Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Braunstein - A Question From Ed

Vrisa and Chirine discover why Harchar's 'package cruises' are so cheap...

Here's another question from you, Gentle Readers; Ed writes:

edowarsblogAugust 4, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Chirine, thank you for the series of posts on Braunstein style games. I've only recently heard about this style of game and I find it quite fascinating. I'd very much like to run such a game sometime, whenever I can find enough space to set one up.

It sounds like most Braunsteins are scenario driven events, but have you any experience running an ongoing campaign-style game? Perhaps something where players represent entire kingdoms instead of small groups? I'm just curious whether a Braunstein format would be suitable for such a game. Thank you.

You're welcome! We do a lot of specific scenarios for Braunsteins, mostly because it is simply easier to do the larger 'public' events that way.

Yes, I do have a lot of experience with running these as part of a larger campaign; it's the way we used to do campaigns here in the Twin Cities in the 1970s and 1980s, usually at either The Little Tin Soldier Shoppe or at Conflict Simulation Association meetings at Coffman Union. There would be an over-all referee / GM - called a 'controller', in Tony Bath's book on how to run these campaigns - and players would pick a country to play. After that, it was up to them to run their little nations, to raise their armies, and get into trouble.

There was a very popular game out at that time called "Diplomacy", and this - with "Kingmaker" - was the basis of many fun campaigns. The players would send each other notes, and get together in the back corners during games to negotiate and plot with each other. Quite a few deals were made in Coffman's stairwells, for example.

The over-all Braunstein approach to the campaign would generate some wonderful miniatures games, and these in turn would be Braunsteins of their own. The national commanders of the various armies involved would have to recruit the other players to be their subordinate commanders on the table, and this process was fraught with peril - could you trust the guy not to do something that would mess you over, but benefit his country?

It was delightful, really. Think the battle of Bosworth Field, where Richard the Third found out just how far he could trust the Stanleys - NOT! - and many other real-world battles. Working from this, Phil did his own campaign setting, "Megarra", and this had all of the same elements of the classic Braunstein that the table-top battle version had.

Campaign games are fun, and I think you'd really enjoy this!!!