Historical gaming has a problem. It isn’t a big problem, not yet, but it could become one. People who enjoy historic wargaming tend to look like me; stunningly handsome, but a bit gray. I won’t go so far as to say we’re a dying breed, because that isn’t true at all; a visit to Historicon will prove there are plenty of us around. Still, it would be nice to see more younger players taking an interest in the historic side of gaming.
Younger gamers interested in miniatures gravitate toward Warhammer Fantasy or 40K, Warmachine, maybe Dystopian Wars, things like that. It isn’t hard to figure out why really. One thing those systems have going for them is one stop shopping. Rules, miniatures, supplemental books with scenarios and army lists, how to books on terrain making and figure painting, and all the tools needed to paint and build said figures and terrain are all conveniently available from the same publisher. Gamers don’t have to hunt around for figures that work for the game they’ve chosen and they don’t have to wonder if a particular army list is appropriate for the rules they have. In short, they don’t have to worry if they’re “doing it right.”
Another thing I think keeps younger, especially high school and college-age, players away from historical gaming is that…it’s history. I mean c’mon, didn’t they just have to turn in a fifteen page paper about some guy who did something a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away? And now for recreation they’re supposed to play a game dealing with something that happened to some people a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away? Sci-Fi and fantasy games are awesome. They’re pure escapism and I love them. Gamers look at historical games though and I think they see them as some kind of test that they’d rather not take. Too much like being in the classroom. The thing is, historicals aren’t a test, they’re escapism too and in their way they’re more rewarding than sci-fi and fantasy games.
Continue reading »
Grognard: Napoleon referred to the members of his Old Guard regiments as "gronards", meaning grumblers or complainers. So for me, it's an appropriate moniker. At various points in time I've been active in pretty much all aspects of gaming, but historic gaming is definitely where my heart is. My preference runs toward complex, detailed simulations of combat at the tactical and grand tactical levels. Traditionally I've had little patience for sissies who fear a few charts and a little complexity in their games (looking at you Reinhart), but in the interest of being a better person I'm trying to adapt to their needs.