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"Reflections on Historicon 2017" Topic

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1,104 hits since 29 Jul 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Jozis Tin Man Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2017 5:00 p.m. PST

Hit by the bug, trying again

No pictures and nothing earth shaking, just some ideas to help game masters in the future. Take a read, what do you think?


dragon629 Jul 2017 5:26 p.m. PST

You make some good points

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2017 5:35 p.m. PST


You made excellent points in a constructive and non-confrontational manner. +2 for you on your next morale roll!


YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2017 7:04 p.m. PST

I said it myself on another thread and drew criticism from some who interpret any criticism as condemnation. Most of the games I have played were great from the preparation perspective, just that the GM let in too many players and the actual gaming experience suffered.

Maybe, as in your example, the number of players would have worked with slightly different mechanics, but quite often it is simply that a six-player game has ten players, or an eight-player gamehas 12, or the granddaddy of them all, the 16-player beast which sees one small group have a swell time while the majority suffer on the sidelines. GM's of these games swear everyone had a good time, but they focus on the handful of players who sucked up their time and/or knew them, and they lose sight of the several players who drifted away and the others who sat quietly for most of the game, thumbing through the event catalog or their recent purchases.

clifblkskull Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2017 9:02 p.m. PST

Well said

Jozis Tin Man Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2017 7:01 a.m. PST

Thank you for your comments, YogiBear, you make a great point as well. That is one reason I am going to commit to running at least one game at every convention I go to and help alleviate the congestion and maybe fewer games will be packed with too many players.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2017 11:48 a.m. PST

That is the responsible thing to do, I agree. i certainly have purchased enough goodies over the years that I should be putting on games, but haven't yet had the courage to do so. I may try to start small, with skirmish games and work my way up to bigger games.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2017 12:14 p.m. PST

or the granddaddy of them all, the 16-player beast

I was in one of those at Historicon, but many of the players knew the rules and all helped those who didn't. I was on one flank and didn't even know how well our side was doing on the other flank until the game master declared us the winners. Real "fog of war!"


demiurgex31 Jul 2017 5:27 a.m. PST

I think those are excellent points.

My pet peeve however is another one:


I've been in too many poorly designed scenarios.

Gaming is a competitive enterprise. Everyone has to feel like they at least have an opportunity to impact the game, if not win outright. But homebrews, pet forces, GMs experimenting with historical what ifs, all of these thing if done poorly can absolutley trash a game.

Every GM likes to tinker, and I appreciate that, but don't bring your pet theories to the table until you've had a chance to test them, A LOT, or tell people you are running a play test.

Because so much effort in painting and money in terrain and figures, I've found minis game more likely to suffer from the game play aspect itself.

boy wundyr x Inactive Member31 Jul 2017 9:02 a.m. PST

I think those points are all good. In the last year I've started to run games at cons, for the most part just four player skirmishes, which is about the max the rules are meant for (nominally they're two player rules). Over my first few experiences I've stripped the rules down a bit further for conventions.

The rules intro is still one part I struggle with, trying to keep it to five minutes or less. That works for most players, but I was struggling with one player who took half of a game before he finally got into the swing of things – still not sure if it was him or me, or both. He won the game and was still talking to me afterwards, so I guess it wasn't that bad :-)

Russ Lockwood31 Jul 2017 1:32 p.m. PST

Good points…

players activated one at a time in random order.

I find that individual player activation mechanic is usually, although not always, the kiss of death for large multiplayer games.

The exception would be the number of items/stands/units you control. If you only have one ship/aircraft/etc, not a problem. If you have 20-25 individual men as you mentioned, that means you have to wait for seven other players to move/fire/etc 150 items.

Or, if you went 1st in one turn and 8th in the next, that would be 14 players and 300 items. A long time to wait. No wonder you averaged an hour per turn…

rules intro is still one part I struggle with, trying to keep it to five minutes or less

A good quick reference sheet helps. I start out every game by holding it up, pointing at the upper left corner at the sequence of play, and saying "All of you can read, so, this is the sequence of play…" and move around the QRS pointing at the various sections: movement, firing, melee, morale, etc. Then, it's: "We'll do the first turn slow."

And then you start.

Caveat: I set up the troops and that's where they start. I also make sure it takes at least two to three turns to meaningful contact, so the first turn is pretty much movement.

Most gamers can figure out the basics in two or three moves. They may not be spectacular commanders, but they are gaming and that's what counts.

47Ronin31 Jul 2017 4:41 p.m. PST

Solid advice for all GMs, both old and new.

Hope you will run a game at Fall In, Jozis Tin Man.

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