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"Fiction that provides game scenarios?" Topic

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Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 5:01 a.m. PST

We've probably done this before, but what fiction have you read (or seen) that provided wargame scenarios?

I don't mean books about a historical event where the scenario is the underlying historical event. A book about the Battle of the Bulge doesn't provide the scenario – history does.

An example would be The Eagle Has Landed. The German player has to hold the village and exit a minimum number off the game board. If he succeeds the survivors have to attack Studley Grange. Or whatever.

Kelly's Heroes would be another I guess.

I don't read that much fiction TBH but fictitious re-stageable battles seem quite rare.

Are there any other good 'uns?

Jeffers22 Nov 2022 5:36 a.m. PST

Just about every Commando book I owned… Otherwise, The Wild Geese, Dirty Dozen, Devil's Brigade, lord knows how many westerns, Carry On Up The Khyber… The list is endless. Helps if you have some ‘cinematic' style skirmish rules, an imagination and play solo. Other people always spoil things.

Andrew LA22 Nov 2022 5:40 a.m. PST

HMS Ulysses by Alastair MacClean and Douglas Reeman did loads of books as well for WW2 naval battles

633 Squadron (and the sequels) for WW2 air battles

Guns of Navarone for WW2 commando raids would work as well

Prince Rupert of the Rhine22 Nov 2022 5:42 a.m. PST

Just about everything written by Bernard Cornwell. Sharpe,the Starbuck chronicles, the last kingdom series and his Arthur Trilogy all serve up plenty of ideas for skirmishes and battles. Though none of those are World war two.

Almost forgot in a colonial setting king Solomon's mine and The Man Who Would be King give some obvious gaming fodder.

Kuznetsov22 Nov 2022 5:52 a.m. PST

I bet you could get some from Harry Turtledove – the Japanese invasion of Hawaii and the subsequent US effort to re-take it, for example (Days of Infamy).


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 6:45 a.m. PST

Lots from Harry Turtledove – WWII but also ACW, Ancients, etc

For skirmish level stuff Sven Hassel's stuff has a lot – kind of grim but there is plenty of material

For the desert Wagner's book the Sands of Valor is a great place to start – haggard British tankers slugging it out with worn-out tanks versus the Africa Korps – also does include the Italians; helped by the fact that Wagner was a desert tanker himself

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 7:03 a.m. PST

Mostly skirmish/RPG. At a battle level, it usually runs the other way around, with novelists stealing from history.

But at that level for WWII, I'd look at J. Robert Janes' "Kohler and St Cyr" stories. For colonial wars, Kipling sometimes pays off. In SF, Edgar Ric Burroughs and Leigh Brackett are your friends, and Possibly SM Stirling.

Mostly, though, I do skirmish/RPG with Sf figures, so I'm more likely to take a historical small action and place it in a new setting. Working on the Battle of Adobe Walls most recently. Easier to adapt the setting to squats, ratlings and native Martians than to buy and paint buffalo hunters and plains Indians.

SBminisguy22 Nov 2022 7:53 a.m. PST

Don't forget your small screen and pulps -- TV shows like Combat! and Rat Patrol, and comic books like Action!, GI Combat and Sgt Rock are great sources for scenarios.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 8:35 a.m. PST

I was thinking of WW2 on land, but if the scenario can be adapted to other eras sure, why not?

TEHL and Kelly's work well because you have sequential scenarios in which the forces that survive the first move on to the second, third etc., and you don't need a lot of kit you can't use for anything else. I will look into these other suggestions, thanks all….

Robert Johnson22 Nov 2022 9:23 a.m. PST

There's a British flag waver film made during the war called Went the Day We'll. I always thought it would make a great skirmish game.

The Eagle Has Landed has some similarities in its plot, but as that novel was published 30 years after the end of WWII I couldn't possibly say where Jack Higgins got the idea from 😉

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 9:43 a.m. PST

Douglas Reeman for WW2 Naval: 'A Prayer for The Ship' is especially good for coastal warfare scenarios.

typhoon222 Nov 2022 9:52 a.m. PST

Kenneth Macksay's 'Battle' would fit the bill.

rmaker22 Nov 2022 10:25 a.m. PST

Take a look at James Benn's Billy Boyd books. Some good low level stuff there.

Whirlwind22 Nov 2022 11:04 a.m. PST

Dad's Army and Colditz games appear every so often. WSS published a series of scenarios based on Fury – haven't seen it myself, but presuming they are fictional.

steve dubgworth22 Nov 2022 11:40 a.m. PST

The film Steel Bayonet = british film set in Tunisia about an artillery op supported by an under strength company =great for skirmish type actions.

The film The Way ahead – british film starring David Niven about a litle infantry unit again in Tunisia defending a town = great action sequences.

The film They were not divided about the Welsh guards in the Guards Armoured division in NW europe post d=day.

Timbo W22 Nov 2022 12:30 p.m. PST

I used Ken Tout's books Tank! and Tanks Advance to inspire a WW2 Normandy scenario. The author was a Sherman crewman in the Sherwood Foresters Yeomanry iirc

Fred Mills22 Nov 2022 3:27 p.m. PST

"The Lost Regiment Series" by Forstchen. Everything from epic horse-and-musket battles to commando-type raids to dreadnoughts, across a sweep of maybe 1300 years of history, with a US Civil War Union regiment at its core. Classic. Wacky. Hugely enjoyable.

Nine pound round22 Nov 2022 8:23 p.m. PST

C.S.Forester is always there for you: "The Ship" is a pretty good novella-length WWII scenario. The Hornblower series is full of gameable naval, land and amphibious actions. "The Gun" has some interesting potential, and if you are a Napoleonic skirmish gamer, "Rifleman Dodd." In the same vein, Conan Doyle's "Brigadier Gerard" has a few good skirmish scenes.

If you are interested in Vietnam riverine action, Josiah Bunting's book "The Lionheads" is as detailed a fictional description of a brigade-sized riverine action as you could ask for, right down to maps and OOB information.

James Jones' "The Thin Red Line" is a very thinly novelized description of the 27the Infantry's attack on the Galloping Horse range of hills on Guadalcanal. During the pandemic I did some research, and it's shocking how thinly the participants were fictionalized, and how closely the terrain and the action on Jones' "Dancing Elephant" mirrors the actual fighting. Just using the Internet, I was able to find a couple of accounts and some biographical information that allowed me to identify the people who were probably the originals for the battalion and company commanders and the battalion XO. Jones participated in the action, and it clearly made an impression on him. You could easily make a scenario from it, or just use the official history.

It's not strictly a scenario thing, but how about fictitious ships or units? I don't have a USS Caine in 1/2400, but I do have the "Zane" and the "Southard," Herman Wouk's DMSs. I suppose if I ever get back into WWII micro armor, I would want the Second Halberdiers.

D6Craig22 Nov 2022 10:49 p.m. PST

For Cold War scenarios, try James Rouch's series The Zone, or any of Harold Coyles books (Team Yankee and others).

Arcane Steve23 Nov 2022 4:27 a.m. PST

As far as books go, I have always wanted to recreate the final battle in Kings Solomons Mines – the Last stand of the Greys. I think. Having one of the characters dressed as a Viking and carrying a battelaxe leading an army of 'Zulus' would look great!
I also think that there is plenty of material in Bernard Cornwells 'the Fort', with several scenarios to game.
To go back to the original request, It's not a book but the film Sahara always strikes me as a great wargames scenario. The original with Humphrey Boggart was great and I didn't mind the remake with James Belushi. A great excuse to get a Lee/Grant tank on the table!

rmaker23 Nov 2022 10:32 a.m. PST

Take a look at James Benn's Billy Boyd books.

Er, that should by Billy BOYLE.

Heedless Horseman23 Nov 2022 4:17 p.m. PST

Just a thought! You could game Monte Cassino… if you propped up one end of table with bricks! Blu Tack for bases!

uglyfatbloke02 Dec 2022 9:15 a.m. PST

X2 for Typhoon2.
Also, The Cauldron (Zeno) for Arnhem and Platoon Commander for Vietnam have given us several good games that we have done as 'true scale' – 1 inch on the table equals 2 yards of real life

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2022 9:56 a.m. PST

Robert Conroy's fiction covers a wide range or eras and some great possible scenarios, or at least inspiration for scenarios, in his books

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