Tiring to back at home, I always wanted to pull out something about wargames from the closet and read. It is hard for me to keep concentrated on the reading of indulgence as my wife keeps calling me for something.

I am now into the system of ASLSK, WW2 tactical level wargame beginning in the '80s. I was not rich enough to pay for the hundreds of dollars on Squad Leader and its numerous modules at that time. Thus I paid those some crappy 3W wargames in S&Ts. When the "bible" of Advanced Squad Leader came, I was even more horrified with the amount of details to learn to just play a game.

I played 5 SK games already, including one using ASL map and counters. Now I enjoyed reading the ASLSK2 scenarios. There are Allied and Axis minors coming in. Many actions are featured in the island of Sicily and in the early war of Greece. I am suprised that there is not a single scenario on the eastern front as I believe guns were extensively deployed there. Italian Alpini army, American Parachute and German Fallschirmjager units are the main cast here. A scenario caught my eye especially as it features French Foreign Legion 1st Bataillon in Italy in a chasing breakthrough to the north of Rome, while they vowed "Legion is our homeland!"

Last night before I went to bed, I flipped through my old but yet unread Paper War issue #57 (back in 2005). It has many good articles in it, featuring Age of Napoleon (my top Napoleonic grand strategy game) and a discussion on the ATS series. The excitment about wargaming instantly surges in my brain again.

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Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 11, 2016 at 8:32pm

I have also just started a Vassal PBeM game of Waterloo 1815 Fallen Eagles: Waterloo with Victor as well.  This game is absolutely awesome.  I have played this game two times face to face with Andzrej before. As he left for Malta for retirement, as he is one of my major opponent, I have to play PBeM games more now.  Since Fallen Eagles is a French design, you really can't challenge more who can be better qualified to design a wargame on such battle.  

I quite like the rules on command and control, simple Fire Combat Table, formation-activation based sequence of play, all the uniform colors on the counters, and odour of fragrance inside the box, etc.!   

However, I think rule 12.2 ZOC and movement is not written as clear as it can possibly be. The two following paragraphs seem to be contradictory with each other, although they can be interpreted in a more restrictive manner (I will explain it after the two paragraphs below).
Infantry and leader units may move from EZOC to EZOC ONLY if they start their movement phase in the first EZOC, expend all their MP and enter the second EZOC in an adjacent hex already occupied by a friendly combat unit.
Exiting EZOC: an Infantry or artillery unit starting its movement phase in an EZOC may exit EZOC to enter a hex free of EZOC and continue movement. In this case they cannot re-enter an EZOC during the same movement phase.

While the first paragraph expressly permit the movement from eZOC to another, technically, that unit is also "exiting" from one eZOC and "re-enter" into another. I can understand from the examples of play how the first paragraph works. But the second paragraph should further elaborate the condition to which it applies - that the unit exits from eZOC to another non-eZOC hex and after that, it cannot enter into another eZOC. An example for this should also be given, if it is possible in the updated rulebook.
Well, there are quite a number of other players who disagree with me with regard to clarity of the rules on such eZOC movement issue. They think they are clear. But I look for the rationale behind between the two movements, both of which ending in eZOC. If there is something to prohibit a unit from moving out of an eZOC, most probably because of the unit's morale and command control issue, I find it really odd to see why it can move from one eZOC directly to another immediately.

Well then, some rationale should be given why there are two different treatments with respect to movement into eZOC.
Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 11, 2016 at 8:17pm

Just completed a full game of scenario 3 Rolling Hot in World at War: Eisenbach Gap in 63 Vassal files.  Since the scenario lasts for 11 turns, it is a very reasonable game to complete in about two months time, with one file exchange per day.  I fell in love with the system.  Aris and I are planning to play the next game in the series: Blood and Bridges, in which British Army of the Rhine rises up on the stage.  I will be the British (NATO) to get a handle on how their MBT Chieftan is going to perform.  

Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 8, 2016 at 11:02pm

Last night I have done one of my wildest thing for years - purchase of 7 Matrix wargames at the same time at 30% discount off.  Their digital wargames have been the best in and the standard for the market and they seldom sell their games at a discount.  I have stopped playing digital wargames since the golden time of Gary Grisby and Norm Kroger, thinking that the AIs were still poor, or up to the challenge, back in the days.  But with AI and technological advancement, I would hope to see a big leap in AI challenge.  The 7 games I bought in one go are:

Tigers on the Hunt (the game that triggers my desire to purchase computer wargames again)

Lock n Load Heroes of Stalingrad (the best tactical system in my opinion that would be most suitable for a computer conversion due to its flexibility, versatility and fluidity)

Conflict of Heroes Awakening the Bear, Storm of Steel and Ghost Division (the highly popular Action Points based wargame and I find the excitement in it once I played a face-to-face game)

Gary Grisby's World at War: A World Divided (game that bears the name of Gary Grisby is hard to resist.  Looks like a diplomacy cum military wargame)

Empires in Arms (if I can't find players to play it face to face, I feel my debt to play it alone against the AIs in order to know why the game is a classic for Napoleon wargames)

Gee...what have I done?  I even can't play my own huge collection of paper wargames already. It's just insane. 

Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 7, 2016 at 12:22am

In WSS, the company only checks for morale when one its platoon (three steps) is completely eliminated or for each hit over the original number of units which comprise the company, not counting the officer (platoon leader). The attrition-prone CRT makes one hit most of the time and so it hardly causes any morale check to a full healthy company passing through in front of your eyes. Units failing morale check would be routed, not "pinned at the original position upon being reaction fired. They would retreat depending on the differences between the number of hits and the dieroll result and the morale of the company. The lenient "Alternate Legal Route" sometimes also allow the units to retreat closer towards the objective hexes if the circumstances dictate (two conditions present).

Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 3, 2016 at 10:47pm

The sticky ZOC rules in The Guns of August bother me for a very long time. The trouble is once the units are engaged, they don't maneuver. Is it a true axiom? Or is it true locking ZOC due not to enemy firepower but to psychological barrier of the company/ platoon commanders? I mean, would any commander have any plan to move under the enemy's "eyes" in its "frontage"? Ty Bomba's radical approach to no-ZOC, no-railway-line-to-cut doesn't sound right to me either in Port Arthur: The Russo-Japanese War.

The lack of ZOC recalled one of my "argh" moment when I was playing WWS (War Storm Series). On 9 June, 1940, the French 42nd Infantry was ordered to shift its center to the west of the Asine River into the woods by passing through the town of Gernicourt by the river. The town was "garrisoned" by the spearhead company of Hpt. Schultz of of the German 15th Infantry Division. Yes, the French would be subject to "reaction fire" (i.e. opportunity fire at squad level) from Hpt. Schultz' men but still they are able to make a pass-through given WSS' attrition combat model. It means in 12 to 15 minutes, a French company can run through a built-up area of 150 to 200 meters, while taking some fire from the street and buildings across. A normal result would yield a step loss, which means about 10 men out of the 30 to 40 men platoon.

Well, does the above scenario sound about right? Will a company commander, i.e. the player, plan such a risky operation and give out the order with courage or French "esprit de corps", running under the rain of German suppressive fire?

Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 2, 2016 at 10:01pm

Out of wrapper for the game Moscow' 41 from VentoNuovo Games in Italy. Although the components are nice, a huge disappointment to find none of the stretch goals of the Kickstarter campaign that are supposed to be in the game. Perhaps it is because they rush to deliver the games out of the door - one of the very few Kickstarter campaign that delivers before its estimated delivery and not delay. It's happy to receive the game but it's annoying that you have to follow up the matter with the company, which takes time with an Italian. The problem compounds when I am the only backer of the Club Bundle which has four games. That means I have to chase down four sets of stretch goals for my fellow wargamers!

Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 2, 2016 at 9:49pm

Constant hunger for more wargames...is it just marketing or an internal desire?  I always find that there are too many games, too little time.  Is it the same for book-lovers?  Do they also have a lot of books that they can't finish and still they keep piling up them up in the shelves? 

Comment by Lawrence Hung on July 26, 2016 at 8:19pm

I have completed the tutorial scenario in Flashpoint Campaign: Red Storm yesterday. It seems to be not ending at the specific time as the Quick Start Guide suggested but to drag on, until I ended the game manually with contested result in Soviet's favor (60%). The assault order is not good against enemy in the town. Heavy casualties were resulted. Seems you have to capture it with Deliberate Move instead. At one time, the HQ retreated back perhaps in view of the possible Soviet air-strikes. At another time, the psuedo-me Commander was reported to have been killed by the air-strikes. I have been enjoying the game all the time at Nordheim, in particular, the deep blue Rohn river.

Comment by Lawrence Hung on July 24, 2016 at 8:46pm

I have just played the first scenarios in each game of the War Storm Series ("WSS"). And ho! The system is awesome. It's been quite a long time that I have that refreshing mind during gameplay. The regimental control of platoons at operational level is just right up my stomach. I wish to congratulate the designers partner up with Compass Games to have A La Barricadas 2nd edition and La Bataille de France 1940 out in the market. The counters are very nice with the formation insignia and production quality of the maps is top-notch. I am drawn into the system like swirling water - rapidly falling in love with the system. We plan to continue the scenarios again in our next meeting and that is something given very limited gaming time. My hats off to the designers Eskubi and Cebrian.

Comment by Lawrence Hung on July 20, 2016 at 11:32pm

Every now and then all the splendid discussion on the concept and problem of supply on combat in the context of OCS. Truth be told that I haven't been able to play any one game in the series. But the study of the series is well worth the time and keeps reminding me of thinking differently from a supply perspective. I don't think this makes the other wargames less realistic but the different models are just thinking in a different mode and thus feeding in different information for the players to act upon. This is what fun about wargaming.  I should start to game OCS!

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