29 June 2010

Historicon prelims

I am much looking forward to Historicon.  It will be a needed break from life here in Los Angeles.  The trip will encompass more than the convention itself, as our group immediately following the con will head to Philadelphia for visits to USS Olympia, a member of the Great White Fleet, then across the river to USS New Jersey.  From there it is on to Gettysburg for two days, and other ACW battlefields following that stop on the way to Richmond, Virginia.  Not even sure where we are going, but I plan to tag along.  I am one of the drivers, after all.

American Battlelines will be on my table at H-con, and I hope to get some feedback on the changes to the rules I have proposed.  Mostly, in fact all, of the reviews from playtesters so far has been positive.  The fiddly bits have been trimmed, and the important decisions left in the game.  Morale is one significant area that was changed.  No longer do you have to roll morale every time you take casualties, but instead once per turn, when the unit is activated.  A significant number of die rolls are eliminated, and it is more realistic, in that a big unit cannot take desultory fire from two units, and then break before its next activation.  Now mods are stacked on the unit for Morale, and it is more like to have adverse consequences as a result.

I look forward to the gaming, the shopping, the camaraderie, and my once-per-year chance to see my partners.  It is the one business meeting I attend in person.

24 June 2010

more Mein Panzer

The Gametowne group from San Diego has been converted to Mein Panzer for their WWII armour skirmish.  They like it, it works, and flows better because people know the rules.  Next up on our schedule is a French scenario from 1940.  Will it be fun?  You bet, and not because I am a great referee, which I am not.  It will be fun because the players make it that way.

Historicon is weeks away.  Am very ready.

18 June 2010

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.19

I was too naive.  The most central change to my version of American Battlelines has been questioned by the person in charge of the project.  It was my great step forward, and instead we are going backwards.  AmBl is easily converted to an element-based system, but nobody could handle the change.  All this despite the fact it is our worst selling title, and gets absolutely no press at all in the miniatures world.  It is due to more than simply not merchandising.  The game needs a serious face lift after all these years.  And as gut-wrenching as these changes seem, they have produced a very playable and realistic game.

16 June 2010

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.18

The ODGW partners went through the revised American Battlelines rules in detail last weekend, and they had much to say.  Much of their commentary was easily answered and was a direct result of me not catching every case of the previous rules.  Some of it was my sloppiness, and some of it were matters of style and substance with which I disagree with the partners.  Overall it was very helpful, and nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.  Many of the core concepts went unchallenged, which is heartening.  My goal of simplicity was largely achieved.  Now it would be great if my other playtesters would weigh in on the rules.  That is where the most important work is done.

15 June 2010

new release

ODGW's latest release for General Quarters III is nearing typesetting completion.  It is turning out as a work of art, with absolutely magnificent graphics.  We are very pleased with its layout, yet we are still awaiting blind playtesting results of the game to see if changes need to be made for play balance or perfect strategies.  As a scenario generator, it is quite sophisticated, and we hope that it will reach a broad audience.  More on this title later.

Hobby Day in Anaheim

Attended HMGS/PSW's Hobby Day last Saturday, the 12th July.  I brought one of my favorite Euro-games, Formula D.  Played two races, Long Beach and Buenos Aries, and lost handily at both.  Gave to the two-time winner a reader's copy of a book that a friend had given me as a published paperback.  Am seriously looking to prune out the excess books I have on my shelves.  Cannot fit everything any more, and I do not want to rent a storage unit.  Regarding Hobby Day, I will be back to this Anaheim event, probably to run another game, or to play in the games present.  Good turnout, and friendly people.

Am gearing up for another Mein Panzer event in San Diego.  This one will be French vs Germans in 1940.  Lots of interest in running French tanks.  This will be a trial of the new Bonus shot technique, where if you get more than ten of your To-Hit roll, you get a Bonus shot no matter what your Troop Quality.  Needless to say, there will be a bigger difference between TQ's than with the current edition of the game.  Just a test.

09 June 2010

new convention in La-la land

Actually, it is in Anaheim, California, not L.A.  This new convention, the SoCal Smackdown, is running Labor Day weekend, the same weekend an older con, Strategicon, is running in Los Angeles near the airport.  It threatens to divide what was originally a too thin number of historical miniatures events amongst two venues.  A shame, this.  One will have to choose which nearly empty basket to drop one's eggs.  Due to attendance problems at Strategicon, I will likely try out the new venue, and see if there are a significant number of gamers willing to turn out for an Orange County event.

06 June 2010

Historicon and escapades

Just about four weeks until Historicon and our usual east coast history expedition.  This year, in contrast to previous trips, we are doing the history expeditions following the convention, not before.  Quite an elaborate schedule, that takes us from Philadelphia and ships moored in or nearby — USS Olympia and USS New Jersey — to Gettysburg and then into Virginia, with ACW stops along the way.  Am very much looking forward to visiting Richmond.  This will be a trip to remember, I am sure.

05 June 2010

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.17

Today the latest version of American Battlelines was playtested and the rules gone over thoroughly by the OGDW partners.  Bob Benge got me on the phone, and said that it was "not a slaughter," though he did indicate that there was some head-shaking going on.  Pointed up a number of areas that I did not update from the original to the new edition.  So there were some dropouts.  Also there was some question of my reasons behind some of the changes, and why I had dropped one possible action from the list.  All in all, it was productive, and I hope that the changes are adopted by the folks whose ultimate vote I would need.  I can attest that the new game is less fiddly than the old, and seems to have an intuitive feel.  There are fewer die rolls overall.  I also cleaned up a lot of the areas that were not clear from the original.  Just not all of them.

04 June 2010

VJ Day in Honolulu

Amazing footage of a very special and happy day.

VJ Day, Honolulu Hawaii, August 14, 1945 from Richard Sullivan on Vimeo.

03 June 2010

Gaming accessories

The Dial Dude makes great gaming accessories.  I use them for all my American Battlelines games, and will probably adapt them to the Mein Panzer family soon.

Recently, the best maker of paper terrain, Scott Washburn of Paper Terrain, has updated his offerings for 6mm.  That is my WWII scale, so these new bridges along with all his other terrain makes for a very impressive table at a fraction of the cost of resin or metal terrain.

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.16

My good gaming buddy Sacha has designed all of the new covers for Mein Panzer.  He also has a new design for American Battlelines, which would replace the fifty star flag on the cover with a more atmospheric set of pictures.  I can only see this as an improvement.