Archives for December 2013

Fast Play Old West Rules

New Rules: Fast Play Old West

Includes link to the quick reference sheet, handy for printing out!

These rules are very highly modified at this point from The Rules with No Name. They are designed so that many people can play. Now, many people can play any Old West game, but when you have a dozen players with a card driven system it can take forever for your turn to come up. That isn’t fun to me. I’ve been stuck in that situation many times. I believe multi-player games should be simultaneous to the degree possible. Everyone should be doing or reacting to something. It should be as orderly as possible. It should have some friction and chaos in it though.

When playing Old West games I started with Desperado. From the mid-1990’s until about 2005 I played that game to death. We had a lot of fun scenarios we invented culminating with The Great Train Robbery using a train my friend Rohn put together. It was magnificent. 1/48th scale, the figures could move on, over and within the cars. The only thing that suffered was the card driven system when we had too many players. Later I played Legends of the Old West by Games Workshop. That is one of the finest games for Old West that there is. It’s a remarkable game and well researched. It’s designed for one on one play where groups play campaigns and break up into individual fights between their warbands. If you can get a lot of people to play that way its a great system. It isn’t easily adapted to convention play without a complete rewrite. Honestly I like it as it is for what it is.

The Rules with No Name is a fairly complex game that tries to cover everything under one set of rules. The printed and bound version sold by Foundry is a cornerpiece of my rules collection because it is a beautiful book and I enjoy showing it to people interested in the Old West. At first it is what they think they want in a game – rules for every situation. After years of playing games I’ve moved much more towards rules that support a basic premise and then scenario specific rules to cover specific situations. I love the idea that you don’t need to know a thousand rules and play with only ten of them but instead to know 20 rules and play with them all.

I don’t have a name for this variant of the rules. I am tentatively calling them “Convention TRWNN” with the ultimate goal being that the basic game play information is on one sheet of card stock and the scenario information is on another. The write up of the rules will be online here. I see this being useful for any genre with modest changes. Something I’d like to do is put some Science fiction figures I have back on the table. There are other rules I like, such as Tomorrow’s War. However for something a bit more gritty and personal I need something else and this fits that bill.

Posse

Building by Sarissa Precision, figures by Black Scorpion, Old Glory, et. al. and painting by Combat Painter.

Ranchers vs Rustlers

I’ve been modifying The Rules with No Name [also see this free version] so that the game can be played quickly with a lot of players. Basically I made as much of the game simultaneous as possible with additional rules on handling some events out of sequence, such as calling people out onto the street for a challenge. I still need a few more play tests of the rules. I’m waiting for some custom Litko token sets to come in to help manage the game. I also recently got a large number of buildings from 4Ground and Sarissa Precision. I will be reviewing those and displaying pictures of them. If you have looked at them and though they look like they might be hard to put together, let me assure you they are a piece of cake and they look amazing!

More details to come. In the meanwhile enjoy these game photos.

Gaming the Old West

The project I started in getting figures out of boxes, painted and put on the table this year has gone well. For Old West, most of my non-Plains War figures are now painted. Terrain is getting made and the rules are almost ready for prime time! The Old West is a period that everyone gets. You don’t have to explain how to act in the scenario. The roles are so stereotyped now that people just get it. I love it myself. I haven’t played a big Old West game in a long time. I did a few play tests of the rules I plan on using in the last couple of weekends and I am really happy with them. The figures are being churned out by Combat Painter and they are all looking excellent. He is my favorite painter. I like him because he is very detail oriented. He has his own style so you may or may not like what he does but I think he is pretty good. Below is a figure he painted for me and I love it. At gaming distance all of his figures have the right amount of pop.

Marshal with Shotty

Town Marshal with 12g double barrel shotgun. Street Sweeper!

15mm ACW: The Devil To Pay

This weekend we are continuing work on the ACW regimental combat rules ‘The Devil to Pay’. These rules have been used for a variety of 18th and 19th century periods. The development of ACW rules using them is interesting because it is the very start of the modern era of combat (rifles, advanced artillery, advanced communications, rail, etc.) and because the authors have significant military experience in real life and working knowledge of the period. In fact I would say my knowledge of 19th century artillery is a hindrance because I want to model everything! However at the level we are doing it, we are dealing with sections of artillery and so I must constrain myself. Work on the game was going well up through last year. Then I made some changes and the game I ran at Historicon was a disaster. Luckily, Nat and the other Peter got to work on ironing it out again. I am really excited about the direction it is going in. I think this has the possibility of being a really excellent set of rules that will appeal to a wide number of gamers. The rules are not complicated, produce good results and have just enough suspense in them to make for very entertaining games.

Watch for after action reports and also watch the twitter account for photos of the games as the playtest continues.

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SteamOS is Building Momentum

 

I use Linux at work and am a big fan of it. It is terrible when it comes to hardware compatibility, however. In the old days the adoption of video tape came only when there was demand. In that case the demand was driven by pornography. What will push users to Linux will be the cost savings of the operating system and great games which will drive in the hardware support. However, the chick and egg situation of which comes first the game or the hardware support is being settled by Valve which wants to be free of the costs associated with Windows. They are creating SteamOS and are working with hardware vendors to finally get decent driver support. This is fantastic. I love my Windows 8.1 PC I built myself but I will gladly switch to Linux if it can support the games I love.

We are still ages away from a Utopian gaming environment on Linux but this is where it is going to start.

Check out the article

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