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Warbirds: Blitzkrieg AAR: Stuka Attack!       Click for Game Review!

AAR Stuka Attack in Warbirds: Blitzkrieg AAR Stuka Attack in Warbirds: Blitzkrieg

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

Warbirds: Blitzkrieg AAR: Stuka Attack!
 
 
 



Click for Game Review!

SOS Ed 4 Kickstarter      Streets of Stalingrad 4 is a multi-player, company-level boardgame about the German 1942 Fall offensive to...

Streets of Stalingrad Edition 4 Beta test Kickstarter Streets of Stalingrad Edition 4 Beta test Kickstarter

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

SOS Ed 4 Kickstarter
 

 



 Streets of Stalingrad 4 is a multi-player, company-level boardgame about the German 1942 Fall offensive to take the city of Stalingrad street-by-street, block-by-block. It includes many two-player scenarios and new aviation and river crossing components. The original SOS was published in 1979 followed by two more editions, the last one in 2002. It is considered one of the all-time classic wargames. This fourth edition is a major graphic redesign and game expansion by Lombardy Studios and 626 Designs. SOS4 includes the latest historical information and orders-of-battle based on never-before-seen Soviet archival records and images. A Kickstarter for playtest kits is scheduled for June 2017; the full monster game Kickstarter will launch in September 2017 and run during the 75th anniversary of the battle.
 
LINK TO SOS WEBSITE
 
LINK TO KICKSTARTER



Panzer IV Ausf. H And Ausf. J Volume 1 by Lukasz Gladysiak and  Samir Karmieh   Panzerkampfwagen loosely transla...

Panzer IV Ausf. H And Ausf. J Volume 1 by Lukasz Gladysiak and Samir Karmieh Panzer IV Ausf. H And Ausf. J Volume 1 by Lukasz Gladysiak and Samir Karmieh

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


by


and 





 Panzerkampfwagen loosely translates into English as 'armored combat vehicle', and just as we use the short word tank to describe one, the Germans use Panzer. The German tanks from the Panzer I  through the Tiger look like they belong to the same family. If asked, most Allied soldiers would say that they fought against Tigers each day of their campaign. In truth, the Tiger was actually a rarity in most combat situations. There were just too few of them. The actual tank that the allied soldiers were up against was more than likely the Panzer IV. The Panzer IV was actually the backbone of the German tank units.

 Amazingly, the Panzer IV was actually designed in 1936. The Panzer IV was used operationally from 1938-1945. Seven years does not seem too long, but all you have to do is compare the world's standard tanks or tankettes in 1938 to the behemoths of 1944 and 1945. The engineering of the Panzer IV was such that it was able to be upgraded and used on the front line all the way through the war.

 This book is actually Volume I on the most numerous built versions of the Panzer IV: AUSF. H and AUSF. J, the J version being the last one to be produced. The Panzer IV was also imported into Syria from left over WWII stock, and used as late as The Six Day War. 

 Chapter one goes through the development history of all of the different versions. Chapter two gives a run down of all of the tanks' technical aspects. There are sections on armor, armament, and the electrical system, etc. There is even a section on the wireless equipment. 

 The next section of the book is a photographic walk around of an intact Panzer IV in Belgium. These close-up photos are a modeler's dream.

 The next part of the book is where I get to say "It is good to be alive now". This section is a stunning 3D visual walk in and around  a Panzer IV.  It is an amazing fifty-two pages of a computer generated wonder that even shows the inner workings of the Panzer IV. Short of getting to spend a few hours in and on a reconstructed Panzer IV, this is as good as it gets. I cannot wait to see more of this series from Kagero.


Robert


Book: Panzer IV AUSF, H And AUSF. J Volume I
Authors: Lukasz Gladysiak and Samir Karmieh
Publisher: Kagero
Distributor: Casemate Publishers
 

The Battletech Backer Beta just went live a couple days ago, here is a video of me giving it a spin! I got a microphone upgrade, so...

Battletech Beta Hands-On Battletech Beta Hands-On

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







The Battletech Backer Beta just went live a couple days ago, here is a video of me giving it a spin! I got a microphone upgrade, so now you can actually understand what I'm saying.

Official Website: http://battletechgame.com/








- Joe Beard



Editor: Full version will be reviewed when released.

Blitzkrieg From The Ground Up by Niklas Zetterling  Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) From The Ground Up, is an interesti...

Blitzkrieg From The Ground Up by Niklas Zetterling Blitzkrieg From The Ground Up by Niklas Zetterling

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



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 Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) From The Ground Up, is an interesting book. Usually an author would pick either the big picture or the smaller one for his work. "Blitzkrieg' not only shows you the big picture, economically, strategically, but also takes you right into the Panzers. This book looks at the nuts and bolts of the German army during the blitzkrieg years. It gives you a background on the theory of blitzkrieg war-making as well. The timeline of the book is operations from 1939 until the end of 1941. These are the years of the stunning German victories. Almost the entire continent of Europe was prostrate or allied to the Germans by June of 1941. How did this happen in such a short time? Mr. Zetterling's attempt to show us the how and why succeeds admirably.

 He takes us from the attack on Poland to the assault on Norway. This is a bit strange for books dealing with the blitzkrieg years. Usually in these books the Norway campaign is treated as just a footnote. The author shows how this invasion fits in with the German theories and their usage in this war. The humbling of France is gone into. Although it was a quick campaign, the fighting was hard and deadly even after the Allies' success at Dunkirk. Although out-generaled and maneuvered by the Germans, the French did not go down easy. Next, we go to Russia and that fateful day of June 22nd 1941. Between that day and December 7th 1941 the Germans' fate was sealed. 

 The campaign of Barbarossa is shown to us from the top echelons down to the driver in a tank. The Germans must have thought they were dealing with the zombie apocalypse. No matter how many Soviets they captured or killed, ten more took their place. The author shows that after the German defeat in the winter of 1941, the war changed into one of attrition. The war in Europe had turned into a 'materials' war that Germany could never win.

 As usual, this Casemate Publishers book is a well written and  absorbing read. For those of us who are interested in the tactics and strategy of the early war years, it is a book you won't want to miss.


Robert


Book: Blitzkrieg from The Ground Up
Author: Niklas Zetterling
Publisher: Casemate Publishers

 

Field Commander Napoleon is a solitaire board game which puts you in the driver's seat on many of Napoleon's greatest campaigns....

Field Commander Napoleon - Vassal Module Review Field Commander Napoleon - Vassal Module Review

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



Field Commander Napoleon is a solitaire board game which puts you in the driver's seat on many of Napoleon's greatest campaigns. It is part of the Field Commander series from Dan Verssen Games, which includes other titles covering the likes of Alexander the Great and Erwin Rommel. Faced with some of the same challenges as the Little Corporal himself, will you be able to emerge victorious?

My review here focuses specifically on the Vassal module for the game. Since this game has been out for many years, and there are a thousand reviews for it online, I will focus this article on the Vassal element itself, and summarize my opinion of the game at the end.

If you are not familiar with VASSAL, it is a free and open source engine for running digital versions of hundreds of board and wargames. These "modules" vary from completely free, but in many cases limited versions of games, on up to paid for versions that include everything you would find in the actual box. FC Napoleon falls into the more premium category, with a price of $30. However, you are getting essentially the equivalent of owning a physical copy, with all the pieces and boards crisply displayed on your PC screen. I should note up front to make it clear, this is not a "PC game" so much as it is a simulation of playing the board game. While the game neatly organizes all the pieces for you at the start of a campaign, it is up to the player to then move the pieces around the board correctly, and follow the rules.




I'm lucky enough to have a copy of the physical version of the game, which is absolutely gorgeous and worth its rather hefty price tag. Since I've played the game before, I only needed a brief review of the rules to get started. This, however, is where I ran into a snag with the Vassal version, it doesn't seem to include the game manual. Perhaps I am completely missing it, but I searched through every menu and button in the module and could not find it. There are handy buttons to open up the various player aides in separate windows, and a useful guide for veteran players getting comfortable with some nuances of playing in Vassal, but the actual rules for the game are nowhere to be found. I'll happily edit this section if anyone can point out its location to me. I was able to quickly Google up a a PDF of the manual and get rolling, so it isn't an insurmountable hurdle.

While playing in Vassal certainly won't be for everyone, it does offer a bevy of advantages over the physical realm of board gaming. First and foremost, game setup takes all of half a second. Just pick the campaign of your choice, there are eleven to choose from, and away you go. This is especially nice for FC Napoleon, the physical version of which includes triple digit quantities of unit counters, many specific to each campaign, which must be sorted out and placed meticulously according to each scenario's opening game state. What might take twenty minutes with the physical version takes only a split-second in Vassal. Just as nice is the ability to save your game and close the program any time you please. No need to leave things set up on the dining room table for a week, open to devastating attack by cats and small children.





Navigating the game through Vassal takes some getting used to. Perhaps more so for me than other players, since I had not used Vassal before. Right-click menus and other shortcuts allow you to perform the various actions of the game, such as flipping and rotating counters, creating/separating stacks of counters, and increasing/decreasing the value of certain spaces like supplies. One very nice feature is that units can be moved from the operational map to the battle map using a short-cut, which will also prepare everything you need for the battle (such as laying out the Battle Plan counters you will need, then stacking them up when the battle is done). However, using this feature is a bit precarious, as the module guide indicates, because the game isn't quite smart enough to realize if you've done something horribly wrong while moving counters around. The player will still need to pay attention to the details.  Another automated function in the Vassal module is that reinforcements will move onto the campaign board as soon as you meet the appropriate conditions, which is nice and leaves you with one less thing to remember. 

I found that playing in Vassal required a serious mental adjustment on my part. This is neither a truly interactive computer game, nor is it as intuitive as playing the game directly with your hands. Vassal veterans may have an easier time making the adjustment, but for me it took a few hours of tinkering around before I really felt comfortable playing in this environment, despite having experience with the game itself. However, once I found my feet on this new gaming battlefield, I could appreciate why it is so popular with many wargamers. The obvious advantages of instant set up and saved games makes it so much easier to play a game like this on a whim, compared to the sizable time commitment involved in breaking out the physical version. That said, at the fairly steep price of $30, you will have to know that you'll like this before taking the plunge. I can't help but think that anyone who can afford to spend that much on a Vassal module, could probably afford to go ahead and get a physical copy.  Regardless of price, my verdict on the Vassal edition of FC Napoleon is that it fully translates the board game experience onto the PC, while adding several quality of life improvements. I did not run into any bugs or other problems while using this version of the game. 



As for Field Commander Napoleon itself as a game, I can confidently say that it is one of the better solitaire gaming systems I have played. The mix of operational force movement and the more tactical battlefield phases of the game gives you a lot to think about. The enemy AI is simple, but effective enough in that it will keep you on your toes and force you to react to the situations that develop in each campaign. At many points in the game you will be faced with the decision of playing conservatively or aggressively, with the greater rewards carrying greater risks. Just like Napoleon, you will more often than not need to be bold in your actions, and trust to your superior forces and leadership to see you through against the odds. With almost a dozen scenarios to play, the game has plenty of variability and it will take quite a while to win them all. 

In short, this a well done Vassal module of a very good game. Whether it is worth the purchase price is up to you, but you can make that decision knowing that you will get a quality product.

- Joe Beard

Available at Dan Verssen Games






Death Was Their Co-Pilot by  Michael Dörflinger   Death Was Their Co-Pilot ; what an apt title. You could also add th...

Death Was Their Co-Pilot by Michael Dörflinger Death Was Their Co-Pilot by Michael Dörflinger

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



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 Death Was Their Co-Pilot; what an apt title. You could also add that death was their constant companion. Of the fifteen original German Fokker monoplane pilots in 1915, none lived to see 1917. This book is filled with facts as sobering as that one. It also tells you about Gustav Leffers, who was a 'Blue Max' ( Pour Le' Merite) recipient, and he actually flew in a captured Nieuport 16.

 The book starts with the story of Roland Garros. Then it goes into the life of the first air ace Celestin Pegoud. The next ace's life it goes into is British ace Lanoe Hawker. We change gears, and go into the exploits of the first Fokker monoplane (eindecker) aces, Immelmann, Boelcke, and the rest. The 'Dicta Boelcke', Boelcke's commandments for aerial combat are still taught today.

 Naturally the book goes into the controversy of the number of 'kills' for each pilot. The German method seems to have been the 'best' as far as being able to actually account for all of their pilots' claims. However, the book uses some examples, specifically with Herman Goering, that sometimes the Allied and German records do not match up. This is especially true when it comes to pilots who claimed numerous kills on solo flights into enemy territory. Of the four nations: Britain, France, Germany, and the U.S. and their highest ranking pilots, only Germany's Richtofen did not survive the war. Richtofen's younger brother Lothar, was able to amass forty victories in only seventy-seven operational days. A lot of the pilots carried pistols for suicide in case they were shot down in flames. In World War I the powers that be decided that the airplane, and not the pilot, was important so no pilots were given parachutes in the beginning years of the war. During 'Bloody April' of 1917 the life span of a British pilot was on average three weeks. It seems that if luck or innate skill was with you in the beginning of your career, you were then offered up a large diet of fledglings.

 The book is filled with so many stories of heroism and patriotism, it is hard to pick the best examples. So many on each side returned to the fray in physical and mental conditions that should have kept them in a hospital bed, and not a cockpit.

 The other fronts besides the Western are touched on, as is the evolution of both armaments and the actual planes themselves. If you are looking for a book that shows the facts and figures, but also goes deep beyond them, then this book is for you.


Robert


Publisher: Pen and Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishers

B-17 Leader by DanVerssen Games    One should not judge a book by its cover, or so we have been told. Equally, one shoul...

B-17 Leader by Dan Verssen Games B-17 Leader by Dan Verssen Games

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



 




 One should not judge a book by its cover, or so we have been told. Equally, one should not judge a book or boardgame by its heft. However, I am still pretty much a slave to heft. If I receive a book or boardgame that needs two hands to hold it, I am instantly enthralled. 

 B-17 is one of these games. Holding it in your hands for the first time, you would believe that you have gotten your hands on something special. Once you open the box you would find out that your hunch was correct. The game manual and the parts are gorgeous. For those of us getting older, the larger sized type and counters etc. are especially welcome. The next part of the review will be an unboxing and give you a look at all of the game's finery.



Components: 336 Cards
5 Counter Sheets
1 Commander Counter Sheet
1 Huge 33" x 17" Mounted Display Board
1 Player Aid Sheet
1 Mini Campaign Sheet
1 Single Bomber Sheet
11 Campaign Sheets
1 DIF Crossover Sheet
1 Player Log Sheet
Rulebook



The campaigns included in B-17 Leader include:
• The Air War Begins (Aug 1942 – Dec 1942)
• Operation Pointblank (June 1943 – May 1944)
• Combined Bomber Operations (June 1943 – Sept 1943)
• Allied Invasion (June 1944 – May 1945)
• Oil Campaign (Aug 1944 – Nov 1944)
• Operation Argument – Big Week (Feb 20 – 25 1944)
• Operation Crossbow (Mar 1943 – May 1943)
• Transportation (Apr 1944 – Aug 1944)
• Strategic Targets (Jun 1943 - Aug 1943)
• U-Boat Focus (Aug 1942)
• Aircraft Industry Focus (Aug 1943)





US counters

German counters

More excellent counters



Manual


Sequence of play sheet


Player aid sheets


Leader Commander Counters


Some of the campaigns


                                                        Cards




          Display Board


 The Display Board is so substantial it could be used for self defense.

                                               Memphis Belle card



  
The game is a solitaire game about the U.S. bombing campaign against Germany in World War II. You are the deputy director of operations for the Eighth Air Force based in England. The German Luftwaffe (planes and flak) are the enemy that you have to out think and outlast. Your mission is simple: to crush Germany from the air. You have to destroy each target that you choose without suffering crippling losses to your bomber force. As it was in reality, the most lucrative targets are the heaviest defended and the furthest away. When first looking at the game, you might have a 'what have I gotten myself into here' moment. The rule book and the sheer amount of what is in the box may give you pause. The truth is if this isn't your first wargame it really isn't that daunting. The sequence of play is rather longer than just moving a counter and attacking, then checking a CRT. The reason for this is due to a few factors. One is for the game system to give you a viable solitaire gaming experience. Two, so that the game has enough variables to keep it from getting stale. Three, to give you somewhat of a simulation experience of actually running the bombing campaign. I have stayed away from solitaire wargames for a good many years, the reason being is that the few I tried in the '70s and early '80s were just missing something. I always found a two player game to be a better solitary experience. Maybe it was that the masochist in me came out when I was able to exploit a dumb move I had made while playing the other side. Those days are gone and I believe that solitary wargames have matured enough to give you excellent gaming options now.


                                                      Official geek pin





 The game itself is much like its predecessor 'Phantom leader'. You are not only in charge of damaging the enemy, you also have to be a pilot/crew manager. A few mistakes on your part and your crews will be useless to you in your aerial attack. The game is very taut in this way. Do you go for broke on this one mission, or play it safe to husband your crews for the next few? I am glad that the game is based upon the U.S. daylight bombing campaign. A campaign about destroying cities would still give me pause. I know that everyone did it. For some reason to me it just seems 'not cricket'.

 There is a player's log that you have to manually keep track of your fighter/bomber groups. A log is a little more time consuming than moving a chit on a printed display, but I have used them many times in the past for games, and it is really not an onus. 


Me setting up to play the U-Boat campaign again

 So the breakdown is this. Do you have the slightest bit of interest in the bombing campaign, or do you just like to own great wargames for their own sake? If either of these are you, I can definitely endorse B-17 Leader for you.

 The geek pin was a nice touch, but I am sure if you ask our partners we really don't need to be labelled.


Robert


Designer: Dean Brown

Images Of War: Allied Tanks Of The Second World War  by Michael Green   Light, medium, and heavy tanks, ...

Images Of War Allied Tanks Of The Second World War by Michael green Images Of War Allied Tanks Of The Second World War by Michael green

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



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  Light, medium, and heavy tanks, and everything in between. The book is setup this way:

Light Tanks
Early-War Medium Tanks
Late-war Medium Tanks
Heavy Tanks

 The chapters start up with a write up on the different Allied nations tanks of that class. The rest of each chapter is full of pictures of almost every make and model allied tank. A lot of the pictures were taken of surviving examples of these tanks at museums. The bad thing is that at least two of these museums have closed down. There are also plenty of actual wartime photographs.

 The photos show the progression of science and technology from the prewar to the late-war tanks. Included are pictures of some of the armament of the tanks along with ammunition. There are a few photos of the inside crew positions of the tanks.

 The T-34 and Sherman and their variant photos and write-ups take up a lot of the book. Being the most produced tanks of World war II, this stands to reason.

 Once again this is a great book for tank modelers. It is also a good 'starter book' for someone who doesn't know much about the Allied armor in World war II, but wants to learn.


Robert


Author: Michael Green
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Distributor: Casemate publishers


Here's a video I did of me playing a round of the new arena survival mode in Space Wolf! It was part of a large update that recentl...

Warhammer 40k: Space Wolf Survival Mode Video Warhammer 40k: Space Wolf Survival Mode Video

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



Here's a video I did of me playing a round of the new arena survival mode in Space Wolf! It was part of a large update that recently came out. Click here for my written preview that details how the game mechanics work.

Also, if you already have the game, you can use the promo code SURVIVALPC on the collection screen in game to get five boosters.



Official Site: http://www.spacewolfgame.com/
Developer: HeroCraft


- Joe Beard
PixelPLaybox.co.uk