Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Weekly Update For May 3rd, 2015 - Lurching Unsteadily Forward

The invaluable reference. Get it.

I am back on my foot, sort of, and lurching forward - and around the house. I still can't get a shoe on the left foot, but the orthopedic boot does allow me to get things done. Slowly, but at least I'm not on pain-killers and can think without having to stop and consider what I'm thinking about.

The good news is that this week will see the first notes going out to everyone who asked about the play-by-email campaign, and we'll get the thing started next week. I'm sorry for the delay -  wanted to be into the game by now - but unpacking from Gary Con has taken a lot longer then I anticipated, and losing the use of a foot for the better part of two weeks just hasn't helped.

The most-asked question about the campaign I'm getting from just about all the players is "Do I need to have any experience with miniatures to play?" The immediate answer is a resounding "No!"; all you need is what they used to call 'pluck' and a good dose of enthusiasm. Keep in mind that back in the day, we had no idea what we were doing, or how we were supposed to do it. We also had no idea that there was any difference between what's referred to these days as 'role playing games' and 'miniatures games / wargames". For us, these genres lay on a spectrum of play that went from individual adventures to large mass actions; we used little lead people, coins, dice, and cardboard game counters to represent what we were doing on the table. Jon Peterson quotes Dave Arneson: "We made stuff up, and we had fun!" That's what this campaign will be - my telling stories to you, and you reacting and adding to the narrative with your actions.

One thing we did do, back in the day, was read as much as we could about what we were doing. The single best reference book we had was "The Defence Of Duffer's Drift", by E. D. Swinton. (I still have my copy, and I still read it.) My advice to people is that, instead of worrying about rules on movement rates and arcs of fire, get a copy of this book and settle down for a pleasant afternoon of reading.

The book is still available, and even available for free. Check the Web, of course, but here are two URLs for you:

Take a moment, and look at that second URL, if you would. "benning" is Fort Benning, Georgia, the home of the U. S. Army's Infantry Branch. (The Armor School is there too, having been moved from Ft. Knox; somebody thought that it might be a good idea for the treadheads and footsloggers to get to know each other.) This little book is still in use today, over a century after it was first published as a magazine article, to teach new officers their trade.

Yes, this book was written after the Boer War in South Africa; substitute 'crossbows' for 'rifles', if you wouldn't mind, and 'ballista' for 'gun'. I think you'll find you can get a lot of very useful information on what to expect from my campaign in this book, and you'll find it well worth your reading time.

I know I did.