Wargamer's Corner

Robear wrote:

Seems almost like spoilers, though. Good for beginner games, not so good for players who want the challenge of figuring it all out on the fly.

For sure, you'd make it optional ("Skip"). I'm thinking it would stop well short of spoilers, more or less along the lines of a briefing. Things like...

- showing the main objectives on the map
- an overview of your forces
- expected enemy resistance

Just thinking of my PanzerCorps playthrough now, but they have a briefing of objectives to set context, but it's disconnected from the scenario map (and very brief). After you listen to the very brief briefing, you're left to parse the scenario map on your own. When there are gobs of units and a big map, that jump into the scenario map can feel like: "Uff, I'll do this later." And later sometimes never comes.

On an unrelated note. I ordered a thing this week:

GMT Games - Atlantic Chase

Hmmmm. That looks very interesting... Especially that it can be played solitaire.

Robear wrote:

Hmmmm. That looks very interesting... Especially that it can be played solitaire.

It's by the same guy who did Skies over the Reich. Sounds like it's got some pretty novel mechanics too.

Apologies if this has already been discussed at some point in this thread, but are there good game options for digital wargames that can do a "play-by-email" type of thing?

I rarely have set times I could be free for a 2-player, live game, but I was thinking an asynchronous type of thing, where you could make a turn and submit it to a server or something, might be fun.

May or may not be your kind of game, but that's how most multiplayer Dominions 5 is played: https://llamaserver.net/

Ordered Atlantic Chase, and also the new solitaire bot for Fire in the Lake. I love me some strategic Vietnam games. Played the old VG one to death, it had such a great system.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Apologies if this has already been discussed at some point in this thread, but are there good game options for digital wargames that can do a "play-by-email" type of thing?

I rarely have set times I could be free for a 2-player, live game, but I was thinking an asynchronous type of thing, where you could make a turn and submit it to a server or something, might be fun.

I play wargames via VASSAL all the time. It's great.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Apologies if this has already been discussed at some point in this thread, but are there good game options for digital wargames that can do a "play-by-email" type of thing?

I rarely have set times I could be free for a 2-player, live game, but I was thinking an asynchronous type of thing, where you could make a turn and submit it to a server or something, might be fun.

Many, if not most, Matrix wargames have PBEM support built in. TOAW4 and the Grigsby games do for sure.

Thanks, qaraq, tboon, and Natus - These are all excellent ideas.

- I have Dominions 5, but was thinking something more traditional. I'm a total newb at Dominions.

- Oh, VASSAL looks fascinating. Can you only play the games they have built into the system, and do you need the physical version to do so?

- I didn't realize that about Matrix games. I have TOAW4 too.

Stuff to explore, thanks!

Robear wrote:

Ordered Atlantic Chase, and also the new solitaire bot for Fire in the Lake. I love me some strategic Vietnam games. Played the old VG one to death, it had such a great system.

We'll have to compare notes. Looks like my copy of Atlantic Chase arrives tomorrow.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Thanks, qaraq, tboon, and Natus - These are all excellent ideas.

- Oh, VASSAL looks fascinating. Can you only play the games they have built into the system, and do you need the physical version to do so?

You generally don't, unless there's some rulebook or chart card that's not available online. There are about 2600 game modules available, so you have a pretty good shot at something you like. Most publishers don't have any problems with free VASSAL modules existing (except maybe DVG, because they make and sell them).

I use it for solo games; I prefer it to Tabletop Simulator because the 3D in TTS seems kind of gratuitous, and it makes my graphics card run loud. I'm going to try Atlantic Chase one of these days on TTS, though it's fairly far down my pile.

Thanks! I was actually just coming back to this to report back. I installed VASSAL and installed an old Blitzkreig game to check it out.

This is amazing, and their are soooo many modules.

EDIT: OMG! This is exactly what I was looking for. There is SO MUCH HERE.

I'm printing out the VASSAL guide now. Many buttons so not really grokking things yet.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Thanks! I was actually just coming back to this to report back. I installed VASSAL and installed an old Blitzkreig game to check it out.

This is amazing, and their are soooo many modules.

EDIT: OMG! This is exactly what I was looking for. There is SO MUCH HERE.

I'm printing out the VASSAL guide now. Many buttons so not really grokking things yet.

Yeah, some of it will be opaque and certain convenient features won't work, unfortunately. Some modules are very old or really dysfunctional. My friends and I have played the hell out of Imperial Struggle, C&C: Medieval, and Brotherhood & Unity recently. Most rules and charts can be found online, and there are almost YouTube tutorials on how to play.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Apologies if this has already been discussed at some point in this thread, but are there good game options for digital wargames that can do a "play-by-email" type of thing?

I rarely have set times I could be free for a 2-player, live game, but I was thinking an asynchronous type of thing, where you could make a turn and submit it to a server or something, might be fun.

The Combat Mission games have a very vibrant PBEM community. It's a really good PBEM series. I've also played TOAW via PBEM and that works well. Others have mentioned that the Grigsby games have PBEM too but I've not tried them.

I don't have anyone locally to play wargames with, so, the only way I can play against a human is via PBEM.

Do others here have local folks to play over the board with? How did you meet them?

PWAlessi wrote:

The Combat Mission games have a very vibrant PBEM community. It's a really good PBEM series. I've also played TOAW via PBEM and that works well. Others have mentioned that the Grigsby games have PBEM too but I've not tried them.

I don't have anyone locally to play wargames with, so, the only way I can play against a human is via PBEM.

Do others here have local folks to play over the board with? How did you meet them?

I don't know anyone locally who plays wargames. Two kids in high level competitive soccer for the past decade plus has pretty much sucked all our of social life into that vortex. Now that we are on the cusp of empty-nesting, I'm thinking that I'll have time starting in the fall for things like my own social interests. Covid hasn't helped either, for sure.

To be honest, though, I might struggle with live sessions. I have trouble sitting for more than an hour or so. I like to get up, move around, do stuff, then come back to things. Many wargames strike me as LONG, but maybe that's just because I've been away from the genre for a while, or only focused on computer wargames? I might just be a better fit for asynchronous play, where you can mess around with the game for a while then send off a turn.

I'd cautiously dip my toe into the waters here and offer that I think I might be up for some PBEM with something like TOAW 4. That might be a good place to start, where the game system controls the rules, rather than VASSAL, where I feel like I'd mess up and move a unit too far or something.

The COIN games are interesting, deep and have paper AI opponents for solitaire play.

Robear wrote:

The COIN games are interesting, deep and have paper AI opponents for solitaire play. :-)

Are they all good? Looking on the GMT COIN page. I see that People Power and China's War are at their P500 discount price and are near shipping. Fire in the Lake seems the most interesting to me, but it's got a long way to go in the P500 system.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:
Robear wrote:

The COIN games are interesting, deep and have paper AI opponents for solitaire play. :-)

Are they all good? Looking on the GMT COIN page. I see that People Power and China's War are at their P500 discount price and are near shipping. Fire in the Lake seems the most interesting to me, but it's got a long way to go in the P500 system.

Fire in the Lake has already been published, already has an update kit, and very soon will have an expansion, Fall of Saigon. It's great, but very dense, and I am not a COIN aficionado. The designers are Mark Herman and Volko Ruhnke, two superstars of wargaming.

I have pre-ordered China's War due to the subject matter and due to the designer, Brian Train.

I consider myself a COIN enthusiast. Had to learn the system on my own and enjoy teaching the system to others. The Command + Special Ability options keeps new players on rails (I describe the limited choices as being similar to Pandemic) and lends itself to free form solo play if you find the bot flowcharts dense.

For new players without a veteran player to learn from, I agree with the common recommendation of Cuba Libre. It has a small map, shortest estimated playtime, super quick setup with visual aids on the map and almost identical options for the insurgent factions. It also does a good job of driving home the 'allied factions are your frenemies' point of the COIN system. This is the entry I use to teach the game.

If you're looking for a more involved implementation, pick a setting or conflict you're familiar with or are a student of. For us, that was Liberty or Death. I think we've gotten the most plays overall out of it.

Some of the more unique (and divergent) entries are Pendragon (on map wealth/prosperity management) , Falling Sky (first entry that includes meaningful leader tokens and a 5th 'non-player' faction) and Gandhi (first entry with 'non violent' factions and a 'draw victory'). Unless you were really hot on these settings, I wouldn't recommend those for new players.

Barely related while we're on the topic - I want to give an 'unintended COIN game' shout out for Root. We picked this up last month and my 10yo daughter who loudly disparages and avoids my heavy cardboard games absolutely devoured this.

Thanks! That's both interesting and helpful!

Poking about on the GMT site, Cuba Libre, Liberty or Death, and Fire in the Lake are all out of stock, and have reprints gathering steam in their P500 ordering system.

I have a few games to play at the moment, though, so I'll dig into those first.

On a related note, UPS Man just arrived bearing Atlantic Chase!

I mean, I have about 6 of them, but those three are the ones I've tried. I liked them but honestly, the system is solid, so go with the ones that interest you in topic.

GioClark wrote:

I consider myself a COIN enthusiast. Had to learn the system on my own and enjoy teaching the system to others. The Command + Special Ability options keeps new players on rails (I describe the limited choices as being similar to Pandemic) and lends itself to free form solo play if you find the bot flowcharts dense.

For new players without a veteran player to learn from, I agree with the common recommendation of Cuba Libre. It has a small map, shortest estimated playtime, super quick setup with visual aids on the map and almost identical options for the insurgent factions. It also does a good job of driving home the 'allied factions are your frenemies' point of the COIN system. This is the entry I use to teach the game.

If you're looking for a more involved implementation, pick a setting or conflict you're familiar with or are a student of. For us, that was Liberty or Death. I think we've gotten the most plays overall out of it.

Some of the more unique (and divergent) entries are Pendragon (on map wealth/prosperity management) , Falling Sky (first entry that includes meaningful leader tokens and a 5th 'non-player' faction) and Gandhi (first entry with 'non violent' factions and a 'draw victory'). Unless you were really hot on these settings, I wouldn't recommend those for new players.

Barely related while we're on the topic - I want to give an 'unintended COIN game' shout out for Root. We picked this up last month and my 10yo daughter who loudly disparages and avoids my heavy cardboard games absolutely devoured this.

That's very well stated, and I'm sure your experience could help me, since I struggle in each and every COIN I play. I think the solution is to really learn the system and then teach it to others. Maybe I can teach Cuba Libre to my family at some point.

And you're so right about Root. It's the COIN-ish game that draws n00bs and veterans like moths to a flame. The only drawback is that it's *so* asymmetric (which I like) that it can be tough to unwind if someone makes a mistake, so players need to be really up on their factions.

Teaching is the best way to learn. I got a few friends and we went through the tutorials and just kept going. Worked for Cuba Libre and the American Revolution one, and then I did some Fire in the Lake on my own.

Cuba Libre sounds like a great place to start. It's only at 89 orders on their P500 system, so ordering now would probably get me a copy in 2023 sometime. Might have to hunt one down on Ebay at some point.

Cuba Libre is simpler but still challenging. Control changes frequently and the small factions can play an outsized role if the main players are cautious. However, the American Revolution one is genuinely interesting. It deals with the initial sorting out of colonies and buildup of forces, then there is the question of when and how hard the French will come in. It's a good game.

After exploring a bit, I decided to go for A Distant Plain, which has a high solitaire rating, is a topic I'm interested in, and there was a new copy of the 3rd edition on Ebay at a pretty good discount.

Now I just need to get my gaming table back. Big work presentation from home on Friday and I'm using that room to do the presentation, so I can't set up anything in there yet.

PWAlessi wrote:

Do others here have local folks to play over the board with? How did you meet them?

I’ve had some luck meeting people at local conventions. Obviously that requires one to be near you and even so finding wargamers might be tough depending on its focus, so I count myself pretty fortunate.

Would be interested to hear others’ experiences, but, for me at least, board wargames don’t lend themselves that well to group nights similar to Euros. Most being two player is a big factor along with them generally requiring more time to prep and play than makes sense in a “pickup game” atmosphere.

For myself, I’ve found a couple local opponents who more than fill up the available time on my gaming schedule. So at this point I’m pretty much satisfied and not “on the market” looking for new playing partners. Not great for the health of the hobby, but it makes sense on an individual level and I wonder how many others are in similar situations once they get established. Definitely makes it tough for new people trying to get started.

Most of my multiplayer wargaming has been multi-session. That, or like an 8 hour get together. It's best done when there's not the time pressure of having to clear lunch and be done by dinner, you know?

But I'd be inclined to go with Vassal these days, just for the expediency of it.

Gunner wrote:
PWAlessi wrote:

Do others here have local folks to play over the board with? How did you meet them?

I’ve had some luck meeting people at local conventions. Obviously that requires one to be near you and even so finding wargamers might be tough depending on its focus, so I count myself pretty fortunate.

Would be interested to hear others’ experiences, but, for me at least, board wargames don’t lend themselves that well to group nights similar to Euros. Most being two player is a big factor along with them generally requiring more time to prep and play than makes sense in a “pickup game” atmosphere.

For myself, I’ve found a couple local opponents who more than fill up the available time on my gaming schedule. So at this point I’m pretty much satisfied and not “on the market” looking for new playing partners. Not great for the health of the hobby, but it makes sense on an individual level and I wonder how many others are in similar situations once they get established. Definitely makes it tough for new people trying to get started.

As a member of a predominantly wargaming/strategy game group, it really can work if you have the space. There are more and more multiplayer wargames on the market now, and if you can leave games up for another session, all the better!

Natus wrote:

As a member of a predominantly wargaming/strategy game group, it really can work if you have the space. There are more and more multiplayer wargames on the market now, and if you can leave games up for another session, all the better!

That's super cool, glad it works for you! I've heard of clubs that rent space continuously to leave things set up and am always insanely jealous.