Monday, November 18, 2019

Random: Official News from Blood and Spectacles Publishing

I know many of my readers have been interested in the follow-up plans for Men of Bronze.  I thank you for your support and love to see what you guys have been doing with the rules.  I appreciate all the feedback, and keep adding to the Living FAQ for the game.  In addition, I have also put up a draft QRS here and sent it to Osprey for editing.   

Initially, I had worked with Osprey on a game called Heirs to Empire which would feature the Diadochi wars.  Essentially, the many battles between Alexander’s generals and successors after his death.  IN addition, I was working on a game of early Roman combat set in the Italian peninsula called Conquest! Rome in Italy.  These were essentially mods to Men of Bronze and simply expanded the time period and made some small mods to the rules. 

After further reviewing these games with the Osprey editorial team and working with various miniature manufacturers, it was determined that there simply may not be enough players for such niche games.  They asked that I go back to the drawing board and try to expand the player base.  After some thought, I came back with a few suggested approaches, and we mutually agreed to broaden the scope of the game. 

I am pleased to announce that we have come to terms and Blood and Spectacles Publishing will be creating a new Ancients game for the Osprey Wargaming Series.  The working title for this game is Wars of the Republic which will allow the players to recreate the battles and campaigns of the Roman Republic and their foes.  I am excited as this is a very broad scope of history that will allow me to try and capture a wide variety of ancient combat such as the Triplex Acies, Macedonian Pike blocks, Hoplite warfare, tribal warfare, and some esoteric fighting styles.  In addition, it will allow me to cover fun topics like Pyrrhus of Epirus, the Punic Wars, the Mithridatic Wars, the Parthian Wars, etc.  This will be a tool box to cover various ancient styles of warfare across the Mediterranean.    

The core base of Wars of the Republic, will be the “Mass Battle at a Small Scale” approach similar to Men of Bronze.  If you ever look at reconstruction maps of ancient battles, you can see the approach I am using.  Your army is built of blocks of similar troops.  For example, the Battle of Marathon had three wings of hoplites, a left, right and center.  Therefore, the army on the table in Men of Bronze’s “Mass battle at a Small Scale” approach would be three units of Hoplites, one for left, center, right.  It is a slightly more abstract approach that lays out more like a re-constructed ancient battle map.  This is intended to allow small armies to fight large battles.  Of course, you can scale them as large as you like.  I want to spend more time playing than painting!  

Other features will also pull from the Men of Bronze style.  The game will continue to be scale and model agnostic and use generic troop types.  Command and Control will still be handled by leadership points.  Most combat will be opposed rolls.  However, there will be new special rules, clarified combat rules, a slightly different turn sequence, army structure changes, and a whole new scenario and campaign system. Of course, this is a lot of stuff to test and try out.  The scariest thing about writing ancients rules is that some else knows way more about it than you do! You can help me out by joining the Message board and providing me feedback here.   

As you know, the Osprey Wargaming Series is only 64 pages so some of the history and context may get put on the back burner for research elsewhere.   I am trying to cram a lot of content into a small package.  However, you can expect great Osprey artwork and we are working with vendors for miniature artwork.  The manuscript is due to Osprey by Summer 2020, and probably will be ready to buy in April of 2021.

I have also been in negotiations with Osprey for a second set of rules.  This is not an ancients set, but a different genre.  We have come to terms on the rules for Castles in the Sky.  This is a set of flying battleship rules set in an alternate 1914 setting.  You can find some early test games of the rules on this blog, and that should give you a taste of it.  There are a couple of interesting features in the rules that differentiate them from other game systems:

1.       Height bands
2.       Firepower vs. Armor
3.       Command and Control

Since there are height bands, maneuver is vital as the engagement envelope is relatively small.  Cannons and batteries can fire far, but the sky is a big place…. Even bigger than the ocean!  Therefore, you will need to maneuver your ships into combat position, or to avoid your enemies’ broadsides.  It will take skill to determine the best approach to maximize your firepower and minimize that of your foe.

The core mechanic of the game is Firepower versus armor.  Like Naval combat of the period, some ships could take a colossal beating without losing much fighting power.  Naval combat of the period had a paper-rock-scissors approach to combat.  Battleships could beat Cruisers, which could beat Destroyer, which could torpedo Battleships and then back around again.  This aspect is captured in the flavor of the rules.  You need to apply the right tool to the right job to gain the advantage.    

Finally, Command and Control is a big element of the game with limited command orders, friction, and other elements impacting how your ships react to what you are asking them to do.  Initiative and individual commander skill also play a role in the game. 

The game will have new artwork from Osprey to capture the flavor of the game.  In addition, Brigade Models UK have agreed to provide photographs of their great Aeronef range for the game.  I am very excited to get the manuscript completed for this game by summer 2021 for a likely spring 2022 release.

Lastly, I have one other small announcement.  For a variety of reasons I have been watching way too much Gundam anime and its ilk.  Along with that I have been interested in Jovian Chronicles and Lightning Strike models from Dream Pod 9.  This combined with experimenting with positioning rules for space games combined into a new Work-in-Progress game.  I tentatively call this new game GlitteringVoid.  I have a thread on the message board where you can find the game and leave some feedback.  The game has the basic rules, unit types, scenarios, and some limited campaign rules.  Those need some more work, and I plan on modeling the Black Ops campaign system but modified for this game. 

Please check it out and let me know what you think.  I am always trying to expand my design range, and I think this is a big step as I am trying out various concepts. 

That about covers it.  There is a lot of exciting things in the Blood and Spectacles Publishing space right now.  Keep in touch with us on Facebook. Instagram, the Message Board, and here on the blog to stay up-to-date.  Thanks for reading!        

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1 comment:

  1. Massive congratulations on both the ancient and airborne fronts.