Friday, October 9, 2009

Passing on Wargaming

Wargaming.  Where the grognards live.

So I've played a fair share of "entry" wargames in my time.  I've played:

Memoir 44
Combat Commander: Europe
Conflict of Heroes
and numerous little post card games.

And pretty much all of them have failed to hold my interest.  Why?

1. Way too much comes down to rolling dice.

Yes, you do need combat resolution.  And yes, some randomness helps.  But I don't want to read and learn that many rules just to see if I can roll 2 higher than you.  That's drab.

2. Game moves too slow to feel the theme.

Sure it's like playing a war movie.  In SUPER SLOW MO.  When someone shoots, it shouldn't take upwards of 2-3 minutes to figure out if they hit anything.  Snooze.  Yes, even Memoir is annoying in figuring out dice and applying hits and accounting for terrain.

3. Games take too dang long

I like 40 minute games.  I enjoy 90 minute games.  I like good 120 minute games.  I just don't generally like games over 120 minutes.  There are exceptions, but they just aren't there.  Of the above games... Memoir fits in the 60 minute slot.  In that 60 minutes... just not a lot happens.  Probably because 10 minutes of that is setup and tear down.

4. Exceptions are the norm

Wargames seem to be built on chrome.  Every rule pretty much translates into a dice modifier.  When I'm doing: 1d6 + if(x,2) - if(y,1) etc etc I'm not having fun.  And I'm cool playing math games.  Not "Let's see who remembers the modifier" games.

So... what "wargames" have I enjoyed?


Is it abstract?  Yes.  Is it the best wargame I've ever played?  Yes.

If you can't see the two armies fighting over blood soaked terrain then you are not looking at the same game.  I haven't played nearly enough Go.  Mainly just because it's not that inviting to the casual player.  But man do I respect it.


Yes it's longer than 2 hours.  But dang it, it does all the rest right.

There are basically no exceptions.

The combat is far more than "Compare two dice rolls"

The map is *Fascinating*

It does other things wrong still, but I forgive most of them.

What wargames should I still try?

Napoleon's Triumph

If the combat rules weren't so damn confusing, I'd be on this in a heart beat.  An awesome map and diceless combat with alternate victory conditions.  Yes please!

Up Front

If only because it promises to be mercifully short.  Too bad the rules look like a bitch...  And of course that MMP hasn't gotten off their asses and published this cash cow.

Anyway, so that encompasses my path to and through wargaming.  I'm pretty much done with it.  I'm probably missing some great gaming moments, but I'm not crying over it.

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Behave. Your mamma could read this.