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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project ... is going onto the back burner for awhile

Having played around with some of the models and terrain from Zvezda's ‘Art of Tactic’ OPERATION BARBAROSSA game (and had a few problems building some of the kits as a result of my general clumsiness and banana-like fingers!), I have decided to put this project on the back burner for a while.

It has become very apparent that I need to sort out the rules I am going to use before I embark on more work on this project, and the recent spate of articles from old issues of THE NUGGET that I have been uploading to my blog has given me pause for thought.

Currently I am thinking along the lines of melding my HEXBLITZ rules with some of the ideas from Ian Drury's SANDS OF NEW STANHALL and Martin Rapier's OPERATION URANUS and BATTLE OF CAMBRAI rules. In theory this should be quite a simple exercise, but experience tells me that what I first need to do is to take a break and come back to this project with a clear head and a fresh pair of eyes. This might sound a little odd, but over the years I have learned that when I do this, I seem to find it much easier (and faster) to achieve my goal than if I keep plugging away at something that I have been thinking about for some time.

Taking this action will also allow me to look at some of the other projects I want to do some work on, and may well lead to some progress towards my next PORTABLE WARGAME book!

20 comments:

  1. Bob,
    Your displaying very sound reasoning- often some tasks we want to do well on may seem somewhat overwhelming and if we're a little frayed at the edges it is best then to have a considerable break and return to our Project later on - fresh and re-newed in spirit. I've had a very very long break and am just returning to Fantasy gaming after some 25 years....I wouldn't recommend taking such a long break....anyway- I am presently awaiting the delivery of a set of rules (Fantasy Warlord) from the UK which were written in 1990 - I'm hoping they will be suitable for my 15mm Project - however, if not - then I shall have a go at writing my own set of rules for Fantasy with ideas and mechanisms drawn from several sources including 'Fantasy Warlord'. Wish you well on your WW2 Project. Regards. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      When the solution to a project seems to be just out of reach, experience shows that taking a step back (or even several steps back) can give time for ones thoughts to subconsciously sort themselves out and make a solution possible. I hope to return to this project soon.

      Good luck with your fantasy project.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    1. Ross Mac,

      Very wise words ... even if they are in French!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. One of the things that can happen with taking the break you describe is that the subconscious continues to function even if we are not aware. Conscious mind puts aside models and terrain, subconscious mind continues to work out how they will be used. In the meantime the conscious mind can come to grips with problems that need to be solved and think out some new directions. When you are more at intellectual peace with your ongoing projects you can then return to where you were, build those models and wrestle with new rules systems.

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    1. CelticCurmudgeon,

      It's a lesson that I learned a long time ago ... but one that is not always appreciated by others.

      I used to work for a boss who could not understand why, when I got stuck trying to sort out a problem, I would go for a walk ... and come back with a solution. He thought that I should sit at my desk 'and work it out'. He never understood my method of working. What is surprising about this is that he was a very experienced educator.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Sound reasoning and with the bonus of progress on the new PW ruleset.

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    1. Barry Carter,

      The working title for the next book is MORE PORTABLE WARGAMES, and I have already begun some preliminary planning for it.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob,
      Sounds a good, simple title that describes the contents.Will there a mixture of PW games in different periods? Or different games within the period? I've got some ideas for different PW games that you might care to include.
      Regards,
      Arthur

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    3. Arthur Harman (Arthur),

      My plan is to include some ECW rules, simple Napoleonic rules, and Naval rules. I would certainly appreciate some input from you as well as your proof reading skills.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Bob
    Still working on my own (next) book on Barbarossa which ought to be available in the next 6-8 weeks. Pretty much has to be because I also need to refine something for COW.

    Anyway, my own modelling of the campaign (or largely Martin Rapier's) requires the kit for the elements of a Pz Division times four to act as proxies for the main thrusts of the campaign. I would have thought your PW rules would fit in rather well, with only a little tweaking to the campaign mechanisms, to make a (physically) small, manageable campaign (still 40 - 50 individual games mind you).

    Cheers

    Andrew (still

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    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      I look forward to seeing your book in print.

      My problem is due to near constant vacillation between using my PW rules, using a revised version of Hexblitz, or using something along the lines of Martin Rapier's OPERATION URANUS. Until I can get that sorted out, I cannot really make any meaningful progress.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. Seem to have added an errant 'still' at the end there.
    Now you can see why it takes me 6-8 weeks to edit/proof read a book!

    Cheers
    Andrew

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    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      Odd words have a habit of sneaking in where they aren't wanted! I recently spotted a mistake in DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME that everyone who proof read it had missed. Such is life!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. Operation Uranus only really works because it is designed to be played in an environment with multiple players and hidden defenders. So lots of command friction is built in from the start.

    The more 'mode' based mechanisms in Hexblitz (and Megablitz, NQM, the Sandhurst Battlegroup game, OP14, Jim Wallmans Sealion etc) are far more realistic and work better in a more conventional opposed game format.

    The actual combat system can be as simple as you like, but the relative strengths of the opposed forces, based on their posture is what gives it depth both to the outcomes and the player decision making.

    My old Panzergruppe rules use four modes, disengaged (march), engaged, static and reorganising. For combat you just add up the strengths of all the involved forces (adjusted by posture) and add 1D6 to each. The outcome is determined by the modified strength ratios.

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    1. Martin Rapier,

      Thanks for your very helpful comments regarding your OPERATION URANUS game.

      Because my battles are going to be solo and open, I need to develop a set of rules that incorporate these factors. The need for a simple combat system is a given, and the incorporation of individual or formation unit tactical posture within the combat and movement system makes sense.

      Lots for me to think about ... when I return to this project.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. I think I might take my cue from you, Bob - as I have been finding my mind wandering off to other things lately. Some of that is a yearning to revert to playing more PW/PWD games, both WW2 and the RED/BLUE conflicts. I am eyeing the revolutionary Mini-Campaign in the context of the latter...

    I still like the M/S/D order system, and the priority chits, But I'm think of allocating the latter to formations of units rather than individual units. I'm still wondering about a sensible role for recon units as well, without necessarily masking units or using blinds.

    Having said that, I'll be working on OOBs for Operation Crusader, with a few play tests in mind.

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    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      When it feels as if every step forward in a project is matched by at least one step backward, its time to step away.

      I like the posture order system, and I want to incorporate it into whatever rules I end up using. Perhaps one way forward with giving them to formations rather than to units is to slightly broaden the meaning of each posture. For example 'D' could mean that a formation that is in defensive posture can still mount aggressive recon as long as the latter doesn't initiate combat or does so at a distinct disadvantage.

      I look forward to seeing how you get on with the mini-campaign ... and hopefully OPERATION CRUSADER as well at some point in the future.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I have had some thoughts in respect of the meaning of 'D' - defensive mode, dug in even 'deployed' for action, but not in any mode or mood to advance. 'S' still as the stationary transitional mode - or perhaps even just stopped.
      'M' for travelling or attacking mode.

      I thought maybe recon could go towards modifying the combat rolls. Undisclosed units in 'D' mode fight at a greater defensive advantage than units that have had their presence revealed. This will depend on scenario, of course. I gather (Martin Rapier confirms this) that the Romanian positions had been pretty thoroughly reconnoitred in preparation for Operation Uranus. The temptation is of course have a fourth chit: 'R' exclusive to recce, FOOs and FACs and suchlike ilk.

      I'm still thinking about stacking, and assigning stacking values to foot, horse, gun,., AFV and motor vehicle stands and units. I'll write up a tentative proposal shortly with a sample OOB, and see how it looks.

      Cheers,
      Ion

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    3. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

      Thanks for sharing your ideas. They have made me do some serious thinking, and ideas are beginning to form in my head, although it is too early to judge if they will come to fruition.

      All the best,

      Bob

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