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"B5 ACTA fans, edition quick question" Topic

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WaltOHara Inactive Member05 Nov 2017 6:00 p.m. PST

Hey, I didn't get to go to Fall IN!, so the most vicarious moment I could glean from this weekend was to post my Event data count post as I have for several conventions).

So here it is:


Non Historicals were just under 19% of all events run at the show.

Blog Post here: link

Thanks for reading


WaltOHara Inactive Member05 Nov 2017 6:04 p.m. PST

That is NOT the title I posted this post under. Sorry.

Scratching my head.. again.. about the vagaries of TMP.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2017 8:38 p.m. PST

Yeah. The percentage of non-historical miniatures games keeps going up. I complained at 10% and at 15%.and the rate of change seems to be increasing. I expect that between 10 and 20 years from now, historical miniatures gamers will need to form a fresh society and conventions, since the present ones will no longer serve their needs.

A pity, but I see no way to reverse the trend.

clifblkskull Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2017 9:15 p.m. PST

Thanks Walt
I think that is a fair balance really

WaltOHara Inactive Member05 Nov 2017 10:02 p.m. PST

*A pity, but I see no way to reverse the trend.*

Short of inventing a time machine, you mean?

Personal logo Morning Scout Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 5:12 a.m. PST

Reversing the trend is pretty easy really, only book historical games.
Seems like it would be fine to have only historical games at a historical wargame convention, if you are actually having a historical wargaming convention. Not endorsing, advocating or asking for it, but seems reasonable.
I have always been heavily historical over my 40 years of wargaming. Non-historical wargaming probably accounting for under 5% of my gaming, but that is me. Most of the local area gamers have leaned historical over the years and those that stick with it as a hobby have all tended to be historical. Guessing it is the interest in history and warfare that goes beyond the gaming table that accounts for that. I, like most historical gamers have spent more time reading and learning military history than playing wargames.
One of my biggest problems with the hobby is/was the trend for rules to come along with their own version of history attached and new entrants to the hobby never reading beyond the rule books and game slanted history provided. Wargamers used to do a lot more research on the topics of their wargaming, before things ever got to a table.
Nothing profound here, but I do like my gaming historical. Nothing wrong with a little sci-fi, fantasy, or alternate history diversion from time to time, but it still never feels like wargaming to me.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 7:21 a.m. PST

Does the term "Historical" include games such as those between non-historical opponents as in tournaments? How about hypothetical historical events such as the very British civil war or alternative timelines such as those suggested by Harry Turtledove (not the alien invasion ones). Call

WaltOHara Inactive Member06 Nov 2017 11:20 a.m. PST

That's maybe overthinking it a little. I use the same terms the GMs themselves use when they submit their events, which are pretty much the same ones HMGS has been using since the early 90s. So if an event GM has selected a historical period description, such as "American Civil War".. I call it "historical". If that ACW game has Dinosaurs in it, I can't really tell unless I read each and every description carefully, which takes way too much time.

The real trouble is when the event submitter is overriding the standard event categories (which you can do), and putting in their own descriptions, like "Gnomes", or "DieselPunk" or the ubiquitous "other". Hard to say in those cases.

Of course this is fuzzy around the edges. Is a game that depicts a tavern brawl between pirate gangs really "historical"? Probably not any more than a Wild West gunfight game, and both get listed "historical" Lots of tournament games feature armies that didn't exist at the same time or never would have met in history routinely fighting each other. Is that alt history? Fantasy? science fiction? That's a much broader question, so I opt to stick to the baseline set by the historical periods as laid out in the program guides.



farnox06 Nov 2017 12:06 p.m. PST

Being as schools don't teach much history anymore, it seems that the only way to attract younger gamers is going to be through fantasy and sci-fi. However, they can be exposed to
historical gaming once they are attend.

Dynaman878906 Nov 2017 12:50 p.m. PST

On Friday morning at least (when I was there) the vast majority of games were historical. With the exception of the Mechanicon tournament area taking over a large hunk of what use to be Flames of War or Ancients gaming space. (at least I don't remember there being a 40K tournament there). The only other fantasy/scifi game I remember seeing was the sky galleons one – which looked excellent.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 1:53 p.m. PST

Walt, if I had a working time machine, I'd have to rethink the line between historical and science fiction games anyway.

But no. A time machine might let me do something about a single bad decision or decision-maker. There really isn't much one man can do--short term--against a widely-accepted bad idea. HMGS is a democratic organization with an elected board, and the bulk of the members either simply don't care whether miniatures games are historical or not, or think that a rising percentage of SF and fantasy games will have no impact on historical gaming. I think this second group is wrong, but until THEY think so, there isn't anything to be done about it. My feeling is that by that time, most of the voting members won't care about the history, so the only option will be a new society and new conventions.

But whether I'm right or wrong about a new society and conventions doesn't matter. It's pretty clear regardless that there is nothing to be done until people can run for the BOD and win on a program of prioritizing historical dealers and historical games. I see no sign of this happening.

Meantime, enjoy the remaining historical games. Nothing lasts forever.

JAFD2606 Nov 2017 2:59 p.m. PST

Well, the Philadelphia Science Fiction Conference – – is going on in Cherry Hill, NJ, this weekend. Is a bit late to get a game organized there this year, but if anyone's interested in putting on a _historical_ miniatures game at a _science fiction_ convention, let me know.

Was on the committee that organized Philcon for a good while, can 'call in some favors'.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2017 3:30 p.m. PST

JAFD26, you miss the point. The HMGS Recon Teams--remember them?--might do that for missionary work. But as a gamer, I'd be going to a convention with no friends, no lectures on history, no dealers in historical miniatures and a crowd not much interested in historical miniatures gaming. I might attend such a convention, but I'd bring my Martians and put on a Barsoom game.

If I felt like intruding on a non-historical con, I could have put on a game at Pentacon, in my home town. They even used to have historical miniatures games, but are now just as I described. You reach a tipping point. That's why, even though the math suggests HMGS might go on holding historical miniatures games for another 20-25 years, I think we're probably only looking at another ten to fifteen. When you've got about twice as many zombie games as AWI--which was true at Fall In!--it's pretty much all over.

WaltOHara Inactive Member07 Nov 2017 10:14 p.m. PST

At the risk of sounding blase, I think you're being profoundly negative about something that hasn't been that big of a problem. If HMGS wants to have only historical games at their conventions, then they merely have to outlaw non-historical games, and live with the consequences of doing so. If people want to play more AWI games, then people will run more AWI games to fill in the gap when non-historical games are banned. The number of attendees will stay the same or even grow, right?

We both know that conclusion is a bit far-fetched.

On the other hand, people seem to like the proportions about where they are right now-- somewhat less than 20% at the two shorter conventions, maybe a few points higher in the longer cons. I'm not sure how you measure victory but 80% is nothing to sneeze at in my calculus, and the trend line is hardly exponential. Instead of acting either rigidly (banning non-historicals) or all doom n gloom ("Woe is me, this trend spells the end of historical miniatures in this country!") we should perhaps favor a reasonable compromise, which is where I think we are now.

There's nothing "wrong" with non-historicals. They are not a "them" and historical hobbyists an "us". We are all alike, artisans, who create our own worlds through imagination, hard work, and a sense of theater. It's time to celebrate the commonalities instead of the differences, don't you think?

With all respect,


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 5:14 a.m. PST

Or, as they keep "explaining" to me, "it's all minis, innit?"

No, it's not. I enjoy the occasional SF and fantasy game, but I'll never learn anything from them. Try actually reading the HMGS charter sometime.

And the proportions aren't stable. Pull a ten year old events list and take a look. "Growing exponentially" is exactly how I'd describe fantasy and SF gaming at the HMGS-East conventions. You may not have figured it out, but the dealers certainly have--to the point where many of them have no dealings with historical miniatures, and a number of former historical attendees no longer feel it's worth the trip. And this, of course, shifts the mix of gamers and game masters who attend. So, as I wrote, I expect down the road historical gamers will need a new organization and new conventions.

If someone drops a plate, it is not "profoundly negative" to say it will keep falling and eventually hit the floor.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 5:36 a.m. PST

Oh, to continue my morning of spreading gloom and despair. If something is increasing and the rate at which it does so is increasing, that IS exponential growth. What did you think the term meant?

Policy? I'd ban non-historical dealers, and try some outreach to historical dealers and historical game masters. People will do a lot if they're asked. But no, I don't expect it to happen.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 8:53 a.m. PST

Personally I have nothing against non-historical games. Many of them involve more creativity and talent than anything I've ever presented.

My observation, however, is that you can't throw a dead cat over your left shoulder without hitting a non-historical venue.

The "H" can always be dropped from HMGS and the gaming distribution becomes a non-issue. I suggested this for the local HMGS and was gently, quietly escorted away from the decision making area. Probably a good idea for all concerned.

Wally's basement must be filling with tears.

ARMY Strong08 Nov 2017 10:02 a.m. PST

Thanks for the data I feel that is a fair ratio of games, we need the non-historical just to lighten things up and get new blood in.

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