Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Monday, 4 June 2012

Games That Define Me

Games that define me, or rather that have stuck in my mind! This was fairly easy to put together and after reading other bloggers offering's I thought I would also throw in my choices.

The second wargaming I ever did. First it was 1/72 plastics just throw a die and if it's 5 or 6 you get a kill. But in reality this was the first game where a set of rules was used. GoA was published by Avalon Hill and covers the whole of Europe during WWI. When played with the full rules it was really rather dull. I played about 4 games of this in total and had enough fun that it turned me onto board games. This was to lead to playing The Rise and Decline of the Third Reich which also managed about half a dozen full plays. It would have got more but early on we had switched to figure gaming which took up more of our gaming time.

First came WRG 6th Edition and we stayed with these rules till DBA turned up, tried it and hated the whole play for 10 minutes and you have a winner. After 6th it seemed more a case of throw a D6 to see who wins than the actual fighting itself. As such DBM really stood little chance and whilst I painted an army up for these rules so I had options to play other opponents I never got round to it selling to a French man at Partisan many many years ago.

For ECW we tried WRG Renascence rules but were not fans and went over to Tercio. These were much like 6th, lots of book keeping and nothing like today's dice over paper style of play.

Almost life changing in it's impact on both my gaming and personal life. I think this game possibly put me back two years in the pursuit of girls. Sure I still had an interest but I often sought comfort in cardboard than was possibly healthy LOL. I just loved this game, whilst I still played figures a great deal I could play this solo and the rules were simple enough that you could drag the most casual of wargamer into a game. For realism and ease of play I think Don Greenwood struck gold in this one game. Whilst the add of gamettes added so much to the system it was also the death of Squad Leader.

About this time Andy went off to University leaving the rest of us to our collective gaming but on his first visit back he brought with him the idea of Roleplaying! Our first games were based on D&D and it did not take long till we expanded our playing group and bought into AD&D before we settled into for the most part MERP whilst using the Role Master books for attacks tables, spell lists etc. We still played AD&D and many others but MERP is where my heart is. I would love to get back into roleplaying again some time.

And then back into boardgames. Our roleplay group (by now we had a group that mostly played wargames and another than had moved to just roleplay) which included many figure gamers was also prepared to play other games, first it was Blood Bowl but a lack of knowledge at the time of American Football meant that apart from a couple of guys we moved on. How ever I picked a copy of BR at I think Triples and it was an instant hit. Between campaigns we would get a game of this in if we had 5 players. It had a fair bit of hammer and whilst it has not been played in years I would pull it out again with out hesitation. I remember games lasting till morning!

Of course the same bunch of guys were also drawn to Diplomacy, a more pure negotiation game that we had lots of fun with,. Again I am fairly sure it was Andy that brought this gem to our attention. I went on to run a games zine that offered Diplomacy as one of the games (The Mag With No Name) as well as playing postal for a number of years. At one point I think I owned about 4-5 sets.

Then IT happened. Not since SL had a new game taken my by the throat, kicked me around the room and still had me say thank you at the end! It was through Diplomacy that I discovered German Board Games as they were known then (It's Euro Games now). Two of my Dip opponents had mentioned them but I was soon to become a fairly regular at Leicester Boardgames group which was a two hour drive both ways but I was hooked. Better still so was my squeeze. Whilst our first trip away was a normal holiday many future weekends were spent at game cons both close (MidCon) and far (BayCon) where I have made friends that have stayed with me ever since. Oh yes and I think that perhaps one of the reasons my squeeze stopped being my squeeze was the games. Given that she became my wife I guess I have something to be grateful for in these games and we look forward to when the kids are old enough to play the classics.

Euro Games really was the death of my figure gaming. I have come up with several alternative reasons, but really it comes down to these games. Not just Settlers but the whole gambit. For a small outlay you could get a good game and at that time only the best games made it over to Britain (a few exceptions) so these games got a lot of play and broke into my local wargames club (sorry guys). In fairness it was already going down the pan with the amount of Magic The gathering we were also playing! For the next ten plus years I just played the Euro's, I had a group of players who would not touch a miniature and I lost touch with the lead guys.

Th one exception wa the occasional game of ASL with Lee, but that became less and less till about 7 years ago when we stopped. I still played a few games a year solo but nothing more. I then made the decision to sell up, looking on e-bay and seeing the price of the stuff it was an easy choice. But I went looking for more info, after all it was all mixed up and well I guess I wanted to take one last look. I found Gamesquad and suddenly I was immersed in ASL again, loads of people played. None close to me but by this time I travelled with work. Instead of selling I went into a buying frenzy. At the time I thought the prices high but against today's prices they were bargains and now I have everything that is official and plenty that is not. Euro Games had dropped off with John fleeing to Cornwall and whilst we still get the odd game I had a itch that had not been scratched in years. Now I play both face to face, live on line and postal. Vast majority of my gaming time is ASL, it remains my favourite system.

And back to the figures after around 15 or more years away! FoG for me seems to be the right balance between a good game and a historical battle. I see it as 6th Edition with a face lift. Sure it is not perfect but it works in the most part for me. Impetus is DBM  with knickers on! I will never fully accept them either as historical or a good set of rules but they play well and fast and suit the type of game I want some of the time. Forced to choose I would fly to FoG. Not that I feel I need to stick to these rules as I am happy to try other systems as well. What I can say is it's good to be back.


  1. " Impetus is DBM with knickers on!"

    I'm trying to get my head around that phrase :)

  2. Ian,

    I think Jon Hill created SL, not Greenwood. He came alone latter and certainly added much.

    Great post by the way.

  3. I never played any of them but then I led a sheltered life!

  4. Just like the Lurker, I've never played any of these??????

  5. @ KK, just don't try and get your head round the pants!

    @ Stephen, of course your right, that's me working off the head without checking, tut tut

    I would also like to see your version of this (it's going round you know) I justt wish I lived next door to you!!!

    @ the twins. You guys missed so much fun, e-bay is your friend LOL


  6. Some good choices there. I regret offloading 90% of boardgame collection now, there were some classics, your post gave me an enjoyable few minutes reminising