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Author Topic: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet  (Read 8669 times)

Offline Cat

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2021, 04:54:28 PM »
Castle of Otranto has been on my ought to read list for awhile.  Just went browsing at ABE.com and ordered a collection with that, Vathek, and The Vampyre.  Also a copy of The Mummy!, there are a couple of print versions out there now.  And oh what the heck, The Jewel of the Seven Stars too.
 
The creepiest mummy movie (and full Lovecraftian flavour horror) is Hammer's Blood From the Mummy's Tomb, based on The Jewel of the Seven Stars with a decidedly un-bandaged not-shambling monster.

The bandaged sorts are ideal for NPC monsters, they do have that monstrous look after all.  An unbandaged sort as a player character in the vein of the Dhampir has distinct possibilities for an Eastern unit of hunters.  Cultist flavoured hunting units, distinct from military ones, have intriguing possibilities.
 
Regarding Facebook, I find it invaluable for organising and promoting local games and conventions and keeping up with news from favourite manufacturers, but generally the information is quite ephemeral.  The forum still wins by miles for ongoing discussions and a repository of information that can be found at a later date.

Offline Sarmor

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2021, 06:23:06 PM »
That first mummy story I mentioned from 1827 is...well, the wiki's about right:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mummy!

Chock full of proper predictive scifi (dated, but predictive) and some steampunk elements, and really quite light on the supernatural elements.  Webb was quite a visionary, and while she was clearly inspired by Frankenstein her approach is very different.  If you can find a copy well worth a look, but I had to get it through the US library loan system and even then it was a struggle - although that was twenty+ years ago now.  Maybe it's up online somewhere.  Neat bit of obscure literary history, if nothing else.
The Mummy is available on Project Gutenberg: https://gutenberg.org/ebooks/56426
As are numerous other old gothic, horror and sci-fi books that can serve as inspiration for Silver Bayonet. :)

Offline Malamute

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2021, 08:33:06 AM »
If you want Vampires more in keeping with the period than Dracula no one has mentioned Mircalla/Carmilla Karnstein or Varney the Vampire for inspiration?

Well worth exploring those and if you want to enjoy Hammer Horror at its zenith then The Vampire Lovers is probably the one to watch.
"These creatures do not die like the bee after the first sting, but go on age after age, feeding on the blood of the living"  - Abraham Van Helsing

Offline Sarmor

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2021, 10:14:26 AM »
Going even further back in time, there's "The Vampyre" by John Polidori - probably the first story about a vampire as we know them today (charming, aristocratic blooddrinker). It was conceived during the same contest which gave us Frankenstein. :)

Offline Onebigriver

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2021, 03:06:05 PM »
2000AD has intermittently published "Fiends of the Eastern Front". The main character is a vampire called Hauptmann Costanza, and the stories have taken place at different stages in history. In September 2018 they published a story over a few progs called "1812", with Constanza as a Wallachian officer accompanying the French in Russia, where they face revenants & Baba Yaga. Well worth a read and would be a good source of inspiration IMO.

« Last Edit: December 02, 2021, 03:35:56 PM by Onebigriver »
Waiter, my soup is giggling.

Offline tikitang

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2021, 04:50:21 PM »
So it has taken longer than I expected but I have finally written my first impressions of The Silver Bayonet and the miniatures from the pre-order. Bear in mind this is from reading the book and watching folks play on YouTube rather than playing a game myself, so take what I say with a pinch of salt.

https://thegrumpygnome.home.blog/2021/11/30/the-silver-bayonet-first-impressions/

TLDR: The game needs more work, it feels unfinished at this point, but the miniatures are brilliant.

So, I got around to reading this at last.

Disclaimer: I, like you, haven't played the game, only read the rulebook and watched others play online.

Bottom-line: I don't agree with your overall assessment (though I do agree with one or two small points)

I make the following counter-points, based on things you mentioned in your review:

1.
Quote from: Grumpy Gnome
That seems off.


I disagree that the firearms rules are 'off'. I'm not an expert on Napoleonic warfare, or black powder firearms in general, but for a light tabletop skirmish game, primarily focussed on gunpowder weapons, I think the rules as written are marvellous. I can't wait to play them for real, and I don't feel any changes need to be made.


2. 
Quote from: Grumpy Gnome
For an arcane/occult game there is remarkably little detail on such things. Spells are few.

I like the fact that spells are few and subtle; I wouldn't want "fantasy-level" sorcery being unleashed in this setting.


3.
Quote from: Grumpy Gnome
Another choice I am not keen on is the Hobgoblin sculpt. I am not sure what a Hobgoblin should look like but the sculpt looks too much like a Ghoul or feral Vampire to me.

The 'Hobgoblin' miniature is not an official Hobgoblin designed for the game; it is a repurposed miniature from one of Northstar's older ranges, the Celtic Myth Fomorians.


4.
Quote from: Grumpy Gnome
Where is Dracula? The Mummy? Frankenstein?

As others have said, I think the Gothic theme comes through sufficiently through the inclusion of many monsters of European folklore, without getting too stuck into specific Gothic novels from a century later, such as Dracula (isn't Dracula a little overdone anyway?)


5.
Quote from: Grumpy Gnome
I was surprised, and disappointed, to see the game focus so much on confrontational competitive play. The Napoleonic era was a time of international war but it is also a time of uneasy peace and shifting alliances. And that is without the supernatural common threat of the Harvestmen or the various gribblies they have unleashed. It just feels a bit with the emphasis on players fighting each other that the overarching plot message is that humans are the real monsters. I get it, “war and violence in general are bad things”… but I am not sure that is a lesson I need to hear in a game whilst trying to recreationally defeat evil supernatural monsters in order to save humanity.

I like the fact that the game is primarily about Napoleonic skirmishing, with monsters being present in the background and interfering with the human conflict, rather than being the central focus.


6.
Quote from: Grumpy Gnome
The Harvestmen background is too abstract, too far removed. There is no sense of discovery, of progress in a war against the Harvestmen.

I actually do agree with you that the Harvestmen backstory, specifically, is weak and undeveloped, but rather than develop it into something more thematic, I would have preferred if there were no references to 'Harvestmen' at all! For me, it would have been enough to make it even more historical, but with the understanding that "by the way, all creatures from European folklore are actually real", thus justifying the sudden appearence of werewolves randomly popping out of the woods.


7.
Quote from: Grumpy Gnome
It would have been interesting to see an Ottoman presence.

I also agree that there's a sad lack of Ottomans. That said, as the rules state, you can easily create another nation by just basing it on one of the existing ones. I mentioned earlier that Napoleon's Egyptian invasion might be a fun expansion in the future, and a good excuse to bring near-eastern nations (and monsters) into the fray with official rules, but should that never happen, I think there's enough potential for a lot of customisation with the rules as they are.

8.
Quote from: Grumpy Gnome
the Silver Bayonet miniatures from Northstar are brilliant. Having bought the pre-order bundle I was very pleased with just about every single figure. The quality of the sculpting, the poses, details and character are great.

While I agree that the official miniatures are great, I actually don't really like using 'official' miniatures for these things, but prefer mining the internet for various alternative options. On that subject (this is where I drift away from your review into my own thoughts on the game)...

The only other criticism I have of the rules, as written, other than the unnecessary inclusion of the 'Harvestmen' backstory (which I will be completely ignoring in my games), is that the troop-types are restricted to particular weapon combinations. I would have preferred it if you could equip your troop types with whatever weapons you wanted, and paid some kind of cost for them, thus allowing for more flexibility with choice of miniatures.

Conclusion: In general, while I've been interested in light skirmish games for about a decade now, I have never really been interested in heavily thematic skirmish games, with specialist miniatures, settings and story-driven campaigns. I've always looked for more of a sandbox/toolkit that could be applied to any setting and miniatures. This is the first time in the history of my short and not very successful wargaming career where I've actually been excited about a rulebook with a specific theme -- and that is largely down to its unique blending of history and folklore in a setting which is rich in both!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2021, 11:15:26 AM by tikitang »
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal."

- Jesus

Offline Chief Lackey Rich

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2021, 05:10:11 PM »
Quote
1. I disagree that the firearms rules are 'off'. I'm not an expert on Napoleonic warfare, or black powder firearms in general, but for a light tabletop skirmish game, primarily focussed on gunpowder weapons, I think the rules as written are marvellous. I can't wait to play them for real, and I don't feel any changes need to be made.

5. I like the fact that the game is primarily about Napoleonic skirmishing, with monsters being present in the background and interfering with the human conflict, rather than being the central focus.

Those are self-contradictory statements. 

You can't have "a game that is primarily about Napoleonic skirmishing" without rules that reflect how black powder weapons from the time period actually work.  At best you're playing a Hollywoood pretense of the era, and you certainly aren't going to be modelling anything like the tactics and flow of combat back then, even on a tiny skirmish scale.  Figures just plain fire way too fast relative to movement speeds, even with the ranges nerfed down some for most weapons.  Even Flintloque is a more realistic Nappy rules set, and it's got an army made of pseudo-Italian toad-men.

And if you're okay with playing Hollywood Faux Napoleonic Era (which is fine in theory, the Sharpe show was fun if you don't get hung up on history) then why not make the monster hunting the heart of the game instead of scenario specials?  Make them front and center as the opposition, a real existential danger to the player crews that force a large degree of co-op play, maybe combined with some carefully timed betrayal.  The game sure sells monster hunting as the main attraction, not man-to-man skirmishing, historically realistic or not.

Offline tikitang

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2021, 05:26:36 PM »
At best you're playing a Hollywoood pretense of the era

The game itself claims to be doing that, and that's fine with me:

Quote from: McCullough, Joseph A.. The Silver Bayonet: 1 (pp. 8-9). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Although it features the weapons and glorious uniforms, as well as the politics and geography, of the Napoleonic wars, this game is more Hollywood than history. It is not overly concerned with whether your soldiers are wearing the correct shakos for the year in question, but demands to know if your soldier is carrying a cold-iron sword when fighting goblins. The game is an excuse to use colourful, historical, toy soldiers on the same table as grotesque fantasy monsters.

When I said "primarily about Napoleonic skirmishing", I meant within the context of how it is presented in the book: "Hollywood" Napoleon. I didn't mean real, nitty-gritty Napoleonic -- if I wanted to play that, I wouldn't be interested in this game at all.

Quote from: Chief Lackey Rich
And if you're okay with playing Hollywood Faux Napoleonic Era (which is fine in theory, the Sharpe show was fun if you don't get hung up on history) then why not make the monster hunting the heart of the game instead of scenario specials?

Because, I can like Hollywood Faux Napoleonic Era (e.g. Sharpe) without it being primarily focussed on monster hunting?

Quote from: Chief Lackey Rich
The game sure sells monster hunting as the main attraction, not man-to-man skirmishing, historically realistic or not.

I am not sure I agree with that assertion.

Even my first glance through the rule book made it clear that this was about nation Vs nation conflict, with monsters popping up now and again to cause a bit of trouble, which is exactly the way I like it.

If, on the other hand, you want to play co-op against monsters, there is a game variant in the rules which caters for it.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2021, 06:33:14 PM by tikitang »

Offline Grumpy Gnome

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2021, 07:21:22 PM »
Again you echo my thoughts Rich,

I have read, although not used yet, Joe’s blackpowder weapon rules for Frostgrave in Spellcaster 1. They did not present as problematic for me but that may be because Inhave not seen anyone use them in a game. I did very much like the flavor he added of having firearms noise increase the chance of random monsters appear.

It is flavor like that which I was hoping for, and feel is lacking, in the Silver Bayonet.

Sharp Practice better catches the flavor of Napoleonic gunplay but it is admittedly aimed at bigger units.

Not all Hollywood is equal. I do not need correct button count, I do not mind the Sharpe TV series, but I still want to have at least Sharpe level immersion.
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Offline Paratrooper 42

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2021, 07:34:29 PM »
The Ruleset may be good or it may be bad, but shouldn't you actually play the game before you review it?

Bit like an Airline Test Pilot signing off the latest passenger airliner before actually flying it  lol lol

Offline tikitang

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2021, 07:40:59 PM »
To be fair, these are "first impressions", rather than a full-blown review!  ;)

Offline Blackwolf

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2021, 09:29:13 PM »
If you want Vampires more in keeping with the period than Dracula no one has mentioned Mircalla/Carmilla Karnstein or Varney the Vampire for inspiration?

Well worth exploring those and if you want to enjoy Hammer Horror at its zenith then The Vampire Lovers is probably the one to watch.

Good words :)

How about ST Coleridge’s Christabel?
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Offline Grumpy Gnome

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2021, 05:20:52 AM »
The Ruleset may be good or it may be bad, but shouldn't you actually play the game before you review it?

Bit like an Airline Test Pilot signing off the latest passenger airliner before actually flying it  lol lol

As Tikitang noted, I tried to make it clear that these were my first impressions based on pre-game playing observations.

Think of it more like my views from the pre-flight checklist.

Your mileage may vary.

Offline Paratrooper 42

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2021, 09:32:23 AM »
As Tikitang noted, I tried to make it clear that these were my first impressions based on pre-game playing observations.

Think of it more like my views from the pre-flight checklist.

Your mileage may vary.

CAVEAT: My hobby time is limited, so this may colour my opinion:

I've always found it odd that gamers use their time on 'periphera'l things rather than concentrating on painting and playing.  AARs can be interesting and inspiring in some cases, WIP builds and model making/painting tips are useful too. However I struggle to see the value in long to and fro discussions about the theoretical colour of orc skin and what rules may or may not be like based on a read through.

I'm not sure how long it took you to write the post and your blog article but maybe you could have played a game in that time?  :) To me it makes sense to play the rules and then offer some feedback based on actual play.

I don't know your particular circumstance so maybe you have an abundance of time, whereas I don't.  Maybe I should just ignore the 'talky' posts and concentrate on those that are of value from my perspective.

Each to their own.

P42

Offline Grumpy Gnome

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Re: My first impressions of The Silver Bayonet
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2021, 10:49:03 AM »
My blog has a few functions for me. One is to convey my thoughts to folks that may find them interesting, another is to document my hobby journey for my own future reflections. Writing my thoughts helps me focus them, a way of thinking aloud. And it allows conversation to be sparked where people can challenge my perceptions as well as their own.

The internet is a difficult medium to communicate with. For example the way you have written your post Paratrooper 42 has a certain tone to it that I may be misreading.

I have watched several playthroughs now, some more than once. I do not see how that is different from actually playing a game. Or how many games I would need to play before folks all felt I had enough experience to vocalize my opinions.

It is true that I have more free time than many people but of course I could do with more. I chose to share some of my free time with others.

Thank you for sharing some of your limited free time with me. I am however sorry that you did not find any value in it.

 

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