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"Making Room for a New Generation of Designers?" Topic

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1,687 hits since 15 Jul 2020
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian15 Jul 2020 10:07 p.m. PST

Is it time for the current generation of rules writers to step aside, to allow a younger and more diverse set of people room to be successful with their own designs?

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2020 10:12 p.m. PST


I still want L.L. Gill to develop a pre-dreadnought version of the GQ3 system.

Also, I feel like Daniel Mersey just got here. He's hit a lot of home runs, and I don't think he's done yet.

Spooner615 Jul 2020 10:41 p.m. PST

I don't see this as binary. Can't we have both? Would new designers not benefit from working with existing ones and vise versa. New Ideas combined with experience and knowledge?


Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2020 11:59 p.m. PST

Who are you suggesting should retire, Bill? Name names :)

Arjuna16 Jul 2020 1:29 a.m. PST

Yes, the existing geronto-feudal guild system for rules writer with their arcane and harsh system of rules written in stone is obviously stiffling the publishing of another 500 or so fresh new rules system pdf with a half-life period of about two years but the double intent to sell four-times overpriced figurines.
And so it should be replaced by a market system where the customer decides out of his own pocket to buy a pile of new toys two times a year with an operation manual full of obscure young gun instructions how to shuffle those toys over the table top…

Der Krieg Geist16 Jul 2020 2:35 a.m. PST

What does the question even mean? Implying that current rules writers, in any way, shape or form hinder new rules writers seems ludicrous to me. Am I missing something, Bill?

Yesthatphil16 Jul 2020 2:55 a.m. PST

Well, it has never been easier for new writers to publish their rules to a global audience at minimal cost … so there's no need for an opinion poll, people can simply choose what they want.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2020 3:05 a.m. PST

How about instead the current generation of wargame web site owners stepping aside for a younger and more diverse set of wargame web site owners? Or is that different?

Uparmored16 Jul 2020 3:09 a.m. PST

I'm going back to 1996. Phoenix Command for EVERYTHING. The final rule set.

Arjuna16 Jul 2020 3:46 a.m. PST

At first I had the same answer as robert piepenbrink in mind, but backed off from it, because I'm no paying customer and found it a bit harsh, allthough absolutely correct.

Oh, and why not ask such questions?
They obviously make the forum more interesting and stimulate site requests, so I'm fine with Chief Bill.
On the other hand I would love to use some of those rather outlandish new technologies I read on the internet on TMP…
Like threading and direct answers to a posting, notification about new answers etc.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2020 5:34 a.m. PST

Perhaps in addition to naming names, Bill, you should specify what you mean by "diversity." Are we talking card systems for determining casualties? Different fire rules for the different sides? Random fixed rosters?

Or is this the same tired "everyone must think the same thoughts inside different skins with different genitals" I get when I visit the sites which are actually SUPPOSED to be about politics?

Wolfhag16 Jul 2020 7:16 a.m. PST

Hmm, I suspect Bill stepped in it on this one. Let's see how he extracts himself. I know he meant well.

Personally, I think we should judge games by the content of their rules and not the color of their skin or birth date. There is enough room for everyone.


Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2020 7:38 a.m. PST

In a free market, everyone has the ability to compete (which is still what we have, a free market), regardless of age, gender, race, or other parameter. Rules writers make it, or they do not, based on their marketing, and their rules. When I find a rules system I like, I do not check out the author's personal qualities…

I read, and play the rules. If I like them, I may look for other works by that author. I do not care about their age, gender, sexual orientation, or their politics, nationality, etc. None of that matters to me. All I care about, is whether or not I like their rules system.

I wrote, and self-published, some damned fun Army Men rules, easy to learn, fast playing, and did I mention, fun? I marketed them (1998-2007), with a $0 USD budget. I sold around 150 copies, over nine years. I considered it a great success, not in sales, but in the joy I saw the game bring to the faces of children, and adults, who played it in classes I taught for the local Community Education system. If I had the skills, and the money, to market them properly, I might have made some money. Maybe not. I competed in a fair, and open market. I have never complained that I was treated unfairly, or that I was discriminated against. I had my fun, I enjoyed my limited success, and I moved on.

My race, gender, sexual orientation, political/religious views, nor any other personal parameters, had any impact on my success. None of my customers knew anything about me: they played my rules, they enjoyed them, they decided to buy them; for my mail-order sales, my customers enjoyed my web site enough to take a chance on buying my rules. The feedback I received was all positive. None of my personal parameters played any role in the mail-order sales (majority of my sales), whatsoever.

Sorry, but I find this concept tedious and insulting. This is a solution looking for a problem which does not exist. Cheers!

Legion 416 Jul 2020 8:05 a.m. PST

Robert, Wolf, Sgt Slag +1 x 3 !

Why should anything but the quality of rules, etc., count ? Don't really care who wrote them.

I think they have a name for a concept like that today in the media. "Identity _____________", yes ?

And in a free market the more choices the consumer has is usually a better economic situation.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2020 9:10 a.m. PST

i think anyone who wants to write new rules should!

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2020 10:17 a.m. PST

Diverse viewpoints in rules design is unquestionably desirable.

But I don't like the collectivist orientation of the question. Do we need to decide as a group that "designers" as a group need to act a certain way? The history of the hobby shows people are often as not happy to move on to new rules with new ideas. If "diverse" designers produce new rules some will like them and use them, some may not like them but at least buy them and possibly use them for the sake of diversity. Other people won't. Do we actually want to prevent people from not accepting new rules for the sake of diversity?

Diverse viewpoints in rules design is unquestionably desirable. But if we, as a group, answer the posted question in the affirmative what would implementation look like? Non-diverse people are banned from creating new rules sets so that under-represented people have a chance to create rules? As if one person creating rules prevents another person from also creating rules? Or do we hope that if non-diverse people quit creating rules people will accept the new rules from non-diverse people instead of sticking with established rules they already own, know, and enjoy? Because we're worried the new rules from diverse designers won't be able to stand on their own?

Diverse viewpoints in rules design is unquestionably desirable. I am absolutely ready to try some new designs with different underlying principles. But telling a bunch of people to "step aside" because we don't want any more of their viewpoint seems… problematic.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2020 10:23 a.m. PST

It seems like a rather silly premise. Are established designers some how preventing new designers from writing or publishing?

Basha Felika16 Jul 2020 11:20 a.m. PST

It does seem rather odd – it's inevitable that rule writers are going to be drawn from, and reflect, the demographic of those involved in the hobby, surely?

George Gush was unusual in that he was Anglo-Indian but no-one has ever judged his WRG rules on his ethnicity, did they?

And, by definition then, any rule writer under the age of 60 should still be considered ‘young'.

I guess that young whippersnapper, Barker, has been whinging again that he can't get published because Mr Wesencraft has corned the market?

Thresher0116 Jul 2020 12:08 p.m. PST


USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2020 12:12 p.m. PST

Is it time for the current generation of rules writers to step aside, to allow a younger and more diverse set of people room to be successful with their own designs?

The initial question is so full of false presuppositions, I hardly know where to begin. You are saying that older rules writers are somehow preventing younger more diverse writers from writing rules. Huh? It's a free market; all are welcome. I have no idea about the age and diversity of the writers whose rules I own; and frankly don't care. I'm interested in the content of the rules, not what the writer looks like.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2020 12:44 p.m. PST

"Is it time for the current generation of rules writers to step aside, to allow a younger and more diverse set of people room to be successful with their own designs?"

Smacks of ageism to me.

Diversity should never be an end in it self, it is not relevant in wargame design.

With the free and global market publish your rules on line and if people like them they will buy them. If people can't compete then too bad, find something else to do. If you can't compete against the old non diverse group, then perhaps you are not providing what the market wants.

I suspect most of those young people are designing video games not miniatures games anyway.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

The Beast Rampant16 Jul 2020 1:15 p.m. PST

Why would any step aside? if their (presumably?) clunky old mechanisms don't fly anymore, then the market will bear out.

Zephyr116 Jul 2020 2:58 p.m. PST

"Making Room for a New Generation of Designers?"

Nature will take care of that through eventual attrition…

Der Krieg Geist16 Jul 2020 10:51 p.m. PST

I suspect "someone" might be pushing buttons to increase controversy/site thread/ hit counts, perhaps? :)

snurl116 Jul 2020 11:51 p.m. PST

Trial by combat is the only way to settle this. A victorious challenger will reign as designer, until one day a new worthy opponent shall best him from his lofty perch.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2020 5:32 a.m. PST

The most important question though, what pension will retiring old fart designers such as myself receive? And can we stay on as consultants to the younger generation after we've retired? :)

Ken Nielsen17 Jul 2020 8:54 a.m. PST

If you think rule sets are confusing now, just wait until you see what the younger generation writes. In my day job I review lots of writing from younger folks, and spent what feels like an inordinate amount of time translating stuff into plain English. And I'm not even north of 60 at this point, so some may consider me young. Or not. :)

Bede1900217 Jul 2020 9:47 a.m. PST

Won't the market sort this out?

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Jul 2020 5:15 p.m. PST

Won't the market sort this out?

One of the fundamental underlying assumptions for free market economics to work is to have a rational consumer. So … wargamers. Just sayin'.

Trial by combat is the only way to settle this.
Trial by Stone

Uparmored18 Jul 2020 2:44 a.m. PST

I only play rules written by tri-sexual indigienous gnomes of Timbuktoo. And I want you to know this because it makes me look like a better human being.

Wolfhag18 Jul 2020 1:15 p.m. PST

And the endorphin rush is a great high knowing that your values are better than other humans. Be careful, Virtue Signalling can become really addictive. (smiley face)


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 2:11 p.m. PST

Well I have pulled a few strings with the Guild of Rule Writers. Starting this weekend, anyone who wants to will be permitted to write, distribute and even publish a set of miniature rules: there will be NO restrictions on the basis of race, religion, sex, "gender" or age! (The English Fluency standard was revoked years ago.) You won't need advance permission from the Guild, and the usual Guild fee is waived.

I hope this was what you wanted, Bill. If you wanted something else, you should have been more explicit.

Legion 419 Jul 2020 10:07 a.m. PST

I only play sci-fi now … no one cares how many Orks, etc. are killed !

RudyNelson20 Jul 2020 6:56 p.m. PST

Are the youth capable if so then let them design. Do it for fun and ego. Making tons of money is a rarity. Do it for ego.

Does the designer have a background in historical research, game mechanics, manuscript writing, military science rather than only military history. Do they have practical experience in several areas?

Legion 421 Jul 2020 9:19 a.m. PST

Good points !

arthur181522 Jul 2020 6:09 a.m. PST

RudyNelson, apart from 'manuscript writing' – not sure exactly what you meant by that – Herbert George Wells would not meet any of your criteria, yet his wargame rules, Little Wars, is still being republished after over a hundred years!

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jul 2020 2:07 p.m. PST

Herbert George Wells would not meet any of your criteria

historical research – He made his fortune with a history outline and created a surge of such writing in the early 0th century.

game mechanics – Little Wars was his second wargame rule set, two years after his first. Since this was a recreational hobby and not a profession for him, there is no indication of where this came from and how it happened (besides a third-hand apocryphal story).

manuscript writing – He was a writer/journalist by profession.

military science – He was a pacifist, and wrote many treatises on the subject. He also worked for the British war propaganda office.

Not a big, formal CV, but certainly not none, either.

arthur181523 Jul 2020 9:50 a.m. PST

etotheipi, you may be taking my tongue in cheek comment too seriously!

But, I would point out that his books The Outline of History and A Short History of the World, which were popular, rather than scholarly works, were published seven years or more after Little Wars which itself shows little evidence of serious historical research being involved in its composition.

I don't think Floor Games really qualifies as a set of wargame rules. In Little Wars he offers an account of how he was inspired to write it, which I see no reason to disbelieve. What is the 'third-hand apocryphal story' to which you refer, please?

You will note I queried what the OP meant by 'manuscript writing'. Might he have meant the ability to write by hand, rather than type on a keyboard, or text, as youngster do today?

The OP referred to a background in 'military science rather than only military history'. Again, I'm not 100% sure, but thought it meant military training and service. Being a writer of pacifist treatises hardly seems to qualify!

Of course, Little Wars is a 'game of toy soldiers' not a historical simulation – and none the worse for it!

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