07 September 2010

Tuesday Q&A: Peter Bogdasarian

Peter Bogdasarian joins us for this week's Q&A

If my plaque was to go in the Wargaming Hall of Fame next week, the 2-sentence bio on it would say this about me:
 His games combined fast play with tactical depth and always had more going on than the length of the rules would indicate.  A contributor to the "games should be played" renaissance, which brought wargames back to a more general audience than they enjoyed in the nineties.
You would know me from my work in this corner of the wargaming world:
I'm probably best known for my work with Mark Walker.  I served as a playtester on the original Lock'n Load release and several of the follow on modules and then as a developer on World at War: Eisenbach Gap.  Mark's Lock'n Load Publishing is the also publisher for my Corps Command and Tank on Tank series. 
Besides my work for Lock'n Load, I've playtested for Columbia Games (Crusader Rex, some early testing on Richard III) and helped out MMP with a few of its projects - see my Sgt. Bogdas counter in ASLSK2 and the upcoming King Philip's War.
I'm currently working on:
Drafting and testing new scenarios for Dawn's Early Light and Tank on Tank for Line of Fire, the in-house magazine of Lock'n Load Publishing.  Both games lend themselves to this sort of small expansion and I'm looking forward to giving fans of the line some new material in less time than it typically takes me to design a game.

Either of those scenarios going to include any new counters? Are we going to start seeing some other countries in Tank on Tank? The Brits? The French? I know half the wargaming world is going to clamor for the East Front, but give me more of Patton's 3d Army chasing across Europe :)
The DEL scenarios should come with about forty new counters, which will add a US National Guard division, a Panzergrenadier brigade, a Soviet Tank Division equipped with some T-80s and two Motor Rifle brigades.
The Tank on Tank expansion will be a new map & scenarios, though I might stick in a counter or two if I have room and a reason to use them. I'd like to do the Commonwealth next, which would pit Fireflies & Cromwells against Panthers.
Hmmm.... the LNLP website has an image of a few new Tank on Tank toys to play with!

When you're not wargaming, what are some other games you enjoy playing?
Everything I play has some sort of conflict-related theme.  If I can't wage some sort of direct conflict, it's not the game for me.  Popular titles in 2010 have included Neuroshima Hex, which I just can't play enough of, Incursion and Runewars.  I love the niche genre of Science Fiction indoor combat - your Space Hulks, Legions of Steel and the like - and chase down every title I hear of...
What do you think of the upcoming WH40K Ultramarines movie?
Probably the best hope for it comes from the fact that Dan Abnett wrote the screenplay. Movies rarely manage to capture the richness of the universe behind games (see Mutant Chronicles for a particularly noxious example), but having the Black Library's best author working on it gives it a fighting chance to at least resemble 40K. I would rather have too much lore than too little.

What was the first wargame you designed your own scenario for?
Lock'n Load was the first game to get me fired up on the process of doing research and then turning the final product into something playable.  My first published scenario ("Skysoldiers") made its way into the original Forgotten Heroes boxed set.  It's got a great narrative hook, with the outnumbered US soldiers of the B Troop Rifles platoon deploying airstrikes and gunships to hold off a larger NVA force in one of the smaller firefights from the Ia Drang campaign.
When I mock up a game for playtesting, my general process is…
Obviously, the research and writing gets done up front.  Once I have a vision for the game, I draft the rulebook first and then make the counters.  Then, if the project still has promise, I do the map.  Maps are the hardest part for me, because they're the most graphically intensive part of the project and many a design has foundered here.   If/when I overcome the map barrier, I then play the game fifteen or twenty times solitaire to make sure the mechanics make sense from a historical perspective and flow smoothly from a player perspective.  During this stage, I make frequent changes, up to and including complete redesigns of segments, until I am comfortable with the underlying system.  I only involve other people in the playtesting once I'm confident the game can be played without the system breaking down.

If you could be the filmographer at any one battle in history, which one would you view?
I have a keen interest in the Dark Ages, so I'd probably go with the Battle of Brunanburh (937 AD).  Athelstan's defeat of the Celtic-Norse army helped define the boundaries of the various nations of Britain  and we have only a smattering of information about how the battle was fought.  As an added bonus, filming Brunanburh would give the opportunity to observe Egill Skallagrimsson, the protagonist of one of the best known Icelandic sagas (Egill's Saga).
What current events are you following closely? Which ones are you just vaguely aware of?
I follow the Middle East, US business and America's various armed conflicts most closely, though I try to read as much as possible about global events.  Google Reader has been a godsend as it offers a great way to aggregate lots of news data from disparate sources into a digestible format.
Just make sure GrogNews is part of the regular rotation!
First music cassette, LP, 8-track, or CD you bought yourself?
First CD was a upgrade of Bolt Thrower's ...For Victory from cassette tape.  Music should be loud!

Ginger or Mary Ann?  Or, if you prefer, Madonna or Lady Gaga?
Give me Angela Gossow (lead singer for Arch Enemy) any day.

Favorite current TV show? All-time favorite TV show?
Either Castle or Community, both of which are pretty damn funny.  Firefly's the only tv show I've ever bought, so I guess I'd have to pick it for an all-time favorite.  If only the movie had been better...
I'm detecting some Nate Fillion love here...

By: Brant

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