Wargame Thoughts and Commentary

iBooks Author and iBooks 2

I followed the real-time reports on today's Apple meeting, and found it fascinating! It appears that Apple is positioning itself to upend and improve the textbook market as it has done film, tablets, music, and DTP. Textbooks that revise themselves! Your enitire stack of texts in a single tablet! Costs slashed to a far more reasonable level. It has the backing of Houghton-Mifflin, McGraw-Hill, and 90% of text publishers. (It will also greatly lessen the grip of large state Textbook panels-such as Texas-on the entire industry. Evolution might actually be discussed in Biology texts!)

Quite apart from that, the new iBooks Author software, which is free, is now available. I downloaded it and it is, indeed, a very intuitive and easy way to create original texts-even non-school texts- and it has DRM protection. Apple will also provide a new distribution network via iBooks that exactly parallels iTunes. This not required, and the books may be exported to other distribution channels if desired.

This is very BIG for wargame publication and other "small" population hobbies. Its usefulness should extend to journals and magazines. This is HUGE as it may bring back the hobby press ala MWAN and The Courier. My main complaint of venues on-line such as blogs and TMP is that the longer "Think Pieces" and historical articles of merit have largely disappeared-and we only get fan-boy commentary for one set of rules or another. In addition, the atmosphere of the on-line venues is often mean-spirited,uninformed, and not conducive to well argued thought. We had lost this valuable aspect of wargaming. This new software from Apple may be the precursor of great new possibilities, both new, and those that harken back to Table Top Talk, and Wargamer's Newsletter.

There is no doubt that Die Marching will be published, at least in part, by this method. I awill also look to converting Die Fighting and Zouave II to this format for an added option. More to follow as I work with this new software.

My Best Wargame Finds of 2011

Looking back over the last year I thought I might share some of the things I stumbled across that are really excellent:

1. Boardgame: A Few Acres of Snow by Martin Wallace-First rate game that improves with every play, and every play of the game suggests new strategyies and combinations for thenext game. Set in the French and Indian War period as France and the British Colonies fight it out in North America-the game provides great game play and is a very fast game-certainly time enough in a three or four hour session to play two games and try both sides at least once. Each side has very different possibilities and resources. This game is a masterpiece. The deck building technique has many.many fresh ideas for campaign games. Already out of stock in many places-if you can find one get it!

2. 28MM-figures: Ebor miniatures has released some new WSS foot figures with cavalry to follow that are simply superb. The price is right, and for the WSS or a Imagi-Nation gamer, these are very much to be considered. EBor has some nice 28mm WWI figures as well.

I should also mention That Wargames Factory, after all of their travails, has produced some very nice WSS figures both foot and horse-some have quibbled, but they assemble and paint up into excellent units. You can’t beat the price.

3. 10MM figures: Nothing, in my mind, can beat Pendraken’s FPW line, and the entire mid 19th century collection is unmatched. The 1866 and minor states figures are also first rate and Pendraken is covering almost all of the wars of the period-including Maximilian and the South American wars/ New ACW figures are on the way.

4. New Period: WWI and WWII naval has suddenly seemed far more interesting to me. I stumbled into it while structuring the naval rules for Die Marching. I have purchased Minden’s Battleship Captain, Curry’s re-publication of Fetcher Pratt’s Naval Wargame, Curry’s re-pub of Jane’s 1906 rules, my old, original, copy of Don Featherstone’s naval war-games, Phill Dunn’s Sea Battle Games (also from Curry)Steel Dreadnaught’s Thunder at Sea rules, General Quarters from Old Dominion, and Seekrieg from Rick Sartore’s group. I intend to play and then review all of these rules on this blog.

I am impressed with the variety and the choice in rules available-each with a different take. They are all very well written on the whole, and many offer some great ideas for campaign and scenario creation techniques. As an old navy guy I can’t explain why I hadn’t been interested more in naval gaming in the past. Re-discovered the sea during my December hiatus. More on the Zouave blog when I review the rules available.

5. In land miniature rules, I am most intrigued with Sam Mustafa’s upcoming Maurice. It seems like an imaginative idea, and he aways has very high production standards. I look forward to it.