Wargame Outcomes

The other day I was pondering the use of alternate methods of randomizing in Wargames. The usual method is to throw dice of course, be they the standard 6-sided dice (D6), average dice (faces of 233445), or one of the specials such as a 4-sided, 12-sided, 20-sided dice etc.

Dice rolls, regardless of the number of faces, usually provide three outcomes. Either I win, you win or it’s a tie. Three outcomes then had me thinking of using the old rock, paper, scissors (or the extended rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock) for outcome generation. Using rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock as the example (indeed, any number of odd combinations can be used) provides for one tie, two win and two loss outcomes per round.

With 5 possible outcomes, the Win 2, Lose 2, Tie one compares with rolling two 6-sided dice where ceteris paribus (OK, so I didn’t need to use the Latin term for “everything else being equal” but it does make this post sound a little more highbrow 😉) the outcomes are 15 wins, 15 losses and 6 ties.

20% ties on rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock compares with 16.7% using two dice, so ties are a little less likely using two dice. However, and here is where it gets interesting, using rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock does provide for a less random outcome as we try and second guess our opponents of their next hand gestures.

Time to ‘fess up. I have no idea where I am going with this thought, just that I am going somewhere or considering an alternative. I know there are some wargames where rock, paper, scissors is used to determine one-on-one hand-to-hand combat, but I am trying to think of a way to use in mass battles.

Mind you, rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock does not have the same satisfying sound as a handful of dice bouncing around the dice tray and spinning to a stop to reveal a brace of ones and twos when you only needed one six!

Modern Spearhead and Shako

I’ve been quiet for a while but then this Tweet from @Thewargamesroom

set my mind to thinking, especially when Keith noted that he played the game on a 3’x2′ table.

As I am space challenged currently, and as Keith noted that it worked well at that alternative scale, I thought should have a look for these rules and see if I could get some modern gaming in with myself.

The Spearhead and Modern Spearhead rules were written by Arty Conliffe. I searched for Modern Spearhead and found only one place that had them on their catalogue, however, On Matters Military, sold out in July 2020.

I then thought to give Amazon a try and searched for publications from Arty Conliffe. I came across this gem!

Wow! Just WOW!

I think I will go home tonight and carefully place my copy of Shako (and Shako II for that matter) in the vault and leave it there.

What other old rulesets have you run across that are currently for sale at ridiculous prices?

Big Ideas to Grow Historical Wargming

A few days ago I posted a link to a Little Wars video asking the question, Is Historical Wargaming Dying Out? I also added my thoughts to the question as well.

More power to the guys at Little Wars, they released a follow-on video offering some ideas and suggestions (five of them to be accurate) for growing tabletop wargaming.

The suggestions are all quite good and certainly may help to promote the game. The Gateway Product and Curated YouTube channels I think were excellent ideas. To attract those in the 20 to 35 age group, the approach really needs to be electronic to start with. For those in the 15 to 25 age group, the competition is tough as it is mobile phone based games along with XBox, Playstation and Nintendo.

I will admit that having worked in IT for more years than I care to remember, I like the tactile nature of tabletop gaming — research, painting, pushing figures around a table, two out of three parts are unrelated to my day job.

Anyhow, do have a look at the video and see of you can think of something to:

  1. promote the hobby
  2. attract new gamers

Right then, back out with the paintbrushes.

Roll sixes, stay safe, wash your hands!

Salad Rolls

That ain’t a cheeseburger – it’s a salad roll

Feeling like a visit to TGIF last Sunday after a spot of shopping in Glorietta Mall, I stopped in and was thinking that a cheeseburger and a beer would be a suitable Sunday evening repast.

So, after completing the contact tracing form, being shot in the head (36.3 degrees for those interested) and disinfecting my hands for the ninth time that day in some Isopropyl alcohol, I followed the arrows on the floor to my socially distant seat. Next to the QR code menu and ordering link, I saw the abomination illustrated to the right.

Cheeseburger at Handlebar, Plobacion, Makati City

First, let me state up front, I have no issues with vegies, in fact, I even enjoy some of them on my cheeseburgers. However, there is only one true definition of a burger and that is a piece of meat between two buns! And that meat should be beef.

The cheeseburger to the left is the perfect example. Well seasoned minced beef patty, built on a bed of lettuce, tomato and in this case fresh onion, with cheese on the top and a toasted bun, toasted to give it the extra strength to hold together until the last mouthful.

The burger should not require any utensils to eat it with other than those provided by the good Lord at your birth – your hands and fingers!

So called “chicken burgers” are chicken sandwiches or chicken rolls. “Pulled pork” cannot be used in a burger, but can in a roll, a baguette, a Philly.

Apart from the beef patty, cheese, tomato, lettuce and onion (whether raw or caramelised), the burger can also contain bacon, egg, beetroot (Aussie burgers standard issue) and arguably pineapple – there is a debate about whether pineapple can be used, similar to the Hawaiian pizza debate. Add to that a condiment of choice – tomato sauce/ketchup or BBQ or HP/A1.

So, the picture at the top is NOT a burger – it is a salad roll!

 

Wargaming Dying Out?

The folks over at Little Wars TV posed the question, “Is Historical Wargaming Dying Out?” I know this is something that has been often discussed in the wargames press, in forums, at shows and when just sitting around and chatting at the club. The greying of the hobby is apparent from the results over a number of years from the Great Wargames Survey.

If you haven’t seen it already, have a look at the YouTube video below, produced by Little Wars TV.

This video spoke to a couple of US wargame “dignitaries” as well as many UK ones. The mix was rules writers, figure producers and so on and one of the premises was that there has been very little in the way of new rules releases from US rules writers, although the English rules producers have been having a field day over recent years.

Some lively debate has followed on Twitter about this. Some of it has suggested that the responses were biased. I don’t think that there was a deliberate bias, the guys just spoke to the folks they knew at a show in the US and via other arcane means of communications in the UK.

Storm of Steel Wargaming, in his YouTube channel also discussed this topic, offering an alternative view:

To the actual question posed, here are my thoughts, written here as it is too long for Twitter 🙂

The first thing to note is that the feeling of the future from the folks in the UK was positive. More figure ranges being produced in more scales, many more rules written and released and, apart from the current plagues, clubs well attended as are shows.

Compare that to the US where they make the point that apart from Sam Mustafa’s Honor series, there has been little in the realm of new rules releases. Most of the rules systems being played are, in fact, systems that were written many years ago.

I’m not sure that I would describe this as dying out, rather I think it is a product of the times and the way wargames are played in the two areas. With a couple of notable exceptions, clubs in the US tend to be few and far between with most gaming occurring in gamer’s homes. Shows are organised by the various societies and generally run for 2 to 4 days with game masters running games for the attendees, often running a game many rimes. The objective of the show is to play games. It seems sensible then to stick to rules that folks know for that reason.

In the UK, the shows are mainly for shopping, and looking at lots of eye candy. There may be wargames competitions on as well but the shows are generally one or two days maximum, and the largest, Salute, is a one day show with many traders and demonstrations games.

Europe also seems to have a healthy scene as well with large shows (Antwerp for example) as well as manufacturers and publishers. APAC also has a healthy scene, and wargamers in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong seem on average younger than those grey heads in the UK and US.

Where are all the youngsters playing wargames? Mostly on their mobile phones, Play Stations or Xboxes, playing Mobile Legends or Fortnite. These gamers will age, and eventually at the ripe old age of 28 or so, their reactions will have slowed, the ability of their thumb to hit a key at about 200 times per second will have diminished and they will start to look for other entertainment.

Enter the recent spate of “all-in-one” sets. These are boxed sets and are new scales and warames periods with all the new items being released with rules, models/figures, and painting instructions in one box. Verily these are starter sets and like them or hate them, they do provide an entry for folks whose interest has been piqued. Cruel Seas, Black Seas, SPQR Victory at Sea and other Warlord games provide complete packs, an easy entry for new starters.

The wargame shows, once the Plague passes, provide a means of showcasing the hobby and these days, with YouTube channels, podcasts, not to mention books and magazines providing support for the new starter, I certainly think that while the future the future may look a little dim in the US at the moment, in the rest f the world it appears vibrant and bright.

Middle Eastern Village Complete – Peshawar Project

The Middle Eastern Building

I managed to finally get around to finishing the Middle Eastern Buildings I had for the Peshawar project. THe buildings were sourced from Brigade Models and from Irregular Miniatures.

Most of the bases are 40mm x 40mm square with the exception of the bases with the mosques which are 80mm x 40mm. This sort of fits with the ground troops and the Contraptions and Land Ironclads when I get around to getting some as they will also be on 40mm square bases.

The infantry, artillery and cavalry will be on 40mm wide bases with depth of 10mm, 20mm or 30mm mostly. In the meantime, the gallery below covers all the Middle Eastern buildings. I do have some European buildings to paint as well but those will now need to wait until I move house*.

Paint is various colours from the Vallejo Range, base is sand from Baccus 6mm which is the finest I have come across and there are one or two home made trees tucked away in there. Final varnish is Liquitex Professional Matt Varnish.


* Wargamer’s excuse for not painting something today number 17 😉

PhilPost and Slingshot — Back to Work

They might look like plain envelopes to you, but to me they are a few night’s good reading!

PhilPost has re-started clearing its backlog, after the last Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) period in Metro Manila.

I did miss that MECQ as I was away in the provinces. I fact, I arrived in Pampanga in the morning on 2 August 2020. The prez came out in the evening of 2 August and noted a return to MECQ for Metro Manila for at least two weeks.

So, staying in Pampanga won out, see Work in Progress, On the Workbench — Nil, Nada, Nothing … although it was a little expensive and the bank account hemorrhaged for a couple of weeks but the burgers and beers were most relaxing.

Two issues of Slingshot await my return to Makati

I got back to Makati Saturday 22 August after a three week sojourn. BAck in the office Monday to see the last two issues of Slingshot on my desk. They were received into Makati Central Posit office in July. Interestingly, the May/June issue arrived AFTER the July/August issue. I should note that I am still waiting the arrival of the March/April issue.

I guess the backlog of mail and parcels etc is cleared from the bags nearest the door, and they are the ones that come in last.

Mind you, if you have any sort of interest in Ancient Wargaming, or Ancient military history for that matter, I do recommend the Society of Ancients. Slingshot is their journal and it does arrive regularly in the letterbox.

Right, time for a coffee and a little read!

 

Work in Progress, On the Workbench — Nil, Nada, Nothing

Random photo from the past (2017) and only because it is two weeks to the ‘ber season

And no, I am not doing the Santa bit again this year, leastwise not unless there is a damned good reason as in some past years.

So, what’s happening on the wargaming front. Well, certainly no painting currenrly, none at all so far this August.

On 2 August I slipped out of Manila for a week to check out rental properties and some other matters in the province of Pampanga, where I intend to move later this year when the lease on the Makati apartment expires. This has been helped by the New Normal of Work From Home.

On 2 August 2020, the President announced that Metro Manila (including Makati), as well as the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal, were being placed back under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine – more restrictive than the General Community Quarantine they had been under for the period previously.

Well wrapped up … plus hand sanitizer in the pocket

It didn’t take an intellectual genius to figure that life here would be a lot more relaxed and it would be possible at least to go to the pub and watch some Rugby (both codes) and Aussie Rules over a burger and a beer under the easier quarantine restrictions here (random burger photos below with the ring-in hoagie).  I decided to wait out the extra quarantine here.

Mind you, we are required here when out of the home to wear both a mask and a face shield these days. The face shield presents its own problems but the atmospheric effects on the specs when getting out of an air conditioned car are foggy in the extreme.

A one hour quick game from the Lardies

Downside, no painting. Upside, recent rule purchases and books were digital so I have been working on that wonderful wargaming task … the planning session. I will admit up front, I am trying to keep the planning based around items that I currently have in the lead pile, but you know how well that goes.

So, one of the plans is to start playing Too Fat Lardies’ “What a Tanker” using 6mm. If that works well, I may look at the addition of some 6mm sets for Chain of Command as well, as I have a surfeit of 6mm armour and infantry.

I’ve also been considering some small scale naval, remembering that the area I have for gaming is little more than 2 foot square. I have some 1/2400 scale ships of the Napoleonic Period in the lead pile and they may just fit that area nicely.

I am also thinking on concentrating on finishing one of the 6mm DBA sets … maybe the Punic Wars set, although that may lead me into purchasing additional figures to introduce Pyrrhus of Epirus into that set.

In addition, I took advantage of some attractive pricing at Pen and Sword books to purchase a few eBooks. I’ll get around to reading them this trip as well. Come to think of it, I have a chunk of book editing to do as well as the day job.

First cab off the rank though, will be to finish the first force of 2mm figures, after which, maybe What a Tanker, which gives me an excuse to paint buildings and tanks.

And then there will be a 100 km move of residence in the middle of all this. Ah, plenty to do!

Carthage’s Other Wars — Carthaginian Warfare Outside the “Punic Wars” Against Rome — Review

Dexter Hoyos has taken a look at something that has very poor coverage, namely Carthage’s Other Wars. We are all aware of the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome and to a lesser extent, Carthage’s attempts to expand into Sicily and the conflict that arose with Syracuse among others.

The popular image of Carthage is as a maritime, mercantile state that fought a couple of wars against Rome, eventually losing and setting Rome up to to be the only major power in the Mediterranean.

Carthage’s Other Wars – Carthaginian Warfare Outside the ‘Punic Wars’ Against Rome written by Dexter Hoyos (published by Pen & Sword Military, on 18 September 2019, ISBN: 9781781593578 and 235 pages long) sets out to look at Carthage’s other wars.

According to Timaeus the Sicilian Greek, Carthage was founded in the 38th year prior to the first Olympiad, which in modern terms dates the foundation around 814/13 BC. The city was, according to legend, founded by Dido, who was fleeing from the Tyrian King, Pygmalion. She travelled through Cyprus then on to North Africa. Her alternative name in the stories of the time is Elissa.

While there is not a great deal of Carthaginian text, with the exception of Hanno’s Periplus (sea voyage) in Greek translation and referring to the journey west of the Strait of Gibraltar and down Africa’s West coast, there is information in other sources and Hoyos refers to Herodotus, Aristotle, Diodorus of Sicily who referenced Ephorus, Timaeus of Sicily and Philistus. Pompeius Trogus wrote a history that survived to later times and was abbreviated in Justin’s works. Plutarch provided information on Carthage’s involvement in Sicily and Polybius translated Carthaginian texts of Carthage’s treaties with Rome.

The contents of the book are:

  1. Sources of Knowledge
    1. Carthaginian remnants
    2. Greek and Latin Records
  2. Carthage: city and state
    1. Foundation and footprint
    2. The Carthaginian republic
    3. Trade and business
    4. Merchants, landowners, commoners and slaves
    5. Friends, neighbours and potential foes
  3. Fleets and armies
    1. Carthage’s navy
    2. The army
    3. The defences of Carthage
  4. Early Wars: Malchus to ‘King’ Hamilcar
    1. Malchus: fiction or fact?
    2. Malchus: victories, revenge and ruin
    3. The Magonids: ’empire’ builders?
    4. The expedition of ‘king’ Hamilcar
  5. The Revenge of Hannibal the Magonid
    1. The aftermath of Himera
    2. A new Sicilian war: the first expedition of Hannibal the Magonid
    3. Carthage victorious, 406-05 BC
  6. Carthage against Dionysius and Syracuse
    1. Uneasy peace, 405-398
    2. Himilco vs Dionysius
    3. Mago vs Dionysius
    4. Mago and Himilco against Dionysius
    5. Last war with Dionysius
  7. Carthage against Timoleon
    1. Carthage and the turmoils of Sicily
    2. The arrival of Timoleon
    3. Sorting out sources
    4. The enigma of Mago
    5. The battle at the Crimisus
    6. Gisco and peace
  8. Carthage against Agathocles
    1. The advent of Agathocles
    2. Agathocles frustrating Carthage
    3. Carthage at war with Agathocles
    4. Africa invaded
    5. The destruction of Hamilcar
    6. The destruction of Ophellas and Bomilcar
    7. Agathocles fails in Africa, wins in Sicily
    8. The end of the war
  9. The Sicilian stalemate: Pyrrhus and Hiero
    1. The woes of post-Agathoclean Sicily
    2. The war with Pyrrhus
    3. Hiero of Syracuse
  10. Carthage at War in Africa and Spain
    1. Libya: subjects and rebels
    2. The Truceless War: origins and outbreak
    3. Horrors of the Truceless War
    4. Carthage’s victory
    5. Barcid Carthage’s Spanish empire

There is also a Concluding Chapter, List of Plates, Maps, Preface and Acknowledgements, Abbreviations and Reading, along with Endnotes and Index.

The writing style of Hoyos is quite easy to read and flows well. He examines the sources and secondary readings critically and well, although I did have some trouble locating some of his references (for example, Connolly (1981) is referenced in Carthage’s Navy’s endnotes  but there is no reference to his works in the reading list (I could reasonably guess that we are referring to Connolly, Peter (1981), Greece and Rome at War, Macdonald Phoebus Ltd).

Having said that, the book is a solid piece of research into a little covered area of Carthaginian history. I have had an interest in Carthage since the mid-1970s but most of my previous reading was around the Punic Wars. This has opened an entire other area of interest to me in Carthaginian History.

Best of all, the book is currently on special at Pen and Sword – and it is well recommended.

6mm Polybian Romans for DBA — 275 BCE-105BCE

The Roam Army for DBA

These also have been complete for a few years, having been completed when I was living in Singapore.  As with the Numidians, I thought it was a good idea to show these off as well. I did in fact finish painting this army in March 2014 in Singapore.

The DBA interpretation of the Roman Army from this time assumes that the Camillan reforms to the Roman Army changed around the time of Rome’s battles with Pyrrhus of Epirus and the army appeared as described by Polybius. The army remained in this form until the reforms of Gaius Marius.

While there are significant differences between the organisation of the Marian Army as compared with the Polybian Romans, when I get around to finishing the Singapore project I started in 2012, which essentially was to put together a Punic Wars set, I will be able to use  items from the other armies to produce a Marian Roman army from the Polybian troops then coupled with the previously mentioned Numidians, re-fight some battles from the Jugurthine War (112–106 BCE).

In addition, I have a bag full of pike men here as well, so when the plague passes, a small order to Baccus6mm could see an Epirot army built as well.


Instagram  | Twitter | Facebook