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Thursday, 9 July 2020

Looking backward to go forwards

I was quite busy yesterday getting a few things sorted out for VCOW, but I made time to have a look at the original version of RED FLAGS & IRON CROSSES (RF&IC) that I wrote back in 2004, and felt that there were quite a few things that I liked about the design ... and several that I did not!

I actually took RF&IC to SALUTE2004, where I demonstrated it in a number of participation games. I seem to remember that most of the participants were fathers with young children, and that the rules suited them because the games were quick and it gave the father and son teams a chance to play a wargame at together at a wargame show, something that was not generally encouraged at the time. (My more recent experience indicates that this is no longer true, and that many wargame shows encourage the staging of games where a variety of age groups and genders can take part on equal terms.)

We played through a simple scenario that involved a Russian attack on a couple of fortified positions defended by the Germans. The Russians had infantry, light artillery, and four T-34 tanks (two T-34/76 and two T-34/85) and the Germans had infantry supported by light artillery and two tanks (a Panther tank and a Tiger tank). I managed to take some photographs of one of the battles:







Looking at these photographs again, I realised that this was the sort of wargame that I want to recreate when I redraft RF&IC, but with one major change ... NO MORE FULL-SIZE PLAYING CARDS ON THE TABLETOP!

I have learned a lot about wargame design since 2004, especially what will and will not work. As a result, I will be applying these lessons to the new version of RF&IC, which currently has the working title of RF&IC2020.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Bob,

    I must confess that struck a chord with me in that we can use the best of the past with the benefit of experience gained and the availability of the present. I will very interested to see where this evolution goes and am wondering if this will be used for your Great Patriotic War campaign in due course (along with PW naturally).

    All the best,

    DC

    PS You are right about the playing cards!

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    Replies
    1. David Crook,

      I do this sort of exercise every so often, and it is amazing how often I find that I had already devised a solution to a present day problem ... and forgotten that I had!

      I am still at the very early stages of my thought process, but what I’m considering is using the structure of PW (including the card-driven turn sequence) with the combat mechanisms from the original RF&IC. Once I have a draft, I’ll play-test the new rules, and if they work, I’ll use them for my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War campaign.

      All the best,

      Bob

      PS. Even small cards look too big on the tabletop, so they’ll be confined to the non-playing area of the table,

      Delete
  2. Hi BOB,
    I'm sure that when considering 'Participation Games' it is better to aim for a simple straight forward set of rules which can virtually be learned almost instantly. Glad your limiting the Playing Cards to a position away from the model Battlefield- it will all look much better and function just as well. With my own Rules writing I decided long ago to keep each set to just a one page limit - considering this each A4 set of Rules have been playable. I like your Russian Figures from the 2004 photo. Best Wishes. KEV.

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    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      You are quite right that participation games need to have rules that can be picked up, read, and used in a matter of minutes. As to the playing cards ... well the mechanism worked well, but they were very intrusive.

      In essence, the main mechanisms used in my PW rules will just about fit on one side of an A4-sized piece of paper ... and if I could make it fit onto an A5 piece of paper, I would.

      All the best,

      Bob

      PS. The figures were painted using a very simple method that involved dry brushing.

      Delete
  3. Hi Bob,
    Warbases make MDF tokens about 12mm in diameter etched with playing card symbols & denominations. They might fade into the background better, and can be drawn from a bag instead if dealing cards. Just a thought.
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whiskers,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I do have something similar in my wargaming box of tricks, and I have used them in the past.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  4. Oooh I love the miniature playing cards! I'll have to add those to my PWG set! Now I just have to find them...

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  5. Bob,

    I have to get those mini cards.

    Also following your Barbarosa Campaign

    Look forward to seeing the rules and campaign developed

    Take Care

    Rich

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    Replies
    1. Rich,

      Those small patience cards are great. WHSmith used to sell similar-sized playing cards, but I’m unsure if they still do.

      The rules are slowly beginning to take shape, and are evolving into a hybrid of the PW rules and the original RF&IC rules. I hope to get the draft finished soonish ... and then I can begin the play-testing.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete

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