Thursday, 20 July 2017

Beyond Comprehension

"If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing." - Kingsley Amis

I'm pretty sure that Amis père had novelists in mind, but sadly wargames rules writers seem to have taken what he said to heart. Every single set of rules seems embarrassingly badly written, and now I find scenario books are the same; but more of that later.

We finished the latest run through of Garigliano last night, and had a fine game which even the difficulty of navigating through Pike & Shotte could not spoil. James has been speaking to a wargaming lawyer (as in a real lawyer whose hobby is wargaming) who plays P&S regularly and who also had to admit that he found it almost impossible to make head or tail of it all. I trust that James will provide an illustrated write up of the game in due course, but for now let me just say that the French were badly let down by the Swiss; I suspect that a bung from the dastardly Spanish was involved somewhere along the line. I am pleased to say that although the attackers crossed the bridge in front of Formia they were eventually thrown back across the river; a small crumb of comfort in defeat.

It's back to the annexe for next week when we shall be moving to the third scenario in the Lardies' distastefully titled Stout Hearts etc. I was able to put on the first two without much problem, but sadly the third is a rather shoddy piece of work; 'underwritten' is probably the best word. The conceit is around the Germans having to burn confidential documents before the British arrive and it introduces two rear echelon types 'of no military worth, but capable of burning paper'. And then nothing; it's never mentioned again and there are no victory conditions at all, let alone any mentioning the capture of secrets. Much else is also ambiguous: Are the British obliged to enter in 'artillery formation'? Do all the Germans except the sentries really start in the same building or is that just poor writing? Are the sentries 'posted on the edge of the village' or may they 'deploy wherever the player wishes'? I could go on, but as you have guessed I'm not overly impressed. 

The same things happen quite a lot in the core rulebook as well. For example, there are supposedly rules for scouts, but actually there aren't; there are simply a couple of notes to the effect that they exist to, in some unspecified manner, probe enemy defences for weaknesses. Still, we've always found that overall the main mechanisms work OK, so I shall make some executive judgements regarding the details and hopefully we shall get a good game out of it.

1 comment:

  1. I got a copy of the Lardies Dux Britannia(?) and couldn't make head nor tail of them , they assume you know their methods , but found them after 40 years of gaming I found them hard work