Sunday, April 29, 2007

Havoc - Napoleon's Battles

One of the best things about going to Havoc is the chance to see old wargaming buddies. And boy, are we all getting rather old. I remember so many of these guys from when we were all skinny, had a lot of hair on top of our heads and that hair was full of color. Now most of the players weigh a lot more and their hair has migrated south, while getting grey as well.
One of my old wargame friends is Peter Landry -- who hasn't gotten any fatter in the last 30+ years (dammit!) nor has his hair turned gray (dammit dammit!). He's still a great player, too, although today I was lucky enough to be on his side!
We played a straight-up slug fest Napoleon's Battles scenario. Three Austrian corps against three French. I had the center Austrian corps, while Pete was on my right flank. Another gentleman was on my left. I haven't played NB in more than 10 years, but that still made me the third most experienced player behind Pete and John, the French overall CO and gamemaster. The other two French players and they other Austrian were newcomers to the game.
Napoleon's Battles is a medium-complexity grand tactical miniatures wargame. The maneuver units are brigades. Each corps had five infantry brigades,one cavalry brigade and two batteries of guns.
On my left (the French right) the two new players settled into a draw-ish duel atop a partially forested hill. Neither player wanted to risk a general advance and nothing much happened on that flank during the game. I think no more than one Austrian brigade ended up being dispersed.
I faced John in the center. Pete and I briefly discussed a strategy. He'd played against John quite a bit and counseled that John could be counted on to attack as aggressively as possible. Given that, we decided that I would try to hold my ground and tie up John's corps while Pete tried to defeat the French corps opposite him, which was led by an inexperienced commander.
Things went according to plan. I was able to advance close enough to begin shelling John, as well as fighting against part of the French flank corps. John tried to restrain himself, but after taking a few turns of "galling" fire (which included counter-battery fire that wiped out all his guns), he attacked, taking along part of the French flank corps as well. While he succeeded in gutting my corps (Destroyed: One battery, two infantry brigades; Routed one infantry and one cavalry brigade) he also had half his command routed, including his large cavalry brigade, which never managed to rally.
Meanwhile Pete did his thing, routing the whole French left wing and starting to roll up the flank. When we called the game two French corps were ineffective (fatigued) compared to one Austrian (mine) and seven of the nine geographic objectives were in Austrian hands.
Sitting next to Pete also gave us a chance to catch up on things and renew acquaintances.
All-in-all a well-run and enjoyable game with congeniality all around.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Havoc - Moby Dick

I had the chance to go to Havoc for a day, so I took it!

Actually, it wasn't even an entire day, because I was too tired from working the night before to make it a full day, but I showed up for the first two blocks on Saturday.

The first game was a bit of a "fluke" as it were. Entitled "Moby Dick," the simple game comprised four (later five) players using eight (later nine) whaleboats to chase the legendary monstrous white whale. The whaleboat miniatures and their crews (harpooner, four oarsmen and a coxswain) were well done, and the white whale was suitably massive and deadly. Oh, yeah. And there were sharks.

The whale's movement and dives were purely random. Boats that got close enough and had the right position could toss harpoons. If your harpoon stuck, you went on a "Nantucket sleigh ride," which was worth more points of damage.

The boats chased the whale for 22 turns before he finally expired. I lost count of how many whale men went to Davy Jones' locker, but I think it was about three boats' worth, as at least two players started new boats after their existing ones were mostly de-crewed.

Most of us controlled two boats. I decided to try two different strategies. One boat, the "Peg Leg," was played very aggressively, charging the whale and closing at every opportunity. This boat succeeded in striking twice for about 100 points of damage, but ended up losing four crewmen before I replaced it with a new Peg Leg II. That boat also managed to get another hit for another 40 or so points.

The other boat, the "One Eye" tried a strategy of circling around the middle of the playing area trying to wit for Moby to move into position. This worked less well, with the boat only managing one harpooning during the whole game, which didn't even stick. It did 87 points of damage on the very last turn. On the other hand, that boat didn't lose a single hand.

Of the five players I ended up doing the second least damage, so I can't say that my guy's shares of the voyage would have been very high. It was fun, rather different from the usual wargame fare.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


On a lighter note, I had a good time organizing a session of Star Munchkin this weekend. As much as I've enjoyed playing Munchkin-series games, I haven't had much success. In multi-player games I'm usually identified by the other players as an early threat and end up being ganged-up on in the early going. Saturday I played three 3-way games of Star Munchkin and managed to win the first one. Another player won the next two games running away, accumulating awesome amounts of stuff.
My impression of Star Munchkin is that the combinable laser weapons can result in some very overpowered players compared to the other games in the series. If a player can cobble together three or four "aser" weapons he can take on most of the powerful monsters all by himself, which is tougher in basic Munchkin.


I'll start off by noting that the coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting has been excessive, in my opinion. I understand the imperatives of news coverage and don't mean to suggest that we should have ignored it. But I do worry that there are dozens of lonely, armed kooks out there who are finding their inspiration in Cho's "achievement."
I especially question NBC's handling of Cho's package. I wish they had shown more restraint. This precedent will be copied.


It's really, really early to talk about the next presidential race. Yet everyone is doing it. I think there's a real hunger for change.
I'm currently reading Barack Obama's "Audacity of Hope."
He's an interesting read. He sounds very reasonable, which is a quality I think has been lacking in our Coulter-ized Kos-ridden politics of late.

Chapter One - Prologue

The urge to be heard has probably never had a more powerful tool than the Internet and blogs. I've tried being a diarist on occasiuon, but never was able to keep it up for long. Blogging may make that possible this time around.
In no particular order I'll be blogging about war and military affairs, politics, the media and finally gaming (board, miniatures and cards mostly)