June 1, 2011

Mixing Music & Miniatures: an under-rated asset.

Not many people (at least to my experience) seem very interested in using various music tracks as flare to their games, or simply are at a loss for correctly applying it to their activities. If appropriately applied, almost any soundtrack has its place and can greatly enhance the ambiance and atmosphere of any play session.

Empowered military organizations drum and boom across the field as one nation's young, brave soldiers press forward into enemy territory. There is purpose, pride and patriotism behind these mortal stalwart men.

Such music could extend beyond any set period of war. Ranging easily across early 20th-century and beyond, whether it is for a world war or for those steeled soldiers in a distant hard-science fiction setting.

What inspired me to write this happened yesterday when I stumbled upon the soundtrack from the console strategy game, 'Aliens versus Predator: Extinction'. This game, in my opinion had some fairly solid music behind each of its three campaigns, of which each of the myriad of tracks are all around ten minutes long. Perhaps it is just nostalgia on my part, but when combined with various music tracks from the great game, 'Aliens versus Predator: Gold Edition', and certainly without forgetting the amazing military score from the original source, 'Aliens', had I easily created a large enough selection of thematically-similar while still diversified collection of music that could apply to almost any military-based game session.

Add a dash of percussion, a pinch of loneliness, and some creeping terror.

Perhaps, it is my experience with playing video games that leads me to favor the use of music during tabletop game sessions. In any decent game, there was decent music, and it tied the end result together well, or otherwise. Perhaps it is just me.

I don't game Vietnam, but if I did, I would suggest using a lot of the great music from that period that we all know (and maybe love), for that good old American jungle picnic feeling many seem to associate with that conflict, instead of this sort of music. Just because the USCMC was inspired by the Vietnam war, doesn't mean it was, but in space.

Here are some picks of that music I was referring to above:

'AvP Extinction Soundtrack - Marine theme 3'
'AvP Gold Soundtrack - Orbital'
'Aliens Soundtrack - Combat Drop'
'Aliens Soundtrack - Combat Drop (Percussion Only)'
'Aliens Soundtrack - The Complex'
'Aliens Soundtrack - Newt'
'Aliens Soundtrack - Ripley's Rescue'
'Aliens Soundtrack - Ripley's Rescue (Percussion Only)'

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