Mittwoch, 30. Mai 2012

Red Army is rising

Thanks for your first comments and especially for the first wishes/advices!

GReg (Blog: commented that it would be wise to start this blog with some pictures of my troops.

In most of our tabletop games I used to play the russian army. One of our guys, Niclas aka. Auld Nick, collected and modelled most of the russian tanks. At the moment the complete red army is stored at my place. Great chance to make some pictures and fulfil the needs of my readers *gg*

Lent (not lend-lease!) the camera of my sister-in-law, build up a small Diorama on my desk (that´s why it´s originally named "tabletop") and shooted:

Picture of trucks - red army
In August 1943 the Red Army finally freed Kharkov (birthplace of the famous T-34 tank).

Picture of russian Headquarter
Russian Headquarter in the center of Kharkov: Wild discussions about the best route of march between the radio operator and the strategic supreme command.

Picture of a ruin - russian headquarter
Daniel built this beautiful ruin. Puzzle Picture: Where is the Sniper?

Picture of a ruin - russian headquarter
Two Political Officers talking about the best place to fly the soviet flag.

picture of a ruin - russian headquarter
Hm, maybe wrong camouflage in this situation - that is the only reason why you can see my Sniper ;-)

picture of parking jeeps, trucks and tanks - russian army
Place to park. Lend-Lease jeeps, trucks, two SU´s and three T-34 waiting for the next target.

I am a little bit disappointed about the quality of the pictures. The camera is not made for close-up views. Till I will find a better one or we will have another game where Monty will shoot some pictures, you can see some real vehicles here:

We got a ride with the SdKfz. 9.
Priceless!  :-)))

Mittwoch, 23. Mai 2012

Fog of War - A must have for realistic wargaming?

In this post I want to discuss the need for "Fog of War" (FoW) as an essential point in designing a tabletop game.

Short definition of the term FoW in context of tabletop: Without FoW you can see the whole plate and all units of the enemy. Of course that is not a close representation of reality. In a more realistic scenario all enemy units are hidden till they are in the range of effective reconnaissance (e.g. scouts). FoW simulates this natural limits of recon in a tabletop game.

If you are interested in a better definition in context of military: Greetings to Clausewitz!

We used to play without FoW for many years. It seemed to be very complicated to simulate hidden units with a free movement (without Hex fields or any other type of predefined movement). In our last games we tried "Blips" (papers that represents the infantry or vehicles) and the opinions were divided over this experiment.

Here you can see some Blips in action.

I´d like to discuss some pros and contras of FoW.

- The quotation by Molke "Kein Plan überlebt den ersten Feindkontakt" (no plan survives the first contact with the enemy) can happen. You placed your units. The enemy did the same but now you only see some "Blips" - not the units behind. The game starts and you scout some "Blips" to expose the units behind - ouch! Your harmless russian BT-7 tank stands vis-à-vis with a german Tiger. Now you have to proof your skills as a general, right?

- I felt more tension. The Blips were moved. You are thinking "hell, what drives so fast?" or "this Blip could be slow driven scout to buffalo me or a really big tank". This knowledge gap produces a good mood right from the beginning. None of the units are in fire range but the game is thrilling.

- The other way around - FoW is a tool for a general to make strategic or unexpected movements to get an advantage in battle. As a player I have more options.

- Blips cannot represent "hidden" units. I see a Blip and I know there is a unit.

- Blips cannot represent the height of a unit and that can become a burden when discussing if this unit (Blip) can be seen by a scout or not.

- Before starting a game you have to tinker the Blips and that costs time. Even more time if you want to represent different classes of vehicles or their specifics like size or weight.

- For risk-avoiding players its even more difficult and time consuming to decide their lineup. More options lead to longer turns.

- A problem rises when a granade scatters on top of a Blip. If it is a vehicle and the Blip represents the right size of it, everthing is fine. If it is a group of infantry you have to call "Scotty" - that´s a real problem! Does the granade damage the whole group? Or just a unlucky number of soldiers? Or should the shot be defined as "missed"?

What do you think? Any more Pros or Contras? Which FoW rules do you play?

Dienstag, 22. Mai 2012

First try, don´t shoot!

My first posting here, what a feeling.

I will keep it short for this one...

Why should you read another blog?
Counterquestion - why do you think this blog is just for you? ;-)
I start this blog for three reasons:

1. One of our tabletop guys infected me with his cool blog "Montys Caravan" - have a look here:
I hope my blog will help and motivate ME to start AND finish some of my own projects, too.

2. We created our own tabletop game in the last decade and the game is far away from being shiny and playable in every situation. I want to start some rule discussions, give YOU some insights into the game and get feedback and ideas from YOU. Maybe YOU can help us to finish the rulebook for this lovely WWII tabletop game called "The Jaffa TableTop".

3. Okay - and of course I start this blog just for YOU to read, to share and to find useful information, links and persons! Forget the counterquestion... :-P

Oh, there´s a fourth reason: As you can see I have to practice my english - please correct me if I get something wrong.

Hope you will enjoy my upcoming posts. Stay tuned...