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Subject: BGG Wargame Designer of the Month: Ed Wimble rss

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Ed Wimble
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Jon,

Amazing as it may seem now with computers and such, Dennis Spors used to actually paint the playtest counters for each La Bat. game Marshal Enterprises did (and the ones they never actually published). For instance, I have been working from the original playtest version of Dresden. Well, that may be too much. Let's just say, years ago a guy contacted me out of the blue and said that while he was packing up to move he found a game in his attic. Would I be interested in it? I looked his name up and saw he was listed as a member of the ME Household. It turned out to be a playtest copy of the battle of Dresden they had made for a show in Calif. way back in the 70s. It is now quite different from what it originally was (four maps instead of their three; etc.). But it was done with the painted counters. The original copy of Albuera they submitted to me was like this too. I finally got to meet the main members of that household, Monte Matson, Dennis Spors and James Soto at Consimworld Expo last year in Tempe. They confirmed that that's how they used to make them. And were also surprised to learn I had the original Dresden as well, having totally lost touch with the fellow I mentioned, hardly remembering him, in fact, and not even knowing he had the copy of their game.

Rumor also has it that they did a full blown treatment of Leipzig then as well, but I believe it is now lost.

So yes, there is a miniatures connection to these. It probably goes even farther back to Larry Groves, but we'll never know for sure as he was tragically killed in a motor cycle accident soon after selling the rights for Moscowa to GDW.
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Jon
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Wow! I cannot even imagine the skill and patience it would take to hand paint those counters. I am even amazed at the handwritten factors on back of the older CoA counters let alone having the fronts done as well. LOL!

Isn't it nice that you got your hands on the old Dresden playtest copy. What a treasure. As for Leipzig.... at this scale I have to wonder if it would even be feasible.

Oh, something just popped into my head that, for a few years now, I have wanted to ask (and I apologize for posing too many questions).

I have noticed that the more recent La Bat games have focused on the latter point in the Napoleonic Wars (Orthez, QBII, Lutzen, Moscow). Have you given any thought to some set in the earlier days? They would be a bit smaller and could help folks get into the system as a result. Mind you, it was in those later battles where the Allies had a chance at beating the Corsican.

Thanks and I promise to stop asking so many questions...honest...
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Ed Wimble
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Next in line is Fuentes D'Onoro. It was fought concurrent with Albuera, or just before, so 1811. Eventually, however, yes, we'll visit the glory years. Two I've wanted to do for years were Elchingen and Haslach-Jungigen, though we'll probably have to come up with a new title for them. Figure we'll package them together.
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uwe eickert
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Ed,
I hope to see you and your son at Cold Wars. Unfortunately, (well, maybe not) my daughter will not be at this show. She has exams the following week. (Note: Ed's son is rather good looking and I am in no hurry for our two company's to merge quite yet!)
Uwe
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Athos
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Hi Ed!

Will we be seeing Legion of Honour this year?!?

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Magister Ludi
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Blunderbuss wrote:
And Magister Ludi; well played! (part of Das Glasperlenspiel?) I wondered if anyone would catch that. But no, her name is not Jena!


Well spotted in return!

Any plans for more games using the JENA! system? I'm thinking of the italian campaign...maybe Arcole, which would probably fit the scale used.
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Steve Trauth
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Blunderbuss wrote:
Ligny 2nd Edition?

2015 looks auspicious for a revamp of the la Bat. Waterloo cycle along the lines of QBII. In fact, that one is nearing the end of its print run now.


I'm glad you wrote that, Ed, as I was going to ask about that since Quatre Bras was republished.

I had been holding off, pending working out what the status of the other 3 previously puiblished titles would be (or read that to mean some idiot sold his copies and then had second thoughts in me.).

So I take that as reasonably definite and make plans accordingly .

Thanks for that.

Steve
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Congrats, Ed! Well deserved, indeed. You are a wonderful designer and a great ambassador for the hobby. See you in Tempe! Hermann
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Ed Wimble
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Ah Uwe,

Alas, you just removed the Ultima Ratio Regum when it comes to getting him to attend conventions any more. Hopefully she (your daughter) will still attend Origins that I might at least have the company of my son on the drive out and back.
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Ed Wimble
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Will we be seeing Legion of Honour this year?!?



Hope to meet with Rich (the main designer of the two) next weekend at Cold Wars. We'll see where his situation now stands. (I alluded to him above.) Gosh, I sure hope so. It's costing me money rather than making any at this point.
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mark van roekel
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All the best Ed, let me know when you are going to walk the fields for your research on Coming and Going, would love to join you. Thanks for all the hours of entertainment.

--mark van roekel
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Ed Wimble
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Thanks Mark and Hermann, and everyone else who congratulated me above. Now to another question:

Any plans for more games using the JENA! system?

Yes. In fact, I had one all set to go on the 1809 campaign... three maps running from Landshut in the south to Ratisbon in the north, when OSG announced theirs. Rather than butt heads as we had before when JENA!/ 1806 came out in almost the same breath, I deferred to KZ and let him go first. Now I think that might have been a mistake. In any case, time to dust that one off I think.

Called it Crisis on the Danube after the book I used while touring the various places.

That tour had another "Malplaquet" moment. We were driving from Ulm to Regensburg on whatever highway it is that paralells the Danube when we passed a sign for "Blindheim." "Is that what I think it is Detlef?" I asked.

"Yes, of course" he responded as he automatically veered into the turn.
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Keith Todd
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I would be very much looking forward to "Crisis on the Danube".

Keith
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Andreas E. Gebhardt
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Blunderbuss wrote:
Andreas,

Thank you. But I wonder about this Designer of the Month business. My guess is that it's more for information than honorific. I mean, by definition there's got to be 12 a year, and it's been going on for how many years? ...


Ed,

not a touché at all! 12 months or even 12 years are not the base to count for a (one) designer per month per se. It's the "idea" behind it. You could be chosen several times during the periode - so to say

I still like the idea that one of the famous designers got the award - finally!!!

Andy
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Rick Barber
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Quote:
I have always imagined that the La Bat series grew out of miniatures gaming back in the day. I have no real solid reason for thinking this way other than that the beautiful counters provide some sense of the colour and presentation (the visual feast) that tabletop figures can give.

> Out of curiosity, do you know if that is an accurate statement? Back to the present day, is there a conscious attempt to impart the visuals of miniatures in La Bat/BAR?

> I would imagine that the printing of the counters must be one of the most nerve wracking steps in the production process.


No, that would be the production of those counters by the artist, which I was for all so many of those Napoleonic and Age of Reason games 'back in the day'. Look at any La Bat counter and realize that every single number or other graphic element was a separate bit of paper that had to be positioned and glued in place on the B&W master sheet for each of the different colors before they could be shot, and 'proofing' in those days meant a serious session with me, Ed and usually Steve Rawling to try and catch any mistakes. We never saw what the color final looked like until after the negs were shot, and then it was too late and expensive to correct. You kids with your computers these days.....

As for the miniatures heritage in the La Bat system, you have that dead on. Not only in the depiction of uniforms on all the counters (beautiful to the grognards, baffling to some others), but even in the rules, both in the general tone and the early command system, which consisted of 'as many units as you can move in # minutes..." The earlier maps especially show the same minis parentage - with a terrain analysis and iffy ground scale that always rankled a terrain purist like me, but is perfectly understandable to anyone who's ever designed and set up a miniatures table... lotsa 'design for effect' going there. sauron
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Rick Barber
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Quote:
Any plans for more games using the JENA! system?

Yes. In fact, I had one all set to go on the 1809 campaign... three maps running from Landshut in the south to Ratisbon in the north, when OSG announced theirs. Rather than butt heads as we had before when JENA!/ 1806 came out in almost the same breath, I deferred to KZ and let him go first. Now I think that might have been a mistake. In any case, time to dust that one off I think. Called it Crisis on the Danube after the book I used while touring the various places.

That tour had another "Malplaquet" moment. We were driving from Ulm to Regensburg on whatever highway it is that paralells the Danube when we passed a sign for "Blindheim." "Is that what I think it is Detlef?" I asked.

"Yes, of course" he responded as he automatically veered into the turn.


Missed out on those tours, Ed, but I still have the moment from our trip back from the first origins in Columbus, driving over the mountains of western PA in a thunderstorm with Kevin Zucker doing an enthusiastic mime conducting of Bernstein's version of Beethoven's 9th from the Berlin Wall coming from my tape player..... Y'all really had to be there...... Looks like I'm going to have to grab a 'Fan o' Wimble badge as soon as I can figure out how to spend my pfew pfennigs herein.

I had a similar experience as yours with Kevin and those games - I had the pleasure of designing the Gettysburg maps for both our Summer Storm and Dave Powell's This Hallowed Ground in 1997/1998, but for a variety of reasons his made it into production a couple of months ahead. (You'd think I could have found some way to slow he and Dean up, wouldn't you?)

I saw those Austrian maps for the Crisis on the Danube area when I was packing up all my tubes and such for this latest big move, but will have to go looking for them. Very interesting area, and I'd look forward to working out the maps with you. Also found mint copies of Armee du Nord, Jena and Napoleon at Leipzig in one of my many boxes, so I'll have to give them another playing at some point! sauron
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Jon
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elcarto wrote:
No, that would be the production of those counters by the artist, which I was for all so many of those Napoleonic and Age of Reason games 'back in the day'....


Wow! That does sounds incredibly time consuming and stressful. OK, that literal cut and paste technique wins the prize. LOL! The advent of the computer must have been game changing (pun intended) for counter design and production. Perhaps a double-edged sword at times? Hmmm...

Still, they ended up being beauties. The counters from the 90s continue to be my favourites from the two series.
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Ed Wimble
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Got a big Oak tree next to the house. I fondly remember Rick and I sitting beneath its shade on a hot summer's day going over each and every bit of info on the Ligny counters.

Some would sit like that with iced tea, playing guitars and enjoying the warm breeze. But we listened for the pas de charge faintly thrumming across centuries past.
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Hunga Dunga
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Blunderbuss wrote:
I wonder about this Designer of the Month business. My guess is that it's more for information than honorific.

(Don't worry. I won't mention the $20 you sent me in order to get nominated.)
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Ed Wimble
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Thanks, wouldn't want anyone to think you're so cheaply bought.

By the way, if anyone here can read Hebrew, a great looking article (that's how much of it I can read) on our Persian Incursion game just appeared in the weekend edition of Makor Rishon, a newspaper published in Jerusalem.
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Kevin McPartland
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Name this Leader counter from Amateurs, To Arms! by Clash of Arms Games.
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Gosh, Ed, I"m not sure how you got this far into your month without mentioning Amateurs to Arms! I'd like to hear a bit about your relationship with the author of the book by the same name; apparently you were friends or neighbors or both.

Kevin
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Ed Wimble
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Ah, you mean Col. John Elting. Not sure how we met. Probably through the old EE&L or Napoleon magazines. We were in a group following Suvarov's (also Suvorov) campaigns in Italy and Switzerland, sponsored by one of those magazines. I'd just had a heart operation and couldn't keep up with some of the more strenuous jaunts, Panixer Pass comes to mind. He had just turned 80 and couldn't keep up either so we sat on the bus and talked while everyone else worked up a sweat. Then, when dinner was served we ended up continuing the conversation and sitting next to each other. By the end of it all we were friends. We corresponded a lot (he vetted my commentaries, for instance), met several times at conferences; etc. I think he liked me because I was interested in just about everything he had to say, not just the stuff about Napoleon, but his old army days and growing up in Montana... back in the day when you could meet veterans of the 7th Cav. hanging out at the local barbershop. He even favored me with his barracks recipe for mint julips (I taped it inside my copy of his masterwork Swords Around a Throne). Anyway, he was a grand old guy. So many military historians today have no military background, but he actually began his career in the cavalry... when they rode horses. He could sort through the BS (maybe in his case that should be HS?), that is, tell the shit from Shinola in other historian's writings; was plain spoken and a gentleman. Being able to give the 1812 game the title of one of his books is a homage to the man and his work. I was thrilled you and Jerry went along with it.
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Kevin McPartland
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Name this Leader counter from Amateurs, To Arms! by Clash of Arms Games.
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Quote:
I was thrilled you and Jerry went along with it.

It seemed to be important to you. Now I see why! And anyway, it's the best military history of the War of 1812, bar none. Jerry introduced his design to me by handing me a copy of Col. Elting's book and saying, "Here, read this!"

Kevin
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Paul Borchers
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Ed, congratulations again, and I've finally thought of some questions for you.

You've gone from selling games retail to running a game company and designing your own games. What were the most surprising and difficult things to learn in making the transition from player to game company owner?
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Ed Wimble
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Aa mentioned in my Bio. I started out working in a game store. As my boss was a talented guy he moved up in the organization. We were owned by Hippocrene Books, and he went with the publishing side of things. I'd been made buyer for the chain (6 stores), and when he moved up management of the chain devolved on me (rather than me moving up to fill his shoes, I think). In that capacity I was left holding the bag when the Reagan recession hit. We merged with the Compleat Strategist and consolidated management. I ended up with just the store in King of Prussia. Well, by that time I could run the thing with one eye closed and one hand tied behind my back. We'd been playing a lot of Call of Cthulhu (the only RPG that really interested me) and the adventures we'd created were pretty good. Bored with retail I thought I'd contact Chaosium and see if they were interested in some submissions. They were (the stuff available for the game at that time was pretty sparse, unlike today). But they suggested we publish it on our own but first running the stuff by them.

That's how it started; Theatre Of the Mind Enterprises (or TOME Inc.). I recruited a guy I knew who had typesetting equipment at work, another who liked to design original stuff for those demonstrations I mentioned above (and who'd majored in Economics in college), another who was a technophile, and lastly a guy who could draw, sort of. We each chipped in money; the typesetting guy knew a printer, and it was off to the races. My first big surprise was how quickly people lost interest in this kind of "work." Yes, there were lots of nights where we wouldn't finish up till 3 AM or so (and have to go to "real" work the next day). And the boss at the typesetting guy's workplace once commented (when he dropped in on us unannounced) that he wished he could get his employees to work as hard as we did, but it was fun... sort of a club. Eventually the roleplayers among us dropped out leaving the wargamers in the majority. That's when I got in touch with Marshal Enterprises and "Clash" was born.

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