Reefs World
 
 SHIFTING SANDS a brief review

At the request of our host I thought I would pen my thoughts on this 'classic' from the world of CDG (Card Driven Wargames).A true 'son of POG' (if you don't know what POG is-you're not a true wargamer!)
Each card can be played for moving units (ops), moving them long distance (Strategic Redeployment), new men & material (Replacements), or the event.(Caveat-some do more then one of these!)This gives the classic dilema-do I move troops,refit them from past losses, play this event, or redeploy to meet a new threat?You are always on a knifedge, playing the cards you have.Each has a number between 2-5, the number of points you get for each category you want to use it for, but you may not 'mix & match'.
The Allies have lots of units,lots of reinforcements & of course the actual real life winners,but start out quite weak.They also have 3 different theatres to worry about-N Africa/Near East & East Africa. The Axis have Rommel!! They initially have the upper hand, with superb ability to attack, with column shifts & fast moving tank units (15th & 21st Panzer ),plus good defensive terrain in Tunisia in which to defend in early 43.It's true they have the Italians as allies, but they can be good at holding the flanks etc.
The games I have seen/played in are usually very close, coming right down to the wire.The victor is decided in the last turn of the game & seldom never more than by +/- 1 VP,making a very close game.
It is true the cards can come out in the 'wrong order', so you may not get the units you want as early as you want them,plus some events have pre-requisists, but this is all part of the 'chaos' of war.You are the General in charge of the Middle East Theatre, thus have no say in what units are sent to you from the UK or Germany/Italy,when the USA comes in/when Torch will happen-you just have to plan/adapt-just like real generals!

Whew! Any thoughts/comments/suggestions most welcome!
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A brief history of GBACW, These games are based on historic individual regiments and batteries size counters in 100 to 125 yard hexes. Which is what turned me on to them. I believe it started with SPI, Terrible Swift Sword, 1977 The Battle of Gettysburg which is a three map 2000 counter monster game. Then SPI, Stonewall the Battle of Kernstown Va., one map, 100 counters. Third in the early series gbacw was Bloody April, Battle of Shiloh another two map, 2000 counter game. These were easy to play I go you go kind of rules.\nSome years passed and smaller but just as good games came out. \nBut for me when SPI, Gleam of Bayonets, 1983, Battle of Antietam for those northerns and Sharpsburg for us southerns. This was another two map 2000 counter monster game. I saw big changes\nFirst was the mapping and the multi colored terrain. Before this game the maps were using maybe five colors.\nSecond was the multi colored counters identifing the different units, instead of the basic two colored blues for the union and gray and red for the rebs.\nFinally I was introduced to the chit pull system. It was simple to use, but they were still using the I go you go play. \nIn 1986 SPI/TSR came out with a 2nd edition of Terrible Swift Sword,(TSS II), This is a Great Game, I still play to this day. I still do play the other games in the series but not as much. Another three map 2000 counter monster game with all the color changes to maps and counters and revised rules. This game was followed up by a multi scenario game call SPI/TSR, Rebel Sabers. Five calvary battles, one of these scenario allowed you to attach a fourth map to TSS II and play the calvary engagement west of town,(Stuart on the third day tried to flank the union right around the time of Pickets charge).\nAfter these games came out still smaller ones were coming but eventaully SPI/TSR close or went out business.\nThen one day I was visiting my gaming store in NYC, The Compltet Strategist and found GMTs The Three Days of Gettysburg, A three map 2000 counter monster game, holly cow, unbelievable, This game had it all.\nHowever there was a small problem. They started an almost new rule system and used the CHIT pull system that was not perfect. But this was corrected with some new counters and maps.\nTo date GMT has come out with some in my opinion Unbelievable games.\nRiver of Death= Chickamauga\nRed Badge of Courage= First and Second Bull Run\nThree Days of Gettysburg= Third edition (due to the revision of the first)\nDead of Winter= Stones River\nNote for history buffs,\n Union battles and victories were named after towns/places\n Confederate battles and victories were after rivers\nOut side of the ACW\nGMT has come out with battle at Austerlitz and some Mexican War games, Gringo, Battle with Gringos and Churubosco. Which all use the GBACW system." Thanks Thomas, Nice piece to kick off the open forum. Anyone who has an interest in or previous experience of this series please please please comment. Perhaps Thomas would be good enough to respond.