Sunday, December 6, 2015

How Many Systems?

I popped into the Wargame Store at Brimstage on Saturday as I was over in Wirral visiting my Mum and needed a figure to represent a key character in the Pulp Alley game I'm running at Christmas.

While there I got into a brief conversation with the owner and another customer about how many systems we play.  The local view was that the gamers in the upstairs room at the store probably play no more than four systems and don't really want the hassle or expense of moving beyond those games.

Gates of Antares was cited as a particular example.  This was seen as sitting somewhere between Warhammer 40K and Bolt Action (which, given that its designers had both of these in their back catalogue, is not unreasonable).  Local gamers didn't see the new system as adding anything particularly unique to their current repertoire of games.  Some of them had already bolted BA mechanisms onto W40K.

"But I must play about a dozen systems", I said.  I started counting them off on my fingers and got to ten with no problem.  Afterwards, though, I thought more about this. What are My Systems? What rules do I actually play often enough count myself a regular player?

Happily, this is the kind of question I can answer because I keep a brief record of all the games I play or, more often, umpire.

So in 2012 I played 12 different sets of rules at least once.

  • Arc of Fire
  • Basic Impetus
  • Basic Impetus Fantasy
  • Blitzkrieg Commander
  • Cold War Commander
  • HOTT
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Munera Sine Missione
  • Polemos GNW
  • Second Fleet
  • Sharp Practice
  • Song of Blades and Heroes
By 2013 this had come down to 11:

  • .45 Adventure
  • Arc of Fire
  • Basic Impetus
  • Bolt Action
  • c18th POW
  • c19th POW
  • Cold War Commander
  • HOTT
  • Pulp Alley
  • Rapid Fire
  • Song of Blades and Heroes
In 2014 nine:

  • Arc of Fire
  • Basic Impetus
  • Black Powder
  • Cold War Commander
  • HOTT
  • Maurice
  • Perfidious Albion
  • Pulp Alley
  • Song of Blades and Heroes

And by the time we reach the end of 2015 it will be a mere eight:

  • Arc of Fire
  • Cold War Commander
  • HOTT
  • Pulp Alley
  • RenPOW
  • Saga
  • Sharp Practice
  • To the Strongest!
A few thoughts occur to me about these lists.  First up, the mix of big battle rules vs skirmish rules hasn't changed significantly.  

Secondly there are a few rules that I have tried and rejected.  .45 Adventure lost out to Pulp Alley, Bolt Action wasn't for me, and Basic Impetus is currently second choice to To The Strongest!

The 18th century big battle scene is interesting.  The Principles of War set for the period is definitely rejected - I sold on my copy of the rules.  Likewise the ambiguous and too-complex Polemos GNW.   Maurice I love but as someone who most often puts on multi-player games for my mates, a game that's specifically for one player a side isn't going to get played too often.  As a result Black Powder seems to be the default choice, though it's not a game I'm in love with.

So which rules have survived throughout?  Arc of Fire, Cold War Commander, and Hordes of the Things are the only three. Is this perhaps because in Crisis Point, CP6, and Berkeley there are events that allow me to meet up with a bunch of gamers outside the normal Saturday Afternoon Wargames crew?  Wargaming is, for me, essentially a sociable activity.

  






3 comments:

Simon Miller said...

You are doing well! I think I have only played two- TtS! (of course) and Longstreet. My gaming time has become very restricted. :-(

Counterpane said...

I try to get a game in once a month. The penultimate Saturday of each month sees a Saturday Afternoon Wargame. The discipline of organising a game each month helps keep me focussed.

Richard Phillips said...

Much better than me 2015 has seen me play Cold War Commander and Arc of Fire. Hopefully 2016 will see some Napoleonics and ACW games along with some Future War Commander and Blitzkrieg Commander games. I also plan to spend a bit more time on my To the Strongest and Warband projects and finally get my Pulp table finished. Looking forward to the game on the 27th!
Cheers
Richard P