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Old 07-10-2012, 08:39 AM
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Default WWIII Wargaming

Hello all, I just started up this thread because I had an idea. I know there's probably dozens of WWIII-related wargames out there, and they're probably great and comprehensive, but the one wargame I actually played, Dirtside II, could fit the bill real well. It has a very simple system, and though it's based for science-fiction wargaming, the 'core' is based around building your own vehicles. In fact, I found a whole list of "Contemporary" vehicles that'd be perfect for a NATO/Warsaw showdown. The same site also has numerous house rules for everything from mortar teams to flamethrowers, cruise missiles to special forces teams.

And if you hop on over to Junior General and print out some vehicle sprites, you're ready to go!

That being said, anyone else have a say on great WWIII wargames?

EDIT: And don't worry, there's rules for chemical and nuclear strikes, for those who want to really win.

Last edited by M-Type; 07-10-2012 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:37 AM
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I use to play the Assault series of board games...

http://www.trollandtoad.com/p135998.html

and then of course Command Decision the modern rules

http://tacticalwargamer.com/miniatur...nddecision.htm
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:27 AM
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When I was younger I played (never, ever won a game, BTW) SSI's Red Lightning on my Amiga.

I still have the Timeline Games "Close & Destroy" & "Close & Destroy II" around here, those were pretty good.
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:48 AM
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I'm fond of several of GDW's games.

Assault (Boots & Saddles, Bundeswehr, Chieftain) covered WW3 action, the players as battalion/regimental/brigade-level commanders. Counters are platoons. I'm in a VASSAL PBEM game of this right now.

I have First Battle/Last Battle, GDW's skirmish level game of moderns, adapted to T2k. I didn't like the rules much, although they were pretty simple. They did have air-to-mud rules, unlike Assault.

Third World War had division or brigade counters, and covered the German front. Arctic Front covered Norway, Sweden & Finland, Southern Front had the Balkans, and Persian Gulf covered Iran & Iraq and neighbors. The last one included a card game of pre-war diplomacy, to allow variations in which nations or factions might end up on NATO's or Pact's side. My main criticism of it was that sub-divisional units, especially supporting artillery, were largely ignored. The sequence of play was different for the Pact and NATO players, forcing the Pact player into using echelon-style operations, which I think is a strength. Bonus point: all four games can be linked together into one big one. This could make a neat group game someday.

Victory Games had NATO, another division-counter game of the Inter-German border, Denmark and Austria. It had some good concepts, but its Pact OB seemed out of step with other things that I've read.

At sea, I have all of Victory Games' "Fleet" series, each one covered a different part of the ocean. I suppose they could be connected, but I don't remember any rules for them. A neat design element: each turn, a player chose in which order he would resolve subsurface, surface and air actions.

VG's Aegean Strike and Gulf Strike were also air-naval integrated games, but they never sang for me.

As for miniatures, I played a fair bit of Dirtside II in the 90s, but not as a WW3 game. It certainly could be adapted to that, and it's a great system. The skirmish-level version, Stargrunt, has some neat C2 elements as well. I cut my WW3 teeth on GDW's Tacforce miniatures rules, but I don't remember much beyond the fact that we never had any miniatures, so we tried making them out of graph paper. That, and the hitenetration charts were very similar to Assault's.

Harpoon was a good, if technology-focussed, set of naval rules.

I like GDW's Air Superiority/Air Strike air games for modern stuff. The Air Strike maps are compatible with Assault, btw.

Not GDW: I have all 5 games of SPI/Decision Games' Central Front series. These were released in Strategy & Tactics, and at least one was independently sold in a box. Fifth Corps, BAOR and Fulda Gap were all released by SPI, and had one rules system, while Danube Front and North German Plain were released by DG with a completely different rules set. There's also a Berlin '85 game, which I think is the same rules as the SPI games. I have all six, but only learned the DG rules. These were the whole front, battalion counters and 2km hexes. I'd like to merge them somehow and run it as a convention game someday.

Drive on Frankfurt was from a magazine (Command?) in the late '80s. Battalion counters, it actually included EW rules and their effect on HQs. That was a neat wrinkle. Also neat: units took step losses, but you had to draw the step-strengths randomly, so you didn't quite know the exact strength of each unit. It made for great solitaire play in my dorm room in 1987.

During my last house move in 2000, I realized it had been years since I had played any of my WW3 stuff, so I boxed them all together in a big plastic bin. I opened it up recently, to get at TWW and Assault.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:18 AM
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If it makes you feel any better, I don't have any miniatures either

I just use some good 'ol doodles of tanks and little circles on big circles for infantry teams.

Or even just circles with notes scribbled down on them.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
I have First Battle/Last Battle, GDW's skirmish level game of moderns, adapted to T2k. I didn't like the rules much, although they were pretty simple.
A bit too simple for my liking, although probably a little better than the macro combat rules in the "Pirates" and "Warsaw" modules. Opened up the Last Battle box a few weeks ago to see if it would be worth using for my upcoming f2f show downs in those modules - still on the fence...
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
I like GDW's Air Superiority/Air Strike air games for modern stuff. The Air Strike maps are compatible with Assault, btw.
I still have that lying around lol.
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:29 PM
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Has anybody here played any of the Ambush Alley series of wargames? I have not but they have one dedicated to a "Cold War Gone Hot" (the game title).

http://www.ospreypublishing.com/stor..._9781849085366
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Has anybody here played any of the Ambush Alley series of wargames? I have not but they have one dedicated to a "Cold War Gone Hot" (the game title).

http://www.ospreypublishing.com/stor..._9781849085366
Might be a bit biased, I helped playtest that one.

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Old 07-10-2012, 02:44 PM
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I haven't played with it yet, but I have a copy of Tomorrow's War which is Ambush Alley's SF rules. The same core engine is used for Cold War Gone Hot. The game is more concerned with infantry troop quality than individual load-outs. And unlike most minis games they're going with a 1 to 1 ground to miniature scale. Your maximum range is the entire board! Bring or build many terrain pieces.

I really love Lock N Load's World at War Series (http://www.locknloadgame.com/). It is platoon level 1985ish combat. Fast moving and not very detailed, but the scenarios we've played are nail-biters.

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Old 07-10-2012, 02:47 PM
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Might be a bit biased, I helped playtest that one.
Well, that's full disclosure. Can you tell us what you thought of it?
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:24 PM
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I'd love to try an honest to goodness game of Dirtside II online, if I could find a way to make it work. I guess I'll have to give VASSAL a more thorough peek.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:27 PM
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I'd love to try an honest to goodness game of Dirtside II online, if I could find a way to make it work. I guess I'll have to give VASSAL a more thorough peek.
You figure it out send out the invites.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:57 PM
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Well, that's full disclosure. Can you tell us what you thought of it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris
I haven't played with it yet, but I have a copy of Tomorrow's War which is Ambush Alley's SF rules. The same core engine is used for Cold War Gone Hot. The game is more concerned with infantry troop quality than individual load-outs. And unlike most minis games they're going with a 1 to 1 ground to miniature scale. Your maximum range is the entire board! Bring or build many terrain pieces.
Well, I am writing something I can't talk about for them (it's hung up in playtest heck). But it's finally moving along. I also have some author credit in another to be released item that HAS been announced

I did write some of the fluff for TW as well, so I am biased there. Best I can say is it's a good system and I wouldn't add my name to something I didn't like. But try it yourself. I think you will find you like it.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:17 PM
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A bit too simple for my liking, although probably a little better than the macro combat rules in the "Pirates" and "Warsaw" modules. Opened up the Last Battle box a few weeks ago to see if it would be worth using for my upcoming f2f show downs in those modules - still on the fence...
True, it did seem easier than those rules. I do use the counters for my FtF game, mostly the vehicles. I have a set of blank counters that I use, too, so I can pencil in the names of PCs. Old Squad Leader counters get used a lot, too.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:23 PM
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You figure it out send out the invites.
Roger that.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:36 PM
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True, it did seem easier than those rules. I do use the counters for my FtF game, mostly the vehicles. I have a set of blank counters that I use, too, so I can pencil in the names of PCs. Old Squad Leader counters get used a lot, too.
I use a bunch of old plastic soldiers and matchbox vehicles which are of a similar scale.
When I can get them back off my 7 year old son anyway.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:38 PM
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Has anybody here played any of the Ambush Alley series of wargames? I have not but they have one dedicated to a "Cold War Gone Hot" (the game title).
I haven't had a chance to play (yet), but I own the Force on Force core rulebook, the Cold War Gone Hot sourcebook, and the Tomorrow's War sci-fi variant core book. Based on a couple-three readings and one very brief online interaction with the design team, my short take is that it's a promising rules system that could do with (1) a competent copyeditor and (2) a stronger understanding of the difference between house rules and professionally published product.

Most of my problems with the game are in the details of its execution. Conceptually, it makes me very happy. The core resolution system is simple and elegant, though the sheer number of optional rules hanging off that basic framework can be overwhelming on first encounter. Focus, as Chris noted, is on troop quality, not weapons - in short, the men, not the tools. Troop quality determines the type of dice you roll for just about everything (d6, d8, d10, or d12, with your target for all rolls remaining at 4), while more or bigger weapons just add more dice. The initiative system is something I wish I'd seen before I wrote Reflex's.

- C.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:42 PM
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It's not specifically WWIII related but has anyone ever played Tankwreck! ? I've wanted to give it a try for a while just never had the money for a set of the rules...
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:57 PM
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Adm. Lee I played the SPI series back when they came out.. I was in Fuerth Germany at the time, and the Cold War was still very much with us. It was gut wrenching in the Fulda Gap..


As to using figures for T2K, back when I started playing we had Saturday night sessions at a fellows place where he had FIVE 4x8 sheets of plywood and moveable terrain features complete with trees. First session I went to his place he had a 'diarama' (sp) set up of a village where the characters were (that night there were TWELVE players. When we got to Krakow he set up a section of the city, compete with walls... Gene (rip) had owned a hobby shop, and worked with models for years. There were BOXES and BOXES of buildings, vehicles, and figures, as well as mundane things he would put in a building that could be found if character entered the building.

He could field a US tanks and mech battalion on a scale of 1:1 for vehicles, also the same for the Soviets and British.. modern (cold war) or WW2, in which he brought out his German battalions.. all in HO.. quite a show it was..

We FINALLY convinced him it slowed the game WAY down to go to the work and detail, and to use items for reference.

Over the course of several years when it came to the Vistuala ride, I built a 'representation' of the tug, barge, and several other vessels in 1:96 water line from balsa when I was laid up for a month. They were a hit, but not the detail of a model.. they did serve the purpose.. We used them for our Going Home.. which ended the campaign in Boston Harbor.

haven't done a FTF in almost 20 years... or played any board games that I use to play regularly... Still have the GDW WW3 series though.

Ah the memories...
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:09 PM
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I have the PDF file of the GDW Third World War game with counters and maps. Anyone want a copy let me know. I also have the online version of
5'th Fleet game.
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
I haven't had a chance to play (yet), but I own the Force on Force core rulebook, the Cold War Gone Hot sourcebook, and the Tomorrow's War sci-fi variant core book. Based on a couple-three readings and one very brief online interaction with the design team, my short take is that it's a promising rules system that could do with (1) a competent copyeditor and (2) a stronger understanding of the difference between house rules and professionally published product.

Most of my problems with the game are in the details of its execution. Conceptually, it makes me very happy. The core resolution system is simple and elegant, though the sheer number of optional rules hanging off that basic framework can be overwhelming on first encounter. Focus, as Chris noted, is on troop quality, not weapons - in short, the men, not the tools. Troop quality determines the type of dice you roll for just about everything (d6, d8, d10, or d12, with your target for all rolls remaining at 4), while more or bigger weapons just add more dice. The initiative system is something I wish I'd seen before I wrote Reflex's.

- C.
Teg,
It's cool. But you've had the luxury of working for White Wolf for a long time, and to be honest, small companies like AAG (Osprey doesn't exercise day to day control) do their best on the writing front. We're a lot better than we used to be. As for the system and the "rules creep", name a rules set that has not happened to? I can't. It's the story of gaming, we come up with a nifty new set of rules, and then like a darn Christmas tree, you end up hanging everything and it's mom off of it. But I am glad that you agree that the core works. And ultimately, that's what matters. Shawn and co have a great idea that works very well in a variety of applications. There are colonials and Civil War games with house rules using the system. It's not common, but people are doing it.

What do you tell people? It's not my baby, I have some investment, but it's ultimately Shawn's. And since he and his wife are OOC at the moment, I'll just say what I think he'd say: "It's your game ultimately, and once you plunk the money down, it's yours to use and abuse."
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:45 PM
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It's cool. But you've had the luxury of working for White Wolf for a long time, and to be honest, small companies like AAG (Osprey doesn't exercise day to day control) do their best on the writing front. We're a lot better than we used to be.
I'm surprised to hear that about Osprey. The impression I'd formed, based on their involvement as both publisher and art provider, was that they were heavily involved in production.

I'll admit that part of my copyediting gripe stems from the fact that I'm a writer who tends toward mentally rewriting everything he reads. With all due respect to AAG, though, if you're gonna play in the professional publishing field, you need to be publishing professional-grade English. I'm sorry, but the "small company" excuse doesn't sit well with me when I look at what companies like Posthuman Studios (three guys doing Eclipse Phase) are putting out.

Also, yeah, I wrote for the Wolf for a while, but don't forget the more recent gig I had with a much smaller firm. The Wolf has had its share of copyediting failures, too. I've thrown books across the room when I found grammatical errors in final product that weren't in the manuscripts I turned in, and I grit my teeth every time I see frickin' Scribendi given "editing" credits.

Having said all that, none of it breaks the game for me, and I suspect I'm in the tiny, tiny minority of readers who'd ever lose focus upon encountering inconsistent capitalization.

Quote:
As for the system and the "rules creep", name a rules set that has not happened to? I can't. It's the story of gaming, we come up with a nifty new set of rules, and then like a darn Christmas tree, you end up hanging everything and it's mom off of it. But I am glad that you agree that the core works. And ultimately, that's what matters. Shawn and co have a great idea that works very well in a variety of applications. There are colonials and Civil War games with house rules using the system. It's not common, but people are doing it.

What do you tell people? It's not my baby, I have some investment, but it's ultimately Shawn's. And since he and his wife are OOC at the moment, I'll just say what I think he'd say: "It's your game ultimately, and once you plunk the money down, it's yours to use and abuse."
I'm getting the impression I wasn't very clear on the "house rules" criticism, so I'll try to re-state my issue here. I don't have a problem with the large number of special-case rules, and I don't see a lot of bad rules creep. As a designer, I tend toward excessive complexity myself, and it takes partners and playtesters smacking me upside the head to get me to recognize and pull out of my own textual box canyons. Almost all the breakages and unnecessary fiddly bits in Reflex are my fault. I like systems that give me verisimilitude without requiring an accounting degree, and I think the Carpenters did an amazing job of distilling a lot of things that are very complex in the real world and abstracting them into a game engine that simulates rather than models. As I said above, I wish I'd seen this stuff before I wrote Reflex, because they elegantly solved several problems I never was able to fix myself.

My "house rules" headache with AAG is directly tied to the Shawn quote that I bolded above. He's unerringly polite and professional in his interactions with his customers, but he just doesn't seem to get that we don't all live in his head or have his particular level of experience. My prime example for this is several threads I've seen on the AAG forums regarding SAWs versus LMGs versus MMGs/GPMGs and how they do or do not interact with the weapon team rules. Shawn's answer invariably has been some variation of that quote, which doesn't really answer the questions. As a designer, he probably had some specific set of rules for determining which support weapons fall into which classifications, and from there deciding which can and can't be the main weapon of a weapon team. But he seems incapable of articulating those criteria. I can't speak for anyone else in those threads, but the reason I look for "official" answers from a developer is because I want to follow the game's internal design logic but I can't deconstruct it myself. "Do what you want" does not help me attain my desired solution.

- C.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:06 PM
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I'm surprised to hear that about Osprey. The impression I'd formed, based on their involvement as both publisher and art provider, was that they were heavily involved in production.
Not to speak out of school, they are involved. It's just they're a partner more than a controlling interest.
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:39 AM
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Sad to say but I'm with Tegyrius on both fronts regarding TW/FoF. TW in particular could have done with a lot more tidying up and proof-reading in the rules section. I get the feeling every time I try to play it that rather too much time was spent on the "optional" setting information and the cool illustrations rather than the core rules which are alternately repetitive and then vague. Many people say you need to have FoF to get the best out of TW, which appalls me.

The rules creep problem is again especially apparent in TW. The layering of sci-fi tropes over the original Ambush Alley mechanics is haphazard and confused. I still can't figure out why there is a need to have both pinning and suppression, and separate "combat fatigue" rules on top of that, all with different mechanics and effects.
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
I'll admit that part of my copyediting gripe stems from the fact that I'm a writer who tends toward mentally rewriting everything he reads. With all due respect to AAG, though, if you're gonna play in the professional publishing field, you need to be publishing professional-grade English. I'm sorry, but the "small company" excuse doesn't sit well with me when I look at what companies like Posthuman Studios (three guys doing Eclipse Phase) are putting out.

Also, yeah, I wrote for the Wolf for a while, but don't forget the more recent gig I had with a much smaller firm. The Wolf has had its share of copyediting failures, too. I've thrown books across the room when I found grammatical errors in final product that weren't in the manuscripts I turned in, and I grit my teeth every time I see frickin' Scribendi given "editing" credits.

Having said all that, none of it breaks the game for me, and I suspect I'm in the tiny, tiny minority of readers who'd ever lose focus upon encountering inconsistent capitalization.
I hear ya! I have similar problems watching TV news or listening to radio news bulletins. I'm the supervisor of a government media monitoring unit, creating and editing summaries of TV and radio news reports and radio talkback, speed-reading newspaper articles, feeding summaries, transcripts and audio-visual files to ministerial offices, checking and editing transcripts and training others in the afore mentioned skills.

When I'm sitting at home watching TV news I can't help summarising it in my head. I also can't help but automatically mentally spell and grammar check and otherwise edit anything I read, including forum posts and RPG rules.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:40 AM
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Sad to say but I'm with Tegyrius on both fronts regarding TW/FoF. TW in particular could have done with a lot more tidying up and proof-reading in the rules section. I get the feeling every time I try to play it that rather too much time was spent on the "optional" setting information and the cool illustrations rather than the core rules which are alternately repetitive and then vague. Many people say you need to have FoF to get the best out of TW, which appalls me.

The rules creep problem is again especially apparent in TW. The layering of sci-fi tropes over the original Ambush Alley mechanics is haphazard and confused. I still can't figure out why there is a need to have both pinning and suppression, and separate "combat fatigue" rules on top of that, all with different mechanics and effects.
Hmm, I'll talk to Shawn about that. I can't say too much on why, NDA. But I will. It's some food for thought. I hadn't heard this issue with TW needing FoF before. Can you show me where people are saying this so I can relay it to Shawn when he gets back?
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:08 PM
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Dang, I've gone and dug out my Dirtside II and Stargrunt II rules, and re-read them. They were cool rules sets, and I started to write some things toward applying them to 2300AD back in the day. They are eminently applicable to T2k, IMO.

Keep me posted on that someday PBEM game.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:10 PM
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Dang, I've gone and dug out my Dirtside II and Stargrunt II rules, and re-read them. They were cool rules sets, and I started to write some things toward applying them to 2300AD back in the day. They are eminently applicable to T2k, IMO.

Keep me posted on that someday PBEM game.
I hear ya! Never got too deep into Stargrunt II myself, I stuck mostly to the "bigger picture" stuff
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:11 PM
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If you ever wanted to know how TW2k evolved into 2300AD then some new material has come to light about GDW's meta-wargame 'The Game'. Dave Nilsen has re-surfaced and provided some information to Wayne's Books:

http://waynesbooks.com/TheGame.html
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