Category Archives: Games

From Agincourt to St Seward’s Roger Draper

I did about 30 rough html docs and may do some more today while watching the rugby – which should be a walkover for England, but you never know, could be embarrassing!

Getting the first version of the outline done for the Agincourt gamebook was quite exhausting, and I have been yearning to get back to the novel project featuring Roger Draper, demon-hunter. So I have started on the research for this again. I have found some interesting stuff on the borough organization of St Albans, on which my fictional town of St Seward’s will be based. I have also identified other areas that I need to research. This in a way is quite easy research compared to Stupor Mundi as there is a relatively large amount of stuff available in English. Also my setting at the end of the day is fictional. So while I want to get the setting genuine, the actual historical details of what happens is less important, as the story is more a mirror of what really happened or could have happened. 
A bit more research about the abbey and the surrounding county should allow me to be in a position to map out the local history and factional/character background for my own fictional location. Should be fun!

Agincourt Gamebook – initial plan complete

I have now completed the initial plan for the Agincourt gamebook. I decided to keep things simple by only doing the writing for the initial historical deployment and actions of Henry V’s army – so they will start with the same formation and advance towards the French. I have started planning out alternatives to these situations, but it will take quite a lot more writing, so I have decided to see how things look with a shorter historical version. 

I have now started putting together the html documents. 

Agincourt Gamebook progress

I’ve decided that I really need to grind out the content for the Agincourt gamebook as swiftly as possible to keep up the momentum – more sweat and less prevarication and distraction from things like blogging is required!!

I found when I put together over the weekend, that I was able to get this done by just concentrating on it. The fact that I had started to publish some web-pages and wanted to get everything as tidy as possible online as soon as possible really helped. I think it doesn’t look half bad now, apart from the annoying GoDaddy advertising!
I hope to take the same approach with the Agincourt gamebook, get the html together soon and start getting it online. Then I can turn to the fun part of sending it out to people and promoting it. 

Agincourt what if scenarios

I have been thinking again about some what ifs for the Agincourt gamebook. For example What If the English men-at-arms had not repulsed the French attack. Would Henry have ordered the English archers to join the melee? Would he have had a reserve of some sort that he could deploy? It seems unlikely, because of his small number of men-at-arms, about 1000, that he could afford to have a reserve. The archers on the flanks were not engaged in the initial melee, until they attacked the struggling French as the floundered in the face of the English centre. This seems to have been an impromptu act on the part of the archers though once they realised that the French men-at-arms were pretty much helpless, the archers helped their comrades finish off the French. But if the French had been getting the upper hand could the archers have been called upon to help in the melee, perhaps by charging the French in the flanks. I think it’s unlikely for a few reasons:

1. An order would have been difficult to reach them, and its not clear who was in charge of the archers themselves. Their commanders might have effectively been deployed in the men-at-arms battles, with the archers left to their role on the flanks. 
2. They were not trained for melee fighting, their attack would not have been well co-ordinated.
3. The importance of status may have prevented Henry from contemplating such an order – archers were not meant to take part in the melee after all.
I’m trying to find examples of where the archers were actually called upon to fight in a melee. 
Also I have been puzzling over why the French men-at-arms did not attack the archers. As they were on foot they would not have been prevented too much by the stakes. Curry thinks that the weight of archery kept them away. However, the cavalry were not expected to be prevented by this and it seems that less damage would have been done to the men-at-arms. I think it wasn’t because they couldn’t do it, but because they wanted to take on their opposite numbers. By the time they had reached the English lines the means to win the battle was not to destroy the archers, but to defeat the English men-at-arms, and in particular attempt to kill or capture their leaders. 
There was probably also a status issue as well. After all the cavalry sent to attack the archers were the varlets, not mounted men-at-arms. It was beneath the French men-at-arms to fight the archers hand to hand. If they had done so they would no doubt have scattered them quite easily and possibly been able to envelop the English. It is apparent that this tactic never really occured to the French in this period.

Agincourt gamebook progress

There it is I’ve named it, my top secret project. Well we’ll see how it goes. After having started work on this I’m not that worried that anyone will actually come and steal the idea of creating a gamebook surrounding the role of Henry V at the battle of Agincourt. I have now pretty much finished my initial research into the battle, and I have a list of the key decision points for Henry. Many of these are actually to do with how he set things up. Once the battle is under way there is very little means for a general in such times to change things. However, I am planning to keep the action going here with the option for Henry to become involved in the fighting, which according to a number of sources, he actively was. For instance there is speculation that his crowned helmet was damaged by the Duke of Alencon, while other sources describe him attempting to protect his younger brother, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who had been wounded. So there might be an opportunity here to add a certain personal level of fighting role-play for Henry.

Deciding a structure for working out the different strands has beend difficult. I started off with the Novel Writing software I use, but this has proved difficult to keep track of. Instead I am using a simple spreadsheet solution I found at this Gamebook Library site. I might actually go straight from there to writing the book in html once I have the structure worked out. 

Trillion Credit Squadron Rides Again!

Back in my RPG days at school Traveller was always the best sf game out there. The open-ended nature of it was a blessing and a curse as you could do anything, which add-ons such as Trillion Credit Squadron, High Guard and Striker enabled, but also it lacked detailed good quality adventures, which meant that you had to do a lot of the work yourself, and left it rather lacking on the atmosphere front.

Trillion Credit Squadron provided you the tools to create your own fleets of mega starships to fight out space battles on a grand scale. However, in the days of pen and paper it was a real chore to do the creating, and I have often toyed with the idea of doing something with the software available now to make the process easier and effectively automate the process.

So here’s a first step on that road – a spreadsheet that allows me and anyone else to pump in the right numbers and design some really big spaceships – what could be more fun! You’ll need copies of Trillion Credit Squadron and High Guard to do this, but the spreadsheet makes the admin a lot easier.

Future developments might include seeing if formulas can be worked out for actually managing the space battles themselves!

Here’s are the links to the spreadsheets. There’s a template to use for creating ships, plus two worked examples. My apologies for any errors – please let me know if you spot anything wrong!!

My long-term ambition is to learn enough programming to turn these spreadsheets into some sort of game or computer programme to simulate Trillion Credit Squadron fleet designs and battles.






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