|An unattainable goal for many aspiring Oldhammerers?|
Let me address those questions in two ways. Firstly, our (well definitely mine!) apparent 3rd ed. and 3rd ed. era miniatures fetish. Don't get me wrong - I love all that stuff, as is somewhat obvious by much of the content of this blog. However, this is just the vehicle I (and many others) have chosen for my personal Oldhammer Odyssey because this was the stuff I always wanted to own as a kid. Unfortunately though, as a movement, it seems that concentrating so much on the collecting and painting of old Citadel lead that the perception of Oldhammer is becoming a little skewed. Just look at the difference in the number of posts in the WIP and Showroom boards to the Battle Reports board on the Oldhammer forum, as well as the content of many of our Oldhammer blogs.
This of course (the preponderence painting and collecting) is partly down to not having the time and in many cases, being geographically remote from each other to play many games. Of course there is the need to polish up our old collections models and get our various ebay binges painted up and ready for the table top too. However, Oldhammer is a way of getting the most out of playing the early editions of Warhammer. Its life blood must surely be in the act of playing and sharing the enjoyment of these games with an opponent and hopefully the GM running them.
|A rare and wonderful thing - Oldhammer battle report from Nico's blog Realms of Chaos.|
Yes that is Chaos V. Slann!
Now I'm not here to ridicule, criticise or badmouth others' interpretation of wargaming - most of this stuff is pretty unintelligible to me and I've never experienced it first hand myself. If that's how some folk like to roll then fair enough but its obviously not my cup of tea. I suppose the nearest I've been (or want to be) to suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of Skaven slave spam dual hell pits or a DE dual Hydra unkillable lord is playing games like Wolfenstein 3D online and literally not being able to stay alive for more than a few seconds unless I'd got lost in some remote and unimportant corner of the map - not fun!
Why venture into such apparently arid territory for Oldhammer? Well it seems there is a great deal of energy invested in these communities in working out the best ways to win, max out your army list and counter killer combinations in your opponent's army - all based on the regular playing and desire to win the game.
So I thought why not flip this on its head.
Bear with me - I'm not proposing we begin endless debates on the best army lists to be mined out of the Warhammer Armies book - such a thing would be anathema to the Oldhammer concept that there are no Army lists, or rather that you shouldn't feel constrained in building a scenario or organising a game by the limitations enforced by such lists.
Nor am I suggesting that tactics for winning against various armies become a hot topic for debate.
|And you thought your Space Marines were AWESUM!|
Instead we need to talk more about "winning" at Oldhammer and by that I mean how do we go about organising, playing and making the experience enjoyable, fun and fulfilling for all concerned.
Ideally we'd have lots of games that have been played and could be up for discussion in terms of what worked and what didn't. However, as we know, time and distance are a little against us for that.
As a lot of us haven't played regularly or GM'ed a game for a long time and it seems to be a bit of a worry for some with the Oldhammer Weekend approaching, might I suggest we see more topics along the lines of tips for GM'ing. Ask the question - how do I set up/tweak a scenario idea to provide both players with a suspenseful and exciting experience? What makes a good scenario? Share ideas on cooperative play that might also have conflicting objectives to spice it up a little. Begin discussions on how to map hidden movement or use wandering monsters and third party forces. I know various folk have dabbled in this already, I just think we need moar! I would imagine the upcoming Oldhammer event will change this in terms of the amount of games that will be played over the weekend and I look forward to reading about people's experiences as players and GM's.
|Oops - wrong one!|
I recently reread Dr Bargle's excellent article on the Pathetic Aesthetic in Old School Gaming. This kind of intelligent and self-deprecating debate is great too. Personally I love it as an intellectual exercise but the argument is a strong one and the pathetic aesthetic is essentially key to getting the right flavour for Oldhammer gaming - for this see especially what he says about the Magnificent Sven and Lichemaster scenarios. Further exploration of the ways these ideas could be put to practical use as a GM would be another valuable avenue of discussion.
In fact all that talk of RPG's has got me thinking and I've long been enamoured of the idea of including elements of them on the tabletop. There is some excellent material at Oldhammer as RPG for gaming in this way - either going down the line of playing 1st ed. as an RPG or adding meat to tabletop characters in the form of random characteristics generation, character progression and injury charts. I rather like the idea of taking some lowly character and playing a series of scenarios that widen in scope as he/she advances, until they either meet an untimely demise or retire with their ill-gotten gains.
Influences from other sources is another valuable topic - personally, having finally tracked down copies of the Advanced Fighting Fantasy books, Dungeoneer and Blacksand, I'd love to translate them to the table top somehow - possibly using 1st or 2nd ed. rules and stats.
Fighting the Trolltooth Wars would be another good one - either from the two evil and warring Wizard's point of view, or from some lowly Captain in there armies, be that Hill Goblin Chieftain or Rhinoman Officer.
Think of all the fun you could have putting together and converting the miniatures for Zharradan Marr and Balthus Dire's Chaotic forces together from umpteen different manufacturers!
I'll wrap up my long and rambling post by doing my bit for Oldhammer style meta-gaming - here are a few scenarios I posted some time ago on the Oldhammer Forum. I can't remember whether or not I ever put them on the blog so either way here they are again. For the sake of giving some form to the possible forces that could be used I used the Warhammer Armies book for the various troop types - feel free to use whatever is in your collections though!
Here's a more basic scenario from when we were thinking about putting together a retroclone WFB
Enjoy and do share your thoughts on the matter - perhaps we could even have a set of rules that has its tongue stuck firmly in its cheek on how to be a good Oldhammerer like this send up of WAAC players!