Tuesday 5 July 2011

And So It Begins...

Yes, the first supplement for Black Powder has been trailed on the Warlord Games website and will be available soon: though when and for what price we are not told (though Amazon are quoting £15, paperback). 

I should be pleased: to the disappointment of Napoleonic gamers it covers the 18th century, obviously including the SYW. But I'm afraid I regard supplements as first and foremost a money-making concept (or should that just be 'con') cooked up by wargames companies over the last decade or so to generate extra profits. Any real benefit to wargamers is secondary. Those few of you who read my article on 'The New Wargaming' in Battlegames 24 or my post on the same subject in December last year will be familiar with my curmudgeonly and jaundiced attitude to such things.

It's hard to tell exactly what purchasers will be getting, but it looks like some potted histories of 18th century wars and campaigns will be presented, along with suggestions for revised stats, special rules and army lists appropriate for each sub-period. In addition there will be a few scenarios. And what's wrong with that, you might ask. Well, in the great scheme of things I suppose the answer is, nothing much. But I have always been of the opinion that the stats and special rules ideas should have been in the original rules, considering the size and cost of the rulebook. And 18th century scenarios before 1775 were also conspicuous by their absence in that original publication. Plus I don't really need potted histories as I do my own background reading. And lastly, well, who needs army lists? Oh yes, I remember, that will be the suckers who feel the need to be spoon-fed everything by gaming companies who regard them only as sources of profit.

I say, steady on old chap. Let's be a bit more considered.

Won't such a book be a great introduction to the period for newcomers? It might well be (depending on the quality of the information therein), but consider that a 'newcomer' purchasing the rules and the supplement together will have to part with £45 in one go. Oh, and by the way the American War of Independence is not included in this supplement - it will have another supplement all to itself. Perhaps in about 3 years time we will be able to purchase a supplement listing all the available supplements.

Warlord Games have had a great success with Black Powder, and deservedly so in my opinion. It looks like Hail Caesar will be as successful, or perhaps even more so. Good, well done. One has to assume that profits have been made. It would have been a nice bit of old-fashioned goodwill to provide some helpful period-specific stats and special rules for free online, as a thank you to customers. But profits come first, and profit is what supplements are all about. Okay, those guys at Warlord Games are providing employment to people, and they have to pay the mortgage like everyone else. I just wish some wargamers (and they are already drooling around the Warlord Games forum) wouldn't act as if Warlord were doing them a favour just by publishing this stuff. A bit of self respect is required, gentlemen.

So no, I won't be partaking. Which is a shame as I'm sure there will be some thought-provoking and useful ideas present. Perhaps I'll cadge a look at someone else's and make a trip to the photocopier. After all, sharing is one of the great things about any hobby. Unless you publish supplements, of course.

And finally... Don't be offended by this post if you love supplements and can't wait to buy this one. It's just me sounding off. It's my blog, after all. If I can't be bad tempered and self-righteous here, where else am I going to indulge myself?

Good gaming 'til next time.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Nicely put, nicely said...

Keith Flint said...

Crikey. You don't mean someone actually agrees with me?

Thank you for your support Steve!

Andy McMaster said...

Steve's not the only one! Despite their popularity and good reviews I've avoided the Black Powder/Hail Caesar rules. I don't really want all the pretty pictures and potted history and supplements. I want some good ideas I can use/adapt.

I like the Cold War Commander rules. Simple rules, all the lists you need and a great forum where people discuss the rules, good and bad.

Having said all this I did buy the British Grenadier Deluxe! But it is my fave period :)

Shelldrake said...

Black Powder is one of my favorite rule sets, but I think I will wait to see what is in the supplement(s) before getting excited about them.

I would hate for BP to become the next Warhammer or FOW with a need to buy each and every supplement to play the game.

Simon said...

I agree as well, Keith. We use BP a lot and have come up with stats for Italian Wars, ECW and the Glorious Revolution, no need for supplements just use your own common sense and away you go.

Steve J. said...

Completely agree with all that you said Keith.

Keith Flint said...

Thanks for your comments guys. I seem to have a bee in my bonnet about this sort of thing - must remember not to go too OTT.

"no need for supplements, just use your own common sense and away you go" - very well put Simon.

Mark said...

Completely agree with you Keith.


Jim Gandy said...

Sorry Keith, you & your supporters sound like elitist old grognards. What's wrong with a company making a profit - if they didn't we'd be back in the bad old days when bugger-all was available. You may deplore the fact that gen Y has to be spoon fed, but you don't have to buy the suppliments if you don't want/need to.

Anonymous said...

These are my WSS rules for BP

Before I buy the supplement I'd want to see something startling for the period I was doing. I wrote these by doing actual research. My fear for the supplement route is that these are seen as "official", and people ignore the 'change what you want' spirit of the original.

The book has 7 periods in, so I will be paying for stuff I'm just not interested in, mush of that, no doubt, pictures of the Perry's collectrion of weapons and uniforms. In reality, how much can this book add to a specific period - 2-3 pages of army list and rule changes?

Elitest. It's an odd insult. Elite means the best. So if we are guilty of wanting what is best, I'll happily put my hand up to that. Nobody is complaining about a company making a profit - its the gouging-by-supplement we object to. The improvement in the rules has been brought about by advances in publishing technique - access to DTP etc, rather than the break it all down into as amny sellable bits as possible.

Keith Flint said...

Cromwell, thanks for posting. Despite what Last Hussar says, I'm not at all insulted - comments from those disagreeing with my remarks are most welcome.

The best thing is that your comment has caused me to visit your excellent blog. Lots of cracking games to enjoy by the looks of it.

Best wishes, Keith.

Pete said...

I agree with you, Keith - supplements are unnecessary and the bane of contemporary wargaming. I was adamant that I would provide everything a player needs in one book when I first published Blitzkrieg Commander back in 2004. Proud that I stuck to that philosophy. I doubt if supplements are a big earner anyway, companies that produce supplements by the shed-load generally use them to as catalogues to sell their miniatures (where the real profit can be made). Osprey are the exception, but they have 2000+ titles to supplement their FoG supplements!

Jim Gandy said...

For Last Hussar's benefit...this is the dictionary definition of elitism:

e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism (-ltzm, -l-)
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
a. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
b. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.

And it was a comment not an insult. I'm pleased Keith took it as such.