Wargames To Go

Mark Johnson's irregular podcast about smaller wargames

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Wargames To Go 7.1 - Battle of Britain (Introduction)

Mark Johnson
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Time for a new series! I've already started into several games, movies, and books about the Battle of Britain, and this intro podcast will catch you up with my plans. It's an audio version of the discussion thread and geeklist detailing the explorations I'm doing with this topic.



Also, up front I wanted to point out that I'll be heading to GMT's warehouse weekend event in a few days. If you'll also be there and listen to my podcast, look me up! At least say hi and get yourself a podcast listener button. I'll have them onhand for both of my podcasts. As of this writing, I think I've got games lined up for Wild Blue Yonder, Liberty or Death, War in the Wind, and Fading Glory. I'd love to try Hitler's Reich, and may have already told my friends I'd give Talon a try. Between those plans, and some inevitable fillers, I bet I'm already over-subscribed for the weekend! I'm really looking forward to it.



Books
With Wings Like Eagles, by Michael Korda
The Few, by Alex Kershaw
Kesselring: The Making of the Luftwaffe, by Kenneth John Macksey
The Luftwaffe: Creating the Operational Air War, 1918-1940, by James S. Corum

Movies
Battle of Britain
First of the Few
Mrs. Miniver
The One That Got Away
Angels One Five
Piece of Cake


Other
GMT Weekend at the Warehouse (April 21-24, 2016)
Wargame forum Book Club: The Battle of Britain: An Epic Conflict Revisited

Remember to follow along & chime in on my discussion thread (and geeklist) for all of my Battle of Britain thoughts & explorations. If you're a wargamer on social media, follow me on Twitter (@WargamesToGo). Feedback is always welcome.

-Mark

P.S. I realized later that I said Big Flight when I should've been talking about Leigh-Mallory's Big Wing.




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Wargames To Go 6.4 - A Month of Infamy (Philippines, Wake, and Singapore)

Mark Johnson
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With this episode, I'm wrapping up my exploration of the opening of WW2 in the Pacific. What started with Pearl Harbor and a vacation to Hawaii expanded into an education via games, films, and books about the many offensives launched by Imperial Japan on that fateful day.

It opens with my interview of friend & wargame designer/developer, Steve Carey. Steve won the Charles S. Roberts award for We Must Tell The Emperor, his small-format solo game about the entire Pacific war--which I discussed in episode 2. (He won the award a second time for an analysis article in C3i magazine.)

Then I go on to discuss a bunch of games I played on these topics, followed by movies, books, and even some sites visited.





Books
December 8, 1941: MacArthur's Pearl Harbor, by William H. Bartsch
The Fall of the Philippines 1941-42, by Chun & Gerrard
Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, by Ian W. Toll
Japanese Destroyer Captain, by Tameichi Hara


Movies
They Were Expendable
So Proudly We Hail
Bataan
Air Force
Wake Island
Why We Fight (The Battle of China)
Empire of the Sun
The Admiral
Emperor
1941

Other
MacArthur Memorial Podcast

Remember to follow along & chime in on my discussion thread (and geeklist) for all of my Month of Infamy/December 41 thoughts & explorations. If you're a wargamer on social media, follow me on Twitter (@WargamesToGo). Feedback is always welcome.

-Mark






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Wargames To Go 6.3 - A Month of Infamy (Pearl Harbor)

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Even though this podcast series is covering ALL the offensives Imperial Japan launched in December 1941, most of first think of the raid on Pearl Harbor. It was the impetus for me to start learning about all of these other offensives, too. In this "chapter" episode, I'll cover my own visit to Pearl Harbor, books & films that relate to the infamous event, and a few games, too.



Books
• Day of Infamy, by Walter Lord
• A Pearl Harbor Christmas, by Stanley Weintraub
• Japan 1941, by Eri Hotta
• Tora Tora Tora, by Mark Stille

Movies
• Tora Tora Tora
• Pearl Harbor
• The Eternal Zero
• From Here to Eternity



Remember to follow along & chime in on my discussion thread (and geeklist) for all of my Month of Infamy/December 41 thoughts & explorations. If you're a wargamer on social media, follow me on Twitter (@WargamesToGo). Feedback is always welcome.

-Mark






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Wed Dec 9, 2015 5:29 am
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Wargames To Go 6.2 - A Month of Infamy (Mark Herman interview)

Mark Johnson
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Continuing with my new idea of releasing incremental episodes of my podcast that all deal with the same subject, here's the second one about the events of December 1941 in the Pacific. The main feature is my interview with game designer Mark Herman. At the end I decided to record my reply to the recent Bonding with Board Games/HAMTAG episode "Top 5 Wargames That Made Me the Grog I Am Today"



Remember to follow along & chime in on my discussion thread (and geeklist) for all of my Month of Infamy/December 41 thoughts & explorations. If you're a wargamer on social media, follow me on Twitter (@WargamesToGo). Feedback is always welcome.

-Mark






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Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:56 am
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Wargames To Go 6.1 - A Month of Infamy (Intro)

Mark Johnson
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Here's that new idea I was talking about--the first of smaller episodes that get released as I go on my exploration of a topic. Not much in the way of links & notes, as you can find those in the discussion thread and geeklist, above. I'm still figuring out how, exactly, I want to do this new format. Feedback is always welcome.

-Mark






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A new idea for Wargames To Go

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Listeners are enjoying the podcast, and I'm really enjoying the chance to dig in to some periods of military history, and the related wargames, books, and films. Now I've thought of an improvement to my production routine that I want to run past everyone. Up to now, by the time you hear the podcast about Waterloo, WW1, Gettysburg, or whatever, I've moved on to my next project. I spend months on a subject, but I do that "off-the-air," without any real interaction with my listeners. I post some things along the way to BGG and social media, but those aren't seen by too many. People prefer to listen. It's a podcast, after all! But we're out of sync.

So how about this: what if I break my podcast into a series of smaller episodes that I post as I go through my exploration of this period in history? If I do it right, individually these will be easier for me to produce, and more timely. Listeners get to hear the subject as it's being investigated, not after it's done. I'd still have my trifecta of wargames, books, and films, plus interviews where I can get them. They would just be spread out over smaller episodes that come out over a few months, rather than one mega-episode at the end.


-Mark

P.S. Be sure to check out the geeklist and discussion thread for the upcoming episode, too. With or without the more+smaller episodes idea, above, these are where I keep running notes for what I'm digging into at the moment.





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WGTG 5 - Waterloo

Mark Johnson
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If you need the feed address, it's http://feeds.feedburner.com/WargamesToGo

Welcome to Wargames To Go, my new blog & podcast that shines a light on small wargames you can play on a weeknight, or take on a business trip.








Timestamps (approximate)

12:09 - Andrew Hobley interview (Bicentennial Waterloo gaming)
38:25 - Pete Belli interview (One-Minute Waterloo)
1:02:45 - Books & Films
1:19:45 - Paul Comben interview (Waterloo wargaming)
1:59:30 - Games I played




Maybe now I'm getting the hang of this, not biting off more than I can chew for the the next episode. Might be fewer films & games discussed here, though then again maybe that's not true. Regardless, this episode didn't swamp me as much as other "recent" ones have. Getting one of those episodes out every few months would work well with me, because that's about the pace that I want to explore new topics in military history.

This time I'm digging into another historical anniversary--the bicentennial of Waterloo. That happened earlier this summer, on June 18. I'd played a few Waterloo titles already, and more came after that date. I saw some films/docs, and found others. I listened to a couple audiobooks, read magazine & Wikipedia articles, and flipped through some library books.

I also interviewed some gamers. Three of them, in fact, and I think you'll enjoy their stories. I've participated in some wargame anniversaries before, but this one was different. It seemed to me there was more participation by wargamers around the world. Very fun to be a part of that! It was through reading interesting reports & opinions from other anniversary wargamers that led to these interviews. Andrew Hobley played a BUNCH of Napoleonic wargames on their bicentennials, so Waterloo was the culmination of his experience. You may have seen his fantastic session reports here on BGG. Pete Belli is an active hobbyist that a lot of people know. He's been playing for a long while, and has worked on many of his own designs, too, including One-Minute Waterloo. That's no joke--one minute. The design goal & process is interesting. Finally, Paul Comben has posted detailed analyses of several Waterloo titles over on The Boardgaming Way and The Boardgaming Life (two similar-sounding sites that are actually distinct). He shares some of his observations.







The Waterloo battlefield is another I've been fortunate to visit. This was back in 2012, part of the same trip mentioned previously that took in other sites along the Franco-German-Low Countries border. Here I am doing my impression of Sous-Lieutenant Legros, only where he had an ax I had an iPhone. (Plus, I took this photo at the wrong gate!)



-Mark

P.S. Here's what's coming up next on Wargames To Go: games, films, and books about the events of December, 1941 in the Pacific! That means Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Wake Island, and Force Z. Check out my geeklist for notes.


Links

Wargames To Go 5 - Waterloo notes Geeklist

Andrew Hobley's Bicentennial replay
Pete Belli's One-Minute Waterloo
Paul Comben's articles on The Boardgaming Way, and The Boardgaming Life


Books
Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts
Waterloo: The True Story of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles, by Bernard Cornwell
Wikipedia (Battle of Waterloo)

Films & Docs
Waterloo
Napoleon (1955)
Sean Bean on Waterloo
The Duellists






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WGTG 4 - Western Front 1914 (with Ted Raicer)

Mark Johnson
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Mark Johnson's irregular podcast about small wargames
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Welcome to Wargames To Go, my new blog & podcast that shines a light on small wargames you can play on a weeknight, or take on a business trip.


If you need the feed address, it's http://feeds.feedburner.com/WargamesToGo




Timestamps (approximate)

8:37 - Ted Raicer interview
59:18 - Books & Films
1:12:30 - Games
1:32:11 - Visiting the battlefields


I sort of did it to myself again, aspiring to play more games and learn more about the subject matter of this episode. I swear I'm getting calibrated on myself, though, and have big plans to think smaller next time.



Ted Raicer
Historic anniversaries in wargaming are appealing to me, because the occasion often leads to the some of hobby community focusing on the same topic. It gets discussed online, good games are suggested, and sometimes there are even new books & documentaries that become available. That was certainly true for 2014's centennial of the start of World War 1. I jumped in, finally reading Barbara Tuchman's famous Guns of August (well, it was an unabridged audiobook), listening to podcasts, watching several dramatic films & documentaries, and playing several wargames. Plus, I was lucky enough to visit some of these battlegrounds on a vacation last summer, which I discuss at the end.

When wargamers think of WW1, they probably think of designer Ted Raicer and his many games on the subject. Although Ted's games are typically much larger than the small ones I prefer personally, I still had to try at least one of Ted's games. Even better, Ted was willing to be interviewed for my podcast! We talk about the hobby, but what I really wanted from him was his insight as a historian about The Great War.

I can't speak highly enough about The Guns of August. It's a Pulitzer-winning classic of history and literature for a reason. It's that good. I certainly thought so, anyway. It taught me a lot about this period in history. So did Joe Miranda's companion magazine article in Strategy & Tactics to his game, Reinforce the Right! I really appreciate the connection between wargame and history that is most exemplified in our hobby's magazine articles.




Returning to something I first planned for this podcast, I tried to see a number of films that relate to the subject. Unlike with the games I played, here I was a bit looser about the particular period of the war depicted. Though my gaming focus was just on the western front in 1914, in films I took in the entire war, the "over the top" hellscapes of 1916-17, and even some theaters away from France. Some of these films are well-known, others less so. I was helped by a foreign film series put on by my local community college. I'm so glad that introduced me to La Grande Illusion, for example. (Less thrilled with Oh! What a Lovely War.)

Besides the dramatic films, there were three outstanding documentaries I viewed, as well. The Guns of August was a doc I never knew existed as a companion to the book. The other two were outstanding works from BBC.




As for the games I played, they're mostly smaller offerings. That's always my preference, and was easy to find more than enough games to choose from. Too many, in fact. Before and during my "research phase" I used a geeklist to list & comment on the games I played, or why I wasn't getting to some others.

The games I played were Paths of Glory, 1914: Opening Moves, We Shall Fight on the Marne, La fleur au fusil, août 1914, Reinforce the Right!, France 1914, and Over the Top! Mons. Some of these games are lighter (some of them quite light/small), but not all of them. This is another aspect of the podcast I'm starting to figure out--just focusing on the games that are best for me. But how could I have skipped Paths of Glory?! I couldn't. (I forgot to discuss one more tiny wargame I tried, ATO's postcard game Fateful Days. It was too minimalist, even for me.)



Finally I wrap up with some description of the WW1 sites I've been fortunate enough to visit. In 2012 I went to Verdun and the surrounding area, while in 2014 I went to the Marne and saw different sites. Both visits were very moving. Here are a few photos. (By the way, on the podcast I say that the best preserved/restored WW1 trenches are in Ypres, but I misspoke--they're at Vimy Ridge.)



-Mark


Links

WGTG 4 - Western Front 1914 notes Geeklist

Books & Podcasts
The Guns of August (BGG Wargame Forum Book Club)
Crowns in the Gutter
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History (Blueprint for Armageddon)
Wikipedia (Western Front)
Harlem Hellfighters

Films & Docs
The Guns of August (YouTube)
37 Days (BBC miniseries)
Our World War (BBC miniseries)
All Quiet on the Western Front
Paths of Glory
La Grande Illusion
Oh! What a Lovely War
Joyeux Noelle
Gallipoli
Lawrence of Arabia
My Boy Jack
Sergeant York
The Lost Battalion
• Didn't see Wings, Hell's Angels

Ted's WW1 games
Paths of Glory
Clash of Giants / Clash of Giants II
The Great War in Europe
Grand Illusion: Mirage of Glory, 1914
The First World War
1918: Storm in the West
When Eagles Fight
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Great War in the Near East
1914: Glory's End
Royal Tank Corps







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WW1 episode getting closer, thinking ahead to Korea

Mark Johnson
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I've now played Paths of Glory, 1914: Opening Moves, Reinforce the Right!, and We Shall Fight on the Marne, with France 1914 and Guns of August yet to go. Oh, and maybe La fleur au fusil, août 1914. Best of all, I have an interview with Ted Raicer recorded. That means my Western Front 1914 episode can't be too far away (weeks, not more). (I've also seen quite a few WW1 films, and will include a description of the WW1 sites I saw on vacation last summer.) Here's the scratchpad geeklist for my notes/research.

That's good, because I'm ready to jump into my next topic, which will be the Korean War. I'm participating in the military book club that BGG user Hungadunga organizers in the wargame forum. We're finishing up The Coldest Winter, by David Halberstam. Here's my scratchpad geeklist for the eventual episode.

-Mark
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Jump-starting a wargame collection in 1996

Mark Johnson
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My wargaming started back in 1978, with the original Metagaming edition of Ogre. That's before it went retro. Though I dabbled in a few historic wargames as a kid (Richthofen's War, Ambush!), in the 1980s I mostly stuck with science fiction micros and roleplaying.

By the 1990s I was out in the workplace, and rediscovering wargames. Grown-up interests, I'd call it. By 1993 I'd found rec.games.board, web-grognards soon after, and here in late 1996 I'm asking about some bargain issues of S&T being sold by Lou Zocchi! I ended up getting quite a few of these, and they jump-started my interest in historical wargames. It was the combination of articles and games that hooked me.

-Mark











From: joh...@ccnet.com (Mark E. Johnson)
Subject: Help picking bargain S&Ts
Date: 1996/12/13
newsgroups: rec.games.board


Over on rec.games.board.marketplace, Zocchi is unloading a bunch of
magazines, including the following S&Ts for $3 each, or 10 for $25 (plus
the flat $3 shipping). At that price, I'd like to pick up a few just for
the exposure (I have not one S&T game right now). But with this much of a
choice, I'd also like to pick the ones I have at least *some* chance of
actually playing someday. That pretty much means the shorter playing ones,
<=3 hours to set up and play. Trouble is, I have no idea which ones those
might be, or if any of these are any good.

With a little info from web-grognards on some of these, I've put *'s by the
ones I'm thinking about (with parentheses explaining my interest), ? by
some others I'm less certain about, and an X on the one I know I don't
want. Everything else is an unknown, though. Any input is much appreciated!

WWW issues

121 Indian Mutiny
122 Pegasus Bridge
123 Campaigns in the Valley
*125 Far Seas (WW1)
126 Beirut '82: Arab Stalingrad
?127 Rush for Glory: War with Mexico 1846 (Mex-Am War)
129 Harvest of Death: 2nd Day at Gettysburg
130 Tsushima
132 Iron Cross
136 Doomed Victory
138 Napoleon at Eylau

Decision Games issues

142 Tarawa: Red Beach One
143 Rio Grande: the Battle of Valverde
144 Chad: the Toyota Wars
146 Italian Campaign: Sicily
147 Holy War: Afghanistan
148 Cropredy Bridge: A Fleeting Victory
149 Franco-Prussian War
150 Italian Campaign: Salerno
*151 Friedland 1807 / Vittoria 1813 (Double-game issue)
152 Case Green
*153 Operation Felix/Zama #153 (Double-game issue)
154 Russo-Turkish War, 1870-71
155 Italian Campaign: Anzio
156 White Eagle Eastward
*157 Roman Civil War (Sounds impressive)
158 Red Sun/Red Star: Nomanhan Campaign
170 Atlanta Campaign
*171 On to Moscow (Sweden!)
*176 Blood on the Tigris (WW1, Perry Moore)
*177 100 Years War (Good review)
X178 First Blood: Battle for Guadalcanal (already have Chester's original!)
*179 First Afghan War, 1839-42 (Good review)
180 Reinforce the Right (1914 Western Front, corps-level)
__ __
Mark Johnson, joh...@ccnet.com Microgame HQ and / \
http://www.ccnet.com/~johnson Tri-Valley Boardgamers \__/
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