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Wing Leader Victories: Stalingrad Airlift

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Wing Leader Victories 1940 - 1942 is a really fun air combat game. I got it last year as an impulse buy during a time when I had a million other things going on in my life. As a result, it slid right into my collection like a stealth plane, its presence barely detectable among all the other clutter of my busy days and frantic nights.



During a self-imposed lull in my life when I should have been hard at work at something or other, I spied it on my shelf. I pulled it out and wondered how on earth I had failed to be enticed by the box cover's lovely artwork featuring a P-40 Warhawk screaming down through the shattered skies.

The components are nice with plenty of reference charts for easy play. It has a nicely organized rulebook and there are plenty of scenarios covering a wide swatch of air combat that characterized the early days of World War II.

The game is easy to learn, plays very smoothly, and has a clean uncluttered look to it. The scenarios are diverse in terms of size and ai…

At a Glance: Bitskrieg

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Bitskrieg, published by Hollandspiele Games, is an adorable game of tank warfare for you and your little guy or gal to enjoy. Designed by father and son team, Scott and Miles Muldoon, this introductory wargame is aimed squarely at the dad or mom crowd who want to have fun bonding over something a little more complex than making "pew pew" sounds with plastic army guys.

As the father of a two-year-old boy, I have been looking for something like this for when my son gets older. It's a nice soft landing into the world of wargames with nary a CRT or a die modifier in sight. At the same time, there is enough to tickle your brain and make you really think about what you're doing. Luck plays a big part of it but so does strategy.

So let's take a look at the components!

Bitskrieg has a full-color six-page rulebook with clear explanations and example illustrations. The rules are extremely straightforward and written in plain English. I was up and playing almost immediatel…

At a Glance: Agricola

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Agricola from Hollandspiele Games is a solitaire design from Tom Russell released in 2016 from the fledgling company run by Tom and Mary. I've never played a Hollandspiele Game before so I was really excited to get my hands on this one.

Agricola lets the player take on the role of the famed Roman general and governor of Brittania in the first century AD. You're faced with the tough job of making friends and outwitting your enemies. The problem is that you're never quite sure who is in which camp until certain points in the game. Sometimes you think you're making all the right moves and you end up with a knife planted firmly in your back. In addition to your own decisions, the game uses a really neat chit-pull mechanic to help determine how things play out. 
Add to all this is the fact that you're under pressure from Rome to achieve great things while you're up in Brittania. The empire is crumbling fast and Rome is desperately trying to buttress their defenses b…

NATO Air Commander - Designer's Thoughts

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I spent a lot of time this year in what one might generously term "interesting circumstances".

One of the outcomes of that was a game I had in the back of my mind for years.

NATO Air Commander is the first game I have ever designed and I'm particularly humbled by the show of early support from playtesters and wargamers. Tom and Mary Russell, the heads of Hollandspiele Games, were particularly supportive and I am especially grateful for that.

Just like the title says, this is a solitaire game that is supposed to put the player in the shoes of an Allied Air Commander during a hypothetical World War III set around 1987.

To that end, the decisions you make in this game are big theater decisions and the scale of the game works on the level of flights of aircraft. Each turn, you're creating and assembling raids and assigning missions to air units, hoping to influence the ground war - over which you have limited control.

The game came out of a desire to see more depth in th…

Ranger - Anti-Personnel Ambush

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It is 0145 and the Ranger platoon commander has been woken up and assigned a mission against the godless communists invading Puerto Oro from the north. All I'd wanted was a mission...and for my sins, they gave me one.

It was "anti-personnel ambush" just south of a small village that no one cared about enough to even give it a goddamn name. It didn't matter. We'd be out there wasting PSRF guerillas and that was alright with me. Three weeks in this shithole and I'd barely seen anything more dangerous than the skanks down at the local watering hole.



By 0300, I'd gotten the briefing and planned out my next move. The platoon was to be inserted by UH-60s to the west of the objective. We'd move out in a zigzag fashion to get to the objective release point two kilometers away.

If we weren't blown away by an enemy ambush ourselves, we would get to the Objective Rally Point, send in the rear and flank security teams and then position the assault and support…

Berlin '85 - The Setup

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I've spent some time with Berlin '85 over the past couple of weeks now. I find it to be a bloody game with a peculiar agony awaiting both players who venture down its path. If you have already played the game, you will understand exactly what I mean. For those, who haven't tried it, you'll get an idea when you read the full playthrough report.

I wanted to get something out there for B85 since I've been getting lots of people asking and posting and commenting about it. So here's the Setup and some notes about the game and why I've made certain decisions.

The NATO player sets up first. For this scenario:

The West German police (the blue units) set up on Supply Hexes anywhere in West Berlin and on any airfield control hexes.

The Americans set up in the American sector (duh!) two hexes from any barracks hexes. The French and British do the same in their sectors.

But before we do all that, let's look at the lay of the land, my son.



We have one natural barrie…

Berlin '85

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For me, 2017 has been the year of the magazine game. Last month's look at Nord Kapp from S&T Fall 1983 was a big hit. I thought it was an excellent game and it deserved a look back after all these years. I've been scooping up some other magazine games lately, some of which have been languishing on the shelves due to a lack of time. It has been a crazy summer so far and shows no signs of slowing as we move from the rainy season here in Japan towards the hot hot heat of tropical summer.

This month, I would like to drag another S&T favorite off the shelf and take a look at it. Here goes:



There we go - fresh from the March/April issue of Strategy & Tactics is Berlin '85, a game that focuses on a Soviet invasion of West Berlin in a WW3 conflict set in 1985. It's now I notice that so many people used that particular year for setting a WW3 conflict to happen. That includes General Sir John Hackett in his novels and Jim Dunnigan in this game. What's especially …