Our gaming is rich right now and to be honest it has been for the past six months or so.
What's changed I hear me say? Well I think that our focus has improved and we've moved away from the talking a lot (about games) to the playing a lot (of games). This was really hammered home back in June as our Q-Con write-ups reflect, we're getting many many more games to the table. That can only be a good thing!
We've settled into a reasonably good pace with VASSAL and have completed our first online FAB: Sicily game, which ended in a dramatic last turn tie. The return game already has a very different feel to it as my Allies move away from the historical landing plans to attack Sicily on two fronts. Now all I need is Patton's hell-for-leather drive on Messina along Sicily's northern coast. Who cares about the odd slap or two?
Elsewhere, hamming up the Cold War theme, we've played two full games of Twilight Struggle. Both games have ended suddenly, almost without warning and been victories for the U.S. player (1 victory each). GaryB and I are still learning the game and more importantly the card mix in each of the three decks (early, mid and late war).
Twilight Struggle does have a lot of luck elements in play, from the card draws to the dice rolls you can sometimes feel that the game isn't giving you a fair crack of the whip. Generally your opponent feels that way too and it becomes a contest about who can manage their luck (or lack of it) most efficiently.
During last night's game, Mr Bingers had built-up a sizeable 9VP lead heading into the mid-war. I had NORAD in play and was forever trying to keep the DEFCON levels low to gain the advantages it offered. In the end the lure of the Big Red Button proved too strong and Mr B sent the world spiralling into nuclear war, losing the game in the process. I guess I managed my luck a little better? That didn't stop me bitchin' about it during the game though! :)
Full write-ups to follow.
Turning back the WWII clock a little, we'll be picking up MMP's Shifting Sands, probably from next Sunday evening. Shifting Sands covers the war in North Africa between 1940 and 1943 and uses a card-driven design to bring thematic events from that period to life. It also has a VASSAL module available, but we'll give it a go face-to-face first.
Looking further ahead I'm considering a few potential purchases covering different periods in world history.
Maria - is based on the War of the Austrian Succession, where Austria was attacked by Prussia, France, Bavaria and Saxony, while only Great Britain, Hanover and the Netherlands (by forming the so-called Pragmatic Army) helped her.
A big part of the draw with Maria is that it is a strong three-player wargame. Not many of those about.
Ardennes '44 - a reprinting of GMT's 2003 game covering the action around the Battle of the Bulge. I love the look of the map in this game and it would be a bigger investment of time to play coming in at around 6 hours. Who knows, we may end up with FAB: The Bulge to cover this period instead.
Pursuit of Glory - GaryB mentioned this one recently, a sequel to the popular Paths of Glory, also a World War I game. Paths focused mostly of the European action of World War I, but Pursuit turns it's attention to the Great War in the Middle East.
Pursuit uses the same card-driven mechanics and point-to-point of the first game, but with some rules changes and modifications to better simulate the conditions of the war in the Middle East.
Good times ahead!