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"Wargaming without rules?" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian19 Sep 2019 8:00 p.m. PST

Is it possible to 'wargame' without any rules?

I was reading about some toy soldier collectors who engage in what they call wargaming, but from what I could tell, it seemed that they were not 'gaming' in the usual sense, more like collectively acting out a battle with toy soldiers. There didn't seem to be any formal rules or dice.

In your opinion, does that count as wargaming?

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2019 9:08 p.m. PST

Not for me, but I think it counts for them. Much in the idea that I might not want to play a specific set of rules – but won't deride your joy in playing those rules. (though in this case a specific set of no rules)

advocate19 Sep 2019 10:18 p.m. PST

Not since I was a small boy. But if that works for your group, why not? It's going to need some collective assumptions at least, though, and some discussion if those are challenged.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 12:32 a.m. PST

Absolutely! Good for them!

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 12:50 a.m. PST

It still needs some common understanding of can or not be done. Even if intuitive. It can be called rules;)
Up to a point that's Kriegspiel… And NIET no link to the stripped blazer wearing beer drinking jovial Englander site…;) VERBOTTEN!

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 2:10 a.m. PST

Does that count as wargaming? Yes.

Can you wargame without rules? No.

Do the rules need to be written and static? No.

Our rules are written, but not static during play. In combat, and especially urban combat (which can also be in a number of non-urban environments), you run into situations that were not predicted in the rules or scenario definition. In those cases, we discuss the dynamics and come up with a rule on the spot.

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 3:46 a.m. PST

I have wondered, when writing rules or deciding which I want to play, whether I could put the figures on the table and start playing, even rolling dice, and if it would become apparent what I wanted to be able to do. I wouldn't call that a game, but it might turn out that I would realize it would be fun to have more surprises, or whether I wanted interrupts.


rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 3:51 a.m. PST

Maybe a build the rules as you go kind of game.

Martian Root Canal20 Sep 2019 5:26 a.m. PST

It's Kriegspiel in the original Prussian tradition.

John Armatys20 Sep 2019 5:37 a.m. PST

It is certainly a game – called "muggergaming" – see the Wargame Developments Handbook at page 8 PDF link

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 5:57 a.m. PST

In addition to John's post above, there was an old issue of Miniature Wargames that had a battle report/discussion with a "muggergame". Definitely interesting, but I think 90% of gamers wouldn't get it and/or like it!

Legion 420 Sep 2019 6:40 a.m. PST

Rules !? We don't need no stink'n rules !!!!

Jeffers20 Sep 2019 8:24 a.m. PST

Yep. With 1/6 action figures. We tried using standard skirmish rules but these failed miserably. What works on a table on club nights does not transfer to a farm in Wales when a game is spread out over about 100 yards. We just used our knowledge of WW2 and a big D6 (a dog toy!) for chance elements.

It's vital to have like-minded individuals, though. In our case, not being squeamish about sheep poo helped too.

Cerdic20 Sep 2019 11:08 a.m. PST

Jeffers, I like the cut of your jib, young feller!

Yesthatphil20 Sep 2019 12:13 p.m. PST

I wrote a scenario for the Battle of Bouviones (1214) for both Basic Impetus and for DBA (the DBA one ended up in the Great Battles of History compilation) …

The project started off with a 'muggergame' of the battle (played many years ago at Partizan) … no rules or dice in which people just got to tell me what they thought would happen phase by phase. And we just argued it out.

It entirely worked and it enabled me, very quickly, to see how players wanted a scenario and a game of the battle to play out. Then I was able to pick the rules to use and write the scenario for it.

It's like a matrix game without the structure or the optional dice.

SoA Shows North

UshCha20 Sep 2019 1:16 p.m. PST

Certainly in developing Maneouvre Group we would set up a situation on a table and discuss what we considered was the correct outcome and what were the key issues controlling that outcome. I would most certainly call it entertainment, very challenging and often enlightening, having the pieces there, being engineers who can't even talk technical without a pencil in hand, it was very enlightening if only to highlight areas for more study. I would not really call it a game, but I guess you could call it whatever you like.

Stryderg20 Sep 2019 1:18 p.m. PST

I heard about (and want to try) a game where the first few turns were along the lines of, "Your troops are on a drop ship, this big. Which units do you want on which levels?" A few minutes of describing where everyone is, and then…, "The drop ship lands on a beach, partially underwater and starts sinking. Let's see how many units you can get unloaded…" Dice rolls ensued and the game proper began.

14Bore20 Sep 2019 3:17 p.m. PST

Cavinball with miniatures, why not?

von Schwartz20 Sep 2019 5:43 p.m. PST

When I was about 8 or 9 we would set up our soldiers and chuck hard clumps of sand at em. When I got a little older we would chuck firecrackers at them (rubber soldiers only, the plastic ones would break).

von Schwartz20 Sep 2019 5:44 p.m. PST

It is certainly a game called "muggergaming" see the Wargame Developments Handbook at page 8 PDF link

If it's written down, doesn't THAT count as rules?

coopman21 Sep 2019 7:33 a.m. PST

Sounds like a good way to get a fist fight started.

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