Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Weekly Update - Sunday, February 7th, 2016: Of Bases And "Advance Standards!"

The miniatures shelves, newly reorganized

First off, this Sunday, several of the bloggers that I follow - links to the left, thank you! - have posted some pretty interesting stuff - have a look, if you please!


I was asked, last week, what I'm doing with all my new-found free time and the answer is "getting back to what's important to me." My writing, specifically, and revisiting a project that has largely gotten lost in the rush of other people's issues: "Qadardalikoi: Advance Standards!"

This is, purely and simply, my set of miniatures rules for Tekumel updated and upgraded. It's been a long time since 1982, and while the thing is still as playable as it used to be, it is older then my daughters are and could use a little work. There's a few changes that I'll be making - nothing very big! - but which are based in incidents in our gaming in Tekumel in Phil's campaign that we hadn't run into when we did the rules.

Back in the day, most of our fights were within the Five Empires, between various 'regular' forces; it wasn't until later on in the 1980s that we started doing fights with large numbers of 'irregular' forces, like the tribal hordes of the Young Master outside Hekellu. Lots and lots of tribal warriors, who are long on courage and short on armor. So, I'm doing a bit of tweaking to account for this.

This has also led into a revisiting of that arcane and obscure subject, the basing of miniature figures. Back in the day, when the rules were originally written, this was a very hot topic indeed, with lots of learned discussions over 'true scale' and 'ground scale'; I went, as was noted at the time, with a ground scale that would allow for the size and stances of the figures we had available to us back then. I'm looking back at those base sizes, and today's figures, and working out what I should do about both.

One issue that's come up is 'square / rectangular' and 'round' base shapes; back in the day, as you might guess, about all we had was hand-cut card or wood, and round bases were a fearsome and dire peril to contemplate. These days, of course, you get them at the FLGS in laser-cut plywood, and rounds are easy as all get-out. Which has led to...

My miniatures collection has, over the decades, morphed and changed with time. Originally, the idea was to have a set of miniatures with which we could fight any battle we wanted to; units were the order of the day, and my original plan had been to build up all of the various units in the old "Armies" lists at their 2,354 AS strength, just like any self-respecting historical gamer would do with his hoplites or chariots. However, this thing called a 'role-playing game' came along, and pretty soon I found that I was doing a lot more miniatures for our EPT campaign on Thursday nights then I was doing for Saturday battles.

For decades, everybody got squares or rectangles, and we used all of the figures for all of the games. Then, I started getting rounds, and the 'house rule' that evolved over the last fifteen years was that units were all on the old bases, and individual player-characters and other "RPG figures" were on the rounds. Well, okay, that seemed to work, and then we started using our PCs as commanders in battles. People tended to get a little confused at times, but we managed to work around it.

As the collection has changed content and focus, I've failed to really think about this and adapt to the changing times. I took this past weekend to go through the entire collection, updating the inventory lists along the way, and getting the entire collection reorganized and re-based as needed to make things more accessible and more playable. The shelves are no longer a random-access affair, but everything is grouped by function and then by type.

We can still fight any battle we want to, but we can now fight any RPG fight we need to. I'm pleased, if I do say so myself...