My recent foray back into the world of the Napoleonic war game has given me much continued thought over the last few days. Aside from reigniting my interest in the era as a whole it was, as I mentioned previously, an object lesson in the importance of being properly prepared for a game beforehand. It is something I shall consider more carefully when planning my next action for sure as the time I have for gaming is limited and so making the most efficient use of the time available is an important consideration. Obviously one could plan a game to within an inch of its life and still have it turn out like a lemon on the day but at least all of the basics would have been covered beforehand.
With this in mind I have given myself a mental checklist of points to be covered before even a single dice is rolled. These are mostly obvious but as my own recent experience has shown, even a veteran of some 40 years of gaming can overlook something really basic!
- Scenario - the game itself - is it (to use a financial services term) 'clear, fair and not misleading?'
- Rules - understood and with the appropriate charts and tables etc to hand - unless the game is a designated play test
- Terrain - as required - is it readily available?
- Forces - the right toys or if 'subbing' units due to non-availability then clarity of type and purpose e.g. 'I shall use that unit of Moscow militia as the Pavlov grenadiers as the scenario needs them but I don't have the correct figures'
- Time - in the words of the Magners cider TV advert - 'Time, dedicated to you'