25 years of Strategy & Tactics for just $20?

Hi peeps, back this morning onto the Australian Wargamer blog, which I have completely let down over the last few months, completely sucked into the black hole of my new career. No good excuse for sure, and I do apologise for those I have left disappointed by not replying to their comments or enquiries, shame on me.

Never to late to do some good, and my first action is to catchup with the latest updates from the industry. As I browse through my subscriptions, I realise it’s about time to become a faithful and regular reader of Strategy & Tactics, the legendary publication from Decision Games. In a few clicks I pay the fee for the next 24 months and I’m about to check out when I notice the “Premium Subscription” offer. A bit curious and greedy, I check this out to discover in awe the Holy Grail I have been looking for for decades: The ability to get access to the (almost) complete collection of S&T back issues, yes nothing less.

The publisher offers to go back in time up to issue #128, dated …. late 1989! Already a bit numb, I get completely stunned when I discover the ridiculously affordable cost for such a privilege: $19.95 … yes TWENTY US DOLLARS to skim through the precious pages accumulated over the last quarter of a century by one of the most iconic wargaming journal and prolific authors.

I bless the day, and start downloading. So should you do too!

Strategy & Tactics Premium Subscription and Library


Against the Odds 36

Against the Odds #36It just landed in my mailbox, with a special focus on the Burma campaign.

The included game is Defeat into Victory, by designer Paul Rohrbaugh, and it covers this neglected aspect of WWII history, using a very interactive and easy to play (chit-pull activation system) design. The game map stretches from Dimapur in the north to Rangoon in the south. Rules cover supply (a crucial aspect in terrain that was among the most inhospitable of the war), various types of combat (fire, maneuver and assault), as well as morale and leadership. Rules also include random events (that simulate the effects of battles and decisions by higher-ups elsewhere), weather, Japanese suicide tank attacks (human combat destruction squads) and changing war goals. The air campaign is also simulated (in much more detail than generic “air points”).

Defeat Into Victory - MapScenarios include the initial Japanese offensive against Imphal and Kohima, two on the Allied 1945 offensive, as well as the Campaign Game. Tough decisions will have to be made by both sides as they allocate precious resources among their formations, determine their enemy’s intentions and balance their plans, as well as attack and defend.

  • Map – One full color 22″x34″ mapsheet
  • Counters – 300 full color 1/2″ die-cut pieces
  • Rules length – 12 pages
  • Charts and tables – 2 pages
  • Complexity – Medium
  • Solitaire suitability – Average

Read more and order here.

News from the (UK) Trenches!

View From The Trenches #85Britain’s premier ASL journal and community hub is well alive and kicking, and you old ASL  bastards would better have a look at their website from time to time: http://www.vftt.co.uk/index.asp

You’ll be able to download issue #85 of the journal, but also all back issues, as well as all AH GENERAL back issues, yummy.

And for the lucky Poms living downunder and planning a trip to Europe, make sure it will happen around the next “Intensive Fire” tournament, taking place in Bornemouth on 25-28 October 2012.

Simulating War, a new milestone book in preorder on Amazon

Simulating War explores the theory and practice of conflict simulation, as applied in the many thousands of wargames published over the past 50 years. It discusses the utility of this form of conflict simulation by setting it in its proper context alongside military and professional wargaming, as well as more academically familiar techniques such as game theory and operational analysis. The book explains in detail the analytical and modelling techniques involved, and provides complete illustrative simulations of three specific historical conflicts, as used in Professor Sabin’s own courses on the wars concerned. It gives readers all the intellectual skills they need to use published wargames and to design their own simulations of conflicts of their choice, whether for interest or as a vehicle for teaching or research.

The hard cover book will be available on Amazon on 05/04/2012, but can be preordered today!

Professor Sabin is currently the course convenor for three BA level courses in the War Studies Department. These are “World War Two in Europe”, “Warfare in the Ancient World” and “Fighting in the Air”. He is also the convenor for one MA level course, “Conflict Simulation”.

Last but not least, Sabin in the author of the “Lost Battles” game system. The game covers battles and campaigns in the Mediterranean and Near East from the Persian defeat at Marathon in 490 BC to Caesar’s victory at Pharsalus in 48 BC. It has been exhaustively tested and refined over the past several years, and is based on Sabin’s decades of research and simulation design on ancient warfare; and it includes an updated copy of his book, with extensive historical and design notes on every scenario. The game can be fought on three levels – the grand tactical, the grand strategic, or a combination of the two.

Enigma, a glimpse at WW2 code breakers

Enigma is a 2001 British film about the Enigma codebreakers of Bletchley Park in World War II. The film, directed by Michael Apted, stars Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet. The film’s screenplay was by Tom Stoppard, based on the novel Enigma by Robert Harris.

Enigma is also the name of this fantastic and unique mechanical encryption machine crafted by the German to cypher their military communications during WW2. German HQ was using it globally, but more specifically to communicate with their submarine fleet in northern Atlantic, assigned to interdiction missions preventing US convoys to reach English shores. It took all the genius of several code breakers gathered in a top secret facility in North London to crack Enigma’s secrets, and to decipher German communications thanks to Alan Turing‘s thinking machines. The story of the English code breakers has been kept secret for more than 30 years after the war, and it’s fair to say that their contribution has been key in winning the War, and that their work has probably saved millions of human lives.

The movie is rather enjoyable and gives a good idea of the achievements of the Enigma code breakers.


Guns of Navarone in a nutshell

The Guns of Navarone is a 1961 war film based on the 1957 novel of the same name about the Dodecanese Campaign of World War II by Scottish thriller writer Alistair MacLean. It stars Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn, along with Anthony Quayle and Stanley Baker. The book and the film share the same basic plot: the efforts of an Allied commando team to destroy a seemingly impregnable German fortress that threatens Allied naval ships in the Aegean Sea, and prevents 2,000 isolated British troops from being rescued out of the Leros island. The movie won the following awards:

  • Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score – Motion Picture
  • Academy Award Best Effects, Special Effects

It is a very good reminder of what was probably one of the latest crushing Axis victory on British forces, which were thrust in this Aegean campaign by a bold but isolated Churchill in 1943.

It’s also the enjoyable epic of a heroic commando assigned to an impossible mission set in very picturesque Agean Greek islands. It’s definitely worth giving another look, after all these years.