Some little tinny things may create great moments
Vaggelis: Ian, please tell us a few words about the creation of the Battlegroup Modern Rules.
Ian Clarke: When I first started playing modern warfare the club I played at used Challenger 2. We enjoyed it and took part in the Derby world championships each year. In those days we’d get 60+ entries and have to have play offs in May for the 48 competition places in October. Then Tabletop games stopped selling Challenger 2 and brought out Challenger 2000, they changed big chunks of the gaming system, big chunks that change the game from something that worked to something that didn’t. How badly did this affect things, entries for Derby fell from 60+ to less than 20. For the next few years we struggled on with Challenger 2000 and numbers continued to drop. Jim Dickenson who’d been the Derby umpire decided to stop umpiring and I took over in 1996. It was heartbreaking really. In 1997 Mike Jones produced a set of rules called Modern Fast play and these were tried at the RAF championships and then at Derby. While they worked better than Challenger 2000 they still didn’t quite work. Many changes were made between then and 2003 which saw the first version of Battlegroup authored by Mike with help from many people. Looking at the copy I have here anyone familiar with Battlegroup would be able to see it was the basis of the current rules, but also just how much has been added and changed. Mike was in the RAF and work had become too busy for him to continue to run with the rules. There were many updates needed and he asked if I’d take over the rules. Which I was happy to do. In 2005 the 2nd Edition was introduced and then a 3rd edition in 2009. To be honest while there have been a few minor changes there hasn’t been need for a major change since then, however I have release 2009+ with the changes and corrections since the original version was released. Lately I have noticed more interest and the need to upgrade some bits and I have a feeling I’ll need to issue a new version in the near future with these changes.
Vaggelis: Introduce the game with a couple of words.
Ian Clarke: Battlegroup is a set of modern rules intended for Battalion/ Regiment/ Brigade level games. The rules try to use simple solutions to cover a complex period. I’d rate the rules a fairly complex. They should allow a battalion level game to come to a conclusion in 3-4 hours with bigger games taking longer.
Vaggelis: Why a wargamer with interest of modern/ wwII era should choose to play Battlegroup?
Ian Clarke: If you have the time to read through the rules (which are big) they give an enjoyable game and a fairly accurate depiction of modern warfare.
Vaggelis: What do you think are the “high lights” of the game?
Ian Clarke: Most of the game can be played with just a hand full of quick ref sheets with the rules only being needed for the less common things that can happen and to be honest once you are used to the rules you can play most of a game with only a hand full of looks at the data sheets. This means you can spend your time thinking about the game not the rules.
Vaggelis: Do you think that the 1/300th is the best scale for the game? What are the benefits of the use of the 1/300th scale?
Ian Clarke: The best scale might well be smaller as given the group scale of the game 1/300th vehicles are the size of small fields! The major advantage of 1/300th is that the figures are available for almost anything you might need and most importantly I have loads of 1/300th figures 😉
Vaggelis: Can you calculate about how many people play Battlegroup all over the world?
Ian Clarke: Unfortunately I don’t think it’s very many. There’s about 20 people in the UK, 8-10 in Greece, 4-6 in South Africa, a couple in Australia and a few in the US that I know of. That comes to less than 40, however there are 718 people on the group (http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/BGMR/) so I’d like to think there are more out there playing but not making too much noise about it.
Vaggelis: Have you any “commercial” thoughts for the Battlegroup? Are you going to give the rights of the game to a major wargaming company for better management and promotion?
Ian Clarke: If a company wanted to produce a commercial copy of the rules that would be fine with me, the rules have always been my way of keeping modern wargaming alive so it going commercial would help that goal I’d be happy. So if there’s someone out there that is interested I’d be willing to talk.
Vaggelis: Thank you very much Ian. Hope to see you in Athens in the near future for a Greek-British tournament…