Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fort George - Image Miscellany

Salient Place of Arms; an enlargement of the Covered Way, here protected by a traverse. Troops might be assembled here for a sortie against the beseigers or to make a stubborn defense of the Covered Way.
Inside the left-hand bastion. It was such a bitter, windy day I was almost blown off my feet. At the salient point of the bastion, you can make out the little stone sentry box called a guerite.

On the bridge looking toward the rear right of the ravelin. The raised area was the artillery platform that is reached by a long ramp leading from the centre of the "terre pleine" which was the main interior space of the ravelin up to it's salient (or forward) point.

Inside one of the forts' casemates. It was meant to hold 40 soldiers in bomb-proof accomodation. The structure at the rear is a mean little fire-place.

Salient point of a bastion looking into a guerite. Note how the length of the walkway into the guerite illustrates how deep the ramparts of these kinds of fortifications were.

A nice view along the ditch to the sluice gate at the very rear that was to enable the ditch to be flooded. It only worked at high tide! The main gate is on the right, with a bastion standing in the ditch. The ravelin begins at the left of the picture.

A traverse - used to stop shot being fired in enfilade down the covered way. Note the narrow stair set in the counterscarp revetment called a Pas de Souris. It was so narrow as it is to prevent more than one soldier at a time descending into the ditch.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Bridge at Strudelberg

Following some very kind advice from the Old School Wargamers* on running a participation game, I've been thinking rather on scenario design.

My preliminary thoughts (dreamt up while lying insomniac abed whilst trying to get over my jet-lag!) are these:

One idea I have found really helpful in approaching the scenario is to use Victory Points. I'm working toward the idea that the first side to hit a certain number of VPs wins the game. It seems to be a useful way of allowing me to introduce some tension for the players - a tension between means and goals.

To illustrate, I am thinking that one party, the defender, is going to have one main goal and that is to retreat over a bridge, blow it and sail off happily into the sunset. That's his main goal; if he manages that he wins the game... provided he also picks up a subsidiary goal as well that I need to think about as evilly as I may.

Anyway, to this end he's going to have to hold out against roughly 2:1 odds (that's very roughly) whilst a party of pioneers prepares the bridge for demolition. They'll be successful from move "x" on on either the roll of a value on a d6 or the draw of an event card. The spanner in the works for him may well be that as a random event, the Colonels' daughter Miffy may well decide that it's a lovely day for a trip into the countryside. Naturally Miffy's capture will be a major (say 40-60%) flow of VPs to the attacking side.

Likewise, his position will be open to a flanking movement that might put enemies in a position where they can attack the defenders' pioneers and make the destruction of the bridge difficult/impossible. This will also present the difficulty to the defender of having to detatch a sufficiently large force to defend the pioneers. Perhaps the destruction of part of the pioneers will delay the happy moment when the bridge might be blown.

As to the attackers, I want a tension between having to recklessly attack on the one hand and the knowlege that each figure lost gives the defender VPs. I think this will be created by the knowlege that any move after move "X" could yield the event card that says that "Yes, the bridge is ready for demolition". I like event cards!

Likewise, Miffy is a rich source of VPs, but is the risk of snatching her worth the expenditure of soldiers when a determined attack on the defenders at the bridge might end the game at a stroke?

That's about where I am at the moment.

*You know who you are!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Europe Wrap Up

Oh well, home again. The house is now mostly back in order and the jet-lag is mostly overcome, thanks be to Allah.

So, what were the highlights?

For me there were the museums - The Vienna Military History Museum, The National Army Museum in Chelsea, the Imperial War Museum to name a few. I was fascinated by all that I saw in these places, especially by the Prussian trophies in the Vienna Military History Museum. Seeing Frederick the Great's suit of clothes in the German History Museum nearly knocked me flat on my backside, too.

The downside to these museums is that you are generally not allowed to take photographs of the artefacts, but I got past that in most cases simply by buying the guide-books. I'm still waiting to take delivery of a number of these as I did a very big couple of mail-homes of books when Amy and I were in Hay on Wye, so they are still bobbing homewards via surface mail!

I was very interested in the Neolithic remains (although as to whether they had any wargaming potential...) in the Orkneys; especially Skara Brae on Orkney and the Broch I saw on one of the other islands. Couple this with the Housesteads and Vindolanda sites (and the inevitable purchases of guide-books) and I was pretty happy overall.

Unexpectedly for me though, I found that the museums and "sites" did not hold my interest in the way I thought they would. I'd look at an item, go to myself "Oh, 4oo-year-old armour, how interesting" and then move on. It's strange, but I was really finding that I'd rather read a book! I need to think a bit about this.

I'll put up some photos in the next few days as I get them sorted out.