical commander of a platoon, CoC is the game. I know they are miniatures, CoC will take but 30 figures per side and some terrain, (rob your kids 40K). Much less then a ASL or ATS scenario in game components. CoC has opened the way for us to be that Platoon Command and expereince that friction of combat. This is no I-GO-YOU-GO, but a different take on Command dice and and card draw, (no cards to print out). I was in the Marines for 20 years and CoC is the closest to tactical level control, (or really for no control). Just my 2 cents.

Comment by Lawrence Hung on October 12, 2009 at 1:02am
Agreed. I was not a tactical level wargamer before (somewhat anti-ASL as I thought this was not simulation but money generator). With the flood and waves of advertising attack, one is inevitably to succumb to. I broke out with ASLSK first, then followed by ATS, Lock and Load, Combat Commander. Actually, they are one leading to another. As time goes by, my interest in tactical level increases.

I don't like ASL's concrete and structured sequence of play. Well, ASLer often says ASLSK isn't the full dope and therefore you can't judge the system with such a much stripped-down version. However, I was and still is not convinced by the "reality" in ASL world. The system carries too much design approach and elements from the 80's. It is pretty much a "chess-like" system of "I-go-U-go" with opportunity fire intrusions at certain intervals. The complex turn sequence cost about 30 minutes a turn, including time to flipping pages of rulebook which is a tough nut to crack by itself. I am always disappointed by its modelling effectiveness.

ATS is a ground-breaking design in that it is a truly "interactive" system. Nobody knows what's next in the upcoming impulse. A lot more options you can choose to do within an impulse and the actions and reactions thing at tactical combat level make much more sense to me. Every ATS game is a historical module. The scenarios design is therefore much more coherent than ASL which have different places and locations in order to utilize the full OOBs come with the game. Of course, there can be series of scenarios based on the historical situation and ASL historical study. But then, the geomorphic maps can never be the real thing like that in ATS where actual terrain of the battlefield is depicted and modelled. Moment is heightened often with a sense of historical development on the actual battlefiled on the ground. ATS is actually THE game system that brought my tactical interest to the next level. However, it is relatively as difficult as ASL to master when more complex situation arises.

Well, next comes the Lock n' Load system. I wasn't lured into it until it released the Band of Heroes after the Vietnam module. And then I wasn't "clicked" until 3 years later after 3 scenarios of the game. The rulebook, though not badly written, was originally not as tightly written as wargamers would have expected. Therefore, some "holes" are perceived in the game when, in fact, they are covered in another sections in the rulebook. Some interpretations of the rules therefore appear to be required. The "spotting" rules are also particularly troublesome when they interact with other rules in the system. However, nothing can't be resolved with clarifications from the designer both in CSW and BGG. I was excited to see how the spotting rules apply actually in the game and I like the spotting part very much. It is the center-reason which makes the system much more effective and efficient than ASL in my opinion. The Ambush-like random events also add another dimension to the game and greatly enhance the scenario replayability.

At first, I was not impressed by Combat Commander's card-driven story-telling ability. I thought it was too luck dependent. It is only applicable to certain situations in my opinion - where the actual battlefield nature is already too chaotic and unpredictable. For example, I was not having any fun in the original Combat Commander but when CC: Stalingrad came, the whole system shines. You don't think it is too absurd to find you don't have the cards you need at certain critical moments. You won't get frustrated because you knew about it already. Of couse, one would argue combat in Stalingrad is no different from a plain and forest dominated types of terrain in Russia or nothern France. However, I am hardly convinced. Therefore, I am selective in the series.

I have several Panzergranadier series games but they are the games I have the least desire to pull the games out and play. Maybe it is because of its counters art and the "platoon" level. To me, the "platton" level appears to be somewhat mixing up the line between operational manuovering and the basic unit - squad at tactical combat operations. I haven't got a chance to play the games and therefore I can't comment it too much.

I have the Panzerblitz and Conflict of Heroes games but I don't have the time to dig into them. The Panzerblitz has been much revamped and therefore I am not sure if it is better or worse. However, it primarily focused on tank combined operations. I would like to see others comparing the game to other tactical games. Conflict of Heroes has a much nicer graphics than Panzergrandier and therefore it appeals to play. However, the simplicity of the core system might hamper its ability to further expand. At tactical level, it is much less abstract than the operational or strategic level. If you won't find a rule in Conflict of Heroes in certain situation, I won't be suprised.
Comment by Eric Walters on October 11, 2009 at 12:47pm
2008 and 2009 has been the era of a resurgence/renaissance in tactical ground combat boardgames. Prior to this, we had the competition between COMBAT COMMANDER series, ASL, ASL Starter Kits, and ADVANCED TACTICAL (TOBRUK) SYSTEM for the squad level games. For platoon level, you had TACTICAL COMBAT SERIES (TCS) and PANZER GRENADIER series. Now we've got CONFLICT OF HEROES: AWAKENING THE BEAR and STORM OF STEEL as well as the resurgence of LOCK 'N LOAD titles covering the squad level, with PANZERBLITZ: HILL OF DEATH and the CARENTAN supplement in the latest MMP Operations Special Edition #2. LOCK 'N LOAD has really come into its own--check out HEROES OF THE BLITZKRIEG and even PANZERGRENADIER is seemingly reaching its peak with CASSINO '44. I can't imagine having to break into 20th Century tactical ground gaming now--there is just so, so much to choose from. And all are so excellent in their own ways for their own audiences. You just have to find where you belong. Choices, choices, choices...
Comment by Tom Meier on May 12, 2008 at 12:19am
Hello Guys, Awesome topic idea Eric - as this is my current shtick and gripe with Army gaming. The NSC (Natl Sim Center) recently stodd up a 'Gaming' group and reading their minutes they are still focusing on simulations, and looking at developing another first person shooter. I hope to give them some ideas and thoughts on how to use boardgames, and also show the cost savings.
Comment by Eric Walters on May 6, 2008 at 7:25pm
Okay, I'm starting some discussion groups based on the below, mostly tied to scales vice time periods.
Comment by Jon Compton on May 6, 2008 at 12:14pm
The Lock'n'Load guys stopped sending review copies to F&M, so I haven't seen anything other than the first release or two.
Comment by blue on May 6, 2008 at 1:55am
I have Combat and SL and ASLSK and Ambush.However, ASLSK and Ambush play only now. Because the deflection of the card is too strong, Combat Commander is a game not recommended by the beginner.
Comment by Jon Compton on May 5, 2008 at 5:22pm
I have IDF and MBT. Maybe I should give these a closer look before I pine away for a modern ASL.
Comment by Jon Compton on May 5, 2008 at 5:20pm
Don't get me wrong, I really like ATS, and appreciate the chaotic element. In fact, if I were aiming to simulate the environment, I might choose it over ASL. But ASL has a more cerebral quality to it that I enjoy tremendously. One thing that is perhaps interesting with ATS is that I'm constantly tempted to react to a local situation rather than execute my overall tactical plan. Usually this causes more problems than it solves. It may be that ATS simply requires more discipline to play well. I have Combat Commander, but haven't given it a try yet.
 

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