Sergio's blog: hints, ideas, pictures and news about SDS (and more) from the author

Thursday, May 26, 2011

SDS Tournament Rules

Some of you are maybe wondering why the translation of the Tournament rules is not out yet.
The reason is that - since a couple of months - I am completely rewriting the squad composition and terrain making rules.
After 2 years and many (Official and Unofficial) tournaments, I realized that the "choose whatever you want within the 400 points" principle is wrong.
Wrong on the historical point of view, wrong because allows too many tricks that kill the game, wrong because the last games I witnessed looked boring.
When I designed SDS I envisaged a game full of movement, of coup de theatre, of heroic actions ("my Officer draws his sword and attacks your Grenadiers!!"). Competitive gaming is much different - and I am not blaming anyone, to be clear.

Therefore, with the help of many proficient SDS players, I started to collect opinions, ideas and proposals: and the results are now at hand.
Please bear in mind that any modification I make on the Tournament Rules should NOT heavily affect the normal Rules, as we don't want to have 2 different sets out.

As a general anticipation, the new Tournament rules ask you to choose in advance which type of squad you want to build (Line, Light or Cavalry) and 250 of your 400 points must be of that type. The other 150 point can be chosen among the SPECIAL selections, which include Heavy Cavalry, Grenadiers/Guards and the like.
The terrain generation rules will reflect your basic choice (if you have a Light squad you'll want many woods on the table... :) and will give you (and your opponent) options.
Finally (drums beating....) when your soldiers are fired upon, you'll always add 2 to your die roll - no matter what your C is. This is the only real change to the pick-up games rules, but for competitive play I decided to listen to the many voices of players telling me that "a bullet is always a bullet, no matter what head it hits"...

The die is cast.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SJ sneak preview

Yesterday evening we had another session of playtesting for Steel Juggernauts. I set up a very basic table (just a couple of woods and hills) and voluntarily prepared an unbalanced scenario with three T34 Vs. three StuG III. Even if we did not finish the game (we talk a lot, discuss rules, swiftly change subject and then come back to the game) the outcome would have been in line with my expectations.
The game seems OK, it is quick and bloody and offers more than a challenge to players.
Optional rules will allow for more "complex" style of play, but the basic rules flow in the way I want. More 15mm tanks are coming.... :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

An old project coming to life

While driving back from S. Marino last week, Andrea and me talked about a 2008 project of a game I designed in 2002 while I was living in Bologna. The game is a simple WW II tank combat at platoon level. In Bologna, we played with it an entire winter at the Club, and I remember I painted some 30 tanks in 1/72 scale. Now that WW II gaming has a larger audience, thanks to games like Flames of War and the like, and 15mm tanks are at hand in great quantity and assortment, we decided to revive the 2008 project of releasing it.
At that time, we took the rules as they were and sent them out to 3-4 playtest teams, but then we were busy with other games and did not follow up.
Now we'll do it.
Since a week, I am re writing the rules (simplifying here and there some concepts and using the experience made with other Ganesha Games) and testing the changes with Andrea and some other friends. The aim is to release the game at the end of summer this year.

STEEL JUGGERNAUTS (that's the name of the game) will be completely different from other Ganesha games, and will be one of a series of games Andrea, me, and other authors will propose to our audience. All fast-play, easy to learn games with some innovative game mechanics.
I hope you'll enjoy it....

Friday, May 20, 2011 in S. Marino (2)

As I wrote in my previous post, I had a table where I made some demo of 6165 ACW (saturday), and 6165 Napoleonic (should I call it 9915?:). For the latter, I chose a scenario set just before Talavera, with British/Spanish Vs. French. The Spanish had to protect a farm with a squad and 4 skirmishers (I used dismounted Hussars for the purpose) while 2 British squads hurried up as reinforcements. The Allied player had also a small squad of 5 Guerrillas (you can see them in the above picture) which could appear anytime in the Allied turn from a building or from the wood (below, right) with 3 free actions. Needless to say, the Guerrillas caused many troubles to the French player even if - as I already knew from the playtest - they were a one shot weapon.
All demos were very balanced, always ending with narrow victories for one side or the other.
The game plays well in the Napoleonic version: all I have to do is write some rules for the Cavalry, which must be different from that of the ACW.
Time to enlarge my squads to play 99-15 with 100 pieces!!
(That's why I bought a box of Perry Prussian plastics..... :)
Once again after Modena I used my new 90x90 terrain from Baueda (, which solved all my problems of transportation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 in San Marino (1)

As you probably know, this year was held in the Republic of San Marino from 14th to 15th may.
Andrea and me where there with a couple of tables, where I demoed 6165 (both in ACW and Napoleonic version) and Andrea playtested the last version of Song of Spears and Shields (the Ancient large skirmish game from Ganesha soon to be published).
In this post however I want to show you an amazing table created by 2 of our fans: Massimo Masini (above, left) and Fabrizio Passatempi (above, right), who organized a participation game based on a SDS scenario in Spain. Above, a view of the table, built from scratch by Massimo.
To be fully portable, the table has two big wooden boxes that - once the table is assembled - are used as drawers and as support for two dice towers (one per side). Below you can see the legs.
The 90x90 cm. gaming table was also very nice, with 3 scratch built houses and a lot of trees..

A close up view on the French squad entering the table. The mission objective for the frogs was to capture some livestock (with or without the permission of the spanish owners). The lobsters (and their Portuguese allies) had to stop them. Fabrizio designed the scenario.
A view from a different angle. You can appreciate the quality of the buildings (wood and balsa) made by Massimo.
A close up on the dice tower, a very useful add-on for such a crowded table....
As it was predictable, Massimo and Fabrizio won the prize for the best scenario, and here they proudly show their medal. BTW, the table was always busy during the 2 days of the show, and many people tried SDS. Great job mates!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tolentino Battlefield

During the week end of the 14th and 15th of may I went to Tolentino for the biannual reenactment of the Battle between the Neapolitan Army of Joaquim Murat and the Austrian Army led by General Bianchi (2-4 may 1815). I spent 2 days in those wonderful places, visiting the main sites of the Battlefield and taking part to the events organized by the Association "Tolentino 815". I had a great time.... Above, the Neapolitan "2° Cavalleggeri" parades in front of us, with the Austrian troops in the background (they were from Czech Republic).
Members of the 59th Demi Brigade (reenactors from Marengo, left), Cacciatori Bresciani (centre, in green uniforms) and French Artillerymen (right). Some Vivandieres here and there....
A 4 pdr. (French) gun manhandled into position by the crew (from Germany).
The French Infantry Camp (above) and the King Murat himself (below) parading with his Chief of Staff and soldiers from the 5th Regiment (Real Calabria). Austrian artillerymen and Landwher/Jaeger infantry just behind.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Arezzo Tournament Postponed

Il Torneo di SDS di Arezzo (domenica 22 maggio) รจ stato posposto a data da destinarsi dopo l'Estate. Insieme agli organizzatori, stiamo cercando una data adatta nei mesi di settembre/ottobre.
Vi terremo informati sia attraverso e-mail sia tramite questo blog.

The SDS Tournament in Arezzo (sunday, may 22nd) has been posponed to next Autumn.
We'll keep you posted via e-mail and this blog.

Tolentino preview

Just a pic of me in Tolentino battlefield (may 1815: Neapolitans Vs. Austrians) with a 4 pdr. french gun. More pics soon...

Still here...

I had many problems with my PC in the last weeks, and I was unable to post.
This is just to say I'm still here and (probably) my tech problems have been solved.
There are many news to post - from my visit to Tolentino Battlefield to the Con in S. Marino - and I'll try to do it as soon as I can.
Thank you for following me