From Russia, With Love (for Wargames)

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This short article was originally a letter from Russian shop owner Igor Luckyanov to game designer Mark McLaughlin. Focused on one of Mark’s designs, Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, it shares a story of love for games and some pictures with us from our fellow wargamers in Russia. So we wanted to share it with our readers. We hope to see future articles from fellow gamers around that world that give us a glimpse of how players with a love for games and history are enjoying our products in their country. Enjoy! – Gene

(Translated from Russian) Here is a story of Rebel Raiders on the High Seas in Russia! Since the release of the game, I have sold several copies (less than half dozen, I suppose) to the Russian players in my shop. Somehow the amount of wargamers in Moscow Wargamers Club who are interested in the American Civil War is far higher than among the wargamers or military history buffs in Russia in general. These guys who are highly dedicated to the ACW theme even involved me in some of their most ambitious games. I am not so interested in ACW, but simply cannot resist when some group of dedicated players invites me. So I was not so surprised when I saw Rebel Raiders on the High Seas set up and played upon its release. Alexander Bogachov and Vyacheslav Loginov were the first players as far as I remember playing the game four or so years ago.
In the photos you can see representatives of Russian “Grognards”, Ilya Litsios (to the right on the photos) and Pavel Teplov, both of whom have been playing wargames since the early 90s. As far as I know, Ilya owned the game for several years, but it stood unpunched on his shelf. Recently, he started a session with his longtime buddy Pavel. I don’t know, what was the inspiration point for him (maybe he reread or resaw Gone with the Wind, because for most Russians the “main figure” in Confederate Navy, and in all Naval War during ACW is for sure Rhett Butler!) I hope Ilya will come here to comment. In either case, they played two game on two Saturdays in a row (both were Confederate victories), and as I heard, they are not going to stop. Since we launched groups of Russian wargamers on FB and in Russian net VK, the beautiful look of Rebel Raiders launched some wave, if I could name this so, of interest among Russian wargamers. I think that Pavel Teplov expressed the general thought about the game as an “overlooked gem,” addressing me right during the heat of battle in the first game:
“Igor! What a game! How can we have overlooked it? Do you have it on the shelves of your shop? I must buy it!”
I am rigorously watching to have the best games about the ACW (it is good to be the shop owner, because you have the privilege to sell the games you really like) on the shelves, but this time I had to answer:
“Sorry, no I haven’t! But I’ll order some of them from GMT Games next time, and reserve a copy for you.”
Mark, we love your games and remember all of your games since The Napoleonic Wars, one of the most popular and widely-presented wargames in Russia. Then there were Wellington and Kutuzov (strangely not so popular here, maybe due to the odd-looking map). Thank you for all the good games you are designing! Thanks for all the hours of pure pleasure you have presented to us, Russian wargamers!
P.S. Just forgot to write how we are waiting for The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble! If you can put that war on the table in a similar way to what you did with The Napoleonic Wars – you are a magician!
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One thought on “From Russia, With Love (for Wargames)

  1. When I first glimpsed this article, my reaction was, “It sure is nice to see that map of the Southern Confederacy hanging vertically! Where could that be?” I was somewhat surprised to read that the setting was in Moscow, but why shouldn’t Russians also be interested in the ACW? Plus, Rebel Raider on the High Seas is a fantastic game which my brother and I played through about three times in a row when it first came out and which I hope to get back on the table in the not too distant future again. I should also think that European gamers would also find the global aspect of the game (i.e. the raiders scouring the seas) interesting.