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Saturday, 24 September 2016

All the Glitters etc............

Leading on from my last post regarding the plethora of 'new' wargames rules being released that seem to contain few new ideas, and in fact plagarise existing rule books. Wargames Illustrated have released the results of a poll they conducted? for which they received 1040 replies, which isn't a bad number really. The poll was regards which rules were played by the said wargamers.
 Now bearing in mind that this poll was conducted in the early part of 2016, it doesnt include the new rule releases of the last few months but it does on the face of it show the wide range of rules that seem the most popular at the current time.
 The first thing that I found interesting from my point of view is the fact that I only use Blackpowder and very very occasionally Hail Cesar, the rest I dont use at all, so clearly I am pleased to say I dont seem to be mainstream. Ah, I feel almost saintlike, with the virtue of not being on message.
  World War Two appears to be very popular amongst the pollsters, followed by skirmish level games in all their guises. Neither of which I play.
 So bearing in mind I actually use, Pike and Shotte, a derivative of Black Powder, Honours of War for my Seven Years War games, Blucher for my Napoleonic games, and Baroque for my 1690 games, and supposing I am a fairly typical wargamer, there is an awful lot of wargames rules that havent even been mentioned.
 How confusing must that be to any person thinking about starting wargaming?
 I sometimes wonder how we can justify having so many rule sets to choose from, especially as most use very similar mechanisms in how they play.
 I was tempted to list the various rules that I know of from my taking up the hobby in the early 1970's, but I think that would be too nerdy, even for the likes of me.
 So what conclusions can one draw from such a poll?
 Well the main conclusion I can see is that wargamers have totally bought into the shiny new toy syndrome, irrespective of how good their existing rules are, wargamers are still daft enough to shell out cash for 'new' rule books.
 Where once it would be a new range of figures by a new manufacturer, this has now moved onto new rule books that in the main dont really add anything to the hobby.
 Now and again, albeit very rarely, someone will release something that could be classed as worthy, but from what I can see most new rulebooks are just eye candy and fluff.
 But you pays your money and takes your choice..............
   














12 comments:

  1. And this is why, for me at least, I like to keep things simple. With that in mind, I'm moving to a slightly amended version of Feathertsone's old rules or my 18th century games. Much as I like Charge, I'm tired of having to constantly consult the rules. Featherstone's, I think, can be committed to memory very easily and allow me to get on with pushing the soldiers around the tabletop a bit more. Black Powder and all the rest don't concern me. I'm after games of shiny toy soldiers.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    Replies
    1. I never used Featherstone's rules Stokes. I was always impressed by Charlie Wesencraft's approach to rule writing. I also found Charge too fiddly, and a tad off the wall.

      Delete
  2. "........clearly I am pleased to say I don't seem to be mainstream. Ah, I feel almost saintlike, with the virtue of not being on message." Great stuff Robbie, you are not "The Independent Wargames Group" for nothing! I agree with you and that is half the appeal of wargaming as a hobby - the freedom to do your own thing. I don't think the (very) old rules are the best but having found some good sets of 1990s vintage (eg Fire and Fury, and Rapid Fire), I'm happy to stick with them as well as design my own when I need to (eg Waterloo at 1:3 scale last year). However I do feel a little bit guilty at liking a mainstream new set - Honours of War, but as you and Colin and Paul Robinson do so too that must be OK then :-).
    Cheers
    Chris
    http://notjustoldschool.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Replies
    1. Afternoon Chris,
      I actually used to play Fire and Fury, and did enjoy them a lot, then they went and released a 'new' set which changed things somewhat. Why?
      As you are probably aware, I can be a tad awkward, especially when someone makes exagerated claims without any evidence to back up the claims. Its a sign of age I think.

      Delete
  3. Robbie, I believe that the poll was for your Favourite commercial ruleset and not necessarily those that you use. I voted for Saga since that is the only commercial set other than Honours of War (which I don't think was listed) that I use. Saga is a neat ruleset in that it needs a fair bit of planning and knoweldge to get right. Having said that it is another set of rules that doesn't need any understanding of forethought about the period. another "game in a box" if you will. I have a general distaste for rules that give you everything you need - rules, figures, "history" - but it seems that the hobby is thriving on this output.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul,
      I know what you mean as regards being spoon fed, but I think that goes for most things in general.

      Delete
  4. I don't honestly think we have to justify having lots of rule sets at all. Do we want to go back to what we had,a dominant WRG type rules culture? There doesn't seem to be anything monolithic which is surely for the best, I don't have a problem with game in a box either, it's not what I want to do but if someone does good luck to them. Maybe I'm being overly glass half full but I think it's pretty good overall.
    Best Iain

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    Replies
    1. Iain,
      I try to put a positive spin on things, honest. When I adopted the name Independent Wargames Group, back in the early 1980's it was to show I wasnt a WRG follower. But I just think that there are too many rules being released that are regurgitated ideas from earlier rule books. In fact some are downright plagarised lifts from various other rule books stuck together and re labelled. A lot of wargamers are at risk of being ripped off by the shininess of these books, all fur coat and no knickers as we say. As for a game in a box, well so be it, I dont mind the idea to be honest, especially if you get some nice miniatures thrown in.

      Delete
  5. Hello Robbie,

    Sorry to post a comment unrelated to your blog post, but I don't have any other means to contact you.

    Stand To at Shildon. Do you have contact details for the organisers, can I ask? Dave Docherty has just asked this of me (to try for his Sudan, or Cowboy game) but I've misplaced my own copy of the details so can't be of help to him. I believe you and Dave are in contact with each other, and have suggested to him to contact you, so if its easiest you could just pass on the details to Dave.

    Again, sorry for hijacking you comments like this.

    Cheers
    Roy

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    Replies
    1. Robbie, we managed to contact Shildon and Dave D. is putting on his big Sudan game at the show. In case you hadn't had chance to read the above and contacted Dave, etc.

      ###

      The Catterick Old Guard Wargames Club regularly plays from that pie chart: Impetus.

      And have some players who play: FoW. Team Yankee (same players for both). Hail Caesar. Frostgrave (when there's an hour to kill).

      Other rules being: To the Strongest! (Ancients). Smoke on the Water (free to download ACW Naval).

      Most of the club have only played together for just under 2 years, so in 20 years time we'll have probably got through another 200 rules books, at the current rate of publication!

      Delete
  6. Wow, according to that poll I'm really out of touch. Our group only plays one of the listed game systems. Guess we know what we like.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yep, looks like I am too independent old school too by the look..

    ReplyDelete

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
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Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
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Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating