Tuesday 3 February 2009

Clearing snow gives you time to think

There was a bit more snow yesterday afternoon, but not enough to make things much worse. Today I have spent time clearing a pathway from the front door to the pavement as well as making sure that it should be possible to get both cars off the driveway and onto the road tomorrow morning. That way my wife and I can both go to work for the first time since Monday morning.

Whilst clearing the snow away my thoughts turned to what sort of wargaming I enjoy, and I came up with the following:
  • I like to play large-scale, all-day, operational-level wargames – preferably World War II – with a group of friends;
  • I like to play (and design) small face-to-face or solo wargames that can be fought to a conclusion in a couple of hours;
  • I like to fight campaigns;
  • I like to use gridded playing surfaces;
  • I like to use card-driven turn sequences;
  • I like to use simple combat resolution systems;
  • I like to find out about early wargames designers and – if possible – try out their rules.
Now I am back in the warm, and have just finished reading the latest Osprey publication I have bought, THE BAY OF PIGS. This operation has always struck me as an excellent basis for a disguised wargame scenario, and having read the book I am now convinced that it is something I would like to try at some time in the future … but not until I have brought some of my other projects to fruition.


  1. Interesting list of likes!

    Mine would be broadly similar, except that I really dislike decks of cards in my games (no reason I can identify, just a personal prejudice).

    I have never had the time/inclination/cash to explore gridded surfaces, but I do like to use BIG units of measurement; which I think achieves a similar effect. I'm currently working with a 60mm unit of measure (to match my unit base dimensions). I have a distrust of any measurement smaller than an inch :-)

    The aesthetic appeal of the big units of measure is to be able to dump tape measures and use brightly striped pieces of dowel. I don't know why this seems "right", but I tend to do all my rules design based initially on the look and feel of the game.


  2. One of the first gridded wargames I devised was SCWaRes (Simple Colonial Wargames Rules), and one of the first people to play it was Phil Barker. Interestingly he said that had he been writing DBA then, he would have used a grid as it:
    1) Made measuring easier and
    2) Removed the problem of players measuring movement so that they were 1mm outside the range of their opponent's weapons.

    I like my units to get moving and to get stuck in, and find nothing more frustrating than rules that mean my troops spend the entire battle getting close enough to the enemy to fight them. Long movement distances remove this problem.

    Aesthetics are very important in wargaming. I am a firm believer in the 'if it looks right, it probably is right' philosophy. This is the one hang-up I have about using cards; they don't look right on the tabletop. I am, however, working on a better system than dealing them out to units. It is based on ideas I have picked up from Rudi Geudens, and involves making cards for each unit. These are then shuffled and turned over 'off table' so to speak.

    Keep reading the blog!



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