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Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society

Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society

WW

WW Gaming: New Directions (cont.)the other rules in this feature, for $20 it’smore than worth it.Cons: The large scale game, whereshooting can go out to a couple of hundredinches ended up as a game in whichthe armor sat on the edge of the boardand killed anything that tried to move!Using the alternate scale solved this problem,however. Also, the text needs to bebroken up into columns to read the rules abit more easier.I Ain’t Been Shot Mum!IABSM, as it called by it’s supporters,is a new outlook on WW2 skirmish gaming.Using a card activation system, eachsquad gets a variable number of dice,usually 4D6 that can be used for movementand shooting, which gives the playersa wide variety of options. Key to thesystem, however, is the use of “BigMen”, or heroes, who add extra dice,rally troops, and provide the inspirationseen in hundreds of WW2 films. IABSMis backed up by numerous supplementsand a very active Yahoo group.Format: I ordered the PDF version andbound it myself, but you can order abound version. The layout is pretty simpleand constantly changes from professionallooking to amateurish.Cost: $25 or about $10 for PDFScale: 1:1 scale, although it is recommendedthat you base several figures on astand to ease the movement for largegames.Figures: 20 or 25mm probably workbest, but a growing number of gamers areusing their FOW stands and vehicles forIABSM games.Web Support: The Yahoo group hasrules updates, extra cards, scenarios, andmore.Additional Materials: There are a lot ofsupplements and annual issues that havecome out. I bought the Sea Lion supplementand it had about 20 well thought outscenarios in it.Command & Control: C&C is prettybasic, usually with the “Big Men” beingthe focus. Placement of these figures canbe critical to success as they add extradice, can rally troops, and removewounds.Game Systems: The card deck driveswho gets to move, along with specialevents like air support, blitzkrieg moves,events, etc… .Combat is the result of howmany dice each squad or vehicle usesbesides movement. Results are usuallyin terms of wounds, which decrease asquad’s effectiveness by limiting howmany dice they get. The vehicle combatsystem is pretty fun to use and gives optionsfor using dice to aim, move turrets,etc… .Best Rule: using “Blinds” or large markersthat may or may not contain units, isthe best way I’ve seen to handle hiddenmovement in skirmish games.Complexity: On a scale of 1 to 5, probablya 2. Once you’ve gotten the hang ofthe shooting and movement, everythingelse is just adding options into the game.Group Play: Our first game had threeplayers and went extremelywell. Thesecond had seven andit bogged down attimes. I think thegame system is idealfor 4-6 players.Realism: At times itseems like real WW2combat, then it canrevert to a Hollywoodaction film with a Bigman leading a squadthrough a building, clearing out everythingin sight! The card system drives thegame and depending upon the draw theaction can ebb and flow.Pros: I think the most important facet ofIABSM is that gamers seem to enjoyplaying the game and it can be fun. Thedice concept for movement and combatgives you a lot of choices, plus the use ofBig Men adds flavor to the game. Thesystem is easily expandable with extracards, scenario books, additional rules,etc…, which enables the game designerto create virtually any type of WW2 combataction.Cons: The rules are similar to TSATF inthat there are a lot of gaps in the rules thatcan be subject to interpretation. If youplay with a lot of rules lawyers, thenIABSM is a bad idea. The cards that canbe inserted into the deck can have a profoundinfluence and could quickly imbalancethe game, so the scenario designerneeds to carefully plan out the deck.Since the turn can end anytime, in largegames you can have the situation where aplayer’s units may not move for severalturns, which in real time could be an houror more of just sitting around. In oursecond game one player did not have hisplatoon card pulled for three turns, ofwhich two were quite long, so for aboutan hour he just sat there and wasn’t toohappy about it.Final ThoughtsCompared to the 70s and 80s, wherepretty much all the WW2 rules werevariations of the same theme, we have amultitude of innovative systems tochoose from today. The search for realismin WW2 rules hasgiven way to playability,which is both ablessing and a curse.Gamers can now playa variety of WW2miniatures games andachieve a result in afew hours withoutneeding a physicsdegree to decipherballistics charts. Onthe other hand, someof the recent games I’ve seen and been apart of seem more like Hollywood thanWW2 combat.So, what about the future of WW2gaming? No doubt there will be moresets of rules, each trying to define whatthe author thinks how WW2 armoredcombat should be. There will be newsupplements, figures, terrain, etc…, butit’s my belief that we’ve come close toreaching the ceiling for WW2 gamingwith these four sets of rules. They havepresented a whole new series of innovationsthat have pretty much exhausted thelimits of what can be done in WW2 gaming.Page 14WARNING ORDER

BattlegroundGame Review by Jeff GeislerBattleground is non-collectible (howrefreshing) card game that amounts to aset of simple but subtleminiature rules you can playwith cards.There are currently three factions(men, orcs, and undead) with two decksfor each, a basic and advanced set. Thefactions are fantasy, but historical diehardscould play with just the Men ofHawkshold deck. The rules come in thebox but are also available online(www.yourmovegames.com) – unfortunately,no bigger than the printed set. Allyou need to play is in the basic set. Infact, you can try the combat mechanicsout with the starter rules of about 650words.The deck consists of unit cards, commandcards, and the player chart cards,such as special rules for the army and thesample army lists. The unitcards are overhead depictionsof groups of figures thatlooks like a base of, say, 15mm fantasy figures fromabove. The back has a drawingof an individual from theunit, and any special rules.These have the unnaturalsheen of computer-generatedart for a video game, and notvery appealing art at that. While functional,they will not quicken the heartbeatof any dyed-in-the-wool miniature paintersI know.The back edge of the card has a unitroster. This has the stats for the unit, suchas attack and defense. There is no particulardistinction in weapons or armor - betterarmor would just have a higher defensenumber, for example. There arecolored boxes to represent the stayingpower of the unit, both in number of hitsand in morale. Units with more membersmight have more boxes (more hits). Unitstake morale checks when they have usedup their good morale boxes. So elite unitshave fewer total boxes, but more are goodmorale. This is a nifty method to representthe brittleness of such units.Command cards are special abilities,customized for each army. They mostlyaffect combat, making your hits moretelling or adding to a unit’s defense.Aside from the fact that armies are madeup of standard fantasy types, this is theclosest thing to magic that the gamehas to offer. You want to preservethem for critical combats or particularlytough opposing units. At thestart of the turn, you have the option tospend command points to buy more. Iwill have more to say about this in a moment.There is a nicely selected, minimal setof situational modifiers summarized onthe player-aid card. Starter armies areabout 1500 points and have differentthemes, emphasizing cavalry or shooting,for instance. Units are in the 200-400point range, so these armies have about10 maneuver elements in them. Unit costsare calculated to single digits; if the gameproves to be balanced, someone did a lotof play testing to refine point values soexactly.Set up and scenarios, at least in thebasic game, are very simple. (Terraineffects are in the advanced game rules.)At start, you give your units one of threeorders: Hold, Range, or Close. Hold isobvious. Range, which can only be givento missile armed troops, means move intorange and start firing. Close is the mostinteresting order. It means “Move at fastestspeed to close with the nearest enemy.”You must take a bit of care in issuingthis order and its relationship to deployment.Not all units move at the samespeed. If you order Close all along theline, some units may get ahead of others.Once within charge range of the enemy,they must engage. This may open flankingopportunities for your opponent. Onthe other hand, you can use maneuver toforce charges and dislocate the enemy inturn.The move to Close rules hinge on whois the “nearest enemy.” The rules describingthis are not the best – usually, it is“nearest enemy to the front.” My opponentand I interpreted the language about“farthest corner away from the enemy” tobe a way to express how far the unitwould have to move to engage, that is,the wheeling distance if attacking on aflank or the move ahead distance to attackto the front. This part of the rules isboth important and subtle; more exampleswould have been helpful.You have an opportunity to change theorders of a unit at the start of each turn.This costs a command point. You get onecommand point for every 500 points oftroops, so they are scarce. You also wantto use them to draw command cards. Youcan also take command of any individualunit for one turn per command point.They are also used for rallies. This suggestthat the object of the game is to dislocatethe enemy and cost him commandpoints, while your better planning letsthem accrue in your favor, giving youmore command cards helpful for swayingcombat to your advantage.The game is IGO-UGO, starting withthe command phase, then movement.Combat is simultaneous, so you have tokeep track of the turn in which casualtieswere inflicted. This is messy, but superiorto games (unmentioned, or is it unmentionable?)in which the charging troopsalways get first blow, and obliterate thefront rank of someone’s poor little goblins,so they don’t even get a chance tofight back – not that I mind really, (sniff,sniff).The basic combat system dices offagainst the difference between comparablestats. (Cont. on p18)ISSUE #14Page 15

Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
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Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
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Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
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Warning Order - Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society
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