The Six by Six Challenge

The Rules of the Six by Six Challenge

I find myself having accepted the Six by Six Challenge posed by Kaptain Kobold to play six games at least six times in 2017 and then blog about it. Here are the rules quoted directly from his blog:

Well, anyone who chooses to take part commits to the following:

Choose six games for the year. It would be great if you chose them all at the start, but I know how mercurial I can be in my selections, so changing them as you go on would be quite legitimate. I probably will.

Post your choices to your blog. Your challenge for the year is to play, and record in some way, at least six individual sessions of each of your chosen games. I say 'sessions' because you may choose to count multiple games of a small, short game (such as 'Love Letter') as a single session. Or not. Any tabletop games count, be they miniature wargames (for preference), board-games, card-games or role-playing games. I shall probably select a mix of things. They can be games you are very familiar with, or you could use the challenge to try out games you want to learn more thoroughly.

At the end of the year you should have at least thirty-six game-plays recorded. If you have, then pat yourself on the back. That's the only reward, aside from the fact that you will now have greater experience of your chosen games.

The list of all the others who have accepted the Challenge may be found here.

The Games

The criteria I have set for the game selection are:
  • They must have high solo playability
  • They must be reasonably quick to play
  • They must have some route to the future, whether through further scenarios, campaign ideas or whatever
Game 1 - Squad Leader

This is the original (albeit 4th Edition) version of the classic Avalon Hill boardgame of tactical World War II battle.  I have had it and the follow up gamettes (Cross of Iron and Crescendo of Doom) for many years but have hardly played it.  In fact the gamettes are basically unpunched.  It has a strong miniatures background (I am pretty sure there are versions of the rules available for miniatures gaming without hexes) and loads of scenarios.  I think I did not like the way the rules built up over several games, which is probably a great way to learn what is probably a fairly complicated game but if you are impatient like me (or at least my younger self) it is something of a drag.  If I play the six games and like it the game can stay, if not, well its fate may be settled on eBay.

Games Played: 3

Game 1 - Squad Leader Revisited
Game 2 - The Tractor Works
Game 3 - The Hedgehog of Piepsk

Game 2 - Ancient and Medieval Wargaming

Neil Thomas has built up an excellent set of wargaming books over the last 10 years or so covering many of the mainstream periods.  All are characterised by their short, streamlined rules supported by text that explains the rationale behind the rules as well as a practical approach to wargaming on a tight budget of time, cost and space.  They are not everyone's cup of tea but the three or four games I have played with them they "feel" good.  I wanted to add a theme for these games.  Also sitting on my shelf is Don Featherstone's Wargaming: Ancient and Medieval.   I think I will pick 6 battles which are all described in Featherstone's inimitable style and see if I can test the AMW rules in an historical setting.

Games Played: 0

Game 3 - Memoir 44

Memoir 44 is a crossover game in that it uses miniatures as playing pieces on a board with over sized hexes.  It is set during the D-Day landings and comes with a whole series of scenarios depicting various aspects of the landings and their aftermath.  I think it is fair to say it is at the abstract end of wargame simulations, but from the number of expansions that have been released over the years it must be a good game that's worth a good go.

Games Played: 1

AAR 1 - Memoir 44 - Ste Mere-Eglise

Game 4 - Four Against Darkness

Ganesha Games solo dungeon crawl looks intriguing and it seems to have gathered something of a cult following. It's a chance to go back to my ill-spent youth playing AD&D (and T&T before that) and it could be a great way to while a way a little of the flights to the US I've got coming up in the next couple of months.

Games Played: 6 - complete

After Action Report 1
After Action Report 2
After Action Report 3 - Dark Waters Chapter 1
After Action Report 4 - Dark Waters the denouement
After Action Report 5 - Exploring Four Against Darkness
After Action Report 6 - Four Against Darkness - The Final Chapter?

Game 5 - One Hour Wargames

I was trying not to go down the obvious OHW route with a second Neil Thomas entry onto my list but this one does what it says on the tin and very much lines up with my criteria for my list. I might do this following the campaign suggestions in the book or else start at Scenario 1 and work my way up from there.

Games Played: 6 - complete

After Action Report 1 - The Battle of Dundoon
After Action Report 2 - The Scots March South
After Action Report 3 - The Battle of Warchester
After Action Report 4 - The Scots Make a Stand at Connor's Bluff
After Action Report 5 - Holding the Gap
After Action Report 6 - The Scots Campaign in England - The Last Battle

Game 6 - Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition

My oldest's return from university enthused by D&D 5e has rekindled my own interest in the venerable AD&D First Edition.  I will prepare for and run an adventure or two, hopefully with a group but also using some of the solo roleplaying game engines out there and get to see if I'm ready to go "Back to the Future".

Games Played: 2

Session 1 - Back to the Dungeon
Session 2 - Bring on the Adventurers

This has replaced De Bellis Renationis

I had been tempted to play DBA v3 which has been sitting there staring at me balefully for months (I fear I have an over-vivid imagination) but with C16th and  C17th warfare being one of my particular favourites I really thought I ought to look at this. And I have been looking for 'the' set of rules for the period. I'm not sure the venerable DBR is quite it but I will give it a go, probably using the condensed scale if I can pick out the rules from the rest. DBR has been promised a makeover although from all sturm und drang of the DBA v3 update I'm not sure I am looking forward to it.

Games Played: 0

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