Saturday, June 04, 2011

Things wot I don't Play

I've been considering casually for while the games I dismiss out of hand. Being part of a large vibrant club, one sees no end of games played, and over the years one way or another I've tried most every historical period going. There are some that I either wouldn't do again, or won't touch with a bargepole, and the same goes for games and wider genres. I felt it could be interesting to look at why...

Periods of History

When it comes to historical gaming I'm a pretty broad church, though the are a few gaps which hold no interest. Going back in time the farthest would be what I guess they call the Renaissance, Roughly 1450 to 1630 has never appealed to me from a gaming standpoint. One reason is the outfits, another is that it's neither here nor there in my mind tactically; it isn't medieval, it's not fully pike and shot. Finally, if I want to paint or play something in that style, then the human races in Warhammer Fantasy have it pretty much covered.

I don't collect for, but have no aversion to the 18th century.  Rather,most of the 19th century is a big period for me and many gamers. But enter the 20th century and the morality of what your doing becomes an issue for me. Yes I do many 20th century games, but I avoid World War One, as neither generally much of a game, and as it feels in poorer taste to make a game of it than so many other wars (and in a sense, that is what any wargaming is doing, let us not forget). Similarly I've drawn an arbitrary line at 1995, and don't go beyond it. My last historical period is the wars in Yugoslavia, and that has to be approached tactfully to avoid seeming in poor taste.

Force on Force, interesting, but not for the Gulf, thanks.


Broadly speaking I've no interest in air combat, or for that matter space/starship battles (barring Star Fleet Battles some 20 years ago, and the reasons fit in with the following point). In the main I see computer simulations can do a far better job of simulating the dog fighting aspects, and the strategic side holds no interest for me in such combat. Any future battles in space will not look like Star Wars/Trek and so I don't find much appeal in them as a tabletop game.

Linked to that my interest in Sci-Fi gaming in general is on the wane, only Epic hangs in there on the strength of a good game system. Again, the reality of future warfare, as I see it, is not likely to be anything like that which games try to imagine. I fear it will be clinical and precise and dehumanised. I only hope we are civilised enough to avoid it altogether before then!

For the most part you can add alternate history games to that bag. Steampunk, Magic augmented histories, fantasy ancient worlds. Best left in books and films for me, I'm quite happy with my history as it is for wargames. Straight fantasy is fine on it's own.  I would be lying if I said this was without exception mind, but those exceptions are on the whole, limited, Pirates and Greek Myth get through as exceptions!

Flintloque, yes I used to play it, and the experience still leaves me scarred.  Players can ruin a game...

Collectible games I've dabbled in on and off, but really with the exception of using the Axis and Allies models I've dropped them all. Several are very enjoyable, don't get me wrong; but they are money pits of the highest order.

Specific systems

Amongst the Games I do not/will not play:

Flames of War is one of the most obvious and pronounced exclusions, and i have a variety of misgivings about it. I've only played the rules once, and there seemed little wrong with them in principle, but the resultant style of play is influenced by an ideology to encourage buying as much stuff as possible, and then cramming it onto a table.

The typical game is company sized, but with over generous (IMHO) support, notably entire tank formations and on table artillery, and for all it's fancy rules a weak attention for real tactics. Games seem to revolve around massed blobs of infantry trooping around, unsupported tanks racing everywhere and lines of artillery engaging the enemy over apparently open sights. I like my WW2 games playable, but I really want them to reflect the reality of the period. Flames of War so far as I'm concerned does not achieve that, rather it is a points led competitive wargame, that happens to use WW2 as it's background.

Add the fact there are an unending library of resource books to buy, and the official range of models are at least 25% more than anyone else's models, not to mention in the wrong scale for me!. Well it's a long rant to say no deal.

I think my issue with Malifaux is simply one of personal taste. Sure there are nice models, the game mechanic seems clever, it's not that expensive to get in to. Still, nothing; couldn't be less interested. It just doesn't float my boat.

To an extent the same applies to Warmachine/Hordes, but the background models and rules leave me cold. Certainly there seem to so many special rules that break the core system, never a plus point for me unless it is well handled.

Warmachine? Well, it's your money....

The real killer is the price; I recall at a time when I was coming back into fantasy gaming Warmachine was the new kid on the block and the metal figures were from £4 to £20. It seemed ludicrous to me back then as a hardened historical gamer, and I never was sold on it as a result. Those prices are if anything more reasonable now, but I remain disinterested.

Now I tried to get on with DBM/DBMM I really did, but it's a case of reading the impenetrable rules does not prepare you for what a game will really look or be like. I has plenty of adherents sure, but it's not for me. I'll stick with alternatives. Fields of Glory falls by the wayside for being altogether too similar to DBMM.

Secrets of the Third Reich, or any game extending WW2 or introducing fantastic/sci-fi elements to it are a straight up no for me. Not acceptable to even go there; I don't care if you do think Reich Robots are cool, I think it's in poor taste.

Lord of the Rings never caught me either, although the models were lovely, and at least initially attractively priced. Somehow I just never once looked at the game and thought, 'oh. gotta get me some of those'.

Finally a special mention goes to Occult Wars, a game I know nothing about, but see advertised intermittently, often persistently on websites like TTGN and TMP.

Sexy? hahahahahahaha......

Boy it makes me laugh, are they actually claiming to make wargaming sexy? isn't that a contradiction in terms? Either way, it's one of many games that tries to attract nerds to it with the classic combo of girls and guns.

Find some down on her luck model; or more likely the girlfriend of the one mate you have who can get one, put her in a low-cut top with a bb-gun or cheap Samurai sword and that's your cover and the internal illustrations sorted! How could any spotty, roleplayer resist? I'm not even joking that much. Girls in real life generally have nothing to do with anyone who plays this nonsense.

So what have we learned? like an episode of Family Guy, perhaps not a lot other than about my fickle tastes.  But I wonder what other people consider outside their field of interest, and why...


  1. Lol to the "sexy" wargaming comment! Glad to see you trying to stay clear of the money pits.

  2. Can't really disagree with you. Except for DBMM. For most of a decade that was about all I played. But it did take an intensive period of study & discussion at the beginning. Then I think it does something to your brain, and you 'get' it.

    Spot on with FoW. I don't hate it, as a game it's fun. I just don't see what people find appealing about it. But different horses for courses...

    Yeah Occult Wars always makes me laugh as well. Maybe we are missing some irony there, but I can't see where.

  3. Interesting to see anothers veiw point...

    I don't think i ever really got the "poor taste" or "too sensitive" aspect as a whole but i can understand why one may shy away from certain topics for personnal reasons.

    While i understand your reasoning i'm surprised at some of your opinions... how would alternative ultra modern or near future be catagorised?

    Thanks for sharing...

  4. Never really got the "collectible" figure games bit. Nor WWII because it doesn't move as fast as a video game or it's all wall to wall tanks. Anything after 1970 tends to have political & ethical connotations that I just don't need in gaming.

  5. I was just cleaning out the bookshelves and when I saw a us$20 price tag on an old set of rules I remembered how I thought that was pretty expensive at the time. Now it seems like twice that price is a bargain anymore, and that was only about 15 years ago.

    I can't keep up with the new pattern of a "core" book of us$60-$80 and then a series of required supplements.

    Nor do I understand the mindset that if a book comes out with all of the rules contained within (and thus, no need for that stream of supplements) it is "unsupported." In my mind, if it's complete from the get-go, all the better!

  6. I loved Warmachine when it came out. In fact I was one of (if not the) driving force that got our group into it. I hardly ever play it anymore. I'm not so concerned about game balance, but, any game where you have to constantly keep up with new releases just doesn't have a place in my life anymore. Likewise, sci-fi, steampunk and, to a lesser extent, fantasy has no interest for me on the gaming table.

    Currently I stick with Impetus and my Adventure gaming - Old West, Gothic Horror, and some 1930's Urban stuff that is now in the works. There's nothing better than a ruleset that gets written and then left alone.

  7. Not to mention, they are one of the worst and most derivative set of rules EVER produced LoL!

  8. Hahahaha!!!

    Sexy Wargaming, oh that is funny. I may have to buy it just to brake out for moments of humour.

    Back on topic, good read, and I have to say I do agree on a few points that you have mentioned. Never tried Flintloque, but I don't think I'm missing out on much.