Archive for July, 2011

Not so curved arena

Another approach for building an arena. I think it is a beautiful modelling work, especially if you see the construction phases you can understand it, but I cannot say it is really an arena. It seems more as a ranch, how those in farwest age…
If you want know more:


A playground

Other results from my search through the web. I found somewhere (I cannot remember now where) these two amphitheatres.


The former is the simpler. Well, the ground is the real thing for it, all seems a little too essential for my taste, it is not what I can fell like a real Roman amphitheatre. Easy to storage, indeed.


Here we have another attempt, more sophisticated. It is taken from an overview of Crisis, I suppose. Hexagonal terrain, a classic for gladiator games, and an attempt to give the Roman flavour with a half ring. Beautiful but there is something wrong, I cannot say what, but there is. Maybe the colours.

I have got more playgrounds to show you. Next time…


SSS & Large Battle SDS (again!)

Another holiday in Terni! Me and Diego again. Our train left the station at 7.43. You get up early in the morning for these little pieces of lead. I could say that my summer holidays this year are in Terni…

As you can see, there is another improvement in the Large Battle SDS playtest rules: the cover is in full colour. Well, there are even other modifications, the morale rules are better focused and very simple, some little developments are on the ground, some personalisations of the armies are tested. This time was tested a scenario for the book, a strange fight between minor nations.
These rules are a long time investment for Sergio, and Diego is very involved in their definition. I think that they are better every time that I see them, but more things are to be tested. They have to be perfect…

While musketeers was echoing in the room where Diego and Sergio played, me and Andrea were involved in some small fights for Song of Spear and Shield. We wanted to test some situations as hoplites warfare, light chariots and heavy chariots. Some ideas were tested, something was good, something was not so good. Chariots are a hard challenge to put them in a game. More work have to be done, but the core rules are fixed. Next time we want some pachyderms and more chariots.

In spare time after this session, me and Andrea playtested his alpha versions of a sci-fi game with voracious aliens. And I showed my new iPad2 to Andrea to have some indications on its functions. A frozen train left me at the station around the 22.30.


Large Battle SDS (another test)

Another full day of intense playtesting and chatting about this new game! In these times we are only playing with games in form of prototypes, thanks to Ganesha’s pillars, Sergio and Andrea (indeed, Andrea is the Ganesha man, but Sergio give a great contribution and wrote the great title SDS). It is more fun to play with a game in development because you can say something on it, how you feel the playing, making suggestions on the rules and the mechanics. Obviously not all what we can say is accepted but it is good so, because who create the game has a better control on what want to simulate the rules and on their full spirit. Testing is a great thing because you can prove on the ground your thoughts with real people. And we are old DBA animals, used to tournaments tricks to receive more advantages from our actions. Moreover Diego plays every week with a different set of rules in the ARSM club, so he has an experience built on a lot of games. He is falling in love with this Large Battle that we are viewing in its development since a couple of years.

This time we tested a new type of moral test and we found some interesting and some wrong things in it. Sergio annotated all and the next time he had the solution. It was a lot of time that I didn’t see the game because in these meetings I tried other games as Song of Spear and Shield, so I found some new developments in it. I can say that it is a great game. If you think that Napoleonic games are complicated and boring you can have a big surprise. You understand immediately the play and what to do with your troops. And all maintains the right period feeling. I’m not a fan of Napoleonic times, but this game is so interesting that I would quickly buy a bunch of miniatures to play with it, but I have so many projects (the newer a huge army to play with Song of Spear and Shield) that I cannot do it.

What to say more? Well, I win the day, a week after Diego took the train to Terni to play another playtest, tomorrow there will be another playtest. If you want a better report than mine on the game that we played, read the Sergio’s blog.


Premiere on juggernauts

What can you see in this blurred photo? This is an absolutely world premiere on the new Sergio Laliscia’s game called Steel Juggernauts. I cannot say more, it is only an old idea that now take new life after years of playtesting on Ganesha games. It involves a new use of your Flames of War tanks for a fast and interesting game. I don’t want to say more, because it is still in a initial beta testing form and because I want to leave this honour to Sergio, but if you observe with attention the photo you could understand a lot of things. I could tell you that this photo is blurred by will, to keep secret the development, but it is not true, I moved too much the camera…


Arena Take Away

This is the arena under construction by Pippo, as you can see on his blog. It is similar to the “suitcased arena” that I showed on the previous post about arenas, but simpler. It is made by cardboard, recycled from an envelope for hardware (Pippo is a programmer), with some strips with a cobbled face from train modelling and a lot of vinyl glue. It is not finished yet, but you can see it with black primer.

You can see the building process starting from here

Pippo is awaiting my Ferrum et Gloria game to play some games with his arena. In these days I made a lot of changes to the rules inspired by mechanics used in Large Battle Song of Drums and Shakos and Mighty Monsters, games still in beta testing by Ganesha Games guys. This is another advantage of the playtesting of new games with new ideas in them! Now I think the fight is more fluid and unpredictable but still with a lot of tactical thought, and you have to use less markers. More fun with gladiators! The sad part of the thing is that I have two jobs to be under, so I have absolutely no idea when I could find the time to complete my game. But if all this time mean a better game than the wait has a significance. And this variation with the new mechanics is a high evolution to the game concept of Ferrum et Gloria. I hope it will be great like Red Sand Blue Sky…

In the meantime my renovated computer seems to work. A long process about reinstalling software and to adequate them to my standards. Twenty days for all this…


SSS in Canino

Another testing day for Song of Spear and Shield. This time was my birthday, while Diego birthday was the day before, and we were in Canino, a village in the north of Lazio, near the ancient Vulci, an Etruscan city. In Canino lives our friend Narciso, who offered his wargame table to this interesting way to pass a birthday.

A game of 2 vs 2 was set, with Andrea who tried to find what was more right as rule for the situations that we created during the fight. Four cards were drowned drawn to determinate which of the four players could move and act. We had a robust contingent of 20 pikes and heavy Macedonian cavalry against more numerous rows of hoplites. Some skirmishers with throwing weapons were available for every side. Me and Paolo were commanding the Macedonian front.

We divided the army. I held the right front with only a cavalry unit and two units of skirmishers. The enemy had more troops so we had to refuse a side and put our efforts focusing on only a point, the weaker one, we supposed. Hoplites are slower than our cavalry so we wanted to utilise this weakness to destroy ‘em one by one. But every plan is useless if you play against statistic laws. At the start we took only a full series of punches on our faces. We attacked and we died. I was static, with a large amount of 1 when I had to do as a valid activation throw only 2 or more on a 6 faces die. All but 1 and I had 1, all but 1 or 2 and I had 2. I fell in demoralisation state even if my troops were not in this mode. I couldn’t act and when I moved only bad results were the outgrowth.

In the progress of the situation, Paolo launched the phalanx at full force, 20 pikes on four rows, against the enemy. We obtained something, but they were too many. We had the phalanx closed on three sides, so now they was not a phalanx but a porcupine! The end was clear. So we lost.

We had fun, we were playing among friends, we tested the game for 4 players, we ate a lot, we visited Narciso’s house, we took a look to the next location for our DBA tournament, but I believe that my birthday to me isn’t the best moment for a game: last year I went to Spilamberto for the Anticamente tournament and I made my worse results; this year I lost with infamy. Another lesson: pikes are bad, especially if you are used to pick up 28mm soldiers without think to 7cm pointed pikes that are strongly towards your hand. I pay blood for it! I’m thinking to not raise an army of pikes for this reason…

Well, what could I say about the rules? I like SSS, it is a ruleset that I believe a lot. I’m playtesting it as much times as possible. I’m even enlisting a large number of troops for an Italian IV century B.C. scenario of mine. There are some little things that still doesn’t work fine. The main problem is that simple is best, so we have to define simple rules that have to work for complex things. You cannot spent your time consulting complex tables or trying to force geometric opportunities to play this game. But this simplification process is a difficult thing to do, and you must produce a beautiful and interesting play. A lot is in his definitive form, but you have to test more some mechanics and types of troops. The historical range involved in the game is so wide that you have to think to a lot of armours and weapons, and to simple rules to express these difference.

Next test is scheduled for the 16th of this month. Obviously no release date yet.


Happy Birthday to me

42 years! They are so many! I’m feeling a bit old, but I believe I am still young too. I play with little soldiers, so I’m young, am I?

This time I hadn’t real big parties, only a little one (4 people) on Saturday night in a pizzeria, but on Sunday I made a holiday in Canino with my wargame chaps. I’ll speak about it in another post. With parents and sister I’ll have to wait until the 13th…

Birthday is time of gifts too. Here the list. Thanks to donors 🙂

From Paolo a Zaku, my favourite mecha!
From Narciso and Diego two books: a real chronicle about a soldier that fight colonial wars, two world wars, a war against oblivion of the fallen comrades; an osprey about anti tank warfare.
From all wargame friends, fresh breath in form of encapsulated mint.

From some my female colleagues this swimwear.

From Farina, Vincenzo and his fiancé Marina, Eugenio and Serena this 8 pack of Samnites (I’m enlisting troops for Song of Spear and Shield).
And more from them this mug…