Sunday, June 15, 2008

Game Droppings

Man, I've really got to find a way to write more often. Seems like life has me sidetracked from writing to this blog as often as I would like. Perhaps with Summer here, things will get better in that regard. It always seems like a much more exciting time for gaming, conventions, rotisserie baseball, road trips, and exciting new game releases.

Here's what I've been up to recently, as well as cool things which are on my radar...

Wizard Kings Sale = Columbia Games is having a Father's Day sale on their Treasures & Heroes block expansion sets for the Wizard Kings game. If you're a fan of the game, you should definitely check this out. I ordered 2 expansions, plus Map Pack #1 this weekend.

If you've never played any of the excellent Columbia block wargames, I heartily recommend giving them a try. I have both Hammer of the Scots and Wizard Kings in my game collection, and am hoping to add Crusader Rex to the mix some day as well. If you're a fan of Dark Ages and Medieval history, or a Fantasy gamer, and you like large-scale wargames of moderate complexity, you won't be disappointed with any of these games. They're fun, and each one has a very different feel due to its subject matter and how that's implemented in the game system.

Sword of Severnia Playtesting = This Summer, my playtesting group and I are hitting the wargames table on a regular basis to put the Sword of Severnia rules through their paces. Things are going well so far and I'm getting more & more excited about the game with each passing day.

Sword of Severnia (or SoS for short), is a card-driven miniature wargame of fantasy combat. There's a heavy emphasis on Command & Control, fog of war, and using smart battle tactics to manuever and attack with your troops (up to 12 different Troop Types). The importance of good Leaders, Morale, Disorder, Fatigue, Formations, using Reserves, and intelligent Deployment are also major facets of the game. And since it's a fantasy game, mighty heroes, wizards & spells, monsters, heroic duels, magic items, and unusual battle events are all nicely accounted for.

Armies are comprised of 9-15 regiments (most units are on 80 x 60mm or 80 x 120mm element type bases) formed into 3 brigades, with each brigade having its own field commander. Typical armies are comprised of 60-80 figures, which includes your core troops and any leaders, heroes, wizards, and specialists in your army. The rules were designed with 25mm to 30mm figures in mind, but are very easily adaptable to smaller scales such as 15mm.

SoS is not tied into any specific model manufacturer, so you can use whatever figures you like and have available. So whether it's models from Warhammer, Hordes, WarGods, Confrontation, HeroScape, Reaper, D&D Minis, Dwarf Wars, ancient Romans and Greeks, Knights Templar, Vikings, Celts, Saxons, Hundred Years War Medievals, Samurai, Persians, etc., you can use them in this wargame. In fact, SoS currently supports over 140 different races and creatures in the game.

Aside from the interesting game rules themselves, one of the things that really differentiates SoS from other fantasy wargames is that it's a Computer-Assisted wargame. Initially, the computer software component of SoS involves Army Creator tools for building your Regiments and Characters, assembling your Armies, crunching Point Values, and generating & printing custom Troop Cards which contain all the important stats you need to reference during actual game play. There's also a searchable digital Rulebook for quickly looking up rules or charts.

A bit later on, we'll be releasing full-blown Battle Moderator software for SoS. The software (run by a game umpire) lets you track troop status, victory points, and other key data during the battle, allows for some automated dice rolling if your group desires that option, quickly handles chart lookups, and helps enforce the game rules. Plus, the computer-assisted battle version of SoS really aids in learning the game (much less information for new players to remember since the computer does most of that for you).

So anyway... I'll keep ya posted as to our progress on SoS. It's gonna be pretty darn cool!

HeroScape Campaign = I'm also hoping to kickoff a HeroScape campaign game fairly soon. Last Fall, I wrote up a set of campaign rules that will form the basis of the campaign system in my Sword of Severnia miniatures wargame. But pieces of the system were adapted for HeroScape, so that our gaming group could use that simple yet fun system to resolve tabletop battles while our more advanced SoS miniature battle rules are still under development.

My hope is that within the next 2-3 weeks, I can get a small group to playtest these campaign rules with me. The campaign is played about 75% via email/web (sending in orders, plotting map moves, engaging in diplomacy with other players, buying items/buildings/specialists, recruiting new troops, etc.), while the remaining 25% consists of actual tabletop battles when armies encounter each other in a province on the campaign map. 

It should be great fun, so hopefully I can get this started soon.

Historicon 2008 = It's hard to believe, but the Historicon miniatures wargaming convention in Lancaster PA is only a mere 6 weeks away. Pre-registration for HMGS East members is now open, so if you're planning on attending this excellent convention, you should sign-up soon. I believe that pre-reg ends on July 3rd. I'll be there. The lure of tiny tin men is always too much to resist for this wargaming geek!

Well that's all for now.... Coming up on the blog in the coming future (God willing), will be some mentions of some new wargaming books on the market, a look at the 5 different types of wargamers, a rundown of board games on my Wishlist of games, new ideas for Rotisserie Baseball, more news about Sword of Severnia, and hopefully some game session reports. Stay tuned!

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