Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Coming Clean About Kashyyyk

I use to have better than 20/20 vision.  A few years after turning 40, I had to get reading glasses and I'm still not use to wearing them.  In fact, I should have worn them while proof reading The Bushwackers of Kashyyyk before I broadcast my "lookee-what-I-did" message to the known universe. 

It was only AFTER posting my first graphic novel on line, that I discovered a typo.  I'm sure there's more.

The problem with proof reading one's own work goes beyond failing eyesight.  Having a second pair of eyes to act as an editor usually helps catch such errors--before they're displayed to the public.  Though, until Stern-Rake Studio expands beyond "One-Man Band Status," I'll rely more heavily on my reading glasses to catch any wayward words.

Speaking of what's not seen, I received a couple of e-mails asking for the details of the game.  I must confess, that the action depicted in The Bushwackers of Kashyyk does not coincide EXACTLY with what happened during our game, but it comes very close.

This was an off-the-cuff scenario Adrian put together after we finished our Star Wars RPG (Role-Playing Game) session.  Stargrunt II (SG II) is wildly popular with our group and we thought we'd give it a try using my Star Wars Miniatures by Wizards of the Coast (WotC).  

SG II is written in a generic format, so players can use the rules in any sci-fi setting, along with the myriad of figures that are available.  To incorporate the widely different styles of figures, SG II uses the WYSIWYG ("wizzywig") rule.  That is, "what you see is what you get."  The intent of this is to minimize confusion about what type of weapon each figure is prominently carrying. 

Under this rule, we quickly discovered that most of the squads could not engage their enemies effectively, because they were armed, in essence, with oversized pistols.  This resulted in a lot of desultory fire, with squads falling back, only to rally and re-occupy their recently vacated positions.

The scouts were the only unit to close on the rebel position.  Once they did, however, a lucky die roll by me killed the squad leader.  Then an unlucky die roll by Seth caused the squad to fail its morale check--badly.  Once the scouts scattered, that left Seth with only 2 squads against my 4, and all of them were in defensible terrain.

Narrative-wise, this would have made a very boring story, so I condensed it.

This is known as "artistic licensing," or "acceptable lying," depending on your point of view.

Adrian came across some page-length, house rules which incorporated Force users, but we decided to keep things basic for this initial game.  Since a lot of WotC's Star Wars figures are wielding side-arms, for future games, we may also have to alter SG's WYSIWYG rule.

For those of you interested in playing SG II, the rules are available as a free download here:

And for anyone interested in converting their AARs (after action reviews) into a graphic novel you can download Comic Life, for $29.99, here:

Friday, April 16, 2010

On the Warpath Over a "Bloody" Game

(Image:  Bushy Run by Don Troiani)

The wargaming hobby often sparks controversy, usually from Christian groups sermonizing against Dungeons & Dragons.  Now, Native American groups are upset over an upcoming game based on King Philip's War:


Never heard of King Philip or his war?

I had some vague knowledge of it, but I've never done any in-depth study on the subject.  For today's insta-research, Wikipedia provides some of the details:


My fellow wargamers on The Miniatures Page (TMP) responded to the controversy in their usual eclectic fashion:


I have no patience with the grievance mongers of special interest groups. 

While minority groups have a right to voice their concerns and complaints, it is also the right of my special interest group to see such games produced.  Playing these games is an interactive way of understanding the origins of the war, how the battles were fought, the war's consequences and most intriguing of all--the possibility of an alternate outcome.

With all due respect to Annawon Weeden (of the Mashpee Wampanoags), his comment, that it's "...just a way to have fun reliving a tragedy..." misses the point.   Many of the wargamers responding to this article on TMP pointed out that an enormous amount of historical research is conducted during a game's development.  One commentator noted that an extensive bibliography will probably come with this game.  Nor is the research limited to the game's design team.  Gamers intent on playing this, or any other game for that matter, conduct their own research on everything from the grand strategy of the opponents down to the footwear worn by the combatants.

In fact, thanks to Wikipedia, I learned more about this conflict than I knew prior to the controversy.  And increasing one's knowledge of history is a good thing, isn't it?


1. Thanks goes to my friend Adrian for posting the Yahoo article and the Wikipedia entry on Facebook.

2. The Battle of Bushy Run actually occurred on 5-6 August 1763, near modern day Pittsburgh, during the French and Indian War.  I used the image of Don Troiani's painting simply because I liked it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

YouTube Movie Upload: Nightmare at Naktong

I played this Korean War miniatures game at last year's "Enfilade!" convention right after filming Clash at Kursk. The battery in my camera was almost exhausted, but it managed to hold out long enough for me to make my latest YouTube movie Nightmare at Naktong:

The scenario was based on the battle of the Naktong Bulge, which was fought from 5-19 August 1950 and was a critical turning point in holding the Pusan Perimeter:

Unlike the historical action, my friend Adrian, playing the role of  Colonel Chang Ky Dok, and I prevailed against the imperialist yanquis