...and a day out on the gaming table.
|The 2016 version|
In 1995 The Gamers published the second Operational Combat Series game, Tunisia. After the high counter density found in the first game in the series, Guderian's Blitzkrieg and my attempts at solitaire play, the "lighter" Tunisia was much appreciated. Of all of the games in the OCS stable, Tunisia is likely the one I have most played. While it may have been the most played, none of the OCS games have seen action on my gaming table in about twenty years.
|The original 1995 version|
Fast forward to 2016. Multi-Man Publishing published a remake of the 1995 OCS classic Tunisia game entitled, Tunisia II. Graphically, the components maintain the same look and feel as the original with, perhaps, some improvements as expected with the passage of twenty years in publishing advancements. Still, the new Tunisian II reminds me very much of my old friend, Tunisia.
|Map sample via VASSAL|
Twenty years is a long time to have a stack of series games lay dormant without play. Even though I still add games to the game shelf, getting them onto the table has been a chore. My focus definitely shifted away from the hex and counter wargame variety to gaming with miniatures but a surge of nostalgia has me reaching for some of my old (and new) wargames.
Tunisia II is one such game. While I have been hinting for a long time at getting the game on the table, that time finally arrived. Since my impression of the OCS series is that it represents one of the finest models of WWII operational combat designed, I have long wanted to give the fellas a taste of the OCS system. What better entry than Tunisia II with its very low counter density at the beginning of the Race to Tunis scenario?
That day of reckoning finally arrived. Scott had a free half day so a introductory game was scheduled. After a couple of days of punching and clipping counters, reading the rules, becoming reacquainted to the charts and tables, sorting counters, and setting up the game, I was more or less ready. My recent study of the system has reinforced my notion of how well crafted the OCS system is even after more than twenty-five years of service. Of course, the rules now stand at Version 4.2 rather than 1.0 but after twenty-five years, the system ought to hum like a well-oiled machine.
We set to work on the game. While my play was quite rusty with many a rule look up, we managed to get through four or five turns in about three hours. One memory that came back to me was that a single turn in OCS can consume a lot of time. With an interactive turn sequence, both players remain engaged throughout the turn. In the "old" days, some twenty years ago, an FtF gaming session would consist of only one turn. Games would be in progress for weeks at a time. Each of us maintained a separate game set up to ponder and plan our next moves until we could next meet. The planning and anticipation of outwitting an opponent even before meeting to play the turn was great fun.
This exercise has reignited a passion for these games that has been smoldering for twenty years. I would enjoy getting in much more practice and study to improve my skills in conducting WWII operations using the OCS model. Even if this effort only results in getting some of my long-neglected games back into a semi-regular rotation, it will be worth the time spent. When FtF is not possible, VASSAL can step in as substitute. With VASSAL,time and space become less of a constraint than it posed two decades ago. Another exploratory game (one of GMT's 1914 series) is in progress via VASSAL. I have found it to be great fun and an efficient method in learning a new system. These operational-level wargames provide a perspective difficult to reproduce on the gaming table with miniatures. Both methods have a place in a wargamer's toolkit. With luck, Scott will be a willing OCS participant in the future.