Thursday, 27 June 2013

Looking backwards to go forwards

It has been said that if you could test hindsight, it would always have 20/20 vision. We can all be wise after the event ... but how many of us nod sagely, say that we could see it coming ... and then do something similar ourselves? I know that I do ... and the past few days have given me the opportunity to look backwards so that I do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

I recently decided to go back to basics, and to re-examine (and re-use) Joseph Morschauser's FRONTIER wargames rules. As a result I have fought a series of play-test battles that I thoroughly enjoyed, and each battle has taken me a bit further down the road towards my goal ... which is a simple set of fast-play rules that use a gridded playing surface.

Now I have been down this road before, and I decided that it might be a good idea if I re-read the relevant blog entries I wrote at the time. What I discovered was that I got side-tracked at various stages as I tried different ideas out, and that I ended up in several developmental cul de sacs.

This exercise in hindsight made me realise that unless I keep going back to the original rules that Joseph Morschauser wrote to double check that I am staying in line with his basic design philosophy, I am in danger of repeating my earlier errors. This has helped me to formulate my ideas for the future developments I want to make, and with luck I will be writing blog entries about my progress as it happens. Even if I fail to achieve my objective this time around, at least I will be able to look back at some time in the future and realise where and why I went wrong!


  1. A wise decision. I've found myself making fewer circles since I started checking back over past posts about rules aims and proposals. I'd rather say "oh I've already tried that" before I do the work than after!

  2. Ross Mac,

    You have outlined exactly what was going to happen!

    I had jotted a few ideas down on paper and was about to adjust the draft rules to include them ... and then I re-read my early blog entries and realised that I was about to repeat something I had done previously ... and found that it had not worked then, and was not likely to work any better this time.

    It saved me a lot of wasted time and effort ... and I am very glad that I looked backward to go forward.

    All the best,


  3. What you have demonstrated here, Bob, is the functioning 20/20 hindsight, which is, if you ever follow the antics of politicians and their policy advisers, almost as non-existent as the 20/20 foresight we elected them for. Judging by the memory failures when caught in the act of a lie, a crime or plain stupidity, the past becomes for them as opaque as the future, or any other brick wall.

    Failure to learn from the past, sayeth George Santayana, condemns one to relive it. Something you have successfully avoided doing, Bob. Congratulations! :-)

    Enjoying your blog spot as always,

  4. Hi Bob

    As a fastplay enthusiast and a more recent convert to grids (and hexes), I await further developments with interest.

    Whilst Morschauser deserves every respect as a founding figure and for his approach, I often find old rules a little naive in the way they are expressed and thus in need of some modernisation.



  5. Quite revealing Bob
    I admire your honestly and aplaud your reflection
    Keeping to the "project scope" :)

    I just wish a few people I work with could do the same (including me)

  6. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    I tend to agree with you regarding politicians but, in the words of a famous fictional politician ... 'You might think that, but I could not possibly comment.'

    I do try to avoid making the same mistake more than once .... but I am not always successful!

    All the best (and I hope you continue to enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy reading your comments!),


  7. Doctorphalanx,

    The language used in many of the sets of wargames rules written during the 1960s often seems vague and full of assumptions based on shared or common experience. In other words, they appear to have been written for use by a group of friends and not by the general public. One of my aims was to try to modernise Morschauser's rules without losing their essential concepts.

    I hope that I have been reasonably successful.

    All the best,


  8. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

    It is very easy to forget what has happened in the past and to plough on regardless ... and to end up with a totally avoidable mess.

    We all do it ... it just so happens that this time I was lucky and managed to stop following a previously trodden path before I started the journey.

    All the best,