WARGAME WEDNESDAY: Guerilla Checkers, Sekigahara, and Warstuff

Wednesday , 19, October 2016 3 Comments

Brian Train has an interesting post up on Guerrilla Checkers (which I’ve covered here) being used in the training of real life officers:

He reported that it went over well, but as so often happens with this sort of thing a lot of time is spent in explaining the game to people who are unfamiliar with manual games (even though this one has extremely short rules, and the mechanics are derived from two existing ones, it is different) and getting them to play it less gingerly.

It’s true that there has been a tremendous shift in the culture in the past couple of decades. Math teachers can’t take it for granted that students will even be familiar with playing cards or even the foundational “two six sided dice” of Monopoly sets. Still, while the idea of actual soldiers struggling to master a checkers variant is hard to accept, this game really is about as counter-intuitive as they come. It’s going to take a several games for even a die hard gamer to get the hang of it!

Meanwhile, over at The Players’ Aid, Alexander has a review of GMT’s Sekigahara:

I love this game because there’s no number crunching and there’s few minutia to get hung up on, you just kind of have to be gutsy and go out there and fight, and run across the board to capture the resource points. Turtling does you nothing, because you will not have enough points at the end to win.

That sounds like the sweet spot for the sort of complexity level I can handle at the moment. When your primary opponent is thirteen years old, there are limits to how much complexity you can bring to the table. Strangely enough, those limits seem to evaporate if the theme is the sort of thing they’re into, in which case there seems to be no limit to the amount of detail they’re willing to endure!

What if you want to play a miniatures battle with an eleven year old…? Warren Abox has gotten ahold of a one page ruleset called Warstuff!

This is just the sort of game that I’ve been looking for, given that my normal mode of play is essentially solo-play with the added sandbag of helping my young opponent understand the rudiments of strategy and tactics. Much as I’d love something deeper and more complex, you really do need an opponent who can help you remember the fiddly bits and rule exceptions that more rigorous rulesets demand.

Read the whole thing!™

PaxSims (Simulations)

Inside GMT (GMT Games)

Castalia House (Wargames)

Ludic Futurism (Brian Train)

VASSAL (News)

War in a Box (Warren Abox)

The Players Aid (Grant A. Kleinhenz)

3 Comments
  • Brian Train says:

    Thanks Jeffro, and thanks for saying the game is so counter-intuitive!
    I think that two things that got in the instructor’s way were that he had to spend time explaining to them the abstraction-from-reality involved (one reason why he put little icons of trees and buildings on the board, instead of leaving it blank), and getting the students to overcome their reticence about making decisions.
    They are officers in training, and I think are probably still at the stage where they are acutely aware that everything they do and decide to do is watched, evaluated and has consequences.
    In time they’ll get over that, but in the meantime they do everything in groups with a lot of discussion and reasoning out until they get that confidence.

    • Jeffro says:

      Well they do live in a bureaucracy.

      In a field like computer programming or mathematics where creative problem solving is your primary duty, you have to get used to the guess/fudge loop. Entrepreneurs go further with a “fail fast” mindset.

      I suppose if people are liable to die if you “guess” wrong, a different type of culture will necessarily emerge.

  • Anthony says:

    Sekigahara looks Way Cool.

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