Wargames To Go

Mark Johnson's irregular podcast about smaller wargames

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WGTG 4 - Western Front 1914 (with Ted Raicer)

Mark Johnson
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California
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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


Board Game: Paths of Glory
Board Game: 1914: Opening Moves
Board Game: We Shall Fight on the Marne: A Simulation of the First Battle of the Marne, 1914
Board Game: La fleur au fusil, août 1914
Board Game: Reinforce the Right!
Board Game: France 1914
Board Game: Over the Top! Mons & The Marne
Board Game: Fateful Days: The Marne Campaign of 1914


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.


Board Game Designer: Ted Raicer

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.

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Board Game: Reinforce the Right!



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.
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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.)

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-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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Mark Johnson's irregular podcast about small wargames
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Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:23 am
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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: A Simulation of the First Battle of the Marne, 1914, 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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Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:49 pm
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Jump-starting a wargame collection in 1996

Mark Johnson
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Board Game: Reinforce the Right!
Board Game: Harvest of Death: The Second Day at Gettysburg
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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Thu Jan 8, 2015 12:47 am
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Comments/notes/suggestions about Western Front 1914

Mark Johnson
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My next episode is planned to be about the WW1 western front in 1914. If I can get it out before New Year's then I squeak into the centenary for this momentous event. I've made a geeklist that serves as my outline for the show, and I welcome comments & suggestions.

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/180096/wargames-go-4-weste...
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Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:35 am
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Wargames To Go/Boardgames To Go "meetup" at BGG.con (Friday lunch)

Mark Johnson
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Friday lunch! Anyone who wants to join should meet at the hotel restaurant at noon. See you there.


I also plan to go to the Wargamers' Meet and Greet on Wednesday night.


BGG.con is just around the corner, and I'm excited to be going back after a long hiatus. Is there interest in a low-key "meetup" for podcast listeners while we're there? I'm just talking about going out to lunch together on Friday, something really easy. Besides myself, some of my frequent guests on the podcast will also be around. So if you want to ask Greg Pettit about his Theme as Metaphor/Narrative ideas, or Dave Gullett about Harry's Grand Slam Baseball, those guys should be around. Of course, those guys have been on other episodes, too. My road trip buddy Dave Arnott will also be at BGG.con, but he's so busy running the Puzzle Hunt that I'm not sure if he can join us. I hope so!


Regardless of the lunch/meetup, if you spot me at the con you should say hi. I guess we all have badges with our familiar avatars on them, but a day or two I'll also be wearing my podcast shirt. I've got the one for BGTG, and expect to have the WGTG one by then, too.


(By the way, I don't always wear glasses. You can also see me in some of the Gamenight! videos with Lincoln, Nikki, Dave, and Aaron. Like this episode for Blueprints, a great game!)

-Mark


P.S. For as long as they last, I'll also have these buttons to give away.

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Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:11 am
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WGTG 3 - English Civil War and more (with Charles Vasey)

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


Board Game: Unhappy King Charles!
Board Game: Cruel Necessity: The English Civil Wars 1640-1653
Board Game: Winceby
Board Game: Fairfax's Revenge: the battle of Langport 1645
Board Game: Naseby: The End of a Reign
Board Game: Cromwell's Victory: The Battle of Marston Moor



This is a long episode. If you want to skip ahead, here are some approximate timestamps within the recording you can jump to:

0:00 - My intro, poll results, BGG.con attendance, etc.
0:15 - Vasey interview pt 1 (background, his games)
0:51 - Vasey interview pt 1 (ECW)
1:51 - Cruel Necessity report
1:58 - Unhappy King Charles report
2:06 - Winceby report
2:13 - Langport & Naseby report (TCS series)
2:28 - Cromwell's Victory report
2:33 - Roberto Chiavini interview
2:49 - Other wargaming recaps (Monitor v Merrimack, Salvo, Caesar XL, Gettysburg [Wallace])
2:58 - Flowers of the Forest report
3:03 - Vasey interview pt 2 (Flowers of the Forest)




Ok, I bit off more than I can chew. whistle

I've been doing my other podcast for nearly a decade, and those listeners know I've occasionally had a long hiatus between episodes while life intervened (work, kids, whatever). That's true about the gap between WGTG 2 and this new episode, but there's something else, too. I'd turned the episode into a giant project for myself. It felt like I was writing a term paper. That's because the subject of wargaming is so deep, so worthy of study & analysis. However, I also want to get the episodes out in a more timely manner (quarterly, let's say), so I need to set my sights a little lower. I'm learning.

As long promised, this is my episode focusing on battles of the English Civil War(s). I was motivated to jump into this topic for two main reasons:

1. I didn't really know anything about it, so stood to learn a great deal
2. The history podcast Revolutions, by Mike "History of Rome podcast" Duncan covered this subject in its first series

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"Charles Vasey"
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Roberto Chiavini
Although I initially thought I didn't own any games on this subject, I did have a couple on the shelf, acquired several more, and played another via VASSAL. That took some time, but is what I wanted to do in order to learn. I also did some reading, but that was primarily Wikipedia & skimming a library book. I watched the dramatic film Cromwell, and several documentaries available on YouTube (see Links, below). Best of all, I managed to score two interviews with game designers on these (& other) topics. This episode includes a written interview with Roberto Chiavini, and an extended audio interview with Charles Vasey. The latter is the wonderful centerpiece of this episode. Plus, I always want to include some brief comments about my earlier poll, the other (non-ECW) wargames I've played, and upcoming plans.

So, you see? I managed to stuff a WHOLE LOT into this episode. Too much, probably. But as I say, I'm getting the hang of what I want to do with WGTG. Episode 4 will be smaller in scope, and quicker to publication, a promise I'm making to you & me both!

The games I played were Unhappy King Charles!, Winceby, Fairfax's Revenge: the battle of Langport 1645, Naseby: The End of a Reign, Cromwell's Victory: The Battle of Marston Moor, and Cruel Necessity: The English Civil Wars 1640-1653. So you see that I have two strategic level games and three battle games (grand tactical level, I suppose). Along the way, that touches five game systems (CDGs, Markham's Royalists & Roundheads, Roberto Chiovani's TCS, SPI's 30YQ Quad, and States of Siege). Even at that, I'm obviously missing a major series of games on this topic, Ben Hull/GMT's Musket & Pike game, This Accursed Civil War.

Under the circumstances, I thought it best to get into the Vasey interview right away, since that's the centerpiece of this episode. Charles Vasey is someone I've observed with quite a bit of interest for a long while. His game design paradigm is notably different from most designers, and from most of the games I play, frankly. If you haven't read any of Charles' writings about chaos in (war)gaming, you absolutely should. Fascinating. Of course I wanted to interview Charles about his card-driven strategic level English Civil War game, Unhappy King Charles!. However, we also spoke about the history more generally, as well as Charles' other games such as The King's War: The First English Civil War 1642-1646, Chariot Lords, The 2010 Election, and Tsushima. Plus The Flowers of the Forest, one of his earlier games that was recently given a nice, new edition in Battles magazine.

Since it took me so long to get this episode out, a few other wargames NOT related to the ECW worked their way onto my table during this same time. There's Vasey's The Flowers of the Forest, but also Martin Wallace's euro-wargame hybrid Gettysburg (not much of a euro, as I'll discuss), Monitor vs Merrimack: Battle of Hampton Roads, 1862, Caesar XL,and Salvo!.

Board Game: Monitor vs Merrimack: Battle of Hampton Roads, 1862
Board Game: Salvo!
Board Game: Caesar XL
Board Game: Gettysburg
Board Game: The Flowers of the Forest



-Mark


Poll
How much order versus chaos do you prefer in your wargaming?
      67 answers
Poll created by MarkEJohnson




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My VASSAL game of UKC, while I still had a chance!


I made rookie mistakes during Unhappy King Charles, but still had a couple shots at salvaging the game by bring Charles to battle. Unfortunately, despite winning those battles, I couldn't capture the king. Eventually he beat me back to just London and some towns to the east. A losing game, but a very enjoyable one.


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Cruel Necessity: The English Civil Wars 1640-1653, partially set up (or taking down, I don't recall)


As you know from episode 2 of this podcast, I enjoy several of the States of Siege series games. Combined with my new interest in the English Civil Wars, this new title should be a lock, right? Well, it wasn't for me. Not entirely. There's a LOT going on, which should please most people. After all, a "lot" in a States of Siege game is still very manageable compared to other big wargames. Also, it's really the only game I played that covers ALL of the English Civil Wars, as well as the political challenges & backdrop throughout. Sure, it's abstracted, but it still takes on more scope than other games here.


From gallery of MarkEJohnson





Royalist dragoons take aim at Cromwell's cavalry wing


Winceby had some good parts, notably the command system and real feeling of those dragoons, but the wristage in the combat system (and the command system, actually), combined with the uninspiring graphics (counters ok, map a big disappointment) means I won't be returning to this one. I wouldn't completely rule out other Royalists & Roundhead games, though.


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Langport doesn't look like much, either, but the system played smoothly, and the single-sided, DIY/PNP counters worked well enough


I suppose the TCS games that I played could be called the "action movies" of the games I played, with simple rules and rapid fighting. But like better action movies, there was enough historical simulation that was recognizable from the research I'd done that it was good. Plus, some of the other games in the series look nicer.


From gallery of MarkEJohnson




Naseby uses similar rules & counters, but a much nicer map


Here you can see the whole setup. The chit-pull coffee cup for activations, simple charts, attractive map, and clear counters. This is the setup for the battle, with Parliament's forces in the foreground, on a low ridge. Infantry in the center, cavalry on the wings. That's Cromwell's group on the right, while on the other hill across the battlefield, Rupert's first-class cavalry waits on THEIR right wing.


From gallery of MarkEJohnson





My own replacement counters since I've misplaced the originals! They worked.


I read somewhere that Cromwell's Victory was from the SPI/TSR transition period for S&T, when a game designed & developed by the original wargame company was ultimately produced and released by the new owners.








Links

Reference material
Revolutions podcast
YouTube: English Civil War - Cromwell
YouTube: English Civil War - Blood on Our Hands
YouTube: Battlefield Britain - Naseby
YouTube: Oliver Cromwell - King Killer
English Civil Wars on Wikipedia
In Our Time - The Trial of Charles I
Cromwell (film)
Vasey on Chaos in Gaming


English Civil War games discussed
Unhappy King Charles
Cruel Necessity
Winceby (Royalists & Roundheads system)
Fairfax's Revenge: the battle of Langport 1645
Naseby: The End of a Reign
Cromwell's Victory: The Battle of Marston Moor


Charles Vasey's games discussed
Unhappy King Charles
The King's War
Deathride: Mars-la-Tour 1870
Chariot Lords
Tsushima
The 2010 Election (and see Rick Heli's writeup)
The Flowers of the Forest

Roberto Chiavini's games discussed
I Obey: The Campaign of Bezzecca 1866
Obbedisco!
Innocence Lost: First Bull Run 1861
TCS English Civil War series
Edgehill: Dawning of the Revolution
Naseby: The End of a Reign
Montebello: First Step to Freedom
Caricat!
Acies Edizioni's games
Wargame Downloads.com
CSW 2014 Donation Drive, featuring Langport
Legion Wargames' games
High Flying Dice's games
Sports Replays titles by Roberto
TCS Thirty Years War series
TCS Battles of the Middle Ages System
Age of Dante (Postcards from Tuscany series)
Gliders from the Sky: The Fall of Eben Emael
Prussia Rising: The Franco-Prussian War
Christmas in Hell: the battle of Ortona
Maria Theresa
Souls of the Brave: the Epic of the Alamo


Other games discussed
Monitor vs Merrimack: Battle of Hampton Roads
Salvo!
Gettysburg (Martin Wallace)
The Flowers of the Forest
Caesar XL







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Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:03 am
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Still trudging along

Mark Johnson
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Still out here, still trying to wrap up my gaming about the ECW. I've now played Unhappy King Charles!, Winceby, Fairfax's Revenge: the battle of Langport 1645, and Naseby: The End of a Reign. I'm definitely still going to get Cruel Necessity: The English Civil Wars 1640-1653 to the table, and possibly Cromwell's Victory: The Battle of Marston Moor, too. The big omission will be Ben Hull's system, notably This Accursed Civil War, but I'm reaching my limit. Besides, Ben and his games were covered in a recent episode of Guns, Dice, Butter.

I will let the cat out of the bag to say that I've got a recorded interview with Charles Vasey to include. At this point I'm thinking I'll stop worrying about it being a long episode, and go ahead and include some discussion about other, non-ECW games played: The Flowers of the Forest, Gettysburg, and Monitor vs Merrimack: Battle of Hampton Roads, 1862. Why not? It seems ok with a podcast that's going to be as infrequent as mine.

When I set out to have a focus for my upcoming episode, I didn't realize how that would slow me up. But that's ok--I've really enjoyed the concentration. It also helps me gauge the time better for the episode after this one, which needs to cover the games I'm playing to prep for my summer trip to Normandy and the Marne.

-Mark
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Thu May 8, 2014 12:19 am
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Studying up on the English Civil Wars, wargame-style

Mark Johnson
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As planned, my next episode is going to be about wargaming the English Civil Wars. I've already played Winceby (in the Series: Royalists & Roundheads System (3W)), am about to start two games of Unhappy King Charles! over Vassal, and I've punched the States of Siege game Cruel Necessity: The English Civil Wars 1640-1653. Whew! I'm ready to go.

That's not quite all, though. Like a lot of you, I received an Print and Play game covering the ECW battle of Langport in the thank you package from Consimworld's annual fundraising drive. That game is part of a system of tactical battles of the ECW (or perhaps musket & pike, generally). I decided to buy one more from that system, on the more famous battle of Naseby.

I'm not an experienced PnP gamer, but have been curious about them for a while. These are single-sided square counters, about as easy as it gets, so I decided to give it a try. I'll get to talk about that experience in the next podcast, too.

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In addition to the wargames, I'm doing the usual Wikipedia level of research, and checking out a book from the library (to skim, not read through). I've already mentioned how much I'm getting from the Revolutions podcast--in fact I'm re-listening to the ~15 episodes that cover the ECW. That broad sweep has also encouraged me to re-listen to some episodes of BBC Radio 4's In Our Time program, such as ones on the Putney Debates and Trial of King Charles. These cover the political situation more than the military, of course. There are even a few good full-length programs I've found on YouTube.

Very exciting to learn this much about something I had nearly zero knowledge about earlier. The political aspect, in particular, has strong relevancy to later actions (e.g. the American Revolution) and even events today.

Update: Now I've had a chance to get started in my first game of Unhappy King Charles, which I'm playing over Vassal. Two turns in and my Parliament forces are on their heels (as expected).

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Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:42 pm
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WGTG episode subject poll

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Here's that list of potential WGTG episodes/topics that I rambled through in episode 2. What actually happens depends more on my interest, timing, and availability more than anything else. But it's still interesting to me to see what you all think. Vote for as many as you like.


Poll
Please indicate which potential WGTG episodes sound good (or bad!) Remember that all of the choices will skew towards the lighter/shorter wargames of that type, or about that conflict.

Please write in other ideas in the comments, too.
  Great! Why not No thanks
English Civil Wars
"Vehicular" solos (B-17, Patton's Best)
D-Day
Battle of the Bulge
Roman Empire
Operational Air
North Africa (WW2)
WW1 Western Front
Waterloo
Sid Sackson "wargames"
Vietnam
Print and Play
Panzerschreck Zine games
American Revolution
Computer wargaming
Eastern Front (WW2)
Academy Games (1812, 1775)
Euro/wargame hybrids
      55 answers
Poll created by MarkEJohnson
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Wed Feb 5, 2014 2:33 am
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WGTG 2 - States of Siege

Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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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


Well, shoot, that was a longer interval than I'd planned. But here, finally, is the second episode of my wargame podcast. As before, the episode features me talking about broader topics in the first half, then transitioning to discussion about individual titles in the second. In between I've got an interview with wargame designer Darin Leviloff, too.

The focus of the episode are the States of Siege family of solitaire games published by Victory Point Games. In all of these the player is assaulted from multiple sides, and can't really maneuver. Instead, you fight off the attackers as long as possible. The system has been used for subjects ranging from Imperial Japan in WW2 to a zombie horde to the French Revolution. Though they are simple and abstract (some would argue whether they're wargames at all--I say they are), the card-driven play presents a narrative that is fantastic for learning about the subject. I'm eagerly looking forward to another in this series about the English Civil War.

Board Game: We Must Tell the Emperor
Video Game: Levee en Masse
Board Game: Israeli Independence: The First Arab-Israeli War
Video Game: Zulus on the Ramparts!
Board Game: Ottoman Sunset: The Great War in the Near East


Speaking of the ECW, that will probably be the focus of my next episode. I'm very interested in the topic right now, having my imagination fired by Mike Duncan's excellent podcast Revolutions. Along those lines, I also describe other subjects I'm considering for upcoming podcasts. I welcome your feedback.

And speaking of feedback, I received some good emails that I share on this episode. That's something I've done from time to time on my other podcast, Boardgames To Go. I think of it as the "letters" column you'd often find in a wargame magazine or newsletter. Since some of the feedback asks a question, you can hear my answer and suggest something else to the person who wrote in.



-Mark


P.S. Want to see my crazy/incomplete top ten list of small wargames? Here it is.

1. Gettysburg (125th Anniversary edition)
2. Up Front
3. Ogre/GEV
4. Waterloo 20
5. Napoleon
6. A Few Acres of Snow
7. Battle of the Bulge
8. tbd Air Combat game
9. tbd Midway game?
10. tbd East Front game (perhaps No Retreat! The Russian Front)

P.P.S. Now I've posted a poll where you can "vote" on some of those potential podcast topics I rattled off in the first half of this episode.


Links

Revolutions podcast
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast
WGTG folder on Consimworld








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Mark Johnson's irregular podcast about small wargames
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Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:41 pm
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