I think I try to play too many games

So here’s my conundrum. I like wargaming, but I have 30,000* other hobbies which I try to devote some attention to every now and then (*may not be exact number).

I also try to play most wargames, but I’m finding that more and more lately, I can’t find the time to read a complete set of rules. Most of them are just so unnecessarily long-winded that I just find myself nodding off or going to do something else.

The new Osprey books are great. They are nice concise books, that manage to pack all the rules and fluff into small packages with a low page count. And the couple I’ve browsed through are also well written. That’s a big thing that’s missing in a lot of rulebooks.

As much as I dislike the price-gouging of Games Workshop, I still find myself loving and playing their Specialist game line. Although, I’m starting to realise that the nostalgic warm fuzzy feeling I used to get doesn’t match up with the current reality of trying to play them. While they had a lot going for them, many of them also had pretty horrendous flaws. Whether that’s tables that have to be looked up for determining combat results, or whether it’s a full page damage flow chart with uber descriptive text as per Adaptus Titanicus, in some way, I find something about them I don’t love.

Games change, and with that, as gamers, we’re exposed to a shifting landscape of mechanics. Often times, old mechanics are superceded by updated, streamlined, or more logical ways of playing.

Warmaster, for example, has been inspirational toward games such as the Commander series of games (ie; Blitzkrieg/Cold War/Future War Commander), and Black Powder and Hail Caesar.  Every one of those games shows a natural evolution to the Warmaster mechanic, and each one of them is better than the original game that they took inspiration from.

But I also play a lot of other games.

Saga, for example, is an excellent Dark Ages skirmish game. It uses a battle board, in which players roll special dice and allocate the results to their special abilities, or their movement actions on the board. It’s a lot of fun, although I hear that you have to play each period specifically because mixing forces from the different books results in very unbalanced games.

Airwar C21, which is a modern air combat game. I’ve played it once and really want to play it again, but I ordered a physical copy in January 2014 and the author has not delivered it to me. Long story short, after waiting a over a month, I tried getting in touch with him, but he didn’t answer his emails. I posted a comment in one of his blogs and he finally got in contact, and said he never got the payment notification. So he allegedly sent me a copy then. Another couple of months went by, and it hadn’t arrived. He said sometimes things get lost in the post (it’s happened to me once in 20 years of international ordering, so guess it’s feasible), and allegedly sent me another copy. Another couple months went by, and nothing. At which point he emailed me a PDF, so I have something at least, but it’s going to cost me to print it and bind it, and I’ve already spent more than the value of the PDF edition cost, so not keen on pursuing that game. I wouldn’t feel good if any of my friends were to throw their money into a black hole.

Dust Tactics was recently re-released, and thanks to a new member of our club, I got into that. It’s a pretty fun game, but like Saga, only played rarely.

I’ve tried getting into ancients gaming recently too, and I’ve dabbled with DBA, Impetus, Hail Caesar, DBMM, and FoG. Hail Caesar is the one I’m most happy with, but I’ve yet to finish reading the rules because they’re so verbose. Not that they’re badly written, just long, and I haven’t had the time to get through it all.

Now, DBMM, that’s a horrifically written set of rules. Wow, my brain melts trying to decipher that outstanding body of verbiage. The guys at my club insist I shouldn’t read the rules for DBMM, that I should learn by playing. And I’m pretty sure that they simplify the movement rules. But if I can’t grok the rules as written, then I feel like I’m doing nothing more than turning up and rolling the dice for someone else.

DBA and Impetus are “skirmish” games, and I want something I can fill the table with miniatures. FoG felt like Warhammer Fantasy Battle or WAB to me, and I didn’t enjoy that.

So I guess that leads me to Hail Caesar, which can be adapted to be used for fantasy with minimal effort–because as my friend Grant says, “all ancients wargaming is fantasy.” 🙂 We’ve got a few more people in the club now that either play it, or are open to playing it, so that’s a plus. It’s not as much fun playing with myself, and certainly in public, nobody wants to see that.

Then for sci-fi wargaming, I will stick to Future War Commander. I loooooooove 6mm sci-fi. Love it. Almost as much as cheese and bacon toasted sandwiches.

The back of FWC has skirmish rules that I’ve always meant to try out, and certainly that would give me reason to use all those 15mm minis I bought a couple of years back. Plus those beautiful space frontier town MDF buildings from Krazy Ivan, of which I have a healthy buttock-load.

People at my club have been talking about resurrecting Mordheim and Blood Bowl. Plus there’s a big push for The Hobbit, and a few guys have been playing Judge Dredd which looks interesting. I stopped playing Flames of War and wanted to find a simpler WWII ruleset, so might switch to Blitzkrieg Commander as I’m already familiar with the system, but again it’s just another system to play, more miniatures to finish painting, and how often will I play it realistically?

Our club only runs once a fortnight, so I feel I’m playing a different game each time. I really think I need to sit down and focus on one or two games, and actually play them. As opposed to not playing 20 games.

And those games will most likely be Future War Commander and Hail Caesar.

But those Osprey books are reeeally nice looking.

I’m doing it again aren’t I?

Do you have these troubles? How do you cope? What game or games have you settled on? I really need some advice, or at least to know that I’m not alone and that there’s a support group for Obsessive Compulsive Wargaming Disorder.

4 thoughts on “I think I try to play too many games

  1. I always find I'm constrained by what my gaming group wants to play but as a whole we have been getting into skirmish games like SAGA and the legends games done by warhammer historical. Small figure counts and low cost mean it's ok to drop $100 every few months onto a new system. As the painting is always as important as the game for me if I don't play for a while because another game is being played it's not the end of the world. You might want to look into bolt action for ww2 it seems pretty popular although I consider it the worst of the rules done by warlord games it is still a fun and easy to play game with low figure counts.

  2. Hey Mark, how are things?

    Yeah, I really prefer larger figure counts, and I find that in smaller scales, $100 is a huge army, especially in 6mm. And of course, the smaller minis have the advantage that they're easier and quicker to paint.

    I like skirmish games too, but my preference is certainly for big games. Bolt Action is really a skirmish game judging by their choice of 28mm as the main scale. Honestly though, Blitzkrieg Commander is so close to Future War Commander, that I may as well just stick to that. Plus a local guy has almost finished an online army creation tool for BKC. I'll ask him if it's OK to publish the URL on here.

  3. Hey mate things are going well. I'm getting into Saga at the moment and loving it's simplicity and it's ability to be adapted to almost any period. I love big battles but find myself unwilling to paint hundreds of models anymore. Once I go past about 50 of the same model type I'm getting bored. Bolt action is a skirmish game but you can play it at a much larger level if you want to (and have the time).

  4. I've found that I'm much more likely to play a game if someone else as all the bits. One of our players is very successful in painting up two forces and getting the rest of us to play various games with him. If we 'catch the bug' we tend to buy and collect our own force as well. If you love a game, and want to play it, your best bet is to collect 2 opposing forces, and invite people to play with your gear. If it's infectious there will be gradual new recruits. In the neutral position, you have players to game with, but no new armies. Worst case is you can't find anyone who likes the system and you can't play the games you want (which sounds pretty close to status quo for a lot of gamers).

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