Tuesday 28 December 2010

The New Wargaming

I'm very happy to say I have finally managed to get an article into one of the wargames glossies: and not just any old glossy, but the best of them. Battlegames 24 has my article entitled 'The New Wargaming'. According to the blurb, 'veteran wargamer Keith Flint takes a long hard look at the commercial tendencies in modern wargaming and asks us to think hard about how we respond to marketing messages'. How about that: I'm officially a veteran wargamer! 

The article was inspired by reading comments on a number of forums over the last year, and by recent publications that have interested me like Wargames Illustrated and Black Powder. It occurred to me I was not particularly happy about some of the more commercial developments in current wargaming, which others seemed to welcome with open arms, so I decided to write a 'think piece' expressing my thoughts. Thanks to editor Henry Hyde for publishing it. 

Whilst the commercial growth of wargaming suppliers has provided us with a better level of choice and quality in wargaming products than we have ever enjoyed, some tendencies seem to me to be getting a bit out of hand, whilst others are being forgotten. For example, I'm afraid everything is getting a little too glossy and upmarket for my taste (and therefore increasingly expensive), whilst concepts like the pleasure of sharing things for free, or doing your own research instead of relying on supplements and army lists, seem to be fading into the background. Perhaps if one thing can be considered to have tipped me over the edge and into print, it was reading this comment regarding Black Powder on TMP:

First impressions: well, even if the rules are no good, the piccies by themselves will be worth the cost alone!'

If you agree with this sentiment, or in the unlikely event that its author ever reads this, I apologise in advance. But really! There we have a wargamer happy to shell out thirty quid for a few posed pictures of wargames figures, when they are available by the gross for free online. Alright, maybe the comment wasn't meant to be taken entirely literally. But it seemed to me some gamers were losing their perspective, not to mention their self respect and common sense, in becoming too enamoured with surface over substance.

I'm afraid the approach of Games Workshop and Flames of War to wargaming takes a bit of flak in the article as well. On the other hand, I applaud a project trying to take things the other way, namely Phil Olley's Classic Wargamer's Journal, which is not produced for profit and also contains no adverts.

Enough of me and my soapbox. I would say that Battlegames 24 is an excellent issue, with or without my article, being crammed with ideas and inspiration on a variety of topics. Indeed, it re-ignited my enthusiasm for this particular magazine after a few recent issues which I have found a little flat.

And finally, Happy New Year! See you in 2011.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Black Powder SYW Stats

For any Black Powderers out there (is there such a phrase?) who game the SYW, these are the stats I'm currently using, placed in the tables available from The Last Hussar's website (see my favourite links). Note I use First Fire to represent the better fire discipline of Prussian line infantry, and the hand to hand stats of the Austrian cavalry are all reduced by one as they appear to have been generally inferior to their Prussian counterparts. 

To discourage successful cavalry charges against line infantry (and successful charges in general) I am now using a modifier of +2 for closing fire. Cavalry do not get the +1 for charging frontally vs infantry unless the infantry they are charging are shaken, disordered or not supported.