Friday, August 2, 2013

Third World War ends in disaster

Aargh.

Just aargh.

I was partway through my game of GDW's Third World War by Frank Chadwick



. . . and I smacked into the corner of the card table I was using.

The entire front went from neat piles of divisions and brigades, disruption counters, odds markers, strike markers, etc. to a smear of randomly strewn units.

Aaargh.

There was just no way to re-assemble it. I've been playing it slowly over the past weeks, so it's not like I knew which divisions were in which stack in which hex, with how many disruptions.

Sigh.

It's a slow game, but a fun one, but I can't see me getting another chance to play it for at least another six months or more.

So depressing. Next time, I'm playing it on a sturdier table, one I can't move even with a hard bump. Next time I'll probably play a faster game, like Arctic Front or Southern Front. Persian Gulf is the most fun, but it's more than twice as big as the game I was playing and I have no table space big enough to set it up anymore.

Hmph.

12 comments:

  1. My sympathies. Look on the bright side, though -- the game is physically intact. I once had a wet basement take out a game of Avalon Hill's The Longest Day. I spent many days gluing de-laminated counters back together.

    I don't suppose you've ever played all the Third World War games combined? It takes up an enormous amount of space, but it's probably the most playable "monster game" I've ever encountered.

    Aggressiveness, as you note in the sidebar, is clearly the key to playing the Soviets. You have to be prepared to expend your copious units as ammunition, taking with them units that NATO can't spare. I've played the monster game twice as NATO... The first time the Pact player was much too cautious, and by the end, NATO held most of East Germany and the 82nd Airborne was dropping on Kiev. The second time we didn't play past Turn 6 or so, but the Soviets had learned their lesson, and NATO was on the verge of buckling as Pact troops broke the main line in Europe and desant troops had taken more than one POMCUS site.

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    1. Well, this is my second copy of TWW. And SF, too, and PG. The only one in the series I have of my original 4 is AF.

      I never played the whole game together - it would have been way too long, and I never had the space even when I was a kid living in a house with a big basement. Seems like if you played out the diplomatic game in PG followed by the whole series, you'd be pretty busy.

      The first time I played, I was too cautious as the Soviets and too afraid of losing my airplanes in air-to-air combat. Then I played a game of PG with a friend and managed to trash the RDF basically by surrounding them and hitting them with everything I had. (As an aside, in that game the Iraqi territorial units held out in Basra until the end of game, in the face of 3 weeks of assault by Soviet "B" and "G" class divisions and the maximum amount of Artillery NAPs I could use. Geez, diehards.)

      So this time, I knew to just slam the Pact divisions forward, push for isolation, ram in as much ground attack air support as I could no matter the cost, and try to crush NATO. I pretty much took most of Germany east of the Rhine by the end of turn two, and I was fixing to invade Austria and finish my push into the Netherlands on turn 3 when the table was wiped.

      Next time, something shorter. The game is fun, but it gets really hard to calculate combats when you've got stack after stack after stack of divisions, disruption counters, etc. and you need to keep lifting them, counting, calculating proficiency, and so on. Maybe next time I'll figure a way to put down a "stack" counter and move the stacks off to the side . . .

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  2. The bump table always does me in. Eventually I just use Vassal it not precisely the same as pushing real counter but it a lot more convenient. Maybe we should look into a PBEM game using Vassal.

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    1. I have the rules for Third World War myself.

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    2. That could be fun, actually. That game really needs a way to track all of the units, because you end up with stacks like:

      12-9-7 (1 disruption)
      12-9-6 (2 disruptions)
      12-9-6 (2 disruptions)
      2-3-7

      I'd love to just see "38/30/5.25/airmobile ZOC" instead.

      Is Vassal free?

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  3. I feel your pain. I once did the same thing with a huge game of Advanced Squad Leader that me and a buddy had been playing at for over a week. Truly Tragic.

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  4. I feel your pain. I once did the same thing with a huge game of Advanced Squad Leader that me and a buddy had been playing at for over a week. Truly Tragic.

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  5. The lesson to be learned here is "There is going to be no winner in a nuclear war. Only survivors."

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    Replies
    1. Heh. Ironically no nukes were used in play before the Great European Quake.

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  6. Maybe this would help prevent the table-quakes of doom? :)

    http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:The_Third_World_War

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  7. It's a great game, and a great series. The more I played it the more nuanced I found it. My brother and I even managed to play the whole thing, diplomacy cards and all, and had quite a blast with it. Of course, that was a long time ago, in a land far, far away.

    I was the Soviet horde (something that seemed to be pretty routine in my wargaming endeavors with my brother, who once commented that I always seemed stuck playing the "psuedo-Soviet horde" -- I think when we were playing War of the Ring and I was the Dark Lord...again). ;-)

    Anyway, I did pretty well in central Europe, less well in the peripheries to the south, though I managed to do a pretty good job of destroying Norway. In the end, we had to call the game for some reason after quite a few turns, so we never finished, but the diplomacy cards were fascinating -- and, in the light of subsequent history -- not all that far fetched. I probably would have had a much harder time if the game had gone on a bit longer, since my air power had substantially degraded by that time. Lots of fun, and many good memories with that game series.

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    1. Thanks for the battle report. I'd love to have played the whole series.

      And yes, the diplomacy cards are depressingly accurate in some cases. Things change slowly in the Middle East, it seems.

      The beginning pre-war wrangling and fighting in the Persian Gulf game was a lot of fun, and made you really appreciate those 9-8-5 tank divisions and "pathetic" 5-6-4 category III reservist divisions. Even the worst of the Soviet divisions could mop the floor with the best of the factions. The assumption of chemical attack helped a lot, though - automatic disruption was nasty.

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