Archive for June, 2012

Ganesha mechanics

The Ganesha games mechanics are ideal to built something for all purposes. The idea is: keep it simple. So, no more inch to measure, no more debates on lines, no more composite movements to create strange positions. And no more boring alternate turns, no more long and useless stats, no more dices on dices to decide a fight. If you want to know this type of games you can choose among rules for fantasy, Napoleonic era, post-apocalypse, horror, Arthurian, modern era,… and more are on arrival: giant robots, aliens, ancients, superheroes, and everything you can think.
ganesha games
Every Ganesha game is not the same. The rules are designed to transmit feel and specificity of the theme, the mechanics are adapted to the period and it is not only a matter of stats: every game is basically built with the same principles to keep the fun and the speed of learning the rules, but there are a lot of variations that build every time a different and new set of rules.

Simple doesn’t mean stupid! Instead over complicated is stupid! These games are smart and strategically enthralling. My game on gladiators follows the same mechanics but with my ideas about the fight among ancient fighters of the arena. The core engine is the same, the context is different so there will be another approach to the fight.

On YouTube there is a fight Orcs vs. Humans in a demo of Ganesha Games’ Song of Blades and Heroes from Fjalar Zymu. We have to do a YouTube channel for Ganesha sooner or later…

Here a photo of Gregoriana, a founding member of Ganesha Games and moral supporter of our work, died only a few days ago. If you want to know more on this friend of us go to see this memorial page.

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Five days playtest marathon in Terni

What do you do in your holidays? Sun, rest, sex, shopping? Well, I passed 5 days in Terni at Andrea’s home to playtest 5 new games. I thought that this could be a little boring but time flowed speedily. Absurdly I am relaxed with a lot of sleep and had some trips around looking for food and to visit the weapon museum, GiocaPerugia and Carsulae, as I said before in other posts. And now a short chronicle of the playtests.

Song of Spear and Shield

We are working on it since a couple of years but we still have got a lot of problems. This test must be the final time to define the rules but we found some inconsistencies in the style of the game. The problem is about armies dimensions and a easy way to resolve individual and group fights. I want a game for more than 100 miniatures versus other 100 miniatures, with military formations and historical variations. At the end we have got two different set of rules, one for skirmish with 20 fighters each side and another one for 100 fighter each side, with a single engine, too big for small fights, too small for big fights. We have to make a choice. For the moment we are thinking to produce a smaller game more in the style of Song of the Blade and Heroes as perspectives. In the future we could try to produce a mass game with the aim to pit buckets of ancients in fight in hoplite formation.

Ferrum et Gloria

Another playtest for my game. A table full of sheets to track movements and rules. It seems a command bridge of a warship! Well, it is just an impression because all is more handleable. This is only the playtest form of the cards needed to play smoothly. All is fine, only some tweaks are needed to the specifications of some gladiatorial types. This time I used my lego gladiators, a 6 figures team with interchangeable weapons and helms. They are very practical for playing away. And lego minifigs are very nice!

One Game About Miniatures

This set of rules for fantasy combat is still in development but Andrea has found the right way and I can say that I like it. The only thing to do is to test all the rules and to balance special powers. This is a project for the late 2013 so it is not a priority at moment. Just to say, we played with pieces that we had at hand because we have not the right miniatures, and the name is fictional. You will hear about it in the future.

Power Legion

Before the tests we celebrated the event hanging on the wall the poster of a film that you know for sure. I played with Ganesha’s superheroes two years ago, if I remember correctly. Andrea had a little neglected it to spend mental resources on other rules. However now it is more fluid. We played two different games to find extreme situations to resolve. Indeed we found that in some situations the fights were not so incisive. The development still run but I think that this year we can read these superheroes rules in the paperback form. And then we will have to wait for a supplement with more superheroes powers because them are too much to fill only a book.

Song Of Blade and Heroes Card Game

We played games at all hours, even at night. This one was tested before launch, two full games. It is very fast and reproduce a Song of Blade and Heroes fight in a card game. It is still in a primitive form but I like the engine. He have to work hard on it to give depth to the game. Ten years ago Andrea was a Magic expert with a fixed column on a game magazine, so it is not so impossible to do it. It is even a production duty not similar to the usual Ganesha’s rulesets, you have to illustrate and print decks of cards. Now Ganesha Games have a lot of games to produce so I don’t know when he will find the time to develop the card game. In addition to those I’ve played in this playtest marathon, there are other rulesets in an advanced phase: Swatters, Apocalypticum, Samurai Robot Battle Royale, Tales of Blades and Heroes rpg manual series, Song of Blade and Heroes II edition, to name those I saw in a semi-definitive form. And before I left we have collected some ideas on what could be published in late 2014…

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Giocaperugia 2012

In Italy there are a lot of boardgames (at most) conventions with the suffix Gioca- (play) and then the name of the city. So we have even this GiocaPerugia on the hill next Perugia and site of Città della Domenica. I spoke some months ago about Magna Con Phersu and this amusement park on this and this post. Now this GiocaPerugia was a bigger convention and this is the dedicated website.

The other time we were in Winter so the park was close. This new trip to it was a chance to visit it. The place is really huge, a paradise for children but something else for other people. It is a park for families built too much years ago, so it shows his age, as these decorations designed as beautiful statues that must recall various places in the world. Ugliness in the middle of typically Mediterranean late spring vegetation. A matter of style aged too soon. Among other things you can find a mock castle, a mock missile, a mock Indian encampment and blue shirts fort, some buffaloes, some exotic goats, some horses and a cow. You understand, it is not so beautiful, but in some ways educational and with the morbid fascination of vintage amusement parks. Well, inside a pavilion there was enough space for GiocaPerugia too.

We had a large room and some space outside, a lot of available tables, some vendors, some games ready to play, but we hadn’t an essential element: there were not enough people. Perugia is a city full of young people, there is an international university that attracts them, so it was desirable a large participation because part of them surely know boardgames, cosplay, wargames and what is related to them. So, what’s the matter? I don’t know, maybe lack of advertisement? I don’t have the answer.

Inside GiocaPerugia a Blood Bowl tournament was organised, and some friends of mine was fighting on the green grounds with chainsaws and dirty hits. Blood Bowl is the new sensation (!) among people who plays DBA (more !!!). I tried the game when the first edition was hot off the press but maybe at that time something was a little confusing and we didn’t play it so much. Instead nowadays I’m thinking to compose a couple of teams. I like the idea of making an unique team using a few miniatures with a specific theme. I’m collecting gorgeous babes pieces to create an Amazon team, and I’m thinking to some snowmen for a more frozen set. I met some people from Rome and maybe (thanks to me) in Ludica in November we will have a tournament with 50 people.

The great thing about GiocaPerugia were two displays in the open where we talked with Cesarian Roman reenactors and with practitioners of historical fencing. They are very enthusiastic people and we learn a lot from who directly experienced weapons, armours and ancient fighting techniques. It is thrilling to touch the concrete stuff on which you only read about in books. Maybe in the future we will collaborate with these people. I leave here their websites:
Legio I Taurus
Sala d’Arme Achille Marozzo

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Carsulae

Another benefit for my stay in Terni was a visit to Carsulae, an abandoned (pre-)Roman city near Terni. We have a lot of ancient remains here in Italy that we don’t mind them. So much history and so lack of interest in it. Even if I love archaeology I never considerate a visit to this site, but now I’m pleased to have did it.

This is a part of the old route of the Via Flaminia inside Carsulae. This road joins Rome with Ariminum (present Rimini), and therefore the two sides of Italy, sea to sea, through mountains. It was the way to have a road for the north, the other sea, and to control the territory even against Italic Celts. Now when I hear about Via Flaminia I only think about car traffic. In this photo you can view no congestion, luckily.

As remains you can view only some structures, mainly building foundations. I suppose that the walls were used centuries after to built other houses around: walls can fall after years without maintenance, and their bricks and rocks are available building material to all near communities. Probably you could find Carsulae inside the walls of later little towns that were born around.

The most evident buildings are the amphitheatre and the theatre, symbols of Roman civilization and necessary to a city to have a sporting identity and a cultural life. The last three photos taken from various angles are dedicated to them. You can see the stage and the bleachers with their structures, formed of walls made of white stones with narrow lines made of red bricks. The city is not entirely archaeologically investigated and large areas are still buried by the earth accumulated over the centuries, so in the future they could find more materials. The arena is partially excavated, its half is still filled with an earth mound and trees over it. It think they could find subterranean structures. An instructive and enjoyable visit under a spring sun.

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Weapon museum in Terni

I must write a report about my holiday in Terni, but I have to write the rules for my gladiator game too, therefore I will be a little slow with this duty. At the moment I show you some images that I took in the weapon museum in Terni.

It is not a real museum because they haven’t the money to structure it as a open exhibition. To visit that rooms, strictly only in the last Saturday of the month, you have to send a fax with your name to a military authority. This space is inside a barrack, the Italian Army centre of weapon servicing, so it is clear that you cannot enter here easily.

You can find a lot of light weapons, pistols, rifles and machineguns. There are even bigger guns around. Some pieces are curious, some are old, some are experimental items. I have only a superficial knowledge of this world, so I can appreciate only the design but I don’t know the history of single weapons.

I appreciate and know some models as the MAB one (Moschetto Automatico Beretta Mod. 1938) that I use as reenactor but I can’t go further. Here you can find all the history of MAB, from its firsts forms to the post-war models, but unfortunately there was running a special event on a military hero born in Terni and the panels with his history were on the glass showcases with my preferred machinegun. Pity!

Some long and short barrels. A pistol with that length is not so practical. Other weird things are the silencers, so bigger than the weapons that is incredible how you can use and store them. And if on this signal pistol they put a handle it means something for sure.

Under you can view two different kind of magazines: only a few bullets against a supply for a more intense firepower.

The usual posh weapon, a gun plated with gold.

If you want to know more and if you want to visit the museum go to their website: http://www.museodellearmi.com

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Tests for DBA in Rome 2012

A couple of Sundays ago we received a visit from our friend Paolo who is now living in Switzerland. So we had the opportunity to set two DBA games to test a tournament list proposal for the next DBA event in Rome.

Since 2004 we are a 6 men club devoted to DBA tournaments at most, with some great results in 2006. But life reserves obstacles to players: Luca now lives in London, Narciso returned to his little town near Viterbo, Maurizio is missing with wife and two little children in an obscure somewhere in Rome, and now Paolo is feeding himself only with chocolate and cheese. But we are still involved in Italian DBA circuit, so even this year we are organising the Rome annual tournament. We have almost lost the enthusiasm for doing it because after exactly ten years of DBA events we wish something different. But a lot of friends are from the DBA circuit so tournaments are the pretext to meet them.

For this year I thought to something very different than usual: a choice of each of a kind of the DBA troops (Kn, Cv, Lh,…), until to 12 pieces. The only fixed troop was Cv as general. We tried this scenario that afternoon. It worked and it is a heavy duty for players because you have to manage your troops very well. But at the end we choose to do things in a more orthodox way: people could not find this of their taste even for the unreal historical feel of the thing. And DBA is a historical game, you know, if you can conceive a historical meaning in the usual line formation of DBA armies…

For the refinement gentleman I show you the Paolo’s personal measure instrument for DBA paces, a elegant compass used for maps. Paolo is a geographer, do you know it? And he now has got an iPad to shoot photos.
Well, the evening ended as usual, with pizza and beer in a near restaurant. Only few days after I received the invitation for his wedding during this August. We are projecting the upcoming trip to the land of clocks with birds inside…

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