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  • Levi the Ox
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    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.

    in reply to: Great Customer Service from Newline Designs #163165
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    Fantastic to hear!  I’ll have to look into them myself.  Oh, Napoleonic naval crews?  Hmm…

    in reply to: Warhammer Fantasy #163162
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    What I’ve got on the bookshelf:

    6th Ed. Core doesn’t give the present date, but included a historical battle dated 2480, and is set “many years” into Karl Franz’s reign.

    6th Ed. Lizardmen goes up to 2522

    7th Ed. Core book goes up to at least 2522, recording Karl Franz’s coronation in 2502 and that he has reigned for “over two decades”.

    7th Ed. The Empire gives the present as 2522, with the war against Archaon beginning in 2521.

    in reply to: Reasons NOT to refight historical battles #163095
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    I think another potential factor against historical re-fights is that the players’ experience of the game can be heavily shaped by their knowledge of the historical event and expectations of what is “supposed” to happen.  It’s very difficult to game (for example) Gettysburg without players engaging in some amount of metagaming to either follow the historical narrative or subvert it, their knowledge of historical events shaping their decisions.

    Now this could be great fun or incredibly frustrating, depending on what kind of experience the people involved are looking for, but it’s something you should be aware of either way.  If you want to re-enact the historical events of Gettysburg, you will need some amount of restrictions to keep the game within roughly historical bounds, likely by essentially playing several smaller games of individual engagements without changing the overall course of events.  Whereas if you wanted to play a game that presented the tactical and operational challenges of the corps and army commanders there, you are very unlikely to get the same sequence of events, and the players’ experience would probably be improved by obscuring and randomizing some of the factors not knowable at the time, such as when and where reinforcements would arrive.

    in reply to: 28mm Near-Future & SF Elves & Dwarves #162471
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    For Sci-Fi Elves, there’s Games Workshops Eldar of course, and some of their fantasy Elves also have a sci-fi aesthetic.  Warmachine has Elves as well, the Retribution of Scyrah, including ones armed and equipped like conventional infantry with a sci-fi twist if you’re going for a less graceful look.

    For Dwarves, the GW Age of Sigmar sky-pirate dwarves are worth looking at if you want steampunk.  Wargames Atlantic has a box of Einherjar dwarves with various conventional and sci-fi weapons for a more trooper-y look.

    in reply to: Down with DRMs! A Modest Proposal #162179
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    In principle it seems nice to only refer to the target numbers, but in practice it can run into a mirrored set of issues.

    Any modifier that hurts the testing player is positive and any that help are negative.

    As others have mentioned above, having mathematically negative modifiers be beneficial can throw people for a loop.  A lot of this comes down to language: the words “positive”, “increase”, and even “bonus” have both quantitative and qualitative meanings, as do “negative”, “decrease”, and “penalty”.  Reversing that axis changes the mental steps a player goes through slightly, but it can also make communicating about it more difficult.

    It also depends very much on what other mechanics the game has.  If stats or dice rolls are involved in both combat and movement, expressing both as positive numbers can be easier to grok than expressing one as negative (but beneficial) while the other is positive (and also beneficial).  Random movement distances or opposed rolls don’t have target numbers, but you can always add +1 to the result on the dice.  Having everything be beneficial along the same axis also facilitates other mechanics like character/unit creation or rating, since you can deal with each variable the same.

    In the end, there a lot of different ways to express various mechanics.  Sometimes the tradeoffs will be worth it, other times they won’t.

    Having thought about it, I think one general improvement would be to have rulebooks explain the process of the mental math around dice rolls.  Establishing that framework will help smooth over the game experience no matter what mechanics you are using, especially for newer players.

    in reply to: Which nation next? #161382
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    Depending on the size of the armies you build, it can help to start expanding by picking something that can already play against one of your existing armies.  Your late-war Germans can be opposed in NWE or Italy by Commonwealth troops, or those of other nations equipped by the major Allies (Poles, French, Brazilians, Italian co-belligerents, etc.).  Soviets are the obvious option in the East, but the defection of the Finns and Romanians mean they aren’t the only possible foe there late-war.  Your US troops could be pitted against Japanese in the Pacific, DAK and Italians in Tunisia, or even jump forward to the Korean War.

    in reply to: Slow mind = small games -> Buildings painted #158750
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    Mental health can and should be discussed!

    A great idea, a lovely selection of felt colors, and some very cool wargaming blocks that I’d never seen before as well!

    I’ve used note cards in a similar fashion to blocks, and like the “general’s map” feel this kind of approach gives for the periods of mass warfare.

    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    Sounds interesting!  Gonna have to dig out my aircraft recognition deck and give it a try.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)