Friday, July 24, 2009

Tin Murder

Between scurrying after my six-month-old nephew and starting the preliminary layout of the Stonehell Dungeon compilation, I’m so mind-fried that I’m not seeing straight. The idea of me posting anything resembling something other than the ravings of an Oakdeene Sanitarium “restee” is laughable. So rather than subject you to such rantings of questionable quality, I’ll instead turn your attention to an ancient treatise on miniature warfare known as Little Wars.

"LITTLE WARS" is the game of kings--for players in an inferior social position. It can be played by boys of every age from twelve to one hundred and fifty--and even later if the limbs remain sufficiently supple—by girls of the better sort, and by a few rare and gifted women.

Amongst the books that Project Gutenberg has assembled in its collection is H.G. Well’s Little Wars. Available in a plethora of file flavors, you can download a copy of this hoary set of miniature war gaming rules and get a glimpse at one of the tap roots of the role-playing game hobby for yourself. It’s an interesting read if you have any interest in seeing this pastime of ours evolve into the form we enjoy today.

After reading the text, your homework assignment for this weekend is to reenact the evolution of the hobby beginning with Little Wars and passing through Napoleonic miniature battles and medieval war games. After that, create your own rules for miniature warfare and then a fantasy supplement for those rules. Next develop those rules into a new form of war game and then publish those rules. Revise those rules through a minimum of five editions and then meet back here on Monday to compare notes.

On Monday, we’ll choose up sides and argue.

Have a great weekend, all.

6 comments:

Christopher B said...

Crap... It just dawned on me that over the last five years, I've already almost completed your assigned work - missing only the "revise through five editions" step. (If we accept that zombie horror is acceptable as fantasy, that is.) :P

Tacoma said...

Alright, but I'll warn you, the 5th edition of my fantasy wargame uses 1:0.83 scale figures, and we measure everything in cubits. You must use a dice tower and attacks are resolved by shouting at amphibians until they move onto success or failure spaces on a grid.

Roll 12d5 and Shout 3 Toad on Grid 32A.

Ties are broken by chasing a wheel of cheddar down a hill.

sirlarkins said...

Little Wars is responsible for one of my favorite gaming-related pictures of all time:

http://www.nirya.be/snv/fb/barr2.jpg

Talysman said...

Hey, now, don't forget that Project Gutenberg also has the earler book Floor Games.

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3690

JB said...

I love gutenberg.org. I read both Little Wars and Floor Games there a few moons back...both are quite fun.

: )

Timeshadows said...

If I call all of my tactical/skirmish rules the same game, then, I'm ready to hand in my assignment, professor.