Saturday, 30 January 2010

Friday Nights & Magazines

We meet most Fridays as a group and usually play a multi-player game. The multi depends on how many people turn up. Sometimes we play a multi-player game with just two people.

In the summer we mostly play in my garage. I have a 12' x 5' table that can stay up all the time so games can be carried over if needed. The problem with the garage tho' is the lack of any proper heating, so in winter we move inside. This usually means the large kitchen of someone's house (think the size of a farm kitchen in those cookery programs, only on a 1930's housing estate).

If we haven't agreed on next week's game the previous Friday we have a yahoo group to discuss what we want to do (it is called, for reasons not explained here, The Monday Night Group). Usually about Wednesday I realise I have no idea what we're going to do on Friday evening and float the odd idea on the group.

As indicated in the previous post (Real Life (part 7)) this week sort of got away from me, so I had nothing in mind to do. However I did have an unopened box of Wings of War that I got at Christmas so it seemed as good idea as any to give it a whirl.

Like everyone else I've seen WoW around for the last few years, picked it up and looked at it at shows. Played on the periphery of the odd game. Even tried to buy a copy last year in Italy (after all it is an Italian game) but couldn't find it.

No need for a full description of WoW here. Suffice it to say it is a cleverly constructed game with some clever mechanisms that enable something complicated to be learned and played quickly. On the down side as a system you can't combine it with a WW1 figure game as it has such a unique system.

We had four of us turn up (including me) and played through three games, swapping sides and planes. A fun evening was had by all.

The main thought that springs to mind is that it isn't easy to buy just the maneuver decks. I mean the box comes with several Sopwith Camel cards, but you can only fly one at a time as you only have one type C maneuver deck in the box. In order to buy more type C decks you have to buy more Camels. That is annoying. My second thought is that the game does actually play better without the model aircraft, but I'll keep that secret as apparently that's heresy.

As the evening closed the magazine buying member of our group produce some ripped out pages from February's "Miniature Wargames" with an article about WoW. This sort of brings me back to my main theme of last week.

There's nothing wrong with the article itself. It's an introduction to the WoW system, with some personal background from the author about why he plays it, and a description of how to repaint the pre-painted model planes you can buy to go with it. And apply decals. Then there's some scenarios and so on. In summary, a perfectly good article on the game even if, in my opinion, it's about two or three years too late. I'm pretty sure everyone in the hobby who buys Miniwargs must be aware of WoW. After all, I've heard of it and I don't take any glossies so officially I'm out of touch with the mainstream of the hobby. As WoW is a commercially sold "board" game, and probably one of the biggest sellers in the last couple of years it pretty much defines mainstream.

I think my gripe with the article is over the illustrations. First up there are some really nice artists drawings of WWI planes, which are really nice. No complaints there. We are also spared 28mm figures, but I suspect that is only because the Perry Brothers haven't yet released War Hamster Air Battles with multipose pilots and customisable biplane models.

What stuck out to me was the photo of the model planes illustrating the piece. They may be WoW models, but if they are then the stands that make them usable with the game have been photoshopped out. So in fact the one illustration of game components actually does nothing to help explain the game.

Now this is simply lazy. It wouldn't have been hard to photo the WoW game boards or show the cards in use. In fact I did it in about 10 minutes and posted the pictures on this blog.

Miniwargs isn't alone in this respect. I've seen several wargames books where the glorious 28mm figures in the pictures are clearly not being used for the game system described in the book. It's almost like you publishing a cookery book and publishing photos of recipes cooked by Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey because they're better than the ones you thought of.

Basically it's dishonest.

Any how, I hope no one thinks I have a vendetta against Miniwarg's editor. It's just that I think we deserve better.

On the painting toy soldier front you'll all be pleased to hear that I managed to make up the ground on the Highlanders, and they're currently sitting on the desk, waiting for the PVA sticking them to their bases to set. A dab of polyfilla Sunday morning and they're virtually done.

Which only leaves me needing to start thinking about a game for CoW. It's the 30th anniversary this year, so I expect everyone is planning something special. I'm getting no where. I had an idea for a Russian Civil War game done in the style of a Jog-Jog game using a big map, but I'm not sure now.

So I am strangely drawn to an old promise, - to do a game based around the Crisis in the Army and the Putney Debates after the ECW. If I'm going to do this I'll need to get on with the research. On the positive side, I just found my copy of "An Agreement of the People".

Maybe it's fate.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Oops moment there while trying to edit my post.

    Anyway, good old Miniature Wargames. I still have the first 12 issues saved for the pure reason that they are nostalgic and inspirational in equal part. Nowadays I cut out articles to keep, with the rare exception of the recent WS&S Spanish Civil War issue, which I kept.