On Board #3

By Scott Parrino 09 Jan 2005 0

Introduction

After selecting my topics for this installment of On Board, I noted something about my gaming habits: I?m a cheapskate.

This came as no surprise, as I knew that deep down inside already. I?m pretty tight with my time and my money, which I attribute to being the parent of two outstanding little children. I suspect that many of us are in the same boat given all the good-natured grousing I hear while gaming in a club environment ? dips into the job jar, soccer practice runs, and so on. It?s ?family first? for many wargamers, especially amongst the parents in our lot. We?re a touch judicious as to how we fold gaming into the grander scheme of family and friends. That?s as it should be.

What I really enjoy hearing about, and something I look forward to experiencing on some level once my imps get a bit older, are stories of kids starting up in the hobby. One such yarn was related to me by a Wargamer staffer whose 10-year-old daughter recently sidled up to the tables at his gaming club; and woe to the players who ever underestimated the wrath of a spurned girl. Long story short, she, with the help of another younger player, sent an entire session?s worth of miniaturists home early with a single, glorious act.

The table was loaded with science fiction-themed miniatures, and rife with the bloodfeuding that only a classic pairing of space marines and aliens can provide. Apparently, things went downhill for the kids pretty quickly. Their marines spent almost all their ammo and thus found themselves abandoned by their squadmates. With a hoard of bugs chittering their way, the kids took the natural course; they fired their last rounds at a nearby ammo truck. Well, said truck had a few drums of Napalm, which then set off a tanker, then a gas station, and then a storage facility that housed?get this?poisonous waste. Between the flames, the fumes, and the overall fury, pretty much the entire crew was sent packing off to Arby?s for an early dinner. Little was left on the tabletop save for wisps of cotton smoke. When the game master asked daddy for an assessment of his daughter?s performance, his response was simple: ?That?s my girl.?

Note to self: never leave 10-year-olds unattended in the proximity of Napalm.

Space Marines kill bugs dead. (Image courtesy of Touchstone Pictures and Tri-Star Pictures).

Magic Link

There?s nothing like picking up a classic game, complete, for ten bucks. On a lark, I recently grabbed a used copy of Avalon Hill?s Magic Realm partly because a buddy of mine got into a crazy eBay bidding war for his copy. Good friend that I am, he got a call from me as I walked out of the store.

Following that, I hit the Web and searched for any online resources I could find. Man, did I hit the motherlode when I stumbled across on the Magic Realm site. This site is absolutely chock full of revised rules sets, quest books, links to reworked component art, and reprinted articles from the old Avalon Hill General house organ. Check it out, as it appears that the administrator posts updates often.

Wizards and paladins wield fell relics and arcane accounting skills in Magic Realm (Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.com).

Weltskrieg Ala Carte

Continuing on my cheapskate theme, Lost Battalion Games steps up with a new offering that weighs in for well under a ten-spot: Sergeants! on the Eastern Front. Although I?ve not scored a copy as of yet, this looks like it doles out fast-playing World War II tactical scale combat on the Ostfront for six bucks and change. I must say that I?m excited about the model LBG has put together: sell a set of inexpensive core components and support it with free, online scenarios that are published on a monthly basis.

What I?d really like to see out of such a tactical system, from LBG or any publisher for that matter, is a sort of ala carte approach where wargamers purchase orders of battle, maps, and the like based on interest rather than need. Put it all out on the shelf and let players create their own game kits rather than force them to acquire game components through expensive supplements loaded down with too much guff.

We?ll see where LBG goes with this, but I like what I see so far.

Lost Battalion Games practically gives it away for free with their new Sergeants! line of games.  Cheapskates rejoice!

MMP Blitzes Ahead with a Blast from the Past

Yes, Virginia, there is a reprint of Avalon Hill?s Panzerblitz in the works. Savvy gamers may have noticed MMP?s press release of September 2004 stating their plans to publish this game yet again. Keith Dalton at MMP didn?t have a playtest report available for us at press time, yet the fact that this game is getting put through its paces is good news in of itself. We?ll have more on this as soon as information presents itself. The question on many minds, though, is just how much Botox the MMP crew will inject into this crow-footed classic. It was a heck of a game 30 years ago, and I personally wonder how three decade?s worth of wargaming progress will be applied to this upcoming version.

Meanwhile, the resounding success of Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit #1 has more than paved the way for a second starter kit in the series. Slugged as ASL Starter Kit #2 ? Guns!, there?s little question about this offering?s focus on ordinance. Once again, this starter kit will be a standalone item. Everything a player needs will be in the box, and ownership of the first starter kit will not be needed to play the scenarios contained in the second kit. It?s currently available for preorder with a preorder price of $21.00 and a subsequent retail price of $28.00.

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