B&T Warpath Chronicles #6: Vassalization, Or How I Learned To Love Online Gaming

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screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-8-49-08-am In the old days, to be a vassal meant that you would agree to submit to a king in exchange for their protection against other kings and lords.  We’ve moved past those days; today in the gaming field it means to submit your board game to someone for creating a Vassal module.  Since most of the folks who follow this field don’t have much free time (the exception being our fortunate retired chaps), creating online play kits are important to playing.  In game development though, this becomes pivotal since you can design an entire virtual game (including graphics) and do all the development work without ever creating any real playtest kits.  Once you create a Vassal module, you have unlimited playtest kits.

My introduction to the online gaming world began in 2005 when I had to play Triumph of Chaos and really wanted to do it virtually.  At the time, I had only a faint idea what that entailed.  After many months of playing around on Cyberboard, in addition to learning a wide range of graphics editing tools, I somehow managed to finish the playkit.  Fortunately, I had a good friend on hand to get me going on Photoshop and I developed a skill set for making all the pieces needed for a virtual game.  Fast forward 10ish years and 12+ playkits later, Cyberboard is no longer the king – that honor now belongs to Vassal.

B&T Warpath Chronicles #4: Developer’s Introduction

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Greetings from just south of Baltimore, MD.  My name is Barry Setser and I am the developer for GMT’s upcoming game – Bayonets & Tomahawks.  Many of you know the name from numerous conventions and gatherings over the years, but there’s a larger contingent that have no idea who I am.  I would like to take this bi-weekly occasion to introduce myself, let you know a bit about my gaming credentials, and then top things off with a development update on B&T.

The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble: Game Development Progress Report and Updated Overview Presentation

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It’s been awhile since the last InsideGMT article concerning The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble, henceforth referred to as 7YW:FG.  This piece is an update of the game’s development progress as well as solicitation of InsideGMT readers of whether the game is on the right track in considering certain content.

Evolving the Wing Leader System

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Developing the second volume of Wing Leader was supposed to be so simple. I would assemble some new aircraft data cards, throw together some scenarios, kick it out the door, then. . . profit!

It all went wrong when people started to LIKE the first volume, Wing Leader: Victories. The problem when people like your game is that they play it. They play it a lot. They push the system and ask awkward questions. (What bastards!) Next thing you know, you’re responding to the feedback, tweaking rules, nerfing some values while buffing others. The game evolves!

The Last Hundred Yards Mission #2 AAR

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On Wednesday, Rob Beggs, one of the play testers for Last Hundred Yards (LHY), and I had the opportunity to play Mission #2: Flushing Quail.  In this mission, the Americans are charged with driving a German outpost from a hill.  This outpost consists of (2) Infantry squads broken down into (4) sections and a Forward Observer (FO) for a 80mm mortar section that has been harassing the American Battalion HQ.  The American force consisted of a two Infantry platoons led by Lts. Cherry and Murphy and a MG section.

The following is Rob’s account of the action:

Next War: Poland Progress Update

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I think that I’ve mentioned this before, but I was a little surprised by just how quickly Next War: Poland (NWP) vaulted up the P500 ladder. I had a rough Operational Map and a Strategic Display, and I had made a start on the Game Specific Rules. Based on the performance of the prior games in the Next War Series, GMT put the game on the list while I was still in the middle of working on Silver Bayonet. Now that the latter game is off to the printer, I’ve had some time to focus on NWP, and I thought I’d give a quick update on where we’re at.

Silver Bayonet Update: What’s in the Box?

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Here is a long overdue update for Silver Bayonet.  As you are all, no doubt, well aware, we didn’t hit our desired date for Oct-Nov last year. I decided to push production out because, quite simply, the game wasn’t ready yet.

The team has been working hard to test all of the scenarios to ensure that all of the rules changes have been thoroughly vetted. In the case of the Standard Game scenarios, this is a relatively quick process as they are range anywhere from half a turn to eight turns long using only a portion of the map, and they are easily playable in an evening. In the case of the Campaign Game scenarios, this is proving a little more involved as they range from eight to 39 turns using larger areas or the entire map, and they are far more involved in terms of additional rules such as Patrols, Hidden Movement, Helicopters, etc. We are working hard to make sure that this game exceeds expectations in all categories.

Sharpening the Bayonet: Silver Bayonet 25th Anniversary Ed. Update

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In Gene’s last article, he said:

“We’re now using Charlie’s most recent map version to create a Vassal Module so we can test the scenarios on the new map. We’ll tell you more about that process, as well as about a couple of new scenarios we’re adding, in our next InsideGMT post about the project.”

The most recent article discussed the scenarios, so now, not only am I going to give you an update on the status of the game, but I’ll also describe the changes to the game which we’re making to enhance gameplay, i.e., sharpening the bayonet.

Genesis – Developer Update

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Genesis TabGenesis Developer Update – April 2015

As we enter the month of April, the creation of the game’s components is in the final stretch.  The map, counters, Event Cards, and Kingdom Display/Victory Point Cards are complete. The rules and the Player Aid cards have moved through the layout and internal edit process, are off to the game’s proofreader and group of the play testers for a final edit. The final component – the Playbook – is in the layout and internal edit process and will be sent to the proofreaders and play testers later this month for a final edit. The Playbook features an extensive Example of Play of a complete game turn of the three person version of one of the shorter scenarios, covering the middle part of the historical period represented in the game.

The game includes eight scenarios:

  • one short solitaire learning scenario designed to introduce the player to the basic mechanics of movement and combat
  • one full 10 turn Campaign Scenario design primarily for 3-5 players, which also has a two player variant where the players control two empires
  • three 3-4 turn scenarios playable by 2-5 players covering portions of the period
  • three 3 turn scenarios playable by 2 players or solitaire

Now for the eye candy: 

The Map

The map shows Anatolia (modern Turkey), the Levant (Middle East/Egypt) and Mesopotamia as they possibly appeared in The Late Bronze Age, approximately 1700 to 1200 BC.

Genesis Map