Friday, May 31, 2013

An Odd Question - Or Is It Perception?

Yesterday, I was asked by someone at work who knew of my interest in the ACW - "Who is your favorite General?"

For such a seemingly straightforward question, I was stumped.   I'd quite honestly never thought about a "favorite" ACW General.  

The more I thought about the question, the more odd it seemed.

Ask me about my favorite NFL quarterback, and I'll have an immediate answer.  (Peyton Manning, of course!).

Ask me about my favorite motorcycle, and I'll have an immediate answer.  (Harley-Davidson RoadKing Custom).

Ask me about my favorite movie, and I'll have an immediate answer.  (Glory)

But - I'd never even considered having a "favorite" ACW General.  That just strikes me as odd.   It seems as odd as someone asking me "Who is your favorite corporate executive?", or "Which US Senator is your favorite?".   Favorites?  

The problem I see with the question is that its such a complex question.   How would you have a favorite?  Why would you have a favorite?  Favorite in which way?

Tactical innovator?

Intriguing personality?   Good or bad?

Impact on the war?

In the event, I just mumbled something about not really having a favorite, which was quite true.  How do you explain the depth of that question to someone who is lucky to recognize that the North wore blue and the South wore grey....

There are those I admire, those I loathe, those that intrigue me, those that I'd find fascinating to have a conversation with.   The list of names that "interest" me as ACW personalities include Longstreet, Meade, Bragg, Burnsides, Upton, Stuart, Hampton, Custer, Gibbon, no particular order of admired/loathed/intriguing!   Everyone has their good days, everyone has their bad days.  I quite often find those who had more bad days than good to be more interesting!   It's the "if he'd only just done...." possibility that makes me dig deeper to look at the history behind the stories.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review - "Bunker Hill", by Nathaniel Philbrick

This won't take long.

"Bunker Hill, A City, A Siege, A Revolution" by Nathaniel Philbrick was released within the last month.  I'd been looking forward to it since reading his book on Custer and the LBH battle.

In a word, disappointing.

While Philbrick is a great writer and his works are easy, pleasing reads, BH just didn't do it for me.  I recognize that it is probably intended for Joe Public that didn't know there was a battle in Boston, or that there was a war with England, and who only knows George Washington 'cause his face is on money and on a rock.

I'm a pretty forgiving reviewer, and typically only ask that I learn something new when reading an historical work.   Alas, that didn't happen here.   True, I learned more about Joseph Warren's personal life than I ever wanted to, but....

In short, my recommendation is to save the $32.95 and watch the movie (Ben Afleck has apparently purchased the rights....egads).   If you wait until RedBox gets the movie, it will only cost you a little over a buck.

Monday, May 13, 2013

New WW2 Game and Pulse of Battle Update

Sorry that it has been a while (well, actually...a long while) since I last posted.  Real life with multiple business trips and home projects had severely cut into my blogging time!

In reverse order of the post's title - an update on Pulse of Battle:   The text is complete, and edited thoroughly.   Final, final work is being done on the army list text, and then it will be time to take photos and do the final layout of the rules.  I'd really like to get this off my plate no later than sometime in June, but we'll see how the schedule works out....

I'm extremely happy with PoB and how it plays.  I think its a unique approach to ancient combat, yet fully in line with the Piquet/Field of Battle emphasis on the fog of war and command challenges.  

With that creative project wrapped up, I've turned to the WW2 squad level (every unit = an infantry squad, a vehicle = 1 to 3 vehicles, etc) game, tentatively (very) titled "Follow Me".   It's aimed at allowing multiple companies up to a battalion or more on the table per side.  

We played 2 games last Saturday night.  The first had two recon type forces fighting over control of a strategic road intersection.  The US had two companies of infantry (18 units) plus 4 MG sections, plus a platoon of M8's and a Stuart.  The Germans had an armored recon platoon (armored car and a halftrack) plus an infantry company with a couple of HMGs.   Both sides had offboard mortar and artillery assets (available via an asset deck of cards).

The second game was an extremely armor heavy game with 3 Sherman platoons (9 units), an M10 TD platoon (2 units) and the M8 armored cars, plus a couple of platoons of infantry (6 units) vs. a German force of a Stug Platoon (3 units), a PzkwIV platoon (3 units), a Panther platoon (2 units), and 2 platoons (6 units) of PanzerGrenadiers in halftracks.

The US won the first game handily, and the Germans did the same in game 2.  The first game (with the rules being entirely new to the players) lasted around 2 hours, and the 2nd game lasted around 1 3/4 hours. 

Overall, I was thrilled with how the games played and felt.  I always feel more than a bit nervous when I trot out a new game for the first time.  Its hard to guess how things will go...

Some photos from the games: