25 November 2009

Yet another loss

No surprise here.  The German side, with a majority of armor, better armor, better troops, and more infantry, defeated the U.S. in a game of Mein Panzer.  I don't know why I let these guys talk me into playing...
From Tunisia '43

22 November 2009

An Idea that isn't quite working

Meine Truppen may end up as a stand alone game.  Whether it can make it in the very crowded skirmish game field is debatable, but limiting it to just Mein Panzer owners may not work, due to the numerous concepts that are to be changed.  Either way has its pros and cons, and it is a hard call to make.  One thing that has yet to be considered is the Databook conversion.  MT has a current scale of 1"=25yds, which essentially means doubling all ranges.  But it also does not have the telescoping scale, so some close range weapons need adjustment.  Kind of a big deal.  So a decision has to be made, and at least one playtest group has made their vote, very strongly.  I wish others would weigh in, as well.

20 November 2009

I Hate It When This Happens pt.2

You go the trouble of .pdf'ing a very large file and assembling all the components for the beta test package, and you open up the rules right after you have sent out everything that you laboriously put together, to find that you did not update the text with all the changes that had been made and reflected on the charts and tables.  Drat!

I get to do it all over again.

Accessorize well

ODGW used to sell lots of little things — miniatures in 10mm, different sized metal bases, a line of terrain and buildings, etc.  Now we mainly sell rules.  The accessories we carry are very specific to the games we sell, like deviation dice, GQIII turn indicators, and, now, ship bases, of which we are mostly out of stock.  It pays to pick and choose what you bring into your sales line.  Fortunately we have a good distribution system to help us with the details of shipping our products.

Tomorrow I rejoin the MMG (Miracle Mile Gamers) for a Mein Panzer game.  First time in the better part of a year, maybe more.  Hope I remember how to play.  It is, after all, our signature game.  Funny thing about how games are supposedly designed.  It is said that designers design games to fit their vision of reality and so they can win.  Well, I am not going to argue the reality bit, but I lose all the time at Mein Panzer — I mean 100% — so I do not see that part as necessarily true.

There are three separate games in beta test right now, and I am sort of waiting around for what is going to happen next.  As Winnie the Pooh liked to say, "One never knows with bees!"

18 November 2009

Another idea that worked

The clear acrylic etched ship bases are selling.  We may have to re-order soon.  This was a shot in the dark idea that came through.  I am very pleased to have yet another product successful, and helping the hobby, especially the naval end of things.  They are quite good looking, and well worth the money compared to other commercial bases.  It also helps me breathe a little easier, now that my idea has been vindicated.

16 November 2009

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.9

Dissection of the game last night, by two gamers.  One is an experienced reenactor of the Civil War; the other is a designer and a chart maven.  Between those two Battlelines was fairly well raked over the coals, regarding all its myriad modifiers, of which there are a lot even after substantial trimming.  The Quick Reference Sheet presentation was critiqued, and I had to determine certain parts of the game model as unchangeable, possibly changeable, and something worth fighting for.  All that is part of the design process — what to take out as much as what to leave in.  Much of what is left in is modified considerably, but in each case I endeavored to make it simpler and more consistent with the other rules in place already.  Battlelines relies heavily on the TQ check, and that is used in more places in the rules than previously.  Still, I found myself having to defend each position I took, which is difficult, but is as it should be.

So where do we stand with this game?  No where, actually.  I have yet to receive an independent playtest report.  That bodes ill for the game's success, and confirms my cynical view that most people who volunteer for playtesting really just want a free set of the rules.

13 November 2009

Debuting Mein Panzer

I am scheduled to referee a Mein Panzer game in San Diego for the Gametowne local group on the first weekend in December.  ODGW has a standard scenario which I use for these games, involving light recon forces fighting over a town.  A little armor, a little towed artillery, and a little infantry — just enough to give everyone a taste of how the game is played in combined arms fashion.  These are experienced gamers, so they should pick up the rules quickly.  The scenario is quick and dirty, with no hidden movement or anything else to get in the way of the action.  I suggest it for any game system as a trial run. It is located here for your gaming pleasure.

I worry about doing a good job of presenting the game, so that it is an enjoyable experience for all involved, and that it shows the game in a good light.  It is always good to study up on the rules prior to playing so that there is a high degree of familiarity with the rules when the time for the game comes.  The scenario should be easy, and the level of play required simple.  And mostly, the ref should be ready.

12 November 2009

Introducing Ship bases

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!  One of the best products ODGW has had in recent months has not been available because I have not taken time to put it up on the web.  Well, it is up now, and anyone who wants truly fine bases for their 1:2400 or 1:3000 scale ships would do well to take a look at our bargain priced acrylic etched bases.  This picture shows the bow wakes and the etched stern wakes.  At 25¢, 35¢, 50¢, and $1 for the four sizes, you cannot do better with any other product.  If you have a nicely done custom sea mat, these clear bases make perfect sense.

Drum beats on the Battleline pt.8

At the last business meeting, which I missed because I was under the weather and not near my phone, my changes to the American Battlelines system were discussed.  Seems like the new rules have stirred up some reactions amongst the party faithful.  Well, all to the good.  Healthy discussion is called for, especially when a system has lain moribund for as long as this one has, despite its obvious strengths.  The interactive sequence, brigading, and the disordering method are very useful for depicting the maneuver aspect of the horse and musket era.  Its problems arise in its handling of firepower, where there is room for improvement.  I think I have come up with just that solution, without throwing out the basic rules.  More playtesting is called for, but I think Am Bl has come a long way.

One of the topics about which there will undoubtedly be discussion will be the decision to make the products stand alone games or modules.  I have my own opinion on this subject, but will keep quiet on the issue for the present.

11 November 2009


For a company that is out of business, there still is a lot of the stuff hanging around.  It is very useful and easy to set up, and provides a quite nice looking wargame terrain, especially if you use the flocked mat as the base.  I am in the process of obtaining some, though my cat, who has a taste for styrofoam ate a piece the other night while I was sleeping.  Deposited it on the carpet the next morning.  The usefulness of styrofoam and blue insulating foam keeps gamers working on terrain.  The problem with items under cloths is that it produces unsightly folds that do not lie flat.  I know one gamer who has a sand table, but that is a luxury only a serious gamer with an understanding spouse, or none at all, can have.  So I might purchase a deluxe foam cutter set for making custom pieces soon.  Seems like the way to go.

10 November 2009

Beta testing for new General Quarters game

Beta test packages are the blind test packages sent to playtesters to see their reactions to your product before you send it out to a paying public.  It is always hard to send them, since they are invariably unpolished versions of what you are going to publish.  They have known rough spots that will be criticized, and that is just the beginning.  Stuff you never thought of will turn up, and surprise you in very dramatic ways.  This is as it should be, since when the game is released to the teeming masses, it will be subjected to even closer scrutiny.  Better to get these humiliating moments out of the way before publication than after.

An author I know was once asked if publishing a book was like having a baby.  He replied that publishing was more like having a teenager.  It takes off in unexpected directions, rarely listens, is argumentative, gets into trouble, and frequently embarrasses you.

09 November 2009

Drum beats on the Battleline pt.7

One of the most significant problems with the current game is the ranges for the artillery, which seem to be far off historical norms.  Along with a very kludgy manner of resolving the combat, artillery becomes very problematic on the battlefield.  A lot of work may be needed on this topic.  I am looking at throwing out the current method of resolving artillery combat completely, and am not sure how to replace it.  Yikes!

08 November 2009

USN and Kaigun ship logs

The long-awaited GQIII ship logs for the USN and Japanese are still in production.  They are requiring significant reworking from their original format and order for issuance.  We are hoping for a Cold Wars release of these much-anticipated ship logs.  They should be everything you have been waiting for.

07 November 2009

Drum beats on the Battleline pt.6

One positive thing that came out of our last test was that a new QRS will be formatted and will be simpler than the current one.  This will help the game no matter what changes are made to it.  A good QRS is absolutely essential to any successful game, as it is the text from which the game is actually played.  The rulebook is nothing but backup.  Also, people felt that the game played smoothly and believably.  And they told me the artillery rules are totally screwed up.