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Subject: Wargames To Go 7 - Battle of Britain rss

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Mark Johnson
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I'm not quite finished with the Episode 6 series about Pearl Harbor, etc., but the end is in sight. That means while finishing those games and episodes I'm starting to make plans for the next series. This will be about the Battle of Britain. As usual, I have a geeklist that lists the games I'll attempt to play in this exploration. Listeners are encouraged to comment on specific games over there, but also here as I treat this thread as a running "scratchpad" for my thoughts about the topic.
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Steve
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I'm looking forward to this one - but then I could have said that for all the topics you covered so far.

Just a thought, but might you also cover the hypothetical subsequent invasion of Britain, Operation Sealion? I don't see it fitting in any other topic you've likely to cover. I remember playing Seelöwe a few times, way back when.
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Mark Johnson
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slashing wrote:
Just a thought, but might you also cover the hypothetical subsequent invasion of Britain, Operation Sealion?


It's tempting, but I tend to have too many games on the list as it is! I won't rule it out yet, but my gut is telling me No.

(Aside: as a Californian, I think I empathize with this feeling. Of course it's best to live in a land that hasn't had to endure the horrors of war. As a wargamer and amateur military historian, though, I miss the fact that the places I know well are never shown on a map. As a kid I wondered how the enemy might invade the breadbasket [fruit basket?] of the vast San Joaquin Valley where I grew up.)
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Joe Kundlak
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Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942 also has a few Battle of Britain scenarios - and is a wonderful game!

If you have an opportunity to grab a copy, you will only do good Mark!
 
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Mark Johnson
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Joeyeti wrote:
Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942 also has a few Battle of Britain scenarios - and is a wonderful game!


Of course, how did I forget? I think I may get to play this one at GMT's next warehouse event in April.
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Arthur Switalski
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Hey Mark,
So you'll be attending their next event in April?
 
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Mark Johnson
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Yep, I plan to be there Friday-Sunday. My first time. (Well, not counting the first one over a decade ago, before it was the event it is now.)
 
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Mark Johnson
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Whoa, I just found this listing on Wikipedia of films relating to the Battle of Britain.


I don't need to see Bedknobs and Broomsticks again (though I definitely didn't remember it was set during the Blitz!), but there may be a number here worth checking out. If you see some favorites, be sure to point them out to me. I know The Battle of Britain and its star-studded cast, of course, but not the others.

I'd like to find Angels One Five and Eagle Squadron, but don't think that I will. Mrs. Miniver is one I should finally see. Maybe will want to rewatch Hope & Glory, too.

The miniseries Piece of Cake and film The One That Got Away also look interesting, but I'm probably not going to be able to find them.
 
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T.L. Cubbage
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The mini-series Piece of Cake is excellent, so I commend it if you can get access to a copy. I have the DVD set but I acquired it at least 15 years ago.
 
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T.L. Cubbage
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I am fond of the GameScience' 1968 The Battle of Britain, which I discovered in my father's collection in the mid 1970s and played often (a long time ago). The scale is probably not to your taste but it deserves a mention on this Geeklist, and I should bring it out of the closet for a spin myself.
 
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Mark Johnson
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Peregrinus92 wrote:
The mini-series Piece of Cake is excellent, so I commend it if you can get access to a copy. I have the DVD set but I acquired it at least 15 years ago.


I see it on ebay & Amazon, so I just need to decide if it's worth the time & expense. (I DID manage to get The One That Got Away through that route.)
 
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Mark Johnson
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Peregrinus92 wrote:
I am fond of the GameScience' 1968 The Battle of Britain, which I discovered in my father's collection in the mid 1970s and played often (a long time ago). The scale is probably not to your taste but it deserves a mention on this Geeklist, and I should bring it out of the closet for a spin myself.


I appreciate the suggestion. It's one I looked at, and if I had access to a copy I'd give it a spin. Not sure it's worth tracking down though, is it? Reviews are mostly just nostalgic.
 
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Mark Johnson
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Ok, NOW I've finally finished my episode 6.4 that wraps up the December 41 topic. It's here

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/51014/wargames-go-64-...

That means I'm free to jump into the Battle of Britain with both feet. Actually, I kind of got started already. I purchased a couple more Osprey books, starting with one from their Duel series: Spitfire vs Bf109. As for films, I watched the landmark war movie Battle of Britain a couple years ago, and just saw Mrs. Miniver. The One That Got Away and Angels One Five are next.

For games, I thought I would've played London's Burning by now, but haven't gotten it to the table quite yet. Soon.
 
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Mark Johnson
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I've been quiet, but that doesn't mean I haven't been getting into this topic. I played London's Burning a week or two ago, the entire campaign. I really loved it--need to write something up. I've been doing some reading, as well, and some YouTube-watching for documentaries. Good podcasts, too.

The way these things always do, learning about one topic makes me want to back up and learn about the preceding events that set the stage. In this case, it's the experience of the RAF at the evacuation of Dunkirk...which leads back to the Luftwaffe vs Allies in the Fall of France...which leads back to the Luftwaffe vs Poland in the 1939 invasion of that country. Never mind the Condor Legion in Spain or questions about strategic air combat in WW1!

Once I collect my thoughts I'll probably post a question or two on the main wargame forum here.

Oh, and I also managed to arrange a trade deal for The Hardest Days. Hurray! As I read more about the Battle of Britain, I was strongly tempted by Butterfield's redo of his own RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940, because I wanted to try to solo the Luftwaffe to get their perspective. In the end, though, I admitted that the game is just too large for me (Hardest Days might be, too), and that I'll rely on my other 2-player games for the Luftwaffe experience.
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Esteban Fernandez
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I want to listen to a podcast that tells the history of the BoB, looking forward to this episode
 
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Mark Johnson
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Just borrowed The Hardest Day from the local library. Heard great things about it over on the Wargames & Books Geeklist. https://boardgamegeek.com/listitem/4282732?commentid=6216082...

 
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Mark Johnson
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I trust everyone following along with this thread will have seen that I posted the first podcast in the Battle of Britain series last night. It's just me, giving an overview for the games, movies, and books that will be discussed in future episodes. Plus an excess of rambling bits at the end about various ah-ha moments for me as I've learned more about this topic.

Ideas are forming for the next episode. Looks like it may be an All About London's Burning episode, with interviews featuring a player, and another with the designer.
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Andrew Borgelin
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Just listened to the blog and enjoyed it a lot...ramblings and all...in fact that's the fun part! Interested to see what you have to say re London's Burning; I have it and have played it a few times but it has never really gelled like RAF did. I have played this game much more and get it. London's Burning is obviously a different scale but I don't know it just doesn't really work for me....I am interested in seeing what you say about game play and how it all works for you!
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Mark Johnson
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Hatricvs wrote:
Just listened to the blog and enjoyed it a lot...ramblings and all...in fact that's the fun part!


Whew! Relieved to hear that. Someone else told me something similar, privately. I figured the best way was to package it at the end of the podcast, completely skippable if anyone doesn't care to listen. I'm getting the hang of this...

I'm sorry that I won't be able to do a real apples-to-apples comparison of London's Burning and RAF. Butterfield's Hardest Days will have to stand in for RAF, though I'll have to read how similar they are (or not).

An oddity about London's Burning is the "variable" scale, for lack of a better word. On the one hand you're operating at a nearly tactical scale where the sleep cycles of individual pilots makes a big difference. Then on the map you even have one important sense of facing in the hexgrid--attacking out of the sun. But the dogfight itself is abstracted. Not all the way down to a single combat roll, however. It's something quasi-tactical. On the other hand, you have this map of all of southern England, and play the game out over the entire BoB campaign. A mishmash that works for me, but I could imagine how those discontinuities wouldn't work for others.
 
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Mark Johnson
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Doug Adams just recommended the above book to me, which I was able to reserve at my local library. He says it's got some more of the nuts & bolts behind the aircraft technology.
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Marko Tainio
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About books. The Battle of Britain by James Holland was good summary of the topic:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Battle-Britain-James-Holland/dp...

Book takes quite a lot into account German plans, and also submarine and marine warfare that was going on at the same time.

Marko
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Mark Johnson
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Thanks for the suggestion, Marko. I like the broader perspective you say is in that book.
 
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Mark Johnson
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Here's a good article about the role that Bomber Command played in the Battle of Britain. You read how they struggled with a see-saw of missions & objectives, some of them directly from the political leadership.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/how-bomber-command-helped-win-...
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tim allen
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Another BBC series from a while back is "A Perfect Hero" about an RAF pilot who is seriously burned during the Battle of Britain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Perfect_Hero
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Mark Johnson
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I'm still here! If you've followed the geeklist, you've seen that I've been making progress on the games. I have quite a bit of material recorded, three different interviews, with my fingers crossed for a fourth. My plan is to package two interviews in each of two remaining episodes in the Battle of Britain series, then move on.
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