Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Weekly Update for Sunday, January 18th, 2014 - Lord Vimuhla Is On The Side Of The Big Battalions (2)

When you go down to the woods today...

We're finally getting back to normal, hereabouts; I took the youngest of my collection of daughters off to the airport this afternoon so she could get back home to Zurich, and we managed to get a bunch of stuff for the upcoming memorial event finished in good time. I can get back to being more productive, as we're out of the sleep disruptions and back to my normal nocturnal schedule.

I am also well along with preparations for Gary Con; the big roll inkjet roll printer is coming on line, and I can print anything up to 17 inches wide by 20 feet long. Normally, I'll be doing 11" x 17" or 17" x 24", but that's still some pretty big maps and plans for gaming; Chirine's retirement villa does come to mind...

I'm also gearing up for the Chakan campaign; I used to be on a one-week 'build cycle' when we were gaming out at Phil's, and a two-week cycle for the game sessions here at the house we've been having for over a decade. I'm a lot more productive when I'm on a set schedule, and I'm really looking forward to getting back into that groove.

I'm also sending out the second installment of the introduction to the campaign, and if you'll allow me I'd like to outline what this campaign is and is not...

This is a classic 'play by mail' campaign, as was played by guys like Dave Arneson, Gary Gygax, Dave Wesely, Dave Megarry, and a host of others back in the 1970s. I have updated some of the technology, like using e-mail and the video conference features of Google+ and Skype, but it's the same style of games we played here in the Twin Cities back then. It's also the same kind of gaming that Prof. Barker used in his Tekumel campaign for some twenty years, but with some of the players being at his house on a weekly basis. This is, for all intents and purposes, an extension of Prof. Barker's 'meta-game', that he played with us and with others; game groups would send him their reports from their games, and he would include these in his games with us as rumors and events for us to interact with.

(See also the infamous "Lord Gamalu's 'secret mission' to the Southern Continent", which everybody in the Five Empires knew about. We got shipwrecked. It was a long swim home.)

The 'backbone of this campaign is Tony Bath's invaluable "Setting Up A Wargames Campaign", which is still in print and available; however, you will not need to purchase a copy! Prof. Barker used this for his on-going ‘meta-game’ that’s served for decades as the background for our adventures; before he published “Empire of the Petal Throne” in 1975, he generated some 1,500 people on 3x5 index cards, and used Tony Bath’s rules to run their careers. He would move their individual cards around in his card file boxes to show promotions, transfers, and other career moves, and we would meet these people as we moved around the Five Empires and explored his world.

Now, I want to be clear at the outset that you do not need to know anything about Tekumel; you don’t need to be a seasoned miniatures player, and you don’t need to be on either Google+ or Skype. All you need to have is a lively sense of adventure, and the willingness to send me e-mail once a week – more, if you want, and you have the inclination. I will process everyone’s e-mails on Fridays, and send out notices the same day; I used to do this in an ‘analog’ format, back in the day, and computers have made this work so much easier!!!

You will be playing an officer in command of some troops; as I like the ‘Braunstein’ game format, you will have your own objectives and missions. Your actions and orders will affect the other players, and I’m hoping that lots of games will result. Note that I am not saying ‘wargames’ or miniatures battles – those will happen, of course, but I am deliberately trying to emulate the style and flow of the games we played ‘back in the day; we didn’t draw much of a distinction between what people thinks of as ‘role-playing’ and ‘wargaming’, back then. We viewed it all as a spectrum of gaming that ranged from ‘small party of adventurers’ to ‘large battle-groups’; we played our games usually within the framework of a campaign run by a neutral party, and we had a whole lot of fun doing it.

I will be sending you a list of the various ‘positions open’, and you can pick what you’d like to play. I will then provide you with what missions, options, resources, and forces you have available, and then we’ll go from there. I will, as the campaign progresses, be sending you photos of what you see ‘on the ground’, and the reports you get from your own and other ‘sides’. This is, in effect, the classic D&D ‘domain game’, but writ large and set in Prof. Barker’s Tekumel.

As I mentioned, you do not need to know anything to start with; if there’s something that you should know, it’s my job to tell you. Likewise, I live on a 24-hour schedule; if you live on the other side of the globe, then I can deal with that. I have a classic Mastercrafters ‘World Clock’ on my desk, so that I can keep track of where you live and what your waking hours are. I will do my best to schedule games ‘on the table’ to work with your schedule, but you do not need to actually be ‘present’ to play; the gamers in my home group will be your assistants, comrades, and ‘hands’ – they’ll be happy to help you play, even if you are not going to be at the game itself.

Games will usually be fought out on my game table here at the house; it’s a lot easier for me, as all I have to do is set the terrain and get started. Really large games, should they occur, can be fought out at local game shops with the spare space – we’ve used both The Source and Fantasy Flight Games Event Center with great success. I’ll be providing the troops and the terrain – I work better when I have to get things done for games, so this will whittle down the piles of unpainted lead!

So, there we are – a short introduction. I’ll have more for you shortly, and I’ll also be posting all of this here on this blog. Please feel free to ask me any questions, too!!!

Lots more to come - it's good to be back at the keyboard!!!


  1. Hello Chirine,
    I had held back from asking to join because I am on the other side of the world - UTC+8. But if you have room for one more I would be happy to relive days of yore. And "Setting up a Wargames Campaign" is one of my old favourites :).


    Steve Gunnell

    1. Not a problem - I am very deliberately setting this up to take into account the time zone issues for people. I have lots of room; Phil provided an almost infinite variety of odd folks to play... :)

  2. I'd like to get in on this as well, if there's still room. I'll send you an email right now.

    1. Ok, I looked, but I can't find your email anywhere on your blog. How can I get in touch to join in your campaign?

    2. Whoops! I had thought that Blogger provided e-mail addresses in the 'Profiles', but I couldn;t find it either! So, I now have a block of text over at the top of the left-hand column with my e-mail address:

  3. I have never done any thing like this before. I guess I will write you off an e-mail and see about. Giving this a try.

  4. Chirine,

    I sent you an email about this on February 17th but I'm not sure if you received it. If you have any slots left open I would absolutely love to play.


  5. Hey Chirine,

    Is this still going on? If so, I would love to join if possible.