Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Gaming Artifacts: AD&D Deck of Encounters

I’m always on the lookout for interesting resources to inspire and enhance my solitaire roleplaying gaming. Most work just as well for group play, but some can form the basis for solo adventures when the gang just can’t coordinate schedules and you want to spend an afternoon immersed in an imaginary game world. Years ago I recall using the second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Deck of Encounters: Set One for a few weekend forays back into my favorite Basic/Expert D&D rules. I don’t recall much about the few play sessions other than they offered some satisfying entertainment and relief from stress at the time. Perusing the deck today I can see how they provide a range of adventure seeds one might develop into sole encounters or springboards for more involved adventures. It’s quite AD&D specific, but enterprising gamemasters can adapt most encounters to their favorite game setting or genre with a little work. Alas, it’s not cheap to acquire these days, especially when other resources exist today with a similar if not more effective inspirational impact.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Considering Wargaming & Troubled History

 Time is the king of all men, he is their parent and their grave, and gives them what he will and not what they crave.”


Queen Elizabeth II figure
by King & Country
Last week’s missive on Osprey books’ wargaming notes – along with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II – reminded me how the legacy of colonialism shaped the supposedly modern world in which we live. It’s not easy, in our tribal mentality, to separate individuals from nations, a monarch from an entire government, to appreciate the good in one person despite living in an imperfect world. People have written carefully considered and respectful pieces on Elizabeth’s long reign and the service she rendered to her country and, arguably, the world, especially as it emerged into a post-colonial, more globally aware era. I’ve seen other pieces reminding us of her role as head of a nation troubled, like most countries, by turmoil and transgressions past and present. Most of this discourse reminds us (or makes us aware) of colonialism’s lingering ills. Those of us who study history in various capacities keep these in mind; for sensitive historical wargamers it presents a quandary. How can we play games based on historical events that reinforced the colonizers’ power and abuse of those they conquered? Is it all simply a game we can blissfully play for sheer enjoyment while ignoring the historical context, especially what that meant for the conquered? Should we abandon our satisfying pastime lest we perpetuate the very ills of colonialism people still denounce today? I fear there’s no “right” answer here (or at least no reasonable person would claim and enforce a “right” answer), but the issue’s worth exploring as our adventure gaming hobby pursuits occasionally intersect with real-world issues.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Osprey Books Wargaming Notes

I can’t recall the first Osprey Publishing book I bought. I’m guessing it might have been something either for the Victorian period or World War II. But I certainly remember – in those days when my interest remained firmly grounded in roleplaying games with only nascent dabblings in miniature wargaming – the few pages at the back of each Campaign series book offering insights on how to wargame the campaigns featured in the book. They’re something I miss today as I explore historical miniature gaming even as Osprey itself publishes its own rules and I continue exploring sources that address playing out historical conflicts on the tabletop.