Home Forums General General An informal survey about new games

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  • #14208
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Okay, survey is perhaps a bit too fancy but I was wondering:

    There’s two lines of thought we see a lot in the hobby. One is to use the same basic “engine” to power a variety of different rules (we’ll call this the Chain Reaction method), the other is to write totally new mechanics for each period or game (we’ll call this the Peter Pig method) (I picked those two at random since they seemed to exemplify the two approaches.

    What do you prefer?

    1: A new game using mechanics you already know, even if that might mean they aren’t a 100% fit.

    2: A new game using completely original mechanics, even if that might mean restarting the learning curve.

    3: Something else, because you’re a special snowflake.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #14209

    Not being “hard of understanding” I have no problem with different rule sets for different periods, so I would go with option 2.

    #14210
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I prefer the system that works best for the period/genre.
    So the GW 40k system where you stat like this: m,ws,bs,s,t,w,i, etc would I feel be terrible for Napoleonic games.
    Just as Polemos would be bad for skirmish games.

    I think in order to get those systems to work would mean a very heavy re-write, to the point that you would be better off starting from scratch.

    I don’t mind learning new rules if they are simple.
    Original does not have to be complicated.

    However, if the core engine will work for other flavours then why change it…

    #14212
    shelldrake
    Participant

    well… not 1: if the rules don’t fit, then it takes something away from the game.    2 is good: provided the mechanics are easy and enjoyable to play.

     

    #14214
    repiqueone
    Participant

    For fantasy/SF  games I would suspect that there would be a greater incentive for a period or game specific rule set simply because each such game generally creates its own specific world, which includes army structures, weaponry, and unit types.  This is why I have no objection to army lists for fantasy/SF as there is literally no other way to judge the types, organization, or weaponry because there is no “historical” record just the imagineering of the designer. In historical periods we have ample examples of common organizations and army structure and army lists serve more as a Clift notes, just add water, “how many bags of grenadiers do I need?” replacements for reading history.

    Historical games, strike me as a different matter from Fantasy/SF , as there is an established historical record that allows a non-gaming judgement of each period and military campaign.  This allows us to see the similarities and development over time of technology, tactics, and military practice.  Certainly the technology of the horse and musket period was amazingly similar until very late in the 19th century.  Tactics did evolve but still evidenced a lot of similarities.  This is what allows a discussion of the principles of war over the period from roughly 1700-1900, and draw conclusions that would be just as valid for Marlborough as for Von Moltke.

    Some historical wargamers have a penchant to make very minor differences into major ones, and see those differences rather more important than stepping back and seeing the similarities and continuity over time of patterns in warfare.

    A set of good mechanics with minor adjustments for period specific differences is very usable for the Horse and Musket period, and allows a gamer to move from period to period smoothly with little loss of historicity.

    As evidence of this, a simple stroll through any convention, will bring home just how similar, regardless of period, the obvious mechanics and table play appears.  It’s a rare design that jumps out as truly unique in any regard, except to the players in the game.  There’s some real advantages to using a common set of mechanics if you plan to game in many periods, or if you enjoy being a generalist as well as a general.

     

    #14226
    Spurious
    Participant

    2, because a system should fit the setting, not the setting squeezed to fit the system.

    #14227
    McLaddie
    Participant

    Yes, Merry Holidays and Happy New Year to all.   I’d have to say 2 also, though not a hard two.  It is nice to slip into comfortable old  shoes now and again.  However, it is a bit much when all games start looking the same with different periods and different scales.  Hmmm. Does that make me a special snowflake?

    #14228
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I realized, thinking about the big selling games on hte market, that I should probably have added a third option. Games that have similar concepts but slight differences (40K to Flames of War to Bolt Action f.x.).

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #14231
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Simpler is good.

    #14257

    2)  A new game using completely original mechanics, even if that might mean restarting the learning curve.

    Does such a thing exist ?

     

     

     

     

     

    #14268
    Just Jack
    Participant

    I’ll throw in here.  I like rules with simple, straightforward mechanisms, that:

    1) don’t have my limited mental capacity worried about math, modifiers, and outliers (i.e., “special rules”) so much that I can’t focus on my scheme of maneuver;
    2) don’t allow me to forecast what will happen next;
    3) don’t allow me to do everything I’d like to do.;
    4) and interact in such a way that provides me a constant string of tactical decisions to be made.
    I don’t like rules that take the “don’t allow me to know what happens next/do everything I want” so far that it feels like total chaos, like I’m totally removed from the decision-making process and I’m just a spectator.

    So, with regard to the original post, if #1 meets the requirements outlined above, and works across different periods and/or ‘scales’ (i.e., squad skirmish, platoon-level, company-level, battalion-level, etc…), then so be it.  But I’m not into forcing anything (squeezing a period/scale into the mechanics), so if it doesn’t work, then do #2.  But those rules better meet the above-listed requirements.

    I suppose that makes me a special snowflake 😉

    V/R,
    Jack

    #14270
    Etranger
    Participant

    I suspect that many answers are to some extent guided by how granular/complex one likes the rules to be.

    Some relatively simple rulesets port quite well over many different periods eg Warmaster, which has Fantasy, Ancient and Medieval variants and which has also morphed, quite successfully into BKC/CWC/FWC. Not to everyones taste, I grant you, but successful nonetheless.  They’re ‘descriptive’  or ‘top down’ rules, if you like where the detail is added onto the underlying mechanism.

    Highly detailed, period specific rules that often veer towards the ‘realistic simulation’  (IMHO) with lots of  clauses and subclauses defining actions etc tend to be ‘prescriptive’ or ‘bottom up’ rules; where the detail is in the underlying mechanism. Does that make them any better?

    For mine, if the underlying rules ‘engine’ is sound enough, then there’s no particular reason why it can’t be used for multiple iterations, albeit with period specific modifications.  After all, I doubt that there are any truly unique rules mechanisms that haven’t been tried by someone, somewhere by now!

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Etranger.
    #14276
    Sparker
    Participant

    Yes I’ll go two. But being a crusty old soldier/sailor I require a good reason to try something new – the name of the author for example. Never thought I’d ever play Ancients, the n Rick Priestly came along with Warmaster Ancients then Hail Caesar, I was prepared to give it a go because, well, it was Rick, and was duly hooked and gaffed….

    Then swore, OK, I’ll never play card driven games – then Sam Mustafa comes along with Maurice and Longstreet, and well, you know, it is Sam…Duly landed with a big old hook sticking out of my cheek….had some of the greatest, biggest ‘small’ games I’ve ever had….

    So whilst inherently conservative, I’ll try something new if the author has plenty of cred, no matter how ‘out there’….

    http://sparkerswargames.blogspot.com.au/
    'Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall need to be well 'ard'
    Matthew 5:9

    #14283
    willz
    Participant

    I will give most games ago, be it a new concept with new mechanics or an old concept with old mechanics or any variation of either.   its a lot easier now this internet thingy is around you get to see what rule sets are like before you buy,  (or is there too much choice ).   Though you have to try and look at rule reviews with some perspective as we all have our own views on what makes a good game.  I find learning old or new rules fairly easy, but I have noticed a growth in the number of gamers who interpret the rules wrong or to their advantage (but this may be down to weak rule writing).

    The best idea that helped me decided to buy a game was the “Star wars X-Wing” game tutorial on their web site.  A lot of other game designers should take a leaf out of their book.

    Price V value for money is my main guide for buying a new rule / game.

     

    #14284
    Mark Ryan
    Participant

    I’d have to say “Two” because if the mechanics don’t fit with the game even if the period and the figures are great, I tend to lose interest in the game and find myself looking for something that captures the feel. That said, I’m a fan of Black Powder and its special books…so…perhaps I’m a special snowflake Or not. Or am. Or arggh…too many rules systems not enough time!

    Seriously, I’m a two if it captures the genre.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Mark Ryan.
    #14286
    irishserb
    Participant

    I would lean toward No. 1, I think.  If I find a set of rules that I like for a period and scope, and want to expand into sub-periods, or adjacent periods, I do not want to be confronted with learning new rules systems each time.  That said, I really don’t expect that my Romans and my  M2 Bradley mech infantry should operate within the same mechanics.

    For rules that address games of different scope, I expect that the mechanics will be different, as they are modeling different things.  So in this respect, I am a No. 2 guy.

    I always prefer rules with simple mechanics, but lots of detail.  I want variation between units and equipment ( might be useful to mention that I am almost always playing skirmish games).  I do not enjoy rules that read like tax code.  Four pages of rules, a thousand pages of stats is okay.  Thousand pages of rules, four pages of stats is a no way.  Not sure if that qualifies for No. 3 or not.

    #14289
    DM
    Participant

    1.5 for me. If a system works in a number of settings then I’m happy if it gets used that way. Makes it easier to transition between them. But if it doesn’t fi then don’t try to shoehorn it and go with something new.

    #14298
    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    1 for me as I find I can then concentrate on the game, how I want to manoeuvre my forces etc,  rather than constantly trying to remember the specific rules for a specific game.

    #15017
    Barks
    Participant

    I’m leaning towards #1. I find I get rules fatigue, having to learn all these new sets.

     

    Great examples of #1 include the Commands and Colors series and Ganesha Games.

    #15042
    Sam Mustafa
    Participant

    I’m always struck by all the requests I get from players/owners of an existing game, asking if I’d be willing to do a “mod” of that game for some other – often very different – period or topic.

    I’ve had people ask me if I could do “Grande Armée for the Russo-Japanese War”  (I’m not making this up.)  And Longstreet wasn’t out for fifteen minutes before people were asking for a Franco-Prussian variant.  A prominent person in the hobby asked me if I could convert Maurice to an Ancients game…  and so on.

    Unfortunately, each time I try to do a game for a different period, I start by thinking that I can use a bunch of tested existing mechanisms but then find that they just won’t work for one reason or another, with this new topic/period/scale/whatever.  So each game ends up different from the others, often quite different.  Then I get lots of emails complaining about that, and asking why I couldn’t have made Maurice more like Lasalle, or whatever.

    So if my experience is anything to go on, there are a lot of people who would prefer a single set of familiar mechanisms for everything.

     

    #15050
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I’m always struck by all the requests I get from players/owners of an existing game, asking if I’d be willing to do a “mod” of that game for some other – often very different – period or topic. I’ve had people ask me if I could do “Grande Armée for the Russo-Japanese War” (I’m not making this up.) And Longstreet wasn’t out for fifteen minutes before people were asking for a Franco-Prussian variant. A prominent person in the hobby asked me if I could convert Maurice to an Ancients game… and so on. Unfortunately, each time I try to do a game for a different period, I start by thinking that I can use a bunch of tested existing mechanisms but then find that they just won’t work for one reason or another, with this new topic/period/scale/whatever. So each game ends up different from the others, often quite different. Then I get lots of emails complaining about that, and asking why I couldn’t have made Maurice more like Lasalle, or whatever. So if my experience is anything to go on, there are a lot of people who would prefer a single set of familiar mechanisms for everything.

     

    Might & Reason works very nicely for the WSS with Greg Savino’s lists though

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #15072
    Shandy
    Participant

    I’d say 2 but then there are some basic mechanics or concepts I like (like interesting activation, fog of war, general chaos on the battlefield :-)) and things I’m not so keen on (IGO-UGO, games that take too much time). But generally, I like rules that somehow fit the period and am prepared to learn new ones.

    #15073
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Sam – One of the most persistent requests I’ve gotten for FiveCore and Five Men in Normandy is a medieval / fantasy variant 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

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