Saturday, 31 December 2016

Six by Six Challenge - The Games Part 2

The challenge within the Challenge is what not to play! There are plenty of games and miniatures that have been acquired over many years all deserving of a chance of a little time in the limelight. But I must be firm!

So the criteria I will set for the game selection are:

  • They must have high solo playability
  • They must be reasonably quick to play
  • They must have some route to the future, whether through further scenarios, campaign ideas or whatever

So with no further ado my remaining choices are as follows:

Game 4 - Four Against Darkness

Ganesha Games solo dungeon crawl looks intriguing and it seems to have gathered something of a cult following. It's a chance to go back to my ill-spent youth playing AD&D (and T&T before that) and it could be a great way to while a way a little of the flights to the US I've got coming up in the next couple of months.

Game 5 - One Hour Wargames

I was trying not to go down the obvious OHW route with a second Neil Thomas entry onto my list but this one does what it says on the tin and very much lines up with my criteria for my list. I might do this following the campaign suggestions in the book or else start at Scenario 1 and work my way up from there.

Game 6 - De Bellis Renationis

I had been tempted to play DBA v3 which has been sitting there staring at me balefully for months (I fear I have an over-vivid imagination) but with C16th and  C17th warfare being one of my particular favourites I really thought I ought to look at this. And I have been looking for 'the' set of rules for the period. I'm not sure the venerable DBR is quite it but I will give it a go, probably using the condensed scale if I can pick out the rules from the rest. DBR has been promised a makeover although from all sturm und drang of the DBA v3 update I'm not sure I am looking forward to it.

So there it is the complete list of games for the challenge. I think it will change as there were some other close contenders out there (A Song of Blades and Heroes springs to mind) while others will take my eye (Rogue Stars is on order for some sci fi skirmishing). But before that I must go find some gaming time!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Six by Six Challenge - The Games Part 1

So what will my selections be for the Challenge?  Picking up on the list I made at the end of my last posting these will be as follows:

Game 1 - Squad Leader

This is the original (albeit 4th Edition) version of the classic Avalon Hill boardgame of tactical World War II battle.  I have had it and the follow up gamettes (Cross of Iron and Crescendo of Doom) for many years but have hardly played it.  In fact the gamettes are basically unpunched.  It has a strong miniatures background (I am pretty sure there are versions of the rules available for miniatures gaming without hexes) and loads of scenarios.  I think I did not like the way the rules built up over several games, which is probably a great way to learn what is probably a fairly complicated game but if you are impatient like me (or at least my younger self) it is something of a drag.  If I play the six games and like it the game can stay, if not, well its fate may be settled on eBay.

Game 2 - Ancient and Medieval Wargaming

Neil Thomas has built up an excellent set of wargaming books over the last 10 years or so covering many of the mainstream periods.  All are characterised by their short, streamlined rules supported by text that explains the rationale behind the rules as well as a practical approach to wargaming on a tight budget of time, cost and space.  They are not everyone's cup of tea but the three or four games I have played with them they "feel" good.  I wanted to add a theme for these games.  Also sitting on my shelf is Don Featherstone's Wargaming: Ancient and Medieval.   I think I will pick 6 battles which are all described in Featherstone's inimitable style and see if I can test the AMW rules in an historical setting.

Game 3 - Memoir 44

Memoir 44 is a crossover game in that it uses miniatures as playing pieces on a board with over sized hexes.  It is set during the D-Day landings and comes with a whole series of scenarios depicting various aspects of the landings and their aftermath.  I think it is fair to say it is at the abstract end of wargame simulations, but from the number of expansions that have been released over the years it must be a good game that's worth a good go.

So that is my first three choices to get me started.  The next three are a little trickier and will be the subject of a further post.  But as a tease I am thinking about:

  • DBA v3 - it's been staring at me for ages but I am not sure my rules lawyering skills are up to it (and I play solo!)
  • One Hour Wargaming (OHW) - More Neil Thomas which does exactly what it says on the tin
  • DBR - I have a whole raft of ECW and TYW 15mm figures just itching for a fight
  • Rogue Stars - Sci Fi rules just released by Osprey, it's on order I'm just awaiting delivery.  It could revitalise my son's WH40K figures
  • A Song of Blades and Heroes - I have been really impressed by how well these rules go together but it could be these or,
  • Dragon Rampant - I'm also just waiting for these to check them out
  • Wooden Ships & Iron Men - another classic Avalon Hill boardgame, this time naval warfare in the late 18th ad early 19th centuries
  • Four Against Darkness - a solo dungeon crawl from Ganesha Games

I'm spoilt for choice!

A New Year's Resolution - The Six by Six Challenge

Clearly the Christmas spirit has taken a firm hold of my better judgement right now as I find myself having accepted the Six by Six Challenge posed by Kaptain Kobold to the global gaming community (or at least those should who follow his "Stronghold Rebuilt" blog of gaming goodness) to play six games at least six times in 2017 and then blog about it. Here are the rules quoted directly from his blog:

How does it work? 

Well, anyone who chooses to take part commits to the following:

Choose six games for the year. It would be great if you chose them all at the start, but I know how mercurial I can be in my selections, so changing them as you go on would be quite legitimate. I probably will.
Post your choices to your blog. Your challenge for the year is to play, and record in some way, at least six individual sessions of each of your chosen games. I say 'sessions' because you may choose to count multiple games of a small, short game (such as 'Love Letter') as a single session. Or not. Any tabletop games count, be they miniature wargames (for preference), board-games, card-games or role-playing games. I shall probably select a mix of things. They can be games you are very familiar with, or you could use the challenge to try out games you want to learn more thoroughly.

At the end of the year you should have at least thirty-six game-plays recorded. If you have, then pat yourself on the back. That's the only reward, aside from the fact that you will now have greater experience of your chosen games. Game reports can be as detailed as you like, ranging from the visual feasts I like to produce from time to time, to a simple one-liner saying 'Played Game X last night. I won.'

It would be good, and probably helpful, to record overall progress in some way; perhaps a cut-and-posted list of the games, with a running total of the number of games next to it. More ambitious people could have links to the recorded sessions. 

There are at least three challenges for me:

When I am actually going to play? My gaming time is strictly limited but this is an opportunity to change at least some of that

Am I actually going to blog about this? Sheppard's Crook is hardly the most active blog in the blogosphere, but here's a chance to do something about that too

And the final bit is, what am I actually going to play? But that is, of course, not really a problem at all, other than what not to play!

So on this last point I have not yet made my final choice of six, but I have chosen the first three which I will expand upon in my next post. These three are:

  • Squad Leader - I have had this game for years and hardly played it. It needs to see the sun again.
  • Ancient and Medieval Wargaming - Neil Thomas's AMW rules are pretty quick to play. I just need to work up a theme - I have a cunning plan!
  • Memoir 44 - D-Day wargaming using the "Command and Colors" game engine. Again I have had it for some time and barely managed a game.

That's all for now, Christmas (and New Year) continues to call.