Artillery for Every Occasion WWIII

Warsaw Support FEB_2018

Research into a game can lead you down many a path you never planned to study at the time nor had any real interest in.  Artillery of World War III was one such subject for me. Being a military historian artillery naturally interested me, but the complex problems of modern artillery use was fascinating.

As both NATO and Warsaw Pact looked at the modern battlefield they saw a world which precluded the use of tubes lined up hub to hub. This was much harder on the Soviets than the West as the annihilating power of massed artillery had been a cornerstone of their success against the Wehrmacht.  The question was how to put enough HE on target and at the same time not loose your artillery to counter battery, air power, and nukes?  The obvious answer was self propelled artillery pieces, an expensive solution, and one fraught with pit falls. SP units are expensive to use: larger crew per gun, fuel, more spare parts, and tracked support units; unless your willing to risk driving your SP’s on open roadways.  The advantages were limited mostly to the fact the gun could ‘Shoot and Scoot’ that is fire a mission then immediately move.

The British may have been the first to see the issue and take steps, but it was a long gestation for them as one insufficient SP after another was rejected. The need was there the money and the technology was not.  France saw the issue only in terms of the two or possibly three corps they had earmarked for operations with NATO in Germany. Thus France used a combination of US M155 and the AMX Mk F3 155.  The Germans decided to use US mobile artillery and support this with the Luftwaffe flying Alpha Jets and Tornadoes in close support roles.  Belgium felt the problem outside their scope as the country was so small that towed artillery could quickly move around and anyway there weren’t that many places to go.  The real leader was the US who not only began to test fast mobile artillery along with missiles and rocket batteries, but also started looking at aerosol propellants which would allow SP weapon platforms that would allow for longer field operations and less ‘tail’ i.e. support units.  The US also produced the Fairchild A-10, the Bell Super Cobra, and Boeing AH-64 Apache.

That left the Soviets. What would the USSR do with all those towed heavy artillery pieces they had built and stored at considerable cost? Their answer was indicative of the Red Army conservatism. Approaching the problem in two ways:  first the Soviet towed artillery would be increased in the hope to offset loses with numbers, and two, build a large SP force which would be used at the Schwerpunkt of every attack.  Units such as the 2S1 Gvozdika were indicative of the SP design philosophy of the Soviet Army.

One can’t help wondering if the artillery issue was not more a sales opportunity and less a real issue.  Certainly towed artillery batteries made a nice juicy target for tactical nuclear strikes, but then again, so did everything else.  Counter battery fire had been a fact of life for artillery for three hundred years and defenses had been developed.  Air strikes had not been all that effective against artillery during WWI and WWII due to strong Anti-Air defenses and by the 1980-1990’s air defense weapons had only gotten stronger. What would have happened then? NO definitive answer can be given except maybe: Luckily it never happened.

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Q & A on NATO

Since the award, NATO has brought a raft of emails asking many interesting questions. I thought I’d sort out some of the most common:

Q: Is there any rules for units in cover?

A: The original NATO had none to show the increased use of heat and night scopes. However in Warsaw Pack this deficiency has been rectified. Anti-Tank, Fire Missions, and Infantry roll d8 when defending inside cover.

Q: How do I use an Air Control (BLUE) token?

A: Starting with the initiative player: players announce any Air Control Tokens they will play. This gives the non-initiative player an advantage in air power for that round of play.

Q: When using a unit with two attack dice which do I use for defense?

A: Players can choose the die used for the first attack received by the unit. All subsequent attacks are defended against using the lowest die of the unit for the remainder of that round of play.

NATO news:

Expansion Pack one will be released in the up coming weeks and includes ALM Mines, Attack copters, and strongpoints. Take the battle to a new level!

Warsaw Pact Cover LIGHTWarsaw Pack Release!

News Flash! As U.S. forces battle the Soviet armored forces down south, allied NATO forces are facing both Soviet and Warsaw Pack enemies in the north attempting to push into Belgium and Denmark. The Soviets are stretched thin trying to fight their way through heavier than expected U.S. resistance and must rely on their category 2 allies to pick up the slack! Warsaw Pack the latest installment of NATO will soon be out with British, West German, Polish and Czechoslovakian formations! Now take the battle to the canals and deep forests of northwest Europe. Warsaw Pack is a stand alone game using the award winning NATO game system, get ready to command Chieftains, Leopard II’s,  Marders and more against the T-72s and T-64 of the Warsaw Pack.

SAGCover LIGHT SAG news!

Battlefield:  Southern Army Group (S.A.G.) Would there have been a war in southern Europe? What possible value could be gained in fighting in Turkey, Greece, Italy, and possibly Yugoslavia?  On the Soviet’s part any way to stretch NATO resources was a bonus. Scare military resources fighting in a secondary theater meant these resources could not pulled into Germany. NATO options in the southern theater were greater: if the Soviets had left southern Europe alone NATO could pull manpower from Italy possibly even Greece and Turkey.  If the Soviets fought in the south they would have only weak Warsaw Pact allies in position and would end up having to support these forces with Soviet troops.  Troops that were unavailable therefore for the main theater.

 

Badr Cover2 LIGHTBadr News!

The Game that started it all will be re-released! I heard you loud and clear ‘Release Badr Again!’. Now battle through Israeli defenses as you cross the Suez in 73! New rules included in this new release. Coming Soon!

“No matter what you’re into. Sometimes, you get the irresistible urge to blow stuff up with tanks!” -Derek Case

Final comments: When I wrote NATO I was trying to fill a personal itch for a 1-Hour tactical game of World War III tank warfare. The games needed to be good looking, fast to play and handle the wide variety of hardware, tactics and combined arms warfare of the modern world easily but with realistic results. NATO and her sister games fill that niche nicely for me.  But I’m not satisfied and sitting on my laurels! Each sister game introduces some other facet of the most complex war that (luckily) was never fought. I wanted A LOT of maps; I bet you do too; and with the new map pack that will be out this year you get A LOT MORE maps!

To all the Badr and NATO gamers out there: thank you for all your votes, dedication to the games, and most of all your ideas and enthusiasm. Like you they are favorites of mine.-Raven

Ravens Games: Free Games and News
Raven’s Games: Free Games and News

 

New Year New Game?

Well the end of sad old 2017, and with the end of the year it’s a time for reflection, or a time for new beginnings. Me, being me, I can’t really be bothered with the past too much. The games this year were good and the response to many great! I want to tell everyone thank you for your surprising support. I want to give a special shout out to those good folks in Athens! Don’t worry guys S.A.T.O IS COMING OUT!!! NIKE!

Now down to practical matters when is the next release I hear you asking.  In January 2018 my latest madness will be release to you all.

Many have been asking if Hard Lock 18 is really on the way? The answer is as complex as the game is not. The Hell Rats have been gaming for the last few months and working out the bugs. There have been very few ‘bugs’ to tell the truth but those found have been hard to solve…we’re getting there.

Happy New Year and Peace, Love and Happiness to all!

Ravens Games: Free Games and News
Raven’s Games: Free Games and News

 

UDF in Space!

Blockade Cover

The Chosen had a vision of a perfect universe, peaceful, beautiful and above all theirs! Their savage attacks on United System’s outlaying colonies caught the Navy and Marines completely off guard. Little was know about the enemy even less about their motivations and plans. Purely by luck (or the will of the spirits) the freighter Worden discovered the Chosen main base. Now it was up to the Marines……

 

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Step 1: DIY Bases

STEP ONE DIY BASES

Print off the bases you will be making and glue the page of bases to your foam core using white glue as pictured. NOTE!: It is a good idea to trim the excess paper BEFORE gluing the bases page to the foam core.

Cut out the bases using either a box cutter or xacto knife. It is important to cut precisely! Take your time and make sure of each cut before committing.

STEP ONE PILE OF BASES DIY BASES

Sometimes the foam core will bind the knife, when this happens remove the knife blade and replace with a fresh blade.

You may have to score the back side of the foam core to make a clean cut. Gently bend the foam core and score along the fold you’ve made with the bend.

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Combat Command Simple or Subtle?

Unit BreakdownThere has been some debate here at the newspaper about just what category Combat Command will fall into: Simple Rules, Hard Rules. Why World War 2 and where in World War 2? Playing time and equipment needed to play.

There is a lot going on here: Armor, Infantry, Artillery, Airpower, SPA, etc. and etc. At the same time I’m trying to capture the personality of the armies involved. Not to mention the job for which each weapon type was meant. Not an easy task.

Lets take these question one at a time and clear up some underbrush.

Simple rules are my goal: about three pages no more. Combat Command is meant to be played in an hour or less and the commands are ad-hoc battle groups thrown together to fulfill a specific mission. This ‘style’ or situation of fighting was prevalent throughout WW2.  While TO&E tables make a nice guideline they were never followed. Further only a few hours under fire altered a command (almost always for the worse in terms of men and equipment) permanently.

Fast: Real war is a process of excessive boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror. During these times of terror, decisions are made for good or ill.  Combat Command by being a fast playing game; about 15 to 45 minutes per game; tries to approach the pressure put on commanders to make a quick decision and get it right, or pay a terrible price for getting it wrong: a bunch of dead people.

A wealth of equipment types: No one ever has everything they need and improvised tactics and decisions were the order of the day.  Combat Command allows players to ‘build’ their force before play, neither player knowing what the other will bring to the table. In this simple way the ‘fog of war’ is simulated.

Why World War 2? Well, why not? Okay, okay not much of an answer. So, here we go: I like World War 2 history and I’m pretty good at it. No war saw so many varied battlefields and so many varied combatants. It was the first war fought in three dimensions across the entire globe. And no war ever saw such a wealth of equipment, development of new equipment, or scale of production of that equipment.

Why a platoon/company scale? This is where the fighting took place. German tactical doctrine held that large scale victories were won by an accumulation of tactical victories. The decisions and lack of intelligence to make those decisions with at the platoon and company level is fascinating and makes for great gaming.

Equipment?: One six sided die per player and a coffee mug.  With these I hope to create great gaming.

Maps:  Each Combat Command will come with more than one map. This allows players to vary their experience, and provide hours and hours of great gaming. Each full color map is 8 1/2 by 14 for easy and cheap printing.

Where?: Either Combat Command Africa which is set in Tunisia during the Torch landings and allied operations or Combat Command Russia during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union will be offered first.

I hope this article gives you insight and desire for Combat Command. Don’t forget to send me your thoughts, I love hearing from you and will post your thoughts and comments here in the newspaper.

Ravens Games: Free Games and News
Raven’s Games: Free Games and News

 

NEW RELEASE!! : UDF EPISODE 2 Soulless Battles

UDF Cover for WordPress

Well, here it is January 2017 and a new release! UDF Episode 2 is ready to be rolled out!

What is UDF?: UDF is a fast playing 2 player game of Sci-Fi ground combat.  The unique combat system uses both letters and color to create an easy to use combat table. There are 15 unit types,  UDF Marine and Pirate, including Assault Troopers, Missile Tanks, Mines, and much more. Over 100 counters included.

The huge 24″ X 24″ full color map displays Pressure Dome City 12 and its environs. Battle as the Marines to take the nastiest city in space, or fight to defend your home and base of operations as Pirates.–Enjoy!

When will this be released? January 14 2017!

How much does it cost? Free

How do I get it? Just send me an email at www.ravnsgames.com requesting UDF and you’ll receive your FREE copy.

Stay tuned for MORE!

Ravens Games: Free Games and News
Raven’s Games: Free Games and News

It just goes to show ya!

As many of you know I have been working this last month on a new fantasy battles system. Incidentally it now has a name: Mayhem! I was so taken with my new system I waited in a breathless anticipation to begin the first, and last, game of a system I had worked on steadily.

In that well worn phrase ‘it sucked’ and after fifteen minutes my hopes were dashed to the ground like so much garbage.  Undaunted, well to tell the truth a little daunted, I began anew. It would be a month again before the basics had been worked out, but time well spent. I played at the table, rolling dice talking to myself and racing upstairs to rewrite here, delete there etc. and etc.

Suddenly a simple idea hit me and I was off to the races. That night, the night of failure, I wrote like a man possesed and raced down to the sand table to begin again the next morning….it worked

If there is a lesson in all this I can’t see it, or won’t see it perhaps. It just goes to show you, you never know where good ideas will come from. Failure can make success as easily as success can breed failure.

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Raven

 

Raven’s New Game

I had the gang around for a gaming day here at the perch and found to my chagrin I didn’t much like the game we were playing.  The fact I wrote it makes this even worse! So I’ve started a new Fantasy Battles game that uses Heroic and 25mm scale minis.

I want to know ‘What do you look for in a fantasy miniatures game?’

 

 

Please Welcome Thomarillion Miniatures!

thomarillion

I’m excited to announce that Thomarillion Miniatures (http://www.thomarillion.de/)  have joined Raven’s Games.  Thommy’s miniatures are a show piece of medieval life in minis!  My personal favorite is the medieval crane and bath tub:

Medieval crane Wooden bathtube Tomb slab "Forgotten"

Also people, animals, walls, tombs, and much more can be found there just waiting to be bought painted.  Thomarillion can be viewed in English and German.

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Raven