Arizona’s First 6-Player Game of Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea

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Above is a photo of the first large multi-player game of Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea conducted in Arizona.  It was essentially a learning game for the pictured entirely Euro Gamer participants (sorry, I did not record all their names… but you should recognize me, upper left hand at the table, in the white shirt… yup, I came to the gathering straight from a work day at the office).  One participant is not pictured because he was the photographer.

JUST ASK PHORMIO (or “how to teach Pericles”)

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Back when I was young and I could count the number of games I owned on one hand with fingers left over, we all read the rules on how to play our games. However, times have changed. I now own a ridiculous number of games, and when I get together with friends it seems we are almost always playing a game that only one person has played before. As such, teaching games has become a more important skill than I believe it was in the past.

Although the game has thankfully received many kind words from players and reviewers, a few of the ambivalent reviews of Pericles have made two points. First, that the game is more complex than the average Euro-gamer can tolerate. Second, that it requires a dedicated group to become proficient at the game, and unless you are willing to put in the time, beware. With all due respect to these respected reviewers, I believe that they have lost the forest for the trees.

What I am going to do in this short article is offer a very simple method for teaching Pericles. Using this method, you can play Pericles often or sporadically and still play well. I have been playing wargames for over half a century, so I think I have earned my stripes enough to know a mechanically simple game with complex strategy from a complex game with complex strategy. Pericles is the former, so mechanically it is fairly straightforward, but understanding what to do is where the fun lies. For a reviewer who plays a game once, though, the game’s deep strategies are the source of their view of complexity.

B&T Warpath Chronicles Volume #8: Custom Battle Dice – How They Came to Be, Evolution, and Test Under Fire

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I started wargaming in the 1980s with the first edition of Jim Day’s Panzer. Convincing battle modeling has always been crucial for me. For a long time, I found the “to hit” process and also odds based combat result tables to be the ne plus ultra — along with 10-sided dice (I confess my love of exotic dice sprung from my D&D past!).

Then in the early 2000, my interest shifted to the bucket of dice approach. My experience is that when it is well conceived, its simplicity (1 piece : 1 die) frees the brain, allowing us to focus more on the narrative of the game.

From the very start, I wanted Bayonets & Tomahawks to be devoid of calculations. But I aimed for a battle system that could replicate each and every historical battle outcome of the French and Indian War. Dedicated research and perpetual evolution/streamlining (with many good ideas contributed by expert players) led to a custom dice system that is fun to use and delivers realistic results for that conflict.

Here’s the story of its development.

Frederick the Great Debuts in The Valley of the Sun: The First Arizona Playtest of The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble

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Introduction:  A new career opportunity has returned me to the Phoenix area from back east.  This provided an opportunity to reacquaint myself with the wonderful and friendly community of gamers here in “The Valley of the Sun”.  This article is a high level After Action Report of our first experience playing The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble (7YW:FG).

Please reference 7YW:FG material within GMT’s site, as well as within the InsideGMT BLOG, to gain a better context, understanding, and appreciation of this fine Greg Ticer design.  Referencing this background will complement this article’s descriptions.  

The Shot Heard Round Charleston Harbor…Fort Sumter Design Notes and AAR (Part 4)

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We now continue with Round 3 of Mark’s AAR of Fort Sumter. If you missed the first three articles in this series, click on the following links to read them first: Part 1    Part 2  Part 3.