A Blog about Wargames and wargamers. Discussion of rule sets, painting techniques, different models, figures, links to manufacturers, reviews of all of the above, and other gamer resources. Not all Gamers, not all modelers - a blend of both! You are at http://tabletopgamer.blogspot.com Your hosts are Bwana Bill, Krazy Keith, and Consul Scipio. Thank you for visiting our little slice of the World Wide Web!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Tribute to Larry Brom

For a while now you have heard me speak of the rule set called “The Sword and the Flame (TSATF).” If you go to any gaming convention and walk around the tables where people are running scenarios from the Victorian Era colonial period, you will invariably see the TSATF rules in use, especially if the scale is 25/28mm. In other words, it is the standard, and has been for quite a long time. Therefore I thought it was about time that I wrote about Larry (The Brommer) Brom, the legendary author of those rules. Like a lot of other gamers from the old days Larry “cut his teeth” on Napoleonics. He first got into it back around 1953 after serving as a Marine rifle squad leader in Korea.

In the mid-70’s he got interested in Zulu War gaming and tried out a couple different sets of rules from the UK. Larry thought that they were all lacking in play balance even though they might be accurate in their portrayal of British firepower. As Larry says “it might be good history, but if it is not good game-play then what is the point in playing?” Larry’s philosophy is that “fun comes first.” He therefore wrote the first version of TSATF in 1979 and it has been the standard ever since. Larry came up with a simple system that feels realistic and gives the natives a fair chance. He was the first to use playing cards as a system for regulating movement turns and, breaking with tradition, he has you roll dice to see how far each unit moves. These ideas really add a lot of drama to every game! If you would like to read more about Larry’s rule design philosophy, go here.

Larry’s TSATF system is so successful that it has been adapted into may different forms both by Larry and many others. I have seen variations covering the French Foreign Legion, Caesar in Gaul, the Boxer Rebellion, the American Civil War, to name but a few. I have even heard that Larry is now working on a fantasy battles version of TSATF, the Warhammer guys should be nervous! Larry is a prolific game designer who recently published a squad level skirmish set of rules that covers WWII in the Pacific. I have not tried it yet, but from what I understand it is not a TSATF variant, it is a whole new system. If you would like to peruse Larry’s line of products follow this link and click on the "Amazon Z-shops" link at the bottom, after that click on the link that says: "See all And That's The Way It Was listings." And “no,” this is not an advertisement, just a recommendation!

The gaming community knows and appreciates Larry’s contributions to the hobby. When I attended Cold Wars this year, I had the unexpected honor of playing alongside Larry in a Sudan scenario. We were defeated, but it was glorious nevertheless! All of us old timers appreciated the fact that they were playing with a gaming legend and we made sure that the young “whippersnappers” in the game appreciated it too! I have also learned that HMGS South is planning to honor Larry as their Guest of Honor at their upcoming "Hurricon" convention. Also, when I was at Historicon a large group of gamers gathered together to call Larry at his new home in New Orleans to wish him a happy 75th birthday. Here’s to many more Larry!
Good Gaming!
"Bwana Bill"

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