Home Forums General Board Games and Card Games Boardgame Mindset vs Wargame Mindset

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  • #77889
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Is there a difference?

    I ask, as I am in a Conan boardgame group and many of the people there seem to come unstuck when they have played all the published scenarios.
    I kind of want to scream Just make a scenario up then, you have read the rules and know how it works…!?!

    But I have refrained.
    But then I thought, is it a different mind set those that only play board games have vs the more creative self reliant wargame?
    Is it even a thing, does it happen outside the Conan group too?

    #77899
    DM
    Participant

    Its not just board gamers. I have come across miniatures gamers who only seem to be able to play published scenarios. If there’s note available written around their favourite rules system the game is “dead” or “unsupported” in their eyes. The idea that you might actually make up your own scenarios or – heavens above – do some research to develop some historical scenarios seems lost on them :/

    #77906
    Norm S
    Participant

    Speaking with my boardgamer head on! I would say that boardgamer creativity is alive and well and I especially see it for tactical type games in which there are plenty of people arranging new material. Interestingly I can play solitaire with total ease, playing both sides equally and fairly, while others just cannot get their heads around solitaire play and require an AI system.  Likewise some people just have to have a points system to create a game, while others can put together something that feels right.

    Some people can play games with non-historical match-ups, some people (me), would rather not! Some people can use grids without it being distracting(me), others not.

    So I think we are all wired differently, whether one boadgames or figure games or does both or neither!

    I do think that figure gamers are conditioned to have to do more to get a game to table, even at the base level of painting figures and preparing scenery (and of course rebasing at least 3 times 🙂   ).

    #77907
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Its not just board gamers

    Speaking with my boardgamer head on! I would say that boardgamer creativity is alive and well

    Maybe I need to get out more then!
    Or give those guys a poke up the bum..   😀

    #77908
    Howard Whitehouse
    Participant

    First of all, Mike, I’d certainly pitch in and suggest that people go wild and Make Things Up. sometimes people actually need permission to do that.

    i can’t say whether board gamers are generally less inclined to invent scenarios than miniatures players, but it’s  possible that it’s less part of the culture.

    I do note that, counterintuitive though it seems, many fantasy players are less imaginative than historical players. I think this is due to being conditioned to absorb commercial products rather than our traditional DIY approach.

    I do all my own stunts.

    #77915
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I think there’s partly different mindsets between boardgamers and miniature gamers where certain other aspects like competitiveness are concerned, but as far creativeness, I’m more inclined to view these groups as two parallel spectrums (spectra?). There’s your WarmaHordes, 40K, Infinity and FoW players who couldn’t abide the thought of unofficial units or rules. And there’s lots of boardgamers who don’t just play boardgames but aspire to design ones of their own, not seldom in the form of home-grown expansions to or spin-offs of existing, commercially succesful boardgames.

    I could imagine that the Conan boardgame attracts a lot of the same category of gamers as do WarmaHordes etc. It’s very shiny/glossy/chrome. It sells itself as a “complete package”, a fully actualised architecture with minimum DIY required.

    #77917

    Yeah, it’s not just boardgamers. I’ve see this in role players, miniatures players and board gamers. In all genres of gaming there seems to be a spectrum (oooh-word of the day!) between consumers of highly polished commercial products–who don’t tend to stray far from the provided rules and scenarios–and DIY gamers–who tend to be less rules focused and more interested in overall narrative. Vive la difference!

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #77921
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Scenarios? Written down? In books?

    Pah, such things didn’t exist back in ye olden days. We had to make stuff up ourselves.

    Points systems didn’t exist either, but that’s another thread.

    🙂

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

    #77925
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Another thing popped into my noggin’

    I was looking at the models that come with the Conan game and was struck by the poses.
    The Picts have melee and missile troops.
    However there is only one pose of each.
    Now, whilst this is a nice model in a cool pose, is that normal for boardgames to have just the one pose of a model?
    I could not conceive of playing a skirmish game with an entire force of bad guys all in the same pose…

    #77926
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    I’m used to “figures” being different coloured “pawns!” Actual figures are a nasty new-fangled invention 🙂 Identical figures coloured to show which faction they belong to are about it for most of the board games I play.

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #78018
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    You can find creative gamers in all gaming niches, but I think that boardgames tend to offer you a “closed” gaming setup, as where miniature games more often offer an “open” gaming engine.

    I think much has to do with the way in which both types of games are marketed. Boardgames have everything in the box – there is no need for tinkering. But a typical miniature wargame doesn’t even come with a gaming board. That also implies that miniature wargaming rules tend to be more flexible to cater for a lot of different situations, and that leads to a larger tendency for using house rules, modifications, proxies for miniatures or scenery, inventing your own scenearios etc. The rules also require you to be more flexible. A rule like line-of-sight will always need some improvisation in a miniature game, but in a traditional hex-and-counter wargame, LOS is usually very precisely defined.

    I rarely see house rules being used in boardgames. But I see houserules in miniature gaming all the time. And the same creativity applies to scenarios.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
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    #78025
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I think Phil has hit the nail on the head with the closed/open difference.

    I do however see more wargame rules for toy soldier games trying to be more ‘closed’.

    I have several rule sets that specify exactly what the size of table should be , define precisely what sectors of the table figure set up must be in and how much terrain should be where – not as options but as part of core rules. They can also define army sizes and define winning in terms or their own army point loss mechanisms. Now I am quite happy to ignore these where my desired scenario doesn’t fit with them, but I suspect that increased commercialism in wargaming is leading us towards a mindset that sees rule sets as ‘complete’ games rather than mechanisms for administering one part of the gaming experience.

     

    #78028
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    Another thing popped into my noggin’ I was looking at the models that come with the Conan game and was struck by the poses. The Picts have melee and missile troops. However there is only one pose of each. Now, whilst this is a nice model in a cool pose, is that normal for boardgames to have just the one pose of a model? I could not conceive of playing a skirmish game with an entire force of bad guys all in the same pose…

    I feel like I’ve been seeing more and more of a “regression” to fewer poses in some quarters of the miniature wargaming scene. I associate it with a parallel regression from fully three-dimensional terrain to 2.5D terrain that I’ve also been noticing more and more of in recent years. I’ve thought about starting a thread on that topic several times, but I’ve held back because my attitude probably sounds a bit elitist (which it probably is, to my own detriment).

    A rule like line-of-sight will always need some improvisation in a miniature game, but in a traditional hex-and-counter wargame, LOS is usually very precisely defined.

    FWIW, certain games like Infinity do seem to be going to some lengths to get rid of the improvisation from LOS. They might never get all the way there, but they sure try.

    #81560
    Paul Howarth
    Participant

    Another thing popped into my noggin’ I was looking at the models that come with the Conan game and was struck by the poses. The Picts have melee and missile troops. However there is only one pose of each. Now, whilst this is a nice model in a cool pose, is that normal for boardgames to have just the one pose of a model? I could not conceive of playing a skirmish game with an entire force of bad guys all in the same pose…

    I suspect, other than saving sculpting costs, it also helps differentiate figures which aren’t usually painted, whilst also limiting the types than players have to remember. Risk isn’t exactly bulging with figure variants either.

    I think there are a number of reasons why boardgamers are less likely to houserule. There is an expectation that rules have been playtested thoroughly (true or not) and there is a more of a culture of pick-up games where new people can dive in and start playing within a few minutes. That’s much harder with wargaming unless you’re playing a very simple homebrew and the expectations are different for that. I’m not a big eurogamer myself but a lot of friends are and games seem to be very much flavour of the month. If a game gets played to death in a matter of weeks, it doesn’t matter as something else will come along. The decisions you make in the game and the preparations (figures, terrain, etc.) are so much more than most boardgames, you’re far more invested in that particular wargame. As a result of that (and the shortage of wargamers playing the set you want) you’ll stick at it and try to make it work. One of the big advantages that many GW players tout is the availability of players. The rules might have holes, but by accepting them you greatly increase your chance of regular games.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Paul Howarth.
    #81568
    John D Salt
    Participant

    It seems to me after about 90 seconds’ thinking that there are at least four significant wargaming spectra:

    1. Miniatures – – – – Counters
    2. Competiton – – – – Casual
    3. Historical – – – – Fantastic
    4. Simulation – – – – Purely formal game

    Where a game or player lies along these lines depends on the answers to these questions:

    1. How much do the figures and physical models matter?
    2. How much does winning matter?
    3. How much does it matter that the things represented could have happened?
    4. How much does reflecting aspects of the prototype matter to enjoyment of the game?

    Obviously there are intermediate stages along the line, such as paper miniatures, or boardgames which use minatures as some of the counters, it is often pointed out that Cold War games are arguably “fantasy” rather than “historical”, and in even the friendliest casual game there may well be satisfaction in ending on the winning side. The no. 4 spectrum is the one that causes most trouble, because a lot of people still do not understand that “playability vs realism” is a false dichotomy.

    Although there is no good reason I can see for it to be so, it does seem to me that boardgame rules are normally more tightly written and better organised than figure rules. Partly this is the historical influence of SPI’s New Jersey lawyers, and partly perhaps because any Tom, Dick or Harry can bang out a set of commercial figure rules, but it needs a little bit more effort to produce a commercial boardgame. So it might be that miniature wargamers are culturally more prone to house rules because they have to be.

    Minatures are, usually, used only to represent forces (soldiers and vehicles). In a boardgame, though, a counter might be:

    1. A piece (unit, element, whatever you want to call it)
    2. A marker (indicating unit status, “suppressed”, “out of supply”, &c)
    3. A token (a counter for counting, having no other informational value)
    4. A chit (an element of a randomizer, functioning much like a card)

    The key thing, to me (and I think this is why Paddy Griffith fulminated against “toy soldiers”) is that counters in a boardgame seem to represent less of a psychological barrier to the representation of astractions. A model of a soldier is expected to represent a soldier, usually with a considerable amount of accurate detail. A counter can be just a silhouette and still represent a soldier; can be flipped to show (say) fresh or exhausted status; or could represent a platoon or battalion or corps, using the appropriate symbols; or could represent such transient entities as a chaff cloud, a mortar concentration, or a flare; or such insubstantial ones as a target reference point, an objective, or a task. Miniature wargamers now use status markers and orders chits cheerfully, but I don’t recall them ever being used before the SPI era, and I suspect they got the idea from boardgamers. Similarly, I am sure that the term “scenario” was imported from board wargames into minature wargaming. I can’t think of any ideas traffic the other way.

    So I would be rather chary of declaring boardgamers to be generally less imaginative that minaiture wargamers. And I hardly think it fair (I’m looking at you, Mr. Editor) to contrast “boardgames” and “wargames”, as if miniature wargmes where the only “proper” wargames.

    It might also be worth pointing out that nobody has to occupy a single point on any of these spectra; one can stretch oneself out over a broad bandwith of enjoyment. For myself, I have definite tendencies towards the counters, casual, historical, and simulation ends of the spectra, but I don’t find any of them turn-offs apart from the idea of competition gaming. And zombies don’t do much for me, but I am happy to treat “Zombie Dice” as a purely formal game like “Pass the Pigs”.

    All the best,

    John.

    #81572
    Mike
    Keymaster

    And I hardly think it fair (I’m looking at you, Mr. Editor) to contrast “boardgames” and “wargames”, as if miniature wargmes where the only “proper” wargames.

    I am pretty sure I did not imply that?
    I sincerely hope not, or I shall have to unleash the baby on myself!

    It was certainly not my intent, I was just struck at the lack of thinking outside the box many of the members of this group had, and asked if it was a common thing outside this particular group.

    The initial replies seemed to politely suggest it was not a one vs the other thing, and I commented that perhaps I need to get out more to broaden my horizons.
    I hope not to have given the impression that I think miniature wargames are the only proper wargames and apologise if that seems to be my stance.

    #81573
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    When I was growing up, my circle of friends just saw it as “gaming”.

    Roleplaying games? Sure.
    Miniatures? Sure.
    Card games? Yup.
    Board games? Certainly.
    An odd bit of LARPing? Yeah, once.
    Video games? Of course.

    We played everything and often chained them together, like having RPG characters showing up in mini’s campaigns.

    Getting older and leaving town, for a while I was shocked when I met people “only” roleplayed or “only” played mini’s games or whatever.

    (Imagine my shock when I also learned that some people only play one or two specific roleplaying games or mini’s games!)

    From casual observations,I’d say I do think there’s a bit of implied mentality between the styles. Board gamers from my experience are hesitant to house rule, while mini’s gamers seem to be hesitant to read their rule books 🙂

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

    #81581
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    In my experience, there seems to be a segment of the population that just like to have things laid out for them and published scenarios seem to give them a feeling that “it has been tested” which means it is good, and playing something that is “less proven” such as someone making something up on the fly is bad.  (that last was related to me by a player)  I don’t think it has to do with being a certain type of gamer or a certain media, just a general mindset.

    For instance: in the writing I have done for Two Hour Wargames I have written some WW2 scenario books, and they seem to be quite popular (even if some of the scenarios are intentionally not balanced!  the horror!).  Now, when I wrote FNG I made an extensive system for randomly determining not just the scenario and forces, but the terrain for the table based on where in Vietnam (and Cambodia and Laos) the game was taking place.  It was all there in charts, and some simple rolls gave you all you needed.  I was amazed at the number of people that wrote in asking for scenario books, even though they had a campaign and scenario generator right there!  A couple literally told me that it took too much creativity and they wanted it spelled out for them.  I was honestly shocked.  I don’t see anything wrong with that mindset, but I don’t get it.  So, when I’m done with the next/final version of FNG, there will be scenarios books as well as the built-in generator, then I can serve both types.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #81582
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I don’t like writing scenarios and I never play written scenarios, so I am all about generators of any kind 🙂

    But a lot of players definitely want scenarios so it’s a better financial decision to write them.

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

    #81601
    irishserb
    Participant

    My experience is that there is a constant frequency of  gamers that are  self limiting, regardless of the types of games that they play.  I think gamers are drawn to groups of people who approach the hobby similarly; the type of game, board, miniatures, etc, is not so much a component of that.   Thus, a given group will consist of people who mutually embrace parameters that can be observed as limiting by those who do not embrace them.

    In my exposure to boardgaming, published scenarios were almost never played.  The ratio is probably upwards of 100 to 1.

    On a side note, “boardgamer” and  “wargamer” are more or less synonymous in my experience.  To differentiate from the boardgamer, you must qualify the gamer as a miniatures gamer, role-player, etc.

    I’m always fascinated by how different our experiences in the “same” hobby can be.

     

    #81605
    Altius
    Participant

    I came across the same thing when I was part of a group that played Advanced Squad Leader (still one of my favorite games). No one wanted to play a scenario unless it came from one of the officially sanctioned sources. Coming from a miniatures background, I’ve always loved to tinker and create my own scenarios, but it was a hard sell with that group. Not sure why.

    Where there is fire, we will carry gasoline

    #81607
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Funnier when you consider Squad Leader had rules for random scenarios 🙂

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

    #81612

    I also think it has to do with the “generation” you started wargaming with. I started with unpainted Airfix figures and Charles Grant rules, with books standing in for hills and small wooden bricks and lincoln logs for built up areas. Scenarios were generally “these guys are tying to drive those guys off that hill”.when Chainmail came out it was a revelation.

    Today I went to a game store in Mexico City where it is 100% Games Workshop. Each model costs 10 pounds or more and the guys playing it have all th most recent codices and what not.   They seem to think it daring to use proxies. Not my cup of tea, but I am glad they exist because it means I can buy paints and flocking and stuff.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #81613

    Funnier when you consider Squad Leader had rules for random scenarios 🙂

    I LOVED playing Squad Leader’s random scenarios.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #81614
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Since GW is mentioned, it’s actually kind of interesting that while board gamers sometimes refuse to play anything BUT scenarios, GW has been pushing FOR the adoption of scenarios rather than the “line up and slug it out” style of play that’s been the norm for years. 🙂

    I LOVED playing Squad Leader’s random scenarios.

    They’re great though they’re pretty rough if you play Soviets. At least tanks don’t have to rally :/

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

    #81622
    Private Snafu
    Participant

    Its kind of like trying to decide where to go to dinner.  Its just you and your wife; you can agree on something (eventually).  Invite the inlaws and a bunch of friends; good luck deciding.  What I am saying is group size is terribly important.  You can find some one to play the boardgame differently, but can you find the requisite 5 players to play it differently; not likely.

    Generally, everyone is a killer (figuratively) when it comes to games so there is inherent distrust when you want to change something.  People will subconsciously ask “What did you change to satisfy your bias and make the game better and easier for you to win?”  Trust, friendship, family, experience with a game group can overcome a lot of that, but in pick up games its there.

    My group has much better acceptance of unbalance or unknown if there is someone putting the game on.  A non playing game master.

    Maybe you could write a scenario for the Conan group and see what happens when you share it.  I wouldn’t put it up for discussion initially, just push it out there and see if people play it or comment.

    ___________________
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    #81624
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Great discussion. Thanks!

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