Friday, April 11, 2014

More on the Ditlana, and the BBC on D & D

Captain Harchar persuades a business rival to go elsewhere.

I'm sure that all you web-savvy folks out there in the blogosphere have seen this, but Auntie Beeb has done a story on the panic that swept America over D & D in the ealry 1980s:

It's a pretty good little article; The Missus had to e-mail them and remind them that D & D isn't a board game, but so it goes. She also suggested "Playing at the World" for further reading.


The Ditlana continues, and I continue to discover old and familiar treasures in amongst the debris of failed projects. I found the custom-made set of hills that I carved for the game we did refighting the Battle of Anch'ke, and since this will work very nicely with the modular terrain tiles that I salvaged out of the old bespoke tiles I had made for games on the big table at The Source, it will be stored in a new plywood crate alongside the model of Castle Tilketl on the North West Frontier. I am not sure about what to do about the custom-made hill I did for the castle to sit on; about the only interesting part of that set is the 'back' of the terrain, which marks the cliff that the castle sits on. I think what I'll do is salvage the terrain sections, which are currently 6 foot long by 18" foam tiles with scenic materials, by cutting them into the same 9.5" x 9.5" tile size that I am standardizing on. (The odd dimension of 9.5" by 9.5" is designed to work with my set of standard 30" x 60" tables, and has been working nicely in test runs.)

The criteria for the 'save / toss' decision is, by and large, based on just how 'useful' and 'finished-looking' an item is. My time and energy are very limited, these days, and any project that looks like it's going to take a lot of either to finish is a prime candidate for disposal. A really good example of the 'save' category is the large Skbe road set I started about five years ago, and which still needs detailing and paint. The main construction work on this 14' long set is done, and it'll only take a couple of weekends to finish the set to a 'gameable' state - so, it stays.

On the other hand, I also have two 55-gallon trash bags full of cut pink foam in various thicknesses - the foam had been intended to make modular hills, but as of this instant they are just cut blocks of foam.  It would take a huge amount of work to make these useable, and they are not likely to be used in future games; one of things that I've found in my research into modern gaming styles is that the trend is for smaller tables - one very popular miniatures game uses nothing larger then 4' x 4', and I have games where the authors suggest a 2' x 2' table. This does have advantages - a small table means that the forces on the ground will be in contact and combat very quickly, usually in two game turns or less. This, in turn, means for very quick games; I have been told by quite a few players that they simply don't have the time to spend on games like my Braunstein last year, which went for some five hours. This is simply too long for today' hectic lifestyles, which is why the current generation of miniatures games strongly favor very small 'warbands' and 'factions', instead of the 'armies' popular in my generation.

While I am retaining the capability to run games on larger tables, such as the 60" by 120" ones that I use at FFG's Event Center, I am concentrating on smaller games on smaller tables. I have, as I have mentioned before, three 30" by 60" tables that I use in the basement game room; these normally get used in a 60" by 60" or 60" by 90" array, and quite frankly one does not need 110 gallons of hills to cover a table this size! The half-dozen resin hills I have collected over the years from pet stores do very nicely on tables this size, and they become focal points for the action instead of annoyances to the players. The resin hills also store better, and take up a lot less room!