Saturday, April 22, 2017 the Blue Hell...

I have never been more than tangentially involved in game development -- BETA testing, scenario designing, and the like -- so I try to be circumspect, but there are times that I see something that really winds me up.  I'm quite fond of GW's Battlefleet: Gothic.  It's another in their longish line of side-games that I wound up preferring to their mainstays, fantasy and 40k.  End of the day, lacking as it does a Z-axis, it was an Age of Sail game in space.  What, then, wasn't to love?

When they announced the PC version some months ago, I was fairly pleased.  The game looked lovely with glow-y Imperial ships, Ork ships that look like they've been cobbled together from scrap, and all the rest rendered in a reasonably high-end fashion.  I was saddened, though, that the developers made a choice to make the game "real" time.  The table top game is obviously turn based and so many of its best mechanisms are based on that IGOUGO system.  Still, it was a system I liked and I've more or less enjoyed it since BETA.  Then and now, though, I was left wondering what might have been had they taken a crack at making the game turn based.

This, then, stunned me:

Turn-based, still more or less lovely, full campaign, asynchronous multi-player, and a fairly faithful adaption of the tabletop rules.

For the iPad.

Say it again.  For the iPad.

I've fired off a message to the developer to see if there's any chance it will make its way over to Steam -- the developer has put together other products there -- but I'm not optimistic.

I do not understand.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Not Writing HERE Because I'm Writing THERE...

In fairness to me, I've not been neglectful in recounting my gaming adventures, I've just been sharing them with the fine folks at

Here, for example, is the interview I did with VentoNuovo games for its Bloody Monday KickStarter.

People did not understand the difficulty I was going to have when I gave up purchasing or ordering new games for Lent.  Now perhaps they understand.  On the other hand, let it be noted that the KS doesn't end until the day after Easter.

And here's my latest interview with the fellow who invented by favorite game by a living author -- Dr. Didier Rouy, author of The Flight of the Eagle.

Both have interesting things to say, but I particularly enjoyed Dr. Rouy's for his introspection on a career not only in gaming but in medicine.  He said so much, in fact, that the article wound up being broken in two.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Two Fine Bits of Reading I Commend to Your Collective Attentions...

In which my guy Doug goes after a video guy for not understanding how horsies used to work.  He's dead on right.

In which your host opens many boxes, stickers many wooden blocks, wonders at game production choices, and revels in Napoleonic battles.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Back to Gallipoli -- John Tiller's SB: First World War

It's been a while since my friend Charles and I were hard back at one another in the Dardanelles.  We'd made our way through the first six Gallipoli battles on John Tiller's Squad Battles: First World War when we ran into a technical glitch that bollixed our PBEM save.  With that behind us, we've started scenario seven.

I'll let it speak for itself:

1915 May 19, Gallipoli Front. 0320 hours.

Size: small (company +)

After the opening battles in April, the ANZAC sector saw little activity as both sides were disorganized and expended. Both sides spent weeks reorganizing and digging in. The Turks inched their positions as close as they could to ANZAC lines to avoid naval gun fire, since the British ships would not risk firing on their own troops, and the ANZAC forces dug in where they could to hold the small beach head.

In May, sporadic Turkish artillery fire, sniper fire and sporadic small attacks occurred but on the 18th the whole line was strangely calm. ANZAC forces suspected something was brewing and this was confirmed when British aircraft reported another Ottoman division arriving in their area and that enemy forces seemed to be massing for an enormous assault.

In the early morning hours of the 19th, ANZAC forces manned their trenches and stood at the ready for the suspected Turkish attack. At 0320 ANZAC infantry peered across the flat 400 Plateau and observed wave after wave of dense Turkish troops advancing with fixed bayonets.


(Allied Powers) Hold your trench line at all costs! We cannot fall back!

(Central Powers) Attack across 400 Plateau and overrun the ANZAC trenches. Doing this will overrun their front line in this area and will cause their whole position to collapse.


*Historically the Turks advanced bravely and were shot down en masse, littering the whole plateau with hundreds of additional corpses. In a couple of hours, the Ottoman attack along the whole front line had failed, with over 10,000 dead and nothing to show for it.

One of the things I've enjoyed about playing through this sequence is the terrific research the descendants of the ANZAC forces have done to keep the memory of both sides of this conflict alive.  There's a lot of great photographic tours of the grim space where all this took place, but I also found this sketch which portrays well, I think, just how much was in the hazard.

This is the setup for my Turks at game start.  As I said regarding the Combat Mission game below, it's what you don't see that gives you the willies.

 I figure there's nothing for it but to advance, light up the trench (it's 0320 at start, if memory serves) and have at them.  At the end of the first turn, I've marched the lads out in front of their officers -- better to rally the pinned with my dear -- and will set on Charles' Aussies next turn.

There are many scenarios provided with this game that speak to a more sweeping war of maneuver than is usually depicted in World War One.  I have a fancy hunch this will not be one of those scenarios.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Rante: Parte the Seconde...With A Worthie Assiste

Very, very strange serendipity.

The crew at asked if I'd be interested in interviewing the folks behind the Pub Battles series of games.  Having been a fan for some time, I jumped at the chance.

What I did not expect was that Marshall Barrington's critique of rule complexity -- up to and including a pretty direct hit at ASL -- would match my own thoughts on the subject.  In a way likely more concise than mine, he makes the case the war games generally will either simplify or die.  Mind you, they need not become "stupid", but complexity is not realism, over-narration is not completeness, and beauty is not truth.  In this last bit, I digress.

I think all his responses are well worth a read (I would think that, wouldn't I), but his remarks concerning the above are particularly noteworthy.

Sunday, February 19, 2017