Sunday, 12 May 2013

Moving Home

Just a quick message.  This blog is now operated on it's own website
Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Fields of Fire: Week 15

Hello Readers

I know, I know, I haven't posted anything in a while but I really am trying to keep on top of a large workload here.  How about I show you what has been going on with the Fields of Fire Campaign?

While this picture may look unassuming I will remind you that each of these squares represents 100km x 100km, so my country, Coldavia (the white one), is about the size of the UK and Ireland put together and my opponents (Prutenia), is about the size of Italy (about the same shape too).

What has been going on?
Well, politics, and I for one love it.  Prutenia and Coldavia have signed a treaty limiting their military presence.  Long story short, it will be against our treaty if Prutenia expands any further west and Coldavia expands and further north or south.  We have both been expanding and training our military in preparation for a friendly 'practice war'.  It will follow the same rules as the normal game but we won't actually lose any soldiers to the fighting.  This is in part to test each other out a bit and also to get other people involved in the game.

Speaking of getting people involved, it looks at this rate that we will have another two countries sprouting up shortly; one south of Coldavia and another west of Prutenia.  This will not only mean that we may become restricted in any expansion we try but also that we will now have other treaties and political ties to make.

Back to the game.  When we do start this battle we will be fighting it out as a team battle.  This can be split into several smaller battles or done as one big one.  Either way, Coldavia and Prutenia are now recruiting commanders.  I think I am looking for two or three myself.  We will each be fighting with a regiment of infantry plus whatever support we have for them.  I haven't finished making the support yet, but the infantry alone makes up 252 teams, that is 252 bases on the board if we choose to do the all-in-big battle or 84 if we split it into three smaller parts.  And that is just what is on my side of the field without support.  Yep, this is a big game.  Fields of Fire is a game of wars, not battles.

Anywho, I hope that this has kept you interested for a little bit and I shall see you next time

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Fields of Fire

Hello Readers

Well I have finished (sort of) the rule book for Fields of Fire.  "What is Fields of Fire?" you may ask.  Well thanks to someone already getting to the name "Warzone" I have had to change it to Fields of Fire, but honestly, I think that may be a blessing.  It seems to be a better name so far and I am certainly warming to it. So in this blog post I will give a detailed as I think I can get away with description of the rules for those interested in playing.  If you want the full rule book, please contact me and I should be able to give you a copy.

Starting the Campaign
You start your game of Fields of Fire looking at a big map.  This map is divided into hundreds of squares each representing an area 100km x 100km.  Each of these squares potentially gains the controller resources.  These resources are Population, Food, Fuel, Industry.  Food gives you the food you need to feed your armies, Fuel is needed to run your vehicles and Industry provides you with a monetary income to fund your armies.  Population is not a resource as such, but this stat dictates the population cap of your armies.  On each square you own you can build it up to focus on a particular resource, thus suiting your empire to your needs.

Once you have chosen a square to start on you immediately gain a set amount of funds and resources to start your empire off.  This is the equivalent to eight weeks income for that square and so is called the "8 free weeks".  As you begin training soldiers and buying equipment for them you realise that you must expand to protect even the most basic territory.  As soon as the game starts, after the 8 free weeks, you can start conquering your territory by moving soldiers onto a square and holding it for a week.

Fighting Battles
As you and the other players expand, increasingly you will be trying to gain the better areas for your empire. The game mechanics of Fields of Fire do not say that you have to go to war, but as the study of human history has shown, governments go to war all the time.  As a battle begins the movement of your troops becomes more specific.  You and your opponent set up their regiments on whatever side of a 1m x 1m board they cam in from.  This can even be on the same side at times, if the were divided by a river or a mountain range.  This board is equal in size to one of the squares on your campaign map, so you don't even have to think much about how to set up the terrain on your board, it is already there for you.

Fields of Fire, like every other wargame I have come across, has turns and each turn is divided up into phases or sections.  Each turn is represented by a day, so you continue to gain resources elsewhere in your country.  This allows you to bring fresh troops into the battle field and continue to fund the battle that in most other wargames is WYSIWYG.  The first phase is the Moving Phase.  One thing that FoF does differently to most other games is that both players move, shoot and fight at the same time, though one player 'has Initiative" and has a bit more say in how the game runs for that turn.    Also, each unit moves in a certain order, depending on how fast it is.  So for example, a Helicopter moves before a Light Tank, but a Light Tank moves before Infantry.  As in real life, vehicles can outrun any infantry soldier, so you need to keep a pretty solid battle line to keep your opponent from overrunning your supply depots and outflank your positions.  Because of the scale of Fields of Fire, you will not have a well balanced force, no matter how hard you try.   Even without the aid of special rules or pre-selected traits, you will find that each countries military takes on a theme of its own.  For example, in the current campaign I have started with one of my friends I have chosen to build fairly well rounded infantry regiments with good supply lines, while my opponent (I think), is going for an elite army, designed to smash aside foes and re-supply later.  (If you are reading this, make a mental note about this part and I will get to something on this topic later).

After moving is the Shooting Phase.  Just like when moving, the faster units go first, but you and your opponent basically go at the same time.  The thing with FoF is the scale of it.  Because at 1:100,000 scale, the range of, say, rifles, have no real measurement (it would be about 1mm).  So the shooting phase is where you fire your long range artillery and conduct aerial raids.  Even these are usually pretty small measurements though, as at 1:100,000 even a large artillery piece has a range of 20cm.  As far as the actual battle is concerned, the shooting step is not a terrible big part of the game, but it is very important.

Thirdly is the Combat Phase.  This is where most of the death, doom and destruction comes in.  During the movement phase, many of your regiments would have come into contact with the opponent and a battle will commence.  Depending on how you have equipped and organised your soldiers, depends on their "Ratings". Each weapon has an attack and defence rating at Long, Medium, Short and Close ranges.  In a nutshell, Close range is grenades and bayonets, Short range is rifles and small arms, Medium range is best for Light mortars and heavy Machine Guns and Long Range is the area of heavy artillery and big guns.  You and your opponent both roll dice and compare the attack or defence of your soldiers, the highest score wins that round and the loser suffers a "Casualty Point".  You basically slog away at each other until someone gives up, which usually doesn't take long.  Both sides then calculate casualties and the loser retreats.  Then players go onto the next combat.

Team Sized Battles
If players so choose they can even scale the game down further.  For every combat that you fight in the regiment sized battle, you can scale it down to several team sized battles at 1:1000 scale.  This does not really effect the ultimate outcome of the game, it just adds a level of tactical flexibility.  It does take a fair bit longer, but it does add a level to the game that a player can just get involved in for the day, rather than having to go through all the pre-battle building.

Team battles work in much the same way as regiment battles, just without all the worries of upkeep, food, resupply and other regiments.  You still have the Moving Phase, Shooting Phase and Combat Phase, but now the shooting phase is much more important and the combat phase a lot less so, depending on the tactical circumstances.

The Human Element
Fields of Fire adds one very important thing into the mix that I think most wargames fail to get, that is what I call the Human Element, the direct effect of decisions that actual people make.  There are many times in Fields of Fire, especially as your empire expands, that you have to make decisions that are just really hard and could spell doom for your entire empire.  If you are playing team battles, for example, I would suggest that you have another person under your command, directing the outcome of the battle that he is in.  Now say that this friend of yours is feeling a little under gunned and wants air support.  Rather than rolling a dice to determine if he gets it, he has to actually ask someone, in this case, you,  if he can have it.  You may give him whatever he wants, or you may say no because it is too far, too costly, not worth the risk or you just don't have the air power in the area.  The more levels of command you have, the more this matters too.  Say you have been playing in your campaign for a few months and you have a sizable empire.  Your armed forces are just too big to control by yourself, so you ask one friend to take care of the Navy and another to take care of the Air Force.  The Naval Commander has three people under him controlling various sectors of your empire (say, north coast, west coast, south coast), and each of them has another two people under them controlling some of the regiments.  When the regiments do battle, these people then get support from one of the ten Naval Captains under their command to control the team sized battle.

While the team battle is good for people who don't want to spend all that time building armies and just get out and have a game, it does add some of the truths of command to those above them.  If the person commanding the team battle is not doing a good enough job, then you may wish to remove them from command.  If they are doing well, you may want to promote them to command a division or even a corps.  Just as in real life, it is up to the people involved as to how far they can go or want to go.  This also means that players that want to advance still have to try to do a good job and not just flit away good soldiers, and so they really do care about what happens in the wider campaign, although they don't have to control any of it.

Now that bit above that I said you should remember, I am going to bring it up now.  I mentioned that I wasn't sure what my opponents army was made up of.  That is because you don't have to tell your opponent exactly what you have in your army.  Because you can make you regiments and companies whatever size you want, while we may have the same number of soldiers, he might have fifteen companies to my twenty.  Now if they are all equipped the same (which I highly doubt they are but bare with me) then that means that his companies are smaller and more manoeuvrable, while mine are better in a straight forward slogging match. There is the possibility though that his companies are the same size as mine and he has more of them, but I don't know that, so I have to make a tough choice on whether or not I think I can defeat him.

So that is about all I have for you today.  Thank you very much for reading and I hope that I will see you across the Fields of Fire board at some stage.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

Hello Readers

I feel I really must appologise to my readers as I have been a bit lax in writing new posts.  The reason for this is that I have been very bust writing Warzone.  There are those out there who will be very happy to know that it is now up to a stage that a campaign can start.  So today I will explain a little bit more about Warzone and my plans regards the future.

The first thing in Warzone is to pick a section to start the campaign in.  My opponent and I chose a small section from a randomly generated map and we will be choosing which area to start in shortly.  The map is divided up into squares that represent 100km x 100km of ground.  Each square gives the person who controls it resorces and income, which allows them to build an army up to do battle against other players to take over more land.

Above is the area in which we chose to start.  This is roughly 2000km x 2000km area, so we will have a fair bit to go before any major problems arrise.  I am looking forward to starting the campaign as soon as possible as I think I at least will thougroughly enjoy playing, and I am sure my opponent will too.

The Future
The future of Warzone looks bright, though a little distant.  I do have a firm plan in place though which I think will work well.  Because Warzone is a 1: 100,000 scale game, there are no real miniatures required.  Any that are used are purely representative.  That is generally how most gaming companies make their money.  The other way is through the sale of ruilebooks and other such pieces of information.  They update an armies stats and so everyone has to buy another book, which can be very frustrating for players, especcially if they are not too keen on playing the game anyway.  Warzone is a vast game, where there is a hugge selection and variety of weapons, training methods and terrain types, and so any updates I do would be brought out very often.  This would be quite costly on people wanting to play Warzone.  But I have found a way to get around this problem.

Rather than buying the Warzone rule book or a new army book whenever a new one comes out, players will be 'subscribed' to Warzone updates, sort of like a magazine.  These updates will include new weapons and training scheduals, news about what is going on in the universe and upcoming projects.  It will only be a very small yearly fee, so anyone wanting to play even casually will be able to at minimum cost.  As stated before, there are no miniatures as such in Warzone, unless players really want to buy them (I suppose it does look better).  While I intend to eventually release my own range of miniatures for the game, along with other gaming aids, there are plenty of places in the meantime that sell iniatures of all different scales.  Because there is no set look for any of the units, vehicles or equipment (not yet anyway) you can buy whatever you want and paint and convert to your hearts content.

One of the cool things about Warzone is that you can have your own equipment made.  If you like a particular type of tank but wish it had a little more armour than you go to the head of the company who makes it (at the moment, that is me) and request that they make you some special ones or do research into a new product.  They may or may not be able to make it for you and it may or may not be worth the effort after you finally do get your special item, but the point is that even though you are given a certain range of weapons to choose from in the beggining, nothing stays the same in Warzone, just like in real life.

I have to date made the product lists of four weapons companies. I of course intend to make many more than that, but anyone who subscribes to Warzone will be updated as soon as the new products come out and will be able to use them straigt away.

Okay folks, that is it for me today.  Hope I have tickled your interest a little bit.  If you want any more information about Warzone then please let me know, especcially if you are one of my local gamers.  Hopefully next time I will be able to tell you how the start of the campaign goes and entise some of you even more.

Until next time

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Warzone Unleashed

Hello Readers

Today I bring you the slightly belated news that I have officially launched Warzone into the wider world.  I have started getting the hardware together and can start playing games as soon as someone feels like joining in.

On Sunday I gathered everyone together at the local games club to officially launch Warzone.  Everyone politely sat through my unrehearsed speech and it seemed to catch a few peoples attention. While we are yet to start playing, there are a few people who seem like they are interested.  With all the rules written up and the bases for the game having arrived, the few miniatures put on order, I can only wait in trepidation to begin the massive game of Warzone.

Well thank you for reading the very short post.  I will have a larger one shortly for the beginning of Warzone (hopefully) and some of my painting projects that are ongoing.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Part One of Table: Part One

Hey guys, nice to see you again.

My apologies for not posting anything for a while but my Internet connection has been down for a while (mostly my fault).  So to make it up to you I will be posting a lot of articles in the coming weeks.  Today, I will be showing you the first part of my table making project for Flames of War.

I started by making a rough drawing of what I wanted to put on the board.  This will be a northern Europe field, to represent terrain you might find on the World War 2 battlefields of northern France, Belgium, Denmark or Netherlands.  I decided that many of the feature on this board will be permanent but there will still be  alot of open space to place other objects.  All in all though, the board will be largely fixed.  I went don to the hardware store and bought a 1m x 2m board.  This will make up the first third in what will eventually be a 3m x 2m board.

I waited for the wind to die down to spray the board brown.  This will stop the board from flaking (I hope) and, if some of the terrain should come off, will make it look like there is still dirt under the grass.  Just for the record, I used Australian Export's "Mission Brown" spray because it happens to exactly match Citadel's "Scorched Brown", the colour that my British soldiers are based with.

I then got some scale trucks and marked out some roads.  Using three trucks side by side, I placed dashes around where the roads would be and one truck for country tracks.   After getting a satisfying road, I covered the area with PVA glue and sand.

After letting the glue dry I removed the excess sand.  Now, to line my roads with hedges.  I have had problems with the height of hedges before, as it was often not clear whether the unit behind it was concealed or not.  I got one of my Sherman tanks and carefully measured the height of what a hedge should be to cover some tanks but not others.  I was thinking in particular of StuGs and the Panzerjager.  They have no turret so their profile is lower.  This allows them to remain undetected in more terrain.  I waned my hedges to be taller than these tanks, but shorter than a 'normal' tank, like a Sherman.  So I cut the hedges at the height of the bottom of the turret, allowing the Shermans to see over, but still be concealed, while the StuGs and such can still hide if they want to.  Also, Infantry would be a bit harder to see.  For hedges I am using green scouring pads.  While they don't look very good in the packet there are a few tricks to make them look very much like a hedge, but still be cheaper than using clump foliage or buying pre-made hedges.

I carefully glued the hedges down along the sides of the roads and across the field a bit.  I tip with this, make sure you leave a little bit of a gap between the hedges and the roads for overgrowth.  I had considered painting the roads but I am actually pretty pleased with the colour, but if I was to, it would have to be done about now.

If you have ever looked at scouring pads closely before you will notice that they are teal and mostly see through, neither feature inherent in hedges in the early 1940's.  To fix this problem I gave them a rough coat of Citadel's "Camo Green".  You really don't need to be careful with this bit, as you don't need much to change the colour and even big splodges of it still looks good.  In fact, the patchier the painting, the better in my opinion, so long as you cover most of the scouring pad.  This also blocks a surprising amount of light.  Again, you don't need much paint to block out alot of light, making the 'hedge' look more solid.

After painting the hedges I put Hornby's "Spring Green-Coarse" flock around the edges, to give it an older look.  In parts I even put it growing up the sides of the hedges.  I then put the same coloured flock in a finer grade as grass to fill in some of the paddocks (I ran out before I could finish).  When applying this sort of flock, make sure you really push it into the corners and down into the glue.  Because it is so light it often doesn't break the surface tension of the glue and so appears raised if you don't pack it in a bit.

Well, unfortunately, that is it for now.  This section of the board if partly done and I shall update you as soon as I get some more flock.

On Saturday the guys of my local gaming group (Kingaroy Wargamers) are having a Warhammer tournament.  Some players from Toowoomba are coming down, so it should make for a great day.  I will bring you all a detailed report of how the tournament went and maybe even an interview with some of the players.  Looking forward to it.

Okay, catch you guys later

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Making Companies

Hello Readers

I am afraid that I will not be following through with what I said last time about today's topic.  I had said that I was going to do a post about making scenarios for Warhammer 40k, but since the new rulebook is only a few days old now, I thought I should probably wait until I have had a good look at it before doing that post.  Instead I am going to write about my progress with Warzone, partly to generate a bit of interest in it, but also to let you know how it is going.

As I said in a previous post, Warzone is a massive project.  I am sure it will take me AT LEAST until the end of the year, and that is assuming I don't find something shiny along the way and get distracted.  Yesterday I celebrated the completion of the second weapons company for Warzone; Peterson & Clarke Small Arms Co.  In Warzone, rather than choosing weapons as options or upgrades to your units, you have to go to the supplier and choose which weapon you want.  Most of the time this is more or less straight forward; you might take five hundred of those, six hundred of those and twelve tanks.  Now the thing with Warzone that I am at least trying to do is to, as best I can, recreate the realism and challenge in this.  Unless you are playing a really small game or resupplying only a few troops you would be much more likely to order weapons by the hundreds of thousands, ammunition by the millions, tanks by the hundreds and battleships by the dozens.  Warzone is not just a game of one off battles, it is a game where, during the course of a single day, you will play the equivalent of dozens if not hundreds of battles, each involving thousands of men.

For example, if you were to see the Battle for Normandy played out along a Warzone table, you would be figting on a roughly 2m by 1m board with dozens of regiments and it would take roughly 300 turns, about 6 hours.  Now don't think that Warzone takes a long time, remember that the invasion of Normandy is the biggest military operation ever undertaken, so I would expect a day of gaming to last about three hours.  Yes it is a tad on the long side, but that just means you have fun for longer.

Now when it comes to making the weapons companies for Warzone and the rules and stats for the weapons I am certainly putting in the hard yards.  While Warzone is set in the future, you basically play as a poverty stricken civilisation, so the weapons are little better than what we have today in most regards.  Each weapon comes with all the fluff statistics for it (things like muzzle velocity and rate of fire).  Then, using those stats, I have made sets of rules to reflect the effectiveness of those weapons.  Thirdly, each weapon has a cost, upkeep per day and things like that.  In the final printed version, I intend to keep these parts slightly separate so you can easily jump to the bit you need without having to go though all the jargon every time.

As far as the stats for each weapon goes, each weapon has an attack and defence stat, a number to represent how effective it is.  Now this is actually fairly hard to do, because everything from Pistols to Orbital Bombardment has to be taken into account.  Each stat though is effected by everything you could think of, like weight, rate of fire and effective range.  So for example, if a .30cal weapon had a rate of fire of 60rpm it would perform better than one that is exactly the same in all else but fires at 55rpm.  At first glance, this may make many of the weapons look very close together as far as stats, but if you take everything into account, like the range at which you are fighting and the special rules that accompany each weapon, I think that the rules are quite balanced overall.  Of course it is still early days yet, but we will see how it all pans out in the end.

Okay, well that is about all I have to say for today, thanks for reading and I shall see you next time.