13 November 2013

Wargames Soldiers & Strategy Magazine - Issue 69 - Countdown to Doomsday

Through a post on The Guild I learnt that the latest is of the excellent "Wargames Soldiers & Strategy" magazine - that is issue 69, had the theme "Countdown to Dommsday - The conflict that never happened".  I knew it would be several months before I saw it in Australia (if I was lucky enough to stumble across it) so decided to purchase it directly from Karwansaray Publishing.

The magazine arrived in a week from the Netherlands (which I think is excellent) and I read all the "theme" articles overnight.

There are in essense 7 Cold War articles in the magazine, which include an nice introduction to the "period", a brief discussion on Exercise Able Archer, with a kind of scenario set as a result of the Soviets jumping the gun over Able Archer, a matrix game set during the Cuban missile crisis (which I must confess I haven't gotten around to reading yet), an article on soviet weapon and troop capabilities in wargames, a quick look at some Cold War games and how they deal with WMDs, a look at a few of the ranges of 28mm, 20mm, 15mm and 6mm figures available and a modelling article regarding how they did the vignette (28mm) on the front cover.

There are of course a ton of other articles but as these have nothing to do with the them, I'm ignoring them here.

So - is it worth getting?  To that I give a qualified yes.  Yes, because it's really nice to see a decent wargame magazine have my favoured period as a theme.  Generally the closest you get to a 1980's wargame getting a mention is a shot of some Cold War table at a convention off in the distance - so it's great to have not just one, but a number of articles, with good photos etc all in the one mag.

Yes, because the authors know what they are talking about.  One of them is an armour/intel officer who has been there and done that, and provides interesting personal snippets.

Yes, as they are trying to make you think, particularly the article about Soviet weapon and tropp capabilities.

Yes, if you are new to the period and want to get a bit of a taste.

Before I say anything that could be construed as negative - and I don't want to be negative, let me say you can only fit so much in a magazine - I get that.  I think the articles provide a taste, but not quite what I was hoping.  The article on Soviet weapon and troop capabilities asked some good questions and provided a couple of ideas, but didn't push the issue quite as far as I wanted.  I wanted to be convinced by the article that the Soviets really did have good stuff and good quality troops and the idea of needing 30 odd tanks and 12 odd BMPs to crush a platoon of M60s, limited infantry and a couple of ITVs was wrong.  But then the scenario by the same author uses the numbers outlined above so I'm not 100% sure what he was trying to tell me.

I guess overall I'd rate it about 7 out of 10.  I'm glad I got it, I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't really change or add to my current approach to gaming WW3.  If it tempts a few more people into the period, or convinces a few more 20mm manufacturers to add to their ranges - I'll be very happy.