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 July 17, 2016 at 10:12am
I am absolutely in the delight of SFB world and system. It's ASL for Sic-Fi. Variable weapons and ship designs impress me with unlimited strategic and tactical options in SFB and I am all for that satisfying all kinds of imagination and logical plausibility in the outer world, while I feel burdened with ASL rules of adding layer after layer of realities.
Comment by Lawrence Hung on June 14, 2016 at 9:23pm

The old and newly revamped Fire & Movement combat system has quite elaborate and ZOC rules which brings out the "zen" moment during the game. Reading the rules a few days ago, I quite like it with regard to the mobile and non-mobile units different behaviors of maneuvers as a result. Locking ZOC is something, IMHO, that is workable only to warfare pre-WWI. For example, American Civil War or Napoleonic War, wherein military organization and integrity for command and control are less flexible once engaged in contact with enemies. Harvest of Death: The Second Day at Gettysburg and Four Battles of the Ancient World have locking ZOC rules to the best effect that I still find the gameplay memorable. On the other hand, the effects of locking ZOCs in Battle of the Bulge, a classic AH wargame, don't look like WWII warfare to me. Remember that the side-slip (or slip slide) around eZOC is not something uncommon since the advent of WWI Stoss/ Shock troop/ infiltration tactics in a game scale up to division level. They don't look like gamey but realistic options. On the contrary, The Guns of August has very locking ZOC rules at division level and that game is a horrible experience to many. The results of that game don't look like an authentic experience of WWI to me either, at least in the early stage of the campaign.

Comment by Lawrence Hung on June 14, 2016 at 4:52am

Not a very deep thought, and perhaps quite unsuspectingly - I think CDG games implement FOW ("fog-of-war") very well, that you have to guess the strategic intention of your opponent in Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition), Paths of Glory, even Twilight Struggle with what cards does he have in hand. On the other hand, I find the variable strength chits in Iron Tide: Panzers in the Ardennes, or the so called Victory in the West series, not making much sense with combat class/ strength "A", "B", or "C". It would have duplicated the uncertainty effects of an already well-conceived CRT and its results, despite I know there is a group of followers with such a system. On a supreme commander level, like Marshall or Eisenhower, however, there is no uncertainty but mathematical certainty, with the quantity and technology at hand, that the Allies would eventually wear out the Axis and win the war in the end as if in a game of Hearts of Iron.

Comment by Lawrence Hung on May 22, 2016 at 10:48pm

Christian and I are digging into the Next War series. We have completed, via live Vassal, the first scenario "Seoul Train" in Korea, in which the North DPRK drive south from Kaseong onto Seoul along a narrow, fortified de-militarized zone. The DPRK have two Corps deployed on or near the border and with four turns (8 weeks). It's not a problem for the sheer might of the DPRK thrust through the ROK Army with surprise in the first turn, a column shift in combat. The DPRK has the initiative, air advantage, as well as the weather. Interestingly, the DPRK has the choice to choose the timing of the attack - i.e. in summer or winter. Christian taught me through the game and it's good for the DPRK to attack in winter because all marshes became plains for the mechanized divisions rolling on! We have great fun with the scenario and we have the sequence of play down as it integrates air-power with both air points and helicopters. They are important in the attacks as I rolled several times good, aborting the ROK's air points while giving support to the ground.

The game comes with both series rules and specific rules. There are quite amount of reading and we haven't touched upon the advanced and optional rules. The system has Sea Control and Naval Rules in the standard rules but we didn't have a chance to use it in a predominantly land scenario. As Taiwan has a new president now, we agree to play Next War: Taiwan next to see what happens if Communist China (PRC) attacks the Republic of China (ROC) via amphibious attacks. Stay tuned.

Comment by Lawrence Hung on May 17, 2016 at 9:22pm

Strafexpedition 1916 is on my game to play list for this year 'cos it's centennial for the campaign!

I have played DG revision of the magazine game World War I. It is really a good grand strategic wargame on WWI. The rules have many small blocks on the road to understanding but they can be overcome. Once there, the experience is enriching and rewarding, especially when you can find a good opponent like Anthony L. This is a game of mental as well as mettle contest!

Comment by Lawrence Hung on May 12, 2016 at 9:57pm

I have over 1,200 boardgames now.  It is a crazy number to many but not to the elite few.  I was asked many times why I can't buy one only after completing play of the old ones (it goes without saying who's asking this question). 

Greed is the key here.

I keep thinking that I can get to play most of the games I have. And I realize I can't anyway. So I keep buying more out of greed. I am collecting for collecting sake, with a purpose in mind that they are the games I like, I should like, etc. There is a universe inside each game that I wish to travel in.

Gaming is an art form in itself it became.

Comment by Lawrence Hung on April 27, 2016 at 3:20am

Finally completed my three-month long game of Circle of Fire last night with Aris via PBeM. The game is straightforward and PBeM-friendly with just a few minutes to complete an area impulse per day. Here are some mistakes I made as German in the besieged city:

1. I was thinking always to strike the right time for a Night turn with the Advantage. This was obviously wrong when I thought everything was going to be determined at the last turn. I should have used the Advantage more often as it should swing back to me when the Soviet had to use it as well.

2. I didn't focus on the victory conditions. I should release the garrison units in the center dot of the Cholm circle. They have no use if they act like sitting duck and if they don't spread out when the Soviets control four areas in the city (one of the three victory conditions). They should be used to strike south with an attempt to breakout towards the airfield. That thick blue river line obscured my thought of possibly crossing it at all.

Well, I learned a lot the game by reflecting the manner and way I played wargames. I was too relaxed and took the game as leisure all the time, enjoying the narrative more than the final outcome. But obviously, winning a game matters. My hat off to my opponent in Greece!

Comment by Lawrence Hung on March 3, 2016 at 1:55am

We are going to revisit Advanced Tobruk System this Saturday, like a ritualistic event every year together with Leo.  He selected the module Surprised outside of Strass, Hurtgen Forest with scenario "Nothing to Spare" 12 December 1944.  A platoon of American M4A1 tanks from the 3rd Battalion of the 330th Infantry Regiment was, as a relief force to the beleaguered city of Strass.  American morale was high and approaching from the west.  The German 116th Panzer division had the initiative as they were more ready and familiar with the environs as the Stug III  were known to the Yankees as tank killers for a while.  This time the German had eight of them!

Refreshing the series rules with the latest version 4.4.2, I am quite enjoying with the rules which incorporates the TT rules and put the terrain rules in the latter part of the rules instead of detailed explanation at the upfront.  Leo and I are planning to run a series of ATS games in the club and I am sure we are going to have great fun.   

         

Comment by Lawrence Hung on March 3, 2016 at 1:34am

I am planning to full speed ahead with the modern hypothetical warfare. I haven't been playing anything on that topic recently and this March I should remedy that with World at War Eisnebach Gap (with Aris) and Next War Taiwan (with Christian).  The computer game Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm also has a very nice and details rulebook to entice me into the game. 

On the other hand, I am also reading the rules of La Bataille de France 40' which is a platoon level wargame of WWII. This level is relatively unknown in the wargame community with any good game or series.  But I think this level should convey a sense of what really is happening at the actual fighting level with distinguished command structure and maneuver principles. Great stuff. I have high hope of this.

Comment by Lawrence Hung on March 3, 2016 at 1:28am

Still playing PBeM Vassal games on Waterloo 1815: Fallen Eagles, The Invasion of Russia (1812), S&T#294 World War I, Circle of Fire: The Siege of Cholm. A bit full at the moment but I am planning to start more games: La Bataille de France 1940 and World at War: Eisnebach. I find it all too good to learn the games on the go with PBeM, taking time and pace of learning at leisure. I also learn deeper about these games as a result.

For example, I can say the modelling of Napoleonic warfare in Fallen Eagles is a perfect one so far I have seen. The alternate activation of the formations on the battlefield is something akin to what I have seen in the movie. They command, they maneuver into a better position, while exchanging artillery fire before charging by infantry or artillery. In The Invasion of Russia, the supply problem to the French and numerical inferiority of the Russian are two mega problems that require to be resolved in a chess format.

In World War I, the SPI sysetm is still shadowing the revised DG edition, making it checking the rules a headache. The system is brutal to isolated units. Many of the Central Power's units are slaughtered by my opponent every day as they are permanently eliminated in concentric attack. The CRT is something you have to get used to - disastrous result to the attacker always happens at the most un-opportune time. In Circle of Fire, the German artillery and air bombardments are the only hope for the men entrapped inside the city but they are proved to be better than nothing. More often, the men have to struggle hand-to-hand, face-to-face. Strangely, the rubble rules don't produce as much rubble as it would have been. The struggle is hard as movement is limited. The only good news is that it is now turn 8 (out of 10) and the German HQ is still intact at the center of Cholm.

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