Archive For The “Columns” Category

2018 – Looking Back and Looking Ahead, part 2

2018 – Looking Back and Looking Ahead, part 2

Brant Guillory, 1 January 2019

In a tradition carried on from past lives, we’ve reached out to some friends in the gaming world, and asked a pair of questions about the year in gaming.

What was your best game-playing memory, moment, or experience over the past year, and what made it so great?

Part 2 today, to close out 2018, and part 1 yesterday.

 

Peter Bogdasarian – Wargame designer

Best gaming moment was probably committing the Imperial Guard in Pub Battles: Waterloo and having them shatter the Allied left so I could roll up Wellington’s army.  Just found it very satisfying to see them strike such a decisive blow.

Best gaming experience was completing our campaign of Gloomhaven.  I thought Cephalofair delivered the most polished RPG experience I have ever received from a tabletop game.

 

Jim Owczarski – Dragoon!

I am almost offended you would ask:  the 1824 Kriegsspiel, as modified by Dr. James Sterrett, as played at the Wargame HQ at ORIGINS 2018.  Seeing that many people excited about my favorite activity, much less game, was very special.

Close runner-up was starting up the 1809 Vol de L’Aigle operational Kriegsspiel currently running on the Armchair Dragoons forum.

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2018 – Looking Back and Looking Ahead, part 1

2018 – Looking Back and Looking Ahead, part 1

Brant Guillory, 31 December 2018

In a tradition carried on from past lives, we’ve reached out to some friends in the gaming world, and asked a pair of questions about the year in gaming.  Part 1 today, to close out 2018, and part 2 tomorrow.

What do you think was the biggest news story in the hobby gaming world over the past year, and why?

Byron Salahor – Dragoon!

Since I am reluctant to quote a single, definitive article, my vote for the biggest news story in the gaming world continues to be the ever-increasing popularity of Dungeons & Dragons.  Over the last couple of years, this hallmark role-playing game has increasingly showed up in the oddest of places – like popular mainstream media.  TV personalities (hullo Stephen!) discuss the game on late-night talk shows; respectable newspapers feature articles on how this odd, niche fantasy game is (surprise!) bringing people together, creating community, or is being used in the classroom.  Local libraries are running D&D game nights; my local FLGS reports having sold “dozens” of starter kits in the run-up to Christmas, and an FLGS in a neighboring province stated on their social media feed that they just sold their 2000th copy of the 5th edition Player’s Handbook.  While D&D will probably never become as popular as Risk, or Catan, or Monopoly, it is – in this gamer’s opinion – very heartening to see how a game that encourages imagination, cooperation, and story-telling  has meaning and value in an age of electronic amusements.

 

Jeff Tidball – Game designer and GAMA board member

I think that it’s a bit unsung at the moment, and we’re only looking at the beginning of it, but I think that Tabletop Wire’s founding, and their ramp-up of legit daily journalism about the business side of the tabletop gaming hobby, has been really exciting this year. There’s simply no other place that’s doing that kind of work, and it’s been a real need for the business (in my opinion) for a long time.

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Battle Lab: Civilians on Hexagonal Battlefields

Battle Lab: Civilians on Hexagonal Battlefields

Brant Guillory, 6 November 2018

The following is the set of slides from Brant’s ’06 Origins War College talk about integrating civilians into wargaming.  Note that these are only the slides and not a full accounting of the entire robust discussion around the topic. Also, the talk focused on the game design effects, and not on the larger real-world implications of civilians on the battlefield.

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Battle Lab: Headquarters in Wargames

Battle Lab: Headquarters in Wargames

How are headquarters units implemented in wargames, and what functions do they serve? As wargamers, most of us have enough appreciation of history to understand the value of a headquarters in combat and its ability dramatically affect a battle as it unfolds. There are a variety of ways in which headquarters units can be portrayed on the tabletop.

Originally published in Battles! Magazine, here’s a look at HQ units on your tabletop

But first, let’s look at what they do in real life (as always, “the disclaimer”: the doctrine being discussed is American; it’s what I know). (more…)

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Battle Lab: Why Logistics Sucks

Battle Lab: Why Logistics Sucks

Why logistics so rarely shows up in wargames ~

Brant Guillory, 1 June 2018

Here’s a logic puzzle for you.

You have 4 snakes that have to get through a maze. They each have a destination, but there are only 3 start points and only 3 endpoints. Oh, and the routes through the maze cross in several places, which means you have to sequence your snakes through the maze. And by the way, there is a certain sequence the snakes need to depart and arrive.

Does your head hurt yet? What if we started putting some obstacles in the maze? How about if the snakes stop off for a bite to eat? What if we start including snakes going the other direction, too? Some passageways are too small for some snakes, do you route them through those pathways to free up space for other snakes even if the smaller ones now take longer to get where they’re going? (more…)

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Battle Lab: Games and Sims for Training and Learning, II

Battle Lab: Games and Sims for Training and Learning, II

Continuing the long-running discussion ~

Dr James Sterrett, 10 July 2018

Previously published back at GrogNews, we have a guest article written by Dr James Sterrett, an instructor at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College. Please note that these are his ideas and are not reflective of official US Army policy, doctrine, canon, religion, or other official imprimatur.

the objective of an activity [is] more important that the software (or paper rule set) being used

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Brant and I have cheerfully sparred over the distinction between games and simulations over the years.  What follows is my take, focused on training & education, in two different variants.  The first is useful as a snappy comment, while the second works better analytically.  In the end, both point to the objective of an activity as more important that the software (or paper rule set) being used, and neither variant is perfect. (more…)

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