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Wild Weasel #12


News: 4:02

Mark Herman: 15:45

Mental block about block games: 38:32

Links to items mentioned

GMT Games update email from August 21

Fast Action Battles #4: Crusader from GMT Games, designed by Michael Gustavsson

Plains Indians War from GMT Games, designed by John Poniske

At Any Cost from GMT Games, designed by Hermann Luttmann

Duel of Eagles from White Dog Games, designed by Hermann Luttmann

Alamein reprint from Avalanche Press

Red Star, White Eagle signature edition from Compass Games

Red Star, White Eagle book about the Russo-Polish War by Norman Davies

La Guerra di Gradisca 1615-1617 from Europa Simulazioni

Bloody Monday: Napoleon at the Gates of Moscow from Vento Nuovo

Kickstarter for Pavlov’s House from Dan Verssen Games

Brian Train’s Tupamaro from One Small Step Games

Brian Train’s Red Horde from Tiny Battle Publishing

A Dark and Bloody Battleground and St. Clair’s Folly from High Flying Dice Games

Kevin Zucker’s Operational Studies Group summer sale (20% off all in-print books and games)

San Diego Historicon, November 10-11-12, 2017

Triumph & Tragedy: The European Balance of Power 1936-1945 from GMT Games designed by Craig Besinque, on BGG


14 Responses to “Wild Weasel #12”

  1. Thank you very much for posting this on my birthday. Best gift so far. Keep ’em comin’ Bruce.

    Posted by kevlar871 | August 30, 2017, 7:23 pm
  2. Thank you Bruce & Mark. Delightful.

    Posted by rod humble | August 31, 2017, 3:09 am
  3. Hey Bruce, great show! There is a small typo in your link for Red Star, White Eagle signature edition from Compass Games with one too many ‘h’ at the beginning.

    Posted by Wesley Livesay | August 31, 2017, 10:40 am
  4. I’m surprised to hear that you don’t consider “limited Information” block games as actual block games, like Sekigahara. The block is a required piece in that game, because the blank side is needed to obfuscate the information on the side that is shown to the controlling player. This isn’t easily done with cardboard chits because they would have to standing up to produce the same effect. Whether or not that block rotates to denote unit strength is not, in my opinion, the sole governing characteristic of what a Block game is. I believe it is whether or not the block is creating a Fog of War effect by obfuscating the unit that the block represents. This is why I agree with you that the Command & Colors games are not block games as the unit sticker is on both sides.

    Interested in you expanding on your thoughts here. Thanks.

    Posted by Chris Crane | August 31, 2017, 3:28 pm
    • Hi Chris, thanks for the comment. In my opinion, the term encompasses a genre which has so many things in common and has a large enough group of similar games that it is much more useful as an actual specific descriptor. If you tell me something is a block game, then I know exactly what mechanics it has to have. But there is enough variation in those two basic concepts that there is still plenty of room for difference. Including all “limited information” games dilutes the term “block game” without any offsetting benefit (in my view) as the mechanics could then be almost anything. Why not just stick with “limited information?” While blocks are convenient for Sekigahara, they could also be standees, which are becoming more common in boardgames. Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation could use blocks, but uses standees instead just fine. Those are my reasons for sticking to the two basic requirements for calling something a “block game.”

      Posted by Bruce Geryk | August 31, 2017, 5:20 pm
  5. Mark, thanks for mentioning Pavlov’s House. Fantastic chat with Mark (as always).

    Posted by David Thompson | August 31, 2017, 4:39 pm
  6. I absolutely agree with you when you say that a game review should analyse the game and the experience it provides, not only describe its mechanisms and conclude on a general subjective appreciation. At least that’s what I try to do when I review PC and iPad wargames (examples here, unfortunately in French: http://www.histogames.com/HTML/membres/moet/test.php). Note that I plan to review board wargames as well, eventually in English on my blog http://www.wargamesforeveryone.net.

    Posted by Michel Ouimet | September 7, 2017, 12:10 pm
  7. Hey Bruce,
    thanks for making the Wild Weasel podcast. For some reason, out of the 10-15 podcasts I’ve subscribed to, I’m always especially happy when I see a new episode of this podcast. Might be, because wargames are my newest passion and there is no other podcast that covers quite what you do with yours.

    Question: Would you consider talking about the No Retreat! series in one of your episodes? Have you played all of them, what is your opinion, are they too abstracted or a step forward in wargaming?

    Me, I’m one of those people you mentioned in your last episode, mid-twenties board gamer, new to wargaming, appreciative of games you can finish in less than 6 hours. I haven’t had a chance to test out either NR! Eastern Front or North America, but I will the next time my wargaming buddy comes over. Especially with Eastern Front, I feel like a game like the Dark Valley or other games of similar size would scare my buddy (who just dabbles in wargaming) and probably even me, since it’s only been a few weeks ago that I’ve seen my first ever CRT and some older, grand-scope games look like they take for granted that you know a lot of “wargam-ey” things like CRTs, NATO symbology or the lay-of-the-land of Russia by heart. Carl Paradis seems to take care of newcomers by patiently explaining concepts like calculating Battle Odds, how to trace Supply, EZOCs and so forth in his rulebooks. What are your thoughts on this?

    Posted by Michael Knarr | September 16, 2017, 4:42 am
    • Hi Michael!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Great question. I will answer it on the next episode of the Weasel!


      Posted by Bruce Geryk | September 16, 2017, 4:29 pm
      • That’s great, looking forwards to hesring your thoughts on this!

        BTW I mean North Africa of course, although a game about the German Invasion of North America a la Panzer General II would be interesting in its own right! 😉

        Posted by Michael Knarr | September 16, 2017, 5:51 pm
  8. Hi Bruce,

    I’m also a bit surprised to see your dismissal of Sekigahara as a block game–for that matter, I would consider games like Napoleon’s Triumph or The Guns of Gettysburg block games, as the block hides information and troop strength and thus provides a fog of war effect. But I understand the desire to limit the definition to games built along the Columbia model, just as CDG has come to means something more specific than simply “a game that uses cards to provide randomness and uncertainty.”

    I agree with your points about the problematic nature of blocks for tactical games, despite that superficially being the best level for them. Triumph and Tragedy is effectively as elegant a use of blocks at the strategic level as you are likely to find, though the combat model may be insufficient to capture the pace of WW2 operations. I would again agree that the kind of limited information provided by the block makes the most sense at the operational level, which was why I was surprised that you failed to mention the FAB series. Have you played them? For my money, they are the best games that use the blocks in a traditional style, and are some of the very best operational games on the market. (Added plus–no bucket of dice combat resolution.) .

    Posted by Sean | September 19, 2017, 9:00 pm
    • Hi Sean,

      The FAB series finally got me with Golan ’73. I agree that it’s excellent. I somehow overlooked it in my discussion but that was probably because it was meant to focus on Triumph & Tragedy and the only block game I tried to come up with as an example was for one which didn’t work well as a block game, which is why I came up with War Stories: Liberty Road. I think it’s important to distinguish between different kinds of limited information games, so I keep mechanics like those in Bowen Simmons’ in a separate category. In my mind, anyway.

      And when I say “I think it’s important,” I mean to the extent that we decide to discuss wargaming taxonomy. Which is to say, in the grand scheme, it’s not important at all. 🙂

      Posted by Bruce Geryk | September 20, 2017, 12:30 pm

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