Thursday, 30 August 2012

Post battle blues!

Yesterday was a funny old day. Having played through, photographed and written up my first C&C scenario I was left feeling somewhat deflated. Nothing I could put my finger on exactly, but as I sat reflecting on things in the company of the 'three terrors' who gathered about me as though deeply interested in my musings, a few things came to mind that I thought I would like to write about here.

Firstly, there is no doubt that having finally achieved what I regard as a good all round set up, with figures painted to a satisfying standard and a pleasing terrain board it has left me with a kind 'what next' syndrome. True, I'm painting more 6mm figures of the English Civil war period and I'm very happy with the results so far. having painted over 1,000 Napoleonics in 6mm I don't really feel the need to paint more at this time as there are more than enough for a really good sized game already. That leads me onto something else, the matter of just how much I actually enjoy playing wargames as opposed to painting soldiers. This is giving me cause for concern once again!

I cannot claim to be a student of Napoleonic Warfare, I have read very little beyond uniform guides and a few books on the Waterloo campaign. I actually understand little about period tactics. There was a time in my wargaming Life when I used to play American Civil War battles and I empathised so much with those miniature soldiers to the point where every move caused much excitement and anticipation. I had read so much about every aspect of that period, read endless personal accounts,  diaries, regimental histories and detailed stage by stage campaign records. To be honest I'm just not getting that same feeling with Napoleonics at the moment.

No doubt from the gaming perspective things would improve greatly given an actual live opponent. But I'm not really a 'clubby' sort of person personally, having in the past been lucky enough to have just a couple of good friends who shared my hobby. Konrad Kinch has been experimenting with 'Facetime' battles over on his excellent blog, and it is just possible that something like this may be a way forward, although I confess that seeing my own ugly mug staring back at me has not been a pleasant experience so far. I have tested the technology with my daughter, and it works well, even though she was just sat upstairs in her room at the time! Won't make me a better General of course, but could be good fun.

I must and will crack on though, moves are afoot to improve the somewhat bare appearance of my battlefield, Tony at ERM has despatched my initial order for 95mm mdf hexes to match my grid, and these will be used to remake the wood/forest hexes as well as some field hexes and other terrain items. It has occurred to me that I could indeed eventually cover the entire board in fully textured wooden hexes, a prospect which does rather excite me. For those hex players who don't know, Tony can cut hex sizes to order, mine fell between 2 standard sizes, and the quality is excellent.

So there you go, I feel better for sharing that and shall now get on with a bit more painting. As its been a while since I have posted any pics of our menagerie here are the 'Three Terrors' - Kenco, Kitty and Gibbo - all now much larger but still as mad as they were a few months ago, the Old Lady 'Bump' who is now 13 years old and Marcie the Golden Retriever who hates being left out of anything and has become rather disgruntled at the number of times a day cats require to be fed compared to a dog.
Portrait of a heavy rock loving Dysthymic wargamer posing like a hardman! I do smile sometimes too, honestly. But you get my point about Facetime - it could frighten the children.












9 comments:

  1. Hi Lee - I think the whole thing would lift a bit if you got the occasional game that wasn't solo. Almost all my gaming is solo these days, and it can be a lot of work to play a game if you're not on top form. I think that in general C&CN is not very labour-intensive, but making the solo game work requires a number of workarounds which, at best, are attempts to cope with the lack of an opponent, and therefore - almost by definition - a second-best arrangement. Also, clubby or not, there is a social aspect to a wargame which is a big plus.

    I find that the relatively few opposed games I play these days give more meaning to the solo stuff. It sort of reminds me why the workarounds were necessary, and makes them less irritating, and puts the game back into focus.

    I also find that playing solo games as part of a campaign gives them a little more point. I have done a couple of deliberate scenarios in the last couple of years - a few of them were taken from the official C&CN booklet (mostly when i was learning the rules), and one was an overambitious refight of Salamanca using my own rules. I have to say that the one common feature of playing scenarios which I have found is lack of involvement. I fought Salamanca like a good chap - it took hours - but I couldn't really care less who won, or how it went. If it turned out like real history then so what? If it didn't, same conclusion! Not really my game, you see - just acting it out.

    We'll have to arrange for you to get a C&C game against an opponent - then the solo stuff will swing again!

    Of course, it's a well-established fact that I know nothing anyway!

    Cheers - Tony

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  2. Hi Lee
    I know exactly how you feel. I too sometimes end up feeling a little deflated after playing solo and I think that Tony has hit the nail on the head by suggesting a campaign (either fictional or historical) which would give each game more point.
    Much like your self I too am not the 'clubby' type but I have to agree that some form of opponent is sometimes a bonus which we as solo players tend to miss out on. How about starting a play by email campaign? It's crossed my mind on more than one occasion but alas I've never got around to actually doing it!

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  3. Thanks for the words of support chaps :-) I'm sure I'll get over it, and maybe look for a local opponent. Steve, I must have a think how C&C could be used in a PBEM game. What's needed is futuristic technology where a virtual opponent might be beamed into my little wargame room, here but not really here so to speak! Did you read the Facetime experiment on Mr Kinch's blog? Funny stuff, but it worked. I have it on my IPod, never even looked at it until I read that post, it has a lot of potential don't you think?

    All will be well I'm sure, my hexes should be here tomorrow so I can get cracking on more terrain features.

    Cheers,
    Lee.

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  4. Lee,

    I'm sorry to hear that you're in a brown study. I get them myself, generally after a long period of preparation that results in a game that wasn't quite what I was expecting.

    As for FaceTime, I'm game if you are. I think it's mainly a case of who should host.

    Regards,

    Kinch

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  5. If you read the GMT website, there is a downloadable facility called Vassal (I think) which enables you to play against an opponent online - there is a C&CN Vassal - I have thought about having a look at it but then I think it was time for my dinner or something. Might be worth looking at - I will if you will...

    There's a number of C&C YouTube games, and they use the Vassals for those.

    Not the same as yer actual little painted soldiers, but might be interesting!

    MSF

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  6. Lee for every high their is a low. You should think about using Vassal and Skype to play C&C Naps online. I play once a week using Vassal, great fun

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  7. Skype could be an interesting alternative. I have seen a couple of others use that format once or twice before.

    Solo play is just that - a solitary experience. Revel in the amazing visions you have created and fret not about the lack of a physical opponent.

    Something that you could do, as I have done before, is set up a campaign game, where you are the tabletop 'battle' player and two or more other players are the senior generals that decide where the armies are to move and fight. If you have ever seen DBA, De Bellis Antiquitatis, or Hordes of the Things, it is relatively simple to set-up a 6 player (or less) little mini-campaign and hash some things out ...

    An alternative would be to have a C&CN player online that would get pics of the tabletop from you and send out their orders - you could do a move every few days that way. This sort of thing will only work if you can leave the table set-up for a long period though.

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    1. 'set up a campaign game, where you are the tabletop 'battle' player and two or more other players are the senior generals that decide where the armies are to move and fight.'
      I really like this idea. I'd be up for that Lee!

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  8. I think some one has said just about everything I can think of. I haven't tried using face time for remote games but I have played 6 remote video-conference internet games with 3 different opponents using the free software from Skype. 4 where I hosted, 2 where I was the remote player (one of these was a 10mm game). They all worked great and I would think the hexes would just make it easier. The cards might be trickier but Mr. Kinch seems to have found a workable solution.

    If you're interested, you can see my bog entries on them at http://gameofmonth.blogspot.ca/search/label/skype

    Cheers, ROss

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