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  Strategy & Tactics #340 by Decision Games and Strategy & Tactics Press   The French & Indian War was really the fourth war bet...

Strategy & Tactics #340 by Decision Games and Strategy & Tactics Press Strategy & Tactics #340 by Decision Games and Strategy & Tactics Press

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Decision games

 Strategy & Tactics #340


Decision Games and Strategy & Tactics Press

  The French & Indian War was really the fourth war between Britain and France over the new continent. It is also the name given to the North American part of the Seven Years War. These are the wars, and their dates, fought on the North American continent:

King William's War 1688-1697 - Known as the War of the Grand Alliance in Europe

Queen Anne's War 1702-1713 - Known as The War of the Spanish Succession in Europe

King George's War 1744-1748 - Known as The War of the Austrian Succession in Europe

The French & Indian War 1754-1763 Known as the Seven Years War in Europe

 So, you can see there was a large history of warfare between the colonial powers before the last war for supremacy took place. In actuality, France really had no chance. The British colonies had a population of over a million in 1750. The French colony in Canada had a population of just over 50,000. With that disparity of numbers, it is pretty amazing that the French were able to battle that long for the continent. 

 It seems at times that the first thing that one of Noah's children did after landfall was to start printing Strategy & Tactics magazine. It was a bit heftier then and was written in Cuneiform but if you can find an old copy you will see that the format hasn't changed that much.

Part of the map for the Battle of Lake George 1755

 The articles for this issue are:

Decisive Battles of the French & Indian War by Joseph Miranda

Timur's 1398 Invasion of India and Sack of Delhi by Cam Rea

Goose Green - The Falklands 1982 by Andrew Mulholland

US Armor in the Philippines: 1941-42 by Russell Moore

 The usual departments are listed here:

On Design by Joseph Miranda

Work in Progress: Carolingian Twilight

The Russian Prewar Experience by Dave Schroeder

Did You Know? by Joseph Miranda


 Iranian Drones in Venezuela by Javier Romero Munoz

 The Emerging Russo-Turkish Axis by Andrew Mulholland

 Cold War Weapons in the Russo-Ukraine War by Gilberto Villahermosa

 Lightning Carriers in the Indo-Pacific by Patrick S. Baker

For Your Information

 The 1946 Azerbaijan Crisis by Vernie Liebl

 The First Arab Siege of Constantinople, 674 -78 by Cam Rea

 Long Rifles in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans by Arnold Blumberg

 The Renault FT-17 Tank by Maciej Jonasz

Media Reviews: 

 Rome & Parthia, Empires at War Ventidius, Antony and the Second Romano-Parthian War 40-20 BC by Gareth Sampson and published by Pen & Sword reviewed by John D. Burtt

 It always happens when I get an issue of S & T that they print an article that interests me even more than my interest in the main article. The French & Indian War really interests me and always has. However, the life and reign of Timur is another bit of history that I have always tried to read everything I could get my hands on. The Falklands article takes a different than usual approach to the Goose Green Battle. As always, each page has something to make you think about or get interested in. 


 From Sir William Johnson's early victory in the war, to the penultimate Battle of Quebec, where both Wolfe and Montcalm died, along with the Battle for Fort Oswego in 1756. We have a triple dose of grand tactical battles for the French & Indian War to choose from.

 The game scale is 50-100 yards for each hex. Each strength point equals from 40-150 men. The artillery units equal from 2-6 guns. Each game turn represents 10 minutes to one hour. Both of the above vary due to the different scenario sizes.

The map is the standard 22" x 34". The map is split into three sections. The largest is the Battle of Quebec part. Next in size is the Battle of Fort George followed by the smaller Fort Oswego map. The hexes are nice and large. The nature of the terrain is mostly woods and clear hexes with the added fortification lines. The map is a well-done representation of the areas. The counters seem huge at 5/8" for a magazine game. They are also some of the best looking, if not the best, counters I have seen from S & T. The leader counters have small portraits on them. The counters show these units:

Line Infantry

Light Infantry

Grenadier Infantry


Militia Infantry 


Supply Trains

 There are also counters for the different tactics that can be used by each side. These are used in the 'Special Tactics' of the Optional Rules. 



Bayonet Attack


Forced March

 Each scenario has its own victory conditions. The French and British forces in each battle have a Demoralization Level. The different scenarios have conditions that raise each side's demoralization level. After that level is reached one of the effects are that disordered units cannot rally. The Special Tactics cannot be used on a side that has reached its demoralization level. The different units all have their Combat Factor, Movement Allowance, and Range Factor (if the unit is artillery). Other than some bells and whistles the games rules are pretty standard for this period of warfare. 

 These are some nice small engagements with a minimal of counters and small map footprints. They are a good choice of battles from the war. Players should be able to play a few games easily on game night. Thank you, S & T, for allowing me to review another of your excellent issues.  


S & T Press

S & T #340


 Strategy & Tactics #339 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games  Here we are yet again with another issue of S&T. To be ...

Strategy & Tactics #339 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games Strategy & Tactics #339 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Decision games

 Strategy & Tactics #339


Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games

 Here we are yet again with another issue of S&T. To be perfectly honest, the game included with the issue is not a possible conflict that would be high on my list to game. Of course, it could be a great simulation/game of the possible campaign. So, I will not just turn away from it. However, I am very interested in reading this issue's articles. 

Take a look at some of the articles:

Pompey vs. the Pirates by Joseph Miranda (for grognards the author needs no introduction)

Operation Roundup Reconsidered (the possible 1943 invasion of Europe) by Antonio J. Muñoz

The Man Assyria Feared by Cam Rea (an excellent author)

World War I Railway Guns by Dave Schroeder

The US Navy's Yangtze River Patrol (definitely for any fans of 'The Sand Pebbles') by Patrick S. Baker

Saddam Moves South by Joseph Miranda

The Curious Case of Benjamin Pole by Peter G. Tsouras (writer of many well-done books on what ifs in military history)

Some of the Game's Map

  As usual, the magazine starts out with the largest article about the history of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. It naturally goes into the what ifs of Iraq deciding to invade Saudi Arabia and going for their oil wells as well. The history of the buildup of the Coalition's forces for the actual Operation Desert Storm is thoroughly delved into. Both sides had political land mines to maneuver around. Saddam Hussein was afraid of his Kurdish and Shite populations revolting while he was embroiled in Kuwait and Arabia. He also had to keep an eye on Iran. He was worried that Iran would try to attack Iraq to win back the slight gains that Iraq had won during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988. On the other side, the Coalition had to worry about Iraq launching missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, and deciding just how far Desert Storm would take them. At the time, there were many voices against invading Iraq to topple Hussein. So, Desert Storm would be limited to liberating all of Kuwait and stopping at the border. The Coalition's plan was:

1. A strategic air campaign against Iraqi command control, industry, and airpower.

2. Gaining full air superiority over Kuwait.

3. Preparation of the battlefield by attriting Iraqi armor and artillery.

4. A ground offensive to liberate Kuwait.

 The article shows that Iraq, by only taking Kuwait and then not going any farther, allowed the Coalition ample time to build up its strength. More on the actual game will come later.

Assorted game counters

 Now we come to the main event, the article about Pompey vs. the Pirates. The Republic of Rome had been beset by pirates throughout the Mediterranean for many years. At different times Consuls etc. had been given command to try and eradicate them. In fact, both Marcus Antonius's father and grandfather (both named the same as him) had been tasked with this same issue. In 67 B.C. the Tribune Aulus Gabinus created his Gabinian Law to give one man more power than any other Roman had ever had. The law created a special command called the Prefect for the Fleet and Maritime Affairs. The new command would have authority over the entire Mediterranean and to fifty miles inland. The force under this command would consist of 200 warships, 120,000 soldiers, and 5,000 cavalry. Through the usual maze of Roman politics at the time, Pompey the Great was given command. The law was written for the command to last up to three years. Pompey eradicated the pirates in the entire Mediterranean in three months. If he did not deserve the title Magnus for his other military campaigns, he certainly did for this one. 

 The campaign was so short because of Pompey's inherent strength for planning. The Mediterranean was divided into thirteen zones. First, he dealt with the pirates in the west in a total of forty! days. Then he turned to the east where the largest groups of pirates were based in Cilicia and Crete. He offered the pirates the choice of annihilation or resettlement into depopulated areas. This article is a wonderful read about a campaign that most know nothing about.

 Next, we have another good article on Operation Roundup, the plan to invade France in 1943, by the Western Allies. The article shows that while the invasion could have taken place it, would have been smaller. Not only that, but it would have been faced by all of the German divisions that were defending Italy in 1944. So, there were many good reasons for just letting 'Uncle Joe' beef about fighting Germany all alone until the time was right.

The U.S. Navy's Yangtze River Patrol is another very good article. It goes back to the beginnings of the 'Gunboat Diplomacy' that was used by all of the larger powers against China in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

 The article about World War I Railroad Guns is short but has a lot of information on the 'Paris Gun'. This is sometimes confused with 'Big Bertha'. Big Bertha was a 42cm howitzer that was built to crack open fortresses. Bertha comes from the name of Mrs. Krupp. The Paris Gun was capable of firing a 234lb. shell 81 miles. It was also the first man made object to reach the stratosphere. The firing distance was so long that the rotation of the earth had to be taken into account.

 As usual, the rest of the magazine is chock full of little-known military facts. It is a smorgasbord for history lovers and wargamers.

 Saddam Moves South comes with the standard 22" x 34" Map along with sizeable 9/16" counters. The hexes represent 35 kilometers across. Time in the turns goes from three days of intense fighting to ten days of refitting. The rules are only sixteen pages long. 

 The game is based around Iraq attacking immediately out of Kuwait. This does not give the Coalition time for them to use their sealift capabilities. Therefore, to the Coalition player their Air Transport Points become extremely important in the game. The Iraqi player has to keep moving and trying to grab as many objectives as possible to be able to continue to fight. 

 The game is of a medium complexity. Both sides do have a real chance of winning. The fact that it is a hypothetical invasion of Saudi Arabia etc. means that there is no way to measure your accomplishments against history. There are two additional optional rules for the game. The first is to make the deployments of units based upon a die roll. The second is to use Special Operations Forces against the Iraqis. Victory is determined by the loss or destruction of units and holding objective hexes and Iraqi cities. 

 Thank you, Decision Games, for allowing me to review another great issue in a long line. Hard to believe it is fast coming up to 400 issues.


Decision Games:

Decision Games

Strategy & Tactics Press:

Strategy & Tactics (

Strategy & Tactics #339:

Strategy & Tactics Issue #339 - Game Edition (

  Strategy & Tactics #338  Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia by Strategy&Tactics Press  When you talk about Strategy&...

Strategy&Tactics #338 Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia Strategy&Tactics #338 Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Decision games

 Strategy & Tactics #338 

Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia


Strategy&Tactics Press

 When you talk about Strategy&Tactics magazine the word venerable comes to mind. Unfortunately, the word also has some connotations attached to it. Such as: old, no longer of use, and perhaps stodgy. In sports, it is definitely used to convey a loss of a competitor's edge. As in, he was a venerable contender for the crown. Yes, you can call Strategy & Tactics venerable, but only if you are thinking of its direct meaning. Merriam Webster's says this: "calling forth respect through age, character, and attainments". Only in this respect is Strategy & Tactics to be thought of. Even if it had been around since I was young it still has the competitor's edge. If you compare it to any other history/wargaming magazine of today it can easily hold its own. To be honest, it has only gotten better over the years since its first release. This review is about S&T's #338 issue. Let that number sink in. You should also see the writers and designers' names that have graced its issues. There you will find a plethora of our hobby's notables. That is enough of the past; now let us look at this issue and the ones to come. Here is some of its index:

Russian Boots South: The Conquest of Central Asia
   By Joseph Miranda

Hill 395: Korea, October 1952
   By Jon Cecil

The Gallipoli Campaign, Part 2: A Strategic and Operational Analysis 
   By John D. Burtt 

End of the Safavids: The Battle of Golnabad, 1722
   By Vernie Liebl


  Will Russia Use Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine?
   By Gilberto Villahermosa

  Syria Update
   By Andrew Mulholland

  The Cuban Air Force in 2022: A Shadow of its Former Self
   By Javier Romero Munoz

For Your Information:

  Assyrian Siege Warfare
   By Cam Rea

  Anti-Communist Uprisings in the 1950s
   By Maciej Lonasz

  Operation Fork: The Allied Invasion & Occupation of Iceland
   By Jon Cecil

  As usual the magazine is filled with many more historical tidbits. 

 To be honest, I really did not know anything about the Russian conquest of Central Asia during the 19th century. I assumed that those areas were taken over much earlier. I have read about the 'Great Game' between Russia and England, but that is almost entirely about their actions in and about Afghanistan. I also knew very little about Persia and its history after the age of Timur. Opening up an S&T issue has always been an immense pleasure of mine. This is because I learn at least one thing, if not many more, new about military history. 

The Central Part of the Central Asia Game Map

  Russian Boots South is the name of both the issue's game and the largest article in this issue. This is one of the greatest points about wargaming that I absolutely love. You not only get to read about the actual history, but you also have a chance to be in the protagonist's shoes as it were, even if you do not have any intention of playing the game. The map that comes with the game will make that point in history much clearer to you. 

 The next article is about the battle for Hill 395 from October 5th to 15th 1952. While reading about the first attacks to take the hill from the South Korean defenders, the movie The Battle of the Bulge came to my mind. The defenders rolled napalm charges down the slope toward the Chinese attackers. This is another excellent article that, as usual, is full of maps. The lack of maps is a sore point in many military history books. S&T has never had this problem. 

 Tha next article is the second of two parts on the entire Gallipoli Campaign. This really caught my attention. As I grow older my interest in all things about World War I has skyrocketed. The Gallipoli Campaign is one of WWI that I especially like to read about. 

 Then we go into the 'End of the Safavids: The Battle of Golnabad 1722'. Reluctantly I have to admit that I do not ever remembering hearing or reading about this ruling house of Iran. I certainly never heard of the battle that brought the Safavid Empire to a close after ruling for 221 years.

 As I stated, the rest of the articles and the smaller insets about military history are there as they are in every issue, chock full of information that makes an old grognard blush for not knowing them.
Assorted Counters

  As mentioned, the game inside this issue is 'Russian Boots South: Conquest of Central Asia'. The area of the game is bordered by the Caspian Sea, Persian Empire, Kingdom of Afghanistan, and China. You will play either the Russians or the different Khans in the game.

 The map itself is 22" X 34" with the hexes representing roughly fifty-three miles across. The map is just as good as one you would find with any boxed wargame. The color scheme and the terrain depiction works very well on the map. There are 176 5/8" counters. The hexes on the map are also nice and large. The troop counters represent 1000-5000 men. The rules are done in normal size type and are sixteen pages in length. There are three scenarios. Each game turn represents a span of one to six years. The rules are done in full color. The only thing they are missing are examples of play. However, this is a magazine and only has so much room to stuff all it does between its covers.

 The game system is based on other games for S&T: They Died With Their Boots on, Julian, and Sepoy Mutiny. This is one of the games that wargame magazines were made for. I would be surprised if many wargaming companies would take on a relatively unknown part of history like this. S&T has brought many of these games that are a niche of a niche to the wargaming table. 

 The game is a good one. It takes a while to get used to the terrain and your troops. There is a 'Great Game' table that marks the level of how each player is doing in the game. The higher the number, the better it is for the Russian player. The lower the number, the Khanates are doing better. To make the fog of war more interesting there are also an Incident Table and a Fortunes of War Table. The designer, Joseph Miranda, has added these optional rules to make the game even better:

The Russians can build the Trans-Caspian Railroad. The 
Railroad connects Krasnovodsk to Khokand fortress. 

26.1 Starting the Railroad
Railroad Construction is done as part of the Russian 
activation of the Caucasus Sub-command, during the 
Movement sub-phase. To start Railroad building, the 
player must have a Railroad Engineer in the start hex 
(Krasnovodsk). Expend one OP (8.0) to move the 
Railhead marker in the hex. 

26.2 Continuing the Railroad 
To further extend the Railroad, move the railroad 
engineer unit up to its movement factor along 
contiguous railroad hexes. For each such hex, expend 
one OP and move the Railhead marker. 

26.3 Railroad Movement 
To use Railroad movement, a mobile ground unit starts 
or moves onto a railroad hex. Expend one MP and 
move the unit an unlimited number of hexes via 
contiguous railroad hexes. If the unit has movement 
factors remaining, it can continue to move normally. 
Railroad and non-railroad movement can be combined 
in the same Movement phase. 
EZOC: A unit may start in in an enemy ZOC when it 
begins rail movement . It must cease its rail movement 
when entering a hex in an enemy ZOC. (This is a special 
case for 15.0). 

26.4 Railroad Supply 
Units on a railroad are automatically in supply if they can 
trace a line of railroad hexes back to a Russian 
controlled port or fortress hex. All intervening hexes 
must be clear of enemy units and their ZOC. 
ZOC do block rail lines of supply. 

26.5 All the Live Long Day 
Only Russian mobile ground units can use the railroad. 
Once built, a railroad hex can not be destroyed. 
The railhead marker has no other effect on play. 
The Railroad Engineer can also move without building RR 

26.6 RR and Victory Points 
When playing a scenario ending on Turn 8, modify 
Victory Points (5.2) by one of the following: 
No RR built: -6 
RR reaches Geok Tepe: -3 
RR reaches Merv: 0 
RR reaches Bokhara: +3 
RR reaches Samarkand: +6 
RR reaches Khokand: +9 

27.0 MORALE 
Historically, winning big battles did much to shift overall 
morale in Central Asia. 

27.1 Incident Markers 
1) if the attacker plays an Abject Lesson marker and 
pursues into a fortress, raise the Great Game index by 
2) if the attacker plays an Agent marker and pursues into 
a fortress, lower the Great Game index by one. 
Note: these effects are in addition to the index shifts for 
gaining control of the fortress. 

In the 1870s the Russian military went through an 
extensive reorganization and modernization of 
armaments. Therefore... 

28.1 On turns 1 to 3: 
1) Recruiting: the Russians pay one additional OP for 
each regular cavalry, infantry and artillery unit 
recruited. Other units are recruited per the Outfitting 
2) Cavalry Pursuit: Russian regular cavalry can Pursue 
only one hex instead of two hexes (19.0). 
27.2 Starting with turn 4: 
The above special cases are dropped; use the normal 
rules for Recruiting and Pursuit. 

Historically, both the Russian and British empires were 
reluctant to engage in open armed conflict with each 
other. Therefore... 

29.1 Open War 
The first time in a turn a Russian unit attacks a British 
Empire unit or vice versa, raise the Great Game index 
by one. Open War is applied on each such turn. It is 
applied only once per turn, regardless of the number 
of such attacks. 

29.2 Empires Only 
This applies only to the three Russian and the British 
Empire Sub-commands, not to other Sub-commands 
controlled by the players. 

29.3 Apocalypse in the Steppes 
If as a result the Great Game Index is pushed above the 
max number, the game comes to an immediate end 
(special case for 7.1). Check victory per (5.2)"

 Thank you S&T for allowing me to review this issue. The components and magazine are up to their normal level of history and gaming goodness. I will soon have a review posted about S&T issue #339 Saddam Moves South: What If.


Strategy&Tactics #338 Russian Boots South, Conquest of Central Asia:

  Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press Decision Games    Writing a review about a S&T issue seems a l...

Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Decision games

 Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905


Strategy & Tactics Press

Decision Games


 Writing a review about a S&T issue seems a little like blasphemy to me. The magazine has been around in one way or another since I was a teenager. I had already been grabbed by the wargaming bug in my younger years by the simple games from Milton Bradley etc. Then in 1970 I saw Panzerblitz in a toy store. However, it wasn't until a few years later that I went to a hobby store and found both my grail, and the bane of my future wife. There were rows and rows of games including this magazine that not only had articles on the history of war and battles, but also contained a game about one of them. I was literally a teenager who found my first Playboy magazine. The amazing thing about S&T to me has always been its breadth of coverage. One article could be about the Battle of Kadesh, and the next could be about carriers in the 21st century. S & T allowed battles that no one would ever make a boxed version of land on your doorstep or in your nearest hobby store. The magazine itself has gone through a few hands over the years, but it has always been lovingly cared for by the different people in charge of it. Yes, if you look at the first issues made in the 1970's they look dated (although, do not say that to a collector or grognard). The magazine is now very much up to 21st century standards; one might even call it cutting edge. So, let us look what comes in this edition.

 First, we will take a look at the numerous articles, and departments in this issue:


The Battle of Mukden, 1905

The Battle of Mycale

Wavell at Bay: February - June 1941

Poland, 1830-31: The November Insurrection


On Design - By Joseph Miranda

Work in Progress: Vicksburg: The Assault on Stockade Redan

German Saboteurs in America - By David Schroeder

Did you Know? - By Joseph Miranda

For Your Information:
 Wavell's Officers - By Jonathan Lupton

 The Death of Bishop Polk - By Brett Michael Mills

 Nagashino Reimagined - By Joshua R. Gilbert

 Hitler's Haltebefehl - By John Burtt

The Long Tradition

 The list shows that this issue moves in time from 479 B.C. to the 20th century. Just a bit of a time curve. Hidden in this group of excellent writing is a small, but nonetheless mind blowing article about the Battle of Nagashino. It turns out that the stockade fence that Oda Nobunaga's arquebusers were positioned behind may not have actually existed. The author has looked at all of the different historical writings about the battle and found a whopper of an anomaly. It seems that none of the early writings mention the stockade fence at all, and it does not show up until about 100 years after the battle. This would clear up this strange part of the battle we have all read about. Takeda Katsuyori was certainly not on a par with his father Takeda Shingen as a general, however most of the generals that had fought under Shingen were still alive and at the Battle of Nagashino. Contrary to popular belief, a samurai was not supposed to just give up his life for no reason. It always seemed strange to me that the Takeda cavalry would just keep piling up their dead in front of the stockade fence. One could make an argument about the French cavalry doing the same thing at Waterloo. In reality, because of Wellington's positioning of his troops, the French cavalry would not know what was there, or still there, until they climbed the crest. At the Battle of Nagashino we have read that after the first charge, and possibly all along, the stockade fence was visible to the Takeda cavalry. This is but a small example of what can be found on almost every page of every issue of S & T. It is like the Old Man on the Mountain of Wargaming magazines. The maps and OOB's that come with each article are incredibly well done and researched. 

 The Battle of Mycale article is also deceiving. Like most, if not all of S & T articles, it not only shows the history of the Greco-Persian conflict from the beginning, but also adds in some history after the battle. 

 The same goes for the Battle of Mukden article. It takes us back in time to show the reasons for the Russo-Japanese War. Then it continues to inform us about the entire conflict before even touching the Battle of Mukden itself. 

 The game inside was designed by Ty Bomba. If you call yourself a grognard and his name is not familiar, please hang your head in shame. I would even consider making it mandatory to put it on your name tag at the next convention you go to, but I digress. 

 Mukden 1905 simulates just the battle for Mukden, and not any of the earlier battles in the Russo-Japanese War. It is a two-player game, but can be easily transformed into a solitaire experience. The game map has hexes and not areas. Each hex represents three miles. The Units in the game are regiments, brigades, divisions, and one Cavalry Corps. Each game turn represents two days. The map is 22" x 34", and there is one sheet of 228 1/2" counters. The front of the counters are the normal NATO designations. The back of the counters (disrupted side) show the Rising Sun for the Japanese, and the Double Eagle for the Russian. The Zone of Control rules are pretty much the norm. Each Unit exhibits a ZOC into the next surrounding hex, and enemy Units must stop upon entering a ZOC. The rules are only fifteen pages long. Sudden Death Victory is determined by either the Russians capturing Liaoyang (hex 1922), or the Japanese capturing Mukden itself (hex 2310), or any of the railroad hexes from 2210 to 2900 before the end of Turn three. These would be above Mukden itself. 

 The Sequence of Play is:

I: Russian Cavalry Corps Replacement Phase ( skip on Turn 1)
II: Japanese Phase Sequence Declaration Phase
III: Russian Paralysis Determination Phase
IV: Alternating Actions Movement (or Combat) Phase
V: Recovery Phase
VI: Russian Paralysis Determination Phase
VII: Alternating Actions Combat (or Movement) Phase
VIII: Recovery Phase

 As you can see, the Russian Player is possibly as hamstrung as they were in real life. Historically the Japanese Army played the tune, and the Russian Army had to dance to it. In actuality, the Japanese had pretty much scraped the bottom of the barrel as far as manpower, while the Russians had been limited by the Trans-Siberian Railway, and its limited hauling power. The Russian Steamroller was massive, but in this case it could not make its weight felt so far from Europe. 

 The game is a very good one, and gives both players the advantages and disadvantages that each side had. The Japanese Player has to attack to win. He has to either gain a Sudden Death Victory, or take Mukden and inflict twenty percent more losses on the Russian Player than he loses. The Russian Player can fight a defensive battle, which they did historically, or become very lucky and get a Sudden Death Victory. This game is another winner in a long line of S & T games that are good to excellent. I still play some S & T games that are thirty years old and more. Thank you Decision Games for letting me review this great issue. Please take a look at Decision Games' four different magazines and all of their boxed games, and books. 


Strategy & Tactics #326:

Decision Games:

World at War Issue #62 Spanish Civil War Belchite & Teruel by Strategy & Tactics Press From Decision Games  ...

World at War Issue #62 Spansih Civil War:Belchite & Teruel by Startegy & Tactics Press from Decision Games World at War Issue #62 Spansih Civil War:Belchite & Teruel by Startegy & Tactics Press from Decision Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Decision games


 The Spanish Civil War has always intrigued me. Unfortunately, almost all of the books about it spend most of their type on the political history instead of the military history, especially all of the disparate groups on the Republican side. This is a bit strange because this War was used or looked at by the entire world to see what weapons, tactics, and strategy worked. Many countries came away with the wrong answers to the above questions. Some, particularly the Germans, came away with the correct answers to these military questions.

 Looking at this issue of World at War was a bit like going home, and a bit strange. It was like going to see your childhood home after it was entirely renovated. The visual look of the magazine is, in a word, stunning. Some of the maps are actually a full page in size. They are also well marked and easily read. The pictures in the issue are also very well represented. 

 The articles are very well done and full of normal information on the subject. They also have small insets that have incredibly interesting tidbits. I will give as an example of one. On December 31, 1937 four foreign correspondents were following some Nationalist units in a car. The car was hit by artillery and three of the newsmen were killed. The fourth was Harold 'Kim' Philby. Yes, that Kim Philby. I imagine the British government was not that happy he survived in retrospect.

                                          Some Counters

Strategy & Tactics Press is comprised of these four magazines:
   Strategy & Tactics
   World At War
    Modern War
    The new Strategy & Tactics Quarterly

 One thing that Decision Games has implemented that I think is excellent is that you can buy a subscription to get every single article that has been released over these many years. It does not include anything to do with the games, but that is still a stunning amount of military history. At $19.95 for 12 months, it is really a steal. You now get all of the articles from:
 Strategy&Tactics issues 1-300
 Modern War issues 1-19
 World at War issues 1-44

Teruel Map

 The articles in issue #62 include:
  The Spanish Civil War
  War Winner -  Allied Lend-Lease
  Operazione C3 -  The Italian Plan to Invade Malta
  Operation Causeway - Planned Allied Invasion Plan of Formosa-Amoy
  Observation post - Could the U.S. have won the Battle of Wake Island?
  Observation Post - Planed Swedish Invasion of Denmark
  Observation Post  - Russian Donkey the Polikarpov I-16

Belchite map
 The games included are of three battles from the Spanish Civil War: two in 1937,and one from 1938. The battles are Belchite, Teruel, and Alfambra. Both of the battles of Belchite and Teruel occurred because the Republicans were trying to take pressure off the Republican and Basque strongholds in the Northwest of Spain. The Nationalist forces had decided to conquer those areas after their failed attempt to conquer Madrid. Alfambra simulates the last battle for the city of Teruel in 1938.

 The battle areas are both somewhat small, with both of them fitting on a standard 22" x 34" map. One battle is orientated one way of the map and the other is the opposite. They both have their own turn record track etc. The maps are well done with terrain, roads, and towns easy to see and read. The games come with, naturally, a smaller number of counters. There are actually 180 of them. The game uses the 'Fire and Movement System' for its rules. 


 The Sequence of Play:

Movement Phase
Bombardment Phase
Combat Phase
Mobile Movement Phase - (only if the unit did not move in the Movement Phase)
Mobile Combat Phase
 The victory conditions in each game are as follows:

Belchite: You count up the amount of cities/towns that the Republican player controls on the Nationalist side of the front line, then subtract the number of cities/towns that the Nationalist player controls on the Republican side of the front line. If the number is seven or greater the Republican player wins.

Teruel: Whichever side controls the city of Teruel at the end of the game wins.

Alfambra: The Nationalist player must control any five hexes of the North-South road anywhere from hex 2505 to 1717 by the end of turn eight and still hold them at the end of the game.

Belchite Counters (Front)

  The rules are only sixteen pages in length, and the setup and separate battle rules take up four of those. The rules are in color and are well spaced and easy to read. The small maps and low counter density allows players to play multiple times to try out different strategies. Just as it was historically, the battles are a grind for territory. You are not going to be able to do any sweeping blitzkrieg moves (unless your opponent mistakenly allows it). The Spanish Civil War was mostly a replay of World War I with newer armaments. The rules and the units/terrain make the game historically accurate that way. This was why so many countries took away the wrong lessons from this war. The Soviets were very advanced as far as armored warfare for the time. However the Spanish Civil War had them rethink all of their ideas and that is why they fell so far behind the Germans by 1941 (among other reasons). 

Belchite Counters (Back)

 The wargames that have come out of Strategy&Tactics down through the years, and its offshoots, have given me tons of gaming pleasure. This issue is like many others in that respect. Strategy&Tactics has allowed the wargamer to game so many obscure wars and battles that we would have otherwise never seen on our tables. So, thank you for the chance to review this issue, and for all the other great gaming moments since I was a teenager.


Strategy & Tactics # 305 Armies of the White Sun The War in China, 1937-1945  Strategy & Tactics: wow, that...

Strategy & Tactics #305 Armies of The White Sun: The War In China, 1937-1945 Strategy & Tactics #305 Armies of The White Sun: The War In China, 1937-1945

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Decision games

 Strategy & Tactics: wow, that brings up a lot of gaming memories. I had played Battle Cry and Tactics II in the 1960s. I had even played Panzerblitz in 1970, but I had never really known how big the wargaming explosion had become. That is, until I stepped into a hobby store in 1976. I saw row upon row of SPI and Avalon Hill etc. boardgames. Among these was a bunch of magazines sold by SPI that was named Strategy & Tactics. These were a godsend. They were not only cheaper than the boxed wargames, they also had articles on warfare in history, etc. Lets be honest folks. We bought Strategy & Tactics for the games, not the articles. That argument was as specious as buying Playboys for the articles, yeah right. Just kidding, the articles were excellent also. Of the original run of the magazine, I probably owned 50 of them. After changing owners a few times, Decision games started to produce the magazine. They have been publishing it since 1991. The magazine is now, incredibly, in its 50th year. The one great thing about the magazine is it has never been afraid to publish obscure games for us history nuts. I believe Ty Bomba came up with the adage that "Nato, Nukes and Nazis" sell wargames. Well lucky for us, S&T has never followed that idea. I lost most of my collection of the magazines down through the years because of different reasons, but with the help of Ebay and actually having a subscription, I was able to bring my stable of S&Ts back up to about sixty of them. Almost all of these were released after Decision Games took over publishing it. 

Chinese Counters

 The magazine has only gotten better as the years have gone by. The games, like most wargames, have improved down through the years. The magazine is actually a wonder to behold. The articles and the physical quality of them are excellent.

Japanese counters

 The long and very comprehensive article, also named 'The Armies of The White Sun', is an excellent primer for the game and the history behind it. More than that, the article starts with end of the Chinese Empire and its subsequent fall into a bunch of petty states. The attempts of Sun Yat-sen and then Chiang Kai-shek (called 'peanut' by American general 'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell) to unify the country once more is also gone into at depth. 

Trying hard to capture every city

 We in the U.S. were never really taught much about World War II in Asia except for our involvement. Most people do not realize that WWII actually started with the Japanese invasion of the Chinese mainland in 1931. The battles for Northeast China had been going on for ten years before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The game starts in the year 1937. The Japanese had already stolen a large chunk of Northeast China and renamed it 'Manchukuo' and set it up as a puppet empire under the last emperor of China, Pu-Yi. The war for the rest of China broke out because of the Japanese attempt to grab its own 'lebensraum' on the Asian continent. 

 This is from the game information on the decision games site:

Armies of the White Sun is a solitaire wargame covering the fighting in China from the Marco Polo Bridge Incident through Pearl Harbor to the planned 1943 Operation Go-Go aimed at capturing Chongking and ending Chinese resistance at the national level. The single player actively commands the invading Japanese forces, while the rules system directs him in the deployment of the defending Chinese. The player wins by capturing key areas on the map. Throughout the game, the player selects units for an operational force, then maneuvers with that force to achieve objectives while fighting Chinese forces as they appear during operations.
Components: One 22" x 34" map & 280 counters

My big push for Nanking is on

 In this game you will take on the role of the Japanese player against the solitaire rules of the game. The Japanese player can attack pretty much anywhere, because of his naval might. The first turn is the hardest in my opinion. As the Japanese player, you MUST capture all of the Chinese cities in the FTMOL (First turn minimum objective line). You have plenty of units and the Chinese resistance is sometimes non-existent, but you still have to come up with a plan to capture all of the cities. The Japanese units are given twenty-two movement points for the first turn. There is also a second Japanese movement and combat phase on turn one and four. This is to simulate the Japanese initial invasion and their attempt in1943 to bring the war to a close. On turns two and three, there are no Japanese second phases. This is to replicate the logistical strain the Japanese were under when in China. The two phases on turns one and four really help with with trying to capture all of that territory, but it is still a hard nut to crack. To represent the free wheeling nature of the war and the up and down capabilities of the Chinese, the game has some interesting rules. For each hex entered by the Japanese player you must roll one six-sided die. You can get a Chinese response of from zero to six units for Shanghai and Chunking. This rule makes it so the Japanese player has no idea if by entering a hex he has stirred up a wasp's nest or just some dust. Even before deciding on whether there will be Chinese troops or not in the hex you will have to roll two die to determine if any random events happen. These could have the Japanese using gas to a 'fierce Nationalist counteroffensive', and anything in between. One random event is called the 'rape of' , and is meant to represent the Rape of Nanking. If the Japanese roll it you capture the city, but your entire stack is removed from game play for that turn. The maximum stacking for Japanese units is eight units to a hex. There are only four turns in the game, but since each separate hex movement by you could result in a battle, it is not a short game. There are also rules on  battles that take place in rough terrain or if the hex has fortifications. Japanese units can be no further than six hexes from the nearest railroad or friendly Yangtze river hex to be in supply, and each rough hex counts as two hexes when tracing supply. The Chinese communists are able to interdict your railroad supply. The AVG (American Volunteer Group or 'Flying Tigers') have their own counter and rules for its use.

Close up of my Japanese forces closing in

 The above rules make the game a real nail biter. Do you make many small stacks and hope the die is with you, or do you make large stacks just in  case you run into tough resistance? Conversely, where do you stop? Do you try for one more city with this stack, or hope that the city in the next hex will fall to your next invading stack? 

 It is a bit strange to be playing a game that really has no enemy forces on the map. The fog of war in this game really keeps you on your toes. You can be rolling along for a few hexes and meet minimal to no Chinese forces, and in the next run into a sizable force. The random event roll that you have to do for each hex, even before you roll for the possibility of Chinese forces, really brings home the variables the Japanese ran into during the campaign. No battle plan that you conceive lasts more than a few hexes at most. You can find your force destroyed or too weak to continue with almost every die roll. You want to use large stacks of your Japanese forces in order to avoid the above; the only problem is that it makes your ability to conquer more territory that much harder. This is especially true on turn one with the amount of China that you have to conquer or forfeit the game.

 Thank you Decision Games, and all of the various companies and people who have worked on Strategy & Tactics magazine for the last fifty years. Without you we would not have been able to game so many far flung battles and campaigns.