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Subject: How important is modding? rss

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Matti Palmström
Sweden
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I've been thinking about this lately and I thought I should bounce it with people here too. How important for games like Warhammer 40k do you think modding is? Would it have reach the same amount of people if it was played with paper markers? But at the same time, if you look at the most popular war and strategy games here almost none of them use figures. Or am I comparing apples with rubberbands now, do these things attract totally different groups of gamers?
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Nate K
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I think that certain people get into games like Warhammer 40K because they are hobbyists and enjoy assembling and painting the miniatures; such gamers would not be as interested in a game played with cardboard standees or paper minis.

Other people get into wargames because of the setting or theme; such people might enjoy a game played with less-expensive components if the setting or theme was interesting to them.

And still other people enjoy wargames because of the ruleset and the challenging tactical and strategic decisions. Such players would be more than willing to give a good set of rules a try, even--and perhaps especially--if the components were designed to be printed and cut out.

There are many different types of games, and many different types of gamers, who play the games they do for many different reasons. If you come up with a game that you would enjoy, chances are good that others would enjoy it, too.
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James Hutchings
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Warhammer seems to be as much about modelling as about wargaming (and as much about the ongoing official setting as about either).
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James Hutchings
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The HeroQuest/Advanced Heroquest/Warhammer Quest family, and Talisman seem to have been more popular than Warhammer/Warhammer 40K.

Yet they discontinued the board games and kept on with the model wargames.

Perhaps this is because people who buy board games are less likely to buy extras: they don't see the need for expansions and are happy with the basic plastic figures. Whereas, Warhammer players seem to be happy to buy new models and paints and a new rulebook every time one comes out.
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Damian
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WH40K is completely about the miniatures. The ruleset is simply a vehicle for the miniatures. So, no, I don't think it would be nearly as popular with cardboard chits. It's widely regarded as a mediocre ruleset, at best.

Wargamers and miniatures gamers are different beasts, with different priorities. A wargamer doesn't care in the least if he's pushing around a cardboard square with numbers on it as long as it accurately simulates the conflict he's recreating. A miniatures gamer doesn't care if his ruleset is a bit clunky and forced if the game has the most appealing and convertible miniatures.
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Philip Migas
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design
Re: How important is modding?
Warhammer would have been a flop without Modding. The rules and minitures are ok. But the modding has the "wait you don't understand, I custommized all my guys". Ok so that last part was a qoute from my friend while I was standing in his basement looking at his table filled with warhammer stuff going "whats the point?"
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John "Omega" Williams
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Warhammer, and really about all GW games are sold as "Hobby Games", the rule books used to, and may still, refer to the minis as models.

Painting the minis has been there since about the get-go. Then at some point modifying them caught on and its been a part of the game ever since, but never a necessity, especially since the minis arent actually geared for straight up modification or swapping. A player has to sometimes really work to connect two pieces.

Most other games just cater to the painting fans, of which there are many. And then theres the weirdos who like unpainted or, ghasp! Prepainted... Or the real mutant alien types who wil... paint prepainted... *faint*
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Alex Weldon
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As a game designer, it's important to understand that one important axis of player preference is relative priority of theme vs. mechanics, and that if you did a survey, I'm almost positive you'd find that it's a bimodal distribution - i.e. you've got a camp of people who focus mostly on mechanics, and a camp of people who focus mostly on theme, and although there's variation within each, there aren't too many people who are right in the middle.

The theme-centric camp wants to feel "immersed" in a game. They want to be thinking about the conflict from the point of view of the game's fiction, e.g. the clash of two armies, rather than as an intellectual confrontation between themselves and their opponent. Miniatures wargamers are the far end of the theme-centric camp. People who would find King of Tokyo to be too low-production-value and lacking in theme, and want the cardboard standups to be replaced by 6" painted models, for Tokyo to be a diorama with 3D buildings, and modular body parts and accessories for the monsters to be swapped in as you purchase upgrade cards.

Their equivalent at the far end of the scale is the people who won't play anything except an entirely abstract, two-player, zero-chance, perfect information strategy game like Go, chess, Octi, Arimaa, etc.

Since both groups are on the fringe, you have to be careful in targeting them, because their numbers are fewer. On the other hand, the thing about miniatures players is that if you can get them onto your game, you can expect them to buy many hundreds or even thousands of dollars in minis over the course of a few years, instead of just one $40 box like you'd sell for most games. (The hardcore abstract fans are kind of the opposite... a lot of games for that group are open source and more labors of mathematical nerdlove than anything else.)
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Filip W.
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If you look at Warhammer and remove the setting and the models you'll get a rather clunky, unwieldy and slow game. Add the theme, of which the models are a large part, and you get an immersive experience in a cool world.

Also, for the company there's large profits in models which aren't in cardboard, ensuring that the game will survive in print longer.
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Matti Palmström
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What if it was the reverse then. What if a game like Car Wars had miniatures that you can mod? I've read that some people scale up the maps so that they're able to play with miniatures (that they can mod, I don't really think of 1:144 cars as modable.)
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John "Omega" Williams
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Hotwheels has at times had car sets with attatchable weapons.

Dark Future and Krash both had customizable cars and accessories.

Its been tried.

Legions of Steel came with customizable mechs, various arm mounts for 3 or 4 diffrent chasis.

Probably one of the ultimates in this was Xevoz in which you could swap and attach body parts to create all manner of combatants. Toss in custom paint jobs for added fun.
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