News and Updates

Blenneville or Bust — Now Available

Posted on Updated on

Blenneville or BustToo Fat Lardies have a new expansion for their I Ain’t Been Shot Mum tactical WW2 miniatures ruleset. Blenneville or Bust is a 300-page PDF campaign pack that covers fictional late-war encounters on the Western front.

Blenneville or Bust! is a collection of fictional late war, western front scenarios set in a valley just south of the Normandy beaches a short time after the D-Day landings. US and British forces are attempting to drive through the German defences in the Ribeaux valley in order to break out into the open country beyond, the Germans are trying to stop them.

The pack contains thirty-one individual scenarios set up in a five-step pyramid campaign i.e. scenario 1 leads to either scenario 2A or 2B; the result of this second game leads to one of scenarios 3A, 3B, 3C or 3D; and so on until scenarios 5A to 5P. Although written as a fictional campaign booklet, no two scenarios are the same: each is unique and is also designed to be played as an individual game.

If you are unfamiliar with I Ain’t Been Shot Mum it is an excellent set of company level rules. It is considerably more streamlined than Flames of War and thus allows players to concentrate more on tactics and maneuver than rules. If you like tactical WW2 gaming check it out.

Dust Warfare — August 2012 Update

Posted on Updated on

DW minisFantasy Flight Games is busy churning out Dust Warfare goodness. GenCon 2012 provided us all with some nice peeks at new upcoming products. Thanks to Russ from The D6 Generation and BattleTactics.TV for their great coverage. For a great look at the upcoming DW minis see BattleTactics.TV’s excellent video. FFG also now has a post with more information. Below is a recap of the recent news:

  • First up is the release of the Campaign Book: Zverograd that introduces the SSU and a few additional Allied and German units. You can also get the book as a PDF on Wargame Vault. (Note: For some odd reason the book still does not show up in search on Wargame Vault but if you follow the link you will be fine.)
  • FFG also announced Campaign Book Hades. It will include the first Soldier 4 unit in the game, the SSU Hero ‘Winter Child’.
  • The various SSU helicopters have started to hit the stores.
  • As you can see in the BTTV video  there is a huge amount of upcoming goodness for all factions. This is what you’ll see:
    • Allied: British Commandos and French Foreign Legion Kill Squad. Both are three-man Solider 3 squads. They are in the Allied suit armor but with bare arms. They come in the same package and you just swap heads to make one unit or the other.
    • German: Two new vehicles shown. They are large walkers based off the Vehicle 7 walker chassis. Shown were the Prinzeluther and Sturmprinz that both are sort of a mix of the WW2 SdKfz 251/D and SdKfz 232. They both have small turrets and open topped transport compartments. For infantry there are the new Jagdgrenadiere and Laser-Jagdgrenadiere. What is unique about those is that they are both three-man squads all based together on a single base (similar to GW IG heavy weapons). Perhaps the biggest surprise was the new German aircraft model prototypes. Also see BTTV’s aircraft video. FFG has now officially announced these with the upcoming Operation Icarus expansion for Dust Tactics. Also the P-38-eque aircraft in the page art is rumored to be the Allied fighter.
    • SSU: The SSU get the most love with all sorts of new goodies:
      • Hero Winter Child
      • IS-48 Karl Marx – Heavy Tesla gun-armed heavy tank
      • IS-5 Vladamir Lenin – KV2-like heavy tank
      • IS-5 Mao Zedong – AA tank. Both IS-5s also carry troops.
      • IS-48 Lavrentiy Beria Tank w/155mm main gun – Looks like an IS-3 tank
      • KV-3 Matrioshka – Walker with two main guns
      • KV-3 Babushka – Walker with Gatling guns
      • Red Guards Assault Squad
      • Red Guards Antitank Squad – With 2 Bazookas

Dust Warfare FFLAll in all life is looking very good for Dust Warfare fans. FFG is providing strong support for the game. Now if we only knew what the fourth faction will be!

[Updated: 12OCT12]

Decisive Campaigns: Case Blue — Now Available

Posted on Updated on

Case BlueDecisive Campaigns: Case Blue is now available. Case Blue is a WW2 operational level computer wargame on the German’s 1942 drive towards Stalingrad in Russia. It is a follow-on to the well done Decisive Campaigns: Blitzkrieg Warsaw to Paris. The game manual is available to download.

It is the summer of 1942 on the Eastern Front, and Case Blue is about to begin. The German Wehrmacht must continue their drive to Stalingrad and into the Caucasus in order to secure victory against the Soviet Army. As time passes and the battles rage on, winter arrives and with it the Soviet winter counter-offensive dashes hopes of a speedy victory for the Wehrmacht.

Decisive Campaigns: Case Blue features an easy-to-learn interface and a challenging AI for all levels of players. Among the many new features for the Decisive Campaigns series is the optional high command order system, which puts you in the position of the historical commander, with often difficult and unrealistic goals assigned by your superiors. Succeed and you may be able to guide the future strategy of the campaign – fail and you may find yourself removed from command or facing a firing squad!Case Blue Screenshot

The new full campaign scenarios cover a remarkable sweep of history, including the full Case Blue campaign with all of its many historical options.  The order of battle may change based on your performance and the entire direction of the campaign is even within your reach if you do well enough.  Whether you start in the summer of 1942 or take control as Operation Uranus begins, there are virtually endless “what ifs” in each of these remarkably detailed campaigns.

[Updated: 23JUL12]

WWPD Interview with John-Paul from Battlefront

Posted on Updated on

WWPD PodcastWell the boys over at the What Would Patton Do podcast score a big one with a great interview with John-Paul of Battlefront, makers of Flames of War. The boys must have had his family tied up at some undisclosed location because they got him to spill the beans on just about everything! You won’t want to miss the interview for yourself but here are the highlights of what John-Paul mentions (forward the show to 51:00 to get right to it) :

  • Nuts book at printer now. Next Battle of the Bulge release.
  • The new European building range shown in Wargames Illustrated 296 will include about 12 total buildings.
  • Mid-war remake (probably starting 2013?) will see campaign books on topics such as Tobruk, El Alamein and Kursk.
  • Market-Garden compilation will be ready for Christmas 2012. It will be two ~80+ page books.
  • Next early-war release will be winter war (Barbarossa?) in 2013.
  • Sea Lion will be done as a campaign book(s).
  • Vietnam gets proper campaign/rules book in February 2013 with lots of ‘new things to come’.

John-Paul gives some nice details on their efforts in plastic production where he mentions:

  • Battlefront makes over 640 vehicles, over 400 of which are armored vehicles.
  • Battlefront wants the plastics to look like BF game miniatures not scale models.
  • An Open Fire! boxed game will be released in October 2012 that will include ~11 tanks/guns, ~150figs and a V1 Rocket on launcher all in plastic.
  • Battlefront ships 70-80,000 packs (of miniatures?) a month.
  • Battlefront produces 1,500-1,700 pages of Flames of War material a year.

[Updated: 31AUG12]

Combat Mission: Fortress Italy — Available Soon

Posted on Updated on

CM:FIBattlefront.com will be releasing the latest game in their WW2 Combat Mission line of tactical computer games soon. The next installment is Combat Mission: Fortress Italy featuring battles in Sicily and Italy. CM:FI is a standalone game and uses the new CMx2 engine. Combat Mission: Fortress Italy is available now. The game features:

“The combat forces immediately available to players include the full range of historically available American, Italian, and German forces which fought in Sicily. In addition to the completely new Italian forces, both the American and German organizations differ significantly from those familiar to Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy players. Some of the highlights are elite formations such as:

  •     Italian Bersaglieri
  •     American Rangers
  •     German Herman Göring Division

CM:FI T30Of course, the time frame and units involved require equipment new to the Combat Mission series. A full list is available on the new Fortress Italy website, however here are some particularly fun gadgets to play with:

  •     R-35 Light Tank
  •     Semovente 90/53
  •     Panzer Mk III
  •     Grille
  •     M3 GMC Halftrack
  •     T30 HMC Halftrack

Players get to dive in and try these forces out in three (!!!) campaigns, one from the perspective of each national force (USA, Germany, Italy), a host of new stand alone battles, and of course the automatically generated QuickBattles. It won’t take long for Normandy players to feel how different this time period and setting is from what they are used to. And the Italian forces are very interesting indeed! Squads the size of Platoons, almost no radios at all, few antitank weapons, proportionally few support weapons, and relatively light armored vehicles present even the best CM player with a lot of new challenges.

But wait, we didn’t come to the best part yet… Fortress Italy features more than just a new setting and new units. It is also the first Combat Mission game to be upgraded with our CMx2 engine Version 2.0 features! If you haven’t heard about the new Upgrade path for Combat Mission. For those who have, here’s just a few of the new features you’ll experience:

  •     Moveable Waypoints
  •     Target Armor Arc Command
  •     Expanded Floating Icon Categories
  •     “Fog of War” Floating Icons
  •     2D Editor Map Overlay
  •     Auto-Assemble Road/Wall/Hedge Tool
  •     Camera Jump to Groups
  •     Target Briefly Command
  •     New Rendering Shaders
  •     Bump and Normal Mapping
  •     Improved Framerates
  •     Pausable Realtime TCP/IP Mode
  •     …and more!”

[Updated: 3AUG12]

Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear — Computer Game

Posted on Updated on

COH Computer GameConflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear computer game is now available. Conflict of Heroes is one of our favorite games and on our Top Picks list. The game appears to be a great adaptation of the board game.

There is a new large (1.1GB) v1.14 update available.

Designed and developed in cooperation with Uwe Eickert, the original designer of Conflict of Heroes, and Western Civilization Software, the award-winning computer wargame studio, no effort has been spared to bring the outstanding Conflict of Heroes gameplay to the computer.  Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! includes an AI opponent as well as full multiplayer support with an integrated forum and game lobby.  To remain true to the core gameplay of the board game, the PC version is designed to be fun, fast and easy to play, though hard to master. The game design is also historically accurate and teaches and rewards platoon and company-level combined arms tactics without overwhelming the player with rules.

Much effort went into distinguishing the units in the game by highlighting their historical strengths and weaknesses. For example, each tank defense rating takes into account relative armor thickness, armor slope deflection percentage, speed, size, targeting mechanics, and crew training. All these factors are represented in an easy to learn target number system.

Also included are all ten original Awakening the Bear! scenarios as well as eleven new Frontier scenarios, five new Commanding Heights scenarios and a very flexible “Partisan Road” Point Buy scenario.  For those with a creative urge, Conflict of Heroes also comes with a scenario editor which allows players to create and share completely new scenarios using the Awakening the Bear! units.

The included scenarios, many of which you can play in about an hour, are designed to depict the pivotal points in a given battle. You can learn enough of the game to play the first scenario in ten minutes and a full set of in-game tutorials is included, as well as a full-color printed manual.

[Updated: 4JAN13]

Overheard at Steve Jackson Games Studios

Posted on Updated on

Agents were out and the following comments were overheard coming from the studios of Steve Jackson Games over the past 24 hours:

“Well that’s how many streets 37 shipping containers take up….”

“It’s gonna be HOW deep?!”

“Didn’t we once work on some sort of card game?”

“Make it stop….”

“‘Yes Mr Jackson is very concerned about deforestation….'”

“‘Yes the Chinese food is great. But I want to come home….'”

“Smith…Agent Smith. I need to speak with you regarding alleged leaks of weapon blueprints to foreign nations….”

“Yes, nineTEEN pounds….”

“‘Yes, Mr Jackson has plans to plant more trees….'”

“‘Oh, it’ll NEVER break 35’…idiot….”

“Wake up….”

“I swear we did. Yeah it used these little cards….”

“‘What do you mean you don’t have that many trucks?'”

“‘Jackson. Yes, two please. Yes, those are one way. C-A-Y-M-A-N….'”

“WE have to do the fulfillment?!”

“Cotton futures just did what?!”

“We’re gonna need a bigger warehouse….”

“‘No, I do not have a military export license but….'”

“Well tell him if 5XXL is too small he’s just gonna have to lose some weight.”

“No way. Run that calculation again….”

“‘Yes the hotel is very nice. But my wife….'”

“Well yes, that is a lot of pewter….”

“Phone. He says he’s from the FBI….”

“Ok, so I found an old abandoned airbase we can use…”

“Well why wouldn’t I think ONE box would have been enough?!”

“No seriously. It had these little rules on cards….”

“Well tell him he better START liking egg rolls…!”

“Phone. She says she’s from the IRS….”

“Well I guess we COULD build it now….-maniacal laughter-”

“Yes resin. We’d need HOW many gallons?!”

“ZZZZzzzzzzzzz….”

“No, no…that can’t be right….”

“‘Well then add a third shift….'”

“Say ‘reprint’ one more time and you’re OUT!”

“‘Yes sir. No sir. Yes, I assure you it is fictional….'”

“Look at me I’m Bob! ‘Oh that Kickstarter thing will NEVER work!’ -laughter-….”

“-mumble-…passport….”

“Staff. I have an announcement! If we hit $925,000 you will all get a Porsche!! Huh, what’s that? $923,680? Oh, well that’s a darn shame….”

“What do you mean THIS #%&@ November…?!”

“OK. So the closest without going over was Janet with $28,001….”

“‘…L-A-N-D-S. Today. Yes, just the two bags….'”

“Thank you and goodnight….”

[Reproduced and edited with permission and apologies to SJ Games ;-)]

Also see Ogre Designer’s Edition — $923,680!, Ogre – A look Back, Ogre Designer’s Edition.

Ogre Designer’s Edition — $923,680!

Posted on Updated on

11MAY12 : 1128hrs : The Ogre neutral steers on the command post. A $923,680 count registers. It detects 5,512 friendly infantry nearby. SMILE routine executed.

Ogre Designer's EditionSteve Jackson Games successfully completed its first Kickstarter project just before Noon PDT today. The Ogre Designer’s Edition closed with 5,512 supporters pledging $923,680 in funding. Ogre is officially the highest funded Board & Card Game project on Kickstarter easily beating out the previous, just recently crowned, champion Zombiecide. Ogre reached and exceeded 31 Stretch Goals that brought not just new goodies but early shipping, better packaging, a game assist app, promises of a computer game, restarting the miniatures line, and even doing a future Car Wars Kickstarter project. At times the Stretch Goals seemed crazy out of reach and at other times they were met almost as soon as they were posted. You can see the celebration in Update #36.

Ogre Blueprint ShirtThe final tally of gaming goodness is almost hard to quantify let alone comprehend. Besides the extra four patches, four shot glasses, two dice sets, two pins, military cap, eight t-shirts, polo shirt, three extra counter sheets, classic counter sheets, tote bag, wood cut Ogre, Tournament package, and Giant Battlefield set…whew!…that one could purchase the actual game contains:

Standard Edition Includes:
– The outer shipping carton – about 22″ x 18″ x 4″?
– The game box. Currently 21.5” by 17.625” by at least 3.5”.
– Vacuformed counter tray insert / “Ogre garage”

Maps:
Ogre map (2 pieces )
GEV type maps G1, G2, S1, S2 (2 pieces each)

– Plastic storage trays to hold the maps in the box

Counter/overlay sheets:
All about 11 x 17, printed 4/4, diecut – right now I count 16 of them.
– Combine 2D units (2 identical sheets, about 65 units each, 1.5 mm)
– Paneuropean 2D units (2 identical sheets, about 70 units each, 1.5 mm)
– Basic map overlay sheet (3 identical sheets, 1.5 mm)
– Stretch overlay sheet (1.5 mm)
– Assorted Ogres and buildings (3 different sheets, 2 mm)
– Sponsored sheets for $3,000 supporters (5 different, some 1.5, some 2 mm; all use existing dies)
— (1, 2) “Mercenary” sheets – two, using Combine units
— (3) Maaaybe one w/ hidden buildings. Under discussion.
— (4) One with a whole troop of Ogres in a new color.

— (5) One, probably, with a new color of Paneuro units.

Booklets and other paper:
– Rulebook – 24 pages?
– Scenario book – 12 pp?
– Reference sheets with CRTs, unit lists, and so on (2 copies)
– Ogre Record Sheet masters (2 copies, black only)
– Blueprint poster
– “How to Build the Ogres” flyer

Two 19mm acrylic dice, one blue with Combine logo in white, one red with Paneuropean logo in white.

Kickstarter Copies Also Include:
– Kickstarter sticker on the box front
– Kickstarter Exclusive Counter Sheet (“Targets Go Boom”)
– Kickstarter Exclusive Counter/Overlay Sheet #2, still unnamed and under development
– Kickstarter Exclusive Counter/Overlay Sheet #3, still unnamed and under development
– Signed Certificate of Support

Also Included At KS $100 US Level
– Website and box-side listing as supporter
– Three PDFs and 30 Minutes of Music (actually, these kick in at $25)

Swag Added At $150 US Level
– A second copy of the “Targets Go Boom” sheet
– Humongous Canvas bag
– Pair of lapel pins
– Exclusive T-shirt

Support Outside The Box
– Record sheet app
– 12 scenarios, so far
– Constructable Ogre/building templates
– PDFs of classic counters
– PDF record sheets

[Above updated to include later items. See Update #16 for even more details. Also see the official list of extras. Many of these items will appear in Warehouse 23 for sale later…while supplies last.]

All in all an amazing adventure. Is it November yet?!

Also see Overheard at Steve Jackson Games Studios, Ogre – A look Back, Ogre Designer’s Edition.

Ogre — A Look Back

Posted on Updated on

With the Ogre Designer’s Edition now past $550,00 in funding on Kickstarter and seemingly going to include everything but the kitchen sink it might be worth taking a look back at Ogre‘s past for a bit of perspective.

Ogre Collection
Ogre and expansions circa 1984 and 2000.

The original 1977 Ogre release was in a plastic bag. Later this was updated to a ziplock bag and then to an 80’s Steve Jackson Games’ favorite, the plastic ‘Pocket Box’. In the photo, the Ogre and G.E.V. pocket boxes are circa 1984 and the ziplock bags are from the late 80’s and 2000 release. When looking at the new Ogre Designer’s Edition it is worth noting this is what Ogre has always been. Except for the miniatures, Ogre has always been a small, cheap release. It never had mounted maps or counters nor full color rules.

Perhaps the closest Ogre got to a deluxe treatment was…well…Ogre Deluxe published in 1987. It was just Ogre but it had a heavy cardstock map and standup counters that fit into plastic stands. This was the flashiest Ogre yet.

Ogre/G.E.V. 2000
Contents of the 2000 Ogre/G.E.V. re-release. Both games in one box.

In 2000 Steve Jackson Games re-released Ogre and its expansions. For the first time since 1982 Ogre and G.E.V. were combined into one box (literally a plastic VHS tape box). The components were basically the same as earlier releases. It contained the same counters and you had to cut the maps apart because they were printed on the same sheet. The rules were in one book and it had Ogre on one side and when flipped over it had G.E.V. on the other.

Now maybe one can understand why many older gamers want the classic counters in 1″ mounted format. For decades all we have had is cardstock, cut-apart-yourself, 5/8″ counters. The counter art was always great — in fact it is now classic — it was just the physical quality that was lacking. A sneeze or slight breeze from any open window could wreak havoc upon a game as counters scattered on the wind — Although admittedly a great lesson in G.E.V. physics!

Classic Ogre and Delux Ogre
Here we see the original Ogre box and map on top of the Deluxe Ogre map with 1.5″ hexes. At the upper right of the original Ogre map is a Deluxe Ogre MkIII miniature.

2000 also saw the release of Deluxe Ogre and Deluxe G.E.V. that combined the boardgame rules with the miniatures. None of the expansions or new maps were ever released in the Deluxe format. The Deluxe version delivered huge 1.5″ hex Ogre/G.E.V. maps and lead minis. Of course not all boardgamers appreciate minis and the lack of bases with stats made the game a tad fiddly. You needed an off-board sheet or cards for all your unit stats and some sort of marker for Disabled status. Veteran gamers were once again denied mounted counters.

These maps are essentially the same maps we will see in the Ogre Designer’s Edition but they will now be mounted. We will also get the new ~1.25″ mounted hex-shaped counters. Perhaps best of all, at long last, all of the counters will be available in the classic style in 1″ mounted format as an extra purchase!

Ogre Books
The Ogre Book 2ed and Ogre Scenario Book 1 from 2000 and 2001. Again, an Ogre MkIII miniature in the middle.

In 1982 Steve Jackson Games released the Ogre Book. It was one of the first of its kind. It was a book dedicated to Ogre and G.E.V. that covered the development of the game along with history, fiction, expansions, and strategy. Much of it came from articles previously published in The Space Gamer magazine but having it all combined in one spot was wonderful. It is probably worth mentioning that 1982 was long before the Internet and printed books and magazines were the only ways to get information on games. When Steve Jackson talks about getting letters from gamers he means actual handwritten, sent-with-a-stamp letters! In 2000 SJ Games released the Ogre Book Second Edition now updated with new info and a few new articles. In 2001 we got the Ogre Scenario Book 1 (so far no Book 2) that provided seven new scenarios.

So as you gaze upon the ~15lb wonder that is Ogre Designer’s Edition it is worth taking a moment to reflect on how far the game has come since its humble beginnings. Ogre is BACK baby!

Also see Ogre Designer’s Edition.

[Updated: 6MAY12 to include Ogre Deluxe. Thanks to McKinley Hamby for jarring the brain cells and BoardGameGeek for the only photos I could find.]

Battle of the Bulge — iPad Edition

Posted on Updated on

Bulge for iPad screenshot1The folks over at Shenandoah Studio have decided to use Kickstarter to launch their first iPad game. Battle of the Bulge: The Simulation  Game for the iPad is a light operational-level wargame about the Battle of the Bulge designed by John Butterfield. It appears that there will also be a printed version of the game as well and supporters at the $150+ level get both the iPad version and the printed boardgame.

Bulge for iPad screenshot2We’ve been watching Shenandoah Studio for awhile now and are happy they chose to use Kickstarter. Considering the success of Ogre Designer’s Edition on Kickstarter it should be easy for Battle of the Bulge to reach its $20,000 goal. In fact it is already past $5,000 on its first day. If design is any indication of the quality of the game Battle of the Bulge should be a real winner. With luck we will see more iPad titles from Shenandoah Studio in the future.

Update: As an added incentive Shenandoah Studio announced the next game in the Crisis in Command Series, El Alamein. All those pledging $20 or more will get both games. There does not seem to be a boardgame version of El Alamein.

As of this writing they are just a few dollars shy of their goal so the project is certainly a go.

Update: The game reached almost twice its goal and is now live in the App Store. It is a great game.

[Updated: 15DEC12]