Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Master and Commander Release

Master and Commander is being released as a table top game. Counters are provided as a substitute for miniatures but miniatures can be used. Master and Commander is intended as a fast-play set of rules that simulates Napoleonic-era naval combat. The game is free.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Carriers At War

This project started as an exercise to learn the vb.Net programming language and develop routines which could be used in future computer-based board games. Gradually it took on a life of its own. It is turning into a fast-play, beer-and-prezels game of World War Two in the Pacific. The basic game is a general encounter between the forces of Imperial Japan and the US Navy; no particular battle is simulated although scenarios could possibly be developed for a specific historical battle. The game will feature Japanese kamikaze action, submarines, sea transport of troops, carrier landings and takeoffs. Balancing of unit "abilities" is present in this game more than other types of games and should maintain game tension. For example, submarines can only be attacked by destroyers and bombers and only if sonar detects the sub. A d6 roll greater than 3 detects the sub and depth charges can be dropped on it. Subs have a combat factor of 10 but can attempt only two hits in a phase (fire two torpedoes) while a destroyer can drop as many depth charges as its combat factor (up to five hits) in a phase. Once all ten torpedoes have been fired, the sub heads home for resupply, leaving the game, while destroyers need no resupply. Other ships cause damage equal to one on a hit but a submarine causes d6 damage on a hit.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Maiwand Revived

The Battle of Maiwand is a two-player simulation of the battle fought during the Second Afghan War, (1878-1882) on the 27th of July 1880 between the Afghan forces of Ayoub Khan and an Anglo-Indian Brigade commanded by Brigadier General G.R.S. Burroughs. Ayoub Khan was marching on Kandahar with 25,000 troops (more ore less as the actual number is not definitively known), while General Burroughs was dispatched with 2,500 troops to Maiwand, about 50 miles Northwest of Kandahar to oppose the Afghan advance. First published in 2005 by Kyber Pass Games and designed by Dennis L. Bishop, this new release features new counters, a variant scenario and an historical article on the battle by Tom Cundiff.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hannibal Is At The Gates

I designed the game Hannibal Against Rome to give the player (okay, me) a sense of the challenges faced by Hannibal 2227 years ago in the Second Punic War. Of course, it is just a game while Hannibal faced a more complex reality. Still, we might explore some of the aspects of that long distant conflict that are part of both the computer and the PnP board game from White Dog Games.

When the game starts the Carthaginian side has more land units. This is because Rome was not looking for war but was deliberately provoked into it by Hannibal’s siege and capture of Saguntum on the eastern coast of Spain.

The head of the Roman embassy sent to Carthage after the fall of Saguntum said to the Carthaginians: "Here I carry peace and war; say, ye men of Carthage, which you chose."

"Give us which ye will," replied the Carthaginians.

"Then we give you war," said the Roman.

From that point, the Romans played catch up. But the Roman well from which to draw manpower was quite deep. It seemed to me the most interesting way to frame the game was to use unit production. The central tension during the Second Punic war and in the game is the question, can Hannibal win the war before Rome builds its strength to an almost invincible level.

In Hannibal Against Rome, cities produce units so whoever controls the most cities generates the most units or prevents the other side from producing units. It thus was Hannibal’s strategy to win over or subdue the Italian cities. That he failed to do so may be because he was not able to bring many siege engines with him across the Alps. When some Italian cities were able to resist Carthaginian sieges, other cities were encouraged by their successes to defy Hannibal. Accordingly, few siege engine units are available to the Carthaginian side in the game.

Hannibal, however, did win over a number of Gallic tribes in northern Italy. These formed a significant part of his army in Italy. But he could not have been certain that the Gallic tribes would break with Rome and join him. Therefore the game requires a die roll for the Gauls to side with Carthage.

Travel in ancient times was difficult. With his army in Spain, Hannibal had two possible ways to invade Rome, each not without hazards. He could transport his troops, cavalry and elephants by ship. But sea travel could be chancy. About 250 BC, for example, the weather dealt Rome a series of severe blows when three fleets were wrecked in storms. Hundreds of ships were lost and the drowned numbered tens of thousands. Due to the danger of heavy weather ancient navies could not risk sailing too far from shore, making sea journeys often longer. Ships of that time had little room for water or food so long journeys of more than a few days were impossible. When able, galleys were beached at night to give the crew a rest. A large number of ships would have been needed to transport 40,000 foot, 12,000 horse and 40 war elephants. Maybe the deciding factor was that Hannibal knew that Rome controlled the seas. Still, invading Rome by sea was an option for Hannibal and is an option in Hannibal Against Rome. The fun of game playing is that you can explore what-if scenarios. I will tell you that, on occasion, I have had success invading Rome by sea but it is not for the faint of heart.

As every school child knows, Hannibal took his men, horses and elephants across the Alps. What they may not know is that Hannibal also needed to cross the Pyrenees and many rivers, some of the later which might be in flood (a game die roll). If it seems astonishing to us now that it took only 16 days to cross the Alps, an idea of the terror and surprise Romans felt to find Libyans suddenly in the plains south of the Alps comes down to us in the phrase "Hannibal is at the gates!", which was used for centuries by mothers as a threat against misbehaving children.

Hannibal’s army was a melting pot of nationalities. At the beginning, his army consisted of mercenaries, Numidian cavalry, Libyans, and Spanish Celts (infantry and cavalry). Once in Italy, as mentioned above, he managed to convince the Italian Gauls to join him. Carthage allies were Illyricum and Macedon. War elephants found a place in the Carthaginian ranks as well although many of them perished on the arduous march across the Alps. Wonderful counters designed by Tom Cundiff represent these contingents in the print-and-play version of the game along with Balearic Slingers and the navies of both sides.

During the Punic War era, Rome employed a militia of propertied citizens for its armies. The basic unit of the Roman army was the legion and they were the best soldiers in the world. For that reason, legion counters get more strength points (20) in the game than most other units. One reason the propertied Romans made good soldiers might be that a man naturally fights harder to defend his property. That it might be a good idea to follow this example with the vote today (also only propertied Roman citizens could vote) is the subject of another discussion.

The Romans had their own system of counting the years based on the founding of the city of Rome or Ab urbe condita (AUC) in Latin. That year is traditionally set as 753 BC. The Second Punic War, then, to the Romans lasted from 536 AUC to 554 AUC if my math is right. Hannibal Against Rome uses the Roman system for the game years and we also gave cities and geographic entities like the Alpes (Alps) and the Padus (the Po) their ancient spelling on the game map, all to get the player a bit in the mood of the times much like putting on a costume for a play. Heck, it’s just good fun to do that.

Hannibal is my choice for greatest general of all time and for this reason the Hannibal counter increases Carthaginian odds when determining combat results in the game. Putting aside marching an army across the Alps, which stands even today as an amazing military accomplishment, and inspiring his men to incredible feats with his charismatic personality, for eighteen years he held the Roman Empire at bay and produced brilliant tactical wins at Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae over the world’s finest soldiers.

After Scipio Africanus beat Hannibal at Zama to end the Second Punic War, the two old soldiers sat down for a chat. Scipio asked Hannibal who he thought were the greatest generals ever. Hannibal listed himself third after Alexander and Pyrrhus.
Scipio then asked, “And what if you had beaten me at Zama?”

Hannibal replied, undoubtedly with a grin, “Why then, I would be the greatest general of all.” Thus Hannibal flattered himself and complimented Scipio by suggesting Scipio was greater than Alexander.

(The PnP game Hannibal Against Rome is available at for a donation of 8.50 USD which supports the development of more games. The computer game is free.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Currently we are redoing an earlier mini-game on the battle of Anzio. This new version will be called Anzio II. While still a small game, it features an improved and expanded map (17 x 11 hexes) and more counters. More counters were thought necessary for the larger map. It was considered to make the game a brigade-level game but that would mean too many counters plus some German divisions were proving hard to research their components without investing in specialized books. As a compromise, each division was broken down into counters for a part A and a part B and each counter has a step loss or back side. Therefore each division in the game can undergo four "hits" before it is eliminated. This improves on the previous method of marking off a step for a unit on a Game Play Sheet while at the same time creating additional playing pieces for the larger map. The rules are much the same as the older game and include weather and off-map bombardment but the combat section has been revised for step loss play.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Map and Counters Mounting and Finishing

The map and counters for your favorite game can be mounted and finished for a nominal price. Tom Cundiff handles counters and Richard Dengel handles the maps. For more details visit the White Dog games web site and the following link in particular.

Map and Counters Finishing

Monday, November 2, 2009

Simulation Versus Imagination

What is a game? More specifically, what is a war game?

According to the dictionary, a game is "a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules".

There are two components to a war game, the game concept itself, that is, how one plays and wins, and what the game play simulates.

In a war game, what is being simulated is usually an historical conflict of some kind.

The war game with probably the least simulation involved is chess. Yet chess is an extremely complex game, perhaps the most complex war game. So the degree of simulation doesn't necessary indicate the degree of complexity.

What exactly is simulation in a game?

Recently, I browsed some games for research on MASTER AND COMMANDER, a Napoleonic naval combat game I was designing. I encountered one naval game set in that period that had a rule for putting out fires aboard ship!

Now THAT is simulation.

However, to achieve that level of simulation, one has to sacrifice ease and speed of play.

In MASTER AND COMMANDER, the game aspect is emphasized over the simulation aspect. Oh, there are broadsides and boardings and ship collisions and loss of steerage. There is plenty of action and wind direction to be concerned about. But you won't be bogged down in time-consuming minutae. Instead, your imagination will fill in the details while the game captures (hopefully) the essential flavor of Napoleonic sea combat in a quick-play format.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tomorrow A Corps

Homegrown Games' Huzzah! (Rebel Yell Lite) game module, Tomorrow A Corps, is available at White Dog Games. With game design by Richard A. Dengel, the game boasts a beautiful, full-color map, also done by Richard.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Night of the Living Dead Map

Above is a preview of the Night of the Living Dead game map. Based on the farmhouse in the cult film classic, the map was created by Richard Dengel. The game map and counters will all be in glorious black and white (and gray). We are hoping for a Halloween release.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baseball Manager Version 1.2.0 Release

Version 1.2.0 of Baseball Manager has been released. In addition to some minor user guide modifications, this version makes the following changes:

  • the batting order can be changed between games in the three-game series
  • the current batter is not skipped when a steal option is selected
  • bunt with a runner on first and no runner on third is allowed
  • manager points awarded for successful bunts and steals
  • Monday, October 12, 2009

    Blenheim Fix

    The computer-based board game BLENHEIM did not run on some client computers which did not have a certain runtime routine. That problem has been fixed and it should run now on all Windows computers.

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Zombie Fun

    Coming out for the Halloween season is Night of the Living Dead, the board game. It will be a PnP game, mostly in glorious black and white. A tribute to the 1968 film of the same name, NOTLD takes place in and around the house where a small group of humans sought refuge from very scary zombie-like "things".

    Some comments by the game's author, Dennis L. Bishop:

    "It may be asked why "The Night of the Living Dead" and other horror flicks were filmed in black and white. The classic "The Wizard of Oz" actually mixed the two mediums. NOTLD was begun in color, but the color was removed and the rest of the film was shot in B/W due to lack of funding.

    "Movies like "I Walked With A Zombie," "White Zombie," and earlier depictions of zombies had no relationship to the Romero/Russo "Things." Still, the Romero/Russo "Things" became a prototype for what movie, literature, and game fans know today as Zombies.

    "Note that in the 1968 film that the word “zombie” is never used. The creatures are called “things,” and the Romero-Russo creatures were technically ghouls in the folklore sense, except that ghouls fed upon the dead while the “things” were the opposite with the dead feeding on the living, but not actually doing this in the movie. The only time that we see the humans being eaten is when Tom and Judy are burned up in an attempt to escape. The “things” are also seen eating bugs, so it seems that they are not terribly picky."

    Spooky game counters by Thomas Cundiff.

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Deadly At Close Range

    Master and Commander is a PnP board game simulation of Napoleonic sea combat. Utilizing a simple rules scheme for quicker play, the game attempts nevertheless to retain the essense of naval combat of that era. The challenge to the player is the tactical combat management of a squadron of warships while dealing with wind direction and continuous movement under sail. There are four ship ratings from 1st to fourth and ships have Movement and Fire Power ratings that reflect those ratings. Action includes broadsides, boardings and collisions, any of which may result in step loss, steering lost (fire combat only), dead in the water or sunk. Fire combat effectiveness depends on the distance to the target and the number of guns (Fire Power). But, generally, these ships were deadliest at close range. Counters by Thomas Cundiff. Visit his Old Soldiers Magazine site at

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Iraq 1941 After Action Report

    On 2 May 1941 (Turn 1) the British air force attacked the Iraqi airfield at Rashid. The results were less than hoped for as only one squadron of bombers was destroyed. The 20th Indian Brigade moved from Basra to a point north along the Tigris River before the Iraqi forces could react. During the intervening four days, the Iraqi air force attempted a retaliatory air strike on the British fortified cantonment at Habbaniya. The results were the disappointing loss of one fighter squadron to the British Gladiators flying above the field.

    On 8 May (Turn 2) the British High Command Middle East reinforced the Habbaniya base with a squadron of Blenheim bombers, and the 21st Indian Brigade debarked at Basra. Again the British launched every bomber and fighter into the air to destroy the Rashid airfield. The Iraqi CAP was destroyed, and the bombers and fighter-bombers covered the airfield with high explosives; this time seeing the satisfying plumes of smoke denoting burning aircraft. The Iraqi scurried about attempting to save the aircraft that they could, but in the wreckage all but two fighter-bomber squadrons were destroyed. Following upon the air raid, the 20th Indian Brigade moved further north forcing the Iraqi 4th Division to shift positions from Diwaniya to block the Tigris threat. Meanwhile, the 21st Indian Brigade began moving along the Euphrates River in support of the 20th Brigade. Meanwhile, the Iraqi ground forces at Baghdad received a defeat when they invested Habbaniya, and were forced to retreat north of Baghdad.

    From 11 May to 15 May (Turn 3), the British received more air reinforcements, and Habforce and Kingcol formed at the H4 base in Trans-Jordan. The British controlled the air, and concentrated the bombers and an escorting fighter squadron on the Iraqi Mechanized Brigade near Baghdad. The other fighter squadron continued to fly CAP missions or Habbaniya. Again the concentration of air power succeeded in producing flames and smoke from the burning Iraqi vehicles as two motorized battalions evaporated. The 20th and 21st Brigades concentrated on an attack on the Iraqi 4th Division forcing it to retreat toward Baghdad.

    During this time, the Iraqi command received the promised German support as Sonderkommando Junke arrived at the Mosul airfield. The German Brandenburgers had also succeeded in organizing the Arabische Brigade, while the Syrian Volunteers and the guerrilla Fawzi el-Qawujki appeared on the Syrian border. KG Brecht split off into the desert to join the guerrillas trying to slow the progress of Habfoce and Kingcol, while the Syrians moved to support the Iraqi 4/2 Brigade at Kirkuk. KG Bergen and KG Krunbein moved to screen Baghdad from the southern threats, and the remnants of the Mechanized Brigade moved to screen Kirkuk, and the 1st and 3rd Divisions re-entered Baghdad. The Sonderkommando Junke launched a surprise attack on Habforce destroying the Arab Legion battalion as the trucks veered through the desert to avoid the low level attacks.

    Habbaniya was reinforced on 16 May (Turn 4) with a squadron of Hurricanes. These were used to escort an air raid on the Mosul airfield where the Hurricanes made short work of the German Me 110 air cover. The British bombers echeloned in formations of fighter-bombers followed by level bombers through the German anti-aircraft barrage. The raid was disrupted by the air bursts and the aircraft not aborted were unable to find their targets. On the ground, the 4th Iraqi Division evaporated defending the approaches to Baghdad and the combined 20th and 21st Indian Brigades continued to slog their way toward Baghdad. Habforce and Kingcol destroyed the guerillas and KG Brecht. Meanwhile, the rest of the Arabische Brigade prepared for a grim defense of Baghdad and reassured Iraq that they would save the country. Sonderkommando Junke had received He 111s on 15 May, and the Germans launched a limited raid against three British targets with no effect.

    On 21 May (Turn 5) the 20th and 21st Indian Brigades attacked the Arabische Brigade on the outskirts of Baghdad. The full airpower of the British bomber squadrons fell upon the German/Arab brigade and the brigade dissolved under the combined pressure. Meanwhile, Habforce and Kingcol relieved the Habbaniya garrison among cheers, and the garrison re-deployed north of Baghdad. The Iraqi command appeared to be paralyzed launching only the same ineffectual air raids earlier attempted.

    26 May (Turn 6) opened with the Battle of Baghdad. This time the full weight of the British ground forces were combined with all of the airpower capable of bombing the defenders. Two brigades evaporated in the explosions from the low level bombs and two brigades were eliminated in the ground combat that followed. The Iraqi command attempted a bombing run at the British columns that failed. It was the last time the Germans and newly arrived Italians would fly in the Iraqi skies.

    On 1 June (Turn 7), the Germans and Italians were ordered to evacuate Iraq, and the British columns successfully maneuvered into positions to launch an attack upon the defenses of Kirkuk while the British air power destroyed the remnants of the Iraqi Mechanized Brigade. On 5 June 1941 the British were in control of Iraq and had secured the vital oil fields and oil pipeline at Kirkuk.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    IRAQ 1941

    A new game by Dennis L. Bishop, Iraq 1941 covers a little explored corner of World War II. A coup d'etat by the former prime minister and four top military officers against the pro-Allies Royal government of Iraq puts Iraq in the camp of the Axis and leaves India vulnerable. Britian must react. With a map printed on two 8.5 x 11 sheets, the PnP game features counter art by Tom Cundiff.

    Coming soon. Visit White Dog Games and this BLOG for news about the game's release.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Gettysburg Day One Counters

    Gettysburg Day One, a computer-based board game, has been refitted with new counters. Designed by Tom Cundiff, they add additional visual interest to the game.

    Gettysburg Day One is currently undergoing playtesting and a second scenario is being added.

    Watch the White Dog Games website ( for its release.

    Hannibal Against Rome PnP Preview

    A print-and-play version of Hannibal Against Rome is currently in playtest. With counters professionally designed by Tom Cundiff and the 34 x 18 hex, 17" x 14" map created by artist Richard Dengel, the game is a work of art.

    A nine-page, color rules manual guides the player through this low-complexity game, which is a simulation of the Second Punic War. There are counters for War Elephants, Roman Legions, Siege Engines, Numidian Cavalry, Fleets and more.

    Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    ANZIO Rules Changes

    A gentleman on ConsimWorld made several excellent points concerning the ANZIO rules and, after review, the following changes were made.

    1) Zone of Control was defined.
    2) The advance after combat rule was (hopefully) clarified as optional for the winning stack.
    3) In the Combat Results Table, the 9-10+ column results were reduced to result in less damage.
    4) The game map and counters were moved into PDF format and should print larger now.

    "Anyway, a very good example of a mini game, I like the idea of the solitaire system (which I have yet to try) and the interplay of the weather and bombardment systems."

    Thanks for the feedback and the kind words.

    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Battle at Bull Run (PnP) Upgraded

    The upgrade of Battle at Bull Run is nearing completion. This PnP game is the first chosen to receive a make over. While the rules remain the same, the map, counters and game rules manual were improved. The counters were created by Thomas Cundiff.

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Edgehill (PnP) Question

    A good question was recently received:

    What are the particulars on attacking/defending with stacked units?


    Stack combat can be handled one unit at a time as per the rules.

    Should a unit in a stack retreat before all units in the stack have been attacked, you could assign shaken status to the unit(s) remaining. That would give a + 2 modifier for any attacker if remaining units are attacked in that turn. This would simulate lowered morale caused by a nearby friendly unit retreating.

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    The Fight for the Heights

    Gettysburg Day One: the Fight for the Heights is undergoing play testing and should be released shortly. It is the first game generated by the Sound of the Guns (SOTG) system, an in-house utility which allows the creation of computer-based, turn-based board games set in the 1830 - 1900 era without programming. The user of SOTG supplies a hex map, unit data, terrain data, and scenario information, which is input to the SOTG system. A units file, a terrain file and a scenario file are then output by the system and used as input to the SOTG engine for game play.

    DrawHexGrid 3.0

    DrawHexGrid 3.0 is a free utility developed by Alex Henderson for creating hex grid image files of any hex size and orientation, with various types of hex numbering, center dots, crosshairs, line thicknesses, fonts, color schemes, etc., with or without anti-aliasing - 83 K. This latest version adds a Preview Window, the ability to create a uniform numbering scheme across multiple map sheets, saving of png files, and the ability to print the image directly from the program.

    DrawHexGrid is a very useful utility and version 3.0 should be even more useful. Mr. henderson also is using the PureBasic compiler for his game development projects.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Day of the Spears Released

    Zulu impis close in on British positions in Day of the Spears.

    DAY OF THE SPEARS: The Battle of Isandhlwana has been released. For some time featured as a downloadable work in progress, Day of the Spears is now considered complete. Minor bugs have been removed and Mr. Dennis L. Bishop's article, "The Battle of Isandhlwana", has been added. Anyone who downloaded an earlier, pre-release version of the game is encouraged to return to and download the release game.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Finding a Scale For Gettysburg

    When making a game map one of the first things to consider is the scale. That is, how many yards per hex.

    Using the McElfresh Map, the Gettysburg battlefield was measured at 25,600 feet or 8533 yards wide. The game map size depends on the number of yards per hex. If we have 100 yards per hex then we will have a game map about 85 hexes wide which is pretty large. That was deemed too large. If we have 200 yards per hex, we have a good-sized map 42 hexes wide.

    Now two regiments would probably fit in 200 yards (one hex) so that would be a fine scale for a regimental game. But there are probably over 400 regiments and other units in the Gettysburg battle. That was deemed too large a project to take on right now.

    What to do.

    A brigade-level game would require only about 110 units, making a much more manageable game size. For brigades, we need enough yards per hex for a brigade to fit in. It was estimated (rightly or wrongly) that an average brigade with four or five regiments would fit into 400 yards.

    Making each hex 400 yards, we have a map 8533/400 = 21 hexes across.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Dice Roller Utility

    Tired of rolling multiple dice and having one or two roll off the table and under the sofa? Put your dice away and use Dice Roller. This board game utility from White Dog games will roll one die, two dice, and so on up to six dice at one time at the press of the space bar.

    What if you need eight dice rolled at one time? Just combine the results of the two and six dice results.

    Dice Roller is now available to download from White Dog Games.

    Saturday, March 7, 2009

    Edgehill 1642 Map Making

    As a diversion from developing the computer-based boardgame on Isandlwana, we thought it would be fun to make a print-and-play game which would have a larger map than other WDG PnP maps. Previously, WDG PnP game maps have been 14 x 9 hexes on one sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper or card stock.

    The game topic chosen for this larger map is the battle of Edgehill fought during the English Civil War in 1642. Two 8 1/2 x 11 sheets were used for Edgehill resulting in a 21 x 25 hex map.

    The procedure involved first running the nifty utility DrawHexGrid to generate two 21 x 13 hex BMP files. Once map details were drawn on the two BMP files using a paint program, the two images were inserted into a MS Word document and each image was expanded to meet page margins (see above). The two pages were printed and each printed page was cut along one long side through the center of the ninth column, the cut edges fitted together and tape applied along the join.

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Contributing Designer On Islandlwana

    Dennis L. Bishop is a commercial game designer with a number of published games to his credit. His work includes Command magazine games such as LIKE LIONS THEY FOUGHT and ALAMO-DARK VICTORY. Dennis is the primary game designer for Kyber Pass Games ( and has worked on games for ConsimPress (VELDT COMMANDO) and Worthington Games (BLOOD OF NOBLE MEN) as well. Through his research, Dennis has become something of an authority on the battle of Isandlwana. WDG is pleased to have Dennis as a consultant on our current project, Day of the Spears: The Battle of Islandlwana 1879 (working title). He will be contributing in the areas of historical research and game design. We are confident that Dennis' contributions will make Day of the Spears a better game. Certainly his professionalism will stiffen our amateur ranks.

    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Be A Game Developer

    There are two kinds of boardgames games posted on White Dog Games, computer-based and print-and-play. The print-and-play kind come with historical notes, rules, maps and unit counters. A lot of research has been done for you. So, if you wanted, you could become a "game developer" by tweaking a rule or several or modifying a table or two. This might make a particular WDG print-and-play game more interesting to you. We have no problem with that. In fact, we would like to know what changes you make because they might be good ideas that we could incorporate into a revised version of the game.

    Friday, February 13, 2009

    Lion In A Net: Saratoga 1777 (PnP)

    As Saratoga was not one battle but a month of manuvering and fighting, the challenge was how to model the aspect of time in the game. This was done by creating a two-tier system of a game day and action turns.
    There are 10 “game day” turns in the game, each game day representing one or more historical days. Each game day consists of the following phases.

    Reinforcements Arrival
    Build Forts
    Initiative Check
    Day Action Roll
    American Action Roll (Solitaire)
    Three Action Turns (depends on day action roll)
    End of day (if action that day)

    If the action roll for the day allows for "action" (movement beyond the army bases and combat) during a game day, the game day then has three action turns consisting of the following phases.

    Side With Initiative Movement
    Other Side Movement
    Combat (including Retreats)

    At the end of the combat phase, the game day is over and the end of day phase completes the game day turn.

    Saratoga can be said to have been the turning point of the American Revolutionary War. After the surrender of general Burgoyne and his troops at Saratoga, the French soon entered the war on the side of the Rebels. Without French men, material and money, conceiveably the Colonies might well have lost the war.

    If Saratoga, then, is the most important battle of the war for the Americans, then Benedict Arnold may be their greatest hero because it was his generalship and courage, more than any other, that gave the colonies a positive result at Saratoga. It was Benedict Arnold, whose name has become synonymous with "traitor", who persuaded the cautious, unimaginative American General Gates to aggressively counter British moves at Saratoga that resulted in an American victory and Burgoyne's surrender.

    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Quatre Bras and the Three Arms of Napoleonic Warfare

    In the game Quatre Bras as well as Waterloo, an attempt is made to simulate the use of the three arms of Napoleonic warfare: infantry, cavalry and artillery. When confronted by cavalry, an infantry unit will form a SQUARE. When cavalry is not near, an infantry unit will stay in or revert to LINE formation. Cavalry is vulnerable to the bristling bayonets of an infantry square while an infantry unit in line can be run down by cavalry. A square, on the other hand, is an easy and compressed target for artillery and infantry in line. And artillery is easy prey for infantry in line and cavalry. The snap below shows an Allied unit being forced into square by cavalry then ready to be raked by infantry and artillery fire.