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Game Diaries

This category contains 30 posts

Momentum in the Valley

I think of non-academic military history being divided into two categories: popular history, and wargamer history. Popular history is the general understanding of events as they happened. It might be influenced by books, or movies, or serious BBC documentaries with people taking very serious poses and discussing events with the aid of file footage. Wargamer […]


Into the valley

The same impulse that keeps people buying Eastern Front wargames – even when they already have more than they need — must be physiologically related to the one that keeps people designing them. Ted Raicer has designed a few, including Shenandoah’s iOS gem Drive on Moscow, as well as the card-driven games Stalin’s War and […]


War in the East: On the dusty track to oblivion

[The War in the East game diary is an intermittent, long-running series I started in early 2011. The first part covered Operation Barbarossa. The second covers Operation Blue and the Stalingrad campaign. If you need to catch up, you can go to the series list, where the most recent articles are listed first.] It has […]


Break down, go ahead and give it to me

I’m not quite sure exactly what it is about wargames that befuddles people. Something about NATO symbology* which translates armored units into rectangles with ovals in them. Or hexagons. I know some people don’t like hexagons. Although Neuroshima Hex has those as well, and it does all right. I think the biggest obstacle to playing […]


Winning the National Socialist booby prize

The problem with History is that you can’t just go back and see what would have happened if someone had made some different decisions. The problem with wargames is that you can. Sorry I’ve been gone for a while. I got distracted when I spent a week on vacation playing with Hearts of Iron 3. […]


Chess piece face

By now we’re at the fourth installment in this new War in the East series, and you’re probably wondering if I’m ever going to attack another hex, or if I’m going to just keep going to my closet and pulling out different games about Stalingrad. I assure you that both of those things are definitely […]


A question of scale

Before we can get to the fight for Stalingrad or whatnot, there is the small question of Sevastopol. This naval base on the Crimean peninsula, famous as the site of the focus of the Crimean War in 1855, was the home of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet in 1941 and stood as a fortress through […]


Fellowship of the panzer

When you start watching The Two Towers, you get a little reminder of important stuff that happened earlier, like the wizard who fell off the bridge fighting the flaming minotaur. It’s an integral part of the Lord of the Rings, because the mistakes made earlier in the story lead to the choices available to the […]


War in the East: weird twilight

It was often said in the Stalingrad pocket that it was better to have a cousin in the Luftwaffe than a Father in Heaven. -–Heinz Schroter Seventy years ago this month, in a place between the Don and Volga Rivers, the Soviet Red Army broke through the front lines of the Germans and their Italian, […]


Erpro bungs what the?

There’s a particular genre of book, military history book specifically, called the “unit history”. It may have a desultory title like “The History of the 1st Infantry Division in World War II” or a slightly jazzier name like “The Big Red One: Crusade in Europe”. It’s usually a catalog of where a unit was on […]