Friday, November 9, 2018

The Miller Told His Tale

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.



Tales from Shed HQ said...

Great thanks for the heads up on the new podcast I had wondered where he had gone. With regards to IABSM in 6mm I have seen players, Mark J for one, base there figures on 25mm dia bases (or 2p) in 4's, 3's, 2's and 1's and then swap bases out when required. Might be something to consider.

Cheers, Richard P

Counterpane said...

Cheers Richard. A 6mm version of Michael Leck's 1-2-3 basing? That's an idea!

Mike Whitaker said...

Thank you for the comments! I'll answer a couple of those points in Ep 5's mailbag.

May I quote you on the podcast page?

Counterpane said...

Please do Mike.