27 March 2010

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.13

Our latest playtest went well, save for one hiccup, which I found to be true in Mein Panzer as wellMultiple Morale checks each and every time a unit takes casualties leads to unrealistic results when they are stacked one on the other.  It is better to take one Morale check each turn, and modify it.  That is how the new Morale rules will work.  The current method can be seriously "gamed," and already my playtest group has discovered how.

14 March 2010


Here is what the industrial power of WWII, aka the United States, sent to various countries during the war.

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.12

Next weekend we try out the further simplified rules for our horse & musket game.  One of the things that always confused me was the criticism of Mein Panzer for inadequate infantry rules, but the success of virtually the same concept in Battlelines.  I can tell you that MP gives a great game for infantry.  Better than many rules, in fact.  We have had excellent and tense battles with no tanks on the board.  That is why we are putting out Meine Truppen based on the same core rules system.  It works.

We are set for the ACW playtest next Saturday, so we will see how it runs.  I probably will use a scenario from the excellent new scenario pack, River of Death.  Looking forward to this playtest to iron out any of the values and tweaks needed for the rules.  Hopefully we will have more info in from playtesters to tell us what we may be doing wrong.

libraries and their (space) limits

Almost every gamer I know has storage units.  They simply cannot put all the books, games, and miniatures they own in a reasonably sized apartment or even house.  I have had to contemplate this myself, though I am now deciding to sell the games that I do not realistically intend to play again.  A recent 60% one-day sale by the University of North Carolina Press added about twenty volumes to my collection, on classical music, railroads, ACW, and 20th century Pacific War, these last by H.P. Willmont, one of my favorite authors.  Now, what to do as the shelves groan.  Another bookcase is needed to sort out the mess.  I will buy an inexpensive one, though I am still considering turning it into a wood shop project of my own design.

I keep my ear to the ground for select university presses, e.g., University of Kansas, and have a sharp eye out for sales on Amazon, where prices go up and down frequently.  I picked up a new color ink-jet printer/copier/scanner with wireless capability at 65% off its retail price through close tracking of the item.  And shipping is usually free, and there is no tax.  ODGW bought me Adobe Acrobat for my editing work, and my partner Bob helped me locate a copy at 33% off the cheapest price elsewhere.  My motto — never pay full retail.  Research is fun for me, especially now that I am writing the official history of our latest GQIII release.  Nothing like looking for gems of pertinent info.  The background for our next naval campaign is one of the most thoroughly researched games ODGW has ever produced.  We have high hopes for its acceptance in the wargaming community.

07 March 2010

HBO mini-series

Here is a series that tempts me to buy a television.

04 March 2010

ACW scenario Books

There are two very good sources for the miniature gamer currently available.  First is the latest in Savas Beatie Press's excellent maps series entitled The Maps of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign, Including the Tullahoma Operations, June 22 - September 23, 1863.   As with their earlier map books on Civil War battles, this one is designed to bring clarity to the campaign via very detailed and colorful hour by hour accounting.  For the wargamer, there are maps in great detail, along with the history of the movements, allowing anyone to accurately set up their tabletop and game out the numerous skirmishes up to the large battles that ultimately decided the fate of the Rebel and Union armies involved.

Also recommended is a new scenario book on Chickamauga, titled River of Death, available as a .pdf download from the Wargame Vault.  This resource has listings of twelve scenarios fought during the final battles of the campaign.  Importantly, it is designed to be rules-neutral, so it gives figure scales of 20:1 all the way to 100:1.  Likewise, it lists variable turn lengths, total number of men in the regiments, and all the info needed to use in just about any regimental ACW game on the market.  I cannot see why anyone who is even remotely interested in the campaign would not pick up this valuable resource.  I look forward to many games using its scenarios on this largely neglected campaign and battles, which ended up as the second most bloody of all the Civil War battles.  Highly recommended!  Let’s hope the folks at Historic Imagination see fit to publish more scenario books, and not just for ACW.  This type of treatment could benefit any historical era.

03 March 2010

Local conventions

Some of the best gaming conventions are regional events by Historical Miniature Gaming Society chapters.  Little Wars in Chicago, put on by the Great Lakes chapter, is one which I attended last year and am going to this year.  I went to Enfilade by the Northwest chapter about four years ago in Olympia, Washington, and had a wonderful time.  Neither convention rivals Historicon, the HMGS East show, which is really the national convention for North American gamers, or even probably Fall In or Cold Wars, both of which I have not attended.  But that does not mean these smaller chapters do not put on a good show.  Because they are smaller and therefore more local, the gamers know each other and tend to put on games using systems they have already tried.  As long as you are open to new games and rules, you can make the most of the con.

Now, if only HMGS/PSW was so fortunate.  Their mini-cons have suffered in recent years, and for good reasons, which are not worth going into.  Now they have an activist president and vice-president, and they are trying to turn the mini-cons into something worthwhile, while turning the organization around as a whole.  Hopefully this will occur — southern California deserves a vibrant gaming presence.