Help support TMP

"Would You Play the Game of a Designer Who 'Gets it Wrong'?" Topic

53 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Historical Wargaming in General Message Board

Back to the Game Design Message Board

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

Action Log

28 Oct 2015 4:35 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board
  • Crossposted to Game Design board
  • Crossposted to Historical Wargaming board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

2,964 hits since 4 Jan 2012
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Pages: 1 2 

Whirlwind04 Jan 2012 2:57 a.m. PST

The designer of a popular set of wargames rules has made certain remarks which others have thought to cast doubt on his understanding and balanced judgement of the period in which his game is set, in this thread:

TMP link

And further discussed here:

TMP link

Inspired by, but not limited to, the above thread, have the comments of a rules writer on the history of a period outside of the actual rulebook dissuaded you from playing or continuing to play the writer's game?

I know, for example, that sometimes people have strongly disagreed with the 'takes' of Scott Bowden, Sam Mustafa and Phil Barker on certain periods of history.


1234567804 Jan 2012 3:06 a.m. PST

Definitely; if the rules writer demonstrates either a poor grasp of the history of the period or a clear bias or appears to have plagiarised or fabricated some of what they have written (outside the rulebook), then it would make me wary of playing their rules.

Keraunos04 Jan 2012 3:07 a.m. PST

depends on the period and the wrongness and the game style

its not a hard and fast rule, since I care more about getting it right for some periods than others, and I accept more lee-way for some styles of game than others.

altfritz04 Jan 2012 3:29 a.m. PST

Thinly veiled personal attack?

Sane Max04 Jan 2012 3:29 a.m. PST

No, as long as his 'wrongness' is as regards History only and does not affect Gameplay.

An example is the 'Chariot Wars' army lists for WAB. The author decided to use the 'New Chronology' widely regarded as bunk*. The Army Lists are excellent.I have never heard anything other than praise for 'Chariot Wars'.

Now, if it was something like "French WWII Tank Turret Design was outstanding, and so all French AFV always get a +6 for shooting at German Tanks, especially on the move" then yes, It would put me off!

And yes, this, combined with the other thread you started on the same topic COULD be seen as a TVPA. I don't see it that way mind you.


* I have no opinion either way on that BTW.

Personal logo Lentulus Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2012 4:14 a.m. PST

Depends on what he has wrong; and I will still not refuse to try the first time and form my own opinion.

RavenscraftCybernetics04 Jan 2012 4:14 a.m. PST

if I think it would be fun to play, I'd play it. Who can say who is "right or wrong" when it comes to history?

History is continuosly being revised and re-written, usually by people who had no hand in it.


Toy Soldier Green04 Jan 2012 4:16 a.m. PST

doubt it.

Martin Rapier04 Jan 2012 4:20 a.m. PST

The answer to the OP is no, of course, it doesn't make a blind bit of difference what games I choose to play.

People are entitled to their own opinions, and Naploeon in particular has inspired thousands/millions of pages of ink to be spilled of wildy varying opinions.

If the rules they write have obvious glaring errors or misconceptions or ideas contrary to my own errors and misconceptions, in then I'll change them to suit. Often I'll just grit my teeth through the grating bits (like both Arty Conliffe and Frank Chadwicks treatment of carrier platoons) as they really don't make much difference.

Crusaderminis04 Jan 2012 4:27 a.m. PST

"If the rules they write have obvious glaring errors or misconceptions or ideas contrary to my own errors and misconceptions, in then I'll change them to suit."

Great quote :-)

Ben Waterhouse04 Jan 2012 4:33 a.m. PST

Not on the level of ignorance that the said gentleman concerned shows… If it's a bit of minor misinterpretation it would depend on the rule and the system as a whole.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2012 4:39 a.m. PST

Thinly veiled personal attack?

Looks that way

epturner Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2012 4:39 a.m. PST

It's playing with toy soldiers. I've played a lot of rules that "get it wrong", but can be fun games.

I've tossed out or tweaked silly rules that hold up the game or similar.


hurrahbro04 Jan 2012 4:40 a.m. PST

How do they play?
Do they emphasise game play fo simutlation?
Are they balanced?
Are the flaws and misconceptions in the conception obvious in the game (eg French surrender easily? Look at the battle for Stonne for the most obvious example as to why that is a misconception).

certainly my own misconceptions are always evolving and changing as I learn to look at old tropes in new light.

Whirlwind04 Jan 2012 5:12 a.m. PST

Thinly veiled personal attack?

Absolutely not meant as such and I have tried hard not to just focus on one particular writer by mentioning other game designers, certain of whose rules I play myself.

Sundance04 Jan 2012 5:24 a.m. PST

Someone could have an inaccurate understanding of a period of history and still produce a decent game. Why not? For all the research that went into some games, like ASL for example, there were still historical inaccuracies. When questioned about it, the designers had reasonable explanations for ignoring those particular points. And, yes, I understand that "inaccurate understanding" and "historical inaccuracies" are not the same thing, but unless you sit down and talk with someone, you aren't going to know why they designed a game the way they did and really what their understanding is.

M C MonkeyDew04 Jan 2012 5:40 a.m. PST

I try not to let the talent's views or personal life interfere with enjoyment of their work.

However I still can't watch Jane Fonda.

Don Manser04 Jan 2012 5:40 a.m. PST


If the rules give a fun game, don't give you a headache and ends with a reasonably historical result, then yes.


mbsparta04 Jan 2012 6:12 a.m. PST

Napoleon's Battles is a pretty good game.
Very personal attacks make you look bad not the intended target …

Mike B

malcolmmccallum04 Jan 2012 6:24 a.m. PST

Lighten up. Francis.

Napoleon's Battles is a fine game and is played and greatly enjoyed by players with widely different views on history.

Would you play any game against an opponent who 'got it wrong'?

Dave Crowell04 Jan 2012 6:26 a.m. PST

Chariot Wars is IMO the best of the WAB supplements, despite its use of the ridiculous New Chronology.

I really don't care a whit about the personal or historical beliefs of. A game designer.

I care about whether or not the game they have written is fun to play and captures what I believe to be the essentials of the period.

My theories about WW2 infantry combat may be utter rubbish, but if a game produces results in agreement with my theories I will play it. Even. If the author holds a completely different view of the subject.

It's all about the play of the game.

Sane Max04 Jan 2012 6:31 a.m. PST

"IMO the best of the WAB supplements"

IMO as well as IYO, when I think about it – a good list-to-fluff ratio.


Terrement04 Jan 2012 6:36 a.m. PST


Whirlwind04 Jan 2012 9:47 a.m. PST

I answer my own question in the negative – it probably wouldn't make the slightest difference to me, as the key structural elements to the game tend to be independent of any historical bias I might think the author had. I'd feel free to mess around with the factors and troop ratings and so on, but I always do that anyway.

Whirlwind04 Jan 2012 9:55 a.m. PST

@ Mike B I have neither disparaged the writer, named him, disparaged his rules or made any attacks of a personal nature upon anyone. I think one statement the writer made is pretty jaw-dropping as a general attack upon British people, but I feel genuinely amazed rather than offended since I don't feel the slightest bit of hatred or fear towards Napoleon, accusations that I do don't wound, they merely confuse. I do not harbour the slightest ill-feeling towards the man, his game (which I haven't yet played, simply because it hasn't "come up") or his opinions, which I generally find interesting (I was re-reading the VLB thread last night). This thread was inspired by the response of another poster in one of the threads, as a question I find interesting, and the responses above show a wide variation in attitudes.

But if you could show me where I have inadvertently made a personal attack on the writer, please do point it out to me and I will make an unreserved apology for unintentionally causing offence to someone on a toy soldier forum.


le Grande Quartier General04 Jan 2012 10:33 a.m. PST

negative as well-I'll vote for ignoring the writers observations/opinions and basing my actual use of any rule sets strictly on their own merits and my own take on their abilty to produce a 'simulation' that works for me. Having said that, some authors offer better support and flexibility, and explain,update or modify with more clarity, knowledge and wisdom than others. N. Marsh and C&GII exemplfy this, as I'm sure others can verify, as do a few other authors. This is far more a determinant of my repeated use (or retirement) of napoleonic rules than the 'politics' of an authors historical perception.

Marshal Mark04 Jan 2012 11:07 a.m. PST

It wouldn't stop me playing if someone was to set a game up, but if the author showed a lack of historical knowledge of the period or bias towards one side it would certainly put me off buying the rules.

1234567804 Jan 2012 11:52 a.m. PST

My main reason for questioning the knowledge and judgement of the author was his statement that Wellington only fought one real battle. That was an astounding statement!

religon04 Jan 2012 12:37 p.m. PST

[H]ave the comments of a rules writer on the history of a period outside of the actual rulebook dissuaded you from playing or continuing to play the writer's game?


The school teacher warned of intentional fallacy when a work was measured by the yardstick of the authorial intent. Works are best judged of their own merits.

Some of the best game designers have a casual understanding of history.

Don't play games where the rules 'Get it Wrong.' Don't worry about the designer. God and his wife will do enough judging.


Personal logo FingerandToeGlenn Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Jan 2012 12:58 p.m. PST

One of the lessons from my Operations Research classes was that every model has simplifying assumptions, so every game will get some things wrong. If it looks right and feels right (and the big one) plays well, that's OK. My problem is when the designer just can't help but make assumptions to reinforce prejudices (eg, the Romans were just too good to actually have lost in Parthia).

trailape04 Jan 2012 1:17 p.m. PST

Yes I would, if the rule mechanisims produced a game I felt was 'right'.

imrael04 Jan 2012 1:29 p.m. PST

I might avoid products on the basis of some beliefs held by the vendor, but not in this case – daft historical interpretation doesnt preclude a good game or mean a person isnt allowed to try and make a living.

JJMicromegas04 Jan 2012 2:10 p.m. PST

I play Flames of War, enough said.

kyoteblue04 Jan 2012 3:32 p.m. PST


Edwulf04 Jan 2012 9:26 p.m. PST

I'd still play it, I might adjust some rules and remove any thing I think isn't fair but everyone tweaks rules right?

I still read Hofscroer books, even though I know he lays on the bs.

The only time I've refused to acknowledge anything is on the rabidly anglophobic Napoleonistyka site. Which is factually wrong and openly admits to being anglophobic ( in the prism of Napoleonics)

Mike Petro04 Jan 2012 10:20 p.m. PST

Two threads started about this?

Bob has a stalker….Bob has a stalker….

Lion in the Stars04 Jan 2012 10:22 p.m. PST

Would you play any game against an opponent who 'got it wrong'?
Absolutely, I'm more likely to win against them!

If the game is fun to play and gives reasonable results, then I don't have an issue with the game. If its not fun, I won't play it.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2012 2:35 a.m. PST


It's all fantasy anyway.


Personal logo vonLoudon Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2012 5:46 a.m. PST

I don't care how wrong he is, one of our esteemed experts will launch a 600 thread rebuttal, throw a tantrum, be Dawghoused and be disparaged by John the OFM. Except for a couple of other people we know, John the OFM is the absolutely bestest disparager on TMP. And the funniest I might add. So have at it. I'll get the popcorn.

Bandit05 Jan 2012 10:29 a.m. PST

To answer the original poster I have played various wargames, yes.


The Bandit

1815Guy05 Jan 2012 12:16 p.m. PST

Whirlwind time to take a pill and chill out.

I dont know who you are sniping at and dont really want to know.

If you lined up all the folk who have disparaged the British it would be a pretty long line-up. But thats OK, we dont mind, mainly because we usually won!!! And we can sit down with a nice decent cuppa and chat about it over a cream tea scone best tea in the world. :o)

You know the old-time motto of the British Tourist Office? 'Visit Britain, before Britain visits YOU…..' Its natural for lesser nations to be jealous. After all, god IS an Englishman…

Rules? There is none that is head and shoulders over all others. Just some which are more playable than others, or more fashionable currently, or sometimes which are better written/produced etc.

Look how many sets are out for Naps at the moment?! And how many rules of previous or current years stand unplayed on bookshelves.

To say Wellington only fought one battle well that's a perception or a value statement, not a factual stance, as clearly he has fought more than once in his career. I've no idea of the context in which this might have been said, and whether its true or not depends on how you define what a battle is, and what you mean by "fight". If he only means star studded spectacular Blockbusters like Austerlitz, Leipzig and Wagram, he might just have a point. Certainly if you ask the man in the street what was Wellington's battle, he'd probably say Waterloo. Not Vittoria, not Salamanca etc etc

If you are bringing NB rules into this, NB is a nice set of rules. It is a game. It has its design limits and it's good parts, but I can tell you that there will be more people playing Naps now, after having previously started the period with NB, than would be the case if NB had not been produced. there are a lot worse rules out there still being sold today. I especially hate the Column vs Line recidivists who go back to Oman's original lecture and replicate the errors in rulebook form.

You gotta get over this Whirly. Either that or engage your foe with handbags at ten paces. Life is far to short for this, and its all only a ferkin game…..

M C MonkeyDew05 Jan 2012 12:33 p.m. PST

I lurve that you used a lower case g in God but uppercase E in Englishman.

Was that intentional? I do hope so : )

Dave Crowell05 Jan 2012 5:47 p.m. PST

I do recall one set of Ancients rules that included quite a howler in the army lists. The comment was that the Sea Peoples generals must have all been tactical geniuses because they managed to defeat the Egyptians while possessing clearly inferior troops. No possibility that something is wrong with the game's modeling of the armies involved?

Don Manser05 Jan 2012 10:10 p.m. PST

I've been on the wrong end of that……


ratisbon06 Jan 2012 8:41 p.m. PST

I appreciate the kind words regarding NBs.

What separates Napoleonic miniatures wargaming from wargaming in other eras is how many claim to be experts. What amazes is how few questions I or any other designer receive from these experts. Alas, today many would rather make uninformed statements than ask questions.

Yet, Socrates said, "Ask questions, get answers." So, before individuals make statements about NBs, the truth of which they don't have enough information to make, it would be nice were they to contact me.

My email is I am available to answer questions about Craig Taylor's and my interpretation of the history of Napoleonic warfare and the design of the rules.

Bob Coggins

ochoin deach07 Jan 2012 1:52 a.m. PST

A gracious response, Bob.

Well done.

Lion in the Stars07 Jan 2012 3:47 a.m. PST

I lurve that you used a lower case g in God but uppercase E in Englishman.

Was that intentional? I do hope so : )

Well, "Englishman" is supposed to be capitalized.

Whirlwind07 Jan 2012 4:55 a.m. PST

Yet, Socrates said, "Ask questions, get answers." So, before individuals make statements about NBs, the truth of which they don't have enough information to make, it would be nice were they to contact me.

Has anyone made anything other than positive statements regarding Napoleon's Battles on this thread?


ratisbon07 Jan 2012 6:48 a.m. PST


You are correct, no one has made less than positive statements. I suppose I was being preemptive.

Bob Coggins

Bottom Dollar07 Jan 2012 9:22 a.m. PST

"have the comments of a rules writer on the history of a period outside of the actual rulebook dissuaded you from playing or continuing to play the writer's game?"

Isn't that like asking, would you play the rules of a person you don't agree with, like or get along with?

Or would you play the rules of a person who started a discussion topic about playing the rules of people of you don't agree with, like or get along with?

You guys are CRAZY ! :)

Pages: 1 2