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"WSS - 123 - two op-eds" Topic

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FlyXwire29 Jan 2023 7:16 a.m. PST

I've now read the two op-ed columns in the latest edition of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine, issue 123.

I have to admit, I gained much more insight from the "Irregular" article written by Robert Piepenbrink, than the one by Rick Priestley.

I have my own opinion of why magazine reviews, articles, and even op-eds often end without drawing (m)any conclusions, other than "you might like it" recommendations, or "that's interesting" observations……

Rick Priestly does point out that "skirmish wargaming is all the rage at the moment…..". "At The Moment"? That's an understatement.

Flipping to the back of the magazine, and reading Robert's Old-Schoolery article, there's a contrast to be ackowledged to the "at the moment" gaming scene described in the first article (or how gaming was conceived before the rise of the "Wargame in a Box" products arrived).

There's no going back to the good ole days when it took a lot of work to bring together the four ingredients of old-schoolery style gaming, as Robert listed needing; troops, table, battles, and rules (most these ingredients coming from different resources or manufacturers, and which often were ordered from different parts of the world, with lots of lead time needed to receive, and then prepare for battle). Was all that energy and time wasted with these old-schoolery requisites……..perhaps, but this all did require a large amount of planning to bring off.

Robert does make the connection to the everything in one box products being likened to MREs……my inference they'll sustain life, but are they that desirable to ingest?

To wrap up my comments here I'm not a good cook at all, but I think I can taste the difference between MREs and fine cuisine.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP29 Jan 2023 1:53 p.m. PST

Hmph. I'll have to wait for my copy to arrive to see whether I agree. But one thing--it's always possible to waste resources in miniatures projects. The wargame in a box is just lighter on the time and effort, and heavier on the money. Which of these we can best spare depends on the wargamer, and varies over time.

I'd have to think over an article on wargaming with the least expenditure of resources. But I can tell you already the first warning would be that a game you seldom or never play is your most expensive game.

FlyXwire29 Jan 2023 3:30 p.m. PST

I imagine we all have lots of those games……where the menu first started with those rule books first bought, but never played.

Funny, but I used to give a friend a hard time when he'd show up with his latest rulebook, stained with spots from the kitchen table……I should have been easier on him.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP29 Jan 2023 5:00 p.m. PST

Oh, the rules you never play are the cheap mistakes, FlyXwire. I can think of at least three times when I bought an army or major components thereof in the expectation that the manufacturer would soon get around to the missing critical pieces and the opposition army. All three armies eventually went to flea markets. In two cases, the missing pieces appeared years later--we're talking maybe five to ten years after my project stalled--and in the third case, I'd still be waiting.

AussieAndy29 Jan 2023 10:31 p.m. PST

If you want to save money, stop buying wargame magazines. These days, they seem to be mostly just pointless fluff.

FlyXwire30 Jan 2023 4:39 a.m. PST

Robert, I remember that happening with a previewed expanding line of Grenadier 15mm ancients that were advertised coming out, besides the Persians stocked (this back in the '70s sometime). I was the contact person at our local game shop for the group's project, so had pre-orders in hand literally (order sheets on file that the guys wanted). Maybe we would call this vaporware these days (a term that probably dates us too, eh).

AussieAndy, I hear you!

So many of the AARs look staged. Of course, the industry will tell us that's what customers want. The same goes for points-balance games with match-based, 2 player formats (and then we'll read that we probably can't recognize what a skirmish game looks like).

Still, at least WSS has their yearly poll (can't remember if I submitted my response last year or not)… So they say, "if you don't vote, don't complain", but who are we kidding. :)))

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2023 7:44 a.m. PST

FlyXWire, I still think that's the real story behind the Chinese "Terracotta Army." The manufacturer promised a terracotta opposition army (probably Mongol) next year, and the salesman at the convention promised the Emperor that he'd mail the weapons as soon as he got home.

FlyXwire30 Jan 2023 8:06 a.m. PST

Oh that is good!!! :)))

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2023 8:07 a.m. PST

My bookstore runs a month or so behind; I just picked up #122 yesterday.

I agree with you regarding reviews. I write the occasional review for our local newsletter and, if a product is lacking in quality or content, I will say so. You can be honest without being mean.

Joe Legan05 Feb 2023 1:11 p.m. PST

But you will lose advertising if you are honest. That is also why small indies rarely get reviewed. WSS is better at that than many.


Whirlwind05 Mar 2023 10:42 p.m. PST

The article on 'Old-Schoolery' was really good, although I think I was expecting something else*. It felt more like 'veteran wargamer wisdom', showing the logical relationships between the elements which constitute a wargame and how they limit each other. Loved the 'Wargaming Heirarchy of Difficulties'!

*I think there is a really good article yet to be written on how the wargamers thought of as representing 'Old School' influenced/continue to influence wargaming, whether in the rules, visual look, hidden assumptions, periods, whatever.

FlyXwire09 Mar 2023 10:57 a.m. PST

Whirlwind, good suggestion on a new article subject.

I think 'Old Schoolery' might have something to do with knowing what's Tom Foolery. ;)

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