Monday, 11 July 2016

Coitus Interruptus

“Aucune règle n'existe, les exemples ne viennent qu'au secours des règles en peine d'exister.” 
- André Breton

I have mentioned the Seven Years War campaign that's been going on for a few weeks and if you have any sense you've been reading about it in more detail on James' blog. You may therefore have picked up that there have been some debates about the appropriate method of withdrawal. For my own benefit as much as anything else I wanted to list out my views; not so much about the topic, but about the context in which it is being discussed. So, in no particular order:
  • The rules are James' and he is the ultimate arbiter and editor. 
  • I personally don't know much about the War of the Austrian Succession or the Seven Years War; indeed I cannot recall ever having read a single book specifically on the subjects. Like a lot of wargamers I have a preference for Horse and Musket games in general, but that's as far as it goes. 
  • I have never played the period anywhere other than in the legendary wargames room nor with any other ruleset than Piquet, although I believe James is intending an outing for 'Honours of War' at some point.
  • I think I've referred before to my interpretation of the Two Fat Lardies' injunction to play the period and not the rules. In my view it means that people like me should play the rules and if that results in actions that the writers (i.e. those who know about the period) consider wrong then they should change the rules so that we either can't do it or get punished for so doing.
  • I play wargames - and indeed boardgames - to win, because they don't make a great deal of sense otherwise, but am neither upset if I don't win or that excited if I do. I've never embraced competitiveness for it's own sake - a philosophical approach that my ex-wife could not understand at all - and in any event when I win a battle it's usually because Peter has rolled a lot of ones on the dice; this is obviously a source of great amusement, but not really a cause for celebration.
  • Ever since I've known the various wargamers of Ilkley - which is quite a long time now - they have been prone to changing the rules. James takes it to the next level, with games often not finishing using the rules that they started with, but this has never bothered me particularly. The process is clearly teleological and reflects my observation above about getting the rules to drive period realism.
  • The morale chip structure within classic Piquet appears to be there mainly for the purpose of getting relatively small games to finish in a relatively short time frame. Playing larger games and taking longer about it does two things: it highlights illogicalities in the system because these have more chance of becoming apparent; and it introduces new ones as the system has now to do things that it was never intended to.
  • The Ilkley Lads (was there ever a bigger case of collective self-delusion than the use of the word 'lads' in this soubriquet?) have made certain incremental adjustments over time, such as a chip loss per unit rather than stand, no chip for a successful challenge, Major Morale card affects the other player, two Major Morale cards, and no doubt others. As far as I am aware there has been no zero-based review; perhaps it's time.

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