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March 7th, 2014
How Board Games Help Kids to Develop Skills
Do you need a new mode of entertainment for your kids, especially something that’s gadget-free, educational and fun? In such a case, engaging them with classic board games is a good idea. Besides being fun, they also teach your children strategy skills, colours, teamwork and is great way to bond with the whole family.
Traditional board games include Chess, Chinese Checkers, Ludo and Snakes & Ladders, to name a few. At the turn of the 19th century, a number of new games were invented such as Life, Monopoly and Scrabble which became family heirlooms. It is only in very recent times that, we have seen a spurt of interest in strategy-based games involving adults who use advanced tactics during game play. The Settlers of Catan (a multiplayer board game where the players become settlers trying to trade property and gain resources) is one such game that originated in Germany. These will keep the older kids engaged.
Now, let’s move onto the benefits of board games:
1. Bonding Time: Board games are the best way for children to bond with their friends and family. We live in an age when everyone is busy with gadgets, therefore it’s important to build a platform for communication that will allow kids to understand their parents and be understood in return. Moreover, it also creates time for some fun.
2. Learning Skills: Playing board games can be more than just fun. These games are a great mechanism to test an individual’s intelligence, strategy and skills. The way a person understands and reacts to different situations is what makes the game interesting and different every time it is played. Younger children will also learn colours, shapes, figures and numbers better and faster while they play these games.
3. Life Lessons: Remember that Snake & Ladders game you grew up playing, it is a great way to teach young kids about numbers. Similarly games like Ludo, Business and Monopoly are a great way to learn strategy skills. Games like Scrabble and Soduku help develop language and math skills.
4. Problem Solving Skills: Problem solving is an important skill that every kid must learn and board games are a stepping stone to acquiring these skills, as they try to recover from a heavy debt in Monopoly or avoid a crisis in the Game of Life.
5. Budget Entertainment: A movie ticket, a visit to the nearest mall or a tour to the park will cost you money. But getting your hands on a board game will only lead to fun moments that you will cherish.
With inputs from Dr. Shyam Makhija, Director, Business Development – Pegasus ToyKraft Pvt.Ltd and founder of Checolo
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images
Axis and Allies Global 1940 for First Time Players
OK, so you’ve been invited to play a game of Axis and Allies 1940 Global with a few of your friends, however, there’s just one problem; you don’t know a thing about it!
Well don’t worry, we’re going get you up to speed so you can feel comfortable around the gaming table. This should also help your friends by relieving some of the stress involved when teaching such a complicated game. Keep in mind that this article is just a short primer; more like a briefing than a full fledged tutorial.
What is Axis and Allies?
Axis and Allies a World War 2 strategy board game which has a lot of small poker chips, plastic miniature figures, cardboard counters, 6 sided dice, and one massive map of the world.
It helps if you have had experience playing strategy board games like Chess, or Risk, but it’s not necessary. A little knowledge of World War 2 would also come in handy. Basically you rewrite the history books by playing the roles of some of the most powerful leaders of the century while changing the events of the Second World War…. Awesome right?
A brief history of Axis and Allies.
Axis and Allies is a huge franchise of war strategy games created by Larry Harris. The phenomenon began with the first edition released in the early 1980’s by Milton Bradley. Since then, there have been many, many subsequent variants published by Avalon Hill, and Wizards of the Coast including the game you are learning today : Axis & Allies 1940 Global 2nd Edition, which from here on in will be referred to simply as A&A.
In A&A there are major powers like Germany and The United Kingdom, and minor powers like France and China. Before the game the experienced players will divide the nations among everyone in a way that is fair. It’s quite normal for 1 player to control up to 3 nations, while a new player is given 1 to handle. There are a total of 9 Nations in A&A, and one of the most important things to remember is, none of them are on even terms. Some begin the game with more units than others, some begin the game with more money than others, and some don’t even get to fight right away. Learn only the nation you have been chosen to play, who your teammates are, where your capital is, how much money you start with, and what your national objectives are.
The order of play.
In A&A, there are a lot of things that have already been predetermined, such as the setup of starting units, the amount of starting income, the relationships between players/nations, and the order of play. At the beginning of every game, Germany will begin their turn sequence. Chances are this will not be you! Germany is arguably the most difficult nation to play, and quite possibly the most fun.
Regardless, the order of each round of play is as follows; Germany, U.S.S.R, Japan, U.S.A, China, United Kingdom, Italy, ANZAC, France.
The turn sequence.
In every game, during every round, for every nation, a specific turn sequence must be followed. Using Germany as an example, we are going to go through the turn sequence together…. ready?
#1- Research & Development – It is recommended that you don’t attempt this in your first game, for simplicities sake
#2- Repair Damaged Units – spend money to repair capital ships & facilities.
#3- Purchase New Units – look at everything available to buy, decide what you think you will need at the end of your turn, and place it to the side (they don’t go on to the game board until the end of your turn).
#4- Combat movement – this is the most difficult phase in the whole sequence.
#5- Resolve combat – take over (or at least attempt to take over) territories, and sea zones occupied in step #4 by rolling dice.
#6- Non-Combat Movement – move any unit that was not already moved, or is required to move after combat.
#7- Collect Income – get money for all territories, national objectives, and conquered capitals.
#8- Place New Units – spawn the units that you bought in step 3 on any eligible territory or sea zone.
There are different strategies by different types of players, that said, here is an example of Germany’s first turn…
Research & Development
Repair Units & Facilities
Purchase New Units:
1 Strategic Bomber
SZ#106 – 1 Submarine
SZ#110 – 2 Submarines, 1 Battleship, 2 Fighters, 2 T.Bombers, 1 S.Bomber
SZ#111 – 2 Submarines, 2 Fighters, 1 T.Bomber, 1 S.Bomber
France – 7 Infantry, 4 M.Infantry, 3 Artillery, 3 Tanks
Baltic States – 3 Infantry, 2 Tanks, 1 T.Bomber
Eastern Poland – 2 Infantry. 3 Tanks
Bessarabia – 2 Infantry, 1 Tank, 1 Fighter, 1 T.Bomber
1 Cruiser, 1 Transport into SZ#113 / 2 Infantry from Germany into Norway
3 Infantry from Norway into Finland
3 Infantry from Germany into W.Germany
6 Infantry, 3 Artillery, 1 AA Gun from Germany into Poland
6 Infantry, 2 Artillery, from S.Germany into Slovakia
1 AA Gun from Germany into Slovakia
1 AA Gun from Germany into W.Germany
3 AA Guns from W.Germany into N.Italy
1 T.Bomber from Poland into Poland
1 T.Bomber from Germany into Poland
1 Fighter from Slovakia into Slovakia
All surviving air units from the Atlantic into W.Germany
Place new units:
1 Strategic Bomber into W.Germany
1 Fighter into W. Germany
1 Destroyer into SZ#113
$5 National objective
$19 Capital gain
Now before you start freaking out, and thinking about how you’re gonna get out of this game, just remember that you won’t have to deal with these kinds of decisions your first time. If the circumstances are right, you will be given a small role with lots of advice from more experienced teammates. There will be plenty of time between turns to evaluate the board, read the materials, and ask for help.
The unit profiles and details.
There are many different units that can be purchased, and placed on the board to ultimately support your war effort. Some units fight on land to take over valuable territories, some fight on sea to strategically strengthen your position, and some have no combat value at all, but can allow extended movement, or better spawning locations. What ever unit you buy, remember that it has many attributes and rules that are specific to them only. However, the only thing you need to know in your first game is… how much does it cost, how far can it move, what is it’s attack value, and what is it’s defense value. Luckily for you, all this information is displayed on charts in both lower corners of the game board.
Your teammates will help you with many of the complicated rules associated with each unit, however, you will be doing them a great service if you can learn the basic statistics of each unit by using the charts provided.
A&A game plans and strategies
To put it in its most basic terms your role in the game is to take new territories while keeping the ones you already own. After that, you should just try and have fun. That said, remember this: experienced A&A players are a weird species. We have played, and talked about this game to death. Don’t let us play your nation for you by telling you what to buy, where to move, what to attack, and with what. Ask us to explain all your options, and then choose one with conviction. Understand that there is no “one way” to play this game! My Germany turn 1 blueprint above for example is widely unpopular with other experienced players, but I play it every chance I get.
There is one truth to this game, and that is “there are no perfect plans”, and if there were, they would get humbled by simple mistakes, or angry dice gods (I told you we are weird).
A&A game etiquette
When invited to play A&A at someone’s house try to be mindful of some bad habits that most new players fail to correct.
In A&A, you will be required to roll lots of dice. Try to do this quickly and efficiently. You know.. without throwing them hard and wiping out pieces on the board, or constantly dropping them on the floor. Try and find a small box to roll in if one is not provided, and confirm how many dice to roll before you toss them.
Keep a clean play area. If you have a minute between turns (and chances are you will), put your casualties back in your parts tray, and keep your drink on a separate table beside you.
Don’t get mad over poor dice rolls! Everyone knows that you can’t control the outcome of the dice, so don’t behave like you can.
And finally, don’t be a dick! If you are trash talking too much, over celebrating your rolls, or blaming team mates for loses, they won’t invite you back to play the best board game ever, and you will end up alone in the online game forums (where the really weird ones play).
This could be the beginning of a life long obsession that could turn you into an elite strategist. Embrace it and understand that you are playing a highly popular game franchise that has sold millions of copies world wide. Watch some youtube videos that explain the basics of the game (BGRWJ 002 is a good one). Also maybe watch some World War 2 documentaries to get you in the mood. Nothing makes me want to play quite like watching footage of Rommel cutting across Africa, the great Marianas turkey shoot, or the Battleship Hood and Bismarck stand off.
Perhaps after reading this, you will become compelled to download the rule book from wizards.com, or maybe I have made you run away to never speak of this game again! What ever you do, good luck and most of all, HAVE FUN!
How to get people to use your House Rules (For Axis and Allies)
So you’ve got some great new House Rules (in your own view, anyway) for Axis and Allies and you’d like others to cooperate and play along. This is not always easy, but here are a few tips that will improve your chances of selling your ideas:
1. Introduce your rules to brand new players.
One of the hardest things for people to do in life is change. Just think how hard it is for people to stop smoking, stay on a diet, etc. – and remember it is just as hard for someone who has been playing this game for years to change a rule. On the other hand, a new player comes into the room ready for anything – they’ve never played before, so all is readily accepted.
2. Play at your house.
People will be more likely to try your ideas on your turf. Especially if they are eating your snacks and drinking your drinks.
3. Learn the history of the rules of the game.
This requires some homework. You should know the history of each of the rules that you are trying to adjust. There may already be a rule like you want in place from a past edition of the game. Or you may find you will have a hard time selling your idea of navy frogmen since that has never been in the game at all. This is a sheet I made in order to learn the history of strategic bombing rules in Axis and Allies:
4. Create an official edition of your house rules and hand out copies to the players ahead of time.
This is not that hard to do with all the publishing programs available out there. Players will not be impressed with your crumpled, handwritten, misspelled house rules. And don’t try to get away with saying “the rules are in my head.” Here is an example of one of my Axis and Allies rulebooks that has house rules in it:
5. Make your game changes look professional.
Here is one of my player cards. After some practice I’ve been able to make these cards identical in quality to the stock cards that come with the game. If there are any price changes to the units, you cannot tell that there was a change. Don’t get sloppy and white-out prices or scotch tape your ideas on there – you are asking for trouble!
Here is a photo of a change I made to my map recently. Can you see it? I added Burma and the Burma Road to my 1942 map with a sticker. I printed 3+ stickers before I finally got the exact size and shade to match. Don’t get lazy – if it looks professional people will accept it.
6. If possible, have a president for your house rule.
If you can say “this rule is based on a rule from the 1984 Edition of Axis and Allies” it will be accepted better than saying “this is something I came up with myself.”
7. Play test your rules ahead of time before introducing them – make sure they actually work.
Bounce it off the veteran players on the forum. Don’t change something before testing and then have to change it back – it makes you look like you don’t know what you are doing.
8. If you get a heckler questioning the change, point out that there have been about 18 OFFICIAL sets of rule changes published for Axis and Allies since 1984.
Tell him this is not an ancient game with established rules like chess that has been around thousands of years – the rules aren’t hardened into stone yet.
9. If you still get resistance, you can always hang this quote from Larry Harris in your game room like I did and point to it – after all, Mr. Harris invented the game – his opinion should always count!
10. If everybody really hates your idea, don’t try to push it.
You may think it’s the greatest idea in the world but it may actually be a bad idea. File it away and rethink it later. Better to have a room full of friends playing a game that’s not quite perfect than playing your perfect game all by yourself.
Appended advice by CWO Mark :
11. Keep the number of house rules manageable.
House rules can be viewed as seasoning which should be applied sparingly to the game; their purpose is to tweak the official rules, not replace them. The greater the number of house rules, the harder they are to memorize and the more they have the potential to fundamentally alter or unbalance the game. One way of splitting the difference is to have a large list of potential house rules, but to use only a small number of them in each game; choosing with your fellow players which house rules will be used in a particular game can be fun, and it adds variety to your get-togethers because you’re playing a slightly different game each time.
12. Have your supplementary rulebook state the overall objective of your house rules (assuming that they’re guided by a defining principle).
For example, the purpose of your house rules could be: a) to make the game go faster; b) to alter the balance of victory probability for one side or the other; c) to explore a particular alternate-history scenario; d) to correct perceived flaws in the official rules; e) to reflect more accurately the performance and/or cost of particular combat units; f) to create a game variant that uses a fundamentally different game mechanic (such as concealed play, using two game boards and a referee). Players may be more willing — or may even be enthusiastic — about using your house rules if they understand what you’re trying to accomplish with them.
House rules for many games can be a fantastic addition or welcomed change from the usual. If you’ve got some great ideas for changes to ANY game never hesitate to write them down and see how they play out. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results!
The Ten (10) Most Popular Board Games in History
Written by Alan Boyle for Listverse.com (Reproduced without permission) on
For thousands of years, board games have been a source of entertainment for people across the world. Evidence of board games pre-dates the development of writing—and in many cultures they have even come to have a religious significance. What is particularly striking about a number of these games is how their original ethics and morals have been stripped by big business realising they could make a quick buck off them. Here are ten of the most important board games from ancient and modern history:
** Editor Note : “Go”, used by Chinese and Japanese military schools as a strategic/tactical exercise could and should arguably be on this list as well. “The rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go”. Monks, emperors and commoners alike, all played Go which has been around since at least the 4th century BC. **
Tafl was a very popular game among the Vikings. One player aims to get his king from the centre of the board to the edges, while the other does everything he can to capture him. Tafl spread across Europe (just like Viking genes) and became the chess of its day; noblemen would boast of their skill on the board.
Tafl was the inspiration for the game Thud, based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. There is still the occasional World Championship—but the fact that these take place on an island with a population of eighty-six makes me doubt how much of a “world” championship it really is. A bit more pillaging may be in order.
The Landlord’s Game was invented in 1903 by Maryland actress Lizzie Magie. The game board consisted of a square track, with a row of properties around the outside that players could buy. The game board had four railroads, two utilities, a jail, and a corner named “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages,” which earned players $100 each time they passed it.
This should all sound quite familiar: the fact is, The Landlord’s Game was patented three decades before Charles Darrow “invented” Monopoly and sold it to Parker Brothers.
The Landlord’s Game—later known as Prosperity—was intended to illustrate the social injustice created by land ownership and “rent poverty.” It also offered a solution to this injustice: players could opt to have rent from properties they owned paid into a communal pot, which would then be shared out, making things better for everyone.
The great irony of the story is that when the idea was stolen by Darrow, the prosperity-for-all ideal was removed completely—and the game that went on to be played by more than one billion people ended up encouraging them to make their opponents bankrupt.
The sixteenth century Indian game of Vaikuntapaali—also known as Leela—was a tool for teaching morality and spirituality.
It was the game that went on to be launched as Chutes and Ladders in America (and Snakes and Ladders elsewhere).
In the original version, the climbing of a ladder was supposed to show players the value of good deeds in the search for enlightenment; the chutes—or snakes—were meant to show that vices such as theft and murder would bring spiritual harm to the sinner.
The Victorians altered the moral teachings when they brought the game to England in the late nineteenth century. Although in the original one could achieve a state of eternal Nirvana, the British fondness for understatement meant that in the Western version, one simply achieved “success.” By the time Milton Bradley brought it to America in 1943, all anyone really wanted was a bit of distraction (something must have been weighing on people’s minds in the early 1940s), and so the game became what it remains today: a basic race to the finish.
A precursor to Tick-Tack-Toe, Nine Men’s Morris is a game in which counters are placed on a grid with the aim of creating lines of three. Once all the pieces are down, they can be moved one space per move. Whenever a player forms a row of three, he can remove one of his opponent’s pieces from the board. The first player down to two pieces loses.
The simplicity of the game board meant that people across the world could create their own without much hassle. Boards dating as far back as 1440 B.C. have been found carved into steps and rocks in Sri Lanka, Bronze Age Ireland, ancient Troy and the Southwestern United States.
Not content with scarring the landscape alone, it seems that fans through history carved the board into seats, walls, and even tombstones across England. For all the concern over World of Warcraft, we’ll know computer game addiction has become truly serious when people start vandalizing their nearest graveyard for a quick fix.
When Parker Brothers republished The Mansion of Happiness: An Instructive Moral and Entertaining Amusement in 1894, they claimed that it had been the first board game published in the US—way back in 1843. The game was in fact probably the second game published in the US; but it is still noteworthy as a successor to the “race to the afterlife” theme common in many older religious games.
The game designers had to use technicalities to get past the the then-sinister connotations of gambling (a six-sided die is Satanic, a six-sided spinner not so much). The board consisted of a basic roll-and-move track—saturated with more Puritanism than should rightfully fit on a piece of cardboard. Sabbath-breakers are sent to the whipping post (whips sold separately), and the vice of Idleness will land you in Poverty. The game also includes what is perhaps the worst rule ever prescribed in the history of board games, with a player sometimes required to wait “till his turn comes to spin again, and not even think of happiness, much less partake of it.”
Luckily, “do not partake of happiness” is a rule that didn’t really catch on.
Senet is the oldest board game known to exist. Sets have been found in burial chambers from as far back as 3,500 B.C.—including four in Tutankhamen’s tomb. Game boards were three squares wide and ten squares long, and sets typically had five to seven pieces for each player. Though the original rules have been lost, there is general consensus that the aim is to race one’s pieces across the board, using thrown sticks as an equivalent for dice.
Though it began as a secular form of entertainment, Senet soon took on a religious significance for the Egyptians. The squares were marked with various symbols representing the gods and other aspects of the afterlife. When you play modern board games, the best you can hope for is entertainment; but players completing Senet “ritually joined with the sun god while still alive and thus assured their survival of the ordeals of the netherworld even before dying.” Handy.
Mancala refers to a family of games with the same basic method of play.
Known as count-and-capture games, there is some evidence to suggest that they may be the earliest games played—predating even Senet but further verification is needed.
To play the game, all you need is a patch of soft ground and a handful of seeds or pebbles. Rows of holes are dug alongside one another, and players distribute counters one at a time in a path round the board. There are a number of goals; but the key to victory in every version is basically to count really fast.
Mancala was little-known in Europe and America until relatively recently. A report from the Smithsonian Institute described it as the “national game of Africa.”
Players aim to race their pieces around the board, with moves determined by a throw of cowry shells. An opponent’s pieces can be captured by landing on the same square, and two of a player’s pieces on the same square can merge into a “super-piece”.
The Mogul Emperor Akbar I played the game on a giant board, using slave-girls instead of pieces. How two of these “pieces” merged into a “super-piece” is unclear—and a Google search for “slave girl pieces” returns results about, shall we say, other things.
Chaturanga is a game that deserves to be known, if only because of its enormous legacy: chess.
There are few games as widely known as chess. Chess became an extension of the Cold War in 1972; it has ousted all contenders in Europe for the title “Game of Kings”—and the western game is not alone. The Chinese have Xiangqi, the Japanese play Shogi, and there are equivalents in Korea, Thailand and India. Chess is sometimes used as an analogy for life itself, and in the popular mind it is a symbol of genius.
Chaturanga—which dates from as far back as the seventh century A.D.—is the common ancestor of all the modern versions of chess. The board and most pieces are the same, though the exact rules are sadly forgotten. But it seems that the creators of Chaturanga hit upon the formula that would go on to spread the game throughout the world: The pure battle of skill. The almost infinite complexity. The scope for beauty. And the resemblance to much of real life.
The Royal Game of Ur is the oldest-known board game for which the original rules survive. The oldest sets, discovered in Iraq in the 1920s, date to around 2600 B.C. The Royal Game of Ur is a race game, much like Senet, in which one throws dice to move one’s pawns towards the goal.
The game had been thought long-dead—superseded by backgammon 2000 years ago—until game enthusiast Irving Finkel (who had poetically discovered the game’s rules carved into an ancient stone tablet) stumbled upon a surprising photograph of a game board from modern India. A small amount of detective work later, Finkel met a retired schoolteacher who had played what was basically the same game as a youngster—making this the game that has been played for longer than any other in the history of the world.
You can play it by clicking the link here. As you play, bear in mind that it has outlasted all of the world’s greatest empires, and is older than all the world’s major religions. That’s the power of board games. Don’t let this one die at the hands of the Playstation.
The Twenty (20) Most popular Board Games (of all time)
Are you thinking of hosting a board game night? Do you have a yearning for the good old days of board games? If so, (or even just out of interest) check out this list of the 20 most popular board games ever made * ; some of which are centuries old!
Admittedly not all of these games are great party games (and in fact, many fantastic party games will likely never show up on lists like these; Cards Against Humanity is a good example!) while at the same time others would absolutely kill a party (but are amazing “get-together with a few good friends for a day” type games, such as Axis and Allies). In any case they are all classics for sure.
** Source : BeaumontEntprise.com
|1 – Chess2 – Checkers
3 – Monopoly
4 – Scrabble
5 – Clue
6 – Risk
7 – Life
8 – Chutes and Ladders
9 – Othello
10 – Axis and Allies
|11 – Trivial Pursuit12 – Go
13 – Mancala
14 – Backgammon
15 – Battleship
16 – Stratego
17 – Connect 4
18 – Pictionary
19 – Scattergories
20 – Cranium
How HG Wells Created Hobby War Gaming 100 Years Ago
Reported by Trevor Timpson of BBC News on August 2nd, 2013
Illustrated London News picture from 1913, showing Wells measuring a move with string
It is a century since HG Wells published the first proper set of rules for hobby war games. There’s a hardcore of gamers who are still playing by his code.
Pine tips are stuck in the grass to represent trees. Roads are laid out with trails of compost.
This is the Battle of Gettysburg, with Union soldiers on one side and Confederates on the other. But the soldiers of this new Gettysburg are 54mm (2in) tall and mostly made of plastic.
The battle is taking place between a group of enthusiasts in a garden at Sandhurst military academy under the rules of Little Wars, devised by HG Wells in 1913.
War was then looming in Europe and Little Wars was both an expression of Wells’s passion for toy soldiers and to his fears over the coming slaughter. The science fiction author even believed that war games could change attitudes.
“You only have to play at Little Wars three or four times to realise just what a blundering thing Great War must be,” wrote Wells.
|The game is a forerunner of modern formats like the Warhammer system sold by Games Workshop.Sandhurst chaplain Paul Wright has updated Wells’s rules – retitled Funny Little Wars – and says about 100 people in the UK still play it. A veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Wright has been war gaming since he was a child.
“As an army chaplain, having buried a lot of people and had friends of mine killed, I’d hate to think I was trivialising war but I don’t think I am,” he says.
For a lot of people, says Brian Carrick, one of the Union “generals” at the Sandhurst recreation, the fun of war gaming is “about the rules and recreating history and experiencing command in a battle – but for me it’s simply about playing with my soldiers. I collect them, I paint them, I enjoy them and this gives me something to do with them.”
The actual firing of miniature artillery pieces is at the heart of the Wells school of war gaming.
A Funny Little Wars game sees rival commanders bombard their adversaries with matchsticks, fired with little spring-loaded triggers in the tiny cannons. Careful measurements from where the matches land decide the number of victims.
But this is looked on with disapproval by some modern war gamers, who prefer theoretical bombardments worked out with distance tables.
Phil Barker, a celebrated deviser of modern games, acknowledges Wells’s role in “showing it could be done – and giving grown men an excuse to play with toy soldiers”.
But he adds: “Combat was based on shooting solid projectiles at the figures. Today, this would be discouraged because of the risk of someone getting a projectile in the eye, but it was the chance of damage to the finish of lovingly home-painted figures that led to the switch to less lethal dice.”
Wells was not bothered by casualties to his soldiers. He fired inch-long wooden dowels from his favourite toy cannons, models of 4.7in (120mm) naval guns, and they could take the head off a fragile hollow-cast lead soldier.
Herbert George Wells, 1866-1946
Modern toy soldiers are beautifully sculpted and coloured and some war gamers treat them “like their wife’s jewellery”, says Little Wars player Dr Anthony Morton. In Wells’s day “they were not regarded as works of art – they were bland in detail and very cheap to replace”.
The author’s sons’ nurse Mathilde Meyer once wrote: “Hopelessly damaged soldiers were melted down in an iron spoon on the schoolroom floor, and others had a new head fixed on by means of a match and liquid lead.”
When the forces in Little Wars get close enough to exchange small arms fire things get complicated, with tables consulted and dice rolled to decide how many soldiers must be taken off the field.
Wells laid down that a gun is captured “when there is no man of its own side within six inches of it”, and at least four opponents have “passed its wheel axis going in the direction of their attack”.
There are rules about how much forage the cavalry need every six moves and how many moves it takes engineers to rebuild a railway bridge.
At Sandhurst, the early stages of the battle bring success for the Confederates. The Yankee side deployed a lot of men to receive an expected attack from the west.
But when they get close, the Confederate flags on that side turn out to be dummies, and the blues are left underprepared for a mass grey assault from further north.
For Wells, the horror of WWI and what he called the “almost inconceivable silliness” of the top brass had a great effect on him.
“Up to 1914 I found a lively interest in playing a war game, with toy soldiers and guns… and I have given its primary rules in a small book,” he recalled.
“I like to think I grew up out of that stage somewhen between 1916 and 1920 and began to think about war as a responsible adult should.”
Still ready for action
That makes it sound as though Wells cashiered his toy soldiers. But he did not.
The writer Colin Middleton Murry later recalled a war game on a childhood visit to Wells in the 1930s.
“He rushed round frantically, winding up clockwork trains, constructing bridges and fortifications, firing pencils out of toy cannons. It was all quite hysterical – quite unlike any grown-up behaviour I had ever known.”
War gaming is fun but is also a pointer to the true horror of war, Wright says. He agrees with Wells, who wrote of his game: “How much better is this amiable miniature than the Real Thing!”
From Little Wars (inset): HG Wells in hat, war gaming in the garden of his home at Easton Glebe, Essex
August 3rd, 2013
Scams found on Indiegogo are endangering Kickstarter Campaigns
(Edited from Gameskinny.com)
Kickstarter has been home to many projects. Indiegogo isn’t too far behind, but is different on a few levels. While Kickstarter’s payment policy is that the funders’ money goes through once the campaign is successfully completed, Indiegogo has a policy that allows payment to follow through with PayPal immediately with their “flexible funding” model. It’s poor etiquette to use multiple crowdfunding sites for the same project, so if you see a doubled campaign, something fishy is probably going on.
There have been four cases thus far where Kickstarter projects have been copied, picture for picture, word for word, on Indiegogo;
The ShopBot Handibot and Pirate3D Buccaneer 3D printer are two with larger monetary goals, plus two comic campaigns, Hinges and Like a Virus. Each project’s content was found shortly after on Indiegogo using slightly different names. Once discovered, the original owners or community notified Indiegogo of the fraud and they were dealt with; however, it appears that Indiegogo is not actively working to prevent situations such as this.
Despite Indiegogo’s security protocols, the fake campaigns still managed to slip through. The Head of Communications Marketing won’t elaborate on their internal protocols for handling the fraudulent cases, but remarked that they are “pleased with [their] success working with [their] partners at PayPal to eliminate fraud.” With the huge growth in crowdfunding, lax security measures could mean more scammers slipping through the cracks.
Of course, Kickstarter isn’t immune to fraud on its own fronts, as evidenced by The Doom That Came to Atlantic City board game. Though it had received its goal amount, the owner blew through the funders’ money and left them without the rewards and product they were promised. Though it seems it didn’t start out with ill intentions, the outcome was similar to what the Indiegogo scammers’ goals intended. (Note : The Doom’s project creator IS offering all backers a print and play version of the game AND Cryptozoic has stepped in to rescue the project)
It’s already hard enough to earn funding, let alone followers’ trust when it comes to reaching any range of campaign targets. With doppelgänger projects popping up, potential funders are confused and taken advantage of, pooling their money into false accounts easily through Indiegogo’s flexible funding payment model.
How can you prevent this happening to you?
The community can be wary and helpful, but campaign owners can keep tabs on who’s talking about their projects. Like a Virus co-creator Ken Lowley suggested on Comics Alliance to put Google Alerts on both your name and project name, or any project-specific terms found in the posting. If you find that the wrong crowdfunding platform is getting paired with your project, you’ll know something’s gone awry.
Also, a Google Chrome extension called TinEye tracks where a picture originates from plus any other places it’s being used. It might be an effort sifting through the pictures if your campaign is buzzworthy and circulating everywhere, but it is one viable option.
And for people who are both Kickstarter AND Indiegogo supporters, do your homework before you fund a project. You don’t want anyone snatching your money away. Double check and make sure the project is legitimate. Fortunately the vast majority of projects are honest and deserving and have people of integrity and creativity behind them, so don’t shy away; Just be smart.
Painting Tutorial and Resource for Axis And Allies
There are a lot of great painted pieces out there, but I have not stumbled upon a single thread that includes a tutorial or explanation of HOW to paint your Axis and Allies game pieces. Hopefully this can be a resource for anyone interested in painting their own sets or for anyone who has any questions regarding painting.
I have been painting since I got my first Axis and Allies 1942 set two years ago; I finished that and have moved onto my Axis and Allies 1940 Global set.
My work has progressed from my first crude brown and maroon T-34s to my newly finished AVG Flying Tiger with shark camo and Chinese roundels. I would call myself experienced, but not an expert or professional. I find time between school and my job to paint, so it gets done based on how much time I have.
I’d like to start with the tools and paints used;
PAINTS AND TOOLS
I use acrylic paints (oils would be a nightmare, and I don’t think they would work well). You can get them at your local Hobby Lobby or Michaels (or any arts and crafts store, or even the Dollar Store) for about $.90 to $1.30, depending on which brand you use and where you purchase it.
You will need a good variety of paints…probably anywhere from 15-30. Here is a sampling of some of the paints I use.
As you can see, I don’t stick to one brand- if you’re willing to shell out the money, I’ve heard Vallejo paints are good too (editors note: Vallejo paints are excellent, but rather expensive for this task – best to stick with them for miniature wargames like Warhammer and the likes). I find that the paints I have suit me just fine.
Here is a list of colors I think you will need to start.
- Royal Blue
- Bright Red (but not orangey…be careful)
- A dark forest green
- A lighter army green
- A burgundy maroon color (optional)
- A nice raw sienna (brown but slightly orange)
- A burnt sienna…basically a standard brown
- A light grey
- A dark grey
- Maybe a gunmetal color…like a silvery black
- one or two shades of sandy camel color.
Any other color you might need you can generally mix from these colors. All in all you should be up to about $15-20 right now. I already had many of these at my house for some reason, but if you are just starting, this should get you going.
You also need some good tools. I, once again, went to Michaels and bought the smallest size brushes they had, and then to Publix for some thin wood skewers. With that and a sewing needle, you’ll be good. Here is a pic of my tools.
Basically I use the brushes for basecoating and doing any thick camo stripes or drybrushing, but almost all my fine detail work is done with a skewer and/or needle.
Just take one of the skewers and whittle it to a slightly finer point… experiment till you get a few. This is better than a brush because
- the point is smaller
- it is rigid and won’t bend when it hits the surface of the piece, giving you better stability and detail.
Then a needle for really fine stuff…like roundels and squadron letters.
Grab a pallette, a cup with some water, and a section of an Styrofoam egg carton (the section WITHOUT tiny little holes in the bottom… I figured that out the hard way) for any inkwashing.
Then just set up your workstation with a newspaper and some paper towels, and you’re set!
I will be painting a few different kinds of pieces to cover the various techniques I use.
First, I’m painting the Chinese infantry. Then I will do part of the US Navy, then I will finish the RAF with some naval fighters and tac bombers, and finish up with the FMG Italian ground units (arty, mech infantry [armored car], and a tank).
A side note : Painting your pieces requires some practice, depending on how good you want them to look. For me, I “practiced” on a Spring 1942 set. In all honesty I thought they were good, but then I got progressively better and realized my original pieces were awful. Just have fun experimenting and painting and you’ll improve.
THE PAINTING PROCESS (INFANTRY)
To start out, infantry is probably the most time consuming type of piece to paint, but it is also one of my favorites. There are a few basic components to each infantry piece.
The base – Everyone does their bases differently. I have seen infantry with a base that is all one color, infantry with a base that is one color on top but a different color on the side (which is how I do it), bases with roundels painted on them, or even bases that are textured to look like the ground with moss, sand, etc. I like to paint the base 2 different colors because it gives more options for nations as well as giving it contrast, which can be pleasing to the eye.
The uniform – The uniform usually consists of pants or shorts, a shirt or coat, boots/shoes with socks, and a helmet or cap. Often you can paint boots over the socks if you like that better, or extend the shorts into pants…like I said, experiment with it to see what you like. I find that it helps to make the shirt and pants a different color for contrast.
The equipment – The equipment is usually a gun, (well, I would hope they would always have a gun ) a canteen or pouch of some sort, and possibly a belt, strap, or sash looking thing. Its up to you to decide what you paint and what colors you use. Sometimes painting everything can make the piece look a little cluttered, but it can also be a nice touch. Obviously you paint the gun though.
The person/flesh – This is one of my favorite parts because I feel like it makes the piece look 10x better when it has a skin color; once again, it not only provides contrast, but gives a human look instead of plastic. Different soldiers have different skin colors, but its all pretty much a flesh tone base.
To start, I always paint the base…at least the top of it. It’s a lot easier to paint the base before the boots because you can be sloppy with your brush. Some people like to do an approach similar to how you put on your clothes. First you paint the skin, then the pants, then the shirt, socks, shoes, hat, and equipment. personally I find that it’s the best for me to paint the base, then the shirt, pants, hat, gun, accessories, skin, and then boots, and lastly the side of the base. The side of the base comes last because I usually hold the piece by the base or the head to provide easy rotation and a firm grip. But choose your method.
In Axis and Allies Pacific/Global there are 30 infantry pieces. I usually do 2 schemes for a nation, but for the UK and USA I will probably do 3 or 4 since you get double the standard 20-25 pieces. That being said, I am only showing you the first scheme right now (15 pieces).
Now, to start out, you have to clean the pieces with dish soap, warm water, and a toothbrush. The advantage to doing this is that often it helps the paint apply more easily because the oils from the factory will be off. It takes about 30 mins or so. You just get a pot or cup of warm to hot water (not hot enough to mold the plastic though…just tap water hot), add dish soap, and scrub! Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies.
Update/Addendum: The pieces in this guide where not primed. I sprayed my French infantry pieces with primer to get the hang of it and to see how well it works. It’s GREAT! The pieces only require about 1 coat of paint with a few touch ups, and the paint applies very easily. I’m sold.
To spray your pieces with a primer (editors note : Krylon Fusion works best for plastics, imo), just set them on a piece of cardboard, and give them 2 light (keyword, light) coats of primer, the second coat after the other has dried. You should basically follow the instructions on the can – hold it about 10 inches away from the pieces.
Now I painted the bases on my 15 infantry. It’s China, so I’m working with a light blue, bright green, white…those sort of colors. I decided to paint the top a light blue (not the royal blue) and the sides a bright green; not white because blue and white are what my American pieces have) Pick colors that will help you and anyone playing identify what nation they are. (Germany:black, red, gray; Italy:brown, green, white; UK: yellow, blue, red, white)
Next I mixed my color for the base. I wanted a lighter blue, so I mixed on drop or glob of white paint with 2 drops of royal blue, and then proceeded to stir with a skewer. Shake the paints very well so it’s not too thick or too thin. Make sure you mix it enough so it is evenly distributed: often when mixing you will have pockets or streaks of a certain color that will look funny when you put it on the piece. See the top right of the photo
Then apply the paint to the base…don’t worry about being sloppy because you’re coming back over it later. Just make it a uniform texture (no globs, etc). It will probably take 2 or 3 coats to completely cover all parts sticking through (fewer coats, as little as one, when primed properly before painting).
In the bottom left of the photo you can see the base, as well as the color I am going to paint the coats of the soldiers. I am doing a two layer coat…basically a base coat (no pun intended ) and then a darker color drybrushed/smeared on top to give it depth and variety. easy concept, and makes your piece look a lot better! That color is an “avacado” green (3 drops) with one drop of white.
When applying your paint, especially on infantry and ships, don’t put too much on or make it too thick because it can cover up or fill the details in the figure. So 2 coats is better than one really thick one. Just apply the paint uniformly and make sure you check all over the figure by rotating it and turning it upside down. There is nothing more frustrating then finishing a piece and finding a spot you missed- trust me! Places to check: the part where the left arm merges with the gun…it’s a part of plastic that connects them that doesn’t really exist in real life. Sorry if that’s confusing. Also check under the shirt or coat where it meets the pants, under the arm, and the cuffs on the shirt.
Next I applied a second coat to the infantry of a darker color (1 drop of dark green, 1 drop of light green). Its sort of a drybrushing technique…but not really. You basically get your brush with some paint on it, wipe of the paint a little but on a paper towel or newspaper, then dab or pull it across the piece so it leaves streaks or patches of that color on the piece. It sounds like it would ruin your piece, but it makes it look good and shadowed. On something like a ship or tank treads-basically something with clearly defined raised surfaces- it helps to pull the brush perpendicular to the surface. So on a tank tread, pull it left to right or right to left as opposed to up and down. That way you only paint the raised surfaces and it highlights those parts…more realistic and cool That technique worked very well for my Russian T34s. You can see the treads were painted that way, but there are also subtle light brown dry-brush highlights on clearly visible on the barrel and engine of the tank.
When drybrushing, periodically rinse your brush in the water so it doesn’t dry out and get ruined from paint…it will lose its tip and become a poofy bunch of fibers that isn’t useful any more. I don’t know if you can tell from the lighting, but the left piece (top left pic) is not drybrushed, while the right piece is. This is very clearly visible on ships…if you do a silver or gunmetal gray drybrush on the conning towers and such, it looks really cool!
Then I painted the pants. I originally painted them a sandy tan color, but it looked dumb, so i painted a raw sienna over it. In the picture the pieces look a little spotty, but I paint over any spots I see while I’m painting. By the end they are all tidy.
Next I gave them dark green caps and painted the pieces’ belts brown. The belt was done with a skewer…everything else so far has been a fine brush.
Finally, I gave them a gun and a red dot on their caps (i’m making half of them Communist, half of them Nationalist…just for the heck of it. HISTORY!) The gun is a brown with a gunmetal grey as the guns metal parts. basically i painted the rings on the guns barrel, the gunsight on the end, and then I ran a line down the top to look like a metal barrel.
I finished the boots with a straight black. I used a thin point brush to get in between the legs on the inside of the boots. Afterwards I had to go back over the base a little bit to cover up any stray lines from painting the boots. That’s why it’s important to make sure you can replicate a pretty similar shade again when you first mix the base.
Then I just fixed up the uniforms with a straight dark green (that’s another bonus of using 2 coats of different colors… you can touch up with one straight color without mixing it and it doesn’t look bad)
For the base, I needed a green, but more of a bright, pastel colored green, not a dark forest or army green. So I mixed some blue and yellow (come on, back to the basic color wheel- 1st grade) until I found a shade I liked. Then you just apply it to the base and wick off any extra that sticks over the top of the side of the base with your finger.
Then you wait for it to dry, sit back, survey your pieces, make any changes you want, and be proud of yourself!
Here are the pics of the final infantry pieces;
One of those guys has a face defect-poor guy. must be hard missing half your jaw.
Every once in a while you have to have some fun as well. So here is an infantry piece with some “accesories”… Taliban infantry, Chinese Rambo…take your pick. He looks a little messy, but I fixed him up later, don’t worry
THE PAINTING PROCESS (VEHICLES)
Here are pictures of other pieces. As you can see in the first frame, the pieces are lined up about 1-2 inches apart. In the 2nd frame the pieces have been painted with one coat of primer. The piece’s plastic still shines through a bit, but that’s good, because it means it is a light coat that doesn’t fill in the detail. Frame 3 is after 2 coats of primer. Priming really helps the painting process!! Frame 4 is after I painted a tan undercoat with acrylic paints.
Here is a pic of one of the Field Marshal Games mechanized infantry pieces I finished up just to see how it would look. I actually like it as a desert scheme a lot!!
After the pieces were given a sand/camel color base coat, I did 2 or 3 coats of a brown inkwash, just because it kept coming out a little too light for my tastes.
The first thing I did after that was the tires of the artillery and mechanized infantry and the tracks of the tanks. The tires were pretty difficult to perfect with even circles, but after a but of tweaking I got it to the desired look. I used the sharpened skewer, as a brush isn’t stiff enough to get the tight cracks and smooth lines.
As you can see, especially on the artillery, there were stray black paint marks, but I went over those later with either a sand color or a gunmetal gray for the mechanics of the artillery.
I didn’t really like how plain the tanks were, so I painted the things on the back (they appear to be barrels, but they may be bundles of supplies) brown to add some interest and variety. For the mech inf I painted the jug of gasoline, the entrenching shovels, and the headlights/mirrors on the front to add the same variety. (they were part of the piece, but its optional to paint them)
A quick note on the treads (Frame 3): I don’t know how well you can see the grey, but it shows up more in person. If you did this by hand, painting each individual line it would take forever. So basically what you do on anything with clearly defined or raised parts is…yep, you guessed it, dry brushing.
I painted the tread brown, then selected a relatively stiff brush, and got started. Get the brush tip wet with some pain, then dry it almost completely off on a paper towel until you can barely see any paint coming off. Then do a rapid back and forth motion over the length of the treads…if you don’t see it at first, give it a sec and keep doing it- it will show up surely enough. By having little paint and doing it quickly you are ensuring the paint only comes off on the raised surfaces… ideally the tip won’t touch the depressions in the treads at all, only the raised parts.
Next it was time for the division and platoon markers. I did this because it
- Fills up the empty space on the side of the piece
- Gives the pieces more character in my opinion.
It is cool to see the different pieces with its own unique something. You may find yourself cheering on your HQ “black and white stripe” mech inf in the battle for Alexandria because it has withstood the enemy fire – it is now an veteran piece to be counted on!
Here is the site I used for inspiration. It is a great site for painting ideas – its a miniatures WWII battle site, but its great for this too. http://www.flamesofwar.com/Default.aspx?tabid=110&art_id=856&kb_cat_id=27
Add the platoon markings, do some touch up, add the Italian flag on the back (merely for identification) and voila!! You’re done.
They turned out fairly well if I do say so myself. Keep in mind when you’re painting your own pieces (I need to remember this often!!) that perfection isnt the goal. If there is a slight problem that you can’t quite fix, leave it. The piece should look good from table view (2 ft or so), so it doesn’t have to be an unblemished product.
Do your best work, and appreciate it. I can see some flaws in my pieces right now, but it’s not a big deal in the end. They look good from far away, and we’ll have fun with them.
ADDING CAMO AND OTHER COLORS TO YOUR VEHICLES
You will notice in this picture of my German armor, artillery and support pieces that there are 3 schemes.
- standard black/grey (German Feldgrau)
The woodland camo is a 3 step process :
- dark khaki color, based off of a photograph or drawing.
- burnt sienna brown in stripes and an occasional “splotch”, to simulate the camo.
- dark forest green overlapping the brown, making sure to cover most of the piece.
There are many different kinds of camo, but as a general rule, it looks better when it overlaps, when it’s not a predictable pattern (you don’t want parallel stripes running along the length of the piece), and when you cover the entire piece, then paint details over it. This makes it look more authentic in my opinion
To elaborate the process more;
I started with a coat of spray can primer, just a standard light gray primer from the hardware store. Then, I painted a base coat of dark gray on it. However, the base coat needs to be lighter than you intend the final product to be because of the wash. If I had gone with a near black gray from the start, the tanks would just be black and you wouldn’t see any detail and it would be nasty looking. The base coat was something like “Value 2” from this color swatch.
That’s the best estimate I can give you, since I didn’t take a picture of my paint when I was painting. I can tell you it was one of my dark gray paints with a bit of black mixed in to make it a bit darker.
After that, I did a wash with black. (I have black and brown; I just used the straight black wash. There’s a picture of further up in this tutorial). This was liberally applied, then I sucked up any thick pools of it with my brush until it was a decent amount left, mostly from the tracks and the hatch/MG at the top of the StuGs.
If you want the wash to really do it’s job, you should apply the wash one side at a time, setting the piece on it’s side to dry. That way it seeps into the tracks and the lines in between the side skirt panels or under the turret, depending on what you’re painting.
After the wash was completely done drying (20 minutes or so), I went back over and did a drybrush with a light gray. Something like “Value 4” or “5” from the image. This was applied pretty liberally, because I felt that I had gone overboard with the darkness and that the piece was too dark for what I wanted. But it’s all personal preference, so if you like the color you have, don’t worry about making the streaks and highlights show up everywhere. So it was applied liberally, and I really made sure to get the ridges on the Hummel and the skirts and turrets of the StuGs and Panzers, since these are the really defining parts of the piece, and the parts that have really defined edges and make for a great drybrush. This all gives it the “scratched paint” look, and since I did it enough, it sort of looks like there is a light gray base coat that I somehow covered up with gray, while it was actually the other way around. Here’s an example with the Hummel.
You can see it on the desert scheme Hummel as well. After the drybrush, I did a light drybrush with brown on the turret and MG, and the back a bit, just to simulate dirt and stuff like that. Very light drybrush though.
Then it was time to paint divisional markings and identifications, and then I was done.
Oh, the tracks. The tracks are done by dragging a brush with just a bit of paint across the tracks, and since they are raised (both the tracks themselves and the mechanisms), it makes your job really easy.
The Italian Battleship
The Italian Aircraft Carrier.
The Italian Cruiser and Destroyer
And last but not least, the Glorious Regia Marina
Note: The Italian subs will probably have an addition of a few colors to differentiate them from the US sub scheme.
ADDING SCENIC BASES (BASING)
So yesterday I whipped up some infantry and then practiced terrain basing … WOW, was I pleased with the results!!
Here are the materials I used.
- Cut out egg container – This is what I used to make the glue mixture… you can use something else if you want. If you DO use the egg carton, make sure there are not small holes in the bottom, as many sections have 2 small holes. I figured it out the hard way a while ago- paint wash all over my desk
- One fairly stiff brush – This brush should be one you do not cherish, and it should be a little bit stiff, so you can paint glue where you want it.
- Some terrain flocking – Pick what you want. I went to Hobby Lobby for mine… $8 total. You want it to be pretty fine.
- Tacky Glue– I would actually recommend PVA glue, but I couldn’t find any. So I used this. Its dirt cheap too.
To start out, paint your basic infantry pieces. The only difference is, the base of the piece needs to be the color of the terrain you’re applying instead of using national colors like before.
- Desert/Sand- Light brown or tan
- Grass/Forest- Olive Green
- Dirt/Rocks- Brown
- Cobblestone/Gravel/Urban- Grey
- Seasons- White (Snow), Burgundy (Autumn), etc.
Here are pics of my infantry. I painted them in 4 hours, which was actually remarkably fast, and they turned out to be my best work yet.
Next, mix some of the tacky glue with a little bit of water… use your discretion. You need to stir it with a wodden skewer or your finger or something like that. You basically want spreadable glue. But not too much water!
Next, apply the glue to the base liberally.
Now, quickly spread the glue around the base, then sprinkle the terrain all over the base; put a lot on, because some will fall off. If it’s too clumpy, crumble it between your fingers while you do it OR you can dip the piece into the terrain materials.
Tap the pieces, brush off any excess around the base you don’t want, do some touch ups, and voila!!
Here are the final product. (The grey pieces I tried to paint, but they weren’t secure enough, so I couldn’t really get it to work… I’ll figure out a solution.) The usual disclamier…things always look better in person, but here they are!