Sunday, May 26, 2013

Funny Little Wars Follow Up

This year's Huzzah convention was as fun as ever and I was able to run my Funny Little Wars game on Saturday. Part of what has kept me from posting lately has been the feeling that on the whole the game was not a huge success. So let's go over what may have made the game experience what it was.

I ran a scenario in which two forces meet and have to take control of two landmarks. The forces are identical and the idea behind the scenario is to see whether a player wants to play it safe and take one objective or somehow manage to control both. In my game each force had colorful units with unit histories and Italian and Croatian titles. The terrain was set up to emulate traditional old school gaming. Basic green landscape with simple houses and a river.

In terms of game mechanics the system worked just fine. Cavalry acted as a fast moving but fragile striking arm. Infantry could cover ground well in column and hold territory once it arrived. Artillery was highly destructive if it hit, had good range, and was almost impossible to aim.

One drawback to the game that became apparent almost immediately was that the imaginary nations of Malomocco and Veglia were highly entertaining to me, but carried no meaning to any of the players. In the books I've read imagi-nation games seem like a lot of fun but that may be because the nations are more recognizable (ie. Army Horizon Blue is France) or because the players have designed and painted their own forces. Of course the other factor is that people who love imagi-nation gaming and write books about it are certainly going to be pretty happy to be playing. For the future I'm going to either seek out players with a love for this kind of gaming or encourage players to create their own forces.

The second drawback to the game is that I may have emulated old school terrain too well. I was just thrilled to make the setup look "just right" but a player in 2013 may be looking for a different experience. In the future I think I'll be adding in a bit more terrain. As in, quite a bit more.

Finally, I think the scenario may have been too subtle. I played a great Bunker Hill game once and I remember what made it so fun was how straightforward the objectives were. For the British- get to the top of the hill. For the Colonials, keep the British from the top of the hill. I probably should have done the Bridge Demolition scenario or the Surprise Attack game.

All this being said the players were good natured and many elements of the game were fun. Cannon that fire real matchsticks are just outrageously entertaining. The Armies in Plastic troops looked just terrific on the field. They paint up just beautifully. We spent a fun few hours and even got to entertain a baby.  I'm not sure I'll be running this at a convention again but amongst friends and interested players Funny Little Wars is a good game.


  1. That baby looks potentially more dangerous tan the cannons!
    It looks like you had a lot of space to operate in. As for scenery, the simple houses look good and evoke HG Wells. But with so much open space without intervening hills, forests and more building. anyone on the offensive would most likely be mowed down.

  2. Well there will definitely be more terrain in the future. I was thinking of piles of old books and persian rugs. Try and make it look like Wells' living room maybe.

  3. A splendid game and great ideas for the next outing of it...