Friday, August 15, 2008

Grognard Test

With apologies to Stuart "PapersAndPaychecks" Marshall, I reproduce here his Grognard Test from this post. For what it's worth, I only score 6 out of 9 (taking 2a and 2b as two separate questions). And I contend that the tiebreaker is in fact a trick question.

QUESTION 1:

In a RPG, a member of your party is a retired scout, age 38. He has a highly useful piece of equipment. How much does it weigh?

QUESTION 2:

Before you is a grey 5/8" cardboard chit. It has numbers in each corner as follows:

TOP LEFT - 20
TOP RIGHT - 20
BOTTOM LEFT - 1
BOTTOM RIGHT - 0

In between the two "20"s is the letter A.

2a: There are two games you could be playing. Name them both.
2b: What exactly does the cardboard chit represent?

QUESTION 3:

Your opponent has hordes of those pesky Russians with piles of 4-4-7 riflemen! You have ordinary riflemen as well, but they're superior in one important respect. What is it?

QUESTION 4:

Thed, the goddess of rape, is associated with which creature?

QUESTION 5:

Eclavdra is described as an EHP'SS. What does EHP'SS stand for?

QUESTION 6:

You trip over an unseen imaginary deceased turtle. What game are you playing?

QUESTION 7:

It is pitch dark. What might eat you?

QUESTION 8:

Gold, Sword, and Juno are associated with which date?

TIE BREAKER:

Explain in no more than 50 words why Morgan Ironwolf is hot and Aleena is a skank ho.

38 comments:

  1. That settles it, then; I'm definitely not a grognard.. I am only certain about the answer to one question (#5), though I think I understand why the tiebreaker is a trick question (and I have no idea who Aleena is :).

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  2. Scratch that, I don't understand the tiebreaker question at all. I know who Morgan Ironwolf is (and yes she's "hot"). The only reference I can find to an Aleena through google identifies her as Sonic the Hedgehog's mother, LOL. Don't think that's the one to which P&P is referring, somehow.

    I'm getting in the car now to go turn in my official Old School Gamer secret decoder ring to the local chapter.

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  3. I will explain why the tiebreaker is a trick question later on. I'm curious to see if anyone else catches it.

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  4. Now that I've found the Aleena in question, I know why I didn't recognize the name. I hate(d) Elmore's work so much I never even considered purchasing the BECMI line.

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  5. I hate(d) Elmore's work so much I never even considered purchasing the BECMI line.

    You're on the right track. Keep digging :)

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  6. Yeah, I'm not a proper grognard, either. I can only answer Questions 7 and 6, and I fancy I know where I should look to get the answer to Question 5.

    Especially Question 1 feels like a staggeringly obscure in-joke.

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  7. Especially Question 1 feels like a staggeringly obscure in-joke.

    If you ever played classic Traveller, it's really obvious.

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  8. Ooh, you shouldn't have given that hint on #1 :-)

    Frank

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  9. I realized #1 was a Traveller question ("retired scout" gives that away), but the only thing I could remember the scout mustering out with was....well, weightless, at least where it most likely is kept the majority of the time. That's a bit of a trick question too, but clever.

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  10. I'm curious what the answers are, I only have an answer for 1, 4, 5, and 7 (the names for the bonus question are familiar to me, but I don't know what the controversy is, I think I know which game is relevant for #3 but I've never played it).

    Frank

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  11. I'm curious what the answers are, I only have an answer for 1, 4, 5, and 7 (the names for the bonus question are familiar to me, but I don't know what the controversy is, I think I know which game is relevant for #3 but I've never played it).

    FWIW, I don't know the answers to 2 or 3 either. 6, in my opinion, is borderline grognard. I am surprised you don't know the answer to 8 and will probably kick yourself once you are told the answer.

    As for the tiebreaker, that you don't know what the big deal is about confirms your grognard status in my book. That's why I think it's a trick question, though I know Stuart didn't intend it as such.

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  12. Well, that was random, telling me I should know #8 and re-reading it, the answer jumped into my mind. Not sure why I didn't catch that the first time round...

    I'm betting when 2 & 3 are revealed, they will make sense to me (in fact, I have a SWAG on #3 - just not sure how it would be expressed in the rules of the game).

    Frank

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  13. Well, I was going to ask for a clarification on 2b but if you don't know the answer you can't help.

    It's on how much detail you need...I know what it is in general terms, but there were several sizes and I might get that wrong. Oh, wait...it's "A" not [H], H, or M...okay, I know what it is.

    I've got all them but 5 and 6 and I'd argue in #3 you have two superiorities but I guess the second is a judgment call (or they are only referring to numeric values).

    As for the trick, I have no idea.

    One interesting thing is to consider the years for them:

    1. 1977
    2. 1970/1974
    3. 1977
    4. 1977 at latest (may be earlier)

    Don't know 5-7 and 8 would be telling.

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  14. With an image of the counter for #2, I know the answer to that. Now only #6 stumps me, and #3 I can only guess at since I'm pretty sure what the game is, but it's not one I ever played (I'm not even sure I've seen it played).

    Frank

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  15. With a bit of help, I now know all the answers except #3. I saw plenty of articles about that game in the magazines in the 70s and 80s, but never saw or played it

    The tiebreaker is a trick question because neither of those characters was actually in the first iteration of that particular boxed set, I think.

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  16. The answers have now been posted. I did actually own the game for #3 (I had the wrong game in mind). I never owned the game for #6 and only looked through it a few times, not surprised I didn't have that answer.

    Fun.

    Frank

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  17. #4 might be answerable from Nomad Gods published in 1974, I don't recall if the necessary information is in the RQ rules, or if you need Cults of Prax (1979), or maybe even Cults of Terror (1981). It could also be available from Wyrms Footnotes. And may be in White Bear & Red Moon.

    Frank

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  18. Yeah, I wasn't sure if the board games have it...I'm fairly sure the RQ2 rules do.

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  19. I got 1, 4, and 6-8. 1 is slightly misleading and 8 isn't really a gaming question.

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  20. I was really, really annoyed with question #1.

    Certainly, it's a "100-ton" vessel, but tonnage of Traveller vessels is a measure of volume, not mass. (See Book 2 Starships, p.13, heading The Hull.) "100-ton" means a volume of about 1400 cubic meters or 50,000 cubic feet. Mass tons are not provided.

    (Certainly, if we knew the energy consumption of maneuver drives, or the output of the engines that power the drives, we could back-convert from acceleration in Gs to an approximate mass. But, first, Traveller doesn't provide those numbers, and second, nobody would have those numbers available as off-the-head trivia.)

    Now, if you're willing to use GURPS Traveller as your reference, the mass of the vessel is 268 mass tons empty, 356 tons loaded; multiply by the local gravity field in Gs to get local weight. But a question that requires knowledge of minor trivia from a book from 1998 is hardly a "grognard test".

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  21. @steven - all of your objections aside, nothing has weight in space. No gravity, no weight. It was a misleading question. I myself was thinking in terms of encumbrance (AD&D being my game of choice and most experience), which is why it took me so long to figure it out, despite my initial realization that it was a Traveller question. Presumably you're correct about the displacement issue, but really that is an anachronistic reference to sea-going vessels and/or cargo capacity, which is beside the point.

    On the other hand, the questions make it clear that there is still a distinction to be made between a "wargaming grognard" (which I am most definitely not, and not qualified to be or claim to be) and an "old school RPGer" (or D&Der or AD&Der, the last of which would be my label of choice).

    To put it in perspective, only one question (not including the tiebreaker) related to D&D at all. A couple others to lesser known RPGs.

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  22. that is an anachronistic reference to sea-going vessels and/or cargo capacity, which is beside the point.
    Which point is it beside? The question is improperly phrased, if the intended answer is 100T. Net tonnage (interior usable volume) on the other hand is surely the most useful, gameable stat you could hope for.

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  23. The point is that the question was phrased so as to only be "gettable" by someone who has both played Traveller (something I've done only a handful of times) and understands that nothing weighs anything in space (i.e. things always have mass, but only have weight in a gravity well). I agree that the phrasing of the answer as P&P gives it is unfortunate. Tonnage is irrelevant.

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  24. Okay, wait, I just re-read P&Ps answers and it sure does seem like he thinks that the volume the vessel displaces has something to do with its weight (which of course is impossible, as volume has nothing to do with weight). Who knows? Maybe I'm giving too much credit for physics knowledge.

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  25. Thalmen Dahr --

    I get the difference between mass and weight. Thus the "multiply by the local gravity field in Gs to get local weight" step I gave.

    Obviously, your scout ship has no weight in interstellar space . . . but it certainly does when you land it at a E8679756 world. Classic Traveller, however, gives you no way to determine that weight. (Local gravity you can eyeball from the planetary radius and an assumption of Earthlike density . . . but the mass of the scout ship is unknown.)

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  26. 2,3,7, & 8. I'm guess I'm a wargamer with an imagination.

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  27. One interesting thing is to consider the years for them:

    I noticed that too and found it quite fascinating. It's not a surprise really, as 1977 kicked off the short-lived Golden Age of gaming that spanned from 1978-1982.

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  28. The tiebreaker is a trick question because neither of those characters was actually in the first iteration of that particular boxed set, I think.

    Indeed. More to the point, both such characters appeared in mass market editions of said game.

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  29. 1 is slightly misleading and 8 isn't really a gaming question.

    If he'd asked, "How much does it displace?" he'd have given away the answer. As for 8, it's not a gaming question, true, but being able to answer it is nevertheless an important indicator of grognard credentials.

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  30. I'm a wargamer with an imagination

    The best kind -- and the kind who built this hobby.

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  31. I noticed that too and found it quite fascinating. It's not a surprise really, as 1977 kicked off the short-lived Golden Age of gaming that spanned from 1978-1982.

    I got my first wargame (AH's Starship Troopers) in 1977...at least in the US I doubt there was a single better year to join the hobby. Hobby stores that carried games had everything including historical minis and the old Wargamer's Digest, SPI/AH and other hex games, early RPGs, magazines galore. It was a grand time.

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  32. If he'd asked "How big is it?", or "What's it's size?" it would have have had an accurate, answerable question without giving anything away.

    I'm not a grognard (far too young, to start with), but I knew "100 tons" had to be wrong, because it was volume. It had to be a deliberately-set trap that would catch anybody answering "100 tons", because they didn't know Traveller well enough to know the ton was volume, not mass. Right?

    Nope.

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  33. Re: 1977

    Yes, it was a grand year. There must have been something in the air, because it's frankly amazing to me how many wonderful things appeared over the span of its 12 months.

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  34. Q2 also implies you know what a "Z readout" is. I also know the games, but alas, I read the answers are posted...

    Q3 is also a classic. Stuart has a AH leaning that me likes.

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  35. On weightlessness, to be totally geeky, it should be pointed out that one is almost always under the influence of some gravitational force, and thus would have a weight...

    Frank

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  36. Stuart has a AH leaning that me likes.

    Yes, I know. I need to write a post about AH sometime soon.

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  37. I apologise for my earlier nonsensical comment: I've gone back and checked the Traveller boards, and it does indeed say 100 tons displacement. This is a measure of weight at sea level (presumably) on Earth, and therefore readily convertible to mass units. It has nothing to do with "tonnage" which is, indeed, a measure of volume. Why the designer didn't give SI units for mass I'm not sure: maybe because space in SF is really a manque for the sea in older literature, and he wanted a nicely naval-sounding term. Asking about weight is both misleading (it depends on local gravitational conditions) and might be strictly accurate, since the units appear to be specific to Earth (although IIRC nothing else in Traveller is, really).
    Now I feel really geeky.

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