Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Distraction 1: East of Suez

To kick off this little ‘interruption’ thread – in which I will chronicle my holiday-season game-buying madness – I’ll note that my little order from Bunker Hill Games arrived yesterday.

In response to the owner’s “help me stay in business” posting, I ordered a couple of APL game supplements. Stuff I’ve been putting off because while interesting, they weren’t eating in a hole in my brain. But since John at Bunker Hill has always done an excellent job by me over the years, I thought I should kick in a little something, even if I didn’t want to spring for a ‘boxed’ title.

So I got both PG: Arctic Front Deluxe and SWWAS: East of Suez. I cracked into the naval book last night as I sat grumping about the rain-soaked World Series baseball game (which should never have started in that crummy weather, BTW).

East of Suez is a very nice supplement with two half-sheets of counters – mostly British, but some Dutch, Japanese and various others mixed in. The first thing about it that hit me, though, was that it seems a lot of effort for something that’s actually kind of dopey. By that I mean none of the scenarios in the book are playable unless you own SWWAS: Leyte Gulf.

I don’t know what sales of Leyte have been, but I can’t help but wonder if they didn’t print more supplements than they did monster games. I imagine a number of guys don’t care – they just want to fondle the counters and see the stats – but at the very least it had to be something of a trap for retailers. I couldn’t help but notice that Bunker Hill (he posts stock levels in his item details) had 43 of the damned supplements in stock. I’ll bet he hasn’t sold that many copies of Leyte, and I notice he has just 1 copy of the monster in stock (at $175).

Count me as one of the zany bunch who bought Leyte Gulf (at some or another terrific discount during one of APL’s big sales). So for me, nearly everything in the supplement is playable (except anything requiring Strike South, which I don’t have).

Anyway, it reads like a supplement that the boss wanted to print (as opposed to one that marketing wanted to sell). Some very nice historical articles, including probably the most extensive discussion of the Dutch navy that I think I’ve ever seen in a wargame. A number of large-ish operational scenarios that span a range from ‘really happened’ to ‘almost happened’ to ‘Churchill’s wet dreams’.

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