A change is as good as a rest

We’ve played over a dozen play tests of our Ninja game for Salute which has been great fun. The players are now getting wise to both the mechanisms and how the game reacts to them. When they first started, I did consider that perhaps I’d made it too hard to play as nobody completed their missions. However with perseverance, players learnt that their actions and the risks they took had to be carefully weighed. Instead of leaping out on every unsuspecting peasant and leave a trail of corpses, they would now be patient and wait for the peasant to leave. Instead of trying to take on all the guards at once, they’d wait for the opportune moment to strike their target or try and isolate the guards one at a time. The end result has been that with the careful use of timing, tactics and their ninja tools, more players have been completing their missions, and the game is much better balanced then we first thought.  This has also radically reduced the death toll amongst poor villagers who linger a little too long near any Ninja’s position.

Tonight we had our first complete mission success. Two ninjas went in (played ably by Patrick and John) and both completed their missions (to punish the evil merchant and to deliver the secret message). There were a number of sticky moments, like when early on John’s Ninja was spotted by a peasant collecting water, who cried ‘NINJA!!!, alerting nearby guards and a passing Ronin. Instead of ‘shanking’ the poor peasant, he used the fact that people were being drawn to the commotion and sneaked in to deliver the message to the target. Soon after this, the run of intelligent gameplay ended with some bad luck, both Ninjas were spotted after completing their tasks, but both managed to leave the table alive.  Success!

Tour of DutySometimes it’s good to take a break from gaming, or change periods for a game or two, to recharge those creative batteries. I’m a little ‘Ninja’d’ out. There have been plenty of temptations on offer which have come in for review, most of which you’ll be reading about in future issues of WSS. Flames of War Vietnam for example, started a furore of discussion and even some purchases, namely VC and Huey Helicopters. The other recent arrival that has been causing controversy is ‘In Her Majesty’s Name’. Over which, if I’m not careful, there will be punch ups who gets to review it. It does look very good. Finally there are the new VBCW rules from Solway Crafts – this on top of Longships (the new Peter Pig Viking rules) Seventh Voyage and Skirmish Sangin. All of a sudden our few pages of game reviews are looking very full indeed, overflowing in fact. Some will have to go into the issue after next. In an ideal world, we’d rationalise the sets and come up with some logical order for review,l but in reality it really depends on what reviews are ready now to go into the magazine, as deadlines are closing fast.

Well that’s it for now…

Jā mata ne!
(See you later!)

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