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"Action/Reaction in Miniature Wargaming (Part 6)" Topic


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John Michael Priest29 Dec 2019 8:50 a.m. PST

The final installment of Action/Reaction in Miniature Wargaming is on line at Ramblings of a Military Historian,

https://johnmpriest.blogspot.com

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian29 Dec 2019 9:05 a.m. PST

Direct link: link

companycmd30 Dec 2019 8:37 a.m. PST

Dont use charge.
Dont use March Column
Dont use Open Order…

There are a TON of things we dont use when one unit is one unit; it's look on the game table is immaterial; doesnt matter if its line or column or battle column… the unit is a unit … period.

This makes for FAR EASIER war gaming and few if any arguements at all.

Same same:: dont use penetration charts and other nonsense.

A gun is a gun.

A Light Gun is anything from 38mm to 55mm
A Medium gun is anything from 56mm to 76mm.

etc.

If we dont simply our games and get new players into this hobby, we are doomed.

John Michael Priest30 Dec 2019 9:16 a.m. PST

I understand your point. Rules can always get "tweaked" to make them more playable. It is all a matter of personal taste. Thank you for your comments.

UshCha06 Jan 2020 2:05 a.m. PST

companycmd. I really depends what you want out of a game. I play for the simulation, if thats not there then the entertainment value is zero for me. Beginners can be taught and are willing to be taught if they are truly interested.

As an example, tanks need to be able to turn there turrets, like the real thing. Assult guns need to turn there hulls. Without that diffrentiation is just an AFV, and so to me it would be a pointless game.

John Michael Priest06 Jan 2020 3:26 p.m. PST

I enjoy the mechanics and details of using accurate Military formations. I used it in school to teach ACW tactics.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2020 12:56 p.m. PST

If we don't simply our games and get new players into this hobby, we are doomed.

I agree that we need to get new players into the hobby, but simplifying all our games is not the way to do it. We have plenty of simplified games. Want a list?

You don't see RR modelers saying that they have to simplify all their train sets to get new recruits in the hobby. No one tries to simplify all RC models to get new hobby enthusiasts. Golfers don't get new players by reducing all courses to miniature golf parks.

The issues of getting new people into the hobby isn't about simple games. There are plenty of them and have been plenty of them. Board wargames seem to be going strong and those are more often MORE complicated than most tabletop games.

At a recent conference I watched a teenager tour the tables, asked to join our game with complex rules. As he'd never played a wargame, I introduced him to the players of a simpler WWII game. After playing a little bit, he came back to the more complex game and wanted in.

There could be a lot of reasons for that, but the complexity of the game for that young man wasn't an issue.

Having said that, all hobbies have a 'simple' venue as a place to start in the hobby. If I go into RC modeling, golf, RR modeling, it is pretty clear where the 'entry point' is. We don't have that kind of 'setup' organizationally or materially.

John Michael Priest07 Jan 2020 4:04 p.m. PST

Well said. I have always gravitated toward detail which is why I liked SPIs Sniper. I prefer simulations with a lot of variables. Facing matters. Formations matter. Another favorite was Wooden Ships and Iron Men.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2020 1:24 p.m. PST

I have heard the concern about our 'shrinking/graying' hobby and that we need 'simple' games to attract new players.

Problem is, we have simple games, a number of good ones. So why isn't that helping?

I don't think that is the issue. Historical wargaming supposedly provides something unique, different from Fantasy and Science Fiction miniatures.

I think the problem is that our hobby is really, really confused about what that might be, and because of it, is losing gamers to F/SF games--arenas that have very few 'representational' limits or requirements. Is it any wonder that we don't draw more attention?

Our unique draw is history, yet players often state on TMP that our historical wargames are also fantasy or that it is the camaraderie that is important, etc. etc. etc.

F/SF offer the very same thing.

John Michael Priest14 Jan 2020 3:11 p.m. PST

I am not a fantasy gamer. As a former teacher too many of the game simulations in social studies involved fake countries with no historical basis and were used to entertain more than teach.

When I ran military simulations in class I often backed up scenarios with actual battlefield events. We often built the games from the ground up. Great student participation as a rule.

I prefer games based in what really happened. I recall one time we gamed the Wheatfield at Gettysburg in 54 mm and discovered that the Union players moved to the sound if the guns rather than trying to outflank the Confederates. We had a good discussion about that afterwards. Great learning experience,

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2020 8:53 p.m. PST

I too was a history/social science teacher and used simulations in the classroom for a great many historica events and dynamics. I actually published some learning games while I was still a high school teacher. I moved on to training educators and business folks, often still using simulations and games.

Used well, simulations and games can be powerful learning experiences, unique in what they can provide.

I love the history and historical dynamics historical wargames can provide, and yes the details.

However, I enjoy all sorts of games, both fantasy, SF and historical… The question is what is the unique draw of historical wargames.

John Michael Priest15 Jan 2020 3:48 a.m. PST

A genuine love of history.

UshCha15 Jan 2020 12:26 p.m. PST

For me the interest is in understanding how at least in principal, the tactics laid out in Technical manuals is applied in practice. Effectively its about learning to, at least in part put principals of the real world into practice.

This may in may cases not stretch as far as simulation large battles as there are even more constrained by logistics, whihc is not my area of interest.

While some may say this can apply to SF I would disagree it is after all fantasy.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2020 12:36 p.m. PST

A genuine love of history.

I agree. So, how is that being promoted? I would suggest

1. Not very well
2. History lovers are a smaller than average population of history lovers
3.Its not clear how history is translated into game systems--i.e. what history are we getting as a game product.
4. Too many game designers don't demonstrate the same love.

Just my opinion.

For me the interest is in understanding how at least in principal, the tactics laid out in Technical manuals is applied in practice. Effectively its about learning to, at least in part put principals of the real world into practice.

UshCha:

Yes, I think that is part of the draw of a love of history--a desire to experience some of the dynamics of that history in a game…and ALL games are learning experiences. The question is 'What am I learning?'

John Michael Priest15 Jan 2020 1:23 p.m. PST

How many younger people play with toy soldiers? How do we motivate them to explore historical gaming? I wonder if it would be possible to get a place to run historically themed games at a local school, or a local park in a pavilion set up or to get a local Civil War Round Table or a veterans' organization to sponsor a war game weekend where parents with kids get free admission.

What if there were wargame fairs? Or kid friendly, illustrated game rules or scenarios?

Teacher workshops?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2020 1:11 p.m. PST

How many younger people play with toy soldiers?How do we motivate them to explore historical gaming?

John:

You mean something more, deeper than just playing with toy soldiers? [you see where I'm going with this?"]

We can motivate them when we have a clear idea of what our games are offering, different than playing with SF/F minatures or just playing with toy soldiers.

I watched a game being put on in a shopping mall recently.A great effort along the lines of what you are suggesting.

Great ACW setup and when folks approached as asked 'why are you in this hobby? It looks like you are playing with toy soldiers.'[Lots of grins with that question] The answer first given was about recreating history with set up, terrain, troops, scale movement etc. etc. Then across the table another of guys who were putting on the demonstration said, 'What's wrong with playing with toy soldiers? That's what we're doing."

Point being, a real mixed message. It's like a chess enthusiast saying they are playing with toys when playing with painted chess pieces. Is that what is going on, the point of the exercise?

Nothing wrong with playing with toy soldiers. Nothing wrong with playing with imaginations, SF/F or just generic wargames, etc.

I don't think that what Historical wargames are about, their reason for existing. If it isn't, then the hobby should get some clarity on what historical wargames are about, how they offer unique gaming experiences from all the other miniature games.

John Michael Priest16 Jan 2020 4:41 p.m. PST

As a teacher I discovered that most of my students had never played with what they called "army men." Once they learned that they could play strategy games and that they were fun, their attitudes changed. Many of my students had never had board games in their homes or books.

I wanted them to see beyond playing and learning while playing. I often showed them how they needed math to figure out ranges and how important facing was in a tactical game. They learned history by accident and they helped develop the game.

I ran a Civil War class for talented and gifted kids for several summers in which we Wargamed and developed units according to scale. They developed the game based on accurate guidelines.

The personal face to face interaction is what they miss when they play computer games. I get them involved in gaming through toy soldiers.

John Michael Priest16 Jan 2020 5:38 p.m. PST

As a teacher I discovered that most of my students had never played with what they called "army men." Once they learned that they could play strategy games and that they were fun, their attitudes changed. Many of my students had never had board games in their homes or books.

I wanted them to see beyond playing and learning while playing. I often showed them how they needed math to figure out ranges and how important facing was in a tactical game. They learned history by accident and they helped develop the game.

I ran a Civil War class for talented and gifted kids for several summers in which we Wargames and developed units according to scale. They developed the game based on accurate guidelines.

The personal face to face interaction is what they miss when they play computer games. I get them involved in gaming through toy soldiers.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2020 6:23 p.m. PST

Yes, all of those are positives and part of the draw of wargames.

As a teacher, I really enjoyed introducing students to learning games and simulations… the involvement and learning 'in process' was always a treat to watch. I am sorry that more teachers didn't/don't use them. The problem was justifying the activity when there was so much emphasis on the 'frameworks' required by the state and testing.

I actually had a parent complain that "School is isn't about fun. It's hard work."

John Michael Priest16 Jan 2020 6:58 p.m. PST

I managed to work them in despite the essential curriculum and the daily objectives. Could not use the term wargaming. Had to call them historical simulations.

John Michael Priest17 Jan 2020 1:38 p.m. PST

My latest blog entry "Introducing Miniature Wargaming to the Younger Generation" is on this Message Board under the Historical Wargaming in General board

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