Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Imaginations in 42mm (21) - Debriefing the rules

In February, just before we entered the lockdown, we attended Warcon in Gent and ran a 42mm imaginations game there.

We used some homemade "toy soldier" rules, but I noticed I never debriefed them on our blog.

Flags of the various regiments in my two toy soldier armies.

There were two key ideas in the rules:
  1. The timetrack. I discussed this mechanic before, so will not explain the concept again.
  2. Delayed damege resolution: since units were activated at various intervals governed by the time track, I used the mechanic that once a unit was hit by fire, it simply got a marker. A unit amassed markers, until it was activated. Only then would all the damage markers be resolved. I thought this was a good way of introducing fog of war, and giving neither side the certainty of the outcome of specific firing actions.

So how did the full rules work?

The first sheet (shown below) simply shows the various actions a unit can perform when it is activated. A move and Double move cost a different number of action points (as shown on the timetrack), as do a fire and concentrated fire action. The fire actions also show the damage points inflicted on the target unit.

The second part of the first page contains damage resolution. When a unit is activated, simply roll a D6 for each damage marker to "save", then roll another D6 for each remaining marker and read out the results. The coloured bars correspond to coloured status markers placed next to each unit.

The second page lists soms "fun effects": what happens when the Commander in Chief is being hit, and some random events when you roll low on the D12 to determine your activation points for the turn.

So how did the rules work?

The time track mechanic worked really well. It needs some more tuning, but nothing too drastic.

However, the "delayed damage resolution" was not really fun. I underestimated the joy you get when you fire at the enemy, and immediately see the anage done, instead of waiting till the opponent activates that unit again. It resulted in units in the front line collecting lots of damage markers. We would simply "fire some more", just to add some more damage, just "to be sure".

So I will probably rewrite the rules such that damage is resolved immediately, with the "saving roll" incorporated in the "to hit" roll of the attacker.

I was planning to run a more extensive version at CRISIS in Antwerp this fall, but since CRISIS has been cancelled, it will take some time ...

Dark Future Miniatures

Last year I acquired some old Dark Future miniatures. Since I got interested in Car combat games (again), it was time to sort them out.

For identifying old Citadel Miniatures, there a couple of good sites, but for Dark Future, the Collecting Citadel Miniatures wiki provided good answers on their Dark Future page.

Managing the collection

In the latest issue of Miniature Wargames (448, already added to the index), there's a column by Tom Holden about wargamers not only being gamers and painters, but also hoarders.

I guess this is familiar to most longtime wargamers. We have a tendency of buying stuff, storing stuff, hoarding stuff ... without ever using most of it. I recently saw a remark by someone on a discussion forum "If wargamers would only buy what they would actually use and play with, the wargaming industry would be in deep trouble."

But anyway, this hobby of ours indeed has a tendency of growing out of control at regular intervals. I guess every individual wargamer need to find the right balance.

Personally, I have culled my collection at regular intervals, often triggered by a house move. Since 2008, we live in our current house, and I am lucky to have my own wargaming room. But, I try to keep the room nice and clean, without collecting junk in there. After all, the gaming room serves as a gaming room, not as a storage space, and having a nice room helps in making gaming enjoyable.

I also have my "work space" in the garage, where I do my painting, and where I keep my "junk". In that space, things grow out of control now and then, so I regularly try to toss out or sell things I longer need: boardgames, materials for modeling projects I will never finish, etc. It really helps to prioritize, and to be realistic about things. E.g.:
  • Games? Is there any chance I will still play the game in the next 10 years or so? If the asnwer is no, I bring it to the local gaming shop.
  • Books? Is there any chance I will read the book ever again? If no, I bring it to the local charity shop, or put in the local "book exchange closet" (boekenruilkastje in Dutch, don't know how to translate it, but it's a box where people can leave old books for free and take some other ones for free left there by other people).
  • Miniatures? If the miniatures are unpainted, I don;t have a hard time getting rid of them. Exceptions are vintage fantasy miniatures - I'm a sucker for those!
I'm still not ready to make really rational choices based on life expectancy though. I'm 53 now. Suppose I live for another 25 years - that's 25*52 = 1300 weeks. If we would play a game per week, that means 1300 games. Perhaps that's a bit optimistic, so what about a game a month? That's 300 games. What figures and rules do I need for those 300 games ... ? Nah, we're not ready for that sort of analysis yet!

Monday, 13 July 2020

Hyboria (13)

With the help of Mike Garrett (see his wargaming blog here, although it could use an update :-)), I received scans from Tony Bath's Hyboria articles, published in Military Modelling February and March 1979. That leaves only the December 1978 and January 1979 articles missing.

You can find the other parts in the series (10 parts in Battle for Wargamers Jan-Oct 1978; 1 article from Military Modeling November 1978,  1 article published in a very early White Dwarf)  on the Hyboria page.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Hyboria (12)

Thanks to Wim VdB (see his blog here), I received a scan of the next installment in Tony Bath's Hyboria series that was published in Military Modelling magazine, November 1978. You can find it on the Hyboria page of this blog.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

And now for something different ...

Recently, I participated in the Car Wars kickstarter. I remember playing old versions of Car Wars back in the 80s and 90s, so this is an old favourite. I also got interested in Machinas, and bought a pdf copy as this game as well. This is topped by my acquisition of an old Dark Future set, which I bought at Crisis last year.

So, I need some cars!

Luckily, I still have a box of my old Matchbox cars from my toddler days (yes, that is almost 50 years ago). These cars date back to the late 60s, early 70s, but I never really did much with them for wargaming purposes. Perhaps now is the time!

A small selection of cars (various brands) going back to the early 70s

First thing to do is to disassemble the cars. It turns out there are a lot of youtube videos on how to do that exactly. So I took out my Dremel and started drilling ...

Some cars disassembled

This leaves the metal bodywork for a nice repaint job, and the inner parts for some cleaning. Then I'll have to add guns, rockets, and all the paraphenelia required for some heavy car combat ...

To be continued ...

Friday, 26 June 2020

Last of the Geohex ...

Last week I parted with the last pieces of the Geohex terrain system I still had.

I bought a master set of Geohex somewhere in the mid-nineties, along with a mountain set. It was a major purchase at the time, and we used it extensively. However, I always felt the tiles were a bit too large to be flexible, and were also fragile, made of styrofoam.

Somewhere in mid 00's, I switched to the Kallistra terrain system, which I still use, and which is much more durable.

But anyway, I sold the master set some time ago, but somehow never got rid of the mountains et. I still used the mountain set last february, in my 42mm game at Warcon. But now it is gone as well.

The Geohex era comes to an end!

For old time's sake, here's a picture of the Geohex terrain in action, probably 96 or 97 in the Lonely Mountain gameshop in Leuven - our gaming HQ at that time:

Saturday, 20 June 2020

All Along The Watchtower

Now that the lockdown measures are being relaxed, it was time to play a game again.

Bart was happy to host a game at his place: Romans vs Celts, with a watchtower being the central focal point of the scenario. Rules used were Hail Caesar.

Bart took on the role of plumpire (very handy, since none of us knew the rules too well). Eddy and David took command of the Celts, Jean-Pierre and myself took command of the Romans.

The game went very slow, since we spent quite some time chatting in between turns: small and big worries about work or home; corona adventures; how to make cocktails; etc.

Still, the game progressed, with a unit of naked Celt Warriors able to occupy the watchtower by turn 4. By then, the clock said 23.00, so it was time to wrap up, although we still kept on talking till shortly before midnight.

Here are the pictures. Notice our Corona-proof face masks! Funny enough Jean-Pierre is in none of the picture ...

David, Eddy, Bart

David and Eddy

Roman Legions approaching the watchtower.

Naked Holliganni near the watchtower

Roman Cavalry facing the Celt chariots

More action near the watchtower

David and Eddy

Me trying to take a selfie

Holliganni Supremus in the watchtower

Crisis 2020 cancelled

I only heard it yesterday, but apparantly the news has been out for some weeks. Crisis 2020, the annual wargaming convention in Antwerp, has been cancelled.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Playing solo ...

Despite the lockdown and the working-from-home regime, I didn't find much time to play some solo games, although I tried a few things.

First was a game using Victory - The Blocks of War, an older Columbia Blockgame. The picture below shows the starting position. I played a few turns, but somehow, it feels rather empty.

Then I tried a few turns of Ludus Gladiatorius, but the rock-papers-scissors aspect of that game made me quit after a few turns.

But I still have the plastic model of an old Colosseum set lying around (I had this since I was a kid, and always kept it). Perhaps I should give that a paintjob and try the game again?