On The Table Catchup

There will be trouble ahead…

I am miles behind in gaming stuff, so I will do a quick run through of the wargames I have been playing recently (and not so recently), hopefully getting me up to date.

Which way to the Wilderness?

Following on from Lee vs Grant, I returned to the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War (GCACW) series which that former game inspired.  First up, Stonewall’s Last Battle, the Chancellorsville Campaign from April to May 1863. I played all the basic game scenarios, using these to become more comfortable with the core rules before tackling something more meaty. Oh, and I played with the rules out of the box rather than trying to retrofit the current standard rules as I saw that as being too much work with not enough return. The original rules did absolutely fine in delivering hours of gaming entertainment, and a deepening of my understanding of the historical campaign.

CSA on the move…

Next up, more GCACW with my favorite campaign and battle as rendered in Roads to Gettysburg. I played a couple of the basic game scenarios before tackling the single advanced game scenario, the full Gettysburg campaign. The first time, the Union forces arrived at the earliest possible occasion, and that somewhat doomed the Confederate chances. But they plugged away, and the Union finally scraped a marginal victory. In the second attempt, the Union forces arrived much later, and this gave the Confederates enough of a head start to rather easily secure a marginal victory. But a couple of surprising battle losses meant they could not secure a substantive victory.

I was simultaneously frustrated and enthralled by the random nature of the Union arrival. It does make for a very replayable game, but there seems like no attempt to balance the effects of an early or late entry in the victory conditions. That having been said, I was playing it primarily to continue my Gettysburg education, and it did that job.

I like the system, and am glad that MMP are soon to be producing a new, turbo boosted version of Roads to Gettysburg. I am looking forward to that.

Here come the Soviets!

Moving from the realms of real American wars, I reached the land of make believe with Tac Air. This is a battalion level game about potential (1980s) Warsaw Pact v NATO combat in Germany. I have a love hate relationship with the game. I love the way it tries to integrate ground, helicopter, and air units into the battle. I love the way it emphasizes supply, and the difficulty in maintaining a solid front line. I hate the combat system – results are disruptions that can incapacitate a unit. I played the introductory scenario a couple of times to confirm I still hated the combat system. I did. Back to the cupboard with you.

What are we doing here, out on a limb?

And now, I am just finishing off several sessions of Air Cav, another modern game which showcases how deadly but fragile attack helicopters can be. In my first play through of the first scenario, half the Soviets were eliminated in one turn, but the NATO Player lost his two helicopters. Deadly, indeed.

Slowly but surely, I began to master the proper use of fire and move, covering fire, smoke, and evasive maneuvers. But, even with the best of tactics (cough, cough) the game can still show some lethal results.

My biggest complaint about the game is that it has a ton of data, but extracting the information you need for each scenario is a pain in the tonsils. I made up my own handwritten data cards for the first scenario, which is one main reason why I kept playing it again and again – I couldn’t face doing the same for more scenarios. Whatever. I had my fun, and even enjoyed it enough that it might hit the table again if I ever build up sufficient gaming stamina to redo the information for the other scenarios.

Finally, I have also played some ASL, and will deal with those encounters separately.

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