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"intolerance for other wargame rules" Topic


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1,331 hits since 13 Jul 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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ITALWARS Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 6:30 a.m. PST

after quite many years, i had the opportunity to play a game with previously unknown people met at a convention..well they were very kind guys..the set up a game with accutaly painted minis and landscape…but i was invited to participate at the game using their own amended rules (something like an amended Black power sisthem)…it was really an hard trial for me..as , for the quasi totality of periods i'm accostumated to play only with TSATF various versions , with Rapid Fire for modern conflicts and, in a few cases, with few pages Featherstone types simple rules (FYW, Ancient, Medieval).and only with a few couple of friends that do not need any translation and are quite fluent in reading English
At the end my show had been quite poor i did'nt succeeded in understanding the mechanism in fact i refused it…
did somebody else among you had a similar experience?…that is preferring sticking always with the same rule systhem?..or in fact it's only me that i'm a narcissist with a over developped ego? :-)

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 6:35 a.m. PST

Their game. their rules.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 7:09 a.m. PST

I've played in games at shows that were ruined by dreadful rules and conssequently had an awful time (a WW2 game at the old Chippenham show tends to spring to mind, as does an ACW naval game at Fort Brockhurst which we calculated would have taken over 200 turns to conclude), but I'm generally happy to try alternate sets covering the periods that I game because I'm open t the idea that there may be a better set out there than the sets I already use

It was probably a useful learning experience for you in terms of selecting games at future events in which you would want to play (or not)

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 9:37 a.m. PST

I always approach gaming a unknown to me rule set at a convention as a "let's see what happens in these rules". Then play the period as you understand it. If you like the way it works, it may be a new rules set for you. If you don't like it, you had a new experience. It won't be the last bad choice you make, most likely.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 9:42 a.m. PST

I go to conventions hoping to play rule sets I haven't played before.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 10:18 a.m. PST

Homebrew or heavily modified published rules generally are not well received at cons. I've tried, couldn't get players to sign up.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 10:43 a.m. PST

I find the key words are "simple rules" "introduction to" "rules will be taught" or something along those lines. Or, of course, a set you're already familiar with. But long and either homebrew or heavily modified is an especially bad combination for a convention game: it takes you a game to get the hang of the rules, and then you'll never see them again.

The two extremes seem to work better: either say "the rules are TSATF/Black Powder/Bolt Action/Whatever and you should be familiar with them to sign on" or write rules not to exceed four pages--two is better--give everyone a copy and briefly explain them before play.
But "the rules are complicated, you don't have either a copy or time to read them, but we'll tell you when you do it wrong" just doesn't work for me. A pity. It's a popular approach at conventions.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 12:26 p.m. PST

My con games are almost always with home brew or heavily modified published rule sets (FoW for example). But the mechanisms are usually pretty simple and familiar (roll to hit, roll to save or die!).

I have found a efw tricks that *really* help a game like that.

  • QRS: My typical QRS actually runs 4 pages. It uses large type (only footnotes are smaller than 12 point). Each section is color coded. Each section contains your unit's relevant stats. So the movement section has your units speed, while the "saving throw" section has your unit's Save stat (or whatever). Also, each section has a "summary" box. By turn 2 everyone is just reading from that.
  • Start one turn too far apart. This gives you one turn just to go through the turn sequence, force ID, terrain costs, command points or whatever, with no combat.
  • Have a small combat in the middle of the table run solely by the GM. On turn one have Red forces attack Blue. Do a little shooting and then a hand to hand. So everyone has seen combat once before they get in to it.
  • Explain "how to" do tactics. If a player wants to use one force to fire and one to maneuver, explain to the table how to do that *in these rules* and maybe point out a few pitfalls (plan your assault a turn in advance, don't maneuver with the HMG!).
  • GM an occasional "do over." If a player has made a terrible mistake through not quite getting the rules (such as being in range, in the open of the HMG platoon across the field) allow them a "do over" and they can fall back, or undo, or change formation. No one wants to win or lose because one player just goofed with a new rule set.

On average my in my games we get 8-12 turns in (in a 4 hour window), have a clear winner, and everyone has a good time (even people who end up not caring for my style of rules).

At a convention it's all about the GM and not so much the rules IMHO.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 12:35 p.m. PST

While I venture outside of my comfort level with rules for friends or occasionally to test a new rule set – Over time I know what I like and I tend to stick with it.

One set of rules for easy playing an evening
A couple of sets for more intense/complex games

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 12:38 p.m. PST

There is no reason someone has to like a set of rules. [You are allowed to 'refuse it'] Cons are great places to try new rules at no cost as Rustymusket says, but there is no guarantee that you'll like them.

Sometimes they are great rules, but just presented/managed poorly by the GM. [Or modified beyond recognition…]

Rich Bliss Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2017 6:19 a.m. PST

I'll try anything once because I think you need to play a set to really understand it. I'll play something again if the first time wasn't too painful. That said there are a few systems I'll never play again:

Piquet
Bolt Action
WRG 7th.

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2017 1:02 a.m. PST

Apart from the odd convention game we run where the rules are cut down to just a few die roles, I have only played our own rules since 2008.

I know what I like and currently as far as I am concerned none come close. To be fair the accent recently seems fast but undemanding rules where the number of models on the board is maximised at the expence of rationality on groundscale. Modellers like these sort of rules and they sell lots of models. I do read lots of reviews in the hope that sombody has done better thasn us, but no luck yet.

Playing worse rules has absolutely no appeal and I would not thank you for a game. Tanks battles where the turrets don't turn would ruin a game. I would far rather chat than play under those circumstances. So you may not be allone.

Ottoathome22 Jul 2017 5:03 a.m. PST

I developed my own rules in the 1980's and honed them and playtested them for a decade. They are as perfect as they have to be for me. One of the design parameters was that they be suitable for a convention game as is, and no "dumbing down" was needed.

When I put them on at a convention. I set up the table top and tell the attendees who have never played them before. "The rules are very simple. I will stand up here and drone on for about 10 minutes on how they work. Then I will carefully go through turn 1 with you one step at a time. It'll take about 20 minutes. After that I'll sit back and let you go through it yourself for turn two and by turn 3 you'll be experts and I can go play in another game or spend money in the dealer area. It never fails, by Turn three when I try and explain something or intervene I' told by the gamers with annoyed voices "We know Otto! We Know!" and I get to sit there and read a book for turn three and occasionally answer an odd question. By turn four I am no longer needed. We play the game at my home grop all the time and I explain the scenario and walk away and let the players have at it. I go and cook dinner.

Scale on the table is a fools errand. OUr minis are already so out of scale to the distance it's ridiculous. I don't mind if players cram on models. They like to play with their toys. After all, they bought them, they assembled them, they made them. I solved this to my satisfaction with my modern rules with my "The Shattered Century" (Between War to mid war). here the table top does NOT represent a stretch of ground in a sort of stop action movie, but it represents a table top-- in a headquarters-- in a chateux 20 miles behind the lines, where the units are moved around with nattily dressed WACS with croupier sticks, and the only thing that connects it to the muddy, bloody, gassed over hell you have sent your men to fight in is the tinkling of crystals in the massive chandelier as the barrage reaches it's crescendo. The players are all commanders of an army or army group, field marshalls and generals and the only colonel in the room takes the coffiee order.


Backstory is all important.

As for other rules I will always earnestly give them a try and usually can grasp the central principles, and I try and play along honestly. One owes it to the GM.

Of course all of this is passing away now. I'm moving to Maine and my wargaming live will be largely done. There do not seem to be any wargamers within two hours of where I am going,so regular gaming is a thing of the past.

ITALWARS Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2017 5:39 a.m. PST

Thanks Otto
One of the most well written and interesting personal experience I have ever read on war game theme…very realistic cocepts

Early morning writer22 Jul 2017 7:17 a.m. PST

Otto – you can play solo and I'm betting there will be people to play with in Maine, perhaps not so regularly as you are accustomed to. You may be the pioneer in getting the hobby going in your new area but I suspect few are as well qualified as you to do so. Go for it.

ITALWARS Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2017 8:17 a.m. PST

the difficulty i experimented in pioneering wargame with subsequent interest in buying forming an army to play vs me with people non related to the hobbies have been so far with Italians:
- poor knowledge of history and poor general education
- except very few exceptions uncapable or unwilling to read a minimum English (i hate translations )
- a tendency toward competitive games with points instead of historical ones
- in almost 99% of cases not capable of researching, apreciate and game out of the beaten path armies/periods….my love for ex for French Colonial or WW1 in Africa has never been met by interrest to people collecting only German tanks and roman legionaires..
so Otto maybe the best approach could be to find a well educated person, who love books, history and art and train him from zero.. i…also if it 's a total beginner…probably you'll win all the games vs him but it'll be better than game napoleonics , for ex, with people not even able to pronounce Murat

Ottoathome22 Jul 2017 12:04 p.m. PST

Dear Italian Wars.

thank you for the kind compliments. Your second post though is a "different kettle of fish" as we say.

I understand the problem of translations, To get my PhD., I had to have two foreign languages. One was German and the second was Italian. NO DO NOT TRY AND SPEAK TO ME IN Italian! I was good enough to pass the exam so I can handle sources when reading them, but speaking a foreign language is not easy to me and requires fluencies not only in the formal language, but it's idioms, slang, cultural tropes and alliteration. For the life of me I don't know how you could translate an English set of War Game rules into German or Italian because war games is one of the activities so hag-ridden with jargon, abbreviations, and arcane concepts. An indication of the difficulty might be the difficulty translating English War Game Rules into American. After 100 years we still haven't completely done it well.

But what you are talking about also is to use an American idiom "A different kettle of fish."

You must not be disheartened by the problem of
the difficulty in with people non-related to the hobby.

You list – poor knowledge of history, and poor general education

Your experience is typical in America as well. Most people even IN the hobby are poorly read, and that includes the subject of history. Most have little more than a college education and that is usually in business, a science, sometimes the arts but usually a technical field.

The good news is none of that is necessary for engaging in the game and playing the game. What us necessary is only a desire to play the game and have fun playing the game. One of my best friends and constant gaming friends is a man who is an Iron worker and who has only a high school education. He will play war games up in a building under construction or repair using the washers and rivets of his daily trade and flipping a set of iron slugs on a heads tails. he has literally done that. The concepts of a war game in the abstract, whatever specific interest you have is universal.
You say "In almost 99% of cases not capable of researching, apreciate and game out of the beaten path armies/periods….my love for ex for French Colonial or WW1 in Africa has never been met by interrest to people collecting only German tanks and roman legionaires..

I want to point out one little word you used in that sentence-- "love"-- You Love-- LOVE-- French Colonial or WWWII in Africa" You LOVE that aspect and it holds a fascination for you which is EMOTIONAL and NOT INTELLECTUAL." You are emotionally attached to it and have a fondness for it. This emotionality is irrational as well, but it has nothing at all to do with any intellectual attachment. I have a good wargame friend who LOVES the small "pygmie" armies and states in Eastern Europe in WWII. He almost rhapsodizes on his latest acquisition of some Hungarian or Slovakian "teakettle" tank. He knows that up to a tiger or even a Sherman it would be swift destruction, but the effectiveness in the game is unimportant. The other people like German tanks and Roman Legionaires. I myself have an over the top slobbering love affair with the Italian Navy of WWII. We cannot control these passions-- nor should we.

I suggest that others you meet are in a similar state, and their LOVE for these different things are simply different objects of our passion.

The same appeal is central to your experience with other rules and perhaps the "mechanics" of a game and game structure. Some things may be irksome where you are comfortable with other things. Just as in sex you might like to do certain things and have certain things done to you because it is all emotional and it is all based on pleasure, emotion, passion, make believe, and pretend, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the intellect, or intelligence, or thinking. Thus-- we do not need a high education or study or research, we just need a desire to play games and to wager a few hours for fun.

You say " maybe the best approach could be to find a well educated person, who love books, history and art and train him from zero.. "

I want to point out one little word in that statement which is disastrous. "train". "Training is forcing them to do something they don't want to do, and more deadly, you are training him to do what YOU love, not allowing them to express what they love. You cannot do that. It strips all the joy out of the activity. Few will want to do it. It must come from their inner selves. To continue our little sexual idea, for me sex with the Kardassians (any of them, all of them, one at a time or all at once ) would be excruciating and no amount of training would do it. On the other hand, Valerie Bertinelli or Peri Gilpin with a sultry "come hither look" would reduce me to raving passion in an instant.

You cannot train people to do what you want, they must come to do what they want themselves and it takes infinite care and patience.

They key is not the game, the period, the rules, the soldiers, the complexity or simplicity or anything you might imagine. It is the company. If people want to be around you and have fun with you they will become interested in what you do, and they will discover the joy of gaming on their own. They may not like doing 18th Century Imagi-Nations and Mythical armies. They may instead like hard-core American Civil War Games. But you will have moved them from liking to hang out with you and playing the game to being interested in the game and liking to hang out with you. And if you all have fun then its wonderful.

And this brings us to the final point. The person who is in it for the competitive games. Such people will never participate in it for LOVE, indeed they do not WANT love, they want to crush their enemy. But the game is far more than that. If it were only that we would play poker or pool. But there is no romance in the game behind that. T
If they are interested in anything, they will delve into it on their own and it will come to that "romance" I spoke about.

When I began the hobby I was interested in the Renaissance because of all the usual "chinoiserie" of pikemen and musketeer, reiters and urban militia. As I studied it academically I began to also become attracted tot he personalities, the art, the sculpture, the literature, the drama of the "famiglia" the dynasties, and then into the passions, the culture, the stories, and raw unbounded passion and emotion of the Italian Renaissance, and believe me it became very much the Italian Renaissance. "Chiaroscuro" -- light and dark. You know what that means, and I came to know the period not just by the toys but by the real passions that lay behind the battles. To look at Michelangelo's David and understand that behind the image of almost perfect beauty, are the horrors of Cosimo's workshops where the Ciompi, the bluenails labor like nibelungen dwarves in a toxic environment of ugliness. Where one can have the most noble and elevated achievements of a Pico Della Mirandola, or a Dante, or an Erasmus based on the brutal murderous soul of the Condottieri. It's one thing to play the War of the Roses, but it's quite another to realize that these are the same people who act out that gruesome "Napkin" scene in Henry VI Part three.

Excuse me.. got a little carried away.

But you see that is the joy of the hobby and you can only lead the uninitiated to the door, they must enter history themselves and read it. They will do this as is their choice.

ITALWARS Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

very amusing to read you….and very interesting…my character with signs of narcisism and worship of myself (egolatria) as my girlfiend define me also as regards my hobby would instinctivly push me to counter all your points…but!…i smile and i must admit that you're true in almost everything! :-)
i'll return to yor post
regards

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