Archive for 2011

Try this (SDS LB) at home

Some weeks ago, in the middle of August, during a hot evening, me and Diego tried in a private session the last release of Song of Drums and Shakos Large Battle. As I said before, Diego is very involved in the Sergio’s project, so he wanted to taste some of the rules to understand if all is smooth and fine. He set a scenario and adapted his 1/72 miniatures to the game. And he introduced some different composition of the armies to create peculiar forces, a variation to the more aseptic battalions that we used before for the tests.

I’m not an expert of Napoleonic warfare, but now I know some of the basics, so I moved my pieces with skilfulness, or almost I believe it. At the start I strike very hard, and glory was at hand. But in the following turns, a hill slowed my paces and I couldn’t give the final punch to the enemy on my left flank. Maybe the rule for hills are not good, because to climb them you must spend two activations only for movement. So I had too many turn overs. And to this followed a general change of situation on my throws: it meant a drawback and after defeat.

Another test and a list of observations to Sergio. Tomorrow we will have another playtesting day in Terni. Sergio tell us that this is the last test for the rules. I don’t believe him…


GiocaRoma 2011

At last, my report on GiocaRoma 2011, the boardgame convention of Rome. I repeat myself: I like these events build by gamers for gamers. There were tournaments, boardgames presentations, wargames, vendors, free toy library with people who explain rules and follow you during the first turn. All inside a sporting centre near the underground, with pool and tennis camps. We don’t use the pool, usual clients did. There is a restaurant inside with low prices (water + potatoes + pizza = 6€) and a bar. The sad thing is that there was a misunderstood and the restaurant owners don’t know about the event so ice creams and other food disappeared too soon. And GiocaRoma is always very hot, so ice creams were a necessary resource!!!

This is the free toy library before the assault, early in the morning…

Over 1000 registered visitors, but hardcore gamers were less. Among boardgame players there are even women, a factor unknown by wargamers. And a lot of women are brides of other gamers. So here we aren’t only among bald and fat men as usual.

An interview for tv to Bao (an African game) promoter. He runs an international tournament and the diffusion of the game for beneficence purposes.
The orange dress of the interviewer was very pretty, indeed. Look at the shoes, she is moving like a child…

These are the cups for tournaments played in GiocaRoma.

During the first day I presented Zen Garden. Read the other post to know more about it. When I will find the time I show more on it.

Here you can see a Miles Glorious‘ delegation playing with Zen Garden.

And here other players. On the right Sinclair from Ratio Ludica, on the left Lorenzo from Zerloon Place. Their comments were enthusiasts!

And now some words about games we tried on Sunday. Carson City is an interesting game. Someone say that it is a sort of Caylus without too many mental calculations, with a far west flavour and some dices to add fun. Well, if you don’t know Caylus, I can say that this Carson City is about a placement mechanism of meeples with added a terrain where you can buy land and put buildings to have revenues. And if you want the same resource, placing your meeple (who resemble a cowboy) on it where just where another gamer placed his, then there is a duel! More fun than Pillars of the Earth! So, a great far west game!

It was a long time that I wanted to try Letters from Whitechapel because of the setting in actual Banglatown. The map is gorgeous. The game is a more complicated version of the old Scotland Yard. Fun, but not so intriguing as the box and the map. For a night with friends and a smart guy as the fugitive. I was not so smart so the play ended before than I expected.

Ventura is an Italian game distributed by Fantasy Flight Games. It is a classic game with a map, some armies around and your zone of control where you take your money to built armies. But this time all is packed in the age of mercenary armies in Italy, the age of condottieri. The new thing is that you can built the map adding terrain hexagons with specific values. So, it is a great-grandchildren beautiful variant of Risiko in a great setting. Some material are of the highest quality, others are not. However some rules are weak, so he urges some tweaks, as hidden composition of armies. I think I play again with this game because Paolo bought it.

We give another try to 7 Wonders. I like it, but Paolo tell us it is only a card game with a high price. I hope Francesca buy it.

While I was involved with Zen Garden, Paolo run an exhibition game of MEKA, still in beta form. This time in a desert setting instead of the urban one. Zakus are always the best mechas around…

Our friend Di Bartolo showed his Napoleonic game, almost ready to be published. The best terrain and painted miniatures of the event.

Subbuteo football club. For football fans only. I’m not in this category, but I like stubbornness of Subbuteo fans from ’70s!

There was Miniature Mania, a painting service from Perugia. I take some pictures. I like the weird effect of miniatures at twilight!!!

I didn’t buy anything, but there were gracious games and related stuff. Another time. The hard true is that I buy things but I haven’t the time to play with them! Sad, sad, very sad. At the end I remained only with these tickets. They were for the lottery. 1000 tickets for 10 prizes (a holiday during Modenacon 2012 + 9 boardgames), so I bought 11 tickets for 11€, 1 to 100 to have something. I only had the pleasure to give away little money for 2 days of fun. Thank you GiocaRoma!


Playing in a Zen Garden

I’m just returned from the first day of GiocaRoma, the convention of boardgames here in Rome. Well, there is even a large section of wargames, very large indeed, but the people who organise all are from boardgames clubs. All the work is voluntary, so it is a great d.i.y. convention made by real gamers for other gamers. I want to do my part in this, so today I presented my game, Zen Garden.

Here you can see my space. A small place on a large row of tables but they hadn’t a 30×30 table…

All went fine, very fine. I was available all the day. Positive feedbacks. The greatest comment was: “a poetic game”!

And now a fast look to the finished game with all his components: dices for activations, dices for combat, measurements sticks (made from “samurai” labelled toothpicks!!!), counters for lack of fire and wounds, cards for stats.

Now is late night, and tomorrow I am going to have another full day in GiocaRoma, this time to play with games made by other people, so I close here. In the future I will spent more time on how my game works. And there will be a report on this edition of GiocaRoma.


Bulding a Zen Garden

A friend of mine, a real demented friend of mine, gifted me, some Christmas ago, a small Zen Garden that you can put on your desk. He thought to be witty, but I hated him (well, he is still one of best friends of mine, so I didn’t kill him). Now, what could I do with this little newage crap for puffs? I put it on a bookshelf for some years. After I had the right idea.
When you go to conventions you have to take with you a lot of miniatures and a beautiful terrain if you want to show a game. But the game is full of options and a convention is full of people, of confusion and of heat, so you cannot have the right attention from your guests. A easy move is to present simple scenarios with less rules and standard troops. That results as a watered down version of your game, and so you give away a poor aspect for your game. So I thought to a specific game only for conventions, with a small terrain, few miniatures, easy rules, fast explanations. A game contained in a zen garden that you can put on your desk…

My mini zen garden is really mini. It can be used only with 6mm miniatures but you have to buy an hundred when you only want ten. So I brought from IKEA a simple and small frame (Nyttja type) at 5 euros for a two pack. I closed one part with cardboard, put a lot of vinyl glue and spread quartz sand. My intention was to design the classical tracks of zen gardens, but the glue was too thick so I had a lot of lumps. I tried to solve this situation but the final effect was more a Lunar surface than a garden for Japanese monks. At the end, I didn’t give to it a particular importance, I have got my terrain, if it is not so zen I don’t care. I can always tell the story that it is a zen garden in the middle of the fighting storm! So no regular tracks, but scattered sand!
Then I added some trinkets I found in the mini box, as the rake, creating obstacles to miniatures.

For the miniatures I ask to Paolo (Ronin Clan) if he can gift me some of his 10mm samurai. Eight are enough for a scenario. To create the bases I brought some rings for rivets in a hardware store. I put here the result on cardboard, ready for the painting process. On a next post more zen on arrival…


Lo Papa vero: more and weird stuff

Something more from tournament in Canino.

Canino in Italian language is “little dog”. So this is the place with the monument to a little dog, the coat of arm of the municipality.

I saw this sign. It says that is prohibited the entrance of dogs in the area (a garden for children). It is weird that the sign has a barred dog that is practically the same dog of the coat of arm!

Saturday we slept here, with open windows for the heat, in the main place of the town. Just under there is a bar. In front there is the bell tower of the church with the Bonaparte’s chapel. Near a dance hall in the open for elder people that works until the 24.30. It is like to live inside a speaker box. Gigione on the stage sung “my heart is like a dancer and it make me suffer”…

Near Canino there is this castle with a 2100 years old bridge. It was the frontier between State of Church and Tuscany. Now inside there is a museum.

And near the castle there is Vulci, a ancient and great Etruscan (and after Roman) city. Or better those that remains of Vulci. A large flat plain under the sun with some walls and basements of buildings. Two hour to walk in the area where under our feet there was a great city. It is not dug by archaeologists because we cannot conserve it. A large part of gold from Etruscans it is from here. There are camps and horses (and a lot of flies!!!) but in the museums of the world there are jewels from here.

Last picture for a pre-tournament nocturne match: me versus Narciso, to remind the rules.

Thank you very much to all people involved in this event, and thanks to Narciso for his ospitality!


Lo Papa vero: aftermath

Well, I still fell tired about those two days in Canino. And I have to prepare myself to upcoming GiocaRoma that is next weekend. And I run two jobs too. I haven’t time for all this… So, only fast posts about the past event!

The prizes, small coups but great glory. And a bottle of oil from Canino trees, a high quality oil.

Genuine cheese as medal for the first squad!

We are so generous that we give away a bottle of oil to all participants!!! We kept this as a surprise. So everyone had something to bring home. And we distributed holy cards too!

My matches went not so well. Two win, two loss. I always made the terrain so I put coast to limit manoeuvring for a more direct approach. But I had very bad dices against my strongest opponents, instead lucky dices against my weakest opponents. So not great story, fast play and results.

The wide hall was offered by Municipality of Canino. We only paid for chairs and tables. However it was hot, as September is.

A great dinner on a terrace. And a lot of chats. But I felt bad with my stomach so I eat not so much. The evening before I only eat a half coconut, and for dinner two small packs of homogenised fruit with bread.

And this is my camp, an idea took from Brancaleone films.

Next year there will be a new tournament organised by us. But it is so early to think about it…


Lo Papa vero: last calling

Here we are! Sunday it’s the day, with the struggle in Canino among DBA armies, to elect who will be the true Pope (“lo Papa vero”, our theme) in XII century. We have the usual problems about tables, food and these things, but it is because we want all to be perfect. In the meantime, for who is a reader of this blog, a preview of this year gadget for the players: holy cards (a small flyer with a saint image on the front and a prayer on the back) with faces of Legio Palatina members like characters from the Brancaleone’s films. They are made by talented Paolo of Ronin Clan.

Next time the report of the event!


Lo Papa Vero: incoming

Every year we organise, as Legio Palatina wargame club, a DBA event here in Rome. This is true since 2004, when we started this with “De Bello Italico”, a scenario on ancient Italy in the first Roman age. We are members of the Italian DBA community called DBA-Italia, and we collectively run the DBA Italian championship dedicated to Dionigi Ioghà. We are very happy to create these play opportunities for our friends and for DBA lovers. We always want to set in Rome something special with a strong theme for our tournaments. And we give away special prizes and gadgets as peanuts for tournaments based on Asian lists with a lot of Elephants, or head bands with a red sun in the middle for a tournament on samurai lists. And before the tournaments we test the lists, changing aggressiveness and composition, to have a better balanced list of armies to choice.

We don’t want the same old soup, so every year is different. Now, after 8 years here in Rome we were searching something new to do, so we thought to Narciso, our mate in Canino, whom lives in that small town in the north of actual Lazio region (Latium in latin). Near there is ancient Vulci, an Etruscan city. And one member of Bonaparte family (a Napoleone’s brother) lived here, as prince of a artificial princedom. So, the usual Rome event will be held in the unusual place of Canino.

This year theme is the clash in Italy between Empire and Church, in the XI and XII centuries, a moment when there were more than a pope at once. We focused on Gregorio and Clemente popes and all the struggle for power in those years.

There are two great films here in Italy called “L’armata Brancaleone” and “Brancaleone alle crociate”, the humorous story of a knight and his fellows in those years, in a violent and decadent world full of beggars, mad priests and hungry people, in a false and absurd, but more true than real, portrait of the period. And some scenes were filmed in Canino! We take inspiration from this story, with the fight between Gregorio and Clemente, to set our theme.

We use another method to compose the armies, adding allies to the lists, substituting up to 3 of your original pieces. But these forces can be used only referring to which kind of enemy you fight against. For example, if you are against Empire you cannot use pro Empire allies, if you have Empire allies your opponent cannot use that nation of Empire allies. This was used with success in the Bologna 2006 tournament and was thought by Filippo (see his blog, linked on the right menu!)

We have this appointment for the 4th of September in Canino. If you can, come and play! To know more, visit the website I made for the event: