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"Playtesters Sought" Topic

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Cundiff01 Jul 2014 1:58 p.m. PST

Howdy Gents,

I and Dennis Bishop (ex KPG, WDG, and a host of other companies) are working on several board wargames of his design and are at the point where we need playtesters.

The topics for our first efforts are Battles For a Continent (French and Indian War, American Revolution, and War of 1812 – BFC). BFC presently includes games on the following battles, Plains of Abraham 1759, St. Foy 1760, Trenton I & II 1776, Princeton 1776 (and several smaller battles that were part of those campaigns to be included in the packages), and Tippecanoe 1811 (which is hoped to be followed by Fallen Timbers, Wabash, and Thames).

It's our hope to develop the basic BFC rules from these into a set of encompassing general rules set that we can use to cover all combat from the time of Marlborough (roughly 1700) to the Crimea (1855). We intend to use game (or scenario if you like) specific rules to indicate differences necessary to the time and place for each game, or battle.

The purpose to our designing the BFC series is to develop a game system that provides the feel of linear combat, but doesn't have the painstaking (almost exhausting) level of detail and difficulty of the BAR (Battles of the Age of Reason made by Clash of Arms) or that of the LaBataille series (again by Clash of Arms). Both those series of games are venerated in the board wargame world as the best of the best for their periods 7YW and Napoleonic. BUT the single drawback for both of them is their level of difficulty and the fact that even the smallest of battles using their systems takes not hours, but DAYS to complete.

That extensive amount of time is what we seek to reduce making a simpler game play instead in about 3 hours.

We are also developing a European Colonial Battle system which so far includes games on the following: Maiwand 1880, El Teb II 1885, Ginnis 1885, Firket 1896, and Atbara 1898. We hope to move this system into Zulu and American Indian engagements.

If you are willing to work on this, actually play the prototype games, and write detailed critiques of the rules we would like to hear from you. Also, in the beginning we will need you to be committed enough to the project that you are willing to print and produce (PNP) your own copy of the game. We're doing this on a shoe-string with the hopes to expand our horizons after this first set of games have gone to production.

Please contact us via either of my e-mail addresses (I use 2 for purposes of technical redundancy):

Thanks Much,
Tom Cundiff
Director, Ernie Pyle WWII Museum
Assoc. Editor, War Diary Magazine

corporalpat01 Jul 2014 7:24 p.m. PST

Would love to participate. But to have to produce my own copy of a board game? I have got the time, ambition, and ability to do what you need, but with a fixed income and all that…well, you know. Maybe you should try a Kickstarter project instead?

Cundiff01 Jul 2014 7:48 p.m. PST

Seen too many kickstarter campaigns that were nothing but pipe dreams and scams. Like you, we're on a small budget. Dennis is a teacher and I'm a director of a small not for profit museum. We're lucky to pay our own bills and make our own copies of the games to work on them.

I understand your inability due to funds, believe me, we're all in the same boat.

Fergal01 Jul 2014 9:02 p.m. PST

Seen too many kickstarter campaigns that were nothing but pipe dreams and scams.

So change that and run a good one. I've seen plenty that turned into fantastic games.

Todd63602 Jul 2014 4:24 a.m. PST

It's a board game? How much needs to be printed. Any chance of a VASSAL module?

Cundiff02 Jul 2014 7:57 a.m. PST


Yes, they're board games. How much needs be printed depends upon the game. In general there would be a map (or maybe 2), a counter sheet (or 2), rules (usually about 12 pages). There may also be Combat Results Tables to print (usually a single double sided sheet).

No Vassal yet, probably will not be until the finished game is published.

Thanks Much,
Tom Cundiff

Maddaz11102 Jul 2014 8:40 a.m. PST

Sadly not my thing – I don't really do lots of board wargaming anymore, and my Board wargames are now generally light family froth.

I would love to see the system – if it was miniature based or tabletop battles – and if I didn't already have a perfectly workable set of rules for the period.

I don't know what the market for more abstract detailed board games is in the USA, but its nearly completely dead in the UK.

Abstract games seem to still work, and the fiddly counter games with two hundred to four hundred counters a side also are still played (but I cant work out what kind of game you are suggesting)

Cundiff02 Jul 2014 9:09 a.m. PST

fiddly counter games would be the description you'd recognize. From my view all board wargames are miniatures based … or miniatures are based upon wargames (egg or chicken first?).

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2014 9:21 a.m. PST

yes why not, but only on cyberboard. Frankly if you have even basic images, you could do it; it would make every ones's life easier and make for instant pics of arising pb etc. and allow a lot of people to use it.
Here is not the best place consimworld or boardgamegeek better.

I am very weary of a system that can depict warfare properly from 1700 till 1855, without a ton of special rules for each sub period. Otherwise you end up reinventing 1978 games with AR AE etc. and lose the interesting bit;the differences in tactics in each period.
GMt has done a faster than COA 18th century system.

Cundiff02 Jul 2014 10:48 a.m. PST

Yes, we are aware of GMT's efforts, but are not happy with those. Too simplistic in many ways, abstractions of units by combining multiple small (but important) units from OOB's. Failures in command structures, we, neither of us, like their systems. I don't mind so much the Musket and Pike games, but even that is just a bit … well, odd is the best way I can describe their strange command system. I'm just not a GMT fan, never have been and probably never will be.

Yes, the old AE, AR, EX, DR, DE CRTs of the 70's feels a bit campy these days. I did like the old Gettysburg '77 Advanced and Intermediate (with Adv. Variant) games.

The availability of Vassal and Cyberboard is a function of having someone who can program a game into that language – and I certainly can't, nor can Dennis. I'm more of a liberal arts guy than a Computer Science guy. They are beyond our ability and knowledge.

tuscaloosa02 Jul 2014 1:44 p.m. PST

I would think you might actually want to wait to solicit volunteers until you have some prototypes ready.

Cundiff02 Jul 2014 5:57 p.m. PST

Can't have true prototypes ready until playtesters have ironed out some of the bugs. Cart before the horse kind of thing don't you know.

OSchmidt03 Jul 2014 5:02 a.m. PST

Dear Cundiff

Patching up a prototype for me is no problem. I do that all the time, up to and including putting whole games (board games mostly) in the issues of "Saxe N' Violets" that I publish quarterly for my group, "The Society of Daisy" Most of these are finished quality. I'm a good graphic artist, also a rules designer myself. The critiques are also not a problem as I write and have written lots of articles and reviews, some for scholarly Journals too.

My only question is I am unsure of what you are attempting to do. In short I see a train crash coming in that you want to make a set of rules covering 150 years and yet make it a simple game. I don't see how this is going to be done or can be accomplished.

I have my own set of rules for the period up to 1815, but that's for miniatures. Could be adapted easily for board games but you'd hate it-- worse the buying public would hate it as it's not at all "fiddly"-- gamers like fiddilly.

If I can help in any way let me know though.

But I do have one question. Why do you want to do this? You certainly don't expect to make any money on it?


Bandit03 Jul 2014 6:39 a.m. PST


Can't have true prototypes ready until playtesters have ironed out some of the bugs. Cart before the horse kind of thing don't you know.

Gotta ask just how 'beta' the thing is? Have you run extensive internal testing already or is your play testing consisting strictly of external play testers?


The Bandit

Cundiff03 Jul 2014 7:54 a.m. PST


Money? Not hardly. No, in fact what I want is a game series that I can PLAY in a reasonable amount of time AND that provides a feel for the time period, but does so in a simpler set of rules than the 70 page rule books of the LaBataille or BAR (Battles of the Age of Reason) games, which I love for their exacting detail, but cannot play because I don't have weeks WEEKS to play a single scenario even playing solitaire. Playing those by e-mail is simply not possible. I just can't imagine doing that, playing them by e-mail. And the GMT games are not worth a damn in my estimation (with the exception of the Musket and Pike series – with which I have some reservations and for which the map graphics are rudimentary to say the least).

So, if I can develop and sell a game series that meets those goals, then I will have created not only something that can be PLAYED, but will other gamers with whom I can actually play it by e-mail! How nice it would be to have something playable with OTHER gamers!

Cundiff03 Jul 2014 8:54 a.m. PST

Both the basic BFC and Maiwand systems have existed for 5 and 10 years respectively. BFC when it was released suffered from a lack of playtesting. It was originally released by White Dog Games, but management handling failed to execute much playtesting to find or fix errors, and prior playtesting has already revealed several errors that we've fixed. But that doesn't mean there aren't more. And as we have already developed more games (Trenton I & II and Princeton, and soon Tippecanoe) there needs to be a solid core of rules that have as few errors as possible.

Maiwand has existed for over 10 years, first published by Khyber Pass Games. It had errors of play balance. It also lacked a historical set up, and it had a rudimentary system that has since been fleshed out. It was published a 2nd time with errors from the first fixed. Then came historical variants that should have been part of the basic game. Those have been included now as part of the basic game.

That said, the Maiwand system has for the first time been expanded to El Teb II. No playtesting of that one has been accomplished. Atbara and Firket have also been developed. Again, no playtesting. Ginnis is under development. If we can get these working well, then we can move on to the Zulu Wars, the American Indian Campaigns, and even more colonial era battles in India, Afghanistan, China, and south east Asia.

tuscaloosa03 Jul 2014 12:46 p.m. PST

I had first understood you to mean that you were thinking of miniature rules, but now you're say you're going to play it pbem.

If the intent is to produce computer- or computer-playable gaming experience, wouldn't it be easier to find playtesters to first do something that can be exchanged via software, rather than expect playtesters to print out something hardcopy, if it will eventually be softcopy anyway?

OSchmidt03 Jul 2014 1:19 p.m. PST

Dear Cundiff

Sorry now I/m totally confused. If this is going to be played on the net, as Tuscaloosa says why even bother with a paper version you have to create. Regardless of what you do you're going to have to code it and that means that whatever you do on paper is completely useless for playtesting as whatever you find that works there will not likely be transferrable to the computer.

It sounds to me like you want the playtesters to do the basic designing for you.

Cundiff03 Jul 2014 1:40 p.m. PST

I'm sorry that some have been confused. This is clearly a Boardgame system! Not miniatures, not computer. But boardgames can be played via e-mail and have been for over 20 years. Board wargamers are intimately familiar with this system of what we call pbem (play by e-mail). But it has nothing at all to do with programming anything.

I'm betting that as a miniatures person you've never actually played a board wargame and thus what seems to my likes to be obvious, isn't quite so to a miniatures gamer, or in this day and age of computer gamers who have never known a time before Windows 3.1 (if they've even heard of that) would therefore be entirely oblivious to how board wargames actually worked before cyberboard and vassal.

To re-iterate, I'm talking a board wargame with cardboard counters and a cardstock map.

daler240D03 Jul 2014 2:12 p.m. PST

People don't like to read the original post but still like to participate in threads. : )

Cundiff03 Jul 2014 3:04 p.m. PST

Well, to be fair, there are indeed computer geeks who have no knowledge of anything that existed before the dawn of time … which for them was Windows 95. Personal computers didn't even exist when I was in college. So when someone mentions pbem, they assume the individual is talking about something that exists within their knowledge, but having no clue about things prior to Windows, are entirely clueless about a past that to them is as dim as dust.

Ottoathome03 Jul 2014 6:49 p.m. PST

Dear Cundiff

Snicker Snicker… "never actually played a board game" chortle chortle…

Rather presumptuous of you. I'm 65 years old and played every one of them practically from Tactics II through all the AH and most of the SPI games right down to the present day and those foolish Euro-trash games.

I have about 120 in my library. Threw out about 200 and kept the best. Won several tournaments in them at conventions, wrote articles for the old Avalon hill General, in addition to articles for the Courier and Historical Gamers as well and scholarly historical revies. As for computers, I have a MS in computer science, as well as several other advanced degrees. And by the way I play with the REAL games in computers, those that do business planning and long range forecasting things where real money and people are at risk.

You also seem to have missed where I said I published several games for our society.

Oh yes, I also ran play by mail games, developing and writing the games materials and code myself and did a few PBEM games as well.

I'm betting you know very little about games period.

Cundiff03 Jul 2014 7:47 p.m. PST

No, I didn't miss what you said. My comments were NOT DIRECTED TO YOU !!! You are NOT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD !!!

I was commenting upon the words of OSchmidt and tuscaloosa.

THEY were the ones who were writing in a state of confusion … at least until NOW.

NOW YOU are confused because you couldn't figure out I wasn't even talking to you or responding to your post.

I think you're a bit paranoid … and about your "claims" to designing and writing and all that, I have severe doubts considering your unwarranted hostile remarks.

Fergal03 Jul 2014 7:51 p.m. PST

Otto, you never cease to amaze…

Bandit03 Jul 2014 8:01 p.m. PST

No, I didn't miss what you said. My comments were NOT DIRECTED TO YOU !!! You are NOT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD !!!

Uhm, I'm going to point out the obvious here that… this really isn't the way to steer the conversation back to pulling in play testers.


The Bandit

Cundiff03 Jul 2014 8:12 p.m. PST

Well, Otto's comments couldn't be ignored either. They were a direct insult. THEY certainly aren't conducive to attracting play testers either, the more so for not being addressed.

Funny thing is I can't find a single post by anyone named Otto in the thread at all! There are just weird people who float about and say the most outrageous things from out of the blue. They maintain multiple names and accounts so that when one is banned they can creep back in to mess things up by using another of their alternate ID's. One of the bad things about the internet is that you really don't know who the people are you're speaking with. Some are malevolent, most aren't. But occasionally you stumble upon one of them. All you can do is leave it up to moderators to ban them in a sort of "whack-a-mole" kind of operation as they pop up here and there under multiple names.

But I swear I can't find a single ID in this thread by someone named OTTO, so I don't know what he/she is talking about.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2014 8:51 p.m. PST

Cundiff, did it occur to you that OSchmitt and Ottoathome are the same person?
I have different accounts every time I get a new or work computer.
No deception is intended. It's just convenient.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2014 8:55 p.m. PST

I'm betting that as a miniatures person you've never actually played a board wargame and thus what seems to my likes to be obvious, isn't quite so to a miniatures gamer, or in this day and age of computer gamers who have never known a time before Windows 3.1 (if they've even heard of that) would therefore be entirely oblivious to how board wargames actually worked before cyberboard and vassal.

What a smug contemptuous condescending remark to make.

Cundiff03 Jul 2014 9:10 p.m. PST

After a time I did consider that oschmidt and otto could be one and the same. Whether you have multiple ID's is not relevant.

This discussion is being hijacked by childish behavior. This is the reason I don't frequent CSW.

Bandit03 Jul 2014 9:53 p.m. PST

Well, Otto's comments couldn't be ignored either.

Sure could have.

This discussion is being hijacked by childish behavior.


This is the reason I don't frequent CSW.

I don't know what CSW is but I do know this thread went down in flames as soon as you allowed it to get off message and then dove off the cliff after it. So goes, I wish you well in your venture.


The Bandit

Cundiff04 Jul 2014 2:10 a.m. PST

Yes, always blame the injured party. Deleted by Moderator The tactic has become so prevalent that nearly every one uses it.

Deleted by Moderator Things just might get back on track.

charared Supporting Member of TMP04 Jul 2014 6:54 p.m. PST

Yep, typical TMP…

Simple thread asking for input quickly devolves into a trash bin of venom.

A good portion of TMP is becoming as toxic as the "Fez".



kyoteblue04 Jul 2014 7:44 p.m. PST


Imperium et libertas04 Jul 2014 9:28 p.m. PST

Goodness me.

Sondergaard05 Jul 2014 12:02 a.m. PST

Otto cast the net and Cundiff swam right in. Bizarre.

Sergeant Paper05 Jul 2014 2:45 p.m. PST

Wow. That killed ANY interest not only in his playtest, but in the base gaes, and in the Ernie Pyle Musem and WarDiary, because if the OP is involved, I don't want to be. Way to not sell the product! I haven't seen such a trainwreck since the Empire fiasco…

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2014 6:46 p.m. PST

This discussion is being hijacked by

It's TMP – what did you expect old boy?

Cundiff13 Jul 2014 6:53 p.m. PST

Well I would have hoped an even application of discipline to have been exacted. However, that was not the case. Two people on this thread have multiple ID's. I was admonished by the administrator not to open a second one as it was against the rules and would seriously annoy him.

Question: IF this was such a serious thing for Armintrout to admonish me not to do it (being against forum rules), then WHY is it that both Bandit and Otto can have multiple ID's and …. NOT BE DISCIPLINED for it??? In the case of Bandit, he OPENLY ADMITTED TO IT! Otto is inferred by his reference to something written under the name OSchmidt.

But one thing I've learned about forum administrators they always have their favorites and never discipline them for the offenses for which they admonish others. This is why I hate CSW so much. A snake pit full of vipers and administered by one.

I had believed until now, that TMP was different, having had no problems at all over a 10 year stretch.

Interestingly rather than discipline the aggressors upon this thread, I was instead attacked by the administrator. Had it been me, I'd have removed both Otto and Bandit from the forum for vitriolic verbage.

These being factually evident, I will move this discussion to a more civil forum.


Bandit13 Jul 2014 7:03 p.m. PST

Then WHY is it that both Bandit and Otto can have multiple ID's and …. NOT BE DISCIPLINED for it??? In the case of Bandit, he OPENLY ADMITTED TO IT!

I don't have multiple IDs nor have I claimed such.

Also you should read the forum rules, they can be found here:

TMP link

Had it been me, I'd have removed both Otto and Bandit from the forum for vitriolic verbage.

All I said was that arguing with people does not promote your product, I stand by that statement.


The Bandit

Winston Smith13 Jul 2014 8:49 p.m. PST

It was John the OFM who said he had multiple accounts.
And it has never been against forum policy.
Having separate accounts to sock puppet your wares IS against policy though. In the case of the OFM and myself, out motives are simple inability to remember passwords on two different devices.

Not that I/we owe you any explanation. You would rather damn someone's eyes than be civil it appears.
You obviously enjoy being a martyr, so have a good time!

Sergeant Paper13 Jul 2014 11:33 p.m. PST

Wow, its a bungee-brawl! He just sproinged off to BGG!
I hope it goes better there, I don't know how they moderate folks on the geek…

Winston Smith13 Jul 2014 11:46 p.m. PST

Do you have a link?
"For amusement purposes only…."

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2014 8:10 a.m. PST

Winston, please stop dropping hints about your Secret Identity.

Bandit14 Jul 2014 9:05 a.m. PST

Cundiff posted the link in his last post here:



The Bandit

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2014 12:21 p.m. PST

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.