A rumble in the jungle with my lady

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josta59
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A rumble in the jungle with my lady

Postby josta59 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:08 am

Last night was special because it was most likely the first time the Warp Spawn game Jungle Skirmish was ever played. I base this on the fact that its designer, Lloyd Krassner, puts a new game on his Web site every week and has made over a thousand games, and on the fact that the rules for Jungle Skirmish had only been viewed eight times when I found them. I would venture to guess that the majority of his games have never been played, and many never will be.

Mr. Krassner leaves a lot of room for interpretation in his game designs, and Jungle Skirmish works either on a chess board or a hex map. If I can get a game going here on the forum, I plan to make a nice hex map with a river, a road, and mountains. But the first ever game of Jungle Skirmish was played on a chess board, on which the dark spaces represented jungle and the light spaces were fields. Squad movements and action are aided by a unique card set and a six-sided die.

My wife Tara doesn't care for chess, but she likes a lot of games. I was hoping I could get her to like this one, and I think I succeeded. She decided the setting would be East Cambodia, an area of interest in her college studies. The game is set up as government troops vs rebel troops, and since she was a government major and I'm the rebellious type, choosing sides was easy.

IMAG0214.jpg
Tara seems enthusiastic enough.


In this game a counter represents ten men, and you can choose the type of soldiers to send into battle. You can use greener troops, which allows for more squads but fewer cards to draw each turn, or you can choose highly trained troops, which gives you the opposite. We decided to keep things even this first time and both chose regular troops, allowing four squads and four cards drawn per turn.

We could've used checkers as markers, but since squads lose men when they're attacked, I realized chess pieces would make things a lot easier to keep track of. Tara's very organized, and she actually drew her entire squad on the paper tablecloth in front of her so she could cross them out as they died. A little morbid, but that's ok.

The rules specify that movements must be orthogonal (horizontal or vertical), but they don't say whether attacks can be diagonal. Tara helped me figure out that on a chess board, the best way to determine fire range is by counting orthogonally in two dimensions and then allowing fire in any direction. In other words, if a unit is one space from me diagonally, it's a range of two because you have to count one space up and one space across. That was a big help and turned out to be a good rule. Of course this won't be an issue on a hex map.

The quarters represent the three objectives that both sides want to take and control. Tara and I employed different strategies to achieve the objectives. I bunched my squads together to gain control of the closer objective to my right, intending to sweep to the left and crush her flank. She spread her squads out along her back line.

A coin flip determined that I went first. Each turn is divided into five phases:

  • An "orders" phase, in which cards are drawn
  • A movement phase, in which each unit gets a free move one space and further moves are allowed by any movement cards in your hand, unless your opponent has a card that negates your move
  • A defensive fire phase--your opponent always gets an opportunity to attack you once first using an attack card in her hand, unless you can negate the attack
  • An offensive fire phase, in which each of your units can attack your opponent as attack cards are available (if you only have one attack card, only one unit can attack, etc.)
  • A "logistics" phase, in which you must whittle your hand down to your favorite three cards

IMAG0215.jpg
Very different strategies


Tara achieved the objective to my left in three turns, and then the firefight began. She took the first casualties when I called in an artillery strike on her Rook Squad. I took out half the squad with that one card. Then we both moved up to the center line and each achieved an objective. The strategy phase of the game was over at this point, much as in a real battle--now it was a race to kill or be killed, all based on luck-of-the-draw and luck-of-the-dice. Tara asked, "Is the only way to get a squad off an objective to kill 'em all?" Gotta love her.

IMAG0216.jpg
Battle for the quarters


Tara managed to whittle my King Squad down to three men, so I retreated them from the front line so they could use long-range attacks. Those three guys turned out to be very useful, and I managed to knock her Bishop Squad off the center objective. But only seconds later she knocked my Rook Squad off the right objective.

IMAG0217.jpg
Each side loses a squad simultaneously.


Tara kept getting bad hands with no attack cards, but she kept at it and eventually knocked my Bishop Squad off the center objective.

IMAG0218.jpg
A tough battle
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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Re: A rumble in the jungle with my lady

Postby josta59 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:26 am

Then her King Squad, which had just been watching the action for a while, decided to pull out some long-range guns and blow what remained of my King Squad to kingdom come. She started looking like a real general at this point. Only my Knight Squad remained, but it was still at full strength, now on the right objective.

IMAG0219.jpg
General Tara whoopin' tail


There was no strategy to employ. Tara pointed out that I probably couldn't win at this point, but with ten men left I had to try to stay on that quarter as long as I could and hope for the best. Unfortunately my Knight Squad didn't last long, and when she blasted it down to two men I decided to surrender. She says that in Cambodia that means certain death, but either way they were dead.

IMAG0220.jpg
My Knight Squad finally gives it up.


This was Tara's first wargame, and she seemed to genuinely enjoy it. I'm glad she won (though I gave it my best), because that always helps a person enjoy a game the first time they play it.

IMAG0221.jpg
The cheerful victor


There are lots of options we can try later, like more terrain types (mountains, rivers, roads, and buildings, each with their own rules), different squad types (all the way up to Rambo), and even booby traps and mines.

I hope I can get two people to play this game here on the forum. Like I said, I'll make a nice hex map with different terrain types. The cards make it more logistically challenging than a conventional wargame, but I think it can work.

There's a call for players for Jungle Skirmish at this thread: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=1105

Now that you've seen it played out, I hope you'll give it a chance.

I should really write Lloyd Krassner and let him know someone finally played this game five years after he designed it...
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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Re: A rumble in the jungle with my lady

Postby josta59 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:24 pm

A note: I did write Lloyd this morning, and he wrote me back and confirmed my suspicion that he hasn't made any new games in months. The reason is that he has stage-4 cancer of some kind. That's as bad as it gets.

The good news is that he said he's "fighting a bout of stage 4 cancer," so he clearly hasn't given up. I'm praying he'll pull through. I hope you'll join me.

Scott
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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Re: A rumble in the jungle with my lady

Postby Whiterook » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:54 am

First off, Tara is beautiful....you're a lucky man! Hang on tight to her, as a wife that likes wargames is somewhat a rare find.

Fantastic write up! ...and great action in this game. I think you've a lot of possibilities to build upon here. If you correspond with Mr. Krassner, please give him our best.maybe the forum can offer some respite in his battle and we'd be proud to have him here.

Some things to think about....

I think you can develop this game far beyond its original structure. You may want to ask Mr. Krassner if you can develop it further under your name; or as a co-designer. Copyright on games is such that you could use many elements re-imagined, and new elements, and not infringe on his game....but getting his support on re-developing it on your part is a good way to go.

2. If you send me some sketches...or detailed descriptions by quadrants...I can draw up some maps for you. I have two cartography programs that can do very nice maps.

3. When is Tara gonna sign up?

Keep up the great work here, mate!
If you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning

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Re: A rumble in the jungle with my lady

Postby josta59 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:30 pm

Thanks, Em!

I know you're significantly backlogged here, but the urban warfare game I've been playtesting is my own version of Jungle Skirmish (viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1140). I told Lloyd my ideas, and he said he's perfectly fine with people making their own versions of any of his games. Once I get all the kinks worked out, I intend to send him a version of the rules that I'm happy with. And my rule book gives him credit right up front.

When I do, I'll be sure and send the group's regards and let him know he's in your thoughts.

As for my wife, she has enough of her own interests. I was pleasantly surprised that she actually wanted to play again. The next time we play, it'll be a "miniature" version of my urban warfare game, without a chessboard. She's nervous about going boardless, but I have it all worked out and am currently playtesting it (see above). Eventually we want to get some toy soldiers to use instead of chess pieces. But don't expect me to ever start painting little buildings...ain't gonna happen!

Finally, since you've decided to play Jungle Skirmish here on the forum, I would LOVE it if you could develop a map for us to play on, if you're really interested. That would save me some time. We can talk about it once you get your friend signed up to play.

Scott
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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Re: A rumble in the jungle with my lady

Postby Whiterook » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:43 pm

Sounds good...and yes, I'll definitely work up some maps for you.....just give me some ideas and I'll start drafting them out. The best way to do it is: I'll give you some drafts...you tell me what you'd like to see different or added and I'll do my best to achieve your vision for the maps 'til we get it as best as my talents bring us.

For minis...ay I suggest you get to a Dollar Store; I recently saw they've bags of modern style "Army Men".
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Re: A rumble in the jungle with my lady

Postby josta59 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:58 pm

Thanks! I intend to do that...I just don't get around to any kind of store very often. Between the job and the kids, I don't get out much.
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848


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