Thursday, August 12, 2010

More (Better) Random Thoughts on Gaming

Thomas Sherman, certainly not Shiny but love that hair!
I wrote this a week or two ago and meant to attach a graphic, but I'd better post it now. As a note of (no) interest,  Shiny will be going into battle this Saturday as long as my fookin' BACK holds out.

1. Officers and Soldiers of the American Civil War and ACW Uniform references
Having purchased the late war French uniform guide from H&C , I thought it'd be a great idea too buy vol.1 of the ACW uniforms book from the same series. It has been out of print (though maybe it's back in? see the link below)so I paid a little too much for it from a "collectible book dealer" (read shyster (this is a professional prejudice of mine)). Unfortunately I feel that though it is an admirable book in a certain way, it does not live up to my expectations. Bad points? The uniforms and flags completely lack context even though the book is presented (implicitly) as an entry level reference. I think a person using this could be badly misled into painting a lot of figures in a uniform that was extremely rare. Good Points? On the other hand if you know a little about the war, it does what it sets out to do and nicely illustrates a good sampling of representative uniforms for both sides. Personally I like these illustrations best as painting references because the colors used are BLOCK colors and you don't have to worry about interpreting how the artist is interpreting a given color. 
That being said, I still think if you were to buy just one reference for painting  it's not coming from Osprey or H&C or anyone like that, what you need is Echoes of Glory  by Time-Life Books (of all people) who have a volume each for all the relevant uniforms and equipment of the USA and CSA. It's all photographs and there's just enough text to explain things. This is what I actually go to while I'm painting. And in the US you can probably find these cheap at any decent Used bookstore.
2. Role-Playing?
No, not really. But I was thinking about my ACW project and it's context. My WWI project is made up almost entirely of figures from my own collection. So they are all precious to me. But in the ACW games I am only, currently, painting one Brigade of one side (the Union). And through a smart-ass remark by a by-stander at an early game  I have also been given a "continuing personality" to lead them in the person of "Shiny" O'Malley. Well what does this do? It makes me love my little Brigade (and their be-sotted, much wounded leader). My paint job on these figs ain't the greatest but I'm doing it how I like, with only the figs that I want and it makes me invest myself just that much more in the games. 
So what am I getting at? Well I like how "Shiny" is developing into a "character" over time. We know this about him: he likes his whiskey (and he likes your whiskey, he likes anyone's whiskey), he likes the ladies, he loves the old-country, he's a Fenian, he's a belligerent leader who'll  stand in the face of an advancing enemy line and d**n them all to h*ll (and for that he's regularly off the table with a bullet in his arse[read: he's very unlucky in the "Risk to General" rolls]). I'd like to know what's happening to him between games. Has he ever been promoted, upbraided or given a good dressing down by his superiors? I do know that in my mind he goes on to be involved in the disastrous Fenian invasion of Canada, so he must make it through the war. As you know I am very fond of the Peter Pig / RFCM style off-table campaign & scenario generating systems found in such games as AK-47 Republic, Civil War Battles and Patrols in the Sudan and (more to the point) the experience system in Chris Peers' War in the Forest....In the latter you gain points after each game toward an advancement of the player through a system of ranks, which allow you (if I'm remembering this all correctly) to gain certain small advantages over time. What's that remind us of? RPGs of course. So I might just think up a little chart system to track Shiny's life... who knows..


James said...

I can assure you that a certain Mssr. Crappe, of Napoleon's service, would be very interested in learning a bit more regarding the colorful/colourful life of Col. Shiny O'Malley.

AngryCoffeeMan said...

Much like Shiney with his whiskey, I can't get enough of Shiney's exploits!