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How Many Game Systems Is Too Many?

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  smithsco 1 month, 1 week ago.

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    So my guess is that many people here play more than one game system, with more than one model range.

    But how many, and are there more you want to get into?

    Is there a point when you’re interested or invested in too many to manage? Particularly when you’ve let’s say got multiple factions for some of them?

    And at what point is it too many. Is it when you run out of space, time to give to them, or the cost of getting them. It’s a multi faceted issue and one probably quite individual where the peak point is each.

    Should you just stick to one or two systems, and put everything into them? Or is diversifying and spreading across many, the better option?


    For me, well I’ve got all the usual suspects when it comes to GW, 3 or 4 Fantasy armies, same for 40k. Recently I’ve grabbed waaaay too many Underworlds warbands. Kill Team sized factions, Mortal Realms starters for AoS. And of course I have some old school Blood Bowl, Mordheim, etc.

    Then it’s the non GW games. Three Pirate crews for any skirmisher, Two Batman factions, Three Deadzone armies, 6 Dreadball teams, EotD, 2 Dropfleet, and just miniatures in general (like Bones stuff, Impact, Westfalia, RPG characters and so on).

    Now, writing it all out seems like some kind of confession (best the wife doesn’t see this. She doesn’t come into my study..) ha ha. But there are so many other games that look really good, miniatures and painting are always a big draw for me, gameplay is a second so I can’t even use that argument so easily.

    Getting into GW from a young age and having lots for it, even after selling off several armies, has meant a lot of missed opportunities too, and making up for them now is tougher to do.


    But Should you get into another system when you can’t even carve enough time for all of the above (kids, work etc). Even though I see one and think, yes this is what I need! Some hook or thing that really gets you really invested in it, calling you close to look through and digest it’s goodness.

    Ultimately the answer is yes you should. And no amount is too many systems. As there’s always that next thing to list after and crave.


    So.. thoughts?


    I think there are too many and it’s bad for the hobby in general. What happens is people spread their  spending thinly over several systems. This will ultimately affect some companies where by they don’t sell enough to be sustainable.

    We’ve been in a period of expansion for the hobby, some would call a Golden Age but that is now going to bite the hobby and industry in the rear in the wake of this pandemic and Brexit. Unfortunately I can the number of companies and therefore systems reducing over the next couple of years.

    Myself I’m like most hobbyists and have my fingers in too many pies. I don’t really have enough time for all the systems I try to play. It’s one of the reasons why I’m considering cutting back and narrowing down which ones I plan to stick with.



    Ah, I never thought of it in the sake of the hobby.

    Then that’s an interesting point. I guess it’s partly why we see a lot of the smaller systems and companies disappear over time.


    I too am (forever) thinking of cutting back. But I find it hard to know what to cull. My fantasy lost the dwarves, Bretonnians and Lizardmen, as I hadn’t gotten too far into them or they were from my youth and would have needed full reworks.

    Leaving me my Vampires and Empire, too much for rebasing, but way too invested and near complete to sell. My Ogres need a lot, but they are potential for round basing, and the conversion work I’d be sad to let go.. (minor as it is). The problem is, that’s just one system, and I’d still not be fully out after. Then there’s all the others. I already hugely cut back on Mantic lines, Warpath all sold down to Deadzone sizes, and my Dreadball from 20+ teams to the 6 or so.

    Whats the next thing to go, I just don’t know really.


    I’m narrowing it down to historical periods, and which armies can cross over from historical to fantasy. Which means the Dark Age stuff stays as that can cross, my WW2 stuff will stay as those can be used for post WW2 upto around late 50’s which includes Korean War & Suez Canal etc.

    I’m only going to play skirmish games for Sigmar and 40k so that means Warcry, Kill Team and Mordhiem. I’ve also pretty much stopped mass battle games unless it’s at 15mm and I already have an army built, so keeping Flames of War and Team Yankee. I’m also moving to more miniature agnostic rule sets so I don’t need to buy miniatures specific to a set of rules. It also means I can use existing minis I have.


    Cult of Games Member

    I’d say the industry is as much part of the problem as the cause of it.

    Everyone always seems to think that their version of a given rules set for a specific historic era is ‘da best’.
    And you do notice that sometimes mechanics are renamed or tweaked just to avoid getting hammered by the corporate lawyers from the big fish in the pond (or a fear of getting ‘ripped off’ if someone else dare to name a space marine a space marine … ).

    OTOH … it is difficult / impossible to share rules at a corporate level, because they tend to believe in creating vendor-lock-in as a means of survival (GW being a prime example). We saw what happened when D&D became ‘open source’ by accident … it gave live to a competitor and it must have scared the crap out of WoTC management. Their response was tightening of the screws, because they felt that the open nature cost them sales.

    Pairing down game systems from an end-user point of view should be ‘easy’.
    Pick systems that avoid vendor-lock-in and you can say good bye to quite a few systems in your possession.
    However you’d still would want a lot of the systems, because of the fluff that helps you build your armies …






    Yeah, dual use miniatures are definitely great, or multi use. I can’t think the last time I played a mass battle but I’d be hesitant to drop any of it just due to time invested.

    but 100% I won’t start another big army type game. It’s just too much to pay out unfortunately. Shame as Bolt Action, well any WWII game, really draws me, but I never got into any when there was opportunity. (Just have a few BA models to paint up, 10 a side, perfect for a little diorama).





    The fluff behind it all being the biggest part of it too, getting drawn in. Then seeing great minis etc. But yeah it’s an option.

    Games being very close or basically the same, that can cut out a lot of systems from your choice. Or give a second life to things, as KoW did for Fantasy, in some cases.

    I guess there are too many genres and styles even if you only had one of each type, scale and size. Assuming you like all those..


    Cult of Games Member

    @danny76 liking too many genres/settings is my problem in a nut shell.

    Even if I were to reduce the rulebooks down to the absolute minimum I’d still have several themes and scales to worry about.
    As such I’m kind of jealous of folks who can limit themselves to just the one period in history or 40k …

    I’ve noticed that the one disadvantage with generic systems is that they tend to be ‘one size fits none’ type of deal that require a heck of a lot work to convert to a specific setting.

    Starbreach for example. Yes, I can use it for both 40k and Legion as it has generic lists that match the factions of those games.
    However it lacks that bit of je ne sais quois that the systems for either game do have. And then there’s the endless arguments when person A and B convert their faction to the generic system and argue about who did it better …

    Historical genres tend to have one advantage as your only change from system to system may be the way you base your units. Although some systems do have lists that are more realistic (featuring radio operators and couriers in Battlefront) while others tend to favour the gear that actually did the work as it were (like artillery not needing its own HQ section).



    Yeah, it’s why I didn’t get as absorbed into Kings of War, the background wasn’t the same rich history I had from Fantasy.

    And although you can use a rule set and then still play ‘whf’ in your head, it just doesn’t quite hit the same..



    We sure live interesting times when we have went from not enough choice to having too much of it. Something that isn’t good either with miniature gaming hobby industry being so relatively small that even GW that’s biggest fish in pond seems rather small compared to companies in lot of other industries. What we call Golden Age has turned out to be bubble that will surely eventually burst even without Covid and Brexit but those have made it more clear that it won’t last. While I can see some of those systems that are best known (alongside ones from GW that is) survive once that bubble bursts least known ones are sadly sure to be casualties and those small companies that make those sure to go down resulting more people being out of jobs.



    I have lots of RPG rules systems, many of which I have played at least once, others that seemed like a good idea at the time (but weren’t for a variety of reasons).

    Started with one army for Warmachine… Cygnar… added some Mercenaries… fell for the Circle lore and then drifted into Cryx… had a lot of fun playing it… but then scheduling with my wargaming buddy faltered.

    Also invested heavily in boardgames like Tannhauser, Eldritch Horror, Imperial Assault, Fortune and Glory, A Touch of Evil… numerous kickstarter games (that I was more excited about during the funding than when it arrived… but that topic is being discussed elsewhere in the forums).

    And then GW starter releasing amazing box sets… Necromunda, Pelennor Fields, Soul Wars, Warcry, Kill Team, Blackstone Fortress… and others.

    And there’s a lot more.

    I like to paint miniatures. When I get time I enjoy solo rules (especially in the last year). Collecting is a hobby too. Finding something that I have never heard of at UK Games Expo is wonderful.

    I regret some purchases, but the majority I am happy with.

    Are there too many games systems?

    In the world… yes…

    In my home… no…

    In these difficult times we take pleasure where we can… so don’t deny yourself the pleasure of that new box/book smell…


    Cult of Games Member

    Buy the figures and figure out a generic basing system and they you can buy rules as you feel



    As a boardgamer and RPG’er, I nowadays look for “revolution not evolution” in the sense that I’m looking for new game mechanics, not variations of the same one. For example, the last dungeoncrawler I bought just for the game system was Gloomhaven, with its diceless hand management. Compare this to pretty much every dungeoncrawler since HeroQuest, which was some variant of throwing dice and beating a target number. The last miniatures skirmish game I bought just for the game system was Kobolds and Cobblestones, because I was curious about its poker-based card system. Compare this to almost every wargame that rolls a die to hit and/or take damage (or uses a CRT). My favorite RPG is One Shot World, a rules-light RPG based on Dungeon World, which has a “mechanic” where the game master asks the players to flesh out the world, and Cheat Your Own Adventure, a storytelling game reminiscent of CYOA books. CCGs I made an effort to collect were Mythos and Doomtown, both of which have noticeably different mechanics and themes from MtG. I’m not into Eurogames, but my two favorites are Dominion, which popularized the deckbuilder mechanic, and Race for the Galaxy, a hand management game (that plays very differently from Gloomhaven).

    That doesn’t mean I haven’t bought a ton of games for the miniatures, inexpensive games under $20, or deeply discounted games that have had some buzz. That’s already enough to fill two rooms in the house unplayed. Don’t need more.


    Cult of Games Member

    I have a metric ton of rulesets but they are all for minis/armies I have, these days something has to really grab me to buy into a new genre. But I’ll happily buy a new ruleset if I already have stuff I can use for it.



    I am pretty sure I have too many game systems on my shelf.  Mostly because even before Covid I had more game systems then people interested in playing them.  I too, like many of you, have multiple armies for all the big game systems.  These seem to be the focal point for people in my local gaming group.  Even those of us still able to get together to occasionally play, we only play the “main stream” games.  It seems to be a combination of time, familiarity with the rules, and generally playing what is familiar.

    Another challenge I have been noticing is that the more niche games come out, the more the group I play in gets broken down into those niches.  From the pool of people there will only be 1 or 2 that play game X, then 1 or 2 different people who play Y and so on.  Which in truth has helped with social distancing since I’ve been able to focus on this or that game a little and the group of people is by nature small.  But back in the days of normal game play, it made it a little difficult to organize something outside one of the big main stream games.

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