Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Not that much gaming lately. I met up with Les at the Plume of Feathers last week for some 2-player games. I introduced him to Yinsh, then sat back rather complacently to watch him struggle through his first game. Foolish of me - he won! After that we played Blue Moon. Les has a lot of experience at this one - he features in the playtesting credits - so I was delighted to win all 3 games that we played!

I have also been fiddling with Von Manstein's Backhand Blow - you know, that enjoyable time of first making acquaintance with a new wargame, where you punch out the counters, read the rules with growing anticipation (not always, sometimes it's with growing dismay!), spread out the map under plexiglass and play through a few turns solo.

As Swiss Tony would say, it's very much like making love to a beautiful woman.

I'm very impressed with VMBB so far. I like the low counter density and the larger counters. And the rules are simple, clearly laid out, and easy to understand first time through. Even though they are split into Series Rules and VMBB-specific rules, this does not produce an exception-fest as the specific ruleset builds on rather than contradicts the series ruleset. I like the way the Schwerpunkt segments make you focus on accomplishing just one or perhaps two things each turn on the battlefield, and the C3i points which model the way the initiative ebbed away from the Soviets as the battle went on, and the tactical chits which introduce a lot of uncertainty into combat and discourage simple odds-optimization play. I hope I will get a chance to play for real soon (before I forget the rules again!)


Nick P said...


I've just spent the night playing VMBB all alone in my little Cricklewood flat. I got as far as move five and gave up (as usual). Not because I didn't enjoy it but because I felt sated and complete about what had transpired and felt ready to move on...

What I like about the Turn of the Tables set-up is the way things swing at high speed. One segment the Germans look all up on top as if it is all over. Next thing their best unit has been chewed beyond immediate repair and the whole front is in danger. I also have Drive to the Baltic and Velikiye Luki by the same designer.

I recently bought Prussia's Glory (GMT) from Leisure Games in Finchley. It was a clear case of beautiful components, great theme, glorious box and Dog rules - or at least as far I can tell. The rules are a real jumble in my head. I swear every time I read them they change. I find about half the games I buy are like this. A case in point is Spires of the Kremlin. Also Kaiser's Battle (S&T) etc etc. What is it with these companies? I realise now I prefer simple rules. Drive on Stalingrad. Leningrad (that cheapo DG game). Anyway, just wanted to say hello. I thought I was the only player in London. My friends are mystified if not appalled by my wargaming. Its pointless trying to explain. Do you know any outlets other than Leisure Games?

Peter said...

My tolerance for fiddly wargames is decreasing all the time. On the other hand I've enjoyed Hammer of the Scots, Crusader Rex and Rommel in the Desert recently.

Are Drive to the Baltic and Velikiye Luki in the Schewpunkt series as well?

Playin Games near the British Museum have quite a lot of wargames in the basement. Nice shop.

Fancy meeting up some time for a game of VMBB?

nickp said...


Velikiye Luki and Drive to the Baltic are pre-scwerepunkt games in the sense that that is the name Dirk Blenhemm (or whatever) has given his system since joining GMT. They are basically the same though - chits, SNAFU's, Soviet scenarios and Germans in trouble and slowly retrieving the situation (maybe...). Velikiye Luki is Russia January 1943 and Drive to B. is July 1944. The original game (which gave the series its first title - Turn of the Tables) is third Kharkov May 1942.

TooT's is availible from Leisure Games for 20 quid or so but their copy looks a bit battered so I haven't bothered.

I still haven't managed to fathom Prussia's Glory but may do some day. I had trouble with Roads to Leningrad but managed it finally and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm a solo player and I think want the Germans to win. Not bad for a Jew! Spires of the Kremlin is an old game (1995) I picked up for 19 quid. The rules are so fiddly I get depressed but am slowly getting there. It was a good buy though in the sense that it has three maps and beautiful components - over a thousand units including all the non-divisional units anti tank battalions, sturmgeshutz brigades etc. I've managed to play a kind of modified rules system, simplifying the air-rules etc. The Germans won!

I also have Borodino 1812 which is stately, and several Welt Kreig games including Western Front, Defiant Serbia, Italian Front and tannenberg?Galicia 1914. This Guy (David someone or other) publishes through DG. The war is viewed from so high up in the air you can't hear the explosions or screams but the games are pleasing and the maps while odd are intriguing. See you around