Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 end of year report part 3 - so what's changed?

I guess it's pretty clear from looking back that the major change this past year has been, indeed, discovering the Way of Lard, as the folks on the list put it.

As I said in the previous post, the whole thing probably started with a Meeples and Miniatures podcast epsiode in which Rich Clarke discussed the core concept of friction in warfare, and how it was applied in systems like IABSM. It's evident from comments around online that the Lardies' favourite activation mechanism (cards and a Tea Break) isn't for everyone, but it works for me. Yes, sometimes your units don't get to move, but that's equally true in (say) Hail Caesar or BKC, and in some ways it's worse, because it's a lot easier, and somehow it feels more arbitrary, in those systems to completely fail to move at all. I'm not quite sure why that is - part of it I think is because it's more frustrating when I roll the dice and I fail to make an activation roll for the unit important to my plan, compared to it being at the whim of a deck of cards. Somehow the latter feels more like 'the guys I'm commanding are not entirely under my control' and less like 'nuts, blew the roll again'.

And of course, with the Big Man system prevalent in all Lardies games, you can work your way round such problems by using a Big Man (should one activate) to order the important unit, if you need it to activate ASAP. To my mind, that feels right. For an excellent quasi-fictional example of Big Men at work, read Ken Macksey's excellent 'Battle', which (as I understand it) is a fictionalised account of a Normandy battle but heavily drawing on the author's real life experiences. The narrative focusses heavily on the various levels of command, and you can read it and almost call out the IABSM card draws as you go :D

Next up was Dux Britanniarum, which I have to confess Andy Hawes spotted before I did: this has been a massive hit, and is pretty much our go-to Dark Ages game of choice. I've also, as you no doubt can tell, been having a self-indulgently brilliant time writing up our campaign history!

Apart from that? Well, looking at my first output for Curt's 3rd painting contest, I think I'm a better painter than I was this time last year (though still nowhere near a number of folks I could name's standard), helped by the threefold attack of better brushes, better paints and a decent magnifier. Oh, and that hoary old chestnut, practice!

I've definitely played less WAB towards the back end of 2012, and ... I hesitate to say I've fallen out of love with Op: Squad, but I am very aware of its shortcomings for scenario-based play in anything involving unbalanced sides.

So, all in all - definitely not the wargamer I expected to be this time last year. But hopefully better :D

8 comments:

  1. I wish you and your family the best for 2013, Mike. You have a fantastic blog and will be a key source of inspiration for my major project in 2013: Dux Britanniarium.

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    1. *smile* I'm humbled and flattered, and you're welcome. The same to you and yours, and hopefully we'll get to natter over a beer sometime.

      Delete
  2. I'm another convert to the 'Way of Lard' and indeed a huge fan of Dux, so I see where you're coming from and wholeheartedly agree with what you've said.

    I wouldn't consider a set of rules that doesn't force me to be constantly reacting to unforeseen events and the general un-enthusiasm of my men for laying down their lives without being motivated (or not) by their leaders.

    With their rules (and few others), I find myself commanding a force and not micromanaging one.

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    1. *does the 'tap nose, point' thing*

      Hit the nail on the head, sir :D That's *exactly* why it feels right.

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  3. You'll hear no complaints against The Way of the Lard from me. I have IABSM and Sharp Practice, enjoy them both, and hear nothing but good of Dux B, especially its superb campaign system. I might indulge myself in it yet. Anyways, thanks for an excellent and interesting blog, and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

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    1. Be warned, DuxB is addictive :D And thank you.

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  4. 2012 was definitely a good for you, Mike. You have been a welcome addition to the Fellowship of Lard and you're blog has launched very successfully. I enjoy coming here for your battle reports and thoughts on the hobby.
    All the best for 2013.
    Mike

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    1. Nice to know folks don't think I'm talking complete nonsense :D

      Likewise, I really enjoy (and frequently have cause to ponder long upon) all your blogs.

      In Christ,
      Mike

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