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JagdPanther Magazine #13
Publisher: Amarillo Design Bureau
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/11/2023 13:25:53

I bought paper copies of 14 and 15 back in the day, so it was lovely to see them all available here. I will work backwards until I come to a 'Nah, not even for that price' issue - Jagdpanther was definitely a magzine that got better over its life.

Realistically, you are going to get this one for the game, which is definitely worth the money. The pages of variants are a mostly a mix of a 'you won't have this game' / 'not a very good variant if you do' / 'both', with few good ones mixed in. If you read the blurb about the Sorcerer review, then read it, you may laugh. I did.

But what about the game? It's a mix of the familar for its day - SPI Kursk 'move fight move-if-mechanised' - with some very interesting (unique?) twists. You can't move next to an enemy unit unless a) it's across a river, b) there's already a friendly unit in the hex, or c) you're at least as strong in terms of combat strength as it is. You can't, in other words, form a new defensive line next to the enemy unless you're at least as strong as it is. And as the Soviets in most scenarios, you won't be, giving the Germans more freedom of action as they won't be starting in ZOC. Similarly, units with a high enough movement value can go through enemy ZOC. As you can't retreat into an enemy ZOC and the CRT is very likely to lead to a retreat for the defender (4/6 for even 1:1 attacks!) this leads to some 'surround, kill, expolit' tactics.

There are some layout issues - the railroad section is split in two by the forts rules for no good reason - but this turns out to be still worth playing. With ISO paper sizes, you want to print the map to fit on A3 paper and the counters on A4. This will give you large enough hexes to fit the counters. If you print the map on A4, the scaling makes the hexes too small. I do like how much overlap there is in the map sections: no trying to join sheets edge to edge here.

The scenario mix is also good, a mix of Germans finding it easy, the Soviets making an effort, the Germans getting out of trouble, and the Germans being in big trouble. I do like the way that two of them are next to each other in time, but you can't combine them: historically the Soviets woke up at the join point and the start of the later one would look nothing like the end of the first. Without a bunch of rules, it's far easier to do it this way.

So thank you Stephen for designing it, and thank you for making it available again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
JagdPanther Magazine #13
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Krevborna: A Gothic Blood Opera
Publisher: Dolorous Exhumation Press
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/18/2021 09:46:16

It's a series of quick sketches for you to fill in. It does drip atmosphere and your version of the area will be like no-one else's, but that's because there simply isn't enough detail for there to be much in common.

Eleven of the 126 pages are blank, and the main areas get four pages each: 'here's some ideas for the aesthetics of the area, here are three themes for games here, here are five one sentence ideas for adventures, here are five or six character outlines (one or two sentences) for NPCs here, here are some sample names, here's a D20 encounter table'. Other areas just get two pages.

As you might expect given that, it's completely system agnostic. There are three pages of thoughts on using it in a 5E D&D campaign, but even most of that is applicable to any system.

I'd play in one of his campaigns, and I'd love to see a studio licence it to produce a video RPG, but I don't think I will ever use it myself.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Krevborna: A Gothic Blood Opera
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Naval Thunder: The Atlantic Campaign
Publisher: Steel Dreadnought Games
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/14/2019 08:35:54

A very nice basis for a campaign: it's a long decision tree which will result in some historical or historically plausible battles without, for example, the Royal Navy attempting to force its way past Denmark into the Baltic (one of Churchill's suggestions vetoed on the grounds of its suicidal nature!)

The historical reluctance of the Kreigsmarine to risk too much despite this meaning they sink fewer ships is covered by some battles possibly having major Royal Navy units turn up late on in battles, and a 'quit rather than sticking around' table.

The whole thing is also mostly rule system neutral apart from the way that, like Naval Thunder, it does not state the scale anywhere - all the distances are in tabletop inches, and times in 'turns'.

Looking at Steel Dreadnought's quiet forum suggests it's 1" = 500 yards and one turn is four minutes, but it would have been far better to have had the ranges in yards and had times in so many minutes in the first place.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Naval Thunder: The Atlantic Campaign
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Western Up-Front - World War 1 Infantry Combat
Publisher: Sunray 42 Games
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/21/2018 11:07:05
With the health warning that I haven't played a game with these yet - it was only bought yesterday - this does look to be very interesting. The name obviously references *Up Front* but it's a more traditional game than that was (is!) and here the cards are used for the command and control elements of the game, rather than nearly everything. So each turn you have a hand of cards to play. The number depends on how good your troops were at the start (better / less exhausted units get more) and how much they've suffered in this game - lose too many men and you can do nothing apart from reform with another unit... which then has more stands to control but no extra cards to order them to do anything. Most of them have a dual purpose and you can only use one: are you going to have your men fire with that card, or take cover against enemy fire? Move or take cover? Observe (gets you bonuses for moving and both sides of fire combat) or rally pinned troops? Some assumptions are made, primarily that the attacker's artillery managed to suppress the defender's artillery. (If that wasn't the case, the attacker should just give up now...) There are also no tanks, but what you do have is a series of tough choices and you can feel the problems of infantry command in the Great War, including planning an artillery barrage and hoping it will work because it will stick to that timetable no matter what happens on the ground. If it does, it will cut much of the enemy's barbed wire, then suppressing his trenches just long enough for your men to arrive to capture the trench with minimal losses, before moving off to interdict arriving defensive support. If it doesn't, your poor bloody infantry will be stuck in no-man's land for too long and you better have plenty of high cover cards...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Western Up-Front - World War 1 Infantry Combat
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Ian, I appreciate the review, and you are dead right about the bad things that occur if the wire is not cut as we have found in many games...! Thanks again and hope you enjoy the rules and the games.
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Alas Vegas
Publisher: Magnum Opus Press
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/26/2018 10:14:41

Another KS backer who had a long wait, but yes, it was worh it.

An inovative system with a good set of extras.

Don't read the designer's notes if you don't want to see a huge spoiler, mind.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alas Vegas
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Fighting Brothers - ACW rules
Publisher: Veni Vidi Vici
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/07/2017 12:08:38

Plus points: they're short and at a scale I like: units are regiments, but you use them in brigades. They are figure size neutral - all distances are numbers and whether they are inches or cm depends on the figure size.

Minus points: Infantry moves 10 (inches or cm, remember) per order. (Whether it is moving or charging - the only difference is that charging troops don't get a -1 when in hand-to-hand combat that merely moving ones do. As there's no penalty for charging, charge everywhere!) Musket range is 9. Combat happens after movement and is either ranged or hand-to-hand. So if your infantry is 10 away from musket-armed infantry you are attacking, you end up in hand-to-hand combat without being fired on. That doesn't feel right, even if the defender rolls first in combat - you need to be quite lucky to remove a base.

Actually, that move/charge is just for units under poor commanders. Average comanders get to move their units twice as far (and the best ones three times) so can easily outrange the rifle range of 12.

In fact, there's no good reason for having rifle units if you're having a points-based army: the difference is minimal and musket armed ones cost less.

There are an annoying level of typos too, even in the version 1.2. Oh, yes, although there are four files, two are earlier versions and two are identical versions of the 1.2 version. It's sadly typical.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fighting Brothers - ACW rules
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Creator Reply:
Don't forget, only units in column can be given more than one order a move (see 6. Movement). So you cannot cannot move a unit into combat from outside rifle range, unless you charge in, in column and columns don't fight (so they will die horribly). So there is a slight advantage of rifles over smoothbore muskets. No idea of typos of course. Otherwise they would be corrected. Ah I see that a player could declare a charge every time they move and so try to avoid the penalty for moving and firing. Yep that will be clarified. Reminds me of the boardgame where roads doubled movement, so players doubled the movement of air planes. Yep rule writers must make the rules clear.
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Grand Fleets: Tsar & Emperor
Publisher: Majestic Twelve Games
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/22/2016 15:35:48

An interesting supplement including several battles - real and near misses - from the Russo-Japanese war, the 1898 war between Spain and the US, and the war between Greece and the Ottoman empire before WWI.

However you should know that just as the first supplement finishes its period before Jutland, this one mentions but does not have any scenarios for Tsushima.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Grand Fleets: Tsar & Emperor
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ARMY LIST for Operation WWII
Publisher: Massimo Torriani
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/10/2015 05:33:56

Inexpensive, and plenty of info, but it's late WWII only - the German tanks are the Panzer IV, Panther, Tiger and King Tiger, with the Panzer III only in a dummy gun observation variant as part of an artillery unit, for example.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ARMY LIST for Operation WWII
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Grand Fleets: King & Kaiser
Publisher: Majestic Twelve Games
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/11/2015 14:50:16

Six scenarios from the start of World War One, most with 'what if' variants, a couple of optional tweaks to the main ruleset, a simple campaign system, plus a pile of data cards for ships of the Royal Navy, German navy and Austria-Hungary.

Note the timescale in the description: 1914-1915. This means Jutland isn't included and will doubtless be in another supplement.

I got it when it was a 'deal of the day' and I'm very happy. Had I paid full price, I might well have been not so enthusiastic.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grand Fleets: King & Kaiser
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Napoleonic Era Virtual Board Game
Publisher: Snakes Enterprises
by Ian W.
Date Added: 09/29/2015 17:16:34

It's ok to have a game be a Vassal module. It's not ok for the game to be so undeveloped.

So, four pages of rules (the PDF has five pages, but the fifth is completely blank). There's not much text on those four either, leaving lots of questions. Let's start with a basic one: what happens in a turn? No idea. There's something about movement, and something about combat, but no turn sequence.

Stacking is perhaps the most complete section, but... "Stacking in any Art of War D10 game is not allowed, unless stacked under a commander." OK, unless it's with a commander, you can't stack. "Otherwise each square can hold 4 tokens." Otherwise?!? You can't stack unless you're with a commander... and if you're not you can stack four things?!? How many can you stack with one? "A commanders stack only counts as one out of the 4 spaces available in the square." So, you can have as many as you like, but only four commanders? etc etc etc.

Utterly unfit for purpose and for purchase.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Napoleonic Era Virtual Board Game
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Creator Reply:
Hello, First off I would like to apologize for your experience with my product. Second I did not think much of a turn sequence being a gamer for most of my life. However I did add a turn sequence section to the rule set. Third I wanted a stream lined rule set that is easy to learn and remember. While also keeping the game from being overly simple. I still believe that is what I created. The stacking you mention is that a square can hold four tokens unstacked. As in four individuals or units. The commanders command limit allows them to have direct control of those units so they can have stacks. Up to the four commanders and their stacks can occupy the same square. I apologize again for your experience but hopefully seeing that I do care and did take the steps of correction you found unsatisfactory, maybe you will give it another try. Either way hopefully you understand my goals more so now. Again my deepest apologies. Thank You, Michael Lewis Snakes Enterprises
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