Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Sumerian Javelinmen

Biblical work remains at the fore at present.  Given the desire to make progress on the fledgling Sumerian Wars project and in playtesting Ian's Biblical Rein-Bow Warriors rules (three games in the last week), not much else is on the painting desk. Well, not quite true.  I finished WotR Battle #4 of 52 figures that is awaiting its turn at the photo booth and I begin work on Battle #5.
One troop type needed for the Sumerian project is javelin skirmishers.  Given my mix of Hittite and Egyptian troops, Ian's chariot wars game requires me to field more skirmishers as well.  Killing two birds with one stone, off the painting table today are two dozen Sumerian javelinmen based as skirmishers on six bases of four skirmishers each.  While technically from Wargames Foundry's Sumerian catalog, I will be pressing these fellows into service as Hittites in the Rein-Bow Warriors playtests.  Close enough?  I think so.
Back to Rein-Bow Warriors playtesting.  Over the last week, three remote battle have been fought including the first action recorded here. While I call these activities 'playtesting', a more fitting term would be development.  Some design elements are examined closely too.  With many of the concepts in place, the rules are being tested under game conditions.  Under such stress, some processes work and others do not.  Holes are spotted and plugged. Variance in interpretations must be unified.  Like no plan survives contact with the enemy, playtesting has its own similar corollary.  More on this front in the weeks and months to come.  I may even find time to write up the battle reports on Games #2 and #3.  Is playtesting more difficult in a remote setting vs. F2F?  Perhaps, this is a topic for another time.

47 comments:

  1. Nice the unit, the slight variation in spear holding is very apparent and makes for good animation - more impressive ….. the 52 figures also done that aren’t here :-).

    Remote playtesting - nuanced body language is likely lost as part of the too and fro of ideas / questions, as might some emphasis on question or answer, but I would have thought it generally too close to call.

    The real downside comes from the rules author being present - ever able to answer instantly answer questions or close them down and also present ‘guide’ the game along, due to their intimate knowledge of rules and subject, without some cracks becoming sufficiently exposed to be discussed.

    I have recently used a set of published rules, where it is quite apparent that a small group playtesting with the author always present has meant that proper cross examination of the pre-published material was not tight enough and questions post publication abound!

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    1. Norm, you always look with a discerning eye. I look forward to photographing the latest WotR figures and sharing for your commentary.

      You make good points on playtesting, remote or otherwise. I agree that it is important to have playtests where the author is not present. Without that feedback, rules may not be written as tightly as needed to stand up to close scrutiny.

      In the "old days" we performed blind playtesting with the game distributed to assorted groups. Without an author's 'guidance' playtest could grind to a halt and end in failure. I wonder how many playtest kits never generated feedback back to the author? Plenty, I wager. As a published game designer, you likely have hard data on that!

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  2. Some sumptuous looking Sumerians there Jonathan, have been tempted by the Biblical era in the past but way to much flesh to paint for my liking.

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  3. Another lovely unit Jonathan.

    Ask regards FtF gaming to playtest and develop rules, I think this is so much better than anything remote. The speed of the conversation, body language, talking at the same time, flitting from one side of the table to the other etc are a much more efficient way of communicating. I know this from my time developing designs and models. But in this unusual times at least the remote option is a good second best.

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    1. Thanks, Steve! I agree with you on the value of F2F playtesting. Everything can be resolved more quickly in person. In a remote setting, I wonder if more thought goes into post-game retrospectives when responses are typically delivered in written form vs verbal?

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  4. Great looking skirmishers, Jonathan. Nice variety of poses and details.

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    1. Thanks! I can actually make six units of skirmishers out of this group for some rules.

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  6. Great work on these Jonathan, and the skin tones look excellent.

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    1. Thank you, Lawrence! Skin tones mostly done by minwax.

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  7. Nice figures Jon. I admire your enthusiasm for testing rules remotely I just don’t think I would have the patience.

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    1. Thanks, Matt! Remote play testing may not be as horrible as it seems.

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    2. I also meant to say a fourth wotr battle !!!! Where do you find the time !

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    3. The last week has been very busy with three remote play test games hosted. Hosting back-to-back, longer sessions is exhausting. Fun, but exhausting.

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  8. Excellent Sumerian Nim skirmishers Jonathan!

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  9. Lovely looking toys Jonathan
    As always…

    All the best. Aly

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  10. Someday, I too will paint so many figures that there will be a lone to the photo booth. Lol. No, probably not. 😀

    These look good but I’m very interested in seeing the WoTR figs. We blog followers are a picky fickle lot.

    I had a small experience being a play tester fir a fried several years ago. I was not good at it. 😀

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    1. Hi Stew. The WotR figures will be next up but undone battle reports are stacking up like cordwood.

      What happened during your play testing?

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    2. Well nothing really. I just didn’t enjoy the process of endlessly batting around ideas to no end. It wasn’t fun for me. 😀

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    1. Glad you think these fellows turned out OK. Thanks!

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  12. Splendid looking (non specific universal) skirmishers! Perhaps the rules writer should watch remotely but not be allowed to comment or interfere until after the game?
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks, Iain. Good idea on playtesting. In this situation, the rules are still in development and the author was the umpire!

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  13. Superb Sumerians Jonathan, they look dynamic and gorgeous!

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  14. Really nicely done—you have a wonderful knack for elevating the look of these sorts of minimally clad units above the dominant flesh monotone.

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    1. Ed, you are very kind. I enjoyed your recent game room clean-out and book give-away. Your friends received some great items. Way to pay it forward!

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  15. A couple of very good looking skirmisher units. You seem to be able to keep units coming off the painting table and balance wargaming and play testing.

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    1. Thank you, Peter! I am on a narrow beam and maintaining balance is a constant challenge.

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  16. You made come colorful units, especially since they are only wearing skirts!

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  17. Lovely, as always. Every time I come here, it gets harder and harder to resist the period ;)

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    1. Thank you! Well, expect a continued temptation...

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  18. Fantastic Biblical additions Jon - I really love your basing technique in this era, it really enhances the overall impact of the figures!

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    1. Keith, I really appreciate your support and encouragement! The advantage to these javelinmen, they will see action in several armies having already made an appearance as Hittites.

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