Issue 75 (Summer 2014)


Civil War on River and Sea: A Review of Rebel Raiders on the High Seas
by Jim Werbaneth

Tactics Before ASL: Squad Leader and its Modules
by Jim Werbaneth

Two Visions of Vietnam: Command Magazine's Minigames of the Vietnam War
by Jim Werbaneth

NATO v Warsaw Pact, 1973: Two Additional Scenarios for the Original Red Star/White Star, from SPI
by Jim Werbaneth


Coming Attractions: Paul Rohrbaugh's The Vicksburg Campaign, for Turning Point Simulations
by Jim Werbaneth


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The Bully Pulpit

Issue 75 (Summer 2014)

by Jim Werbaneth

This issue marks another milestone in the history of Line of Departure: It is the seventy-fifth. There are days in which I never thought that it would go this far, but I’m happy that it did. Also, other periodicals, including some that were rolemodels for this one, fell by the wayside. My sense of disbelief has increased with each. Yet, sometimes in stark defiance of common sense, Line of Departure keeps on keeping on. I expect that to continue.

As this is a milestone issue, I decided that it would be entirely appropriate to give it an overarching theme. This time, it is Americans at War. There is precedent for this, and it is actually the second time that an issue has had this focus: The first was Issue 39, back in late 2001. So this is officially Americans at War Issue II.

Furthermore, it is a consistent practice that each issue of Line of Departure carries at least one project pertaining to the United States, or Americans, in some way. This can be something on the French and Indian War, when there were Americans but not yet independent ones, or the settlement of the Americas, including North America. The old Conquistador fits the latter criterion. More frequently though, the game, or games, include the armed forces of the United States of the America. The time frame can range from the Revolutionary War, into the future.

Issue 75 starts with the Civil War, and ends with hypothetical combat in the Cold War. Of course there are other countries involved, as only the Civil War can be portrayed as a “pure” American conflict. Otherwise, Americans go to war with others, most often with allies.

This was actually the genesis of the issue. For a long time, I had been considering a retrospective analysis of what is now frequently called the Classic Squad Leader series, from Avalon Hill. This would look at all the titles, from the first game through the G.I.: Anvil of Victory module. Of course there are Americans in there, along with German foes and Soviet allies. Then I acquired Mark McLaughlin’s innovative grand strategic naval game of the Civil War, Rebel Raiders on the High Seas. I wrote a review, and that meant more Americans, North and South.

At that point, I started leaning toward an all-American theme issue, especially when I wrote about Command magazine’s twin microgames set in Vietnam, Hamburger Hill and Operation Solace. When Command was at its zenith particular, its products were frequent subjects for Line of Departure projects. However, in the years since its demise, it went from the ranks of the usual suspects to the seldom-seens. Thus it seemed like a good time to go back and look at a Command issue game. Again, these were American-themed games, set for treatment in Line of Departure.

I was also determined to include scenarios. Avalon Hill titles were already scheduled for prominence in Issue 75, so I looked toward an SPI title. Like Avalon Hill, this company has been one of the more examined throughout Line of Departure’s history, but more as the subject of analysis than supplement. In consequence I dug out Red Star/White Star, the first hypothetical tactical game, and the subject of an article in the last issue of the magazine. In the spring, I had considered adding some scenarios for the game to accompany that article, but decided that they would not quite fit. Now they would.

Along the way, something had to be set aside for later. This turned out to be a review of the supermassive designer’s edition of Ogre. That will have to come later. Also, in the process I ended up with more articles than I needed for Issue 75. Thus I have a little bit of a strategic reserve again, along with a head start on Issue 76. We will just have to see what fits in there, both thematically and spatially.

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