Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Card-Driven Battle Games

I’ve recently enjoyed playing around with some wargames using cards for unit activation and actions. They’re new acquisitions with elements I thought I might like to explore, something different from board games and miniature wargames, though with plenty of similarities in different aspects. Manoevre from GMT Games (2008) covers early 19th century combat (the Napoleonic era), while Airfix Battles from Modiphius Entertainment (2016) offers an introductory wargame experience set in World War II. They loosely fall into the “board wargame” category, though enterprising hobbyists can craft their own conversions to a more visually impressive experience with miniatures and terrain. The central card mechanics work well in providing players limited choices maneuvering units on the field. As with any game, each has its own strengths and disadvantages; but on the whole each game provided a positive play experience.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Star Wars RPG Instant Adventures

I’m trying to jumpstart my work on a neglected system-neutral fantasy roleplaying setting and, in seeking inspiration to fuel some creative momentum, I’m looking at some of my favorite roleplaying game supplements for ideas and reviewing notes I’ve gleaned from others on relevant game design. My reading includes the Instant Adventures collection for West End Games’ D6 System Star Wars Roleplaying Game. Although filled with scenarios, its original design parameters offer some ideas on how I might approach developing and presenting my setting sourcebook – short, easily digestible sections with maps and sidebars to quickly orient readers – still useful 20 years later in our Internet Age of instant gratification and dwindling attention spans.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Considering Bloody Tarawa

 I cannot tell you what profound respect I have for these Marines who took Tarawa, the living and the dead. I do not believe any Americans ever fought more bravely or so unselfishly.”

Robert Sherrod, Time-Life photographer

A few weeks ago I reflected how our wargaming experience might have more depth when we consider it more than simply playing a game, but give thought at some point to the history behind the battle, the ramifications for people who, on the board, often look like cardboard chits and playing pieces. Although that piece focused on issues of colonialism in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, it also pertains to other issues, notably the human cost of war. I’m reading John Wukovits’ One Square Mile of Hell, an account of the battle for Tarawa in November, 1943, from its planning and training phases, through the ruthless fighting, and its aftermath with survivors and families. Coupled with my occasional visits to the National Museum of the Marine Corps and my enjoyment of Worthington Publishing’s solitaire Tarawa 1943 game, the book offered a vivid, painful reminder of the price we pay to wage war.