The break from blogging did not mean I had stopped gaming. So, here’s some idea of what I have been up to. It’s not a comprehensive list, but it will suffice to note these highlights.
Battle Above The Clouds
This is the Chattanooga and Chickamauga campaigns of the American Civil War, one of the GCACW series now produced by MultiMan Publishing (MMP). The game features gorgeous maps at 2,000 yards per hex, units ranging from regiments to divisions, and game turns of one day. This one was designed by Ed Beach and Mike Belles. It’s mainly been on the game table because I have been reading David Powell‘s books (one of maps, one of narrative) and the game helps bring it even more to life.
I played the first couple of scenarios, but then tired of the system. It’s fiddly, and so that much more work for a solitaire player. However, I kept the game out for a bit longer to use as an extra reference in my reading. I suspect this is one of these systems that shines as a two player experience. That having been said, I am suspicious about how realistic it is without fog of war and an orders based command and control system. As things stand, seizing initiative by winning a die roll seems to be crucial. Hmmm.
Speaking of David Powell, he designed the next game up on the table about the battle of Chickamauga. This is a much older game, part of the Brigade Series originally produced by the Gamers, then taken on by MMP. It has a more detailed level of design: 200 yard hexes, half hour turns, and brigade sized units.
It’s a long time since I played one of the series, so to start with I have been brushing up on the rules, trying to take in the special rules for this battle, and often getting waylaid by reading up on the action. One of the greatest joys of wargaming as far as I am concerned.
Advanced Squad Leader
Ran and I played Ghostbusters, a scenario set in 1940 featuring brash, bold, Germans trying to slip past French defenders. I made too many basic mistakes, Ran shot my guys up (he was the defender) and I learned some more painful lessons about this wonderful game. I wish I were going with the guys to the Denmark tournament.
I introduced Sheer to wargames with this, using the Smolensk battle. I found it fascinating to note what part of the game mechanics he found more difficult to assimilate. He is a sharp eurogamer, but had never played a wargame before. (I wonder if this will put him off for life?) Anyway, he got his Napoleon and company act together and smashed up my Russians. Light, easy, a tad too much luck, but fun.
Peleg, Roy, Sheer, and I had another go at it. Peleg and Roy were new to it, and I had played it a couple of times. But Sheer has been off at his secret base practising, and playing, so he was the inevitable winner. The sign of the quality of the game – and it is a cracker – is that everyone wants to try it again.
7 Wonders Duel
I played a few sessions of this with Sheer, crushing him every single time. Ha! Then I woke up, and remembered he had won. (Boo! Hiss!) This is becoming one of my favorite two player, lighter games.
For two player games with a bit more meat, this is quite a contender. Sheer and I had a couple of sessions with several games. From memory, he is one win ahead, but truly it’s the playing experience that is the thing. Bluff, counter bluff, surprise, planning, and lots of other stuff combine to make this a wonderful game. Is there another contender?
Game of Thrones: The Card Game
And here it is. Slower, deeper, harder than Netrunner, this is a game Sheer and I have only scratched the surface of, still piddling about with the beginner decks. It is supposed to be multiplayer, but I wonder if that might be too slow. However, I do want to try it. You do get a bit of a feel for the plotting of the books or the TV series, but that knowledge is not required to enjoy a beauty of a game. I am looking forward to many more sessions with this.