Home Forums General General Does it matter if we don’t finish the game?

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    Avatar photoChris Pringle

    After some really good recent discussion of the respective merits of long vs short games, I fell to thinking about how much it matters if a game is left unfinished. My thoughts on the topic are here.

    Avatar photowarwell

    All that matters is having fun.

    Personally, I would prefer a finish. If I were using a set of rules and consistently did not finish, I’d find a different set of rules.

    Reminds me of an ironclad naval game I played years before. After 3 hours, I only managed to fire one shot and the game was far from over. I never accepted an invitation to play again.

    Avatar photodeephorse

    Answer – for me, no it doesn’t.  It recent times it has become more about enjoying the gaming experience.  In nearly all of the games we play, it becomes obvious which side will be victorious as our time limit is reached.  It doesn’t detract from the fun we have had.  We are not, and never have been, competition gamers.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    Avatar photoGeof Downton

    As I (d)evolve from gamer to modeller, it no longer matters if I don’t start the game…

    One who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off.
    Ahab, King of Israel; 1 Kings 20:11

    Avatar photoAndrew Beasley

    As I (d)evolve from gamer to modeller, it no longer matters if I don’t start the game…

    Love it.

    Over many decades I found the ‘must win’, changed into ‘must play’, then into ‘must chat and enjoy’ (with a ‘oh god – no way can I’ currently). Maybe there was a ‘must drink’ at the start as well but cannot remember 🙂

    I know my health situation limits me but even before it started it was always more fun to chat and push a few figures around than complete the game. Anyway – the game gets in the way of tea and nibbles…

    If you and the others around the table are enjoying yourselves then its not world ending what happens. IF you complete the game – great (more cake time) and you could possibly start another quick scenario.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Very few wargames I played in my first four years of gaming finished in a ‘result’. Did that matter? When I was learning how what I read about battles translated to a tabletop (not always an idiomatic translation by any means), not so much. But the fact that you could play for six hours and still be uncertain what the outcome might be, gradually began to bug me not a little.

    I enjoyed the games with people who shared an interest in history and I am not particularly competitive in wargaming. But I wanted to know what the result was. Because otherwise, what’s the point of all those (miniature) men dying? And generally speaking, for me, no, accumulating Victory Points for occupying random hills, farmhouses or road exits didn’t tell me.

    I don’t need to play through the pursuit and exploitation phase of a battle, although playing a rearguard action after battle can be challenging – and fun. I do however want to know, fairly unequivocally, how we got to that phase and which side was the pursuer and which the pursued and what that meant for the bigger picture. I know this can be discussed after an unfinished game, using an amicable application of inherent military probability (whatever that is), but that often results in my experience, in this type of assertion:  ‘Well, it looks like you thrashed me but my battalion of Guard is undamaged and I could blow your three brigades away as you try and finish me off, and look, behind the wood, I’ve rallied those six dragoons, they’d take you all in flank as well.’

    So, as usual, it depends what you mean by ‘finish’ a game. I don’t need to stand on top of a heap of lead corpses brandishing my (insert weapon (?) here) at the fleeing enemy, but I like to reach a point in the game where I know I could, should I feel the urge.


    Good question by the way Chris!

    Avatar photoThuseld

    Great question. I enjoy the narrative nature of the games I play. Whether it is clear with miniatures on a battlefield, or more obscure in a boardgame. As such, I prefer to reach some kind of satisfying conclusion to my games. If I transfer this concept into a book, TV show or film, if it doesn’t reach a satisfying conclusion it sours my overall experience, regardless of if I were having a great time with friends while doing it.

    So while the social aspect is nice, and the ability to play with my toys is nice, I like to have some kind of end. I don’t mind losing a game if I have had a great time with it. I do mind if I lose and the whole experience was bad though.

    Avatar photoTony S

    Quite apropos topic for me.  So, last Sunday was the first day the club met, since we were in another lockdown the last couple of months.   Naturally, games were slow to begin as we were all chatting first, and showing off newly painted forces and whatnot.

    A few games were started, one finished.  A few members didn’t even try to play, just talked and watched.  Our club is absolutely not competitive, it’s quite social for us, so playing or not playing – it’s all good.

    The only thing I don’t like about not finishing a battle is that I miss the banter after the game about the game itself!   Poor strategies, poor luck, good luck…all very important issues to discuss whilst putting figures and terrain away.

    And it’s not about winning or losing for me.  There have been many times when reminiscing about an exciting past tabletop affair that I may remember some of the particular incidents vividly, but have completely forgotten who won!

    Avatar photoEtranger

    No, so long as an enjoyable time is had. We meet privately, finish up if it’s getting too late & if the game isn’t finished we often talk through the probable outcome of the encounter.

    Avatar photoian pillay

    As a solo gamer, (billy no mates) and having the luxury of a small but dedicated room for gaming I can leave my games out to conclude over several days. However, I really enjoy pushing the lead around the table and opt for simple but satisfying games played using NT one hour wargames rules and the like. I tend to finish these games to the full 15 turn conclusion or before in some cases. It’s a good question and I would agree with the majority of the comments above about enjoying the game and being ‘billy with mates’ rather than fighting to a conclusion.

    Tally-Ho! Check out my blog at…..

    Avatar photoChris Pringle

    This has proved to be one of my most popular “Reflections on Wargaming” to date, generating scores of comments. I am grateful to all of you who took the trouble to respond, whether at thoughtful length (like Steve J in his comment at foot of the blog post itself) or with pithy brevity (OSHIROmodels, “Nope!”, on LAF). It seems only right that I should in turn summarise all these responses. I have added this summary to the original blog post here.

    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    No, it doesn’t matter. When time’s up, time’s up. Usually, the conclusion of the game sort of has become clear, and it isn’t that important to actually play it out. And it is always a good topic for the post-game chat 😉

    However, I do prefer that a game is well into the “middle” or “beginning of the end” stage. Having games that never make it past deployment and initial manoeuvres is much more frustrating than not being able to finish the game.

    Avatar photoMike Headden

    I have to say, Chris,that I may not always agree with you but if there was an award for most consistently fascinating and thought provoking posts on TWW it should surely go to you!

    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    Avatar photoChris Pringle

    <blush> Cheers, Mike! Our hobby is a broad church: we may think other sects are a bit peculiar, but there’s no heresy.

    Give my regards to Claudia!


    Avatar photoMike

    Depends, if it is a one off for shots and giggles game then no, not really.
    If the game is part of a campaign and the result will determine/affect what comes next then yes.

    That was my quick answer.


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