Archives for October 2005

[TMP] "Marco Polo Bridge 1937" Topic

[TMP] “Marco Polo Bridge 1937” Topic

This is a great example of how helpful people can be at The Miniatures Page.

Controversial Gaming Subjects

The Rape of Nanking

In my mind the purpose of this big Pacific Project is to educate. Gaming is entertaining but that doesn’t preclude it from being educational. Certainly the subject of war is political. I know people who will not play the Germans in WWII games. That is their choice, not mine. I separate what is gamed from what is history. The game is not the event. Any war game nominally tries to reduce an historical event down to its strategic and tactical components. Moral decisions are not part of the gaming equation.

If you keep it simple and have balanced forces you have the typical wargame. The past few days I’ve been thinking about breaking that with an out-of-envelope game idea. One of the most rank and terrible atrocities of the war happened during the taking of Nanking. Sixty Thousand soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians died at the hands of the Japanese. The city literally gave itself up and to some extent forced the Japanese into a dilemma. They could not supply the people with food and they could not risk them reorganizing and counter attacking. That they would not fight back was inconceivable. The Japanese response was equally inconceivable. In just a matter of days they killed more people than were killed than the combined total of deaths caused by two atomic weapons.

However, in all of that chaos, death and wonton destruction there are stories of heroes. And that was the edge I needed to get a handle on it. I came up with a gaming idea. You could make a game out of Nanking – the ferrying of civilians to the Safe Zone. I broached the idea to Pete English. There was no pause for thought – his opinion on the matter was clear – I would be crazy to do it. He is my sounding board and he is what I consider a very good person. So I have to go with that. I will still mention the Rape of Nanking in my history on the War. I just won’t make a game out of it. It could be done tastefully – my original idea was that the players are the diplomats and civilians trying to get to the Safe Zone and the Japanese Patrols are run according to a system that the players have to figure out. There wouldn’t even be any combat. It would be a puzzle exercise that would entertain and teach without dipping into the blood trough that the city became.

The replacement game will be the “Marco Polo” Bridge Incident of 1937 that kicked off the 2nd Sino-Japanese War. It will be a nice scenic game starting with a bridge fight and ending with building to building battles.

Someday I may revisit my Heroes of Nanking game but it will be a private affair.

Check out DOC* The Documentary Channel

DOC* The Documentary Channel

I learned about this new channel today and got to meet Tom Neff the CEO at a FilmNashville Seminar on getting funding for documentaries. Great seminar and you can’t beat the $5 entry fee. Only in Nashville Folks! Tom Neff was a very interesting speaker. I have to look up his prior work. His office is not far from here over on 8th Avenue. I think I would LOVE to debute the OMG video there. Without a doubt it would be great to be in at the begining and providing unique content you can’t find anywhere else. If it does well on that channel then it will be a great boost to doing the Greater Pacific War video! I have enough material to do a series of short 24 minute docs for this group. Lets hope they bite. I’ll be working up a submission to them. With some luck I will have permission to use the music in the OMG trailer video.

Every day we get closer and closer to getting this project into the eye of thousands of potential gamers. If DOC* takes off then perhaps eventually millions of viewers. Lets hope and pray they do well. It would be a huge boost for the hobby if this film takes off.

Greater Pacific War

Click Here for the new website.

Well, its mostly official. The Press Release is out, the web page is up and this blog is going strong. I am excited about the prospect of seeing this project really start to gather steam now. If you want to check out the new website, just click the link above. Its still a work in progress as of the date I am writing this but its begining to really take shape. I am trying something new this time. All layout is being handled by CSS. I’ve come across a number of issues with it so far. However, its not too awful looking. Certainly it will improve over time as the website is updated and articles are added. Feel free to leave comments here.

Out of the Box Thinking

Well a few things have happened over the last few days.  The first is that this weekend was Pete English’s Birthday.  It was a surprise party and it ended up being just that.  I gave him Doom the Boardgame and we played that twice.  It was great fun.  With two players the Marine seemed to have any easy time of it on the first board.  On the 2nd board with 2 players we ran into much the same BUT the marines were only about 2/5th of the way to the exit when I had them down to 2 frags with 1 coming for free in 5 turns.  I like how it forces cooperation.  Great game.  We also played Star Wars Miniatures Battles.  Pete is working on a new scenario.  Like all scenarios on the first try it was totally unbalanced.  Not that that can’t be fun though.  It was all melee vs. almost all shooters which is known to be uncompetitive in straight up fights in that game.  The basic scenario is Anakin pushing into the Temple with the Clone Troopers.  Guarding it were 4 Senate Guards, 2 Jedi Guardians and 2 Young Jedi Knights.  The concept was that they would get fewer forces since they were on the defensive.  However it requires them to actually be able to take advantage of the defensive terrain and as L-Saber wielding Jedi that just isn’t an option.  The Light Saber forces the Jedi to be on the offensive which is, ironically, very un-Jedi!  As an improvement to the game I’d suggest he give the Jedi Force Push and don’t force them to start in the open in LOS of the Clones.

While at the Party I got to speak with Sean Barnett.  He is going to run two Naval games for the PTO project.  They sound very interesting.  We are still working on the surface area he will need for these games.  Sean has been running Naval Games since the 80’s so his experience should make for a very interesting scenario.  I’ll gather his info and put it up on the website when it next gets updated.

I also completed a teaser trailer for the OMG documentary.  It looks good.  I showed it to the Track and Hull guys and they really liked it.  I took stills from the game and where ever there was some form of fire indicated by florescent damage markers I replaced it with real flame.  The photorealistic result is fantastic.  Buildings burn, vehicles cook and smoke billows.  I didn’t use much more than masks and insert-into-selection techniques along with some smudging, color adjustment, scaling, blah blah blah.  I did like the final results.  It’s a bit labor intensive but who cares when the results are good?

Speaking of the Track and Hull guys, I got a few volunteers to help out from terrain building to play testing.  These guys are all locals and are all stand-up people.  Some of them have vast experience gaming and I am sure they will really add to the project.

Iwo Jima Island, since much of it wasn’t fought on, doesn’t need to be fully depicted.  This needs contemplation.  On the bad side the Island isn’t fully detailed.  On the positive, though, Mount Suribachi shall become even bigger.  Martin’s original idea was to have the game be a race between the U.S. units.  I am not sure he fleshed the concept out much beyond that.  We will first set up a decent military simulation and then add race elements to it.  It will be interesting if I can make it such that if the U.S. players don’t cooperate then the Japanese win the game.  We do want to make this game the center piece.  Now that we don’t have to make the whole island I can think about doing things in a variety of scales.  This shall be an interesting issue.

I have to get together with Al Gaiser and get Howard Whitehouse’s contact info.  I need to start planning the 1930’s China game and soon.

Herald Sun: Vee-Dub’s one top war machine

Herald Sun: Vee-Dub’s one top war machine [11oct05]

Wow, how cool is this thing! I don’t know about the line about making “warfare safer for humans.” Lets face it, when is the day coming that these things will be hunting us all down?

What they really need to invent is a folder. A what you ask? We have a washer and a dryer. What we need is something that irons and folds. Heck, even I’d get laundry done more often if we had that!

Lets make Laundry more Humane!

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Well, it looks like our filmmaker isn’t making documentaries anymore but he still has a passing interest in the project.  I am hopeful we can use him as a source to find another filmmaker.  That would be great.

Today I’ve been thinking about coming up with a set of rules specific to the games we are going to run in the GPW project.  I am thinking that perhaps they will be something that could sell.  It would help offset the cost of making all the terrain and make Iwo Jima a more certain possibility.

Speaking of which, Baxter, Al and I decided that a 16 long Iwo Jima would give the right feel.  I am envisioning a framework being built on 4 four foot long sections.  They would be 5 feet wide and stackable with two foot long braces.  This would make for 2 four foot high, four foot wide and 5 foot long sections.  Like Chief Brody says in the movie Jaws, “we’re gonna need a bigger boat!”  I can work with FAA and rent a bigger truck.  If I can get funding for this project I would hire a bigger truck and drivers so that Baxter and lackey would not have to drive it all the way up and back.  The ride back is grueling to say the least because for economic reasons it makes sense to do it on one shot.

What color were tanks painted in the Pacific?  I’ve seen some with basic camo patterns on them but I don’t know what the colors were.  One in particular shows a tank called ‘Bed Bug.’  Any clue?

Latest Events

Things are starting to roll here! We got the press release out about the project. I was away this weekend so not much got done on the project. However on the flight back to Cleveland I did manage to do some write ups for the web page. The big one is called “Why We Fight” and is about historical miniature gaming in general terms. I wrote up a second document that basically acts as a disclaimer on taking sides in the political debates that still rage from the Greater Pacific War.

We got email back from Jason Moore wanting to know more about out project. I wrote him and basically tried to describe what the project was about. I hope he becomes interested. He is the filmmaker behind Revolution OS which is a great documentary on the Linux revolution. He treated that group of misfits and geeks (i.e. my life outside of gaming) with dignity. I think he would be a good choice for documenting this project. We will see what happens. In the meantime check out his film.