Friday, 17 October 2014

Gaming, Boozing, and Wounding.

Time for a post, just to keep up to date with things.

First of all, despite originally not having any game scheduled in October due to a lack of room availability at our local community centre, we now find ourselves with a coming up next Sunday after all.  

Giovanni and Brian were able to arrange a game at a British-style pub in Shimo-Kitazawa here in Tokyo.   Paul, the owner who has himself done some gaming in the past, has kindly agreed to let us put on some games there next Sunday, just so long as we have lunch and enjoy a few beers there while we game.  Twist my rubber arm.

It will be Bolt Action again, largely as there may not be a lot of table space and Bolt Action doesn't need much space with all the terrain on the board.
Matt and I will be facing off one another again, and I'll be taking along Giovanni's former work colleague and friend Alessio Cavatore for the game as well.  Some of you may already know that Alessio is the author of Bolt Action, so there will be no creative interpretations of the rules this time!

I have been doing a lot of web browsing on Bolt Action recently, and I have to say that while I really enjoy the rules, I have absolutely no interest in the tournament aspect of gaming that seem to draw a lot of adherents.  Each to their own, and I don't mind reading about how other people are enjoying their games.  But we have our own way we like to play, and the focus on creating lists to strictly-enforced criteria just doesn't do it for us.

Certainly point systems have their uses, but mostly for getting a general balance subject to scenario conditions.  Neither Matt nor myself get hung up on them and would prefer to paint and game rather than number-crunch lists without much regard to how units were actually organized.  That does not mean we are puritanical Grognards about the history, but we have our own comfort zone regarding what can and should be done in a game, and we stick to it.

For example, I am willing to stretch history by using vehicles such as the Chi-Nu, a Japanese medium tank which really didn't see any combat as they were all held back to defend the home islands from invasion.  It comes close to matching the Sherman at best, and it looks cool.  A plausible "what if".

But having Japanese infantry run around in Kurugane staff cars along the front lines and having some dude jump out with a flame thrower as some players apparently choose to do it, is way too "gamey" for me.  Just because something is possible under the rules doesn't mean it should be done, and this one is way beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned.  Sounds more like the Viet Cong with their RPG's and taxis at Tet, rather than the Imperial Japanese Army.

Likewise Matt and I use LMG's such as Bren guns in our sections regardless of their effectiveness under the rules, for the simple reason that historically many nations built their squads around them, and organizing our miniatures squads the same way simply seems the right way to go if you are gaming WW2.  Whether they are "good value for points" is irrelevant to us, and anyway we have been finding them useful enough.

I find that how historical- or otherwise- a wargame can be most often has a lot more to do with the mindset and attitude of the players rather than the rules themselves, be they Bolt Action or Black Powder.  In fact, I still think the original version of the Flames of War rules made for a very satisfying game, and are still well worth playing despite subsequent "improved" versions coming along.  Microsoft Windows has certainly had its effect on people's mindsets, it seems.

So over all, it has been an eventful few weeks.  We have been needing bunkers for our WW2 games, so while making this...
...and this...
I managed to do this (avert your eyes if you are the wimpy and squeamish type):


Emergency visits to the hospital and blood spraying over the walls and floor like champagne at a Superbowl victory celebration does not endear the hobby to your significant other.  

Trust me.