Thursday, November 24, 2011

Creating a Participation Game

Having decided that a participation game is the best way of advertising the club and engaging with potential interested gamers, we set about thinking about the type of game required, it had to be a period that represented the clubs interests, but also a period that people would know and want to play.
When considering how the game should be run, I thought about my own experiences around shows, much time would I be prepared to give up to play a game, rather than wandering from stall to stall browsing 45 Minutes to an Hour seemed about right...
However it has to be said that I have only ever played one participation game in over 30 years of gaming !!!!

So the task was to find a scenario that would last under an hour, give 3-4 players a full role to play and obtain a reasonable result at the end....

Various ideas were put forward, Wings of War, Western, Naval, none of which gave a true flavour of the club. Over at the Evesham Wargames Club we have been playing a variant of the Too Fat Lardies Sharp Practice Rules adapted for  use in the Zulu Wars, we played a large all dayer over the summer, between the club members we have a large collection of figures and terrain, but perhaps more importantly a number of players know the rules back to front to allow the game to flow really quickly.....

The Zulu War is full of encounters of the valiant British fighting off the massed hordes of Zulu Warriors, how do you translate that to 4' x 4' table in order an hour?

I have just finished reading a couple of books about Napoleon in Egypt which sparked the idea for the Scenario. The Death of Louis, Crown Prince of France. Something historical, a small number of figures with a definative outcome - escape or die trying.....
Hunting around the web I found on a great link to a scenario for the Rencounter rule set by Ed Allen which had taken the story and conveted it to a wargames scenario.


Set out below is the proposed handout on the day, I wanted people to be aware of the scenario but also aware of the background. The Too Fat Lardies rules are perfect for this as lead characters be come Big Men and have a real part to play in the scenario.

Set out below is the proposed hand out and background, I planned on having this on display around the table together with handouts detailing the scenario and club details.

Louis Napoleon, Prince Royal of France, had come to serve as an aide-de-camp to General Chelmsford. The Prince had been living in Britain after the Franco-Prussian War. He was a dashing young man of 23 years and rumoured to be a possible match for Princess Beatrice – Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter.
General Chelmsford was nervous about the responsibility of having such a personage on his staff. He gave orders that Louis was never to leave camp without an officer and an escort. Lieutenant Jahleel Brenton Carey, had been educated in France and quickly befriended the Prince Royal as he spoke very good French. The young Napoleon was assigned to help Carey with his tasks of the surveying of the terrain in front of the advancing British army.

Napoleon became restless with the chore of mapping and was keen to gain some fighting experience. On one such mission, the pair were met by half of their escort. The other were not available. Reasoning that a proper escort could be formed by rounding up six troopers from the scouts out in front of the army, the group set out on their mission.

The group rode out to the limit of their assigned reconnaissance. Stopping at a small deserted Zulu camp on the north bank of the Ityotosi river, Louis suggested that they let the horses graze and the troopers take a break and make tea.
Lunch over, the patrol stood by their horses to mount. Louis was about to issue the order, when a volley of rifle shots rang out and a group of Zulus charged out from the nearby scrub.

Terrified by the noise, Rogers' mount bolted, and he got off only one shot before being stabbed by an assegai. Carey, already mounted, followed by Willis, Grubb and Cochrane, galloped straight for the donga. Abel managed to mount, but was shot in the back and fell. Le Tocq dropped his carbine, dismounted to retrieve it, and remounted. As he fled he saw Louis running alongside his own horse, trying to get into the saddle. Gripping his saddle by the holster and running with the animal, Prince Louis slipped and unhorsed ran a few yards before turning to face his attackers.

The young Prince met his death bravely as the group of about six Zulus fell upon him. He was struck in the thigh by a thrown assegai, which he pulled out. He charged the Zulu’s firing his pistol twice. He missed, and a second thrown assegai stopped his charge. The Zulus advanced and were seen stabbing over and over again.

The rest of his troop looked on, in the distance and when they returned to the camp and reported what happened Lieutenant Carey was charged with cowardice in the face of the enemy.

Victory Conditions
Escape off the North side of the table, taking as few casualties as possible. If five or more British figures (including the guide), or the Prince Royal, are killed or left behind, the game is lost.
Louis Napoleon, Prince Imperial of France
Lieutenant J.B. Carey, 98th Regiment, D.A.Q.M.G.
Sergeant Willis, Natal Horse
Corporal Grubb, Natal Horse
Trooper Abel, Natal Horse
Trooper Cochrane, Natal Horse
Trooper Rogers, Natal Horse
Trooper Le Tocq, Natal Horse
Zulu guide

The plan is to have a dry run at this weeks club night, testing out the scenario and timings with a couple of players who have not played the game before.
The challanges are converting Sharp Practice to single figure units?
Will the game be long enough or to short?
Can we get it to feel like a Victorian Adventure?
Is it engaging enough?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Perry Miniatures Sudanese Tribesmen - Maghribi Tribesmen

I have a reputation for always picking odd periods and Napoleonics seems to be no different, playing Ottoman Tuks is challanging not only are they quite brittle on the table they are also quite difficult to buy an army straight off the shelf.
I think that tends to be the attraction, I like the fact that I can source from several manufacturers and no two units are the same.

Having been tempted by the latest releases from Perry Miniatures - Plastic Sudanese Tribesman but not really wanting to get drawn into another period....
I figured these chaps could double up as Maghribi Infantrymen for my Ottoman Turk Army.

The Maghribi Tribesmen were described as the most backward and poorest people of the Ottoman empire so they should make great cannon fodder for the Napoloenic Campaign.
Whilst the rifles are far too modern I doubt they will stick around long enough on table for people to notice.
I suspect I will paint the remainder up as Nile Arabs just in case I end up trying out the Sudan....




Sunday, November 20, 2011

Demonstartion Game vs Participation Game ?

Just back from Warfare at Reading, over 85 Traders and over 20 demonstration and participation games, it got me thinking about our own club, as a rule my local club is a shy club made up of regular guy's. we turn up on a Sunday unpack our figures, spend 4 hours talking all things gaming and then go home again, however in recent months we have seen a slow decline in numbers which prompts the question how do you get more members...

Several months ago a suggestion was put forward by one of our members regarding our interest in taking part in Gloucestershire MiniCon to be held on the Sunday 29th January 2011.

This is a collaberation of several Clubs from the local area, Evesham, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Redditch was the intention of bringing several games together on one day.
It prompted me to think about what's the best way to promote interest in your own club, having committed to being there on the 29th do we put on a participation game or a demonstration game?
To be honest demonstartion games leave me some what cold, having spent many a Sunday driving several hours to a show and wandering from stall to stall I often find myself drifting by the various games on display. These normally contain some great looking terrain and nicely painted figures with 4 or 5 people patrolling their table and doing everything they can to avoid eye contact with those wandering past.
There often seems very little engagement with fellow gamers and more over very little knowledge of the USP's of the various rules, figures or terrain on offer, on a number of occasions you almost feel you have interupted a regular club game as players.....
What must a member of the public feel?

So it strikes me that participation games must be the best approach, I don't want to go off and grab several memers of the public off the street and drag them into the sports centre and force them into a game nor do I want to become a babysitting service whilst Dad goes off and buys figures, but I do want to make people feel welcome and want to take part.
I want club members to take the time to explain the game, rules, the scenario and what makes it so much fun to passersby.

We need to remember why we are there.
1. To have a day out away from the wife and kids playing Soldiers?
2. A spending spree to save on postage and packaging?
3. An advert for our own club and a chance to recruit?
In order for the participation game to work we should  have details of the scenario available, what needs to happen to win, what rules we are using and what figures are needed to play the game.
We need fliers for our club and details of where and when we play, but perhaps more over we need to interact with those people who pause to look.
So what next - A period that people know well and a game that will last under an hour......
After much consideration we decided on a scenario from the Zulu Wars....
Here's a clue - Scenario details to follow.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Something New - 28mm Riot Police vs Mantic Zombies

A whole day of painting, no kids, no jobs round the house - Just a paint brush and a pile of lead to catch up on. These have been needing a few finishing touches for a while and with a planned Zombie outing at the Evesham Wargames Club tonight I thought it was high time I got them table top ready.....
The Police are from Offensive Miniatures, I have a bunch of rioters to do, but these will do nicely for a couple of early our break games I have planned.
The Zombies are from Mantic Games, I have a bunch of your regular run of the mill wandering dead, but I figured these would do for any period rather than just the 1950's onwards....





Full AAR report to follow after tonights game, as a teaser the survivors will be looking for these guys.....


Something Old - 28mm Japanese

You know those occasion posts that just set you off down a completely different path and distract you from the project in hand..... Well here's one.

Thanks to a posting on our club discussion group at the Evesham Wargames Club where we discussed the correct flesh tones of Japanese Infantry. 
I ended up unpacking the WW2 Japs that had not seen the light of day for a year or two. My painting style has changed quite a bit a with the introduction of washes and more attention to the basing and the original Japs looked a little below par.
So I thought it was high time they got a revamp, they should not take to long to complete, Devlin Mud wash and some highlights on the face and hands together with a Matt Varnish and some addition basing materials and the first squad is done.





With the introduction of IABSM3 I am hoping to have these hitting the table some time soon.

The figures are mostly Westwind with the occasional Battlehonours thrown in for good measure.

As always comments welcome.

Friday, November 04, 2011

6 Months in the Wilderness

6 Months have passed since we last gave the VBCW an outing so I thought it would be time to dust off the waring factions and the British Civil War in Worcester, over on the campaign blog a full AAR can be found.

The scenario follows elements of the Severn Riverside Wharf Labours Federation (SRWLF) and a covert operation to receive a consignment of weapons, the scenario was from the Too Fat Lardies suppliment - Triumphant Standards - Scenario Nine - Running Guns to the Rebels.