Thursday, 1 December 2016
Monday, 21 November 2016
Sunday, 20 November 2016
Saturday, 19 November 2016
Thursday, 17 November 2016
Monday, 3 October 2016
Well, it's been a while since making a posting. Real life seems to be taking a major front seat with trying to set up a business (not that here is the time or place to chat on about it). So, as a consequence of using the wargames space as an office build, trying to keep a handle on game related stuff has been a little challenging. - but not impossible with a little determination on my part.
One thing which I can do, especially with the instant access of my IPad, is continue musing about my ideas for gaming, expressed through rules writing. Current brain activity - I have never been quite satisfied with company level modern rules; that is to say where the basic playing unit is a company sized fighting formation.
For me, a re-occurring theme is the natural cross over between boardgames and wargames. Listening to a recent podcast crystallized my mind even more so. Sam Mustafa (Blucher, Lasalle fame) said that he didn't see a clear demarcation between the two spheres of gaming. After all, beautiful figures are still a marker on a beautifully scenic playing board. For me, I really buy into that idea. Over the years of gaming, wargames still seem to lack the simple elegance of some boardgame mechanics. I'm not sure wether it's because representing such mechanics is difficult on a free form table, or wether it's a subconscious industry/consumer approach to keep the two seperate. That seems to be a harder fence to maintain to keep the gaming herd from leaving the ranch...
Anyway, back to my rules writing. Playing the ACW ruleset 'Altar of Freedom' has helped me to think more clearly about the importance of leadership over technical ability when playing higher level games. Looking at the technically superior French losing to the superior leadership of the Germans in 1940 is a nice illustration. Currently I'm toying around with several command techniques, looking for that 'simple elegance'.
That leads me to a asking for your help. I want the combat to be fairly simple, but flexible to represent the different types of weapon systems and approaches used during WWII. The table below is at the heart of that interaction:
Using a comparative dice mechanic allows the combat operations of different troop types a clear distinction when fighting what sometimes seems a dymmetrically opposed set of combatants. Within this system, it then becomes easier to define the quality of each fighting type. For instance the combat power of a PzII (1 dice basic) can be separated from the stately Tiger 1 (4 dice). This approach keeps the action simple whereby a core mechanic for combat can be learnt, but differentiation defined through the combat matrix.
What do you think? Trying to distill down the combat power of each company formation is quite a challenge. Do you think that the table (all things considered) has the correct proportional relationship?
Let me know in the comments below...
Thanks for your help everybody!
Monday, 12 September 2016
Through sorting out the piles of 'stuff' in the wargames shed, I decided to dispose of some boardgames that o didn't want, and wouldn't have any resale value. After rummaging through the the contents, I found some playing pieces which I thought could form some part of statues or something. At the same time we were getting rid of some of Wills' baby toys, including some play blocks. After some gluing, heavy paints and some weathering, here are the results...
I'm really quite happy with the results. I feel they will fit in nicely with my Super Dungeon Explore stuff, or Open Combat. Got a couple more bits to finish.
Saturday, 10 September 2016
The action started tentively, with each party reaching towards the centre of the farm. The cops took a steady, quiet approach to one of the outlying homes, quietly and carefully disparching the zombies that they met. After considered entry into the house, they found...very little.
The SWAT team, aware of tactical discipline, stealthy moved past the barn to watch the activity around the main farmhouse. Having seen the shamblers become slightly agitated, and move towards the other side of the house.
Gunfire erupted, zombies reacted, more zombies stumbled into the farm. Now acutely aware of their situation, the SWAT fell back to the barn. Due to the increasing pressure of the chaos near the farmhouse, the team opened up!
Unfortunately the raucous bellows of 12 bore, pump action force drew more attention. The team finish with a clearance of the barn which they passed on their way in.
The tact and guile shown by the previous two teams was certainly not the approach of the gang members...their assured, arrogant attitude was displayed by moving straight towards the main farmhouse, guns blazing.
On house entry, zombies poured forth that even the hoods could not handle confidently. Forced out to the porch area, guns continued to blaze, attracting even more deadly attention. The game ended with the gang fighting for their lives...
The ATZ formula worked well as a gaming system. The simple foraging scenario showed that the game provides a great 'sandbox' experience which can be shaped well by the imagination of the scenario designer.
Monday, 5 September 2016
A friend is over from his Itslian home visiting family and folk, and luckily, he can spend a whole day for gaming! In deciding what to do. I thought about a light hearted evening game - so zombie apocalypse it is! (Not so light hearted, maybe)
I've been thinking of just taking a straight port from the boardgame version of 'all things zombie' by lock n load publishing. It fits my hexon tiles and doesn't require a massive amount of hexes to have a fun game.
What's good about the rules is that there are only two types of terrain - rough and building. I've recently modified some of my plain, unflocked boards in either rough, or grey. This has meant that the scenery has been placed in what ever looks good, but from a gaming perspective, it's the hex texture underneath which dictates it's function - brilliant!
We'll see if it works with the gaming party tomorrow...
Friday, 26 August 2016
It's close to the end of our annual holiday; this year, Northumberland. Our base has been Coldstream which is literally just over the border into Scotland, across the river Tweed. Lots of day trips out, remembering an earlier stay when William was about 4 years old (including a visit, if you can see it, to Bamburgh Castle).
We spent the last day around Coldstream itself. William bought some bullets from the Somme and a modern military compass from an army surplus store, and we then visited a very small musuem dedicated to the Coldstream Guards.
I'm not one for studying in detail all of the exhibits, maybe it's a short attention span. Sometimes it all feels overwhelming taking in all of the detail in, and the narrative gets a little lost along the way. What did catch my eye was two displays; you can probably guess why...
The first was a display of the battle of Flodden (1513). Not particularly about the Guards, but the battlefield is only about two miles down the road at Braxton. A well known battle for the fact that it was the last time a monarch died in battle, James IV of Scotland. A nice little display in what looks like 6mm.
The second definetly had more relevance to the Coldstream Guards, the battle of Waterloo. More specifically, the regiment's involvement around the farm of Hougemont.
A nice little museum, particularly as it's free.
Friday, 19 August 2016
Sometimes simple things affect how a game gets to the table. A lack of grip bags, a busy work life and lack of energy left this classic on the 'must try' relegation pile. Well, having read the rules at a glance, and played my first three, Roman dominated, turns, here are some initial thoughts.
I think the idea of a grand sweeping, epic story of the formative history of Great Britain is a clear pull. Well known characters, such as Arthur and Boudicca add to the glory of the tale. When it comes down to it though, it's still quite a head scratching, deep strategic process where knowledge of the map is crucial. Seeing who is leading the race to game dominance is difficult as victory points are not evenly distributed across each player and their player controlled factions. For instance Rome gains two points for taking over a territory, whilst different tribes gain different levels of points for killing units - 6 points for the Belgaie for instance.
This inconsistent approach to point scoring is then made even more complicated to follow by having different tribes entering the game in later turns, each with their own differing victory conditions. All of this isn't a problem if you are prepared to spend time learning the map and each of the differing faction's.success factors. For me personally, I could quite get into the sweeping story telling, reminiscent of the historic film epics of the forties and fifties; for the others that I game with (mum and dad for instance), I don't see the initial rewards outweighing the learning curve...although I would like to think that I am wrong.
Alternative thoughts on this is that if you are looking for a quicker, similar experience (even though it is a fantasy setting) 'Smallworld' would be a better option; it uses similar concepts of conquest and combat, but with a much simpler approach.