Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Plotting the afternoon away

Played a quick three player game of Condotierre this afternoon.  Nancy (dark purple) won at the start of the fifth 'round' of battles, over Paul (red) and me (yellow).  It was Paul's first game of this little machievellian gem and, in his obligitory 'I'll read the rules for myself thankyou,' we found a couple aspects that I'd missed on our trial run a couple days ago.  This was the situation at the end of the game:

Purple 6, red and yellow 3 each

The nature of the game for three players was noticeably different than it had been with four.  With three players, that classic 'cut-throat' dynamic came into play, with the added bonus that in this game there are so many ways to do over both the opponents while nominally 'helping' one of them.  Paul and I managed to practically 'give' Nancy's second territory of her eventual six to her and she never looked back from there.  It seemed that two out of every three battles were in effect for the game from not long afterwards so that it is with some pride that we held her off for so long.  Well done Nancy!

I'm looking forward to playing this with five or six players.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Why didn't I think of that?

Over at Steve's Random Musings on Wargames and Other Stuff I came across his most recent, culminating, battle from his Wars of the Spanish Succession Project.  His site (hard to just call it a blog) is an old school wargamer's paradise (at least, for those like me who came to the 'hobby' of wargaming via Charles S. Grant and friends), a very good example of what blogging based creativity can come up with.

Anyways, the last photo on the most recent battle report has the following picture on it:

Skype plus Charles S. Grant
When I saw it I instinctively thought, 'wow, of course.'  And then, 'why didn't I think of that?'  I wonder how many other wargamers out there are into this form of gaming, is there a meeting place to find opponents, etc etc.  Maybe TMP?  Hmmm, if I find time will have to go and look.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


As previously advised, I received a game of Condottiere for xmas.  Up until yesterday I'd had to satisfy myself with admiring the quality of the components and reading the rules a couple of times.  Sturdy box, good artwork on the cards, nice practical colourful wooden pieces that look good on the 'cute' foldboard map of renaissance Italy.  Rules are clear, crisp and comprehensive.  The possibilities for good clean dastardly deeds seemed pretty good with this.

Dirty Deeds

Yesterday we managed to try a four player game (Me, Nancy, Shaun, Sharon).  Within the hour we were close to finished, with Shaun playing for the win when he had to go to work (actually, we were all still playing for the win lol) and the game had to end.  My assessment was that the next battle wouldn't have decided it, but the one after could have - with everyone in the running.  

In the hour that we played we had one false start, and still managed to use all of the various types of card (mercenaries, heroines, courtesans, priests, scarecrows, surrenders, drummers, spring and winter), generally to their intended effect.  We had started getting the hang of hand management as well as bidding strategies and strategems.  The game flowed well, was easily learned by our relatively neophyte gamer (Sharon), and posed enough possibilitiy to tie the most devious mind up in knots. 

A tribute to Machiavelli, the Borgias and the Medicis indeed, to match the artwork by Michaelangelo.  And, most importantly, it was fun!

Saturday, January 05, 2013


I forgot to mention that we gave my youngest grandson a copy of Usborne's 'Knights and Castles' snap cards for xmas.  He's developed a fascination for the Arthurian Cycle of tales over the past year, with a concomitant knowledge of fighting equipment and techniques, genealogies and heraldry, geography and mythology, ethics and moral quandaries, so it seemed a perfect gift for a three year old born into a gaming family.

A Gallant Knight

It's turned out to be a great hit, with numerous and many (!) games and sessions with the cards that are too large for his hands to comfortably hold, the pictures that play games with the 'snap reflex' of the players by foreshadowing similar designs for different cards (eg, battlefield, hunting and tournament cards are easy to mistake for each other at first glance), and the inevitable advantage for older more cynical players that goes with a game where the excitement of waiting for the next card slows down the thinking needed to get the snap! hand down before mum's.

A bargain at the price, a great introduction to cards, a tough and pretty physical product and an enduring game formula.  That's my summary.  And, great fun!