Sunday, May 2, 2021

Hintervale: Gondor Calls for Aid

Will you answer?

In all seriousness, I need your help.  My latest project for The Joy of Wargaming can't go anywhere without you.  Check it out.

Help a brother out.
Let me know what you think the best option is here, would ya?

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Now That's What I'm Talking About!

Bradford Walker steals a march on me by laying out in detail some thoughts that have only been drifting, half-gestated through my mind lately:

RPGs are a wargame derivative.

It's time to explain why this is so, and in so doing expose what the appeal of the medium is and why most RPGs utterly fail because they refuse to exploit that appeal and thus play to the medium's strengths.

Read the whole thing here.

Play the right way and you will experience something no other medium can achieve: supreme visceral virtual experience.

He delves into that murky skein that separates player from character, and why leaving that skein in place, acknowledging it, and working within the boundaries it creates can provide for a much richer and more meaningful gaming experience. 

Then go buy his book, it's space opera done right:

Friday, April 23, 2021

Song of Drums and Shakos - First Runthrough

 It works!

I was afraid it wouldn't.  My experiments with Flying Lead weren't a lot of fun.  They power of modern weapons meant that the games bogged down into two static lines blazing away at each other with little motion or forward progress.
Needs more flags
Fortunately, the Napoleonics version of the game requires two full actions - on the same turn! - to reload a firearm.  That means that my first game included a lot more maneuver and a lot more charging into the bayonets of the enemy than my abortive attempts at modern wargaming.

Note also, this is my first foray into proper Napoleonics.  Though I have dabbled with the French Counter-Revolution to get my feet wet, this remains my first real game of proper Napoleonics with Brits versus French on the road from Tres Verdes.  It was a grand adventure that really came down to the last turn, and I'm looking forward to re-fighting the scenario with a few tweaks to make it even more interesting.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

2mm Gamers Rise Up!

Is something of a 2 mm Renaissance is in the air these days? Or maybe it's just observer bias - that I notice more 2mm projects because I myself am working on 2mm projects. Whatever the case, if you're interested in 2 mm projects have I got a doozy for you.

Nik Harwood brings it with a LOT of great shots in his gallery.  Go check it out.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Shots From the Long Hunt

Four heroes wade into the stinking mire of the great swamp.

Follow the full action here.  This was the fourth mission in a "Nightwatch" campaign, a solo wargame that uses tower-defense style design to keep the player on his toes.  Waves of enemies every round force some difficult choices as each mission requires the player to accomplish a few tasks.  In this case three relics must be destroyed, but in others the characters must search four points for an item and escape, or even defend three points from the hordes.  It makes for a complex tangle of challenges.

With two new hirelings manning the oars, our dauntless heroes venture to find and destroy the remains of three unholy abominations whose power lingers over this dank land.  Here, our intrepid wizard takes a moment to scatter the bones of one of the dead nightmares.

Jumped by two giant frog men - literally - the wizard skeedaddles, leaving the hired help to clean up the frog mess.  

In this scenario, the terrain items are the only dry ground.  Movement between them requires pushing through the shallows at half speed for our heroes.  Not so for the frog men, who leap across the gaps, nor for the tentacled thing which pursues them through the mire.  They never got a clear look at the watcher in the muck, but they did get an all too close look at the thing's giant pseudopods.

They also got a first look at the most dangerous of the Crimson Wyrm's minions - scaly lizard men toting assault rifles who loved to hang back and unload from a distance.  Here, our brave wizard cuts them off with a wall of fire that obscures line of sight, and forces the lizards to take the long way around.  That detour means wading through the waters, and buys our heroes time to deal with the hordes of smaller and weaker lizard men that have them surrounded.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Shots Fired!

Related to yesterday's post regarding people who have been playing AD&D wrong for decades - a club of which I was a solid member of for decades myself - Jeffro offers up a little look at what we've all been doing wrong for lo these many years:
Why this rule is there exactly is not immediately obvious. If you experimented with it at all, you would understand that this simple and strange sounding idea is one of the best ideas in gaming history BAR NONE. If you were also familiar with just what precisely Dave Arneson did with Blackmoor, you would realize that this rule was the key that allowed him to manage as massive and complex of a campaign as he in fact did.

But this story does not end there.

Read the whole post for a better idea of what happens when you implement one weird and obscure little rule.

Be warned: Jeffro isn't taking any prisoners when it comes to advocating this new-old style of D&D campaign.  Before you raise your hackles, consider the adage, "When experience speaks let theory be silent."  There are ramifications to the rule he advocates for that are not immediately obvious, and it solves a great many problems that were dealt with by an ever-increasing list of houserules.  Or, perhaps "solves" is the wrong word - it prevents those problems from arising in the first place.

For a great example of this rule in play, check out Peter Del'Orto's long running GURPS Dungeon campaign, Felltower.  It's good stuff.

Give it a shot in your own campaign, you won't regret it.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Not the Flex You Think It Is

Continuing thoughts about Rule Zero and yesterday's post about Theseus' RPG.

Item #1:

If you only ever used a third of a game, have you ever really played the game?  You might have been playing something, but was it really the game you say it is?  How much of a game can you carve out and still be said to be playing the game?

Take baseball. So you don't use the infield fly rule, fine.  But what if you use a big rubber ball that you kick instead of hit with a bat?  What if you run the bases counter-clockwise and use a cricket wicket on the pitcher's mound to stop the runners?  There are limits to these things, and everyone knows it.

From the chatter around the internet, RPGs do not.  The suggesting that the game can be improved by working within the limits imposed by the rules is met with outright hostility from many quarters.

A very strange thing.

Fortunately, there are a few players out there in the reality based community who believe in the games they play.