Friday Grab Bag #2 – The Quickening

My second installment, also known as a sequel, and I am still finding my way.  So here we go!

It’s been several months now since I’ve started frequenting the Wargames Website.  I quite like the atmosphere so far.  It is a fairly finite space and easy to navigate.  The people are quite friendly and helpful.  That said, I am still somewhat confounded as to the most comfortable way to browse the site.  I generally check the front page for news and then the side bar for what’s new/hot that day.  I have to click the forum link, though if I want to see old threads.  It’s easy enough to do and the forum setup is a familiar Pro Boards style forum.  Yet, somehow I feel it is a bit more uncomfortable to browse than with TMP.  I do hope the readership expands.  I think it is a good place to one’s wargame cap.

I quite like board games that simulate battles in a simple way.  Hold the Line and Command and Colors both come to mind as successful approaches to this end.  Some board games, like the old SPI folio games, depict a battle and perhaps have one or two variant scenarios but all said, you are stuck fighting the ONE battle.  With games like HtL or CandC, you can make your own scenarios and even change the battlefield with the modular tile overlays.  There is at least one other game that is out there that works the same way.  Horse and Musket by Hollandspiele purports to so the same dealing with the Wars of Spanish Succession.  However, where the former have counters, blocks or miniatures that provide graphical appeal, HandM has crossed sabers, rifles and cannon balls on the counters.  To me, this was a bad miss.  While I am no stickler for pretty pictures, I do think that counters should be graphically representative.

Osprey is coming out with a sequel to Frostgrave entitled Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago, which will deal with adventures in a tropical atmosphere.  Instead of a focus on a wizard, the main character will be a warrior with some powers that had been passed down from generations ago.  The character, nearest i can tell, will have the powers something like a Jedi.  The theme is sort of a Medieval or Renaissance vibe.  I guess you can put your inner Gandalf aside and  release your inner Francis Drake.

Why are game mechanics these days so fiddly?  The games I like to play are pretty straight forward.  You roll a die.  Maybe your opponent gets a save.  That sort of thing.  There are a lot of games out there that have some wonderful game mechanics when it comes to movement, shooting and melee.  But, command and control seems to be the hotness these days.  Too many times I’ll turn my nose up at game X or game Y because the command rules are either way too fiddly or they are so abstract that they don’t even feel like command rules but rather more like a friction generator.  A good command rule would feel something like you are giving orders.  PIPs in DBA for instance.  You only have so many messengers per turn to order your troops about.  In “For King or Empress” and by extension “Napoleons Battles” it matters where your commanders are and a failed initiative will make them plod along.  While you may not feel like you are giving orders, you do have to maintain command communications, limited by distance and, of course, make that all important initiative roll.  The system is brilliant in that even the worst general can have a good day.  Not likely, but possible.

A parting shot.  I do need to get the camera out.  I have a good many miniatures to play “Show and Tell” with.  I even managed to put flags on my ACW cavalry command stands.  Until next time!

3 Responses to Friday Grab Bag #2 – The Quickening

  1. Hello John,

    For TWW, i subscribe to all the forums I am interested in so I get an email when a new topic appears in that forum.

    And why are game mechanics so fiddly? You are getting old 🙂

    I agree with you though!

  2. Peter says:

    An interesting post. I too prefer simpler rulesets. Thanks.

  3. acarhj says:

    @Shaun Old huh!? I resemble that remark! 😉
    @Peter Thanks!

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