Wednesday 6 December 2017

England batting collapse

That headline has not been at all uncommon during my lifetime and I woke up to it again this morning, along with the smell of fish; I cooked some halibut last night and the aroma has been a bit persistent. Anyway, it has seemed to me that I haven't been very informative in the last few blog posts - unless of course you were using this a very slow way of following the progress of the cricket. In which case Australia won by 120 runs.

Having stumbled into doing the Great War by accident I started small (platoon level trench raids with the Two Fat Lardies), then decided to aim big (a division a side with Peter Pig) and so, inevitably enough, thought why not split the difference and do something at battalion level or thereabouts. I really didn't want single figure removal, nor to worry about looking at individual models to see what weapons they were carrying. I bought a copy of 'Crush the Kaiser', which are at the right level and are full of good stuff, but still - oddly and annoyingly - do both those things.

What was needed, it seemed to me, was a rules root stock onto which I could graft the bits I liked from existing sets plus the bits that I thought others had overlooked. I thought about Piquet, but life is too short frankly. I didn't want a grid game particularly as whenever I get round to it Square Bashing is one of those. We've been playing a fair bit of Black Powder recently - Pike & Shotte to be precise - and they crack along quite quickly to a conclusion so I thought they would be a good place to start. I especially like the blunder rule; it's always easier to represent units not doing what you want than it is to represent them doing what you don't want.

There are however a number of differences between the Great War and the Renaissance ["No shit, Sherlock?"] including not comprehensively and in no particular order:

  • Relative homogeneity of troop types
  • Open formations
  • Importance of cover and therefore indirect fire
  • Ongoing melee not being appropriate
  • Distance not being the prime factor in command difficulty 
On top of that I rather like an element of meta-gaming (think the opposite of 'play the period, not the rules') and have for example often wondered what sort of game Piquet would be if you knew what sequence the next few cards were going to come out in. The shared tableau of cards in the newish 'Epic' rules for C&C Napoleonics is also the sort of thing that I'm talking about; do you take the card you want, or the one you think your opponent wants?

I have therefore been experimenting with all of the above, so far only with basic infantry and medium support weapons. If it works - judgement reserved at the moment; it's easy playing games when you can just change the rules on a whim; are you listening James? - I shall add artillery plus chrome such as German Stormtroopers and, as I suppose I must, tanks. There will be no gas; it might seem an odd line to draw given the overall subject matter, but nevertheless there it is. If it makes the chemists feel any better there won't be any aircraft either.


  1. If you like black powder, you might like bolt action, 20th century and covering a nearer period? Might be too squad based but worth a thought.
    Best Iain

  2. Always a tough nut to crack at home those Aussies. Even when you do think you've beaten them the scorecard/3rd umpire/result won't necessarily agree!