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Everything posted by DukeofChutney

  1. Episode 453: Black Hawk Down and Zulu

    Black Hawk Down is essentially sitting on the couch watching your mates play COD Modern Warfare. Whilst i agree that the film tells you almost nothing worth saying about the conflict, projects a very positive view of the soldier on the ground, and treats Somalis as more or less aliens or zombies or whatever, I do sort of like watching it in a completely mindless way. Zulu is an awesome film. Its a very classical British war film a bit like the Battle of Britain or A Bridge Too Far. Im not sure these films are too preoccupied with any message other than weren't we sort of great even though we didn't always win.
  2. Episode 441: Rob & Bruce & WWI

    Thanks Ted, I'll keep my eyes open when the new reprint ships.
  3. Episode 441: Rob & Bruce & WWI

    great podcast, thanks for this guys. I've not played much in the way of strategic WW1 (does diplomacy count? i hope not) I have been tempted by PoG but put off by its reputation as a sharks game. My main wargaming opponent isn't interested in it since he played once against a shark and suggests its a game where you have to know what you are doing and make no mistakes. Is this fair? Lamps are going out doesn't sound that great. The only WW1 games I can remember playing are Somme 1918 from Nuts which I found a bit process heavy and Raciers Clash of Giants II which also didn't rock my world but I did like the narrative tweak of rolling to see how many casualties you lost rather than your opponent. To date I've not really found a WW1 game i've liked though the topic does interest me. I appreciate that it takes a whole weekend but the format of playing three games and comparing them works really well.
  4. Episode 424: Command Ops 2

    thats a big AAR This has been a good winter of war gaming so far. I've found this game to be amazing when it really hits home but for that one good game i have a dozen false starts and damp squibs. Mostly I just struggle to absorb all the important info and then miss an objective, weapon type or reinforcement and the whole plan unravels. I have had the sleeping battalion problem a few times. It seems that the men just love their sleep even if i want to move them out of an area being decked with artillery fire.
  5. is game has grown on me a fair bit. I recommend one of the user scenarios called Duel. It pitches a mid 80s british task force against a russian in the North Atlantic. What makes it easier to play is both task forces can be handled more or less as one unit. The brit fleet will get mulched in surface combat anyhow. You also get 2 subs, and 2 airfields and mostly want to just use them. I play this game rather badly usually just mico'ing one or two units. I should probably watch some tutorials. Good episode.
  6. Episode 375: Rule the Waves

    does anyone have book recommendations for this era? Both the ships and the international relations politics. I like the idea of this game, but I donno whether I would like this game.
  7. There are two types of people in this world, those that relate to stories made real to them through films or forefathers and those who learn about the first Sino Japanese war on the friday and spend £40 on 1/2400 Chinese and Japanese 1890s battleships on the saturday. I'm not sure it's just conflicts that are highly game-able, i think some of us are just attracted to things that seem exotic and off the beaten track to us. OCS Burma is a fantastic Burma game My pick for an under represented topic would be Warring States China.
  8. Episode 370: Dean Essig

    I picked up Dark Valley in a trade last week, so good timing if there is a podcast on this game. I've played Eastfront by Craig Besinque, it will be interesting to see the difference in approach.
  9. Episode 372: Chris Park and Arcen Games

    I love AI War, and have just gone and backed this. I have only played one 'complete' game of AI War with my two net gaming buddies. It is in my view a serious contender for title of best strategy game. It's definitely the best Coop strategy game experience I have ever had. It took us about 25-30 (the sun came up on the last eve) hours to beat (two AIs one 6, one 7) and we ended up using the spire ending. Man it was tough a lot of intensive strategy debate and tactical gate raiding. I'm pretty pumped for the forth coming game, and hope the KS works out. For me the main hope is that a rich game can be had in a shorter period of time. I've bought most of Arcens games, they tend to take abit to get into. The main ones I have played recently are Bionic Dues and Starward Rogue. Starward Rogue is really great, and its the first ARCEN game I have played that i really felt looked pretty, though I am not totally surprised that its struggled. Shup em up games do seem to be a niche audience and its a surprisingly difficult game. I can only beat the first level. If i were writing the marketing material for AI2 I would basically sell it on the AI and try and blag that it is the single most sophisticated game AI ever to be pitched against petty man. This was essentially why I bought the first one, some places hyped the AI. I'm not sure whether the original AI had learning algorithms or anything but I always liked to imagine that it did because it made me feel smarter when we eventually beat it. I think the challenge for ARCEN in marketing has and probably always will be lifting up what makes their games completely different to everything else in a sea of by the numbers designs whilst assuring the player that the hand rails and visuals will be there. I am pro an after dark episode per season.
  10. Episode 368: Dark Reign: The Future of War

    The last 30 minutes of this podcast have broken my idyllic view of Rob. I expected ceaseless study of the strategy genre, constant immersion in the computer wargame and now i find that he is a mere mortal even taking several year breaks from video games. This is a great episode, +1 for more autobiographical discussions from the panel on their time in this hobby. Fortunately Troy appears to have maintained his status.
  11. Episode 370: Dean Essig

    I am due to run a double blind wargame / mega game (it'l have around 25 players + control) on the Chosin Reservoir campaign next month in Leeds UK. Wargame mega games are a much harder sell. Megagames are fairly popular in the UK atm, we have ran 6 this year, the two 'war' games, Chosin and Jena have both only pulled in 20-30 players, our diplomacy/risk style games (which is what most megagames are) will usually bring in up to 50 or even 80 players if their theme is reasonably popular. Other than selling it, there are a few issues with complex wargame mechanics and megagames. If you are playing a double blind game, you have to get orders off the players, play them out behind the curtain, and then return the orders, and do all this really inside 15 minutes. You might have longer turns and stretch to 20 minutes or you might try 10 minutes. 15 minutes is not long to resolve a huge stack of orders sheets and feedback intel to the players, especially if your mechanics are complex. The other way to go is open map and allow the number of players all pulling in different directions to generate the friction of war. This can work, but then the players have to understand the rules, which means they have to read them. The general experience of megagame designers is that many players do not read the rules and hope they can figure it out on the day. This is fine if the game system is simple. I'd recommend picking up one of Dean's games. Even if you are not a military history buff, the OCS series are arguably one of the best pure 'games' series ever made. Its pretty complex by most peoples standards but they allow for more lateral thinking than almost any other games I have played (I have played a lot of games). Thanks for the book list Dean/Bruce. I might have to look at the TCS system, are any of them two mappers? I am table space limited. Also interesting to hear that Dean got into it via cartography. I do a lot of mapping for my job and as such do the mapping for my friends that design Megagames. If you don't want to lay out on illustrator Inkscape its pretty solid. Haven't worked out how to number my hex grid in it though.
  12. Episode 366: Modern Warfare

    Great episode, always a pleasure to here from Mitch. Picked up Taiwan whilst listening. I hope the any Falklands game uses Sharky Ward as its primary and authoritative source .
  13. Episode 360: Hearts of Iron IV

    given that no one out side of paradox seems to really understand how the core game mechanics work (fighting) i think this merited some discussion.
  14. Episode 360: Hearts of Iron IV

    I've seen China beat Japan, though i'd argue that with out interference they should beat china most of the time. I think because the AI struggles with amphibious invasions so Japan is usually going to send most of its resources to china rather than taking the dutch east indies. I agree that the AI isn't quite smart enough to get around the Maginot line most of the time. The AI seems to be the same generic ai for each faction with the game pinning its hopes on the national focus tree to drive the action. The issue with this is that china and Germany will try to fight the war the same way but with just different army setups.
  15. Episode 360: Hearts of Iron IV

    I've probably had more fun with this Paradox game than more or less any other Paradox game I have played though I agree with almost all of the criticisms made in this pod (especially Bruce's). The supply system doesn't appear to really work to me. I've seen Barbarossa launched in December and get to Moscow in record time and chinese nationalists march in to central Siberia in mid winter too. In my most recent game as Russia Britain invaded Germany across the alps and cut a line straight up the middle to Denmark. You end up with a very detailed complex but bad simulation and I wonder if they just abstracted out the moving units around and had you assign resources commanders and select doctrines for campaigns or fronts and then let the AI work it out. I do love the political and economic engine though. I find up until the war really interesting. I've been playing multi player a lot (with 4 or 5) and this has yielded some great moments. The best part of the game for mewas wimping out as the UK at the Munich agreement. We had to pause the game for about 5 minutes whilst i stared at the screen and thought this out. In the end i decided I had sent too many divisions to find Japan in China with my French allies.
  16. Episode 357: Total War: WARHAMMER

    This is the first game i have picked up on launch week (or there abouts) in several years. Its done a pretty good job so far in ticking the nostalgia box for my teenage warhammer years. I like that they've stripped out a lot of the strategic over head as it doesn't really belong in this setting and I have never really been convinced by the series attempts at empire management though I like the idea in principle. The game is pretty faithful to it source material too. I know my way around the map and I have generally found the units that appear match my expectations of what they should do. You can also employ many of the strategies from the miniatures game as the armies function the same.
  17. I think games journalists massively underestimate how personally a lot of people take their work. I know quite a few people who from time to time get upset or angry at a review, and these people are not internet idiots. I'm not entirely sure why this is, i think perhaps its because some people wrap up their taste in games and view of what is good or bad into their sense of identity. Consequently they see a a negative view of something they love as a slight against them, or their intellect. I tend to disagree with my favoured journos quite a bit, but i find their opinions interesting and like their prose or video style. I'm surprised Danielle finds boxing forums better than video games. I tend to read blh which is pretty reasonable but i've seen a lot of stuff on boxing forums that would get moderated straight out of most other forums.
  18. Episode 351: Weekend of Wargaming

    Craig Besinque is great (play Eastfront!, or perhaps Peloponnesian war), i might have to find someone with a copy of Triumph and Tragedy. Interestingly, there is a point of view that bucket o' dice is actually less random than other combat resolutions because odds roll out quicker. In many wargames though it comes down to how the CRT is constructed, some are very very swingy, others tend to towards a mean result. Good to hear that Fire in the Lake plays well with 3. One of my friends has 3 COIN games (A distant Plain, Andean Abyss, and FitL). but we often lack a 4th player so this might be the way to go if it doesn't need the AI (which takes loads of time up). Also I do recommend Empire of the Sun, but it is hard, and I am bad at it.
  19. Satisfying Party Games

    Of course Kremlin is the ultimate Party!
  20. Satisfying Party Games

    I am yet to attend an Agricola party but imagine its pretty wild. A Chinatown party on the other hand... A few years ago we generally knew what the hit games where each year. With the recent booom in the boardgame industry more games are released per year and its harder for games to get critical traction in terms of buzz. So i think you will generally find yourself sifting through more 'okish' titles to find the great ones each year.
  21. I've loved Dwarf Fortress since around 2007, and sometimes it has loved me back. I currently make a living by building fluid dynamics models for flood management and engineering projects. Dwarf Fortress has a frikkin 3 dimensional fluid dynamics model in it! What kind of a game has a 3D fluid dynamics model? It's insane! (note its not a particularly realistic model but its still there). I agree that part of the appeal of Dorf Fortress is its weird internet subculture / invite only club house, and its strangeness. I do often wish for more dev time on the game mechanisms though. I've been waiting a while for improvements to siege AI and the political AI routines. Good list of games that are like it on some level. Aurora TKO'd me with its interface but I might try it again at some point and Dominions is fantastic. I'd consider putting AI War fleet command on the list. Its a bit more accessible but its a very niche game that doesn't care about graphics and shoots for something very different from most indie strategy games. Edit, also put Phil Eklund games on this list. Also, the panel was great.
  22. Episode 346: Silver Bayonet

    I was a little surprised to see GMT reprinting this as the ebay prices are not as high as some titles. Never played the game, but the pod has up'd my interest.
  23. Episode 345: Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa

    I was um'in and arr'in over this vs War in the East in the Slitherine sale, bought GG's War in the East, we will see if that was a good choice. Interesting discussion in the middle on the evolving nature of wargames. I'm fairly young for wargamer (28) and i'm in the more abstraction camp. I picked up Command Modern Air Naval recently hoping for nail biting decisions on whether to sink the Belgrano or whether to risky my carrier group in a frontal challenge or using more fabian tactics. In reality its a game far more about the benefits of aim 9 side winders over vampire missiles or optimal sub buoy deployment. I think in boardgames the tide is turning with far more light or middle complexity wargames coming out these days. Most companies with the exception of MMP, produce more light games that focus on specific elements of a campaign rather than total simulations. I'm not sure there is much evidence of this trend in the video game market though. There is a view that the modern wargamer has less patience and time for the longer games in the board realm. I think there's an element of truth in that at least. edit: also +1 for Rod becoming elite regular panelist.
  24. The designers notes are pretty good. Most wargames do have them, at least modern ones. The more abstract ones tend to need them to avoid copious 'it's not a proper simluation threads'. Very few boardgame reviews are based on lots of plays and vast experience because unlike a video game you can't just sit down and play it for 20 hours at your leasure. I think the panel being relatively inexperienced with the game is fine, most of their impressions were well grounded. Even the idea that certain elements of the game might solve out with repeat play is an obvious conclusion to draw given the nature of the road map and the way the combat works. In reality it doesn't quite pan out like that but i don't think there is anything wrong with speculating. The real depth, like many card based games, comes with working out the value of the opponents hand. In poker this is rather straight forward, is their hand better than mine/what set do they have, in a game like Cosmic Encounter or Sekigahara its more complex as their negotiating or board moves will often give an indication what things their hand can or cannot do. This isn't just bluffing, its reading and maneuvering. The value of the hand and its capabilities is in a large part determined by the board positions. Because all of the simple facets of the game feedback into each other it becomes very difficult to distill it down to a singular problem that the player has to solve.
  25. "Woe betide the Tokugawa player who has to face four Uesugi blocks the first turn and reinforcements there afterward, making a march on Kyoto a huge risk." "The genius of Sekigahara is how it demands flexible awareness of overall strategic situation while still knowing the line of best fit" Wise words grasshopper I were to name a podcast i would name it the Killstack podcast and it would be all about the ways different games deal with the Killstack. I think that Sekigaharas way of simulating the inefficient lumbering nature of large armies on the march is really sound and feels natural within the system. Most games use stacking limits or leader counters with limitations on the number of troops they can lead. Wilderness War, a game I was playing last week, does the use leadership values to control the kill stack, but you can combine the leaders together and build an uber kill stack. Satisfying when the French clobber the brits.