Issue 82 (Spring 2019)

The Lost Campaigns of 1941: A Review of Forgotten Legions
by Jim Werbaneth

Your Men are Obsolete: The Potential Futures of Aging Miniatures
by Jason Guard

First Battle of the Third Crusade: Latins Versus Saladin in Decision Games’ Acre
by Jim Werbaneth

Red Storm at Kharkov: Strategy in Moments in History’s Ring of Fire
by Jim Werbaneth

The Energy Crisis Goes Hot: Looking Back at Oil War
by Jim Werbaneth

The Closed-Ended Simulation: Why Tobruk Could Not Go Far Beyond Gazala
by Jim Werbaneth


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The Bully Pulpit

by Jim Werbaneth

Yes, at long last, I’m back and so is Line of Departure. It has been a while, again. Last year was one of major changes. There was opportunity, in a series of educational con-sulting jobs that lasted for most of 2018. This was kind of what Bill Clinton used to call a high-class problem; I lacked the time to work on Line of Departure or design games, both of which I resolved to do, because I was too busy making more money on a consistent, monthly basis than I could in several years of wargame-related work. Much as I might regret not publishing until now, this is the kind of opportunity that amounts to an intelligence test; if you don’t take ad-vantage of it, you fail.

There were times too in which it was tough, healthwise. Most of my old problems are under control, but when my migraines hit, they were crippling. They still are. The good news is that my neurologist confirms that the medication is working, they’ve gone from chronic to episodic, down to a handful a month. The bad news is that when they happen, they’re as bad or worse than ever, truly debilitating.

As it stands now, 2019 looks as though I’ll have a lot more time for gaming, designing, and above all Line of Departure. One of the biggest reasons is that as of now, I’m working entirely from home, with no commute to anywhere. All of my teaching is online, no brick and mortar work, and I probably won’t be doing any for some time. I’m still at American Public University System, that’s my full-time job, the one that provides my medical coverage and pays for the roof over my head, the food in my fridge and the car in the garage. I’m also now an adjunct instructor of political science at Ashford University, finishing my new faculty train-ing. I’m at a happy stage in my career too that if I need more work to make good on any financial shortfalls, I could probably get it. There is teaching, and the consulting work as a Subject Matter Expert [SME] looks as though it will be com-ing back this year, albeit most probably without the heavy time demands of last year. This is a point in which a door might close, but another probably will open.

This reflects one of the biggest changes for the magazine, and its erstwhile publisher, since its beginnings in 1991. Back then I had the occasional part time job and casual gig, but nothing like a career. Line of Departure was born out of those doldrums. In fits and starts, things improved, sometimes impeded by health issues, and occasionally helped by some good timing. All of teaching jobs over the last eleven years have resulted from being in the right place at the right time as much as anything else. The lesson from that is that is that fortune does help. Sometimes though I’ve taken chances that didn’t quite work out; trying to sell insurance, in the midst of a recession at that, probably had no chance of leading to success. Still, it was worth a try, and I still maintain my license, and a body of knowledge that definitely helps with teaching about healthcare policy. So I got something out of it, though it wasn’t a sufficient pile of cash.

What I needed now wasn’t necessarily a career boost, as I’m going along at a nice cruising speed, though not exactly on afterburner. What I found I really needed was a lot more time. Time is a more rare commodity at this stage of life than a steady paycheck and even opportunity. It’s not simply that time is money, but time or the lack of it is at the root of everything else.

Hopefully now, there will be more time. That includes time to take a nap, time to relax, time to go to the gym more often. And yes, time for wargaming, and Line of Departure.

This issue features games from “seldom scene” publishers, ones whose work has appeared rarely if at all over the years. The lead review is of Forgotten Legions, the first time that a Compass Games product has been covered in these pages. With the growing number of the company’s products in my library, this is way overdue. Games from Moments in History used to be staples here, but not in some years. They return this issue with an analysis of Ring of Fire, originally reviewed here when it came out. Decision Games products have been missing for a while too, though not nearly as long, and return with an article on the folio game Acre. This is significant for another reason, as medie-val topics are relative rarities in the magazine. But the “usual suspects” aren’t forgotten, Issue 82 also looks at the old SPI game Oil War, and the venerable Avalon Hill groundbreaker, Tobruk.

Now let’s see what I can do to advance the publication of Issue 83.


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