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Inaccessibility of Historical Wargaming

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This topic contains 130 replies, has 35 voices, and was last updated by  limburger 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 131 total)
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  • #1191411

    oriskany
    Participant
    22552xp

    Awesome, @commodorerob – just wanted to make 110% sure it was clear I wasn’t talking about your friend’s approach, I certainly wasn’t there.  But it sounds like some of the 40K players with whom he was speaking might have had some bad experiences with other “grognards” in the past.  What happens sometimes is that even polite, inclusive, and welcoming historical gamers often “catch the grief” from non-historical communities that has accrued through past interactions with other historical gamers that haven’t been so welcoming.

    It certainly isn’t fair, but it does happen.

    At least for me, one of the top “advantages” that historical wargaming has is that it also winds up being very educational as well as entertaining.  Ergo, we as historical wargamers, when recruiting from other hobbies or genres, have this additional opportunity to educate as well as entertain, welcome, etc.  When we’re carrying out this education (be it through wargame design, running events, publishing articles, posting threads, etc) we just have to be a little careful to remain always conciliatory, welcoming, respectful, and of course humble.

    Granted, that last one isn’t so easy.  we are Historical Wargamers, after all! 😛 😛 😛

     

    #1191577

    osbad
    Participant
    1377xp

    I didn’t mean to put words in your friend’s mouth.  I’m sure what he did, in reality, was probably pretty inoffensive>  It is the perception though that I would imagine creates the charge of making historical games inaccessible.  In these post-millennial days, some folks are very sensitive about perceived criticism, so even pointing out the historical inaccuracies of a particular favourite game, could easily be perceived as criticism and being looked down on.  Generally speaking its asking for trouble to offer even a justified critique if it hasn’t been asked for.

    #1191610

    warzan
    Keymaster
    13030xp

    I agree with @oriskany and @commodorerob and I do wonder what proactive things we can do to help break down these barriers some more…

    #1191685

    commodorerob
    Participant
    4913xp

    @warzan I think Beasts of War has achieved splendid things in breaking down the barriers, and with articles like the one @oriskany created on WW1 and your video with him the other day talking about connecting historical aspectes with things like Star Wars I think it all helps with the accessibility.  Bringing in game designers like two fat lardies into the studio helps.  Having historical based bootcamps seeing people enjoying getting into the genre.

    Also having series like the one you did for Flames of war was interesting, even if it was not my thing. Getting visibility on par with that of sci fi and fantasy games.

    Maybe we could have a channel on OTT called ” Historical Gaming made easy” or ” really it’s actually fun you know” 😉

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  commodorerob.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  commodorerob.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  commodorerob.
    #1192079

    agashamirv
    Participant
    419xp

    I picked up this really cool historical game, Kampfgroup Commander as my first delve into historical gaming. Read through the book, liked the system, but had some questions.

    I went to the KGC forum and asked my question about ammo for artillery pieces, as the rule book assumed you knew what round went in a PAK. Who doesn’t, right?

    I was attacked, berated, and abused; it took me 10 years to try another historical game.

    That is ABSOLUTELY the wrong thing to happen, as others have stated so eloquently above.

    Enjoy the interest someone shows of something new, never push it on them, however polite or good intentioned.

    #1192244

    commodorerob
    Participant
    4913xp

    Degrading someone for the lack of knowledge when they have asked a specific question about a game is wrong, I have seen this in kind of thing happen across many genres of game it is not unique to historical gaming. I can understand it putting you off a specific game but a whole genre, that is the problem it makes no sense. I had a similar experience with a naval game called Seekriege 5 but it didn’t put me off wanting to play naval games just that particular game.

    #1192245

    warzan
    Keymaster
    13030xp

    I can actually very easily see how that experience could put someone off an entire genre. Of course, everyone is different, but yes it’s definitely something I can understand.

     

    @agashamirv I’m glad you did finally give it another go though!

    #1192305

    bureaucrat
    Participant
    153xp

    Inaccessibility kind of happens on the player side of things and isn’t really limited to historical, although historical can become some of the more problematic and unwelcoming.

    So historical games have inaccessible issues on a community and personal side. Communities have unfortunate rivet counters, where someone will jump on you for having the wrong markings on your tank or troops, or will berate you for having the inappropriate color of uniform. It can easily leave someone with a bad taste for the entire genre. On the personal level, it can seem overwhelming trying to put a force together, balancing how much fun you want to have with risking becoming a rivet counter yourself. Example: right now I am working on a bolt action Indian north african force. So I am working with Perry Miniatures desert rats and lopping their heads off to be replaced. Now I am considering how to kit them out so I start looking at other manufacturers and doing a bit of research when I find that the Indian forces opted for a different light machine gun than the Bren which is all I had with the desert rat kit and for a moment I almost scrapped the whole thing, but then I realized that no one I played with would actually care, so I will press on and embrace not giving a crap. Had similar issues trying to get the ‘correct’ uniform color for my soviets, but there is no such thing so I could legit not care. Analysis paralysis is a thing especially in historical settings where there is a ton of information available.

    For fantasy or sci-fi you can have similar issues depending on how deep the lore is for the game and how long it has been around. Some long running game worlds can even have the added excitement of edition wars and their own style of rivet counters. Because of lack of competition you can also run into an issue where a game may be economically inaccessible. I look at 40k and it’s a system I was deep into about 20 years ago, but if I was trying to get into it now, I would be out a couple hundred bucks in rulebooks, codexes, and cards alone, then you pick an army and are a few hundred more into it before you have a decent starter force.

    #1192656

    zoidpinhead
    Participant
    1272xp

    Great topic, thanks @commodorerob

    To address the main topic concerns of barriers to entry into Historical.  You already raised the issue of exclusivity in the GW approach and I think this engenders a natural prejudice toward Fantasy/SF to those gamers who have grown up with their entry via the GW route.  There is a clear level of exclusivity built in to these games and their sales and marketing.  GW is very successful and vital for the hobby as a mode of recruitment and it is often the initial contact that many new hobbyists had/have with figure gaming.  This means that GW product and the associated contexts (Fantasy/SF) are therefore the most acceptable and recognisable contexts for figure gaming.  Historical has been deliberately kept outside this clear brand image and that means there is no natural crossover point between the two.  Far from offering an unlimited series of points of entry (as you might assume the multiplicity of contexts offered by the whole of human military history might) it is in fact all equally off-putting and unfamiliar when compared to the complex understanding GW based hobbyists have of their own products and fluff contexts.

    But is this changing?  I think it most definitely is and will continue to do so.

    • Many ex-GW potentates are out there in the industry and they have an approach that is totally inclusive of Historical.  They have also brought gaming mechanics that are recognisable to GW gamers and make the transition to historical contexts much easier.
    • It is much easier to access material to learn a new game as video content is available for most systems (thank you Let’s Play).
    • Gamers are much more likely to have an increasingly varied approach to their hobby and even those who are settled with a context/system will be willing to try a new one.  There is always someone in a group who fancies a new game or rule set and this is often all the impetus needed.
    • Skirmish level gaming with say ten minis a side makes committing to a new game very inexpensive in either money or time.  Games like Guild Ball are so close to GW context and very popular at clubs that they can easily draw players out of their GW-only bunker.  Once out there is no reason to go back to exclusivity again.
    • Resale markets mean you can easily get rid of game materials you don’t like/want and pick up those you fancy trying, often without needing to actually paint anything.
    • Gateway games.  The increasing relationship between the board and miniature gaming hobbies is seeing a cross fertilisation of ideas.  Miniature games are increasingly adopting boardgame mechanics and techniques and boardgames look at the visual experience of painted miniatures and want that in their games.  It is no surprise to me that many of the biggest Kickstarter tabletop games are the hybrid boardgame/miniature games like KD:M, Zombicide and the CMON games and Mythic and Monolith’s output.  The only ones outside this profile are the party games (Exploding Kittens, etc. and Gloomhaven which clearly has a certain retro chic).  At the moment they are mostly Fantasy/SF contexts but I don’t think it will be long before there is a big breakthrough game with a fully historical context.  GW are even encouraging this by producing their boardgame-ish big box games.  This can help loyalists to transfer to other contexts as the packaging and gaming experience of other companies wares are less un-familiar.

    In summary I think that Historical will be increasingly familiar within the overall hobby and players will become less exclusive to game type or context as the market continues to develop.  Inclusive communities like BoW will obviously help and this will discourage the less tolerant attitudes pervasive elsewhere.

    #1192874

    torros
    Participant
    7805xp

    I wonder if this is all about perceived notions

     

    I think some see historical games as players pushing 100’s of figures slowly across the table replicating exactly what happened in an actual battles. Of course this is not what happens in reality

    Again as perceived notions some see fantasy and science  games as players using a few very expensive models, making  sure their army is list perfected to make that killer army that they want  then rolling lots of D6 to see whose won without the bother of having to use tactics  Of course this is not what happens in reality

     

    So maybe the answer is to broaden your horizons from  whatever you enjoy playing. Have a go at historical skirmish or 6mm sci-fi or something you would never consider. You might enjoy it*

     

    * This of course doesn’t include using any of Phil Barker’s rules which after 5 minutes of reading will just turn you into a gibbering wteck 😉

     

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  torros.
    #1192896

    commodorerob
    Participant
    4913xp

    @torros oh that is so true about Phil Barkers rules, although when you get down to it DBA is not a bad system for a quick play rules.

    #1193332

    piers
    Participant
    5547xp

    Some see Rivet Counter as an insult… I see it as something to strive for… to embrace and rejoice in! 😉

    Some games do attract some rabid fan boy types, and some historical gamers do lack tact and decorum at times.

    But it is, at the end of the day, a historical game, so if you are playing Germans versus Japanese on a desert table, then no matter how much fun you might be having, its not histotical to me… and Im allowed to think that. Same as youre allowed to enjoy it.

    Everyone has their own standards of whats important and how they wish to persue the hobby. For some its all about the game, for others its about history and immersing oneself into a period. Some float around the middle ground.

    Wargamers are just human and thus we have all types… Ive met many historical gamers who treat Fantasy or Sci Fi gaming as some form of heresy and I’ve seen those from the opposing side call people ‘elitist’ for wanting to play historically…

    I think Bolt Action, drawing in GW style gamers in a tournament focussed game, and offering a more… cinema flavour of WWII, will always generate some criticism from more historical based chaps, as after all, many historical gamers also have a deep seated interest in the history too. So conflict will arise from a clash of how a period is gamed.

    For me, and as I say, wargaming is a personal hobby, my ‘fun’ comes from playing a game with historically correct forces for a period of the war, with forces that reflect the likely combatants at the time. I dont want to build the best list, I want to make do with what I have and get on with it…

    But for me its all part of a general interest in military history, so my way of gaming encompasses that. Im lucky to have a gaming group who have the same outlook.

    So… Im happy to be an Elitist Rivet Counting Snob of historical wargaming!

    Just dont tell the historical types about all my Warhammer armies…

    #1193842

    limburger
    Participant
    4484xp

    @warzan : the ‘FoW for the win’ series was an excellent because it included someone who was highly sceptical of the subject.

    Remember when you had those ‘Nacht Wulfen(tm)’ ?

    One has to wonder if there ever could be a way to do this in reverse and make a “Warhammer 40,000 for the history fanatic” featuring @oriskany as he attempts to convince his opponent that the British could survive an assault by orcs … 😉
    (ok … that won’t happen, but hey … didn’t we think the same about FoW in the past ?)

    @piers : I think all games are personal hobbies. Everyone has their little niche that they find to be the most interesting/fun.
    The moment people with different opinions want to play the same game is when conflict can occur.
    It will be up to both to minimize the ruflfling of feathers and maximize fun.
    As long as both parties talk to each other and are willing to compromise that shouldn’t be a problem.

    #1193858

    oriskany
    Participant
    22552xp

    Hey, those Nachtwulfen were badass.  And I completely agree with @limburger about Flames of War FTW – a great series. Admittedly it did sort of convince me that I would never be a <i>huge</i> fan of FoW … but it did get me to join Beasts of War in March, 2014 (and I never would have found Battlegroup otherwise)!

    So I’m trying to convince “an opponent” that the British could survive orcs? Is this a debate show you’re proposing?  Who is my opponent?

    “Grognard vs. Grognard” – Watch in amazement as they argue about history until one of them falls asleep from sheer boredom!  The last man standing wins!  😛

    Episode One: British vs. Orks!

    Episode Two: Pokemon vs. Panzer!

    Episode Three: Operation Sea Lion: Might it have worked if the Germans used actual sea lions (demon-possessed, of course)?

    I think we have an idea there …  😀

     

     

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  oriskany.
    #1193871

    torros
    Participant
    7805xp

    Demonic Sealions?. Your just being silly and unrealistic.Everyone knows  Rocket pack wearing Penguins are the way forward

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  torros.
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