24 August 2010

Tuesday Q&A: Lee Brimmicombe-Wood

This week's Tuesday Q&A is Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, who lives for aerial battles. One of our first respondents from overseas, Lee's wit and passion for historical accuracy are well-known in the wargaming world.

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:
"Lee was a raging arsehole with a hard-on for history. He was contemptuous of wargame designers who did a shoddy job on the history."

You would know me from my work in this corner of the wargaming world:
Air combat gaming, in particular raid-scale games.

I'm currently working on:
Nightfighter, a tactical game about WW2 air combat at night, and Bomber Command, a raid-scale game of the RAF raids on the Reich. Both are currently in pre-order with GMT Games.
ed note: According to GMT's page, Nightfighter has made the cut. Everyone go order Bomber Command (illo at right) and get it over the threshold!

Have you ever visited a battlefield for a wargame you've played?
I was brought up on one. I grew up in London, where my parents had been blitzed decades before. So I went on to design my own Battle of Britain game.

What are your three favorite types/genres of wargames?
Air combat games; modern operational combat; games on COIN/low intensity warfare.

What was the first wargame you designed your own scenario for?
SPI's Air War.

When did you first start to find online communities for wargaming?
In the mid-1990s in the pioneering days of e-mail lists, before web forums came along.

Favorite gaming website(s)?
Consimworld and Boardgamegeek. However, I'm increasingly restricting my exposure to websites and fora these days as I'm not fond of some of the people on them.

When I mock up a game for playtesting, my general process is...
I storyboard the historical events I want to depict. Build databases of my historical findings. Decide upon the scale and the extent of the player decision-making. Construct the initial model.
Validate and verify the model against history. At all test iterations continue the V&V process, ensuring inputs generate plausible outputs. As I have become more experienced at design, I find I must be prepared to cut detail.

Are there any wargaming magazines you read regularly? Military-focused magazines? History magazines?
I hardly read any gaming magazines. Popular military-focussed magazines are invariably inferior to books.
I used to buy S&T and Command back in the day, but the quality of games in modern mags (I'm looking at you, S&T and ATO!) is too often medicore or worse, while the magazine writing is the worst kind of amateur history. And that includes my writing for S&T, too!

You can invite any 3 historical figures to dinner, who do you pick?
Nye Bevan, Tommy Cooper, Elizabeth Siddal.

When you're not wargaming, what are some other games you enjoy playing?
Role-playing games, first person shooters, massively multiplayer online games and console RPGs. Right now I'm making my way through the console horse-opera Red Dead Redemption...

If you could be the filmographer at any one battle in history, which one would you view?
The battles for Mt. Longdon, Two Sisters and Mt. Harriet. I have an outline for a game I'd like to make on those.

What's the last good book you read?
Admiral Togo: The Nelson of the East by Jonathan Clements.

My first car was…
An Austin Maxi 1750cc that only ran on three cylinders.

It's 5am and you can't sleep. What are you doing?
Surfing the internet and being an insufferable troll.

First music cassette, LP, 8-track, or CD you bought yourself?
A lame late Genesis album (possibly Abacab) in the days before I discovered the more interesting early Genesis (Selling England by the Pound).

By: Brant

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