Friday, July 28, 2017

B/X Tactica

Last night I fell asleep reading Musashi's The Book of Five Rings (I was on the book Water). Subsequently, I had a vivid dream involving

  1. shopping at a game shop, and 
  2. taking the kids to P. F. Chang's

Which is ridiculous for all sorts of reasons, including that I've never taken them to a P. F. Chang's (the wife hates to go to restaurants where she comes out "smelling like kitchen"). However, perhaps I'll rectify that this evening (the wife's currently out of town).

As dry as Sun Tzu? Yeah.
My reason for putting myself to sleep with Musashi is that I was doing some "research" into various tactical treatises that I could find with the possibility of putting together some sort of handbook of engagement rules and maneuvers for the B/X game.

I know, I know...but sometimes you just get a bee in your bonnet about stuff.

In this case a recent post by Peter over at nilnotnull (and my subsequent response) got me thinking that maybe a small manual of combat essays and optional rules might be fun...and perhaps put together. Something that explores the whys and wherefores of B/X's simple, abstract well as its potential.

Am I the right person to put something like this together? Mmm...maybe. Lots of people have researched, written about, and explored the Old School combat system over the years (Delta, author of Original Edition Delta: Book of War, springs immediately to mind). Me...well, it's definitely a subject I've continued to come back to on Ye Old Blog. And a French game company did just petition me for permission to translate/use my B/X mass combat rules for their new retroclone...

Well, you know what? It doesn't really matter. So long as it fires me up to do some writing, I'll use the energy the idea gives me. This morning (when not cooking the kids breakfast) I've been 'making the rounds' at various blogs on the verge of shutting down, and offering encouragement to keep it up. For their own sakes, not mine. Because I know what it feels like to start questioning one's own worth when it comes to the blogging/writing/designing thing. Any type of art is hard, but especially art for little or no recognition. We have to remember that we do art for ourselves, as much (if not more) for other people. Especially those of us who aren't doing it as a profession or livelihood.

[come to think of it, here's a very tasty essay on that particular subject]

Sometimes we get in a funk with our art, and one of the best ways out of it is to just stick our face back in the mess and do something with our art. Art our way out of the funk, in other words. And futzing around with a book of B/X tactics is a perfectly acceptable exercise for Yours Truly to hone his chops. It may not be something that meets my standards for publication, but at least it's a constructive, practical thing I can work on.

I'll let y'all know how it goes.
; )


  1. One book that is basically a compilation of many other tactics and strategy manuals, along with anecdotes from various military professionals, is The 33 Strategies of War. It's by the same people who did The 48 Laws of Power (also possibly useful in this context). I recommend both.

    1. @ Faol:

      Just finished Oman's Art of War last night (very interesting historical stuff, though not much to apply to small scale tactics). Will look for a copy of 33 Strategies!
      : )

  2. Great observation, and even better solution! I've had the same problem of disliking my projects over the years, but you are right. The dive in and work it off technique works just fine! Good luck on the project. Looking forward to the results. :-)