My daylight gaming lately has been spent playing a lot of Cities : Skyline with my son. When I haven’t been watching graveyards fill up, or buildings burn down, I’ve been alternating between Combat Mission : Black Sea (CMBS) and Graviteam Tactics : Mius Front (GTMF). At first what seems like two similar games, and a totally unrelated city builder, all share some interesting features, and are all also totally different. Are they a simuation, a puzzle, or a game? (Parent note, my son found it terribly funny when people catch on fire and run about like mad in GTMF so due to mom anger he doesn’t watch that one anymore)
In a game with imperfect information threats seem… extraordinarily threatening. Especially this game, we have no drones, our forward recon element is only about 100 meters ahead of some tanks, and an entire US armored column lurks on the other side of the treeline. We can hear them. Our recon dudes have taken some fire (Sorry DecoyBadger!). Our ElInt is picking up something…
Like monsters in the mist, there could be a company of Abrams tanks… Or just a couple of trucks.
We finally have our first contact in the cooperative Let’s Play of Combat Mission : Black Sea (From now on – CMBS). Read more about it here : http://126.96.36.199/2016/10/04/combat-mission-black-sea-double-blind-game/
A brief recap, our entire Russian Motorized Brigade is moving into position to block an incoming NATO force. This isn’t just me and an opponent, this is a cooperative team of 20 individuals each in command of a Platoon or combat asset. On the other team is another 20 or so individuals. There’s a Brigade CO, Company Commanders, and Platoon Commanders. Some of our specialty forces, like Engineers and such, also get a commander. What’s it like? Well, like herding cats. The first turn is under our belt and we have the first kill!
One of the greatest problems with wargames is the perfect knowledge issue. I see the entire battlefield while you also see the entire battlefield. The fog of war is, for the most part, non-existent. Card Driven Games add a new element as you may not know what abilities your opponent has or whether or not he can activate a unit. PC games are able to act as a moderator, a referee of sorts, and give you that blind issue. But still, you are (usually) an omnipotent commander who relays orders.
Lately I’ve been working on a few new games that are pushing my strategy gaming boundaries. Yes, the Decisive Campaigns Barbarossa campaign is done. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I binge played through to the end of the war. I had a few sudden breakthroughs and, well, I kind of ended the war. So I took a brief hiatus, played a few less groggy games, and at the same time beefed up my boardgame collection. Like, seriously beefed it up.
But first, Command.
The first month was definitely the goldilocks days. We had plenty of fuel, short supply lines, a steady blitz, and the encirclements were epic.
My son asked me, “Dad, why do you like to play games with guys in grey jackets fighting guys in brown jackets?”
Which I thought was pretty observant for a 6 six year old. And I really didn’t have much of an answer. So I explained it that he likes to play trains, I like to play wargames. Simple enough I guess, but it kind of stuck with me.
Here we are! Turn three and our Panzer divisions are finally starting to show some wear and tear. Plus I have to define some cards, as my Aide de Camp is proud to remind me of.
The Assault Begins
Hello and welcome back to Turn 2 of our invasion of Russia. Our first turn had us encircling Brest-Litovsk and also making pocket big enough to trap a whole bunch of Soviet units around Bialystok. Up North things are heating up and on the Romanian front we are just getting moving. For the moment our supply situation is looking good. This will change quicker than an M5 Stuart crossing an open field.
First off we’ll set out some ground rules for the game. The first round will be a single turn. After that each of these posts will represent two (2) in game turns or eight days. If this pace seems too slow then we’ll bump it up and see how it feels.
As far as strategy I don’t intend to differ much from the game layout. But this will depend on what is my main objective. I may swap a Panzer Corp from one theater to the next if it’s necessary. Ideally I’ll make strong headway into Leningrad, Moscow, and Rostov. But if it comes down to it, I’ll focus on the main objective.
As far as political guidelines, I’ll try to focus on keeping everyone in supply and moving along happily. Since I’m not an expert by any means it’s likely I’ll support Hitler and get the extra political points. Pissing off the Train Nazi is to be avoided, the same with the Truck Nazi. In a perfect world one of the Panzer Corp Commanders will like me. Past experience tells me that no one will like me come October. But hey, that’s the fun of it.