Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thinking time ... the games we play

With the pack-out gathering momentum and moving day approaching, there are no opportunities for 'gaming. However I am finding some time for thinking (usually at the end of the day when I collapse exhausted in a chair with a glass of wine in hand, and laptop on... well.. the lap, of course).

The first confession is that I 'game far too many periods/genres of 'gaming for my own good. Well, who doesn't., eh? Oh, not that many??

Let's do a stock take. There's ancients in DBA and Armati, with old DBM sized armies sitting unused (and sadly not quite large enough for Armati). There's Napoleonic in 25mm and ACW in 15mm, using Volley and Bayonet. Then an ECW Royalist army that has seen recent action with DBR rules, although it suits Armati as well. Then.. da daaaah ... WW1, WW2 and Moderns played using Spearhead rules. There are WW1 and WW2 armies extant in both 6mm and 20mm, and the Moderns armies are all 6mm.

Enough? Not quite. There are Dwarves in 28mm (built for GW's Warhammer, but used for Mantic's 'Kings of War'), and Imperial Guard, Space Marine and Orks in 28mm for GW's Warhammer 40k (although I might instead use them for Mantic's 'Warpath'). And finally about 7 different armies for HotT, all in 20mm. And on top of all of this there is the High Seas Fleet circa 1916, constructed for Jutland. I should admit that mentioning a rules set and a period doesn't mean there is only one army. The 20mm WW2 Spearhead collection for example encompasses four different armies, and the Moderns covers three. The WW1 SH collection encompasses four nationalities as well.

That's quite a list, and maybe just a tad too much. But I've always agreed that I'm something of  a wargames harlot, a veritable  tart, a sucker for shiny new toys (at this stage cue second glass of wine).

Here's the thing. I've just watched a video battle report of a Warhammer 40K battle, and I really want to play this stuff. The 'GW 'Universe' just appeals to my imagination. However it's not going to happen. Why not? I can't abide the constant profit driven drive for change. New codices, new models, new rules. I am shell shocked. Weary. That's no criticism of the profit motive. Shareholders invest for profit, and good on them. That investment has given us some of the best miniatures in the hobby.

I am simply worn out by change. I enjoy the other rules sets because they are much more stable. However even then I play too many rules sets. As I change from one to another I confuse things between sets. Now how does this rules set treat hill contours? What are the factors again? Is this age, or the result of good friend Andrew's 'aspirational purchase' phenomenon and simple overload?

Either way, I have a problem. I have given away a few bits and pieces as I have cleared out the house/workshop/games room ready for the shift. Maybe I need to rationalise what I play. Which in itself begs the question of why we play. I enjoy the games I play, although more importantly the games I play mean that I meet up with very cool friends, enjoying their company, their wit, and their talent.

But I am just over the constant change.  I don't need the new rules sets, the new models, the latest fads and fancies. Rationalising? Maybe not. Repurposing old collections of figures and models? Always. Enjoying? Yep. I may just be at the point in life where I want to lock myself the existing paradigm. I like it there.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weird World War 2

Thoughts of a weird world war 2 HotT army (or two) have been running around in my mind for a while.


That's how my Soviet HotT army started.

However the biggest inspiration comes from the WWW2 armies of 'KaptainKobold' Alan Saunders on 'The Stronghold'.

Try these -  seriously good WWW2 armies.

"Passchendaele: The anatomy of a tragedy"

I recently finished reading "Passchendaele: The anatomy of a tragedy" by Andrew MacDonald (HarperCollinsPublishers, 2013, ISBN: 978 1 77554 030 4). In this year of increased interest in the Great War driven by the anniversaries, this is a timely title for those with an interest in the Great War, and New Zealanders more generally.

Having finished the book I can't help thinking that a more appropriate sub title might have been "Being an attack on Lieutenant General Alexander Godley".

MacDonald's basic thesis seems to be that the tragedy that was the II ANZAC Corps attack towards the Passchendaele Ridge on 10 and 12 October 1917 was a consequence of poor leadership by Godley.

His analysis is interesting (and for me) convincing (in the absence of wider reading). MacDonald's argument follows these stages:

1. Godley was a man of few private means for whom success in the army was essential to his financial success.
2. The troops engaged in the attack had developed the platoon, company and battalion tactical expertise to break through the German lines, as evidenced by the success of the earlier attack at Broodseinde on 4 October. He cites ample evidence of the successful use of platoon fire and manouvre tactics, used alongside good artillery support and good logistics in the 4 October operation.
3. Godley pushed ahead with the 10 and 12 October attacks, accelerating the 'operational tempo' of the offensive at the very time that the deterioration in the either meant that the tempo needed to be slowed in order to allow for the appropriate concentrations of artillery and general logistical support.
4. The consequence was that much of the artillery support was either not in the correct position or not able to fire at all, resulting in a much diminished creeping barrage. The pace of advance of the creeping barrage was not adjusted to allow for the slower rate of advance that the infantry were capable of in the poor ground conditions.
5. Currie's consequent success in capturing Passchendaele with the Canadian Corps was the result of Currie insisting on a slowing of the operational tempo to allow preparations to be completed before the attack.

This is a good read whether you accept MacDonald's thesis or not. In the absence of more convincing argument, MacDonald convinced me.

Forcing the Uvarova

The vastness and the difficulty of the terrain through the Caucasus meant that by 1915 there were still avenues to be explored if victory wa...