Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Battle Reportification Part 1 - The Basics
So just for this Blog I've decided to make up a word: Reportification. Seems cool enough, but what does it entail? Well let me tell you exactly what it does. It means putting your experience on the tabletop into a story format that is one of several things: entertaining, educational, or inspiring (I tried to come up with 3 E's but failed). This concept is very simple, its entertaining if someone finds it enjoyable to read and tells a good story or vivid details of the action. The Battle Report is educational if it shows how to do something tactically or tries to introduce a new idea for use on the tabletop that is not commonly used (or is new or previously unknown to whomever happens to be writing the report). The inspiring piece involves making an attempt to get other people to do a variety of things as a result from your report, whether that is play more games, expand on the story you've written, create missions or scenarios that directly involve what you did or the world that you wrote the report in, etc. Those three things are everything that I believe is involved in Battle Reportification. Otherwise it is boring or useless and you might as well have spent that time painting models rather than typing up (or recording by video or audio) a crummy record of how things went down.
But wait! I can't talk about how to make a Battle Report educational tactically because this is a blog about adding fluff! Well first of all go bugger yourself I can do whatever I want. Secondly what I will talk about (in the future) is how to make it educational and still maintain a story and narrative. The best Battle Reports are able to combine all three of those elements that I already stated, and it is now my goal to show you how I think you can achieve all three parts of Reportification in your future Battle Reports. Now if I can just figure out how to do this stuff for my own reports…
I will go into further details on Battle Reportification in future posts, this one is simply putting aside all of the things that I think are fairly obvious but by stating them are putting us all on equal footing so we can understand the entire discussion without having miscommunication problems. When you are going to write your Battle Report there are elements to it that you need to keep in mind while you are creating it so that you maintain a coherent and logical story that works with the actual events on the battlefield. One of these elements is that your battle report does not have to consist of squad alpha fired at the infernal chaos Daemonettes, and seeing that they failed the righteous zeal of squad beta was unleashed upon them. The survivors of their onslaught were then incinerated by the holy flamers blah blah blah. You need to get it out of your head that the entire thing is turn based. Notice how Black Library does it. What is important to their battle scenes is how everything is happening at once, its all chaotic, and every person involved only knows what they know. They are not omniscient, so if you take a perspective when writing your Battle Report (which I strongly suggest but more on that in the future) make sure that they don't suddenly know about a daemon prince that deep-struck onto the other side of the hill. The character that you are narrating through could get reports of it, but they take time and so even if you are trying to stay true to the chronological order of the battle there can be a delay in how things unfold in the Report. My own Battle Report that I gave you earlier tried to do this (though in my opinion I believe I failed, but more on that later) with the reports that she was hearing through the comm unit in her helmet. The readers also don't need to know how things happen as they do, you can simply tell them what the result was. You do not need to make every assault narrated in graphic detail with gritty combat flashing everywhere in your text. Do some of those, certainly, but if every one of them is like that then there is no way to make an assault that really determined the outcome of the game seem important to your readers. It will seem like every other combat and the audience will be confused when suddenly it seems that this one assault of many swung the battle for seemingly no reason.
Those are all of the basics of Battle Reportification that I will go over for now, the next blog post will be on preparing to write a Battle Report. Hope you enjoyed this post, and as always I will gladly accept any feedback, whether in the comments, via twitter, or by shooting me an email. You can always email me at email@example.com if you have anything that you want to talk to me about in private.