Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I have been giving the games that were played over the weekend some thought and there is a great deal to be pleased about. The ever fickle convention going public were willing to give a strange game a try, though the Memoir '44 factor helped immensely. While there are significant differances between the two games, people who had played Memoir '44 knew the rough outlines of the game immediately and that it was short.
The great unwashed were far more likely to play a short game sight unseen than a long one.
Foy over at Prometheus in Aspic has spoken of the crispness of the turn sequence, which I think it one of the games major strengths. I wrote to Richard Borg, the creator of the game, some years ago to thank him for his work on Battle Cry and Memoir '44. I told him that there were games that one talks about and games that one plays. I own over a dozen rules systems, several which I believe are fine games. I have in the last six weeks played more Command & Colours: Napoleonics than any of those combined - the speed at which the game is played is probably the key factor in this.
But where was I?
There were problems however, setting the battlefield up took far too long. This was nothing to do with terrain, which was relatively simple and rather a lot more to do with how I base my figures. A rebasing experiment some years ago left deep scars in my pysche and I vowed that I would never do such a thing again. As a result, I base my Napoleonics singly and place them on sabot bases as necessary. This has worked out rather well - I've used figures singly for Savage Worlds and then placed them on bases for En Avant! and Command&Colours: Napoleonics.
However, I store them in boxes without their sabot bases and the business of laboriously transfering single figures their sabot bases ate up valuable gaming time. Also because I was using En Avant! bases, infantry battalions were exactly inch too wide. This wasn't really an issue until players began to form lines whereupon it began to be a little unsightly.
The solution? Bespoke bases five inches wide by two deep.
There are two possibilities here, steel bases with magnetic material attached to the bottom or unadorned steel bases. One of the players, a phyicist who works with magnets has assured by that the magnetic material attached to the figures will hold the bases in place. He is however, an oaf, notorious for his drunken buffonery, so I haven't committed myself just yet.
Either way, I shall cut down setup time and get more time around the table.
Leprecon - Lessons learned
1. Casual players will play C&C: Napoleonics if you convince them that it is "...like Memoir '44". This is key to ensuring that there is a pool of players available, dearth of players is the death of many a game.
2. Set-up for my large scale C&C: Napoleonics set is too long, changes to basing will solve this.
3. Five inch hexes simply will not fit guns and gun teams, I will need to square this particular circle in order to field Horse Artillery.
4. Marking the sections of the battlefield with string is effective, but it isn't attractive. I am reluctant to permanently mark my mats, but it may have to come to that.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I enjoyed Leprecon - it was a good chance to chance up and play some games. Numbers were badly down, something I think the committee will have to ask themselves some hard questions about. That said, the organisation of everything barring promotion and advertising was top notch and things ran very smoothly.
My proposed Tank Duel game didn't go ahead, due to lack of players, but Command & Colours: Napoleonics got a thorough working over, with ten games being played over the two days. I had Donogh as a next door neighbour. I was unable to find his zeppelin in time, so he ran some Ambush Alley scenarios instead, getting four games in over the weekend, which pleased him no end.
You can see some pictures of Donogh's work, here.
My "Yes Minister" LARP went rather well - the players negotiating the first two years of Margaret Thatchers administration without any major screwups. Though they did precipitate a a run on the Peso after the assassination of the Spanish premier by ETA. There was also that thing with the hunger strikers, a sex scandal or two and a bit of a bust up with some bin-men. But all good clean fun.
No one mention the brief shooting war with Spain over Gibraltar.
It was interesting to run a game set during the Thatcher administration where the Miners Strike was not the major policy disaster.
My Margaret Thatcher (ably played by Ms. Tootsie Royale) was splendid and really kept the players on their toes.
(Marshall Vincenzo modelling La Guarda Imperiale)
Command & Colours: Napoleonics was a success - we got ten games in over two days. Eight games of Maida and two games of Corunna. Honours were about equal and a good time was had by all. Most of the players hadn't played Napoleonics before and there were four players that hadn't played a C&C game before. If I had any doubts, this weekend put them to rest, Napoleonics is an excellant game - we just haven't really grasped its subtleties yet.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
While searching for the Fiddlers Green website yesterday, I came across some interesting pieces of trivia about the name.
Fiddlers Green was a sort of happy hunting ground for 18th century sailors, where the dancing was constant, though the dancers never tired, rum and tobacco were plentiful and the ladies accommodating.
At Fiddler’s Green, where seamen true
When here they’ve done their duty
The bowl of grog shall still renew
And pledge to love and beauty.
I remember vaguely the term being used in one of the Patrick O'Brian novels, but had never given it much thought.
What I had never heard of was the adoption of the term in a poem by the US Army, which you can hear above. Lyric below.
Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped,
Near a good old-time canteen.
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.
Marching past, straight through to Hell
The Infantry are seen.
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marines,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.
Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene.
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.
And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge of fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And put your pistol to your head
And go to Fiddlers' Green.
Grim stuff and reminiscent of Kipling's "Young British Soldier".