I spent my commute yesterday listening to the latest episode of The Miller’s Tale – a Wargaming Podcast.Prior to this Summer, Mike Whitaker was a fixture on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast. I enjoyed his contributions for their dry wit and I was disappointed when Meeples host Neil Shuck announced a change of line-up that saw Mike excluded henceforth.
All is not lost, however, as Mike has now resurrected his own podcast, The Miller’s Tale. I understand Mike lives in a converted mill, hence the title (though I suspect given Mike’s musican interests there may be a hint of Procul Harum in there too).The latest edition has Mike giving a considered review of the Too Fat Lardies company-level WW2 game I Ain’t Been Shot Mum. As a Lardies fan who hasn’t yet played that game I was interested to hear his views.
OK, so IABSM’s ground-scale is pretty much spot on for 1/300th scale models? At first, I thought, “Ooh it would be interesting to have a go at these rules using my 6mm collection”. However, it becomes apparent from the number of individual figures in a section is important and that you need to remove individual figures as casualties occur. I’m not sure I’d want to be fielding individually based 6mm tall figures; it’s easy enough to lose 20mm figures among the undergrowth on a well-detailed table.
I agree with Mike that some degree of uncertainty for the commander is a key part of any enjoyable wargame. His description of “chess with tanks” for a game that doesn’t have restrictions on players’ ability to command their model troops, strikes me as right on the nose. I’m slightly concerned that IABSM way go a little too far the other way, for me, in this regard.
I wasn’t happy with the same company’s version 1 of Sharp Practice as it seemed that an unfortunate run of card play could completely ruin a player’s day (and indeed an umpire’s scenario). And don’t get me started on that damned annoying remember-to-count-the-ones-and-sixes mechanism for random events. I’m a little concerned that IABSM (being a generation older than Chain of Command and SP2) may suffer from some of the same issues.
That aside, IABSM may be worth a look. I just need to ask myself, do I want a company-level game?
At the moment I can run reinforced platoon-level games with Chain of Command or Arc of Fire. I can run Battalion- to Brigade Level games with Tac WW2 and Brigade-plus games with Blitzkrieg Commander. Beyond that I suppose I could use Megablitz but I’ve no great wish to go that big.
So, there is potentially a company-sized gap in the middle there but do I want to run company-a-side games? Well certainly not if it’s going to involve investing in a new scale but if I could use 6mm…? Maybe, but I don’t immediately feel the urge.
It was good, though, to hear a review from someone who has been playing a set of rules for some time. I’d urge Mike to go on doing this. If I had access to podcasting hardware I ought to think about doing something similar for Arc of Fire.
I really enjoyed the episode and, given Mike’s general focus on historical gaming, I think it’s not unlikely that The Miller’s Tale could become my favourite wargames podcast.