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Subject: BGG Wargame Designer of the Month: Charles Vasey rss

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As some of you already know, I'd like to start a regular series where BGG wargaming denizens can talk to a different wargame designer every month. It won't be a month-long conversation - pity the poor designers! I'll keep the thread open for about a week. I hope you all participate and have an enjoyable time. Many thanks to those of you who made suggestions about how to best pull this off!

If you have any questions about how this is run, or any suggestions, please geekmail me direct instead of posting in this thread.

Cheers, H.


To inaugurate the first BGG Wargame Designer of the Month, Charles Vasey has graciously agreed to sit down and have a conversation with us about his games past present and future, game design in general, history, and clay pigeon shooting.

Mr. Vasey is most recently known for his award-winning game, Unhappy King Charles! He has won the Charles S. Roberts Award for his magazine, Perfidious Albion, which continues as an online forum on Yahoo! He has also written an article on "Chaos gaming" in Battles magazine #4.

So please join me in giving Charles Vasey a warm BGG-Wargame-Subdomain welcome!


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Congratulations Charles!

I simply love UKC. It's one of my favorite wargames, one that I don't get to play nearly often enough.

I've read the rules for Deathride: Mars-la-Tour 1870, which I plan on getting to the table some day soon.

What are some of your top considerations when you're designing a game? In specific, what is it about any particular battle or campaign that makes you insert design for effect elements?

Enjoy your month!

Cheers,

Roger

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Congratulations Charles.

I will echo Roger and just say that UKC is one of my favourite games. It was one of the first CDGs that I played (after many, many years of wargaming) and it sure made an impression on me. I just "got it". I know...I know...horror of horrors. I have been dabbling with CDGs ever since and slowly getting used to the mechanic with other games. Without my positive experience with UKC, I may not be enjoying the hobby today as much as I am. So thank you.

Also, I enjoy your contributions to this site and CSW, where you have the ever changing avatar. My favourite: Massu. Mostly because I recognized him (for once).

Anyway, enough yammering. My question (for now) is to ask where you stand on the playability vs. simulation divide? Is this a question that you always have in the back of your mind when designing and do you find yourself compromising between the two at times?

EDIT: For that matter, is there even a "divide" between the two?

Thanks again and please enjoy the month/week.
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Congrats. Though we may differ in opinions, you're still a worthy selection to kick off what may hopefully be a new BGG tradition.

Bummer you're going to get short-changed by 6 days...
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Congratulations Charles. I hope you have a great week in the spotlight!

My questions for you relate to the class AH, SPI, etc wargames. Which are your favorites? Which, if any, were the biggest inspiration on your design process? Are there any that you still enjoy playing today?
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Congrats Charles...my question,should you choose to answer it,is:

If you were confined to a wargame room with your favourite opponent for 6 months and you could only take 5 games with you ('Desert Island Discs' style) which would you choose and why?...
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Indeed very good choice. UKC is definitely one of my favourite CDG games (on par with H:RvC); very thematic, full of historical flavour, with clean and well layed out rules. Charles' support on BGG and CSW also cannot be overestimated.

Congratulations, Charles. Have a nice week/month!
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Charles Vasey
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leroy43 wrote:
Congratulations Charles!

I simply love UKC. It's one of my favorite wargames, one that I don't get to play nearly often enough.

I've read the rules for Deathride: Mars-la-Tour 1870, which I plan on getting to the table some day soon.

What are some of your top considerations when you're designing a game? In specific, what is it about any particular battle or campaign that makes you insert design for effect elements?

Enjoy your month!

Cheers,

Roger



Month? Where's the signing-on fee I was promised?

Top considerations: If I read a book on the topic after playing my game would I recognise the two as connected. Not exactly the same perhaps, not as detailed certainly, but at least in line as to the main drivers.

Design For Effect: I'm never sure what this means, have you an example?
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Capt_S wrote:
Congratulations Charles.

I will echo Roger and just say that UKC is one of my favourite games. It was one of the first CDGs that I played (after many, many years of wargaming) and it sure made an impression on me. I just "got it". I know...I know...horror of horrors. I have been dabbling with CDGs ever since and slowly getting used to the mechanic with other games. Without my positive experience with UKC, I may not be enjoying the hobby today as much as I am. So thank you.

Also, I enjoy your contributions to this site and CSW, where you have the ever changing avatar. My favourite: Massu. Mostly because I recognized him (for once).

Anyway, enough yammering. My question (for now) is to ask where you stand on the playability vs. simulation divide? Is this a question that you always have in the back of your mind when designing and do you find yourself compromising between the two at times?

EDIT: For that matter, is there even a "divide" between the two?

Thanks again and please enjoy the month/week.


I have a large store of avatars.

I like the game to simulate at least the impression of the topic (we're not going to get into mud and blood), but also to ensure the topic will give both sides a contest. You pose an interesting question as to the divide. I think it arises where designers design to "sex up" their topic by adding a bit of ahistorical stuff. That apart it is probably a matter of emphasis.
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J.L.Robert wrote:
Congrats. Though we may differ in opinions, you're still a worthy selection to kick off what may hopefully be a new BGG tradition.

Bummer you're going to get short-changed by 6 days...


I'll send you a credit-note.
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chansen2794 wrote:
Congratulations Charles. I hope you have a great week in the spotlight!

My questions for you relate to the class AH, SPI, etc wargames. Which are your favorites? Which, if any, were the biggest inspiration on your design process? Are there any that you still enjoy playing today?


I like Football Strategy and recently played John Young's 1812 (area version) but I do not often go back that far to play. I was looking at the SPI American Revolution game recently and tinkering with their Panzer '44. I suspect I pinched more ideas from GDW.
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Charles Vasey
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heath p avery wrote:
Gday Charles
Wonderful to see Death Ride get the re issue treatment in ATO
Congrats on that
Now I can beg on a public forum to get you to re-issue Flowers of the Forest..the battle of Flodden,...Ive hassled you for a copy before LOL and have very recently been actually discussing the game with an owner....so all you publishers get an offer into Charles for the game.


I really doubt that the topic is a big seller. I was discussing doing Pavia or Marignano with the same system.
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grouchysmurf wrote:
Indeed very good choice. UKC is definitely one of my favourite CDG games (on par with H:RvC); very thematic, full of historical flavour, with clean and well layed out rules. Charles' support on BGG and CSW also cannot be overestimated.

Congratulations, Charles. Have a nice week/month!


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GROGnads wrote:
Hoi Chucks, and could you RELATE upon some, or many, of the folks that you've worked WITH over the decades, and even across 2 Millennium at this! Tell WHY you liked or disliked on that as well.
surprise


Let's see, worked with:

Mike Siggins; Top Eurogame reviewer, Mike operates as my atmosphere man, I'll give him a design and he tells me if it works for historical feel.

Lee Brimmicombe-Wood: Top graphics chap, we worked hard on getting a bright feel to UKC away from the trend to gloomy games. Plus you get the withchfinder-general if you look at the map.

Richard Berg: A witty guest and host (though I always study up on one rare opera to see if I can blind-side him) and with a good grasp of what sells.

Mark Herman: I just hack straight into Mark's designs and steal everything. Let's not beat about the push

Neil Randall; Prince of developers

Markus Stumptner: Has an excellent grasp of how history can be transferred from book page to board.

Gareth Simon: My sounding-board for discussing history, we recently tried to deconstruct the interface of finance and war for several horse and musket wars. This is very useful with systems.

Apologies to those I have missed.
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I am in Shock and Awe!; I actually didn't know who you were! A god has been walking among us and I had no idea you are the designer of UKC. I am a newbie so please excuse my ignorance... meeple
For now, if I may venture a question: Do you feel superior to ordinary gaming folks? Are you in touch with something common gamers are unable to touch? Do you think you are born with the divine power or you have earned it? Please be honest....
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sullafelix wrote:
I am in Shock and Awe!; I actually didn't know who you were! A god has been walking among us and I had no idea you are the designer of UKC. I am a newbie so please excuse my ignorance... meeple
For now, if I may venture a question: Do you feel superior to ordinary gaming folks? Are you in touch with something common gamers are unable to touch? Do you think you are born with the divine power or you have earned it? Please be honest....


As a member of the House of Lords since birth I have had to learn to deal with the "little people" by showing that bluff manly spirit that has ever marked an english gentleman, that and a Beretta Automatic Shotgun....

As the poet said

Is it not passing brave to be a designer.
And ride in triumph through Persepolis!
for to be a designer is to be half a god
And yet I think a designer is better.

That will be 200 guineas, please pay at the door.
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A fine choice. Lord Vasey

a) Your favourite Historians?
b) Your favourite history books?
c) A battle/historical situation you would like to design a game for?
d) Do you follow any sports teams?
e) Favourite travel locations
f) Do you travel for history or for lounging by the pool with a pina colada (I imagine you as a cognac sort of bloke actually) and a good book.
g) How many books do you read a month?

Enjoy your month
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pete belli wrote:
A superb choice.

Charles Vasey is, in a word, brilliant.

A question for Mr. Vasey: What are some of your favorite war films? Why are these movies at the top of your list?


I'm not good at lists so I'll just recount a few that come to mind;

Dog Soldiers: What do you mean it's fantasy? Those are real British Army anti-werewolf drills.

Last of the Mohicans: A real attempt to show warfare of the period, a driving pace and a great villain.

Battle of Algiers: At times almost a docudrama, not afraid to view both sides as having claims to greatness.

Alatriste: Raiding, trench warfare and the battle of Rocroi; a suitably sad view of the career of soldier in the Old Tercios.

The Red Badge of Courage: A little masterpiece of human observation (see also DUST for a variation on the theme).

The 13th Warrior and Beowulf & Grendel: Two films that capture a warrior ethos (vikings in this case) very well.

The Duellists: Soldiers do not fight the enemy all the time and this marvellous version of Conrad's story covers some of their other activities.

I'll try and think of some more.

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First let me state that it is hadrd to find a better designer to start this running.

Not because I consider Mr. Vasey as the best (unluckily I have yet to try any of his designs) but because I love his humour and wit as seen both here and in CSW. His article in Battles Magazine is worth the price of the whole magazine.

Having said, on to business...

- Can you propose a game to be played during your reign as WDoW? (it can be one of your games or from other designers, a new game or a forgotten gem or even a Eurogame).

- What game are you currently playing?

- Name a eurogame that you enjoy.

Obviously, you don't have to answer this questions, but if you do, a person by the name of Vasey will let you his will in Nigeria which amounts to various million of pounds.
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nnf1 wrote:
A fine choice. Lord Vasey

a) Your favourite Historians?
b) Your favourite history books?
c) A battle/historical situation you would like to design a game for?
d) Do you follow any sports teams?
e) Favourite travel locations
f) Do you travel for history or for lounging by the pool with a pina colada (I imagine you as a cognac sort of bloke actually) and a good book.
g) How many books do you read a month?

Enjoy your month


a) Christopher Duffy must rank high, J.R.Hale and John Lynn are excellent
b) Six Armies In Normandy by Keegan.
c) The War of the League of Augsbourg
d) Not really, I watch cycling. I have a residual fondness for the Steelers.
e) Paris and Falmouth, Cornwall.
f) I avoid travelling where possible. If in Paris I amble around between history and art. In Cornwall I watch the sea.
g) three or four.
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abendoso wrote:
First let me state that it is hadrd to find a better designer to start this running.

Not because I consider Mr. Vasey as the best (unluckily I have yet to try any of his designs) but because I love his humour and wit as seen both here and in CSW. His article in Battles Magazine is worth the price of the whole magazine.

Having said, on to business...

- Can you propose a game to be played during your reign as WDoW? (it can be one of your games or from other designers, a new game or a forgotten gem or even a Eurogame).

- What game are you currently playing?

- Name a eurogame that you enjoy.

Obviously, you don't have to answer this questions, but if you do, a person by the name of Vasey will let you his will in Nigeria which amounts to various million of pounds.


A game to play: Pocket Battles:Celts and Romans is great fun.

What game am I playing: Liberty Roads is on the table, Crusader Rex this weekend.

Eurogame: Wallenstein and Roll through the Ages.







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If you could have any superpower....what would it be?


If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one music album, what would it be?


*edit* What is the oldest thing you own?


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TonyClifton wrote:
If you could have any superpower....what would it be?


If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one music album, what would it be?


*edit* What is the oldest thing you own?




Superpower: The power to suppress mobile phones! My home planet was destroyed by microwaves from mobile phones. Now I travel the Galaxy laying a mighty vibe on these pesky appliances. I am Shush Lad!

Only one album: Something with French popular songs of the Thirties.

Oldest thing: Portrait of my great-grandfather Orenza Vasey on his hunter. Though of course my claim to the great earldom of Foppington goes back to 1066.
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Charles,

In my trolling the net I have always seen you as a gentleman and a scholar.

(Which perhaps shows how skewed text personalities can be?)

Design for effect = A rule that may seem counterintuitive but it promotes play that mirrors the real life situation.

An example in Paths of Glory, Ted has VERY stringent OOS rules.

Whilst this is based on No historical battles it makes the players play as their historic counterparts, very timid about their flanks.
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I can see you as a Foppington

(This coming from an Adlington another of the 'Tons, Bedlington, Washington, etc. Those Danes sure knew how to name towns.)
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