Red Storm – Solitaire Development

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One of the aspects making the Downtown series great is its intense fog-of-war.  The combination of dummy flights, hidden AAA/SAMs, generic flights, and unconfirmed bombing results add up to a lot of uncertainty for both players in most scenarios, a situation that is both realistic and fun, since neither player knows the full picture.

As cool as the system is, the extensive fog-of-war adds a lot of rules, an issue for some players with limited time, while also making the game less appealing as a solo experience.  To address both issues, early in the development of Red Storm, Gene gave me the task of working in some solo rules.  I examined as many different solo systems I could find, while also reviewing some draft solo rules that Lee Brimmicombe-Wood and Antonio Peña worked on for Downtown but never published formally.  After that research and some tinkering with various options, I settled on a “two tier” system of solo rules for Red Storm.

Red Storm – Scenario Mix

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In designing scenarios for Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987, I’m trying to provide a wide range of scenarios in terms of size, complexity, and “standard” versus “unusual” situations.  Regarding size, the variance is based on three main factors: the amount of the map in play, the number of flights on each side, and the density of ground defenses (SAMs and AAA).  Complexity varies based on who is doing what.  One side bombing?  Both sides?  Good or bad weather?  Lots of Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and electronic jamming aircraft?  The final aspect is standard vs. unusual.  Here, “standard” would be daylight missions with one or both sides bombing targets and one or both sides trying to intercept the other.  Order of Battle tables determine the exact flights and available munitions.  An “unusual” scenario would include specific pre-designated units with special rules (like a cruise missile attack, paradrop or helicopter assault).  At this point in testing, we are working on a total of 29 scenarios.  I’m not sure if all of those will make the cut, but I figure it’s good to have too many at this point instead of too few.  Any that don’t get into Red Storm will likely be future C3i magazine scenarios or be offered through some other venue.

Red Storm – Scenario Design and Testing

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In designing Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987, I wanted to provide a diverse mix of scenarios in terms of content, balance, and size.  To give a sense of my design process, this article will share some insights into the scenario design and testing of “Breakthrough,” one of the larger scenarios in the game. “Breakthrough” features a new rule mechanic as well, so I wanted to put it through its paces to make sure the size and balance felt right, in addition to kicking the tires on the new rules.

Red Storm AAR Playtest, Part 2

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The following is part 2 of an after action review of my most recent test game of Red Storm with my good friend and playtest team member Chris Baer.  This scenario is titled “Offensive Counter Air” and features two big NATO deep strike raids going over the front and into southwestern East Germany.  In Part 1 Chris and I both provided our thoughts as we went through the pre-game planning phases.  Here in Part 2 we’ll discuss some of the action in the scenario itself.

Red Storm Playtest AAR, Part 1

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The following is an After Action Review of my most recent test game of Red Storm  on a long Friday morning and afternoon with my good friend and playtest team member Chris Baer.  This was a test of one of the bigger scenarios in Red Storm, “Offensive Counter Air”, which features two big NATO deep strike raids going over the front and into southwestern East Germany to hit Warsaw Pact airfields.  I wanted to test one of the bigger scenarios to see how certain rules “scale up” to a very large scenario.  In particular, I wanted to fully work out the SAM and Electronic Warfare rules, areas where the rules for Red Storm make some significant changes from earlier games in the series.  Here in Part 1 of the AAR I’ll go through my pre-game planning from the NATO side of things, with Chris providing some insights into Warsaw Pact planning.  In Part 2 I’ll show some images of the game with a bit of commentary on how things went.

Break Right!—SAMs and AAA in Red Storm

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Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs) and Antiaircraft Artillery (AAA) are well known threats to players of Downtown and Elusive Victory.  They appear again in Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987 and with a vengeance.  This article will discuss the SAM and AAA forces of NATO and the Warsaw Pact in Red Storm and how they may affect both defensive and offensive planning in the game.

Fox One! Beyond Visual Range Combat in Red Storm

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In the late 1980s battlefield imagined in the upcoming game Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987, beyond visual range (BVR) combat changes significantly from earlier games in the series. BVR missiles  by the late 1980s were both more numerous and more deadly than ever before, and both sides were expected  to use them in large quantities. This article will discuss some of the potential changes in BVR combat in Red  Storm and the thinking behind them.

Next War: India-Pakistan – Strategic Choices, part 4 (and final)

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Doug Bush finishes his Next War: India-Pakistan strategy series with this look at the India player’s strategic options. See Part 1 and Part 2 for a discussion of the strategic choices faced by the Pakistan player. See Part 3 for the first look at strategy from the Indian perspective.

In the first two articles of this series, I focused on the war depicted in NWIP from the Pakistan player’s side. In the third article I switched to the Indian player’s perspective on the defense. Here, I examine the choices  facing an Indian player in the four scenarios where they are on the offense (“Lahore”, “Enough!”, “Unification”, and “Loose Nukes”).

Next War: India-Pakistan – Strategic Choices, part 3

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Doug Bush continues his Next War: India-Pakistan strategy series with this look at the India player’s strategic options. See Part 1 and Part 2 for a discussion of the strategic choices faced by the Pakistan player.

In the first two articles of this series, I focused on the war depicted in NWIP from the Pakistan player’s side. In this article I’ll switch to the Indian player’s perspective. India is the strategic attacker in four of the six scenarios in NWIP, including two standard game scenarios (“Lahore” and “Enough!”) and two advanced game scenarios (“Unification” and “Loose Nukes”). In the other two scenarios (“Kashmir” and “Border War”) India is on the defense.

Next War: India-Pakistan – Pakistani Strategic Choices, part 2

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Doug Bush continues his Next War: India-Pakistan strategy series with this examination of the Pakistani Order of Battle and the various options they provide. See Part 1 of this series for a discussion of the overall strategic choices faced by the Pakistan player.

Pakistan starts with six front line Army Corps with three more that enter as reinforcements.  Each provides the player with different challenges and opportunities on the attack.  In this article, I’ll go into some of the choices available to a Pakistan player for each one.