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What makes a good table top war game ... model count, system complexity, special characters, great background fluff, core rules ... what really makes one system more fun to play than another ?
I have noticed several folks are working on a system as finding one that is 'just right' is almost impossible and if you do its tied to a model line you don't have ... I'm one of the folks working on a game system but I'm aiming for model independence ... a solid system that is not tied to any model line but open to use with any force you like ... I just want a good game I can bring any army I want to, and stll have a fair and balanced game with others bringing any army they like ...
Most of the open army systems I have looked at are too light or over regulated and most don't have a viable point system ... a solid point system might never be perfect but it's the only viable medium for pick up games and turnament play in an open army game system , so I'm starting with ...
A universal point system, based on force type templates.
1d10 based for all randome resolution.
Smooth and straight forward game mechanics , with some special rules but keeping the system simple / fast is a primary goal.
Looking for player preferences, likes/ dislikes , why one system stands out over others, what worked well and what just never seemed to get it right or seemed sooo wrong ... for all of us poking around at what could be ...
I have a question for you, if you're interested, and if you're willing to answer it. You can read my rambling explanation, or just skip to the picture of the d20 below if I'm boring you.
So I've been reading some blogs, blogs of Big Time Game Writers and Designers, right? I like to keep up on the history of the hobby, even while it's happening.
And I have discovered a thing: The Older Cousin Model.
Y'see, ever since D&D really started to hit the big time, the marketing people have been trying to figure out new ways to grow the game, grow the market, sell more units. It's what they do. Particularly under WotC, and ESPECIALLY with Hasbro. And they discovered an unusual thing.
Roleplaying games aren't like other games. A child sees a Star Wars Rebels boardgame, he's attracted to it because of the cartoon show, but if he's going to play the GAME, he has to sit down, read the rules, figure out how it works. If I find a Game Of Thrones card game, I do the same thing, although it's a safe bet the rules are lengthier and more complex. But the same is true of both myself and the Star Wars child: we see the game, get interested in the subject or license, buy or are given this game, we sit down and figure it out, and try to interest our friends in playing it with us. Sometimes Star Wars kid will play the game at his friend's house first, but like as not, he'll see it on a shelf and want it, without ever having played it before.
....................but not RPGs.
Apparently, based on market research? Nearly all RPG players are taught to play by an actual human, THEN start jonesing for their own copy of the game. They have to catch the fever from existing RPG players before developing an interest in the hobby form. Apparently, AFTER you've mastered an RPG, THEN you might develop an interest in other RPGs or RPG genres, and you might, upon mastering D&D, get interested in one of Fantasy Flight's Star Wars RPGs, or a White Wolf LARP, or even just Pathfinder or Starfinder, and you might buy a copy, read the rules, and start your own game...
...but statistically, MOST of us apparently started out as acolytes at someone else's table.
They call it "The Older Cousin Model," in that most of us learned it from an older cousin, a sibling, kid we went to school with, whatever. The point is that most of us were TAUGHT, as opposed to doping it out ourselves. It's a social phenomenon as opposed to seeing it on a shelf or in an ad, and that apparently complicates the marketing of the product.
And that got my attention.
Y'see, I doped it out myself.
I was all of like, eleven, and reading this magazine, Rolling Stone's College Life, because, hey, college was far cooler than anything MY peer group was doing, right? And there was this article on this game that was sweeping the country's college campuses at the time, Dungeons and Dragons, where you could take the role of a barbarian or wizard, go slay dragons, become more powerful, have a magic sword, accumulate gold, build a castle... anything you wanted. The nerd equivalent of a permanent floating craps game in the dorm's TV room. It caught my interest, and the next time my immediate ancestors chose to visit civilization, I picked up a Holmes Basic Set at Spencer's Gifts... and there, all my weirdities began. Upon learning how to play the game, and finding others who were interested, everything else followed. Cool college guys used miniatures? Plainly, miniatures must be obtained... and painted. Some of these people play other games by SPI and Avalon Hill? Hm, this should be looked into. Hey, other RPGs like Traveller and Runequest? Investigate!
But I had to work it out myself. I taught some friends to play afterwards, and the game took on a life of its own after that... but I was the one who lit the fire.
Upon thinking about it? Everyone else I ever played RPGs with? Either I taught them, or they already knew... having been introduced to the hobby by a friend or relative. Apparently, being a gamer is more a contagious paradigm than one imposed by one's environment or advertising.
...and this is what brings me to come bother YOU people. How did you get involved in RPGs? How did you learn to play? How did you develop the interest?
Was there an older cousin, sibling, friend, role model? Were you influenced by marketing or advertising? Trip over it at a comic shop? Encounter a screaming mob of beardos, flinging dice and invective at each other?
I'd like to know.
By Rob Dean
Since I went ahead and posted the big project WIP for this, here's what I've already got on hand to start with.
For orcs etc., I've finished 6 of the man-orcs, 7 armored goblins with spears and bows, 3 "true orcs", and 7 of the little goblins. There are also four wolves and a rider, a "troll", and two Nazgul on horseback that still sport an original 1970s paint job. For my own amusement, every shield so far is unique, although I hope that the running black/red/white theme gives them a related look. By the time I do nearly two hundred more, I expect there to be some duplication. So far, all of the orcs and goblins have been individually based, but for wargaming purposes, I will be switching to three or six figure bases once I've done a dozen big orcs, two dozen middle orcs, and a dozen little orcs.
This stand of dwarves was one of the triggers for my full-scale vintage binge; the figures came from a dealer table at Cold Wars in 2015, and I hadn't seen a Mythical Earth figure in a long time.
The elf army to date suffers from a bit of indecision on basing. The one scout stand in the front on the 60mm square base was built from the same bag of miniatures that contained the dwarves. I didn't think I'd ever see another. As I work through the remaining figures, I'll need to do one more stand of three to match it, which will do duty as a Dragon Rampant scout unit, but the rest of the elves will be in threes. Anything that doesn't currently work out to a twelve man unit will be mounted individually, like the archer next to the command stand.
The two stands of ents and huorns (the range contained two of each for some reason) have been with me since the '70s. I "enhanced" the horns with some Woodland Scenics tufts, but any more that I acquire, like the large Huorn in the middle, will not be so treated. I was playing with him to attempt to make his bark a more typical tree bark gray. I've got five or so ents awaiting attention, and two more huorns are inbound, so Fangorn Forest is well represented.
For humans, I've mostly been doing samples to get the feel of working with them. The back row is a little group of really old Minifig Vikings (base code V5). I got about ten of them in a lot, and the ME range has few archers. I expect them to do duty as needed as Dunlendings, Rohirrim, or Lakefolk. In the front row, a historical NS (Norman/Saxon) spearman is a sample of historical who will be adopted for the same block of cultures. Next to him is a slightly later IR (Imperial Roman) range early Dark Ages warlord, who fits my idea of a Rohirrim leader on foot. Then we have two actual ME mounted Rohirrim, in the early versions. (The later versions were helmeted). You only need one Gandalf, at least on foot, and the ME53 Ranger swordsman has been done as my Aragorn figure. Next to him is a basic Gondorian swordsman, and an archer of Faramir's Ithilien rangers.
As of today, they would make a rather odd skirmish game, but, given how far along the elves are, I think the first all-vintage-Minifigs battle is likely to be allies of the north against the goblins of the Misty Mountains.
Some time ago I bought a whole lot of plastic trees from China to make wargaming terrain with. I've finally got around to making a start on basing some of them.
The bases are 3mm MDF, the brown forest floor is real dead leaves munched up in a little ten dollar coffee grinder, and the grass is old-school sawdust flock. Lurking in under the trees behind the Lanchester armoured car is a 15mm British wireless operator, but so good is his camouflage that you can't really see him.
They're not the most realistic terrain pieces ever made, but considering that the trees cost me about fifteen cents each, and everything else was basically free, I'm pretty happy with the results. This is about a fifth of the whole bunch, so I've still got a bit of work ahead of me.
Hi all! I've been a fan of Matt Colville for awhile and his Running the Game series for awhile now and thought I'd spread the goodness here.
For the uninitiated, this series of YouTube videos is aimed at newer DMs who are looking to start running D&D for the first time (especially at the beginning of the series), but there's plenty of good stuff for DMs of any experience level to mine. I've found them incredibly instructive for how I run and think about my game to be sure.
And, while there's a focus on D&D, there's certainly material that is transferable to any game you're running. Anyway, have a gander (note: this isn't the first of the series, but rather the first of his I saw, which is about railroad campaigns vs the sandbox)!
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