The site is a blog and a game about wars that uses hex based mapping as a focus. The idea is that each scenario can be explored visually in a consistent mapped format for analysis and information as well as played in the traditional sense. It will be assumed that linked references will support the main bulk of the factual content and so the articles wont be that long in their own right.
Part of the sites objectives is to provide insight into all modern engagements. Clearly that will take some time, but eventually I hope it to be a solid starting reference for a good deal of modern wars.
The current objective is to create a new blog item every now and then detailing a specific battle, mainly out of interest in exploring that battle. The focus will be on modern warfare although battles from the past will be included across all time including the period BC. In particular the blog will from time to time cover current battles as they evolve. I am trying to be as diverse as I can across the 1945-date period.
The site does not purport to be a expert resource as such with regards to belligerents or orders of battle and where details are not know, especially in the current developing theatres, best guesses are made. Also, many battles are not that well documented on the internet where I get most of my background and that will be reflected in the scenario details.
Something that did inspire me was Brasseys Dictionary Of Battles which gives a simple overview of a lot of battles, regardless of their scale etc. For example, in his foreword he details the inclusion of military engagements where no shots were fired, including naval engagements where the outcome nevertheless was historically significant. I will be taking a slightly different stance, and will simple be including a massive span of engagements even when there is no historic merit, something common amongst the current affairs items. In total I hope to over the grand to the mundane. I personally find the very small engagements, often with less than 10 counters to be even more appealing than the monster style games. Many current events are relatively mundane, but even in their own sense are still rich with cultural inflection and background and can provide enjoyable distractions or as appetizers for grander campaigns.
Whilst I consider myself a hardcore gamer, the truth is im not. That’s because I just don’t have time, and im sure i'm not alone. This site aims to fill the gap for similarly serious gamers that don’t have time for learning rules or committing anything more than the very minimum of time. All the scenarios use the same very simple rules. Also, as much as I like big maps and lots of counters, the idea of spending 100 hours to play through once only then to have a grip on the rules and strategies etc that then require a second play to do the game justice are not an issue. You can play all of these games relatively quickly, and then once played, start again right away, no need to resort counters and what not.
I have played a number of games, more recently Europa Universalis which in total I played 3 times I think, although I did have the previous version. However, they take time, days on end. Because of my lack of time I spent quite a lot of time playing Hex Empires, a puerile games but massively addictive. That frustrated me a little as you walk away learning nothing and have nothing to remember it by. I hope that Warblog will fill a similar niche but at the same time offer people an educational opportunity and perhaps a stepping stone to further research, something Hex Empires and their ilk seldom do.
It is my intention to come back to certain battles and improve them either from an initial 'sketch' through to fine tuning elements as more is learnt. A key strength to this format is the ability to make modifications and fine tune detail over time. As such, some scenarios might appear unfinished or unpolished. If you have a particular desire to play any game that appears unfinished, just ask and i'll look into bringing it up to speed.
Hopefully this 'blog' will provide an interesting medium to analyse current military engagements that you might read about in the news etc in a light that focusses more on the mathematical strategic situation.
The games are designed to be played over a small time-frame, such as a coffee break and differ from many conventional wargames in that they are not campaign based or epic in format. As such, things like supply and command are not dealt with. You can probably get just as much gameplay out of them by just looking at them for free.
Unlike traditional hex based board games, War Blog does not intend to create a raft of special rules for every type of action, and in fact wont show calculations or tables at all. Whilst part of the fun of traditional board games was learning the maths and look up tables, that was mainly because they were cardboard chit games. This is a computer, so all of that is done for you. Most importantly it should eliminate the 'rule player' syndrome by forcing players to play as they feel the game should be played instead of hunting out tight odds ratios and rule loopholes. However, the actual rules are not that complex and traditional features still exist such as battle odd ratios for determining battle victory etc. In short this leaves a simple and intuitive gameplay and allows you instead to focus on the events and their environments.
The gameplay at the moment does work although is not complete. Below is a breakdown of what’s done, what’s pending and what’s on the horizon. It can be played but the combat has a few areas that haven’t been polished. You can certainly give it a whirl.
- movement on basic terrain with terrain cost accounted
- combat and retreats including consideration for river and enemy occupied hexes
- terrain defensive bonus working
- turn mechanism
- roads working
- rivers working
- amphibious units over rivers
- unit overview
- stack churning (click to get next unit in stack)
- air units
- anti-aircraft/air defence
- depression factors
- delayed unit arrival, ie unit arrives turn 4
- combat flanking
- depression recovery
- Unit combination assault variations (armour vs infantry etc)
- digging in and entrenchments
- fuller artillery rules
- entering zoc will end movement
- preventing units contributing to attacks over rivers
- ships and ship barrage
- naval rules
- leaders (introduced as command units)
- bridge laying
- mines (or mine markers)
- victory conditions
- land features (airports, seaport, supply depots, oil wells/fields, military bases etc)
- air patrols
- air mobile
- following on from modelling damage to cities and guerrillas etc, idea to have suicide bombers like air units that are just placed on map and cause damage to locations. This would be offset by rules for security forces or special security force units. This is just an idea to incorporate terrorist activity into game without unbalancing it?
- guerilla movement idea, move to any second hex, at cost, avoiding in between hex, ie jump units and lines, even ,mountains and lakes. Idea being that they are small and can evade interdiction/capture and get round barriers.
- location collateral damage factors (towns/features have hit points that can be targeted, eg by terrorists/rockets in guerilla warfare etc, as well as general bombardment, such as in general warfare) Effects could reflect in overall victory points and political score system in favour etc/against war. Results wont stop war, but if objective includes not destroying city or protecting city then it can add separate dimension. Cities could then be targeted by terrorist/suicide bombers etc.
- Hidden Movement (two players out of sight)
- Dummy counters (two players)
- Guerilla/Terrorist rules (units evade combat and can target single opponent units)
- armour ranged fire
- additional terrain and terrain features
- development of specific skill sets for odd units like medics, electronics, supplies etc
- lots more
Hopefully that will give you a good idea. If you have the urge to move proper counters around with your mouse then sign up now and move counter things around in real historical scenarios when ever you feel the urge without having to unpack boxes or read lots of words etc.
By signing up to this site and playing all the games you will immediately become an expert in modern military strategy.