02 May 2012

GameTalk - Weird Weapons of War

If necessity is the Mother of Invention, then the desperate days of war have brought about some very unique (but not always successful) battlefield innovations.  To wit: the Japanese Lunge mine, Russian mine dogs, and the German Goliath.  Do experimental weapons show us the value (or futility?) of unique or alternative thinking in waging war, or are they just fun play and largely an entertaining distraction?  What games have you played that allowed you to deploy some of these odd weapons?

By: Jack Nastyface


brian said...

Well, experimental weapons that work are put into production and aren't experimental anymore. Case in point, the Funnies.

I don't play a lot of tactical games, so don't have much direct experience with games that feature them.

Squad Leader Crescendo of Doom" (and of course ASL later) featured most of the weird and better-known Allied "Funnies" AFVs - Crocodile, AVRE, Skink, "Canal Defence Light", etc.

Avalanche made up a whole Panzer Grenadier game module for experimental/late-war weapons (just like they made up a module for everything else, it seems) featuring German superheavy tanks, helicopters, British/American late war armour, early ATGMs, that kind of thing.


Then there's Richard Berg's game on the Japanese Fire Balloon offensive, designed on a dare...


Jack Nastyface said...
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Jack Nastyface said...

Some computer games that have included weird weapons are: Japanese lunge mine in Steel Panthers...and I think HPS Eagles Strike includes the Goliath.

Hobart's funnies make an appearance in most reputable WWII western front games (with the exception of the bridging and tank-ditch units). I enjoyed using the AVRE in Combat Mission: Africa Corps mostly because I like big explosions.

And on that note...I don't think I've ever seen any game include really big guns (Paris, Thor) or even trench mines (WWI). Are these too infrequent/unpredictable to be interesting? If so, then why do so many Nap-war games include Congreve rockets, a weapon that was largely useless outside of seige warfare (Copenhagen, Ft. McHenry).

Experimental weapons abound in flight sims, of course. It was the very premise of Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, but other games have had their share, including the Mistal flying bomb, the Gotha flying wing and a VTOL plane in IL-2. Even Rise of Flight (WWI) is planning a weapons pack featuring Prieur rockets and 20mm and 37mm aerial gun platforms.

I have never seen mine dogs, italian piloted torpedoes or Japanese mini-subs in any platform...but I forgive developers and publishers the omission.

Yours in gaming,

Jack Nastyface

besilarius said...

GHQ Miniatures put out a Brumbar pack at one time in 1/285 scale.
Having the pack, weplayed with the figurines. It got to the point, we stopped playing in towns, because the krauts always bought a brumbar or two.
If you like the AVRE, you would love the Brumbar.

Brian said...

It always got me how certain "extreme" German vehicles would show up in practically every armor game, no matter how few were actually produced:

Brummbar = 306
Sturmtiger = 18
Jagdtiger = 88
Kugelblitz AA tank = 6?

Giant German guns do show up in a few of Ty Bomba's East Front designs, and I think there was a Big Bertha counter in another WWI XTR design.

I'm surprised Japanese mini-subs don't show up anywhere, but I don't know naval games.

I could swear I saw a "Mine Dog" counter as some guy's avatar on Boardgamegeek.com, but I can't find it now of course - he might have just made it up.