World War II

This section covers my on-again, off-again love affair with WWII miniatures gaming.

Dogfight Gaming

In the 1990s, I started playing WWII aerial dogfight games with a locally published set of rules and 1/300 aircraft. The game was much simpler than the classic Mustangs & Messerschmitts and played much faster, but was ultimately still heavy on arithmetic and from a distance still looked like a field of tall poles.

In 2013 a few local gamers started playing a Check Your Six! campaign, and invited several of us to join in. That group became the South Bay Aces and is still playing (now on our fourth campaign), even after the untimely death of the founding gamer. The South Bay Aces play with 1/144 scale planes on telescoping antennas moving across a 3" hex grid. I was initially sceptical of 1/144 scale; tthe models can be expensive and very hard to find, but they are usually plastic which is very light and therefore very suitable to placing atop a 2'+ rod without excessive tippy-ness, and the models are just big enough to distract the eye from the field of poles holding them up.

Operational Gaming

I flirted with WWII operational land warfare for a few years in the early 2000s, trying rules like Spearhead, Panzer Korps, Operation Brevity, Great Battles of WWII (GBOWW2), Kampfgruppe Commander, and a few homebrew sets before losing interest. I still have a large microarmor collection in various stages of paint and basing waiting for me to get back to it. Since the world has largely moved on to larger scales for WWII gaming, I picked up most of this collection very cheaply, but in truth my main accomplishment was to move other peoples' unused junk into my storage space...

My favorite of the operational rules was Operation Brevity by Phil Yates (one of the Flames of War authors), which have long since disappeared from the Internet, but I have reposted it below for as long as Phil Yates will suffer it to exist.

I also thought GBOWW2 had promise and I have collected all three versions of it in print and PDF form. I really liked the careful attention to pacing, casualty rates, morale, and the inclusion of mechanisms for multi-day operations, though I felt the combat mechanisms seemed a bit too "tactical" for the scale of the game and needed further streamlining and abstraction.

I still have rules on my "try some day" list:
    KISS Rommel
    Division Commander
And of course, like most gamers, i have my own unfinished rules to try out someday...