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Showing posts from June, 2014

The Korean War by Victory Games is Awesome

I've played two slightly truncated games of the Korean War recently and it has quickly become my favourite hex and counter game.

This is a mid 1980s design out of Victory Games an off shoot of the dying (or dead I forget which by this date) SPI games but based in New York under the Umbrella of Avalon Hill. It'd designed by Joe Balkoski and covers the first 12 months of the war, which is where all the action was in history, at the divisional and regimental scale. Each turn lasts a month and you have 12 turns taking around an hour each. It has two medium sized paper hex maps that put together will fill a typical dining room table. As it is a divisional scale game (to non war gamers that means most units represent a full division of an army which is a lot of dudes), you don't have that many counters, which means no big counter stats and not too much time sorting them out at the start of play. This scores big points in my book.

Yesterday I played the Communists and my friend, Da…

Learning to map part 2

My world building with Gimp continues. I've had a couple of cracks at putting together a city map and now having something that will probably get into my campaign. It is still a work in progress but it at least looks interesting. The concept is to have a city built on the back of a giant crab. This has some novelty to it, evokes the weird fantasy vibe im shooting for and allows for lots of interesting rationals in the world detail. For instance the city has a massive rain collection system to generate the needed water.

To put this together I got a photo of some spiny species of crab, used the magic wand to select everything non crab in the image and remove it. I then dragged the contrast way up and darkened the crab to get a silhouette of the crab. I then used the path tool to design in the roads and then the buildings. I added in some of the spines in grey as these will be hollowed out to form some of the bigger buildings in the city.
The background is a bit nuts, and whilst I do l…

There will be Blood! Blood and Roses and SPQR in Review

I think I remember Martin Wallace once criticizing war games, in particular battle based ones, for giving the players, commanders, too much control over the chaos that ensues. It was probably on a podcast, I forget which.

Whilst I can definitely see where Wallace is coming from, having played two of Richard Berg’s battle field war games I can say that not all war games fit this mold.
Blood and Roses covers seven battles in the English Wars of the Roses, a medieval dynastic study between two noble families. SPQR Deluxe has a ton of scenarios most involving the early Roman republic and its conflicts with it's ancient world rivals.
Foolish Lancastrian mounted knights charge the Yorkist lines only to find out what longbows can do.

I’m posting about both together because the two games have a lot of mechanical similarities. In each you will pull out a map sheet, arrange maybe 20-100 counters per side with some deployment decisions, then start activating and swinging your masses of spears a…

Learning to Map

Making good maps is an easy way for someone with little to know art talent like me to make ones adventures look good, and perhaps even publishable (Will send some to fanzines at some point). 
I've been steadily learning the ropes with GIMP.

This is a bath house I'm constructing for my current Astonishing Swords and Sorcerers of Hyperborea game. I need to create a good pattern fill for the pools, and probably design some more objects to give the map a more populated feel but the structure is there. I very loosely model it on some historical floor plans;

Cyberpunk 2020 Retrospective / Review

One of the committee at my gaming group is clearing out some old games from the cupboard, he gave me one of the copies of Cyberpunk 2020, so I decided to throw together a one shot and run it.

Here's the ground floor map of a down market retail hall I created. There were two other floors. I've been having a lot of fun with gimp lately.

Cyberpunk 2020 definitely brings the 'Punk' aspect out better than any other games, or even films in the genre I've encountered (Gurps Cyberpunk, Deus Ex, etc). If you read the books (which in my experience of RPG players very few read anything other than Game of Thrones), you'll find the protagonists are often petty criminals, down and outs and those on the slide. CP 2020 really nails this, its about survival on the ruthless streets more than high tech espionage. Neuromancer and When Gravity Fails both have heavily flawed low life leads (both great books). Stylistically it bleeds its age. Tech has wires and grunge, and characters…


With the rise of the Old School Renaissance (OSR) has come the rise of Fanzines and Magazines. I've had a read of Fight On!, Gygax Magazine, Footprints, & Magazine, Nod Magazine, Knockspell, Crawl!, AFS, and Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad. In this post I’m going to give a quick run down and critique of each of these.
Fight On!; I start with Fight On! because its my favourite and I think probably the best. Edited by IG with the help of Calithena and others, this fanzine gives you between typically 80 and 130 pages devoted to Old School roleplaying mostly focused on D&D Basic and OSR games that use a similar rule set.  About 70% of the content is material such as dungeons, cities, monsters or adventure hooks you can drop straight into your game.  Of particular note is the material from Gabor Lux who writes these vivid heavily appendix N adventures. There are on running features such as community mega dungeon that is added to with each issue. The other 30% or so is opinion articles an…