David M. Glantz’s trilogy on Stalingrad

•March 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After enjoying the results of his investigations on forgotten battles of WWII (Zhukov’s Greatest Defeat) and some other better-known big scale actions (The Battle of Kursk), one is truly tempted to tackle David M. Glantz‘s trilogy on the Stalingrad campaign.

For those of you who would like to know more on this series, the author gives a brief synopsis of this essential Eastern Front campaign in an interview published on the online Military History magazine historynet.com:

http://www.historynet.com/david-m-glantz.htm

Can’t wait to read these books.

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Valor & Steel & Flesh by Bob Charrette

•March 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I just received Parroom Station‘s rules for Victorian Science-Fiction skirmish wargaming, that go by the name of “Valor & SteelĀ  & Flesh” (VSF – what an appropriate acronym!).

These rules are the direct competition to Buck Surdu’s “G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.” and GDW’s earlier “Soldier’s Companion” (both of them are sets I have owned for some time), and I wanted to have a look at these – especially since I saw they were regarded very favourably by the chaps at the Lead Aventure Forum.

V&S&F are skirmish rules (1 figure = 1 man) with 1D10 roll- under mechanics and some use of poker and event cards for things like unit initiative and vehicle breakdowns.

Unlike G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., the rules come preloaded with a default setting: a mix of Wells’ “War of the Worlds” (Martian cephalids and tripods), Burroughs’ “Barsoom” (four-armed green Martians and other weird creatures) and Frank Chadwick’s “Space 1889” (redcoats in a Mars populated by elf-like city dweller Martians – as well as by the other inhabitants mentioned above). This might make V&S&F a little less flexible and generic that G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., but on the other hand it might be less of a burden for players wanting to give it a go without extensive pre-game preparation.

The book itself is a 96-page B&W softcover, filled with maps, diagrams and pictures mainly of the attractive range of miniatures by Parroom Station (lately available from Brigade Games). There are rules for the whole paraphernalia of VSF contraptions, like landships, cavorite fliers, steam automatons, etc.

Aside from the rules themselves (less than half the total page count) there are several chapters detailing the gaming world background, the troops and organizations of the different armies taking part in the Martian campaigns, as well as some typical ready-made scenarios.

All in all, a quite complete set that allows the gamer to play out of the box – as long as he has ready minis and a table, that is!

“Black Powder” rules by Warlord Games

•March 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I admit it – I bought this set of rules for the 18th-19th Centuries mainly because it looked pretty.

black-powder-rulebook-8264-p

Well – the book is pretty. Big, hardcover, full colour thoughout and filled with wonderful pictures of gorgeously painted miniature soldiers and glorious wargamig tables filled with top class terrain pieces. And it’s not expensive. And behold! It’s made in the EU!

How about the rules themselves?

Well – they are not especially comprehensive. They are rather on the light side, and are quite generic. I can hear the detractors complaining that all period flavour is lost when using the same rules for the War of the Spanish Succession and the British Sudan campaigns of the late 19th Century.

This does not mean the rules themselves do not deserve to be read or played; it only means that the stress is on playing the game, having a good evening with the wargaming buddies and enjoying the sight of so much state-of-the-art lead.

That, my friends, is the stated target of the book. I would even go a little farther and say that, much in the vein of the Games Workshop emporium, the rules are but an excuse for buying, painting and fielding huge quantities of 28mm metal or plastic soldiers, to the joy of figure manufacturers.

These rules are clearly in another league than those dry and hyperdetailed sets by WRG, Tabletop, Newbury, etc. with that absolute lack of pictures and tremendously complicated statements (made necessary by the former). Wargaming now gets new blood through the visual appearance – no longer through the realism or supposed realism of yesteryear.

Must be the sign of the times.

EABA Fires of Heaven finally available next March 8!

•March 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Greg Porter just announced over at the
EABA Yahoo! Group that he will be releasing his long-awaited EABA Sci-Fi supplement Fires of Heaven through the OneBookshelf online pdf game stores.

Porter also anticipated a Print-on-Demand version from Guild of Blades, to follow some time later.

Here is the link to the pdf product on the rpgnow site:

http://www.rpgnow.com/coming_product_info.php?products_id=79174

Cover illustration for EABA "Fires of Heaven" book.