The ArmourSoft Inc. Newsletter
Die Haus OrgelAugust 1994/Issue #5
Published, oh, about quarterly, give or take
All contents copyright © 1994 ArmourSoft Inc. Send submissions, subscriptions, complaints, questions, painted DBA armies, and recipes for french toast to: ArmourSoft Inc., [obsolete mailing address deleted]
Inside this issue:
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Brushfire '94 will take place in the Hotel Magee in downtown Bloomsburg Pennsylvania, from 9:00 am until midnight on Saturday November 19, 1994.
This will be an open, multi-genre, all-purpose gaming convention. It's the first all-purpose game con held in this area in several years, and the first game con ever held in Bloomsburg. The first Brushfire, held last year in Williamsport PA and organized by our friend Doug Loss, was a miniatures-only convention. Attendance was pretty good considering it was a first-time con and everyone seemed to have a great time. It took a lot of work to organize and run, however; Doug offered to help out this year as long as someone else did the main organizing stuff. The ArmourSoft crew volunteered to run the con this year, just to see what happens.
As of this writing it's impossible to predict how many gamer folk will show up for Brushfire '94, which is the case with most small cons. A few game events are already scheduled and we'd like to hear from a lot more people who are willing to run games at the con.
Game designer Ferris will be running one event each of Tankbase and Generic Legions, and we'll have "permanent" tables set up for naval gaming and Slargeball available to whomever wanders by. We're not planning on a specific Shipbase III scenario but we'll have the computer and miniatures available for Spanish-American War, WWI, and WWII for anyone interested in running a game of SB3.
Doug Loss will be running Star Soldiers (sci fi miniatures, modified from the SPI boardgame) and other members of his Williamsport game group may run games of Harpoon and Squad Leader. Nick Spock Jr. has offered to run a Call of Cthulhu adventure and possibly some classic Traveller sci fi RPG. Bill Barnes is scheduled to run a Star Trek ship combat game and an adventure using the classic TFT:ITL FRPG rules that preceded GURPS. Hopefully we can talk someone into running a game of Slargeball 3-D: Guys In Shorts.
Continued - see Aliens on Page 2
Aliens stole my favourite Beavis & Butt-head shorts
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We'd like to see more volunteers to run game events, preferably the convention staples: Napoleonics, Ancients, American Civil War, Battletech, Paranoia, Warhammer, Shadowrun, AD&D, Axis & Allies, Space Hulk, Honey I Shrunk the Empire, GURPS, Space Marine, Car Wars, etc. etc. etc.
From the early response it looks like we're going to have a strong showing of miniatures events at the con as well as some RPGs and that Magic: The Card Game thing.
Registration for Brushfire '94 will be $5.00 at the door. The Hotel Magee has discount room rates for people attending the convention. Vendor and flea market stands are available for $10.
For the navigationally impaired, Bloomsburg is in central PA on I-80. It's about 2 hours north-by-northeast of Harrisburg, an hour south-by- southeast of Williamsport, and an hour west of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. The Hotel Magee is right in the middle of town on Main Street. Just follow Route 11, ya can't miss it. We'll be waiting for you on the second and third floors.
Historicon After-Action Report
As usual, we had a great time, and as usual we got off to a good start by spending way too much money in the vendor room and flea market.
We ran four events, three scheduled and one pick-up game. On Friday evening we ran a hypothetical Shipbase III scenario set in 1941, Royal Navy versus the Kriegsmarine, with two separate actions going on simultaneously: on one half of the table a German destroyer flotilla snuck into a British harbour and shot up a bunch of transports and destroyers, while out at sea the German capital ships duked it out with some of their RN counterparts. Meanwhile, swarms of Stukas and Ju88s and Spitfires and Stringbags and Skuas caused lots of grief and consternation. It wasn't a real historical sort of scenario but it was great fun and lots of things blew up, which after all is the most important thing. We used the C-in-C 1/4800th scale miniature ships and 1/700th scale aircraft glommed from plastic model flattops, so the scenario was largely designed around the miniatures we had available. Purists may balk at the thought but it's a great way to create good quick scenarios and it ensures that all the time/money/effort put into buying and painting miniatures doesn't go to waste.
On Saturday afternoon we ran the first public game of Tankbase. More on that later in the project update.
Saturday evening we ran a game of Slargeball 3-D: Guys In Shorts. This got a lot of puzzled looks from passers-by but was a real hoot nonetheless. The Home Team defeated the Other Home Team by 2-1, which is the highest scoring Slargeball convention game to date.
We hosted a pick-up game on Sunday morning, a modification of Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War. Historically this was a real turkey shoot but it makes for a much more even scenario if the Spanish are allowed to move and shoot from the beginning of the game. This simulates a situation where the two fleets met in open water, as opposed to the US sailing into the harbour and catching the Spanish ships off-guard as was the case historically. Again, lots of things blew up, and the players and observers all agreed that it was a perfect Sunday morning game.
This newsletter is late again
Editor executed in retaliation
There are a lot of little reasons that the DHO is late for the second issue in a row, but it all boils down to one thing: the editor, who also does all the game design stuff for ArmourSoft, doesn't have as much time to work on the newsletter as he'd like. The DHO is important to us because it's the best form of direct communication we have with many of our gaming friends, and it's a reasonably cost-effective form of advertising.
Because of the increasing demands made on the editor's time and the fact that there really isn't enough real news to require a bimonthly issue, Die Haus Orgel will become more roughly quarterly than roughly bimonthly, beginning with this issue. Subscribers need not worry, your five bucks is calculated on a six-issue subscription starting with the first issue after your subscription date, rather than on a calendar period, so if a few issues are late you'll still get six of them.
Speaking of Ship Models... There are some new ship miniatures that may interest SB3 players. They're in 1/6000th scale, which means they're real tiny and cheap. The detail is good and the line is very comprehensive, even including some monitors. So far the WWII British, German, Italian, and French navies are available, with the Japanese and US coming soon. Contact [Figurehead/Hallmark miniatures]
ArmourSoft goes on-line
We've been active on the local BBS scene here in central PA for over a decade, but we've just recently hooked up to the Internet. If you have any questions, comments, complaints, scenario ideas, suggestions, or recipes that you'd like to send you can reach us at our Internet address: http://www.irvania.com [really out-of-date e-mail address deleted]
[Information for contacting ArmourSoft through now-spam-infested Usenet newsgroups and way-long-gone local BBS's deleted]
Hey! This isn't a picture of a P51D Mustang!
Project update: Tankbase
As most of you know by now we've been experiencing some delays in the development of Tankbase. In essence, we were experimenting with some different approaches to the programming side of the project, found after a number of months that the new approaches weren't working, and ended up going back to the tried-n-true method we used back in the old days. Despite the delays, we're back on track and making good progress and we can now hope that we've set a target date of mid-summer 19xx for the commercial release of Tankbase.
The demonstration game we ran at Historicon last month went extremely well, all things considered. The main program we had been working on was behind schedule and so we had to whip up a special hard-wired program specifically for the purpose of running the game at Historicon. Even though it was thrown together in three weeks, the program worked almost flawlessly and gives a good hint of the sheer power behind the Tankbase design.
To analyze the performance of the game design at Historicon, it's best to simply look at the results: ten people played (eight infantry squad leaders, two tank platoon leaders) and obviously enjoyed it. Some of the players were experienced tank gamers and others were complete novices. We went through 14 complete turns in three and a half hours, which is probably a convention record. The American team completed their objectives and withdrew, with heavy casualties on both sides.
Interestingly, the gods of scheduling put the Tankbase game in the same small room with a tournament of one of the current (non-computer-assist) tank games on the market. It made for a fascinating exercise in "compare & contrast". The players of the other game had fewer miniatures yet took much longer to play their scenarios. The average tournament player would spend quite a long time staring at a page in the rules, then he'd roll some dice, then stare at another page, then ask the game designer (who was standing there) a question, then stare some more, roll some more dice, ask another question, and stare at another page. In the meantime we had completed an entire turn and were having fun watching the bazooka team frantically trying to unjam their weapon with a Panther bearing down on them. Our group of 10 players cheered and laughed. The tournament players were a glum lot.
The players and on-lookers clearly enjoyed the game system and appreciated the high degree of playability, but there were a few questions. By far the most common was:
Project update: SB3 Advanced Database & Scenario Loader
We picked up all three volumes of Conway's at Historicon, so we now have access to the data we need for the Advanced Database. On the programming side of the project, we're working on the software concurrently with the Tankbase database/scenario loader. In a nutshell, we've kept track of all your comments and suggestions for SB3 and have put them into the Advanced Database project while incorporating them into Tankbase from the start. The two loader programs are very similar, except one loads up files of ships and the other loads up files of tanks and infantry and artillery.
The research and data entry portion of the project will take a good bit of time, to be measured in months, so we can't give a concrete date for when we expect this to be ready for sale. However, we do know one thing: we need a better name for it. Advanced Database Loader and Scenario Handler is too long. Can't call it Conway's, that's been taken. Any suggestions out there? We'd be happy to hear 'em. In fact, let's have a little contest here: the person who comes up with the best name for the thing gets a free copy of it.
Shipbase IV: From Biremes to Ironclads has done very well in the few playtests we've had of it, but it's suffered the same fate as everything else around here: we just haven't had the time to work on it much. A lot of people have expressed an interest in this one, particularly for the Ironclad era, so this is near the top of our list of priorities. At the moment we've only got the Lissa miniatures and a bunch of old Phoenician and Greek ships to playtest the thing, so we'll have to use counters from a bunch of old SPI and Yaquinto games until we get our mitts on some decent miniatures.
Despite all our best efforts, and those of the local constabulary, we must now present
The DIPCo SectionAll the resources around here are tied up with that tank thing and they haven't left anything for the really important stuff, like Generic Legions and Napoleon at Chattanooga and Chart Wars: the Miniatures Version. Well, we'll show them! Let me just tell you what those dirty rotten bas
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A Tale of Lust and PassionShe stood, translucent in the moonlight from the Victorian window, framed in the wisps of her thin silken gown, and looked out upon the fens, green in the glow of the new-fallen snow like some landscape from a mid-summer night's dream, and sighed. Anthony, his inner thoughts lost in the wind of the somehow forgotten Pacific Islands, took her vision in like he were drinking a fine sherry from the parched land of the Basques, off to the south in their struggle to obtain long-sought after independence from the Mongols. He sighed, too. It was a good sigh.
"Dearest," he said, "I think... it's time."
"Yes," she replied softly, her long hair silently wrippling over her velvet shoulders like sand in the desert of the Bedouin traders, their camels running across the dunes like penguins. She glided rather than walked toward him. He swept her up in his embrace, feeling for the steel clasps that held her dress on. She moaned, and as she did so, he did too, and the dress
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bits of carrots. Mix this in with the bread crumbs and slowly pour in the half cup of skim milk. Let this simmer for ten minutes while you go
She said, pulling away. "Not here... not this way." He put the batteries back under the desk. Rushing back to her embrace , he ran his nervous hands History of the First World War leads us to conclude that the main reason Germany invaded the Lowlands of Denmark is that she needed the coastlines involved, thus breaking the British hold on the sea. Nevertheless, we must consider that the French defeat at Ypres was not so much due to poor leadership from the general staff, but due to the fact that they were a useless bunch of fro DIRECT FIRE: Firing? sherman
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They laid, exhausted, on the hearth, like two pieces of flotsam washed up from the oceans of passion.
"You know," he said, thoughtfully, "there's something I've been meaning to ask you."
"What is it, dearest love?" she asked, pensively, anxiously.
"Just what exactly does 'wuthering' mean?"It's not our fault! Honest!
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The content on this page was written in 1994
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