Wednesday, 23 May 2012

And in other news....

There's an update on Call it Qids below, but first an update on Monday's game and a few other things.

Due to train issues and general rushing about I forgot to take my camera on Monday evening so no pictures, but we had another rollicking game in the US-Mexican War as we followed the course of "manifest destiny" through Latin America.

This series of games has been put on by the newest member of our group (who I will refer to as "Richard" because that's his name), using Arty Conliffe's "Shako". I confess I'm still not a massive fan of these rules as they sometimes don't do things or give results in the way I think Napoleonic style games should. However, they hang together well enough, and give us a result in an evening, providing a number of interesting tactical decisions to make along the way. My fear is that they drive the player to rules based tactics to get a winning outcome, rather than playing intuitively, but that's true of a lot of rules.

Any how, I joined the Reverand Ian on the side of the Yankees, and faced off against the veteran Will (bolstered, as he was, by reading several articles on the war in the glossy mags) and Richard (or shouild I say "Ricardo"). The first short phase of the game was an argument between the two Yankee generals over the division of the attacking forces, which I won through several tactics. The principal of these was getting Ian to agree the split before he'd read the brief properly and was still making drinks. Cunning or what?

We had to drive across the table and exit the road opposite which would cause the Mexicans to rout, broadly speaking.

I adopted the tactic of spearheading the advance with the Texas Rangers, supported by four columns of infantry. The aim was to put the head down and run at them before their superior numbers enabled them to outflank us. Plus experience showed that our superior quality troops got good results by engaging in melee asap and our cavalry had a good chance of breaking any squares.

As it turned out this was a stroke of genius, allied as it was by Ian's feint to the left that drew the Mexican cavalry out wide. The Rangers broke two infantry units and pursued them off the board. This caused the Mexican army morale to drop further, so that when the infantry charge went in they rather melted away. Ian, on the other hand, was making rather a dog's breakfast of his attack, mainly by allowing himself to be hit by Mexican shooting. No matter, my brliiant bayonet charge caused a general Mexican army morale failure and they were soon streaming off the table edge.

It is fun to be playing Horse & Muskert without all the Napoleonic paraphenalia and Richard's linking together of the scenarios adds to the narrative. As I said, still not sure about Shsko, but if they give us an evening's entertainment then I'm not objecting.

On the SCW front SNTK are going through a bit of a revision before I put them out for general consumption. That's close to being finished, but alas the commuting is eating seriously into my game design time. I can type on the train if I know what I want to write, but for rule writing I need to be surrounded by bits of paper and reference books, and there isn't even that amount of space in a First Class carriage. On top of that ideas for a corp/army level SCW game keep crowding into my head. Tentatively called "SNTKs' Big Brother" it's probably too late to get them ready for CoW, but the arrival at last of some warm weather means that the big table is up in the garage so some play testing might start shortly.

And finally...Call it Qids is in print at last. There have been some issues with the printing which the Committee are looking at, but I've seen a copy and it looks jolly nice. Flicking through the pages I can see a couple of slight layout glitches and a couple of typos, - there's clear evidence of me rushing to meet a imposed deadline so as not to disappoint members and, I think, the work stress I was under at the time - but they don't really detract from the overall product.

I understand that a few copies were sold at Triples, which is great news. However whilst I'm pleased with the finished product - the map looks lovely, it really does - I think the Society should have let us have a colour cover. I think this will sell really well at shows as Kadesh is often mentioned and discussed, and the historical article is probably the best distillation of Ian's ideas on the battle he's written. It is of manageable length, covers all the main points and is well and cogently argued. I'm proud to have been associated with it.

Let me know what you think when it finally drops through your letter box.

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