Posts Tagged ‘rules’

A Very British War Game

January 15, 2010

According to Sir Alec Issigonis, the designer of both the Morris Minor and the Mini “A camel is a horse designed by committee.”, so it follows how a wargame created along similar lines would be little more than a glorified form of “Snap!” but with alabaster playing cards twelve foot high printed with invisible ink. If the committee seldomly actually met, preferring to discuss it openly over a web forum while encouraging input from anyone interested in playing you’d expect it to sink into immediate oblivion only to surface again in a thousand years mistakenly identified as some Polynesian-like oddity such as the moai of Easter Island.

Yet should you pay a visit to the Gentleman’s Wargame Parlour you’ll find just such a game in development, and generating an enormous amount of interest which not only dwarfs the rest of the forum but also reveals one of the most fascinating games around for a long time. Aside from this you’ll likely spot the incredible amount of enthusiasm which has infected all those who go there, myself included.

The oddest part is how, unlike all good wargames, A Very British Civil War isn’t a ruleset. It’s a big “What-If?” based around the idea of Edward VIII not abdicating his throne in favour of asking Oswald Mosley of the British Union of Fascists to form a government for him which results in a civil war by 1938. This grand scenario is supported by two source books, with a third enroute, which give you a feel for both the period and the factions involved, and the rest is down to you the player. You’re encouraged to play the area you live in, which makes period research a lot easier as well as using your knowledge of the local geography, and report back on any developments with a possibility of it becoming “fact” in a future source book.

Now I’m generally not a fan of “What-Ifs”, but VBCW has focused on a very interesting period of history not least for the UK, and the manner of the forum, “All gents together.”, helps distil the whole project into something far greater in total than the sum of it’s parts. Frankly it simply shouldn’t work- it’s hard to tell who, if anyone, is in charge. Folk are piling in ideas left, right and centre but it’s this chaos which is part of the fun, just as if we’d actually decided to pick a faction to fight our corner in a civil war.

The opening battles of the war are still being organised as big games which you can go play should you choose to, and folk are madly adapting anything they can get their hands on to supplement their forces. If anything drives this relentlessly onward it’s the simple truism “Gents have more fun.”.

Sniper’s Nest

October 9, 2009

DSCF0844Sadly table top gaming shops have become a rarity across the UK, mainly because of the web but also because so much gaming is now console based. Swimming against this current is Sniper’s Nest in Ramsgate and rather successfully so. Unfortunately it doesn’t carry any 6mm stock at all, but it does have a reasonable range of what you might expect to find with a heavy emphasis on 28mm and Flames of War plus all the accessories every gamer needs such as paints and brushes etc. It’s run by Mike an affable chap of the gaming old-school and so perfect for running such a shop and worthy of your custom.

DSCF0846Every inch of wall and counter is festooned with goodies, plus at the rear is an area specialising in movie collectables, but the final string to Mike’s bow lies in the basement. There’s two small-ish, but perfectly formed game tables in seperate rooms. Rather obviously these allow for plenty of playing but unlike a table set up in the sales area they also mean that when a game gets juicy and time is running out it can be left to be resumed at a later date – a nice touch.

Visitors would do well to phone ahead of a visit on 01843 607080 as I’m unsure of his exact hours, plus he’s taking a three day break next week – a much needed luxury for an independent retailer. Another point to bear in mind is how much of the web, including google maps, lists him as being in Harbour Street. He isn’t and hasn’t been for well over a year now. The actual address is 1 Chatham Street, Ramsgate, CT11 7PP, he’s worth paying a visit, tell him I sent you.

Things have changed since this entry was written for all the updates please read

Rules Britannia

April 9, 2009

dscf0852Sets of rules for gaming are unusual beasts. In days past you typically took up whichever set your chums used, sometimes you might express your individuality by finding a different set, sometimes at a show or club or even having read about them in the limited wargaming press. Now with the web you can go to a gaming forum and have a decent conversation about them, then go and read thousands of words about them in reviews and more or less guarantee ending up with exactly what you are looking for. However there’s two side effects of the web which can actually make it a more drawn out affair, namely every gamer in ten seems to have written a rule set and often generously offers them up for free download, also the range of choice is positively massive in part due to one gamer in ten having written a set. Being spoilt for choice is a luxury though so don’t consider that a complaint, it’s mere observation.

When I decided to return to WWII gaming I used the new web way of doing things, and preferring to always think things through it did take a good couple of months to conclude by buying a copy of Blitzkrieg Commander by Peter Andrew Jones from Specialist Military Publishing Ltd. Aside from looking like the most suitable for me, the company is British and that’s agreeable to me for mild nationalistic reasons.

dscf0853When the rules were delivered I was a little shocked. Sure the book is a beautiful example of publishing, well bound, overall good production values, and lavishly illustrated, but it did strike me as too thick a volume. I was looking for speedy play, and did wonder if I hadn’t bought one of those over complex rivet-counting volumes. A quick scan removed my fears, the bare machinery of the game filled only a small part of the overall book, the rest was army lists for specific theatres by date, plus a talk-through of how it all worked on the table with illustrative photos.

dscf0857I’ve little to say about the rules, they’re simple, play well and most importantly great fun. They’re not limited to 6mm in any way so they’re suitable for heathen friends. A twelve year old can use them, as can be seen in the picture of the boy Slug above – and yes he does look a little too serious but then he is trying to work out how to beat the historical precedent set by the Third Reich after all. The army lists are vital of course, and it wasn’t long before I was spodding out making calculations for invincible armies like one does, only to see them turn to dust on the table. The most interesting feature though are the talk-through pages, most rules I’ve ever learned, and I imagine this is true of a lot of gamers, have been explained to me in a few minutes by a mate who knew the set. This would then be followed by a quick introductory game. It’s astute of a publisher to replicate this and so keenly too.

dscf0861I wouldn’t be surpised if they were suitable for younger players like Stinky who is five, in fact if he can explain surpression by the end of the week I won’t put him on a charge for his sloppy use of a beret. Specialist Military Publishing also produce Cold War Commander and Future War Commander, both of which I’ve heard good reports of, they also have a very handy website packed with further information, links and a forum, the latter being really handy as there’s nothing like being able to run any misinterpretations or problems past the man who wrote the rules. I highly recommend these rules, and as is so common I now support them with the fervour usually associated with sports teams. We are the army, the barmy army, etc…