Sunday, 17 August 2014

Worminators!....a Play-by-Facebook trial.

I have been suffering from a major case of Wargame Doldrums. The run up to and execution of Broadside left me in a real depresion where little if any wargame stuff happened at all for at least two months. I have had the odd quiet patch before, we all have I am sure, but this has been something very different; no interest, no spark, no direction....all very worrying and quite depressing. With the club Open Day (September 27th btw) edging ever closer I knew I had to do something to get myself moving again but nothing worked. I even promised myself something new and shiny for a Donnybrook project but, if I am honest, I really couldn't be bothered. I know, weird eh?

Anyway, this depression draged on until I had a chat with my mate Clint. He was chatting about playing a wargame by Blog, a modern version of play-by-mail, using my Blood, Bilge & Iron Balls rules. This, at last, seemed to get through to my shut down mind and got a few wargamey brain cells last. Take a look at Clint's blog game, its early days but oozes promise

I wondered if there was something that I could do in a similar vein, without appearing to steal his idea, and had one of the first wargame based light bulb moments I have had since before Broadside. A good while ago I wrote a set of rules for MJ Figures and their range of Worms, designed to play table top versions of the old PC and Playstation (etc) game. I could run a game at home for up to eight players although, I soon realised, given the turn based nature of the game (one worm moves and shoots at a time) it would be be a pain for the players to have to wait so long between turns. So, to speed it all up and keep it bubbling I would run the game as a play-by-facebook version! I started small using two teams of two worms with one player per team, Drew and Andrew form the club. This, as with Clint's game, would actually be a test of theory; it could all go horribly wrong. What appears below is the first three rounds of the game, further rounds will appear as further blog entries so as to not clog up your day with a long winded blog post! The text and pictures are taken directly from the Facebook posts so you get to see the game unfold. blow by blow.
(The game board, or 'Interactive Combat Wormery', is a 600mm wide polystyrene board. As worms dig or shoot the polystyrene is removed and so the game board changes turn by turn.)

The game begins!

Okie Dokie! Things are all set here at Worminator HQ and we now await word from the two players that they have read the rules and are ready to go.
The Interactive Combat Wormery has been prepared and the two teams of two highly trained Warrior Worms have been randomly placed. The first picture should show you, the viewer and players, the initial set up.
Team Andrew comprises worms 'Death' and 'Taxes'. Team Drew comprises worms 'Screw You' and 'Inigo Montoya Worm'. Each worm will be activated randomly once per round.

note the shape...see how it changes turn by turn
NEW RULE UPDATE - I have allowed each worm an abseil wire that will allow them to lower themselves, reasonably safely, down to lower levels. This option can be taken as part of the normal move distance and it is not a separate action like combat. Please note that you cannot use this to climb up things, only down.
The problem you will have of course is being unable to measure distances accurately so there may be a bit of a drop at the end of a downward climb! This could be enough to end your move so be careful!!


First move. Screw You Worm moved east to the edge of the small cavern and used his trusty pickaxe to cut out a 45' tunnel. He used the full cut allowance too and has ended his turn at the end of the tunnel by the new opening into the larger cavern above. NEXT WORM - TAXES.


Second move. Taxes inches forward and fires a bazooka at Screw You. The fired round was a slight over-shoot but caught the enemy in the blast causing 24 points of damage and pushing Screw You 4cm back down the tunnel. Once the smoke dies away you will notice a new hole in the interactive Combat Wormery.

Third Move. Ka-blam! More blood spilt as Death throws a hand grenade at extreme range...the 20cm range of grenades allows for the perpendicular drop found here. The grenade only just passed the narrow gap between the small floaty bit and the sticky up bit and dropped, neatly, onto poor Inigo Montoya Worm. The damage was fairly light though, 14 points, so Inigo will have plenty of time to plot his revenge! In fact, it is Inigo Montoya Worm's go now! That's lucky, Inigo, its your turn now.

Fourth move, the last of this initial turn! Inigo Montoya Worm moved to the west as far as he was able given the steep angle of the terrain. He then took a leaf from Screw You and used his pickxe to tunnel west at 45' for 10cm. He now sits at the top of the newly excavated tunnel....waiting.... Note the small crater where Inigo was at the start of the move; and so the landscape of the Interactive Combat Wormery changes.



Fifth move. Death dropped a Banana Bomb into the crater above Inigo Montoya Worms head! This weapon deployed four bomblets that bounced around randomly from the initial impact spot, these tore a large chunk out of the crater as three bomblets fell close together but, none of them actually touched Inigo! Miraculously, he survived unscathed with no damage....and now it is Inigo's move!

Sixth move. Inigo Montoya Worm jumped over a minor terrain obstacle and moved west to get a clear shot at Taxes Worm. Choosing the chaingun option, Inigo let rip at long range but managed, just, to hit the target! Taxes took 39 points of damage before Inigo used his remaining move allowance to retreat a little to a possibly safer distance. It is now Screw You worms turn. 

Seventh move. Screw You worm moved west, using his jump option to maximise distance, to reach the supply crate and gain some dynamite! This cam be used by either of Team Drew Bader worms. Overjoyed by his find Screw You fired wildly into the air to celebrate it is now Taxes turn!

 Alan Abbey's photo.

Eighth move. Taxes drops the Banana Bomb straight onto Screw You! The initial blast inflicts 12 points of damage but the other three bomblets spread far and wide missing Screw You completely although, he is probably now deaf and the Interactive Combat Wormery is taking a pounding in places! But, I am cleaning as I go so still no stingy smack on the back of my legs yet notice too that a mine has been introduced to a random location so no touchy touchy...of course it might be a proximity mine.....

So, we start round three and it is Inigo Montoya Worm to go first.


Ninth move. Turn three gets off to a blistering start as Inigo moves, blasts Taxes with a Chaingun and inflicts a massive 46 points of damage! He then slides off to the right of the iffie stick (inter-fibre friction fastening integral extender stick). Taxes Worm has now taken a total of 85 points of damage but team Drew Bader has used up two of their three Chainguns. Death worm is next to play.

Tenth move. Death worm throws a grenade at Inigo but narrowly misses so inflicts no damage! Screw You worm to play next. (sorry, no picture...I have no idea why....I hate my life.... ) 

Eleventh move. Screw You has the first kill!! His Homing Missile successfully negotiated a narrow gap and a tight turn to fall just short of the target, Taxes worm. The blast was more than enough though, it caused a fatal 32 points of damage and hurled the still twitching corpse up the hill where a tombstone marks the spot. 


With the death of Taxes worm the round ends as it would have been his move next. The fourth round begins with the twelfth move but that will be another blog post....assuming you want to hear about it, of course :)

I hope that this ramble has been of interest, even if it is only the idea of running a play-by-Facebook game. It has proved to be a lot of fun so far, even for me, and the wife is still happy as I have kept the bits of polystyrene off the stingy smack on the back of the legs for me......yet....


  1. What a great read. I hope you are enjoying your Worms game. I for one would be interested in seeing more.

    1. Hi Clint, glad you liked it. I will be posting the other rounds this week. I am enjoying it, I am still in this damned depresion but the game has helped lift me a bit. It has also helped me see some problems with the rules, interpretation and so on. Thanks for the support mate :)

  2. I would have to say it has definitely been a positive experience so far. The game itself plays very well .

    1. Hi Andrew,
      many thanks for the comment, really pleased that you are enjoying the game so far. Usually, the game is played as a one-to-one, each player facing each other with the board...sorry, Interactive Combat Wormery...between them; bit like connect four really. This system does save a lot of mess on the floor too! I have one or two tweek that I think the rules could do with but it does seem to flow rather well. Thanks again :)