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"Do fantasy gamers evolve into "graying" historical gamer?" Topic


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02 Sep 2020 12:08 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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raylev302 Sep 2020 11:53 a.m. PST

Questions related to the recent post on whether or not historical gaming is dying: "Is Historical Wargaming in Decline?"

TMP link

I was browsing through Wargames Illustrated Bite-size #6 and came across and article/letter that opened with, "Historical wargaming is a dying hobby." Almost 30 years ago!

This caused me to ask myself….do gamers "evolve?" Here we are 28 years later which means many of today's "graying" historical gamers were in their 20s when that letter was published, and probably played a lot of fantasy back then.

So here's my question(s)….
Did they evolve into historical gamers? Will today's 20-somethings become tomorrows "graying" historical gamers?

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian02 Sep 2020 12:11 p.m. PST

Or we greybeards raise Historical gamers (takes 15+ years)

Bede1900202 Sep 2020 12:24 p.m. PST

No.

I started playing historical games.

I only got into Warhammer (fantasy and 40k) because it's so much easier to
find GW gamers than historical.

nickinsomerset02 Sep 2020 12:49 p.m. PST

Started Historical, moved to fantasy (LOTR) then Warhammer, returned to historical, recently been doing some more fantasy, looking at sci fi and Space Hulk at some point! See "Tales from the Wargames Shed" on Facebook

Tally Ho!

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 12:53 p.m. PST

I started as a historical player, at a later date I started playing some sci fi and fantasy.

TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 1:05 p.m. PST

I've always been interested in and played both. They scratch very different itches for me.

KevinV02 Sep 2020 2:00 p.m. PST

I agree with TGerritsen. I play and have armies for everything from AoS, 40K and Necromunda through airplanes, naval and armies, Ancient up through Force on Force and role playing. I'm even looking for Cavemen.
Our group now includes a couple of us 'greybeards' a bunch of 20 year olds and added a teenager over the summer.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 2:51 p.m. PST

I have dabbled with Fantasy in my early years, but started and since I have been historical.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 3:03 p.m. PST

Thirty years ago, the local game shop owner was swearing blind to me that all those fantasy players he was recruiting were going to grow into historical miniatures players. He's still waiting, I think, and HMGS is trying hard to ignore the commitment to history in their charter.

No one talks actual numbers. What I think it comes down to is that historical miniatures gaming took off in the 1960's with kids, but we were never able to attract enough of the succeeding generations to come anywhere near replacing ourselves. The GW crowd moves on to other fantasy and SF, but rarely to historicals.

gavandjosh0202 Sep 2020 3:26 p.m. PST

played "proper" wargames since I was about 12 – so 50 years and a bit. Always played both.

von Schwartz02 Sep 2020 3:50 p.m. PST

Yeah, really got to go with TGerritsen. I have had both and played whatever the rest of the group was playing that night. I usually had an idea ahead of time so I knew what to bring.

BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 4:17 p.m. PST

I started out with historical board games, historical miniatures and role playing in 1978 as a young teen. I dabbled with fantasy miniatures for just a bit (dwarves vs elves). Then went pretty much all historical (dropping to board gaming only during High School and College) and then got back into historicals right out of college. Today I am 99% historical miniatures.

For me it has all been about the history more than the game. I have introduced/created a lot of historical gamers over the years. Surprising how many I introduced who never did any fantasy gaming first.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 4:21 p.m. PST

People change. I don't know that there's any particular direction within the gaming community.

I also don't know that historical is "evolving" with respect to fantasy.

There's a time to live and a time to die
When it's time to meet the maker
There's time to live but isn't it strange
That as soon as you're born you're dying.
The ClairvoyantIron Maiden

Yesthatphil02 Sep 2020 4:30 p.m. PST

No … like most of my playing associates (and the newcomers I know), I didn't play fantasy then and I don't play fantasy now.

Some people do both.

Phil

Syrinx002 Sep 2020 4:59 p.m. PST

I started playing RPG's and moved into WWII Tractics & Greyhawk mass battles at the D&D DM's request. Eventually younger RPG players pulled in GW fantasy and 40K to our group as well. Effectively for our group RPG's merged the Historical and GW factions.

Personal logo Lost Wolf Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 6:01 p.m. PST

I started in historicals (civil war) and have become more of a scifi/fantasy gamer. Greatly enjoy X-Wing, Gaslands, and LoTR

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 6:16 p.m. PST

I've always played them all. I've always tended to gravitate toward fairly hard science fiction, but have enjoyed plenty of historical and fantasy across various periods, levels, and genres.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2020 8:42 p.m. PST

I started historical, dabbled in fantasy, but never really strayed.

Huscarle Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2020 12:36 a.m. PST

I have both, although fantasy are used more for RPG/Frostgrave than battles. I started off with Airfix rules, moving to WRG, and picked up D&D RPG at the same time (all by age 14). It's all been bit of a mix since then grin

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2020 3:12 a.m. PST

Just hit me. Wait just a little bit--say 10=15 years--and the average age of historical miniatures players will be much younger. My contemporaries and I will no longer be where we can fill out surveys. (Will the Distlefink be haunted, do you suppose?)

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Sep 2020 5:46 a.m. PST

All my grandparents live into their 90's. My mother is perfectly healthy and in her 80's. I'm 50 (OK, honey, 51). I intend to be raising the average age of wargamers in several genres for many decades to come.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2020 6:27 a.m. PST

Not in my experience, no.

Sgt Slag03 Sep 2020 6:57 a.m. PST

I played historical games for around 10 years. I play mostly fantasy, now, along with my Army Men games. I have not played historicals in around 15 years.

I won't go into the reasons why. I am just not that into history, like my gaming buddies are. My Army Men games are not historical, in any way, shape, or form, other than the weapons depicted. My Army Men rules are abstract. I am not a "rivet counter," as they say.

I am also a gamer: I am solely interested in playing a tactical game. I don't really care what happened historically, I just want to play a game. Re-enacting history has no interest for me. (I guess I did expound on the "why," a bit. Oops!) Cheers!

Grelber03 Sep 2020 8:09 a.m. PST

I started out with very limited funds and had to stay concentrated on historicals just to get armies on the table. As I've gotten older, and have more money, I have spent some on fantasy, geared specifically to my historical periods. However, I've never gone off so far as to build an entire fantasy army or two. More skirmish sort of things--a goblin war party of a dozen or so, for example.

Grelber

MajorB03 Sep 2020 8:12 a.m. PST

"Do fantasy gamers evolve into "graying" historical gamer?"

Some do, some don't. Next question?

Fred Mills03 Sep 2020 8:38 a.m. PST

There is a powerful demographic driver, I think. Unscientific thoughts follow.

Boomers raised on Airfix and Matchbox and Avalon Hill have gradually acquired purchasing power, not to mention leisure hours as the kids leave home and retirement comes. Their demands and interests vary, but the market has expanded to meet the needs/interests of this reasonably well-heeled cohort. This paralleled the large Cold War defence posture of a post-nuclear-parity era, as well as the growth in video/simulation, much of it based on lived experience (WWII, 'Nam, etc.). Interests range/ranged widely, and have been matched by the increasing ease of technical production. It is, in short, a golden age for greying (golden?) gamers.

Fantasy was (plus or minus) a half-generation later, with equally low entry costs to participation, and even lower intellectual ones, though the groups thoroughly overlap. Fantasy enthusiasts too, often a few years younger, have also aged and diversified with commensurately greater purchasing power, and have had the added benefit of major films and series to sustain them, plus a thriving book industry, not to mention RPG and comics.

The subject requires less historical knowledge, making it more easily accessible, and therefore – I think – more easily replicable. They are both more numerous, and less tied to either an historical moment (e.g., the Cold War) or a singular subject (save maybe LoTR and its derivatives). More accessible historical projects – C&C, Memoir 44, Twilight Struggle – have this same low entry threshold, and the sales figures to prove it.

The two do overlap, and yet remain distinct. The decline of historical study in schools and universities will not, in the long term, benefit historical gaming, barring future major wars. The surfeit of fantasy TV, movies, and books will benefit fantasy gaming, precisely as those children of TSR etc. watch their own children move out and their retirement funds solidify.

The future holds a smaller but still vibrant and diverse historical community, I think, but a larger, multifaceted, and perhaps fast-changing fantasy one, with continuing ties to pop culture. I'd therefore wager that I'm more likely to play dragon games with my grandchildren than those involving AP penetration die rolls and morale checks for infantry in square. But when they are abed, and the old man retreats to his basement bunker, Napoleon shall march, the panzers rumble, and the legions stand along the frontiers of empire.

Of course, having been wrong on most everything else, notably of late the NHL playoffs, I am probably wrong on all this too!

Der Krieg Geist04 Sep 2020 5:03 p.m. PST

Fred Mills, \
Not sure what you mean by Fantasy"with equally low entry costs to participation, and even lower intellectual ones,"…. I don't sense an intended slight nor do I agree that Fantasy and Science Fiction gaming is less of an intellectual endeavor. That will also vary from on participant to another.

I did enormous amounts of research when I played Historicals and found it enjoyable…the rivet counting/ button/facings/ uniform color… arguments between other gamers…not so much. I did not stop playing Historical because I disliked research or history. I honestly stopped playing them because I disliked a whole lot of historical wargamers.
Not a condemnation of the whole of coarse, there were just too many for me to not be driven away from it.

Still love to look at Historical miniatures and read battle/con reports but I have zero desire to get involved again.
I switched to Fantasy and Science fiction decades ago and am satisfied with it. :)

Der Krieg Geist04 Sep 2020 6:36 p.m. PST

Fred Mills,
Not sure what you mean by Fantasy…"with equally low entry costs to participation, and even lower intellectual ones,"…. I don't sense an intended slight nor do I agree that Fantasy and Science Fiction gaming is less of an intellectual endeavor. That will also vary from one participant to another.

I did enormous amounts of research when I played Historical and found it enjoyable…the rivet counting/ button/facings/ uniform color… arguments between other gamers…not so much. I did not stop playing Historical because I disliked research or history. I honestly stopped playing them because I disliked a great many of the historical wargamers attitudes that In encountered over the years.
Not a condemnation of the whole of coarse, there were just too many for me to not be driven away from it.

Still love to look at Historical miniatures and read battle/con reports but I have zero desire to get involved again.
I switched to Fantasy and Science fiction decades ago and am satisfied with it. :)

Der Krieg Geist04 Sep 2020 6:37 p.m. PST

Please ignore the 6:03 post as it was being edited, yet posted anyway. the later post is more clear. :)

RudyNelson06 Sep 2020 8:42 p.m. PST

RPG fantasy gamers no.
Fantasy or SciFi board or mini is a toss up. As many yes as no.

USAFpilot07 Sep 2020 6:02 p.m. PST

Didn't the guys who invented D&D start out as historical miniature gamers?

I'm more interested in the quality of the game than wether or not it is historical or fantasy.

Sgt Slag08 Sep 2020 7:29 a.m. PST

USAFpilot: yes, they were all historical/fantasy/sci-fi tabletop war gamers. RPG's were born out of this, after one fellow created an RPG, by accident (Braunstein, created by David Wesely, in the late 1960's, in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, USA). The others (David Arneson and E. Gary Gygax) took his idea, and ran with it, creating a whole new thing, which has become a multi-billion dollar industry…

Love it, or hate it, RPG's are huge, and have been, since starting out tiny, in 1974 (first published RPG -- Dungeons and Dragons, wood/white box edition, aka, 0e). Cheers!

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