Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Precsiousssss - (Risk LOTR)

Following the recent rediscovery of Risk: Lord of the Rings, it predictably didn't take long before one day someone said we should play it again.

So, after a few phone calls and a quick scan through the simple, clear and concise rules (it is a game of Risk, afterall), it was time to get into it. A great way to use a mild and sunny late winter afternoon (hence the streaming sunlight and long shadows in the pic).

The game varies from the traditional risk in a few ways, besides obviously the map. Principally, there is a 'timer' on the game, with the Company of the Ring (represented by a gold ring on a stand) moving one territory per turn along its pre-determined path until it leaves the map via the dead marshes (that's when the game ends). In the photo here, the ring is in Gladden Fields, with two more territories to pass through. The ring might be delayed in certain locations (it's progress is delayed unless the player rolls a '3' on 1D6 in Moria, Lorien and the Dead Marshes). Additionally, there are certain 'adventure' cards which can make it tougher to advance the company also.

The addition of 'Adventure' cards is another significant change, with 'event', 'power' and 'mission' subcategories. Players draw one of these cards at the end of their turn if their leader has passed through a territory that has a 'site of power' in it. If an 'event' card (eg. wolves, snowstorm) it is played immediately. If it is a 'power card' (eg. 'knife in the back', 'wormtongue') a player keeps it for later use. If it is a 'mission' card a player will try and hold it until their leader reaches the territory named on the card, when they will be able to draw certain reinforcements.

Changes to the game that affect tactics are, most noticeably, the addition of 'leaders' (combat bonuses in attack and defence, can generate 'adventure' cards (see above)), rivers (can only be crossed at bridges), mountains (cannot be crossed), Fortresses (eg. Helms Deep, aids in defensive bonus for combat, worth victory points at the end of the game) and Ports (there are three coastal ports, connected by sea lanes, which effectively make them contiguous to each other despite the actual distance).

There are a few 'minor' changes to some of the classic Risk rules (eg. each turn a player can 'maneuver' one 'stack' or a leader from any one of one's territoritories to any other provided they are connected by other friendly controlled territories - unlike the original form of mass movement, allowable only into an adjacent territory).

In my opinion, the net result of these changes is a game which keeps the bloodthirsty cutthroat nature of Risk, but limits it in time and rewards good play a little better.

Today's game lasted about three hours. Shaun (red) won with 44 points, Adelaide Gamer (green) and Nancy (yellow) tied for second on 15 points, poor Paul got stuck in the badlands of Rhun, coming in on 3 points. I think that everyone enjoyed it. I know I did.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A day at the forge...

This is a picture of the 'Soot n Cinder' forge, a 'place' located on the forums in the Renaissance Kingdoms world. It is out the back of the cottage where my character lives with his family and friends, on a slope overlooking the Clyde above the town of Ardencaple. It exists purely in the collective imagination of those who read and write on the thread. To see it 'in real life', you'll have to travel to RK Ardencaple.

For a several months now, my character has been mainly occupying himself in his day to day actions (one a day) making things in the forge (his other main activity has been serving on a rostered basis as part of the Clan Guard, a voluntary self defence organisation which has put down about one attempted rebellion per month since our own 'great rebellion' late last year). At the moment there is a slow but steady trade in axes and knives on the town market. It is not a thriving trade so he is slowly losing money (albeit, while his capital stock increases).

In town, his tavern 'The Wounded Boar' makes a steady after tax loss, but well within the level of still being a 'hobby expenditure', so he keeps it open. At the moment he is selling cost price beer there in celebrations of the King's death. The tavern is the only one in town that has fish on the menu. For the regulars, there's (much cheaper) porridge. In about eight months, the tavern has only been drunk dry on the one occasion. My character sees this as a major achievement.

There's lots more happening in my world of the renaissance, even in the 'quiet times' we are presently experiencing there. I'll write more of it sometime soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Still More Treasure

What can I say? I open another of my storage boxes expecting to find painting paraphenalia and what do I find, but more missing games, a few framed pictures of medieval ruins from Scotland, some notes about force organisation for SCW wargaming, and some painting paraphenalia! I hereby publicly retract and apologise for any ill thoughts I thought about anyone who I suspected of having borrowed but not returned Risk: Lord of the Rings.

In my opinion, these are all great games. Go, because it's go. LOTR Risk, because it has all the fun and blood of classic risk, but a time limiting factor (the passage of the ring across the map on its way to Mordor, one province at a time). York Town, because it is a clean cut and physically beautiful game which puts one at ease in the playing.

BTW - to answer a question I've been asked, the most exciting 'treasure' in the initial trove was of course the game of Buccaneers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Taking on the system...

Chaotic Good was always my favorite alignment in D&D terms, maybe because it most closely aligns with my personal reality. How could I resist this picture, and how could I refuse to share it once I had succumbed?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Trivial Success

Over at the Blitz there are a selection of ongoing forum based military trivia games of the 'twenty questions' variety. Until recently, I'd never really taken much notice of them. For some reason (idle surfing in safe waters?) I recently checked them out. To my own amusement, one of the current questions was of the 'what famous general am I?' variety, and I pretty well had it pegged after reading the third or fourth question. By the time I read the last (15th) question, it was certain, so I wrote in my answer (Jan Smuts). Which was right. So now I get to pose the 'who am I' question.

I won't, of course, say who it is I am thinking of here until they've worked it out there (or used up their twenty questions).

PS if you're interested in my Alcazian project, check out the comments in the post preceding this one, where John asks a question and gets a flow of consciousness reply (in three parts, no less!) outlining the process whereby is produced part of the history of Germania and Ruska.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Progress at Alcazia

Well. It's nearly 11pm on Sunday night, the weekend is almost done, and I'm not launching my Alcazian venture as I had optimistically thought I might be. It's not that I haven't done anything on the project, I have actually done quite a bit. It's just that there's so much to do!

I've started the new blog but not published any posts beyond a 'test post' while I was playing around with the initial graphic settings (it sure is fun to dive back into that exciting moment of the birth of a blog, with a few year's experience under the belt and a bit more of an idea of what I want to achieve than I had when I started Adelaide Gamer).

I decided to use 'pages' for ready reference materials on the imagined world of Alcazia and its times. I started with a patched 'Alcazia in the Thirties', putting down a brief thematic history of the political geography of the nation. From this, was able to deliniate in two separate pages the basic 'types' of the forces available to the principal factions. From this, a fourth page to outline the broader European scene. Then, a fifth page to act as a political gazeteer, and a sixth to act as glossary and guide to the burgeoning number of groups, individuals, parties, nations and organisations that will interact when the big day comes. As there are only ten pages one can use on the blog (and, face it, ten is a lot), I thought I'd stop at six and allow myself the luxury of keeping four up my sleeve against future needs.

The difficulty I was having was imagineering a location for Alcazia in the 'real' world that didn't push the 'disbelief meter' too high. I was also having a few problems breaking away from the determinism that a reasonably detailed knowledge of the period gives me. Eventually it 'clicked', and I created a 'what if' scenario of continental proportions, elevating the creative principle to the point of creating a new 'Europa' similar to, but not the same as, the Europe of our own 'real' time line.


- The Germanian Revolution of 1919 succeeded and Germania is a Socialist Dictatorship,
- Stalin was not paranoid, there was a right wing coup in Ruska. The monarchy was restored and now international capital is basically in charge of the slave factories, and
- The King did not abdicate in Engaland. Mosley looks certain to win the general election.

Some things haven't changed, however, such as:

- Italia has a long term national front government bent on imperial expansionism,
- Frankia has a weak popular front government and tries to not get involved.

Needless to say, I had great fun thinking up the names of various political parties and international organisations (often so that their acronyms match those historically used so that I can use 'real' photos from the time and paint up roughly historical models).

As I put the finishing touches on the glossary at 3 in the morning, I reflected that I had a lot of work still to do before setting the wheels in motion. Once I get to actually posting onto the Interbellum site I want to spend my time directing the motion, rather than generating it. So there's a bit more work to do. So today I took a breather and went to the football.


Oh, and I've sent off my third turn in the East Front scenario, 'Bloody Odessa', that I am playing pbem. It's been too long since I last played this great game!


I have altered the blogscroll on the left sidebar so that it only shows the blogs with the ten most recent posts. Ironically, this way I can add more blogs to it, without generating a list that is ridiculously long. I have added the following blogs to it:

Defiant Principality - an impressively worked imagi-nation based on the 'what if' scenario that the Catalans gained and kept independence during the Spanish War of Succession.
Campaigns of General William Augustus Pettygree - dashing colonial campaigns.
The Scattergun Gamer - a little like me in that this guy is into lots of things. At present, starting off a late thirties fascist England campaign (this time, Welsh, with cameo role promised for the Anglican League).

Friday, July 01, 2011

More Treasure!

More Treasure!

Some alternate recreational gaming links

Alternate - My Alcazian project continues to develop. I am presently narratively developing the history and political structure underlying the conflict. I hope to 'officially' launch the new site at some time this weekend (having finally got some 'spare' time this week), though the link is already in existence.

Recreational - this link to youtube shows the Battle of Viborg Castle, a bunch of russian medieval recreationists at war. They are pretty extreme at times. It certainly gave me a clearer idea of mass medieval combat. Originally linked by the (soon to be closed) blog at Battles in Miniature.

Gaming - I came across this interview while reading The Excessive Gamer (another interesting blog, especially if you are into Warhammer, GW, etc). The interview article is with the founders (?) of Games Workshop and an interesting exposition on design, psychology of adolenscents, the history of gaming, running a business. It is 27 pages long but worth the effort.

Here's a couple favorite quotes:

JS: Something I found out only just a couple of months ago, a funny wargaming fact, is that
Wilkinson’s, the big Woolworth-like store, has a stipulation in their buying department that their pan-scourers have to be made in a mid-green, because “wargamers make hedges out of them, you know!” The fact is that they’ve got to be made in a colour anyway, so make them in green. Isn’t that amazing? - John Stallard

RP: Your sense of overview is very poor as a teenager, but your sense for detail is fantastically precise. That’s something that people sometimes forget, and even today, when I’m writing rules ... - Rick Priestly

Not that I've ever even played Warhammer, mind you ...