Friday, July 22, 2011

Boots on the Ground-- a sort of review

from Worthington's BotG page
Several months ago I received Boots on the Ground which I had pre-ordered from Worthington Games. It is a very rules-light game simulating small scale actions by elite US special forces in the Modern Middle East. Everything is very generic, even in the scenarios it is never stated whether  you are controlling SEALs or Delta or any of those things or even what country you're in... but the map is apparently based on a satellite of Baghdad if that gives you any clue.

Any how, game play is very simple and ideally suited to solitaire play. Each round you activate one or more "team members" and either use one of their special abilities or make a group move and fire. All fire is resolved as an Opposed Roll, so anyone who exposes themselves to make a shot will risk taking one. The roll itself is simply 1d6 for each side modified by several factors (mostly effecting the US forces). The firing is heavily skewed in favor of the US, but time will tell and I have yet finished a game without losing several of my team and usually almost all are wounded by games end.

from Boardgame Geek
The game really ha that Blackhawk Down feel to it, Insurgents pop-up all over the place usually right where you don't want... and all you are trying to do is hold out or make it to the green zone. The insurgent actions are completely governed by card pulls. The game length is set by the number of cards you select for a deck and then each Insurgent activation you pull a card. Sometimes these cards are good for you (you could pick up a couple of GIs to help you out or the Insurgents could all take cover as a drone flies by overhead). Insurgents move only when the cards say so, appear when the cards say so, etc. The only exception to this is that any in range insurgent will automatically fire at US team members.

There are several scenarios included with the game. They all represent generic actions such as escaping from a "Hot LZ" to hostage rescures to building clearing. The scenarios have really high replay value because the Cards will vary a lot from game to game. One game you could be hit by wave upon wave of pop-up insurgents in another you could catch many breaks. There is a really high narrative feel to the games because of this.

Boots on the Ground is not for the rivet-counter or hardcore ASL player. It has been described as a video-game style wargame (which I suspect is as much due to it's looks as it's play). I really enjoy it though and right now it's my go to wargame even though I know next to nothing about post-WWII modern tactical warfare. The components are adequate though not "deeluxe" by any means and there could be a good deal more in the way of examples and rules clarifications in the rule book itself. Personally, I would have liked a bit more traditional look myself, but that's a matter of taste. The graphics make total sense if you think of yourself as someone who is monitoring and controlling the action from a remote location.

Buy it, you'll like it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Side Project

I've started yet another blog to document my current side project: Solitaire Arthurian RPG play. I know this won't appeal to most of the people who have read other stuff here but... it's what I'm working on now so...
But I'm also working on ACW units still and there may be some In the Heart of Africa action in the future!
My new blog is called The Giant's Moor.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hone Heke! Empress announces Maori War range!

Really this incredible figure speaks for itself. But in case you need to know more, click on the  link below to go to the Lead Adventure Forum where the upcoming First Maori War range from Empress Miniatures is discussed. Hopefully this will give the Taua the respect they deserve from colonial gamers...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Second Blog

Please link to my second Blog which will document the experiences of Shiny O'Malley.

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Conflict of Heroes news

Word has been going around the Forums that Academy might be working on a Solo CoH project for some time.
This apparently is true. Called Before the Rhine it is apparently being designed by  John Butterfield who designed a game called Ambush back in the 80s

A year ago Uwe wrote:
The first game will focus on battles on the German western frontier in late 1944 --"Before the Rhine". We will concentrate the firefights on battles such as Operation Market-Garden, Battle of The Bulge, Metz, and/or Hurtgen Forest.

Before the Rhine will be based on the CoH system. Each firefight will sport its own map and can be played solo either from the Allied or Axis side, with a two player option (but this is only an option, since the game is a solo gaming system). We tentatively plan on supplying 6 double sided maps with the game.
 This week he wrote again:
Oh yes, very much so. We are play testing the first firefights and they are incredible. I think that we will be able to also back design the previous games with this system. I am checking on some unique options, which I cannot disclose at this time. If they are not cost prohibitive, I will announce them.
 Sounds exciting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Implied Coh: Guadalcanal release date

On Boardgamegeek Uwe Eickert has implied that Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal will be released in July of this year. ARRGGGH! (Charlie Brown style kite eating tree reaction) So long... So very long... what can I do until then... water! water! (of course I don't mind things being done right, it's just... I think I was hoping for March or April)
I wonder if Academy will release anything else before then?

Official US WWII histories online

I just randomly stubled across the Hyperwar site yesterday. It seems that they have all of the official US Army histories of WWII online including illustrations and (most importantly) maps.
This is a truly remarkable find. I've read all of Two of these volumes (Cartwheel and Victory in Papua) and much of another (Approach to the Philippines), am reading one now (Guadalcanal) and own two others (Fall of the Philippines, and Seizure of the Marshalls and Gilberts) but some of the editions I had did not include the Map inserts.
I include this link for your reading pleasure:
Hyperwar: US Army in WWII

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


From Chris Ware's ACME Novelty Library (#16) I think (used w/o permission)

Lately I've been lapsing into my semi-annual fruitless RPG nostalgia. Reread MAR Barkers first two (and only readable) Tekumel novels Man of Gold and Flamesong. Also investigating the phenomenon of Retro-Clone and Nostalgia  old school RPGs. Curious. Unfortunately it all seems to revolve around a worship of OD&D or Basic D&D, which I did like better than AD&D. But I was into other systems, namely TFT: In the Labyrinth, Basic Roleplaying: Worlds of Wonder: Magic World, Runequest II and EPT.

Mostly I'm waiting for CoH: Guadalcanal to come out. It certainly looks to be even better than I hoped. There's also talk of  a late War Eastern Front expansion pack which will be interesting especially since it will add Partisan counters..

I played in a quick Napoleonics game last weekend and had a lot of fun. For me Napoleonics are weird in that I like to play games in that era, look at the figs, etc. but I don't read hardly anything about it. I'm this way with Western Front WWII also, love to game it, not to read about it. See Napoleon's HQ blog for a brief account of this game. I was defending the town that the rogue French commander attacked.

Been reading Bergerud's Touched with Fire again (slowly), along with John J. Miller's Guadalcanal: the First Offensive. The Bergerud book is one of my all time top History books (see sidebar). Also indulging in my love of old school adventure comics (such as Joe Kubert's Tarzan and Enemy Ace, Hal Foster's Prince Valiant plus newer loves such as Love & Rockets and Xenozoic Tales.  

Friday, January 7, 2011

Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal teaser

Box Cover, used without permission
CoH: Guadalcanal is slated to come out sometime early this year. I cannot wait. I have been waiting for something like this since the early nineties.
A cool teaser screen shot has been posted to boardgame geek you should check it out (click the link). From what I'm seeing  it looks like you could probably use this to do many Munda Trail and Papua scenarios too.
I'm pre-ordering this the SECOND it is available to do so then I'll probably play it about a hundred times...
I should note I just finished playing CoH:SoS right before seeing the teaser so I was definitely primed for  more.