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"How Complex Do You Like Your Rules?" Topic

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Return to the How Complex Do You Like Your Rules? Poll

1,606 hits since 20 May 2013
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Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2013 2:58 a.m. PST

I enjoy all the given levels at different times. The dislike I have is meaningless detail for its own sake.


Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2013 3:10 a.m. PST

Other – all of them depending on the circumstances.

In an ideal world – a big game with elegant systems to model complex interactions. If all else fails then detailed.

warwell21 May 2013 3:26 a.m. PST

Note that a game doesn't have to be "Detailed" to have a lot of tactical choices. I play Memoir '44 a lot. Games usually run 45 – 60 minutes yet each is jam packed with decisions.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP21 May 2013 3:53 a.m. PST

Had to go with other, too, as I feel the question mixes too many things together.

The more complex a rule system is, the more time the players spend thinking about the rules rather than the situation. You spend less time making tacitcal decisions, or, conversely, you make fewer tactical decisions per unit time.

I am also interested in operational and strategic decision making. The more complex a rule set is (the more details it has; the more constraints it imposes), the less freedom there is in the interplay between tactics, operations, and strategy.

Beyond the nature of the rules themselves, when I watch people playing games with a lot of rules, I see the "bathroom break" factor.

OK, I just took my turn, there are four players, I have time to go to the bathroom, grab some more snacks and a drink, come back to the table and assess the situation before I have to make my decisions.

I would rather play a game where four players making four to six command decisions per turn can get ten to twelve turns in an hour and then need a brain break to go along with their other biologic demands.

The other thing lots of rules tends to do is constrain the ability to take on a persona while you play. Not just RPGing, but deciding to play the English like Wellington, not like an omniscient, perfect knowledge übercommander … or worse … a min-maxer!

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2013 4:19 a.m. PST

What x42brown said.


advocate21 May 2013 5:01 a.m. PST

On that 1-4 scale, I'd say I enjoy all but 'Detailed'. But I agree strongly with warwell that even at the DBA level there is the possibility of lots of decisions to be made even at the short-game level. In fact, I'd say that it is very possible to have too much detail get in the way of complex interactions.

Personal logo Dasher Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 May 2013 5:10 a.m. PST

I'm with x42 Brown and warwell.
I would also add that I want my miniatures rules to require MINIATURES, even if they are cardboard stand-ups or folded boxes (which, as FASA showed us way back when, could actually be kinda cool).
Rules sets that merely use figures as bookkeeping tokens and are, in fact, just 3D boardgames, have zero appeal to me.
And yes, I know, you can use counters to approximate miniatures in most rules sets; that's fine if you have to, But rules sets that start out with no attempt to incorporate the three dimensional nature of their subject matter are a waste of my time.

Caesar Inactive Member21 May 2013 6:01 a.m. PST

Miniature wargames are just 3D boardgames, Dasher.

The Tin Dictator21 May 2013 6:04 a.m. PST

I like detail if its relevant.
I'm a wargamer so I expect the game to be fairly long.

I do not like to play a game simply so I can be done in 2 hours. What's the point?

Fast play = No way!

Personal logo Who asked this joker Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2013 6:57 a.m. PST

4 hours is about my limit of interest. 2-3 hours is the usual amount of time I'd have on a weekday, which is also the usual days I could play a game.

As for detail, I think many (most) games on the market today go too far in that department. They start with a clever idea and ruin it eventually by adding so much detail and so many shades of gray that the original point of the game is completely lost.

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member21 May 2013 7:21 a.m. PST

I voted moderate, but am used to all.

Personal logo vtsaogames Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2013 8:14 a.m. PST

Didn't mean to suggest that faster, simpler games don't involve tactical choices. I'm a fast-play fellow myself.

Back in the day I used to play games where turns often took an hour, though that might have been the usual case of too many figures in the game. If a set of rules works at divisional level, let's cram a corps on the table.

I once played in a game of Column, Line and Square (the supposed fast rules of the the 70's). There were thousands of figures on the table. An enormous cavalry melee broke out on the second turn. It took two hours to resolve.

Personal logo richarDISNEY Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2013 8:37 a.m. PST

I want it done in under three hours.
If it was a good time, then we can have another go in the same night.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP21 May 2013 9:37 a.m. PST

As for detail, I think many (most) games on the market today go too far in that department. They start with a clever idea and ruin it eventually by adding so much detail and so many shades of gray that the original point of the game is completely lost.

This is why I don't play many of the games I used to when they first came out. It especially irritates me when they do that while there is still so much unexplored capability space in the game as it is. I may stop playing Ascension (a card game) if the new (been out for a little while) expansion adds new rules instead of exploring more of the current possibilities…

kyoteblue Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2013 9:46 a.m. PST

I am old now, simple works for me.

dafrca Inactive Member21 May 2013 10:05 a.m. PST

I play games for fun. I am not looking for my games to be total simulations. I want to play a game with friends, have a good time, and maybe win once in a while. If a game is too complex it means we are spending more time researching rules and exceptions than playing.

ming31 Inactive Member21 May 2013 1:20 p.m. PST

In my younger days it was squad lader and we could leave it set up . Am Older now with too many other responsibilties keep it short, I have work in the morning.

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2013 1:31 p.m. PST

When I do get to play I have about 2-3 hours so that was my criteria for voting. So a small skirmish game could be detailed and a larger Brigade level game could be less complex.

Angel Barracks Inactive Member21 May 2013 1:52 p.m. PST

I do not like to play a game simply so I can be done in 2 hours. What's the point?

For me that is just the ticket.
I only get maybe a couple of hours a month to play so I would rather play 1 game in 1 session of a fast play game than nothing.

Different people have different needs.
Back in the day before wife and child I would play games that latest 12 hours or more, they were what was good for me at the time, they are no good for me now.

stenicplus21 May 2013 2:18 p.m. PST

I'm with AB. When you have a family and other domestic things to manage 2hrs is great.

Horses for courses.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP22 May 2013 3:52 a.m. PST

Complexity and duration of a game are not necessarily directly proportional.

* As a boardgame, Go has obscenely simple rules that lead to complex depth of play and individual games that can hold players' interest for many hours.

In a wargame as opposed to a boardgame (amost always), there is a "scenario" which is a different thing from the "rules". While the complexity of the rules acts as kind of a throttle on the speed of the game, the victory conditions of the scenario plot out the route. A 100 mph game will still take 30 hours to go 3000 miles; a 5 mph game will only take 2 hours to go 10 miles.

* I'm sure many of us have had the experience of playing a game with complex rules that took significant time to prep and study for, where the scenario ended (unexpectedly and unfortunately) after a few turns.

Honestly, more complex games are much more prone to this than simple ones for two basic reasons: (1) the more complex a set of rules is, the greater the opportunity for a "nerf" solution, (2) the more interdependencies a set of rules has, the harder it is to fudge a nerfing outcome without destroying the integrity of the game as a whole.

* Just because a game lasts for ten hours doesn't mean that you are actively engaged in playing the game for the whole ten hours. Or even most of it.

I'm sure most of us have played a game where we let other players start their turn out of sequence because the current turn and their turn weren't going to affect each other. This is usually not done to speed up the duration of the game, but rather to reduce time spend unengaged with the game.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2013 4:39 a.m. PST

2-4 hours is about the limit of my attention

With the Little Prince, shorter is better!

That being said, we are running a campaign battle right now that will probably take 8 hours all told

Space Monkey22 May 2013 10:40 a.m. PST

Depends on my mood.
I like a fast game of Song of Blades and Heroes… but I'd also enjoy getting stuck in with a long uber-detailed game like ASL or SFB. There is a point where the detail is just there for its own sake though… and that loses me… as does abstraction to the point where the theme is just tacked on fluff that makes no difference in the play.

Yesthatphil22 May 2013 1:46 p.m. PST

Most game lengths have their place – but I have to say 2-3 hours is not 'fast play' in my experience (I've played some 100 to 200 games a year for 40 years ..) 2 hrs (AMW, Armati) to 4 hrs (FoG, BP etc.) is are the edges of normal.

There are quite a lot of slow players out there, of course … so that can be a factor wink


Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2013 2:12 a.m. PST

My preference goes to easy to understand, easy to use rules, that do allow for complexity. Nothing breaks up a game having to flip through the rulebook for 15 minutes to look up the basic rules every time you try to activate a unit.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2013 9:45 a.m. PST

My main rules – Napoleonic Command & Rifle Wars – are deceptively simple. All the charts you need fitted onto 1/2 a sheet of A4 or US letter paper.

The complexity comes in the tactical setup and scenario,which is why a game can easily last 6 hours of playing time and you loose yourself in the story being told on the table.

Rules that are too simple DBM/DBMM/DBR/HoTT/DBA, or too complex say Empire leave me cold. Rules like Napoleons Battles similarly I dislike – all that dice rolling.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2013 1:56 a.m. PST

40 years ago at my college wargames club the more detailed the better. These days though, I just don't have the time for such things and even if I had the time I doubt I'd have the patience :)

Maddaz111 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member24 May 2013 5:46 a.m. PST

I like all the different levels – but I would not want to play the entire battle of waterloo with a six second per turn set of rules.

I like rules that have enough chrome to simulate the period well, but not so much that the rules are shiny (like cars – too much chrome ends up tacky!)

I like games that finish – and do not like the megalomaniac wargame syndrome… all my toys on the table all the time (please grow out of wall to wall tank phalanx deployment)

ochoin ceithir Inactive Member11 Jun 2013 3:15 p.m. PST

In spite of current trends, medium-hard

Mythicus Inactive Member10 Aug 2013 9:38 a.m. PST

I like shorter games, 2-4 hours at the table per game, but I also like campaign systems that can be used with this. So a combination of the two would be cool, with the latter being completely optional.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2014 10:49 a.m. PST

No need of high complexity to be an accurate simulation.
To be an enjoyable, a game needs not too be complex and especially too slow a system.
To be historical vs fantasy, the system should reflect proper tactics, decisions, time and surface scales.
Otherwise it might well just be a game with historically dressed miniatures.

Ray the Wargamer Inactive Member21 May 2014 2:15 p.m. PST

I started wargaming in the 70s with Empire II and Angriff (miniatures-based) and also played many of the more complicated wargames (boardgames) from AH and SPI. I enjoyed the hell out of all of them. Keep in mind that it often took all day, if not a weekend, to play the game.

However, today, as an adult who works more than full time, has a family, and is active in my church, time is an issue. I need a game that can be set up and played in 3-4 hours and cannot be complex.

When I retire, I'll probably go back to also playing more complicated games, but these days, if I see too many complicated tables, I set the rules down.

That's the reality.

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