Home Forums Fantasy General Fantasy Fantasy harder than History? (alt title: “Fantasy harder than you think?”)

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  • #163112
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    So, there is THIS TOPIC which I thought was interesting and fired the old brain box around something I had been meaning to post years ago…

    Fantasy vs Historical games and their worlds.

    Looking at LOTR or WFB as examples, they both have a huge amount of lore and background, huge.
    I am wondering if the amount of effort to play these sorts of fantasy games as true to their settings as possible, is more work than playing a historical game true to history.

    Now, I am not saying historical games have little information to digest, you could read up on WW2 all your life and still be missing loads of details.
    But with historical events we all have a head start.
    We don’t need to read about the planet or the races that inhabit the Earth, we already know this, we know the languages, the customs, we understand at some basic level what various battles were like.
    Even a history noob like me would have a rough idea what to expect for a game set during the ECW, AWI, WW2, etc.

    However when wanting to play WFB true to the lore, you have no head start.
    There are thousands of pages of rules across various books that detail individual races and their cultures.
    Technology is a blend that on Earth did not happen.
    Races are all unique with their own history and culture.
    The geography of the place is not ours so this all needs to be learnt.

    You are essentially/kind of maybe learning about a world as complex as Earth from scratch.
    After dipping my toe into the world of WFB recently it is a little scary how much of this vast fantasy world so many people know.
    I can’t help but admire their dedication to learning all this.

    Anyway that is sort of it really, just thinking out loud about how playing a historical game vs a fantasy game both true to their settings may be easier for historical?

    Or not…    you tell me .

    😀

    #163114
    Etranger
    Participant

    OTOH how much do you know about the War of the Triple Alliance without looking it up? Apart from the obvious, that it took place on Earth and was between humans, do you know anything of it? There’s plenty written on the War, and it played a major role in shaping the modern world. Isn’t learning about that just as daunting?

    #163115
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Isn’t learning about that just as daunting?

    For me no.
    I already know about our world and having a quick Google, I know a bit about the countries involved and the time period in that conflict.
    I have a basic grasp on the framework of that.

    If you said the Battle of the Bulge was a WW2 battle in the Ardennes, I instantly have a framework around it.

    But the Third Battle of Blackfire Pass.
    No idea where that was, when, who was involved or anything at all.

    So learning about history is less daunting as even at some basic level I already know something about it.

     

     

    #163118
    Wouter Wolput
    Participant

    I believe playing historical games can be just as daunting as fantasy. It all depends on how much research you want to do, on how deep you want to immerse yourself in the history or lore.

    For historic games there is often a lot more going on than just a superficial description of races and the world, there’s politics for example.

    Fantasy is often based upon real world events (we are simple creatures) or historical facts, so there definitely is some familiarity here as well. Names may change and there may be a twist, but overal it rarely offers anything new.

    I don’t really look down or up between the two. For me personally I prefer Fantasy and Sci-fi over historical games, mostly because I don’t want to research uniforms and such but rather do and create my own thing. Because of this, games like WFB, which are lore heavy, are also less to my taste.

    #163119
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Because of this, games like WFB, which are lore heavy, are also less to my taste.

    I can dig that, my WFB army is not ‘official’ by any means, too much reading and research.
    They are based heavily on the WFB lore, but there is a big ass pinch of salt involved.

    #163129
    Thomaston
    Participant

    I think it’s beacause most fantasy and sci-fi can’t leverage form general knowledge, and the only way to learn is to read or listen to released background fluff. Like mike said, we all know a little about history, in the case of the war of Triple Alliance it sounds familiar but I can’t remember what it was about it. If I’m told of who were the participants, I would still be able to know where the nations are located, and probably guess which alliance they belonged to.

    Despite starting out playing WWII games, I ironically prefer sci-fi and fantasy because their background fluff are more reliable or inconsequential. I’ve grown tired of vetting sources to see how reliable they are. Like the saying goes “history is written by the victory”, but biases in fantasy and sci-fi games are fun to read rather than frustrating. Fantasy, harder to get into but more fun?

    Tired is enough.
    I like tiny miniatures

    #163130
    willz
    Participant

    Is gaming fantasy harder than gaming history, both require some research to play a reasonable game.

    As a young man in the late 1970’s I used to play dungeons and dragons regularly, as I was at sea and it took up little space.  Plus after a couple of months dived at sea your imagination is in overdrive.   As we moved into the 1980’s I progressed onto Rogue Trader and sci/fi gaming all of which I enjoyed and still do, though these days I do more historical gaming.  I think fantasy probably is harder than historical as there is probably more experts in fantasy than historical gaming especially when Games Workshop is taken into account.

    When I have put on a historical demo or participation game occasionally I have had the arm chair expert telling me that the paint on my tanks or the dust on my figures are the wrong shade? (this has happened a couple of times, all I do is bore them into leaving with my expert advice on painting real submarines and how many shades of black it is possible to paint something large).

    As to fantasy I have noticed highly volatile debate over what set / issue of rules or what movie reference the game is using or based on (most appeared friendly debate).  Everyone its seems is an expert when it comes to fantasy gaming and I suppose we all are as it is all made up and all the references have to be made up or researched to insure the back story / plot makes sense.  With historical gaming the interweb thingy verse has made it easier for historical gamers to do online research, fantasy games have a lot more work to do as which genre do you game, Lord of the Rings, Michael Moorcock, Conan or made up of your own invention.

    In the end both historical and fantasy gaming require some form of research and like everything in life the more you put into something the more you get out it.  So be it tons of historical or fantasy research to play a game / battle / campaign both I suggest are enjoyable.  Roll the dice and shove the toys across the table and may your dice be lucky.

    #163131
    Alex
    Participant

    I think that research and learning is, ultimately, completely optional once rules and army lists etc are understood.

     

    Now, to get immersed into a game regardless of setting that’s where the research comes in for those of us who enjoy that immersion.

    sometimes I fear we all take things a little too seriously about our little metal/plastic/resin people and dice rolling/card drawing/whatever. At the very least there’s an unfortunate tendency to overthink things!

    Alex (Does Hobby Stuff)
    practising hobby eclecticism

    #163132
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    (I wrote this before I saw Willz piece – he says it much more succinctly PLUS -Submarines! +1! Still – here goes…)

    I remember reading the Lord of the Rings and thinking the Rohirrim would be great to model and game. And then so of course did every one else and before long I was up to my eyeballs in arguments about lance lengths and what sort of Orcs they were fighting and were the Uruk Hai really Orcs anyway? Then there was the great wtf is a Balrog debate, and then the Silmarillion etc got dragged into it, and before you knew where you were I had painted another 56 figure battalion of French line infantry and I’d lost interest in LotR as a game source.

    I occasionally reconsidered the idea but found the ‘source’ material no longer held me. And if you play a fantasy source (or a mythological source) as a game it struck me you can’t really change the flow of the story. Fiction or myth is constructed as a whole piece of cloth. The reason Gandalf dies (suspend argument about the nature of his disappearance) and is resurrected (see disappearance note) is to elevate him to a status where he can access more power to advance the plot and enable the ultimate destruction of the Ring. If he whacks the Balrog on the bonce in the first round and strolls through the caverns, what then? You’ve rather stuffed up the rest of the narrative. Same if the Uruk Hai remember to form a shield wall and see off the Riders of Rohan.

    Altering the result in a historical game is not the same as one based on a fiction. The French lost Waterloo and we know what happened in the nineteenth century. Nothing will change that reality if the Ogre wins in a game. But looking forward as oppose to looking back, reality has no inevitable outcome. The Whig and Marxist view of historical inevitability is no more. History could easily be different without altering any grand overarching narrative because that doesn’t exist, unlike in fiction where unpicking a thread destroys the whole weave.

    Looking at the minutiae; with a historical game – the background knowledge is there – yes you will argue about the effectiveness of a musket at 100 yards and wonder why the discrepancy between peacetime tests on cloth targets and battlefield performance. And with luck someone will know the answer and adjust fire tables accordingly.

    But who knows how effective an Elvish bow was? Did Tolkien – or was he simply writing a ripping yarn with allegorical overtones as an homage to Anglo-Saxon sagas?

    And if we are talking about wider fantasy sourcing for battles – whose elves? Whose bows? Are they magic? Alan Garner’s Lios Alfar have arrows that have a quality of bane for their enemies, enhanced by touching them to the Mark of Fohla. +1 to the hit dice if the Mark is present?
    Do we accept this across sources for our games or is it only Garner’s elves?

    Fantasy Gaming is hard, much harder than Historical. For me, almost to the point of impossibility. I am standing on quicksand when I look at rules and wonder ‘Why? Why do Orcs instil a flinch reaction on (name species/race/beast of choice)?’ Is that because an author said so on p.128 in a battle scene? Or did it balance up an otherwise invincible foe in close combat with Orcs? I have no idea. There are so many ‘fantasy’ universes each with differing background ‘realities’. My Dwarf’s better than your Dwarf? How do you know? For those playing an off the shelf fantasy world game;  I thought fantasy was supposed to free the imagination not bind it to some hack writer’s mortgage payments.

    People are right when they say reality is a short cut for historicals. I only need to learn real life once and it will carry across all rules for all genres (theoretically at least!). I need to learn a new ‘reality’ for each and every fantasy world I play in.

    #163134

    Fantasy can be harder than history simply because you have so many more people splitting hairs about the accuracy of a given fantasy text as the auther would have meant.  For example, do Balrogs have wings?  Canned settings such as LotR or GoT can be as difficult to reproduce as historical battles.  However, if you are doing something like warhammer or any other generic fantasy set, you don’t really have source material you need to stay true to.  These are usually pickup games and therefore you are not beholden to any sort of source material about a battle.

    Recreating a historical battle has all the trials and tribulations that are self evident.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #163135
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    Is it the genre of the game? Or the personality of the players?

    My own, admittedly limited, experience over the past half century of wargaming suggests that the latter is the norm.

    Some of us suck up as much background and peripheral information as we can to add depth to our games. Courtesy of my 6mm Early Bronze Age Mesopotamia project I know more about Sumerian boat building than anyone not doing a PhD on it (or a Sumerian boat builder!) has any need to know!

    Others just want to get toys on the table and are happy to be told their army needs to kill the guys in the blue uniforms.

    The guys who could name the beachmasters on Gold Beach could also list the orcs mentioned by name in LotR.

    Whatever the approach and whatever the genre, I still believe there is more that unites us than divides us!

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #163140
    jeffers
    Participant

    🤣

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #163141
    ian pillay
    Participant

    On the LotR comments, it always struck me as they did a lot of walking when in reality they could have hopped on the giant eagles. Flown to mount doom and dropped the ring into the volcano…. job done. Would have made for a boring book and am even shorter film.

    Great debate between the two topics. In all honesty I just like playing with my toys. The battles I have make up the history of those little guys. Lore and strict adherence to it doesn’t bother me overly.

    Tally-Ho!

    #163144
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I don’t find fantasy more difficult, but i can see how it can be more difficult for some peeps.  I’m with Mike H in that it seems to come down to personality.  But, it also comes down to exposure.  At the top of the thread is discussion of us being somewhat familiar with history, but the same can be said for anyone exposed early on to certain fantasy settings.  For instance, I was brought up on militaria (most specifically Vietnam), but a friends son was brought up on Harry Potter and we are both encyclopedias of these topics.  The kid knows things that aren’t in the books because he looked much more deeply than the average person, and I’ve never read one of the books but I am familiar with the basics of who is whom.

    Now, though I enjoy history I’ve never been attracted to refighting historical battles.  I would much rather use historical units to fight non-important battles, like instead of doing Gettysburg and Picket’s Charge I’d much rather fight a peripheral invented scrap, maybe an accidental meeting on a road.  Same for established fantasy.  I don’t want to be Frodo And Friends, I’d much rather fight some desperate action by a small warband or army out at, say the Murkwoods edge where the good guys are trying to protect their homes from being laid waste while also preventing a bunch of badies from connecting with the larger host.  I’m not fighting the Battle of Yavin, I’m a little farther out on the rim interdicting the Imperial Spice convoys.  I’m not getting bogged down in Hue, I’m out patrolling some no name valley trying to keep Charlie from launching rockets at Danang every night…  I like battles that might have an effect on the main action but aren’t the main action, or battles that are “lost to history” and are only held in the memories of the fictitious grunts and dwarves that fought them.   Great things about this is I don’t have to worry about rivet counters telling me I did my made-up battle wrong.

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

    #163145
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    For me, almost to the point of impossibility. I am standing on quicksand when I look at rules and wonder ‘Why? Why do Orcs instil a flinch reaction on (name species/race/beast of choice)?’ Is that because an author said so on p.128 in a battle scene? Or did it balance up an otherwise invincible foe in close combat with Orcs? I have no idea. There are so many ‘fantasy’ universes each with differing background ‘realities’. My Dwarf’s better than your Dwarf? How do you know? For those playing an off the shelf fantasy world game;  I thought fantasy was supposed to free the imagination not bind it to some hack writer’s mortgage payments.

    Interesting.
    I guess most people know that a Tiger vs a Sherman will almost always end up one way (assuming no excessive positive waves to sway events).

    But an Orc Vs a Dwarf, is that a Tolkien Orc vs a Warhammer Orc, if so what sort of Tolkien Orc and what sort of Warhammer Orc.
    A typical Warhammer Orc vs a typical Warhammer Dwarf I can guess, but Orcs across fantasy are not the same, so you can learn about Tiger tanks and that is you good for Tiger tanks.
    But an Orc in one setting could be waaay different to an Orc in another.

    #163171
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    To the original question, it really depends what your prior exposure has been and what lengths you want to go to.

    Settings you have some familiarity with (whether historical periods or fantasy works) you’ll quickly build a frame of reference for, based off of both written lore and artistic depiction.  The detail for some settings is more detailed and accessible for some than others, and our exposure to them will differ too.  People who don’t have a historical-adjacent hobby will likely know little or nothing about a given period of historical wargaming beyond perhaps a couple very broad media tropes, such as “trench warfare” or “blitzkrieg”.

    Battletech, for example, while a sci-fi work, has in-setting “history” broadly comparable to Napoleonics.  At the level of a player selecting an army there’s dozens of factions, hundreds of uniform schemes, over a thousand named regiments with histories that are written to a greater or lesser degree.  It’s fictional, of course, and you can’t drill quite as far into the details and logistics because it becomes handwavium, but there’s still more than enough there.

    I grew up with Battletech and only got into Napoleonics in the last couple years, so even with a solid historical background I still know the former better than the latter, but now that I have a good frame of reference it’s easy to pick up new details about either and incorporate them.

    To your Warhammer Fantasy comparison, yeah, there’s a lot!  Once you get a feel for the basic framework it will get easier.  For example, each race has a half-dozen to a dozen sub-factions, each known for a specific trait or two, for the sake of customization in army building.  Once you know that, whenever you encounter lore about a different Elf seer, or Orks in different colors, you’ll be able to mentally categorize them more easily.  I just described the Warcry warbands to some friends earlier today as:
    – Chaos On Fire
    – Chaos Muscles & Metal
    – Chaos That Thinks It’s A Bird
    – Chaos With No Face
    – Chaos In Masks
    – Chaos Gladiators With Snakes

    That may sound like nonsense if you don’t know the setting (it’s silly even if you do), but once you know that Chaos cults are violent, magically-enhanced groups that take some specific trait or activity to excess, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what each is like.

    #163173
    irishserb
    Participant

    Having considered the amount of work involved in getting my various gaming interests to the tabletop, somewhat to my surprise, historical subjects have taken a lot more investment, than fictional subjects.  In having considered the idea in response to this thread, I am actually quite surprised at how much more work has gone into historical subjects.

    Just because historical combatants are human, doesn’t mean that one inherently has great understanding of the peoples represented on the tabletop.  When I developed an interest int eh Soviet-Afghan war, I realised that I new remarkably little about Afghan culture/peope/history.  Research for the game included learning about Afghans, learning what was important to them, why and how they went through their struggles, gaining some sense of their worldview.  For all practical purposes, Afghans were as alien to me as Klingons or Tolkien dwarves.

    Learning about the Afghans was much more involved, as the Afghans are far more complex than their fictional “peers”.  Our fiction is inspired by our reality, and thus both the historical and the fictional share a comon elements, but the fictional is/are often not nearly so complete as the actual.  I mean how much work do I need to do, to climb into the worldview of a Tolkien orc?

    I realize that the requirements to get the game to the tabletop are going to vary with the gamer, but in my case, it took a lot more learning to make my Afghan troops fight like Afghans, than it took to make my dwarves fight like dwarves.

     

     

    #163180
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Oh and in the case of GW, having learnt the armies and troops and organisation of them, they get changed/retconned every now and then making your knowledge obsolete/irrelevant.

    #163181
    Paint it Pink
    Participant

    Ah, the hairy old chestnut of the Eagles and why they didn’t fly to Mount Doom.

    There are lots of obvious good reasons for not doing so that are not relevant to how long the story is.

    Sauron had Nazgul, and eagles in LOTR are not exactly stealthy. Sending the ring via the eagles was risky. Also, the other big point that lots of readers tend to gloss over is that the good guys were losing big time, and were effectively on the back foot. Sauron had the OODA loop advantage, hence a stealthy insertion of the ring using the Hobbits.

    Case closed.

    One is good, more is better
    http://panther6actual.blogspot.co.uk/
    http://ashleyrpollard.blogspot.co.uk/

    #163182
    Paint it Pink
    Participant

    And one more comment to the general point.

    The trouble with fighting historical battles with the appropriate forces is that the players have far more information available to them than the historical persons involved in said battle.

    Also, cognitive biases creep in, so that one plays without the assumptions of the persons who fought the battle lived by. Hence, one can often get a more historical battle outcome when one disguises a battle by changing the names of the countries and or the period. An example of this I saw/played in was a Napoleonic naval battle that changed the nations to IIRC South American countries (but I could be wrong here; it was a WD COW scenario), and the players unwittingly played to the biases they had about said nations to produce a result that closely matched the real battle.

    This is why I play SF wargames. It removes the assumptions about outcomes. Obviously, it can all be taken to extremes that are effectively power gaming, but it works for me. Not saying it should work for anyone else, or that this is the way. I have spoken. 😉

    One is good, more is better
    http://panther6actual.blogspot.co.uk/
    http://ashleyrpollard.blogspot.co.uk/

    #163183
    Geof Downton
    Participant

    Oh and in the case of GW, having learnt the armies and troops and organisation of them, they get changed/retconned every now and then making your knowledge obsolete/irrelevant.

    …but your disposable income very relevant…

     

    This discussion, and its ancestor, certainly provide food for thought, and have forced me to re-assess my claim to be a historical gamer (OK, modeller!). My interests all involve certain amounts of both research and speculation. My fantasy stuff is based on someone else’s work, mostly Lankhmar, as is the little sci-fi I do: Blakes 7 and H G Wells. The historical stuff I fiddle with has a (very) large conjectural component, Biblical, Arthur of the Britons or the works of Homer. I do more research than I need to, because I enjoy it. I can be a counter of buttons and rivets, but reserve the right to interpret ‘seven’ as ‘about six or eight’ if I choose to. For me the aesthetic is paramount, even if it’s wrong. I’m a big fan of ‘Hollywood history’.

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

    #163184
    Tony Hughes
    Participant

    I’ll be honest, I really don’t see the point of this question.

    Whatever genre(s) you choose to play most players do it out of interest and they will generally have enough background to have sparked that interest.

    I can see comparing the amount of time, money or other resources put into a genre (but I don’t think it has as much to do with the genre as does the individual player’s personality, time, abilities and cash) to get the result you want. What I can’t see is how you are measuring the level of difficulty to be able to compare them.

    I read history, fantasy & sci-fi (and by that I mean hard techno sci-fi, not orcs in space) because I enjoy them all – completely independent of my wargaming. History is generally harder to read because I prefer the more academic titles these days but that is entirely by choice.

    I do very little Fantasy wargaming and no sci-fi and what I do is only very tenuously linked to my reading in that sphere. What I do is mainly driven from my imagination and in that it is a different avenue for a creative urge that isn’t easy to scratch in historical wargaming. Not to say that there isn’t scope for creativity in historical wargaming, there is, it just isn’t quite the same as inventing a culture that produces an army for HotT containing figures that I fancy painting.

    For me the most difficult things to do in my hobbies are things that need to be done but I don’t want to do. Things I want to do I always think of as ‘easy’ even when they take considerable effort because I’m enthused and/or excited.

    There are far more variations in players’ approaches to any genre they play than there are between the actual genres themselves and I’d guess that the range of attitudes and approaches is much the same across each genre. There may be differences in the proportion of some attitudes – e.g. historical players are less tolerant of unpainted figures than Fantasy gamers – but the main differences are not to do with the genre but the players.

     

     

    #163185
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    ll be honest, I really don’t see the point of this question.

    I wanted to see what people think.

    #163187
    Stephen Holmes
    Participant

    It doesn’t have to be harder.

    But if you, or your group get drawn in to the extensive fantasy background, there is almost limitless research, and fancy painting to be done.

    To put it another way:

    If you and your group get suckered into the manufacturers ever-growing pile of fluff, you will be running to stand still with the latest developments in an artificial arms race.

    #163199
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    ll be honest, I really don’t see the point of this question.

    I wanted to see what people think.

    We have, I hope also proved that folks here can have diametrically opposed beliefs, put their arguments forward coherently and passionately and do so without mud slinging, ad hominem attacks or name calling.

    Long may we come together in a spirit of “I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to ….. be wrong!”

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #163218
    Logain
    Participant

    Interesting topic. I think AB hit on one key point early in the thread. Background Knowledge. For example my brother and I have been reading fantasy and sci fi from an early age, and although the window dressing may change most fantasy war games emerge from a common theme and inspiration. But to my wife who reads very little fiction historical war games are far more approachable. Likewise my brother who spent a decade in the military and reads a lot of military history, in addition to  reading lots of fantasy jumps between real and fantasy settings equally well.

    #163220
    Tony Hughes
    Participant

    We have, I hope also proved that folks here can have diametrically opposed beliefs, put their arguments forward coherently and passionately and do so without mud slinging, ad hominem attacks or name calling.

    Long may we come together in a spirit of “I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to ….. be wrong!”

    So long as you don’t mention the Renaissance !!!

     

     

    #163230
    Stephen Holmes
    Participant

    It’s worth looking at Role Playing Games and the 10 commandments for new Dungeonmasters.

    Somewhere around number 4 is “Nobody cares about your worldbuilding (beyond the surface it provides to play upon)”.

     

    I’d happily settle for a page or two of background (Who is fighting, and where do they live). I really do not wish to know about their foundation rituals, pantheon of derivative deities, or the eternal war in the nine planes which means that the owlfolk and kangaroo men can never be at peace. Those pages will be the first ones sacrificed in the coming toilet roll crisis.

    But, I’ll forgive a bit of self indulgence if you have tight rules and good miniatures.

    #163237
    deephorse
    Participant

    However when wanting to play WFB true to the lore, you have no head start.

    Is it necessary to have memorised all the lore in order to play WFB?  Whilst I am mainly a historical wargamer, I still own three 40K armies, and have played many games of it over the years.  It was nice to read the ‘fluff’, but none if it helped me to play the game.  The rule book and the appropriate army lists from the codex were all that was necessary.  In fact it was a glaring conflict between the fluff/lore, and the 4th edition of 40K, that made me give up playing it.  The ‘revised’ rules for a certain Tyranid bore no resemblance at all to the way this creature was supposed to behave according to the codex.  At that point GW and I went our separate ways.

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #163253
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Is it necessary to have memorised all the lore in order to play WFB?

    Not at all. I suspect you can play without knowing any of it to be fair.
    Just as you could play Napoleonics without any knowledge of the period.

    But then here is the thing, if you are playing say Napoleonics with zero knowledge of the period, are you really playing Napoleonics, or just a generic wargame with Napoleonic looking models?

    Same with WFB.

    #163261
    craig cartmell
    Participant

    Of course, with fantasy, you could just abandon all that existing lore and create your own, for despite what the various fan groups say, it is not sacred.
    So decide how you want your games to go, grab some figures, a set of generic fantasy rules, and have at it!

    Cheers,
    Craig

    The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare

    #163270
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    It’s worth looking at Role Playing Games and the 10 commandments for new Dungeonmasters. Somewhere around number 4 is “Nobody cares about your worldbuilding (beyond the surface it provides to play upon)”. I’d happily settle for a page or two of background (Who is fighting, and where do they live). I really do not wish to know about their foundation rituals, pantheon of derivative deities, or the eternal war in the nine planes which means that the owlfolk and kangaroo men can never be at peace. Those pages will be the first ones sacrificed in the coming toilet roll crisis. But, I’ll forgive a bit of self indulgence if you have tight rules and good miniatures.

    I’m with you on this one. I am rarely interested in background or fluff, except insofar as it sets out the basic assumptions behind the rules. I really like rules that include a section on why the authors have made the design choices they have made, so that I can understand the intent behind them. This makes interpreting unexpected events in the game easier.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://envirocitizen.eu
    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/

    #163273
    Etranger
    Participant

    Of course, with fantasy, you could just abandon all that existing lore and create your own, for despite what the various fan groups say, it is not sacred. So decide how you want your games to go, grab some figures, a set of generic fantasy rules, and have at it!

    And some ‘universes’ cater to that. Traveller, at least in the LBBB iterations deliberately set aside a large segment of ‘known space’ for players to develop their own civilisations, literally a blank canvas.

    The Traveller rules were also very flexible. We had a very successful ‘Blakes Seven’ campaign using them, the only tricky bit being how to rate ‘Liberator’ against the Federation ships.

    #163287
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    Fantasy might be ‘harder’ to understand because there is no internal logic or consistency – not because of the depth and breadth of material. Most imaginary gaming worlds are actually very shallow, and gloss over over many things that make a society a society. E.g. in the Warhammer universe, there’s very little information about economy, education, politics, society at large  (except at a superficial level). It’s all about caricatures of armies, and even worse – it’s often disparate concepts thrown together in a fantasy world. It’s because there’s no foundation to such a world, no frame of reference, that it makes it harder to understand. In a sense it’s big collection of random factoids.

    That doesn’t mean such worlds cannot be fun to be used as a gaming world. Often, they are designed specifically to be used as a gaming worlds (lots of wars and battles!) But such worlds are not complex at all. They are often inconsistent, which make them harder to understand.

    I’m a big Tolkien fan, and Tolkien’s legendarium is probably one of the most worked-on literary imaginary worlds available – and Tolkien also reworked many of his concepts and stories throughout his life. But even then, it’s a pretty shallow world if you want to start digging deeper. Where is all the food coming from? Where are the schools (people are writing letters, so they must learn how to read/write)? How many people do live in middle earth? Etc. Etc. It’s often when you try to answer such questions imaginary worlds stop making sense 😉

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #163289
    Mike
    Keymaster

    .g. in the Warhammer universe, there’s very little information about economy, education, politics, society at large  (

    I am not sure that is the case?
    Local currencies, trade routes, laws around the merchant guilds, there are whole campaigns and novels that go into the politics of the The Empire.
    WFRP goes into detail and lists hundreds of jobs from rat catchers, to road wardens, watchmen to pedlars.
    Each job is detailed and has an illustration.
    There is information on social class and standing, so much stuff.
    Typical living costs and foods are detailed.
    Each province has details on its folk, their dress, beliefs, superstitions, there is a full on calendar with festivals listed and then detailed.

    Between the wargames, roleplaying games, years of WD, the novels, the PC games and much more, there is a huge amount of information on the world.

    #163292
    craig cartmell
    Participant

    Etanger, for generic Fantasy you could try Thud & Blunder by the Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare 😉

    Cheers,
    Craig

    The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare

    #163296
    deephorse
    Participant

    Is it necessary to have memorised all the lore in order to play WFB?

    Not at all. I suspect you can play without knowing any of it to be fair. Just as you could play Napoleonics without any knowledge of the period.

    I’m not so sure that you could, not successfully anyway.  Yes, you can read in the rules how infantry can form lines, columns or squares.  But the rules wouldn’t tell you why they might, and indeed should, change formation.  The rules wouldn’t tell you to threaten your opponents infantry with cavalry, to force him/her into square, and then bombard that square with artillery.  You might eventually deduce that this is the way to play from all the firing factors and tables etc., but the rules (well, not any that I’ve ever read) won’t straight out tell you that.  You need to know some history/background.

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #163297
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Same with playing WFB true to its ‘history’.

    You can play it as a generic fantasy game but you will miss out on some subtle nuances and risk doing things that would not happen in the setting.

    Same with Napoleonics as you noted above.

    If you want to play true to the lore you need to know that lore.

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