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"WI 383 Australian Frontier Article" Topic

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Henry Martini19 Sep 2019 12:04 a.m. PST

A few years ago I would have considered this a major milestone in exposure of this subject within the hobby, but with the action being centered online these days and the author's extensive coverage of the colonial Oz frontier on his blog having prepared the way it perhaps has less impact than it would have had in former days.

I had a read of the portion of the introduction to this article that appears on the WI FB page, but it's hard to tell from this snippet how adequately the two-part piece will deal with the subject. I might just have to buy the mags (or at least 'peruse' them at the newsagents).

I've taken issue with some aspects of Rolf's approach to frontier conflict gaming; he seems to a great extent to be trying to cast it in the same light as other colonial conflicts, when there were in fact crucial differences between the nature and dynamics of settler/native conflict in the Australian colonies and those in parallel contemporary struggles.

Reading the comments, it's interesting to see the contrasting reactions of Australian gamers, with, as usual, those of indigenous heritage numbering among the most enthusiastic approvers of colonial Oz frontier skirmish games.

Henry Martini20 Sep 2019 11:21 p.m. PST

I'm curious as to how Rolf managed to persuade the editor of WI to accept his articles in the absence of dedicated figures. I think this was the main obstacle to publication when I unsuccessfully submitted a couple of articles some years ago. Perhaps WI is becoming more relaxed on this score.

One point that amuses me is that some of the Eureka Denisovans Rolf uses are depicted in the loins-enclosing 'nappy'-style garment that was never a feature of traditional Aboriginal clothing, but which was imposed on Aboriginal people by missionaries to protect their modesty or rather, to protect the delicate sensibilities of white settlers.

Henry Martini21 Sep 2019 6:35 p.m. PST

A free article by Rolf has been posted on the WI FB page: a Sharp Practice scenario for 'The Battle of Pinjarra' in WA.

A few points:

1. As I've said in the past on TMP, any rules set used for colonial Australian frontier conflict is really missing the point if it fails to foreground the core tactical feature of such combat: the need for, and attempts by, warriors to find positions outside the visibility arc of colonial combatants so as to negate their capacity to evade incoming missiles. Without it you're just playing another colonial skirmish that could have occurred anywhere; with it you've captured the tactical essence of this setting and given the game its mechanical fulcrum.

2. Given that Pinjarra was one of only a couple of actions on the colonial Australian frontier that involved the use of a bugle, I was surprised that it wasn't explicitly mechanically represented in the scenario.

3. I pity anyone who had to rely on a 'fouling piece'. Having to clean out your gun barrel in mid-skirmish must have been a very risky business.

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