Monday, 14 May 2012

Final thoughts on Campaign 2012

So. overall how did “Call it Qids” do? Up 'til now it has been played by our group and a wargaming friend from work, so a run out with the general wargaming public is a good test.

Compared to last year's effort, - “The Elephant in the Room” it has more of a “Hmmmm” factor that a “Wowww!” factor. People are intrigued by it without necessarily being immediately drawn in. However those people who played it really enjoyed it, and we had quite a different range of approaches to it as well. For me it is a less physically demanding game to run, - TEITR requires the person running the game to be constantly active, encouraging players, keeping the pace of the game up. I spend most of the day on my feet, bending forward over the table. CiQ is more sedate for me, - I get to sit down most of the time.

Over the weekend we had significantly more Hittite victories than Egyptian. I don't think this reflects the game balance, as most people will play the Egyptians given the choice, so I'm left with the Hittites, and I have played the game before once or twice. Opponents are reluctant to take my advice, no matter how it is offered. Sometimes you just can't throw a game away.

In the only game played by two novices Ramesses won easily, partly due to poor die rolling but also partly down to just bad playing by the Hittite player.

What did we learn about the game? In the game pack as it will soon be published (it is all ready to roll to SoA members, - I believe it is waiting for the mailing list) the Hittites always go first. I'm now leaning towards the view that actually for a more historical outcome the Egyptians need to get the ball rolling. I'm also of the view that the Hittites shouldn't be able to launch an attack on the camp until they have captured at least one piece of baggage, or turn 5, which ever is earliest.

And in the final game we had a unique instance in all of the dozens of play tests. An Egyptian chariot from Pre division managed to slip past the rampaging Hittite forces and give the Ramesses' camp a warning of the impending Hittite attack. In a hastily improvised rule change we changed the Egyptian camp rout test to a 4-6 rather than a 5,6 to stand. On reflection I'd say 3-6 in future, should it ever happen again (regardless of this heroic feat, I still managed to win the game as the Hittites).

So the game has survived first contact with the public. We played it about 12 times over the two days, and as stated above everyone enjoyed it, and no one had the bored “let me out of here” look on their face, - not even the two primary school aged children who took part.

What of the rest of the show? As I said over the weekend it looked to me as if there were fewer visitors, but Dave L said he'd a good weekend, with significant sales. I didn't speak in such terms to any other traders. We certainly didn't have as many people stand and chat, and we work at it.

The participation games all had high production standards. Lots of effort went into getting the figures and terrain right. There were also some nice ideas, - the Red Army search for Nazi scientists in the ruins of Berlin caught my eye, based as it is on real events (although I suspect it wasn't actually done like that....). However I continue to be frustrated by the people who put so much effort into producing the game and then don't engage with the audience. Shows shouldn't just be about showing off, they should be about getting people into the hobby. Filling a table with wall to wall 28mm lead and plastic then turning your back on the public isn't the way to do it.

The one honourable exception was Crooked Dice's “7TV” cult TV skirmish game, based loosely on Captain Scarlet, Austin Powers and Dr Who. It looked great and the guys running the game were actively getting kids involved. Well done to them.

Alas for me that's probably my only show until Derby in October. My original plan was to take CiQ round to a minimum of four shows, but my change in circumstances means that I'll almost certainly fall short of my target.

Any how, off to work now. I must post this whilst I've still got a signal on my netbook.


  1. Can't help but comment on how different conventions are here in the U.S. The games here are all participation. Don't know if I'd return to a convention if it was just "look; don't touch".

    Thanks again for the update on "Call it Qids", and the game modifications; very good.


  2. You usually get a mix in the UK, - most participation games are short - up to one hour - and you don't have to sign up before hand. You get to wander round and pick what you want to play.

    Some shows are really good for participation, -Triples used to be excellent, for example. The last few years, however, have seen a big increase in the "piles of lead" demo games, I'm sorry to say.