Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blogging through the slog

The slog? Yep. Not just the mood swing - which had already slowed down the lickety-spit with which RD/KA! began 2009; but also a flash of déjà vu when three out of four of the easter extravaganza reports (count them: #1, #3, #4) were marathon sessions at the GIMP, working on yet more "ever thinner Combat Commander battle reports... become uninspiring drudgery to this blogger", to remind readers what I wrote last September. This time, the drudgery was at least productive (all hail the GIMP!); not just nineteen new maps, but a new avenue in fleshing out battle reports with real history and geography.

Even so, that game of Rogue Trooper came along in the nick of time. All the more so since there's shedloads more Combat Commander on the way.

Uncle Joe curses as 2nd front delayed till fall
A recent news update from GMT confirmed what Combat Commander fans already suspected:- that BP#3: Normandy's 40-hour sprint through the P500 preorder system was a record-breaker. We are now looking forward to a September release.

Patrols report enemy in sight!
Another visit from my old gaming buddy Mark is imminent. I imagine we'll play some Up Front, as we do; but what I expect the visit will really be about is Mark's introduction to Combat Commander. A hardened veteran of the long years of Up Front back in 80's Edinburgh, and a seasoned SL/ASL player to boot, I really look forward to seeing what Mark makes of Chad Jensen's retrofitting of the hexmap and counters back into the card deck command and control with which he is already so familiar. Badger'll be there too. This should be good!

"Give me battery access you dumb f..! Ahem... Sir."Regular readers might remember my laying out my criticisms, last December, of a small but important rule in the CC:M RSG: namely that only players in the Attacker posture can start with a radio in their OB. Those among you who also followed the debate surrounding the issue over on CC@BGG might remember I promised to devise and test variant rules. Badger and I are going to give this a go this week.

I've been wondering where to begin on this, and I've decided to KISS! So: all RSG rules will stand with the following exceptions:
  • A player in the Defender posture may buy 1 radio if his Support Roll permits, paying VP as usual.
  • If the Defender buys a radio, advance the Sudden Death marker 1 space up the time track before the game begins.
  • If the Attacker buys a radio, advance the Time marker 1 space up the time track before the game begins.
They say no plan survives contact with the enemy, but could the fix that Badger and I seek really be as simple as this? Time will tell. ;)


Todd A Reed said...

I've been impressed with your output.

Re: GIMP - how do you do the maps? Do track you games on Vassal? Or, are you creating them in GIMP? The maps add so much to the aars.

Enjoy your CC AARs, keep 'em coming.

"A bit political on yer ass!" said...

Hello again Todd. Thank you for your kind words. They are much appreciated.

I used VASSAL facilities to save images:
- Each map.
- All the units, weapons, fortifications and miscellaneous markers, laid out on maps and copied too.

I start by making the scenario sheet, using these parts:
- The backgrounds file (that black with the green trim): GIMP XCF.
- Scans from the game, imported and copied/cropped into layers.
- Map.
- XCF labels pack made using the text tool, superfluous items deleted.

Then I set to work on the battlemaps from a copy of the above file, with these additional parts:
- XCF packs (created by copy/crop again) for the units, weapons, markers etc.

Going into a bit more detail on the assembly:
- I copy each part into the numbers required.
- Position and merge these copies until I have 3 layers for each position (each side and the markers)
- Then merge and flatten these sets of layers into an image file for each position.

This is the result of months and months of trial and error and more labourious methods, and the XCF files still need reworking, but that's how I do the maps now.

Oh, and CC batreps are like meat and potatoes to my blogging, so you can expect to see it for a long time to come Todd. Thanks again for your interest. ;)

Todd Reed said...

While we're on the topic, I've wondered how you, & others, can remember all the details of your games so well. Do you take notes?

"A bit political on yer ass!" said...

Yes Todd, I do take notes.

After more trial and error and other less reliable methods (eg. simple memory), I have taken to recording positions at time triggers if we agree that the situation is interesting enough to merit recording. My basic system is:
- time00
- time01, and/or, etc (as required)
- timeOUT.
I also note outstanding events.

This adds about 5 minutes to each time trigger I record, which nobody seems to mind except me (because I've got to bloody do it!). ;)