Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer

G.A.M.E.R. at Fall In 2014

Commandos were busy shooting up a squad of German infantry in the woods

Commandos were busy shooting up a squad of German infantry in the woods

I ran GAMER again at Fall In.  Interested readers can search on GAMER or G.A.M.E.R. in my blog to see entries that describe the development process for these rules.   In general, I was happy with the way the rules played.  We had one or two players who couldn’t seem to get the hang of the card-based combat mechanism, but most did.  The games flowed pretty quickly and smoothly.

The Cigar Box Battles mat with just a building and a couple of hedges on it for scale

The Cigar Box Battles mat with just a building and a couple of hedges on it for scale

Cory Ring of Cigar Box Battles sent me one of their wargaming terrain mat products.  These are beautiful terrain mats printed fleece.  Even with the roads printed on them (not all have roads), they are quite flexible.  Many, many people came by to look at the terrain.  One of the things that I like is that, being made of fleece, they drape over hills without annoying wrinkles.

The Cigar Box Battle mat after I added hills, trees, and other details

The Cigar Box Battle mat after I added hills, trees, and other details

Here is what it looked like after I added all the rest of the terrain bits.  I think the overall effect is quite good.  If I have any complaints, I think that this particular mat may be too woody.  I had to lay out some other felt bits to cover up some of the trees to provide fields of fire for small arms to make the WWII game more interesting.  They have many different designs, including snow, desert, stars, woodland (with roads), and woodland (without roads).  Lately they have begun making mats based on actual historical battles.  I THINK that this mat is one of two for the first day of Gettysburg.

Partisan advancing through the woods in my first GAMER event of the convention

Partisan advancing through the woods in my first GAMER event of the convention

I ran two iterations of GAMER on the same terrain.  One involved British commandos and French partisans trying to rescue a captured British general from a farm house.  The second was a meeting engagement between an American platoon and a German platoon.

Commandos advance into the courtyard to rescue the British general

Commandos advance into the courtyard to rescue the British general

The commandos advanced slowly toward the farmhouse.  The partisans took the slow route through the woods, but despite that, they made it into the farmhouse first.  They beelined upstairs and got involved in a swirling melee for three or four turns with the Germans on the second floor.  In the end, the British/French force got a narrow upper hand, and I judged that the general had been rescued.

Later in the fight. We took off the top floor of the farm house to better resolve the melee between partisans and Germans.

Later in the fight. We took off the top floor of the farm house to better resolve the melee between partisans and Germans.

Waiting to start the second GAMER iteration of the convention

Waiting to start the second GAMER iteration of the convention

American paratroopers advancing along a path in the second GAMER iteration

American paratroopers advancing along a path in the second GAMER iteration

I still have a number of details to work out, but I’ll get there.  They still aren’t as fast or fun as I had hoped, so I keep tinkering with them.  I am using the activation mechanism from Battles by GASLIGHT and the Look, Sarge family of rules, but I keep hoping to come up with something even better.

I’m having fun with the rules, and most of the people who have tried it ask me when they might be available for sale.  I’m pretty fed up with British magazines giving short shrift to all rules American (without actually playing even one game with the rules) and there being no US magazines in which to get reviews.  The TMP crowd is full of folks who generally don’t do anything themselves except criticize the efforts of other, better men (look up The Man in the Arena speech by Teddy Roosevelt).  I don’t have sock puppets.  The one time I asked members of the GASLIGHT Yahoo group to go to Board Game Geek and write about the rules, good or bad, only one person did so, and he spent a page going into gory detail about how much he disliked the new Compendium.  So, I don’t think I am going to go through the pain of writing these up for commercial publication.  I have written over a dozen sets of rules for publication, but only GASLIGHT has been even remotely successful, despite the fact that I think many of them were quite innovative in their day.  I am really proud of the Look, Sarge family of rules, but they really haven’t gotten any popular or critical note.  I have gotten tired of beating my head against a wall.  Right now, I’m just having fun solving one development problem at a time with no deadlines.  They’re shaping up nicely, but they are a long way from good yet.


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