Thursday, 27 May 2010

When Empires Clash! - Some progress has been made!

Despite all the recent 'alarums and excursions', I finally managed to spend an hour this evening working on the latest redraft of my Morschauser-inspired INTERBELLUM rules.

They still have some way to go as yet, but at least some further progress has been made. I had hoped to get the redraft completed by now but there is a distinct possibility that I will manage to complete it by Saturday evening. As soon as the redraft is ready I will make it available in PDF format via my Interbellum website.


  1. Hi Bob,

    It's all your fault.

    Ok. I feel better now.

    What am I talking about? Well, hexes and squares, of course.

    Discussing the WEC and Morschauser rules using squares and hexes got me thinking. I was a board game player for many years before taking up miniatures. So I though I'd get a new board game or two. Then I thought I actually play then. Gosh, it sure was easy getting ready to play. No filing, no priming, no painting, no basing, no making of terrain. Playing the games was nice too. No fiddly measuring. No rules "discussions." Game turns were quickly run through. Games were actually finished and victors determined.

    It was terrifying.

    I decided to play some miniature games to steady my nerves. I didn't like them. Too fussy and fuzzy. Movement measuring was imprecise. Firing ranges seemed made of rubber. Figures fell over. Set up and pick up were a chore. We never finished any games. We just talked about how them might have "ended."

    It was terrifying.

    Is it possible I have lost the will to play miniature games after returning to board games?


    I decided it may not be a bad thing. I've already gotten more games out of my new board games than all my miniature rules combined. Amazing! The cost of the new, carefully chosen, board games is easily offset by the number of time we have enjoyed playing them.

    And some board games are actually designed for solo play! I bought a couple and played them. I had fun.

    It was terrifying.

    I have come to relearn the elegance of squares and hexes on the map. I had forgotten the charm of cardboard counter and wooden blocks. They made my games fun again. Not painting figures has only given me a slight twitch, which I'm sure I can deal with. The total cost difference between two miniature armies, and I must always make both sides if I expect to actually play a game, and a board games is something my bank account and I can smile about.

    Have I quit miniatures altogether? Possibly. Like you, I'm now sticking to games with squares and hexes on the map, board, battlefield, whatever. I am finishing my last miniature project's figures and rebasing them to fit on my new game cloth that has squares on it. I am working on my own rules too.

    But what's the big difference between board games and miniature games? The squares and hexes, of course! All the other rules deal with using the squares or hexes or inches or centimeters to accomplish game tasks such as moving a unit, whether as stands of miniatures or a cardboard counter or a wooden block, inflicting damage on another unit by shooting some kind of weapon or engaging in hand-to-hand combat, and finally determining how a unit reacts to all the above.

    Both board game and miniatures game rules can be simple or exceedingly complex. In my opinion the removal of the "fuzziness" of measuring distance giving a fast and absolute answer to distance is the reason I have fallen back into board games with such joy.

    Board games with miniatures for counter? Yes. Where I feel the urge. Otherwise straight up board games. I'm having fun playing game again. I haven't been able to say that in a long, long time.

    It was terrifying.

    It's all your fault.

    I thank you very much.


  2. Jim Wright,

    Glad to have been of help ... I think!

    I began as a figure gamer, tried board games (and like some of the a lot!), and came back to figure games.

    For years I could not see the cross-over between the two different styles of game, but two things changed my mind

    The first was helping develop MEGABLITZ, which looks like a traditional figure game but that uses a unit/formation order system and combat resolution mechanism that are very like those used in board games.

    The second was taking part in a World War II wargame about the recapture of a typical island during the campaign in the South Pacific - the capture of New Stanhall. This used area movement, and I realised how much quicker the game was to play.

    My interest was aroused ... and then Richard Brooks and Ian Drury began to develop the series of RED SQUARE games that used a squared terrain and simple combat resolution system. I was hooked.

    Since then I have produced SCWaRes (Simple Colonial Wargame Rules), REDCOATS AND DERVISHES, REDCOATS AND NATIVES, RED FLAGS AND IRON CROSSES, OPERATIONAL ART, and WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! I am ‘hooked’ on using squares or hexes … and find it difficult to see why other wargamers don’t see the advantages they bring to the tabletop.

    I think that the melding of the best of board games with the best of figures games is the way forward. Richard Borg has shown the way with commercial wargames; I (and others) are doing our bit for ‘home grown’ wargames.

    But the most important thing is that … like you … I am enjoying my wargaming far more now than I think I have ever done in the past.

    It has made it all worthwhile.

    All the best,


    PS. If I have helped you regain your enthusiasm for gaming in some way … that thought gives me tremendous pleasure!


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